Friday, 21 March 2014

News and comment round-up

A deliberately quiet and reflective Lent in this period of waiting and readjustment (in one way or another) to the new order of things. But outside the politicised bubble of the contemporary Church and the sloganising which now passes for theological thought, the world goes on its unheeding way ...

Russia again: what strikes this observer most forcefully is the sheer historical illiteracy of our leaders. With the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 (a while ago now) Russia has reverted to what she always was, both naturally defensive and potentially expansionist in equal measure. But before we rush headlong into a situation from which there is no way out (shades of the summer of 1914) we could do worse than remember Metternich's comment: "“Russia is never as strong as she appears, and never as weak as she appears.”
But Vladimir Putin, whoever he may be, is neither Hitler nor Stalin. The threat to peace comes not from Russia's reclamation of the Crimea, but from western over-reaction and our seemingly limitless propensity for cultural and political self-satisfaction. 
Peter Hitchens references this article from 1997 - well worth reading.  

Katherine Jefferts Schori of TEC faces charges of misconduct relating to her use of litigation during her period of office as Presiding Bishop  [here]  
It would be a mistake, I think, to believe that this is particularly significant.  Modern "liberals" after all are, if nothing else, masters of redefinition - the opportunities to practice the art of escapology which flow from that are boundless....
Given the internal politics of TEC, I would doubt if this will even impact on her chances of re-election. 

The predicted chaos in the Church of England over same-sex marriage is becoming more apparent by the day. Thinking Anglicans has this latest example. 
Although, if there is 'liberal disobedience' over that issue, there would seem to be little sanction which could be directed against possible orthodox Anglo-Catholic 'disobedience'  in other episcopally related matters,  should the need arise ... if there is still the stomach for it, that is  ....

The traditional (Roman) Catholic blogosphere is under increased scrutiny from its own Bishops [here], occasioning much comment ... some of it balanced and appropriate 
It's not my battle, but there must be in the life of the Church - of any ecclesial body - a way of steering a course between the Scylla of over-prescriptive centralisation and the Charybdis of contemporary 'anglicanised ' anarchy. It is, of course, another tactic of 'liberals' to use the weapons of authority far more ruthlessly than 'conservatives' would ever dare .... or wish to do ...

Baroness Hale, the deputy President of the Supreme Court (formerly - in more civilised times -  the Judicial Committee of the House of Lords) has urged Christians in Britain to make more use of human rights law. Christina Odone at The Telegraph has these comments. 
Very few are aware of the profound cultural revolution (like most revolutions unwelcome and unasked for) which has taken place in Britain over the space of a few short years. The commanding heights of politics and broadcasting - and even the judiciary- are now occupied by those who are in one sense or another embarrassed by their county's history and philosophical and religious heritage. Ironically,  the main beneficiaries of this cultural suicide have been those whose values make even the Inquisition (a favourite example used by the secularist lobby with which to beat Christians over the head)  seem a model of tolerance, fair-mindedness and due process.

Addled adolescence:
Many of us have thought for a very long time that the emerging liberal consensus of the 1960s and '70s was really a reversion to cultural adolescence. There is no better example than this  -  the commentator Sarah Dunant's contribution to BBC Radio 4's 'A Point of View' [here]  The (intended?) contrast with Roger Scruton's broadcast the previous week could not be more glaring .... O tempora, o mores ! .....
"... We are back to the impact of the '70s. Because it was that decade which saw the emergence of historians, academics and cultural thinkers who - having turned their back on the accepted canon of dead white male history - chose instead issues of gender and sexuality, going back into the archives and records to uncover a new past.
So where does this leave the '70s for those of us who lived through them? How far should we be applauding the achievements or doing penance for the faults? How about both at the same time? Agreeing that terrible sexual behaviour (hardly new to the 70s) took place, some possibly encouraged by a sense of freedom, but exactly that same freedom and openness changed society's attitudes, making us more tolerant of some things and less tolerant in others. Surely, something to be celebrated.
Wherever the line gets drawn, let's not forget the exuberance and mischief of the decade. Back to the Rocky Horror Show and that magnificently silly anthem. If sex is a live electric current running under the surface of history, maybe each time we plug in, it'll feel like the time warp again...." [here]
So very BBC - as someone who was at school in the '70s, I just feel the waves of tedium from that drab and depressing decade of tangible national decline coming straight at me ..... 

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