Tuesday 31 July 2012

Pause for thought

This will be the last post here until September.
I have to confess a certain relief at the thought that in a few days we'll be leaving behind the corrosive controversies in which we are inescapably involved and heading for a very tranquil piece of rural France. 
In current circumstances contact with the 'institutional' Church (Mgr Ronald Knox's oft-quoted comment - about another jurisdiction from my own - about not looking too closely into 'the engine room' take on added significance each day that passes) seems to require  the ability to step back from its idiocies on a regular basis just to retain a modicum of sanity.
This is a summer holiday, not a time for any serious analysis of the multiple dilemmas which face traditional Anglo-Catholics who belong, despite everything, to Anglicanism's official structures. 
Yet we do - all of us - need a time of serious thought as to the realities of the future, something which the current initiatives signally fail to address - we have to be very careful indeed that in using our opponents' terminology we don't end up accepting the premises of their arguments. 
The 'Better Together' campaign, for example, states that we should accept as a fundamental principle 'respect for the ordination of women as priests and bishops.' Now one may respect, in a spirit of civility and simple good manners, individually and personally those women who have been ordained to Anglican ministry, but respect for the theology and ecclesiology which lies behind the fact of their ordination is another matter. 
"Unity, diversity, freedom and respect" are laudable concepts but, please, first define what we mean by them in the current context, or we may end up having to accept another set of definitions, ones which in themselves undermine and even exclude the very Catholic theology and practice by which we strive to live.
Time to go, I think!

Sunday 29 July 2012

À bientôt!

It's nearly August and the Vendée beckons once again.
This summer's holiday reading? (Although the emphasis will be on healthy exercise after a distinctly unhealthy twelve months)  - to include 'Saints, Sacrilege & Sedition' by Eamon Duffy, Robert Taft's 'The Liturgy of the Hours in East and West,' Harry Mount's 'How England made the English' and Geoffrey Soden's (1953) biography of Godfrey Goodman, the seventeenth century Bishop of Gloucester.
Normal posting will be resumed in September. 

We wish everyone a restful and, above all, a quiet summer, free from "the heated atmosphere of controversy, and the ceaseless strife of tongues."

Saturday 28 July 2012

Spectacular but not honest

The opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games last night were an astonishing spectacle, carried off with real  panache and a deceptive professionalism. The lighting of the Stadium's Olympic cauldron was, in its way, even to this sceptic, moving and rather beautiful.
As a snapshot of what a certain strand  in our contemporary culture thinks of our history and how we got where we are today we can't fault Danny Boyle's tableaux.. 
On the other hand, some of us may feel rather uneasy, even disturbed, about a myopic historical narrative which featured the Suffragettes, punk rock, CND and an ageing Paul McCartney to the almost total eclipse of the civilising, compassionate  and nation-building contribution of the Christian faith (I fear the singing of the hymn, 'Abide with me' had more to do with the opening of FA Cup finals than anything deeper.) 
I'm afraid the way we are allowed to express our 'multiculturalism' [or do I mean rather living in a country where there are citizens whose origins are  from a wide variety of cultures and traditions?] which is an established  fact of our national life now - we have to make it work - leads to an airbrushing out of any facets of our history which makes those responsible for the prevailing cultural orthodoxy - the Cromwellian purveyors of political correctness -  feel uncomfortable.
As to the industrial revolution sequence .... my first impression is that it looked like a piece of early Soviet propaganda (perhaps it was the sight of the top hats and cigars of the capitalists confronting the honest cloth caps of the toiling masses); it wasn't quite left-wing agitprop, but it was perilously close to it. 
Again, as a celebration of the conventional preachy leftish views of the new 'great and good' of our society the ceremony was perfect - guaranteed to massage rather than to inform. Rather than being 'quirkily British,' in its view of the world - under the eccentric and humorous surface - it was really just another gloss on the predictable, sanitised, 'Hollywood' internationalism we've become used to.
But it was only the opening of a sporting event - does it really matter? Probably not much; but in some ways it does add imperceptibly to the overall feel of a radically changed culture which has little or no place for the faith and values of our fathers. Looking at the arena, and the thankful absence of lions, I couldn't help feeling relieved that we weren't the entertainment...

