Friday, 21 January 2011

Change...of all kinds

I have just received notification from the diocese that 21-27 March is 'Climate Change Week.' I'm not against anything which will make Lent more penitential than usual, but perhaps this isn't the way I would have chosen. Let's hope we're not snowed in at the end of the coldest winter for 100 years.
I'm not guilty of out-and-out climate change denial (a more heinous fault these days in certain circles than out- and-out heresy) just of a mild scepticism; having said that, what we should all be agreed upon - and perhaps as a way of directing our Lenten almsgiving - is support for the poorest of our fellow Christians in areas hardest hit by shifting climatic patterns, however they are caused.

The momentum behind the Ordinariate seems to be gathering pace, not only as regards the news of the establishment of Ordinariates in Australia & Japan, but - as I discovered to my delight in Bristol yesterday - in the genuine enthusiasm and support seen at a local level in Britain. [see this report from Fr Paul Spilsbury at the Field of Dreams blog]
Most commentators are agreed that it won't begin as a huge exodus from the Anglican provinces, but will grow as it quickly becomes apparent that this is an idea (and a form of ecumenism which brings clear, lasting and visible results) whose time has come.
See here for the decree setting up the Ordinariate in England and Wales

Here's an interesting article from Andrew Carey, originally in The Church of England Newspaper, comparing the "fantasy" (his word) of Anglican comprehensiveness with the generosity displayed by Rome in the provisions of  Anglicanorum Coetibus - thanks to Anglican Mainstream

And [here] from the Ordinariate Portal a typically double-edged and snarky piece on the Ordinariate from Jezebel's Trumpet

It would seem - largely as a result of less than honest reporting by the media and of politicians anxious to preserve their parliamentary majorities (who, after all, wants to be accused, however unfairly, of racism?)  that Islam and its various cultural accretions is subject to rather less scrutiny than that accorded to other faiths and cultures in an increasingly socially diverse Britain.
It's not surprising that in an established culture which has rejected its ancestral Christian faith, "tolerance" (critics might say too often used in the non-traditional sense that anything goes so long as it doesn't frighten the horses) should become in itself the new unchallengeable orthodoxy. But it does now seem to be the case that even where there is very clear evidence that such tolerance is not always reciprocated, in order to preserve that multi-cultural orthodoxy those breaches of respect for "liberal" ( in the good sense of liberality) and representative traditions are being deliberately overlooked and played down. This turning of a blind eye is presumably in the hope that time and "inculturation"  will result in the emergence of a moderate and westernised form of Islam which will pose no threat to the traditional values of mutual respect and toleration which now prevail in most western societies. The indications are, however, that wilful blindness to the facts on the ground is counter-productive and likely to both undermine (majority) moderate Islamic opinion here and also throughout the world and encourage the very fundamentalism most feared by the proponents of multi-culturalism itself.
Here is Bishop Michael Nazir Ali's take on the "elephant in the room" of modern British society:
"Diversity cannot be mere diversity. It must be consistent with the best of British values, such as human dignity, freedom and equality, which derive from the Judaeo-Christian tradition of the Bible.
I know from personal experience that extremism as a mind-set is spreading throughout the Muslim world. We do not want it to spread here through the teaching of hate and the radicalisation of the young.
That is why we must distinguish between those Muslims who want to live peacefully with their non-Muslim neighbours and those who wish to introduce Shari’a into this country, restrict freedom of speech and confine women to their homes, not to speak of introducing draconian punishments such as death for blasphemy recently awarded to a poor Christian woman in Pakistan.
If relations are to improve between Muslims and other people in the world, these are the kind of issues that must be tackled."

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