Wednesday 31 December 2014

New Year Music: Gerald Finzi - Nocturne

Gerald Finzi's Nocturne Op 7 ('New Year Music'), inspired by ringing in the New Year with the bellringers of St Bartholomew's, Churchdown, at the top of Chosen Hill in Gloucestershire in the 1920s and, according to the composer, by words written by Charles Lamb and Robert Bridges.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult


A very happy New Year to all readers of LNYD!

Tuesday 30 December 2014

Of the Father's Heart Begotten

More from the Choir of Gonville & Caius directed by Geoffrey Webber - a setting of words by Prudentius, translated by R.F. Davis (New English Hymnal 33 - the introit at Midnight Mass here for many a year ....)

Sunday 28 December 2014

A Patre Unigenitus: Carl Rutti

Sung by the Choir of Gonville and Caius, Cambridge, directed by Geoffrey Webber

Belated Christmas greetings to all readers of the blog - although the Octave does have another four days to run! 

Wednesday 17 December 2014

O Sapientia

Sung on this recording by the Cantarte Regensburg:

First 'woman bishop' for Church of England

From the Church of England's website [here]
Downing Street have [sic]  today announced that the new Bishop of Stockport - and the first woman bishop in the Church of England - will be the Revd Libby Lane, currently Vicar of St Peter's, Hale, and St Elizabeth's, Ashley.
As Bishop of Stockport she will serve as a suffragan (assistant) bishop in the Diocese of Chester. She will be consecrated as the 8th Bishop of Stockport at a ceremony at York Minster on Monday 26 January 2015.
Is there really any need to say more?

This statement from Forward in Faith is the most that can be said whilst attempting to balance a charitable generosity with what theological integrity the situation still allows us ... 

Monday 15 December 2014

Advent iii: Austin Farrer

A eucharistic meditation for the Third Week of Advent: 
Jesus gave his body and blood to his disciples in bread and wine. Amazed at such a token, and little understanding what they did, Peter, John and the rest reached out their hands and took their master and their God. Whatever else they knew or did not know, they knew they were committed to him, body and soul; they were consenting that he should die for them, and that they, somehow, should live it out. The cock had not crowed twice that night before Peter thrice denied, but still he knew he was committed to Christ, for Christ had given him his body and his blood. Christ's body and blood  lived in him, and Christ forgave him; there was no breaking of the sacramental tie. We are not worthy of Christ, but we are bound to Christ. With all the sincerity of our minds let us renew the bond, and pray to live for him who has died for us. 
Austin Farrer: from The Crown of the Year 

Saturday 13 December 2014

Ecclesiastical Corporatism Rules!

Yet another revealing glimpse into the mindset of those who now run Anglicanism. 

          A RADICAL overhaul of the Church of England's leadership is under way.
"A key report, still unpublished, sets out a programme of "talent management" in the Church. The report has been signed off by the two Archbishops, and a £2-million budget has been allocated. It was discussed by all the bishops in September, and the House of Bishops on Monday. A spokesman said on Wednesday that the Bishops "welcomed the implementation plan prepared in the light of those discussions. Details will be published next month."
The Church Times has seen the report, Talent Management for Future Leaders and Leadership Development for Bishops and Deans: A new approach, prepared by a steering group chaired by Prebendary the Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, the former HSBC chairman. It speaks of a "culture change for the leadership of the Church", and outlines a two-stage process.
In stage one, which is in the process of being implemented, all diocesan bishops and deans are expected to attend a residential modular development programme run by a secular university or business school. The modules are entitled: "Building healthy organisations", "Leading growth", and "Reinventing the ministry".
In between modules, the bishops and deans will be expected to review their actions within the framework of theological reflection and prayer, which includes a spiritual retreat. The programme is to be mandatory.
The more radical move comes at stage two. The Green report proposes that training for senior leadership in the Church - bishops and deans, but also archdeacons, incumbents of large churches, and heads of mission societies - takes place before appointment.
For this to happen, a "talent pool" of up to 150 "high-potential individuals" will be identified and enrolled in an intensive training course, lasting up to five years, by which time they can be expected to have obtained senior appointment. The pool will be overseen by the Development and Appointments Group (DAG), and managed by an enlarged staff under Caroline Boddington, the Archbishops' Secretary for Appointments, based at the Wash House in the grounds of Lambeth Palace.  [see here 