Thursday 26 July 2012

When is a Conservative .... just not a conservative at all?

"Of course this is very, very complicated and difficult issue for all the different Churches, but I passionately believe that all institutions need to wake up to the case for equality, and the Church shouldn’t be locking out people who are gay, or are bisexual or are transgender from being full members of that Church, because many people with deeply held Christian views, are also gay."And just as the Conservative Party, as an institution, made a mistake in locking people out so I think the Churches can be in danger of doing the same thing."
British Prime Minister David Cameron speaking at "a reception for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)  at Downing Street last night." [Report here]

See here for a strong rebuttal of his remarks, which are described as a 'serious misrepresentation of the teachings of the Church.' 

But what should be greatly worrying to Mr Cameron's political colleagues is that if the Conservative Party follows western Anglicanism in committing its future wholeheartedly to support of the (essentially Marxist in philosophical inspiration) equality and diversity agenda, its membership and representation are likely to go into free fall. 
Rather like traditional Anglicans, come the next election if they have nowhere to go traditional Conservatives will simply stay at home - in droves.  

Saturday 21 July 2012

le soleil est pres de moi

Admittedly, not our usual fare, but posted to welcome back the sun after a long absence and to celebrate a very British Tour de France!

And, if you prefer something more serious, this is Neilsen's Helios:

A wedding today in the parishes - a good choice of date!

Friday 20 July 2012

Church in Wales Review

The report - with recommendations - of the Review Group chaired by  Lord (Richard) Harries of Pentregarth, the former Bishop of Oxford is available to read in full here 
It will be discussed by the Province's Governing Body in September.
Some of the recommendations have already found their way into the public domain and into the  policy-making of the dioceses. [See an earlier post here.]

As a first comment, it might be questioned as to why, in a report which stresses the need to break free from the constraints of a top-heavy institutionalism which has retained many of the trappings of Establishment (a complaint its recommendations have to a certain extent dodged), the existence of a separate Archiepiscopal See should be regarded as more of a priority for the mission of a declining Province than the needs of its deliberately marginalised traditionalists.
There would appear to be no real surprises here: far from a strategy of allowing true diversity and even evangelistic flexibility,  this report, with its recommendations for a centralised collaborative ministry training programme and subsequent archidiaconal oversight,  would seem to be in danger of presenting in such a small province as Wales a recipe for a homogenised, Henry Ford style future - you can have any colour as long as it is grey.

Many would agree (and have maintained without being heard for many years - there has been for a considerable time a deceptive attachment to the trappings of establishment rather than the substance of traditional faith) with the comments of the Harries Report on the stultifying nature of the Province's institutions, but would wish to add that the real problem which is both holding back  mission and lowering morale lies not with its moribund structures and constitution but with its increasingly revisionist theological stance. 

Thursday 19 July 2012

Attacks on religious identity

We should not be in any doubt that the ultimate aim of contemporary secularists is the destruction of all religious identity. As as we know to our cost in post-Christian Western Europe, yesterday's seemingly militant secularism can easily end up as tomorrow's mainstream opinion. 
We can see this in the recent court decision in Cologne [here] where (admittedly, in the wake of a rare botched procedure on a four year old Muslim boy) all religious circumcision was judged to be illegal because it could inflict serious bodily harm on people who had not consented to it.
The ruling was immediately attacked by Jewish and Muslim organisations in Germany and by  Chancellor Angela Merkel who said it was now necessary to introduce legislation “to establish legal certainty” on the ancient rite and prevent it from being subject to prosecution.  

