Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Thank you for that, Archbishop

Having promised myself that Christmas would be kept free of ecclesiastical politics, the retiring  Archbishop of Canterbury makes it impossible. Thank you, Archbishop.
"In the deeply painful aftermath of the synod vote last month what was startling was how many people who certainly wouldn't have said yes to the census question turned out to have a sort of investment in the church, a desire to see the church looking credible."
I wonder how many of them were in church today and how many of them will be there next Sunday... and how many more will be persuaded to flock to our places of worship when Anglicanism finally achieves credibility in the eyes of the world after the women bishops measure is eventually forced through. One can't help but think that it's the kind of 'investment in the church' on the part of these people to whom the ever-hopeful Archbishop is referring (who, according to the census returns have no religion) which will itself result in a zero return.  
The result of the current Anglican establishment's cultural assimilation to the post-Christian culture and their intellectual position of there being 'no enemies on the left' has been to abandon the tradition for the void which is a religionless future.
Only three words of comment: sad and deluded.

I suppose if one Archbishop in a Christmas sermon can try to score points about internal church politics, another can, with much greater justification and credibility,  allude to "political" matters of far wider significance. Genuine thanks are due to the Archbishop of Westminster for this critique of the Government's 'Orwellian' approach to its proposals to redefine marriage [reported in The Telegraph here]: 

"Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, used his sermon at Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve to accuse ministers of acting to legalise same-sex marriage in defiance of public opinion.
The Coalition has said it will change the law to allow homosexual couples to marry. It says churches that do not wish to hold same sex marriages will not have to, and the Church of England will be excluded from the legislation.
The plans have been criticised by dozens of Conservative MPs, and campaigners opposed to the new law say there is no public support for the change. Roman Catholic leaders have been among the fiercest critics if the plan.
Archbishop Nichols said that the Government consultation on the plan had shown that respondents were "7-1 against same-sex marriage".
He told worshippers that the Government has no mandate for the change and had not followed the proper rules of British democracy.
"There was no announcement in any party manifesto, no Green Paper, no statement in the Queen's Speech. And yet here we are on the verge of primary legislation," he said.
In an apparent reference to the totalitarian state described in the novel 1984, he added:
"From a democratic point-of-view, it's a shambles. George Orwell would be proud of that manoeuvre, I think the process is shambolic..."

1 comment:

  1. In his homily in Shewsbury Cathedral at Midnight Mass Bishop Mark Davies said:

    We gather on this Christmas night amid the shadows of early 21st Century Britain. The eyes of the nation turn to this “child born for us” (Is.9:1) tiny and frail, it is this beautiful revelation of the Son of God which casts light on the darkest shadows of our time. The widespread neglect and ill-treatment of the frailest, elderly people in our society: concerns high-lighted in the Care Quality Commission’s recent report. The growing concern about end of life care and what is happening to the most vulnerable. The dark side to our own society is surely connected to the discarding of human life from the beginning in abortion on an industrial scale, in reproductive technologies, in embryo experimentation which our laws have sanctioned. “Today there exists a great multitude of weak and defenceless human beings, unborn children in particular, whose fundamental right to life is being trampled upon” Blessed John Paul II reflected in his 1995 letter The Gospel of Life, “if at the end of the last century, the Church could not be silent about the injustices of those times, still less can she be silent today” (Evangelium Vitae n.5).
    This Christmas we are conscious of new shadows cast by a Government that was pledged at its election to support the institution of marriage. This vital foundation of society which, the 2011 census indicates, now stands at is lowest ebb. At such a moment the Prime Minister has decided without mandate, without any serious consultation to redefine the identity of marriage itself, the foundation of the family for all generations to come. This is again done in the name of progress. The great English writer, G.K Chesterton, warned: “progress is a useless word; for progress takes for granted an already defined direction; and it is exactly about the direction that we disagree” (American Notes). The British people have reason to ask on this night where is such progress leading?


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