In fact, far from being the radical overhaul it claims to be, the Green Report represents the fossilisation of those contemporary cultural presuppositions which will make the Church a lonely widow in the next generation. 
One doesn't (or shouldn't) doubt the sincerity of those who propose such abject drivel, but one can certainly question their intelligence, in the sense of proposing an essentially bureaucratic solution to the problem of an already bureaucratically top-heavy ecclesial body, not to mention their almost autistic lack of public relations ability. And we are already only too familiar with the seeming lack of concern (or is it direct knowledge?) for the Church in the parishes ... an overhaul of the C of E's 'career structure' (ghastly idea) is more than a little - to recycle yet again a rather tired cliche - like rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.
Perhaps an renewed emphasis on rigorous theological and pastoral priestly formation and a passion for proclaiming the Gospel in our future 'leaders' would be more apposite under the circumstances. The Ministry needs not to be 'reinvented' but reinvigorated:  'Prebendary' Lord Green is clearly no St Charles Borromeo ...

A more cynical observer might describe this report as a bureaucratic power grab - an attempt to institutionalise the already self-perpetuating liberal oligarchy that has engineered itself - through a ruthless use of patronage - into total control of western Anglicanism with results which we can now see all around us.  

However, that these proposals - essentially to clone the present 'establishment' and its values and prejudices - should emanate from a committee headed by a former investment banker really does beggar belief; not only does the Church, forgetting its own centuries-old fund of expertise, pastoral skills and learning, instinctively cringe before today's secular 'experts,' but it now seems to want to adopt the last decade's failed management solutions ... except that, unlike the banking industry, we will not be bailed out by the taxpayer when things go badly wrong...

The Dean of Christ Church, Martyn Percy's comments [here] are to the point .

And a somewhat irreverent thought for the end of the second week of Advent: 
'God so loved the world that he didn't send a management consultant ... '

Friday 12 December 2014

'I hope our friends in England learn from the experience of conservatives in the United States'. - A view from across the Atlantic

My apologies for the recent silence; my mother's funeral mass was held yesterday. 
Our thanks to everyone for their prayers and all the messages of support we have received. Please pray for the repose of the soul of Elizabeth Jane Gollop.

Back to the news, and perhaps a rather lazy way to begin, with a view of the current state of the Church of England from 'Anglican Unscripted' in the United States.
'I hope our friends in England learn from the experience of conservatives in the United States'. ......  
Our contacts insist that in the Church of England there may be a degree of hope, depending upon the implementation of the new legislation and its guidelines, but that ship sailed some time ago in the other Anglican provinces of the British Isles where full scale 'Scandinavianism' is just round the corner .....

And, of course, there is the open aggression of the (we thought, in happier times) utterly discredited,  insular, 'National Church' philosophy revived and promoted by the increasingly influential enemies of apostolicity and credal orthodoxy .... 

Tuesday 18 November 2014

'And what is this glory of the Lord?'

Cruceiro (wayside cross) - Morquintian near Muxia (Galicia)

"Let us say to Christ: Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, the king of Israel. Let us hold before him like palm branches those final words inscribed above the cross. Let us show him honour, not with olive branches but with the splendour of merciful deeds to one another. Let us spread the thoughts and desires of our hearts under his feet like garments, so that entering us with the whole of his being, he may draw the whole of our being into himself and place the whole of his in us. Let us say to Zion in the words of the prophet: Have courage, daughter of Zion, do not be afraid. Behold, your king comes to you, humble and mounted on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.    He is coming who is everywhere present and pervades all things; he is coming to achieve in you his work of universal salvation. He is coming who came to call to repentance not the righteous but sinners, coming to recall those who have strayed into sin. Do not be afraid, then: God is in the midst of you, and you shall not be shaken.    Receive him with open, outstretched hands, for it was on his own hands that he sketched you. Receive him who laid your foundations on the palms of his hands. Receive him, for he took upon himself all that belongs to us except sin, to consume what is ours in what is his. Be glad, city of Zion, our mother, and fear not. Celebrate your feasts. Glorify him for his mercy, who has come to us in you. Rejoice exceedingly, daughter of Jerusalem, sing and leap for joy. Be enlightened, be enlightened, we cry to you, as holy Isaiah trumpeted, for the light has come to you and the glory of the Lord has risen over you.    What kind of light is this? It is that which enlightens every man coming into the world. It is the everlasting light, the timeless light revealed in time, the light manifested in the flesh although hidden by nature, the light that shone round the shepherds and guided the Magi. It is the light that was in the world from the beginning, through which the world was made, yet the world did not know it. It is that light which came to its own, and its own people did not receive it.    And what is this glory of the Lord? Clearly it is the cross on which Christ was glorified, he, the radiance of the Father’s glory, even as he said when he faced his passion: Now is the Son of Man glorified, and God is glorified in him, and will glorify him at once. The glory of which he speaks here is his lifting up on the cross, for Christ’s glory is his cross and his exultation upon it, as he plainly says: When I have been lifted up, I will draw all men to myself."

