Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Back to the future ...?

In all kinds of ways - theologically, politically, culturally - we seem to be intent on reliving the worst of our relatively recent (and in one case distant) past, the lessons of which we are extremely reluctant to learn.

We'll draw a veil over the ongoing vicissitudes of the British Labour Party, now in the hands of the quasi-Trotskyist hard left  from the 1970s and 1980s. One would need to be heavily into substance abuse to have dreamt this one up. 
But the less responsible and electable the opposition, the less responsible and socially inclusive the policies of the government ...

And Canada's electorate reverts to hereditary Trudeauism...  involving a retreat from international responsibility, more restrictions on free speech and the legalisation of marijuana. As the commentator below has said, 'That's what Canada needs, more stoners ..."
Comment here from Mark Steyn

That self-confessed admirer of iconoclasm, Canon Giles Fraser, wants the rural Church to emulate the glory days of the Beeching Axe (for non British readers, the wholesale destruction of the railway network in the 1960s)
Some interesting responses here
"Fraser's weakness is not solely because of the pragmatic consequences of closing churches in rural areas.  The weakness is much more significant than this. It is profoundly theological.  Like iconoclasts across the centuries, his argument betrays a discomfort with matter, a desire to separate the 'spiritual heart' of faith from our flesh and blood, material reality.  Which, as Nicaea II asserted, is to deny the fulness of the Incarnation.Closing churches echoes a culture which "has lost all sense of ... place", for whom the sacramentality of place and the material is (at best) difficult to envisage.  Maintaining church buildings, by contrast, is a proclamation of sacramentality, of encounter in this place in its very physicality - whether inner city, suburb or village. As Inge reminds us, to say that this building has sacramental significance and meaning is to affirm the significance and meaning of all places, of all that is material:The existence of such holy places should facilitate a sacramental perception and serve as a reminder that all time and place belong to God in Christ - the part is set aside on behalf of, rather than instead of, the whole.And it is this which is lost when iconoclasts have their way.  In destroying icons, disfiguring statues or closing churches, they deny the sacramentality not just of the part, but of the whole." 
It's not for me to comment, but, depending upon whom one reads,  the Vatican's  current Synod on the family is proving a difficult test for the unity of the Latin Church, some of whose bishops are  seemingly, in the pontificate of Pope Francis, trying to revisit the 'spirit of Vatican II' [here]

 Europe seems to want to return to a much earlier epoch, before even both the Spanish Reconquista and Charles Martel. Can the continent's civic and cultural values survive in the age of globalisation and mass migration? 
"...What is Europe? It is Greece not Persia; Rome not Carthage; Christendom not the caliphate. These distinctions are fundamental. To say that Europe is a civilization apart is not to say it is better or worse. It is merely to say: This is us and that is you. Nor is it to say that Europe ought to be a closed civilization. It merely needs to be one that doesn’t dissolve on contact with the strangers it takes into its midst...."  [here
I can't help thinking that if the Devil were to appear in a contemporary vision, he would don the guise of an aging baby-boomer, wearing blue jeans, sporting a CND badge, clutching his copy of the collected works of Gramsci and smoking a joint ... and, of course, late for his well- paid job at the BBC, or one of our older universities. 

'Vintage' is all the rage these days, even among the fallen angels... 


  1. Perhaps it would have been better for Mr Faser to have stayed at S.Paul's rather than to be released into the wild to wreak his havock.

  2. The wild of the Elephant & Castle? It would possibily explain his ignorance of the rural Church ...


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