But this attack on circumcision (the fundamental outward sign of Jewish identity) is being taken up here in Britain, as we can hear from a discussion this morning on the BBC's Today programme (link when it becomes available*) between a spokesman for  the National Secular Society (who else?) and the (very) liberal rabbi, Dr Jonathan Romain. It's clear from the interview that the main thrust of the objection to religious circumcision will be on psychological and not medical grounds and hinges around the question of 'consent.' 
It's equally clear that medical circumcision (even where the benefits of such a procedure are marginal to say the least, and potential 'psychological problems' are still present ) is not under attack at all.
It is religious identity itself, particularly as regards rites of initiation (how long will it be before infant baptism is said to be psychologically damaging*),  which is in the sights of those who, following the tradition of both Marxist-Leninism  and fascism, regard the State as the sole rightful arbiter of what is for the good of society and accordingly wish to destroy any rival source of moral and ethical authority, be it traditional family relationships or religious belief.   

*Already the extremist secular gurus, Daniel Dennett, Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens have all freely bandied about the term 'child abuse' to describe the religious upbringing of children

* The link to the page containing the pod-cast of the discussion between Andrew Copson and Dr Jonathan Romain is here

Wednesday 18 July 2012

These are horrifying double standards

Almost as horrifying as the recent reports of government inspired  atrocities coming out of Syria are the Western  news reports which have commented in strikingly non-neutral terms on today's suicide bombing in the heart of Damascus which has killed prominent members of the Assad regime.
The White House is reported by the BBC as saying in response to the reports of the deaths that "it is clear that President Assad is losing control of Syria, and that the international community must work urgently toward a political transition.
The Syrian situation, so say those who know the country best, is a highly complex one and not susceptible to the 'good guys versus the bad guys' treatment with which we are almost invariably presented in the media. 
But for Western governments not to condemn acts of terrorism - even against those who may or may not be themselves guilty of war crimes - is an omission not only of unbelievable hypocrisy but remarkable stupidity and immorality when the same methods are being used by radical Islamists against our own troops in Afghanistan, against innocent Israeli civilians, and have been used to murderous effect in our own cities. Or are these acts of violence regarded as being quite in order when they are carried out by those we fondly believe are on the side of 'democracy?' 
We will never learn.

More comment on the direction of Anglicanism

From The Revd Dr Peter Mullen in the Church of England Newspaper. We may not necessarily agree with all of his conclusions, but we can concur with his analysis and respect his position:

Peter Mullen’s Church of England Newspaper column
16th July 2012
"Let us not pretend that this shin-dig over women bishops has anything at all to do with theology or even that vapid distraction, ecclesiology. The issue is purely one of feminism, human rights, diversity and equal opportunities. In other words, a religious and theological matter is being decided according to secular criteria. 
This scandalous reality has been made quite explicit by the Ecclesiastical Committee of Parliament which has warned the Church that it must proceed to the consecration of women bishops on the grounds of human rights.
There is a certain irony that this is happening around the time when the 19th century priest and poet John Keble is being celebrated in the Church’s calendar. For it was Keble who used his Assize Sermon in 1833 to protest against the Whig government of the day’s suppression of ten Irish bishoprics. Keble’s protest was the beginning of the Oxford Movement. 
But where are the likes of Keble today? Why do we hear no powerful theological arguments against the consecration of women bishops? Mainstream evangelicals do not seem to be particularly interested – certainly not to the extent of withholding financial support from central diocesan funds.
It might be argued that Anglo-catholics are making a great noise and fuss, but this is all sound and fury signifying nothing. What sanctions have they actually got? And the depressing answer is none. They can of course clear off and join the Ordinariate. The supporters of women bishops would merely say,” Take your hook then, and good riddance!” Or is, sulking, they stay, it will only be a matter of time before they will be compelled to accept the authority of women bishops. This means that an historic and respected movement in the church will be wiped out: a whole theological integrity obliterated. 
So much for Dr Habgood’s courageous attempt back in 1992, when it was agreed to ordain women to the priesthood, to create and uphold two integrities: one which accepted the priestly ministry of women and another with did not, but for whom provision for conscience was enshrined in church law. Twenty years on, there is only one integrity – if indeed that is what it is - recognised: the secular, rights-driven, politically-correct, diversity-obsessed faction which insists on women bishops; and anyone who cannot conscientiously agree might just as well be damned or condemned to exile.
What Gertude Himmelfarb referred to as “the culture wars” have been fought and lost by conservatives and traditionalists. If you want a vision of the future of the Church of England, you should look across the Atlantic at the Episcopal Church of the USA. The cultural wind is decidedly and relentlessly a westerly. It is blowing our way. And it is blowing mighty change to the whole nature and character of the Church of England.
Women bishops are a foregone conclusion, but they are only a part of the secularised, diversified package which English church people will be obliged to accept. Just wait and see. You won’t have to wait long. There will be official recognition of active homosexuals in the priesthood. No doubt a quasi-religious order of the transgendered will emerge in due course. There will be – helped by the enthusiasm of our “Conservative” prime minister - same-sex “marriages” solemnised in our churches. 
I dare say a small minority of diehards will hold out against this latter innovation, but the overwhelming majority of priests and parishes – seduced by the “inclusivity” bug - will go along with it. The thus marginalised rump of reactionaries will simply be rendered irrelevant and in a very short time fade away.
We are living through a revolution. All the traditionally authoritative spiritual and theological categories are being abolished in favour of secular fashion. The word for people who perpetrate this is “apostate.” But no, the innovators won’t listen. Those of us who won’t accept the new regime are not allowed the refuge of conscience: we are regarded as merely reactionary or grumpy old men. Indeed, I have been called a lot worse.
When I accuse the leaders of the Church of capitulating to secular fashion, they become very hot under the dog collar and deny they are doing any such thing. What they protest instead is some sort of vague and bogus pseudo-theological plea for excuses. They are nothing if not sentimentalists and so they regard their manifesto of “diversity” and “inclusivity” as one which Jesus would have approved and implemented. To which the only rational response is, “Well, why didn’t he, then?” The truth is, of course, that there is not a shred of biblical or patristic support for any of these catastrophic innovations.
It is not comfortable being a traditionalist serving under the ignorant, vicious modern authorities in the dumbed down institution which our Church has become. But I’m not in it for comfort. I don’t shirk a fight. Half my life has been spent in vigorous opposition to the begetters of our current decadence and infidelity.  And I am not fighting a solitary battle. I have around me uncorrupted colleagues and an informed, devout and affectionate congregation. 
 When C.H. Sisson was faced with the problem of what traditionalists ought to do, He said:
 “What then is the position of the theological rump in our now lay, secularised clerisy? There are three possibilities. They can stay and fight their corner, struggling for an intelligibility which might come again, and will come, if it is the truth they are concerned with. They can sit on pillars in some recess of the national structure, waiting for better times. Or they can let their taste for having an ecclesiastical club carry them into one or other of those international gangs of opinion – that which has its headquarters in Rome or that which has a shadowy international meeting-place in Canterbury. In any case it will be a political choice that is being made. For my part, I shall prefer those who stay and fight their corner, content to be merely the Church in a place.”
That is my position too. I will stay and fight my corner. Here, in this church in this place."

Tuesday 17 July 2012

This is worth reading in full

Particularly as this pastoral letter protesting against the direction of TEC  by Bishop Mark Lawrence gives us a glimpse into the almost inevitable future of Anglicanism on this side of the Atlantic. I can see nothing which will now prevent that:  

"Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Some of you have actively followed the decisions of the 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church. Others have been blissfully unaware that our denomination even had a General Convention. We have. And the actions taken mark a significant and distressing departure from the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this Church has received them.
In conversations with clergy, and from the emails I have received, I know there is much uneasiness about the future. Some of us are experiencing the well-known stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. And, of course, I must acknowledge there are those for whom the recent decisions are a cause for celebration. For me there are certainly things about which I was thankful at the convention in Indianapolis. I might even have taken encouragement from the resolutions that were passed regarding needed structural reform, and for the intentional work in the House of Bishops on matters of collegiality and honesty. Unfortunately, these strike me now as akin to a long overdue rearranging of the furniture when the house is on fire. Why do I say this?
There are four resolutions which were adopted that bring distressing changes to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church that every ordained person in this church has vowed “to engage to conform,” and which stand in direct conflict with the doctrine, discipline and worship of Christ as this church has received them. First, let me mention resolution C029. While this was amended during the debates in a more temperate direction, it still moves the Church further down the road toward encouraging the communion of the unbaptized which departs from two thousand years of Christian practice. It also puts the undiscerning person in spiritual jeopardy. (I Corinthians 11:27–32)
Plainly, the resolution that has received the most publicity is A049 which authorizes rites for Same-Sex Blessings. This resolution goes into effect in Advent 2012, but only upon the authority of the bishop of each diocese. It hardly needs to be said, but for the record let me say clearly, I will not authorize the use of such rites in the Diocese of South Carolina. Such rites are not only contrary to the canons of this diocese and to the judgment of your bishop, but more importantly I believe they are contrary to the teaching of Holy Scripture; to two thousand years of Christian practice; as well as to our created nature. Many theologians down through the centuries speak of what we are as human beings by Creation; what we are by the Fall; what we are through Redemption (that is in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ); and what we shall be in our Glorification. Our marriage service in the Book of Common Prayer is rooted in this understanding. Because of this, it is biblical, it is Christian, and it is Anglican. I would also add, it is beautiful and it is true. Therefore the Episcopal Church has no authority to put asunder this sacramental understanding of marriage as established by God in creation and blessed through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. It has no authority to do this either by revising the marriage rite to include same sex partners or by devising some parallel quasi-marital sacramental service. I remind you of the elegant words of our Prayer Book which echo the teaching of our Scriptures:
“The bond and covenant of marriage was established by God in creation, and our Lord Jesus Christ adorned this manner of life by his presence and first miracle at a wedding in Cana of Galilee. It signifies the mystery of the union between Christ and his Church, and Holy Scripture commends it to be honored among all people.”This speaks of a “given-ness” in this age that is good, and is emblematic of our Christian Hope. It prepares us for the age to come; when God the Father summons his Church to the marriage supper of the Lamb.
There is however an even more incoherent departure from the teaching of Holy Scripture and from our Episcopalian and Anglican Heritage to be found in the General Convention’s passage of resolutions D002 and D019. These changes to our Church’s canons mark an even further step into incoherency. They open the door to innumerable self-understandings of gender identity and gender expression within the Church; normalizing “transgender,” “bi-sexual,” “questioning,” and still yet to be named – self-understandings of individualized eros. I fail to see how a rector or parish leader who embraces such a canonical change has any authority to discipline a youth minister, Sunday school teacher, or chalice bearer who chooses to dress as a man one Sunday and as a woman another. And this is but one among many possibilities. Let me state my concern clearly. To embrace an understanding of our human condition in which gender may be entirely self-defined, self-chosen is to abandon all such norms, condemning ourselves, our children and grandchildren, as well as future generations to sheer sexual anarchy. So long as I am bishop of this diocese I will not abandon its people to such darkness.
Some have said to me, “But bishop the culture is accepting this. To continue to resist these innovations is to put ourselves on the wrong side of history.” I say to such thinking, you cannot be on the wrong side of History if you are on the right side of Reality. Archbishop William Temple was correct when he wrote over 70 years ago: the Church needs to be very clear in its public teaching so it can be very pastoral in its application.
This Monday afternoon I will be meeting with my Council of Advice. On Tuesday I will be meeting with our Diocesan Standing Committee. Then during the remainder of July I will be meeting with the deans and with clergy in various deaneries. Given these changes in the doctrine, discipline and worship of the Episcopal Church the question that is before us is: “What does being faithful to Jesus Christ look like for this diocese at this time? How are we called to live and be and act? In this present context, how do we make Biblical Anglicans for a Global Age?”
On the penultimate day of General Convention, in a Private Session in the House of Bishops, I asked for a point of personal privilege and expressed my heartfelt concerns about these changes. I listened to the words of others and then departed with prayer and charity. I left at that time because at least for me to pretend that nothing had changed was no longer an option. Now that I have returned to South Carolina it is still not an option. I ask that you keep me and the councils of our diocese in your prayers as you shall be in mine. We have many God-size challenges and, I trust, many God-given opportunities ahead.
Faithfully yours in Christ, 
The Right Reverend Mark Joseph Lawrence