A Discourse of St Andrew of Crete - from today's Office of Readings 

Monday 17 November 2014

'It will all be over by Christmas ...'

The Telegraph had this report in January - how true it has turned out to be in November:
"The first woman bishop in the Church of England could be appointed before the end of this year, the Church’s most senior official has disclosed.William Fittall, the Secretary General of the General Synod, said that under a new plan to speed the long-awaited legislation through, it is now possible that the first female members of the episcopate could be chosen by Christmas.If the fast-track scheme is approved by the Church’s General Synod next month, a change to canon law allowing women to become bishops and archbishops could receive final approval in July and come into force by November. He said that with a growing list of vacant sees, it is likely that “things could move quickly” once that happens. Although male clerics would still be considered for the posts, there is a “huge expectation” that some of those on a long list of “very eminently qualified people” previously excluded on grounds of gender would be appointed."
  'Although male clerics would still be considered for the posts ...' - it's really good to know that the Holy Spirit still has a minor, cameo, role to play in the midst of the raging sexual politics of today's liberal Anglicanism ....

Interestingly, the second report was notified to me by email; the next message was from a grocery site and headed, 'Meet our Christmas birds' .... 
So there is a sense of humour out there somewhere amidst the impending implosion of everything we hold dear ....

Beyond repair?

'Anglican Communion may be beyond repair, says Welby'

From the Archbishop of Canterbury's address to the Church of England's General Synod:

Despite the headline, it seems from the text of his address that the Archbishop doesn't really think so; or, if he does believe the Communion's divisions are irreparable,  he dare not say so ..... not in that forum, or perhaps nowhere beyond the confines of confidential discussions.
What he does say is that our divisions may be 'too much to manage' - now, that has clearly been the case for some time, although one might think the use of that rather ambiguous word 'manage' is itself neither particularly appropriate nor helpful ....  
Successive Archbishops of Canterbury have been trying to 'manage' the situation for almost as long as we can remember - the only serious attempt to address the divisions, the ill-fated Anglican Covenant, foundered on the deep-seated (and well-founded) suspicions of the Global South and the arrogance and irresponsibility of those who have risen so effortlessly (with a little help from their friends ...) to positions of leadership in the liberal 'West.'
"...We live in a community that exists, that is deeply engaged with its world almost everywhere, that is diverse and argumentative and fractured, but yet shows in so many places both known and unknown the power and love of Christ through His Spirit at work in our world. We live in a Communion which merits celebration and thanksgiving as well as prayer and repentance.
A flourishing Communion but also a divided Communion.
I do not want to sound triumphalist. There are enormous problems. We have deep divisions in many areas, not only sexuality. There are areas of corruption, other areas where the power of the surrounding culture seems to overwhelm almost everyone at one point or another.
Our divisions may be too much to manage.
In many parts of the Communion, including here, there is a belief that opponents are either faithless to the tradition, or by contrast that they are cruel, judgemental, inhuman. I have to say that we are in a state so delicate that without prayer and repentance, it is hard to see how we can avoid some serious fractures.
In an age of near instant communication, because the Communion exists, and is full of life, vigour and growth, of faith and trust in Jesus Christ, and love for him, everything that one Province does echoes around the world. Every sermon or speech here is heard within minutes and analysed half to death. Every careless phrase in an interview is seen as a considered policy statement. And what is true of all Provinces is ten times more so for us, and especially us in this Synod. We never speak only to each other, and the weight of that responsibility, if we love each other and the world  as we should, must affect our actions and our words..."
Read it all here - our thanks to Anglican Ink for the report 

New Chairman of Forward in Faith elected

From the Forward in Faith website today  [here]

New Chairman of Forward in Faith

The Rt Revd Tony Robinson, Bishop of Pontefract, has been elected unopposed as Chairman of Forward in Faith for a four-year term of office. He succeeds the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Revd Jonathan Baker, whose term of office as Chairman ended at the meeting of the National Assembly held at St Alban's, Holborn, on Saturday 15 November 2014.
In his address to the National Assembly, the Bishop of Pontefract called on members of Forward in Faith to respond to the invitation and challenge to flourish within the life and structures of the Church of England. Catholic Anglicans, he said, needed to be open to, and engaged with, the rest of the Church of England. He called on the Catholic Movement to be 'tolerant of the diversity of views that exists among us' and to 'work harder at unity amongst ourselves'.
Bishop Tony's address may be read here:

Dr Lindsay Newcombe and the Revd Ross Northing were re-elected unopposed as Lay Vice-Chairman and Clerical Vice-Chairman respectively.

Elections were held for five places on the National Council of Forward in Faith. The successful candidates were: the Revd Philip Corbett, the Revd Ian McCormack, Prebendary David Houlding, the Revd Ian Brooks, and Mr Andrew Carter.

Comments are now enabled

Sunday 16 November 2014

Bread of the world in mercy broken

Words by Bishop Heber, set to music by Ralph Vaughan Williams for the first edition of the English Hymnal (1906) 
Sung by the Choir of Trinity College, Cambridge directed by Richard Marlow (A Vaughan Williams Hymnal)

Tuesday 11 November 2014

Metropolitan Hilarion in North America - follow-up on yesterday's post

Whatever you might think of them, he doesn't mince his words ... and there are                          important implications here, not just for TEC, but for Canterbury (and Llandaff?)                                   as well ...  isolation from the ecumenical mainstream will be hard to accept ... and                                   for the benefit of any Welsh (episcopal) readers, the international ecumenical                           mainstream does not mean the Welsh 'Free Churches'; and even under Pope                                   Francis, Rome's gaze will be directed to the East. One suspects the wilder                                         excesses of TEC's or Poorvoo's revisionism will not compensate indefinitely...
Metropolitan Hilarion Blasts Episcopal Church                                               and Western Liberals for Abandoning the Faith  
Russian Orthodox leader says any double standards with regard to Christian ethics is unacceptable. Leader praises Anglican Church in North America for upholding the Faith   
By David W. Virtue DD   
November 9, 2014   
A theologian and bishop of the Russian Orthodox Church lambasted The Episcopal Church for its "liberalization" and "deviation" from Holy Scripture,           at a USA forum of Christian leaders which included representatives of the Orthodox Church.
Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, chairman of the Department of External Church Relations and a permanent member of the Holy Synod of the   Patriarchate of Moscow said in a speech that by the end of the 20th century,       the relationship of the Moscow Patriarchate with many Christian communities      in the USA had encountered a serious crisis.
"It was caused by the liberalization of the moral teaching in these         communities, their deviation from the ethical norms laid down by Holy       Scripture of the New Testament common for us all. In 2003 the Russian   Orthodox Church had to suspend contacts with the Episcopal Church in the    USA due to the fact that it consecrated an open homosexual as a bishop."
At the same time, the Russian Orthodox Church remained open to contacts     with the North American confessions which have stayed faithful to the        traditions   of our dialogue and which are firmly committed to biblical           morality, in particular, with the Anglican Church in North America, as it has separated itself from the Episcopal Church because the Episcopal Church consecrated a practicing homosexual.
"The theme of morality may become one of the most important in our   cooperation. In today's pluralistic world, the processes of liberalization have   swept over some Christian communities. Many churches have diverted from biblical teaching too   far in this respect, even if this attitude is not endorsed         by the majority of these communities' members.
"The Russian Orthodox Church consistently states that for her any double standards with regard to Christian ethics or any experiments with the            ethical component of our faith are unacceptable.
"The so-called 'liberal theology' clearly conflicts with the apostolic heritage.."   
Read it all here 

'Morning Heroes' : Arthur Bliss

This morning the Mass of St Martin was followed at 11 a.m. 
by the Act of Remembrance at the village war memorial here in church ..

For Armistice Day: another reading of Wilfred Owen's 'Spring Offensive,' this time together with a setting of Robert Nichols' Dawn on the Somme,  forming part of the 'Symphony for orator, chorus and orchestra,'  Morning Heroes,  by Sir Arthur Bliss, who himself served with distinction both in the Royal Fusiliers and the Grenadier Guards during the Great War. 

This is the finale, Now, Trumpeter, for thy Close - Spring Offensive, Dawn on the Somme.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra, East London Chorus, Harlow Chorus and the Hertfordshire Chorus are conducted on this recording by Michael Kibblewhite. The Orator, or narrator, is Brian Blessed.

Monday 10 November 2014

Meanwhile ...

In that 'wider Anglican world,'  ecumenical dialogue with the Russian Orthodox Church seems to have been restarted. The caveat is that if it does get off the ground, this will not be an easy process, and it is important not to make premature claims for its importance, as some dioceses in ACNA at present still ordain women to the priesthood. But it is heartening to see at least the willingness on the part of the Russian Orthodox Church to open a process of rapprochement and dialogue with 'orthodox' Anglicans, the previous and longstanding ecumenical discussions with the 'official' Anglican Communion having become lost in the quicksands of our western provinces' accommodation with secularism and theological and ethical revisionism. 