The link to the Diocese of South Carolina's website is here

Monday 16 July 2012

Another take on the London Olympic Games

from Dr William Oddie at the Catholic Herald here
One can't help thinking that he's right about the massive security operation posing a greater threat to our way of life than terrorism itself, something to begin with exacerbated by the continuing foreign policy ineptitude of our western politicians.

On the subject of the Olympics themselves, I've had similar conversations with people here over the last few weeks: it's all a bit too much like over-hearty compulsory games in the lower forms at school, but this time for the entire nation (from our sofas, naturally).
I'm glad to be able to escape the country (and, I hope, the endless rain) after the first week of 'London 2012'  for a few weeks which will include some cycling around the quiet country roads of western France - no 'VIP' lanes, missiles on the roof courtesy of the MoD, fast food or loud media hype.

Having seen the flashing road signs on the M25 London Orbital last week which were doing their Big Brother best (Orwell rather than the ghastly Endemol - which itself has a somewhat Orwellian ring to it, no?)  to discourage people from driving in the London area for the duration of the games, I can't help feeling sorry for those who have absolutely no choice but to go on living and working in the capital to make ends meet.

News of the Ordinariate in Wales?

From South Africa comes this news from Fr Smuts here

Also reported here on the Linen on the Hedgerow blog

More when news becomes available

Establishment - perhaps not so much?

Several commentators  have recently singled out the Church of England's  identity as a State Church as being the root cause of her enslavement to the Zeitgeist. I understand their argument and sympathise to an extent with what they are saying (although still from a vantage point within the afflicted institutions rather than from outside them), but as I see it,  the real problem, the fatal flaw of Anglicanism, lies elsewhere.
The provinces of the Anglican Communion which have been the first to succumb to the deadly bacillus of liberal thought are those of the TEC, hardly a state church in any sense, regardless of separation of powers, although its members have been largely recruited from a very narrow 'elite' substratum of American society. To that extent they have not been committed institutionally, as the argument runs, to keeping in step with the social, ethical and political mores of contemporary culture. Similarly, the Scottish Episcopal church  and the Church in Wales have moved, and in the space of  a generation, from a largely  Prayer Book Catholic stance to one of advanced theological liberalism, a situation which cannot be accounted for just by the importation of a few high profile liberal churchmen from across the English border.

It is not Establishment as such which has left the Anglican provinces of the West utterly defenceless against the onslaught of philosophical post-modernism in society or of that of its fifth columnists within the church, the aggressive and increasingly illiberal proponents of the 'liberal equality agenda.' 
The problem, the fatal flaw in Anglican polity, is not so much that of fulfilling the role of a State Church (ironically, the Church of England itself has never been more in control of its own life than it is today - and we have to remember also that the Oxford Movement and its subsequent development, late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth century Anglo-Catholicism, arose as a counter-cultural protest movement from within that very Establishment), but a profound incoherence - dating from its initial sixteenth century separation from the Latin West - in its approach to authority, lacking, as we have remarked before, both the authority of the Petrine primacy to guarantee orthodox theological praxis or the profound veneration for Tradition which serves a similar function within Eastern Orthodoxy.


Saturday 14 July 2012

"...Very different are the feelings with which it seems natural for a true Churchman to regard such a state of things, from those which would arise in his mind on witnessing the mere triumph of any given set of adverse opinions, exaggerated or even heretical as he might deem them. He might feel as melancholy,—he could hardly feel so indignant.
But this is not a becoming place, nor are these safe topics, for the indulgence of mere feeling. The point really to be considered is, whether, according to the coolest estimate, the fashionable liberality of this generation be not ascribable, in a great measure, to the same temper which led the Jews voluntarily to set about degrading themselves to a level with the idolatrous Gentiles? And, if it be true anywhere, that such enactments are forced on the Legislature by public opinion, is APOSTASY too hard a word to describe the temper of that nation?
The same tendency is still more apparent, because the fair gloss of candour and forbearance is wanting, in the surly or scornful impatience often exhibited, by persons who would regret passing for unbelievers, when Christian motives are suggested, and checks from Christian principles attempted to be enforced on their public conduct. I say, 'their public conduct,' more especially ; because in that, I know not how, persons are apt to be more shameless, and readier to avow the irreligion that is in them ;—amongst other reasons, probably, from each feeling that he is one of multitude, and fancying, therefore, that his responsibility is divided...."
John Keble: from the Assize Sermon  preached at St. Mary's, Oxford, on July 14, 1833, accounted by most commentators (including Bl John Henry Newman*) as the beginning of the Oxford Movement. The full text is here

* "...The following Sunday, July 14th, Mr. Keble preached the Assize Sermon in the University Pulpit. It was published under the title of "National Apostasy." I have ever considered and kept the day, as the start of the religious movement of 1833"
Apologia pro Vita Sua,  part 3.

Wednesday 11 July 2012

In the departure lounge

Ready to take leave of historic Christianity, that is.
More not unexpected news from The Episcopal Church of the U.S.A. [herethanks to TitusOneNine and [here] from Bishop Daniel Martins' blog.
The bad news for us all is that, as we know, cultural traffic in the theological Anglo-sphere is these days almost invariably west-east. Bishop Martins' sentiments about the proceedings of his Church's General Convention are already sounding very familiar in terms of our own experience on this side of the pond:

"...The House of Bishops voted (by roll call, 111 to 41, with three abstentions) to authorize the use of a standard liturgical form for same-sex marriage. The House of Deputies is certain to concur. I believe this is a huge mistake, on several levels. It's not scriptural, it's not traditional, and it's not reasonable. It's an ecumenical nightmare and an inter-Anglican train wreck. I'm very sad about it this evening. My sadness is not as profound as it was in prior years with their events. I'm kind of used to it now, and I'm able to shake off the sting a little more readily than I once could. But I'm still sad.
Yes, it's a dark cloud. But there is a silver lining. It could have been worse...."

Update: from George Conger:
"...The “Indianapolis Statement” joins declarations by the bishops and deputations of South Carolina and Central Florida in rejecting the authorization of provisional local rites for gay blessings as being contrary to Scripture, the Prayer Book, the Constitution and Canons of the Episcopal Church, and the undivided theological, pastoral and moral witness of the universal church for the past 2000 years."
Read it all here  
 It remains to be seen what practical steps will be taken to back up such dissenting opinions.  We should be in little doubt by now, however, that TEC's  'Persecution Inc' will be gearing up to take action against them.

Further update
More than words at least from the Diocese of South Carolina and its bishop - see here

Tuesday 10 July 2012

No surprises at Synod

The predicted and successful attempt to delay the Church of England General Synod's vote on women bishops [here] raises the interesting question as to how exactly is the C of E 'episcopally led.' That it is 'synodically governed'  is beyond dispute.
However the opponents of Clause 5 (1) c choose to phrase their objections, their real motive is not the avoidance of 'second-class' (sic) women bishops at all, but a desire to see all those opposed to female ordination and the theological stance they so persistently hold robbed of any constitutional legitimacy within the provinces of Canterbury and York. Nothing must stand in the way, or even be seen to question in any form, the triumphant progress of the new religion.
To Catholic traditionalists and Conservative Evangelicals alike even the more intellectually respectable innovators and revisionists (not to mention the increasingly mad feministas of WATCH) have said repeatedly, 'trust us, you don't need any kind of legislative protection.'
Unfortunately, just across the border here in Wales we know exactly how far we can trust them.
The statement from Forward in Faith is here. The comment "This calls into question the commitment of the Church of England to provide for the religious convictions of all her loyal members" has to be the understatement of the year so far.
There is an online petition (organised by the Revd John Richardson) to keep the Bishops' provision [here
It's a very welcome move indeed, and if you are concerned about the significant reduction and deliberate undermining of Anglicanism's breadth of theological understanding, please sign it as a matter of priority (i.e. now!) but there are really no words to express my dismay that the defence of apostolic orthodoxy in the Church of England has been reduced to this      

Friday 6 July 2012

Liberties under threat from Coalition doublespeak

Evidence of a less than honest governmental approach to the proposed change in the law of marriage in England & Wales from the Coalition's  Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg here
Who in this administration can we believe on this matter?
Evidently, the atheist Mr Clegg feels confident enough to comment on things which quite literally do not concern him. 
For some reason these words of Chesterton spring to mind:
"...Not only is the faith the mother of all worldly energies, but its foes are the fathers of all worldly confusion. The secularists have not wrecked divine things; but the secularists have wrecked secular things, if that is any comfort to them. The Titans did not scale heaven; but they laid waste the world...
Chesterton also had a few things to say about the difference between political and theological liberalism, but those distinctions appear to be vanishing in the face of the very illiberal liberalism currently fashionable both in Church and State.

Something else kept very quiet indeed during the so-called consultation was the information that positive teaching about same-sex marriage in English and Welsh schools could become obligatory should the proposed marriage law changes become law: now that will have repercussions in the areas of free speech, civil liberties and employment law which go far beyond the Coalition's bland assertions that its proposals simply mean an extension of the right to marry to those currently excluded from it. 
This debate is rapidly becoming as much a matter of trust and basic honesty as it is about the substantive issue of same-sex marriage. Before politicians lecture the undoubtedly deficient business ethics of bankers, they should perhaps first examine their own somewhat dubious methods.
A report from a source friendly to change here

Wednesday 4 July 2012

Bully boys (and girls)

More bullying of TEC's shrinking orthodox integrity [documented here ] from a institution which can't make up its mind whether, in its increasingly fantasy-life view of the world, it's Walter Mitty or Myra Breckenridge.

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Boxer shorts theology

Perhaps it's the weather (for those who don't live here, the wettest June in Britain since records began, and July is continuing in the same way) but the women bishops debate in the Church of England has become so wearisome that it is difficult to find the motivation to report or comment upon it at all.
Clearly there has now become something of a head of steam building for a delay (if that makes sense - such are the absurdities of the present that it probably does). 
The 'Taliban' tendency  amongst the proponents of  change (ably represented by Lucy Winkett here) - those who defend the purity of revisionist heterodoxy  and want no truck with the honourable messiness of any enforceable provision for traditionalists - are now using their proven lobbying skills to argue for a period of reflection. 
Undoubtedly they will use their growing influence to put pressure on the bishops to withdraw the amendment which would give even such minimal protection for those who wish only to remain faithful to the catholic tradition of apostolic ministry as the Anglican provinces have historically received it.
Their argument has made much of the myth of a supposed 'theology of taint.'
But in fact, ironically,  they are the true 'sexists' in arguing that a 'male bishop' (with no other qualifications necessary, it seems) will have to suffice for those of us who are now reduced to begging crumbs from the establishment's table. It would seem that, unlike our opponents, we are more concerned with what lies between a bishop's ears and in his heart than merely what, happily, lies concealed beneath his boxer shorts.

"...Ah, no; the years, the years; Down their carved names the rain-drop ploughs..."

Having visited several English diocesan websites over the last few days, for pastoral reasons - trying actually to contact people, that is, on behalf of parishioners, it's noticeable that among the who's who pages, the powers-that-be consider it important enough to list for the general public's undoubted edification and delight, the names of those who occupy positions in the new hierarchies as 'deans of women's ministry' and the like. How soon after the passing of the women bishops legislation can we expect these offices to be abolished as an offence to equality and their holders to be liberated from their onerous bureaucratic enslavement and return to full-time parochial life? 
As they say these days, 'yeah, right....'