Thanks to Anglican Ink for this story

Russian Orthodox meeting for ACNA leaders


Andrew Gross

On November 8, 2014 Archbishop Foley Beach met with Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev, Chairman of the Department of External Relations for the Russian Orthodox Church.
The meeting, welcomed by Metropolitan Hilarion at St. Vladimir’s Seminary in Yonkers, New York, was an opportunity to meet Archbishop Beach, as well as continue the ecumenical dialogue between faithful Anglicans in North America and the Orthodox Churches.
Bishop Ray Sutton, Provincial Dean and Dean of Ecumenical Affairs was also present at the meeting, and was encouraged by the extension of ecumenical continuity, “Metropolitan Hilarion was with us when we met together for dialogue at Nashotah House in 2012, at which time he expressed a desire to continue Anglican/Orthodox dialogue through the Anglican Church in North America, and this meeting tonight with Archbishop Beach further encourages the strengthening of ties between the Anglican Church in North America and Orthodox churches in this part of the world.”
Archbishop Beach commented on the meeting, “Metropolitan Hilarion has spent no small amount of time with Anglicans around the world, and over the years he has been a prophetic voice calling the Anglican Church to remain true to the Christian faith in the face of an increasing propensity for cultural accommodation. The conversation tonight was a pleasure, and I look forward to finding the ways in which we might partner for the cause of the Gospel.”
During the meeting, Metropolitan Tikhon of the Orthodox Church in America warmly invited Archbishop Beach to the Orthodox All-American Council meeting in Atlanta, Georgia in July 2015.
Archpriest Chad Hatfield, Chancellor of Saint Vladimir’s Seminary remarked, “The re-birth of Anglican/Orthodox relations is now a reality with the official exchanges between the ACNA and the OCA and clearly now with the Russian Orthodox Church through the leadership of Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. The historical significance of this meeting of Archbishop Beach with His Beatitude Tikhon of the OCA and Metropolitan Hilarion is truly significant as a sign of this refreshed dialogue.” 
Later in the evening Archbishop Beach and the Anglican bishops were invited to process in the ceremonies at which Metropolitan Hilarion received a doctorate in divinity (honoris causa) from St. Vladimir’s Seminary, and presented a lecture on the relationship between Primacy and Conciliarity. 
As the various branches of the Orthodox Church prepare for an historic global gathering in 2016, the lecture highlighted the Russian Orthodox Church’s understanding of the conciliar nature of church councils.
Bishop Kevin Allen, head of the Anglican/Orthodox dialogue in North America and the Anglican Bishop of Cascadia noted the parallels with the GAFCON movement: “The Orthodox churches have always recognized the importance of conciliar leadership. The Ecumenical Patriarch is “Primus Inter Pares”  (the first among equals), having a role to play in gathering the Orthodox churches, but the ongoing work of the Church, centered on the Gospel, is done with collegiality and consensus.  This ancient model is also evident in the structure of the Global Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans (GFCA).  As Chairman of the GFCA, Archbishop Wabukala has been faithful to call the Primates together at regular intervals, and once called together the Primates Council has worked to build consensus in a way that models Christian commitment, charity, and unity.” 

Sunday 9 November 2014

A shocked reaction

There has been a genuinely shocked and incredulous reaction to the text of the recent letter of the Church in Wales bishops [here
As public relations disasters go, its publication must rank fairly highly, and, one hopes, there is now considerable embarrassment on the part of  those bishops whose understanding of their vocation is, shall we say,  somewhat broader and not so blindly and wildly ideologically driven, or, indeed,  so lamentably and conspicuously lacking in any understanding of Anglicanism's history and complexities as that of the response's chief architect. 
Once the mask of tolerance has slipped in such a very public way, it is doubly difficult to regain the only authority which really matters .....

I will include parts of a message sent to me yesterday: it is interesting and significant because it comes from someone who is not opposed to the ordination of women, either as priests or bishops:

"......It was once said to me of the then Prefect of the CDF: ‘Ratzinger at least goes both ways,’ in that along with liberal extremes he suppressed the extremes of Pope John Paul II's Marian theology which seemed to push the boundaries of tradition too far.  
Selective authoritarianism is inequitable, theologically unsustainable and ultimately spiritually and intellectually bankrupt. 
The [Welsh] Bench appears now to be more hard-line even than TEC, and, as you say, presents a sorry contrast to the reality in the Church of England.  
They may also find themselves completely out on a limb because I understand it to be part of the Archbishop of Canterbury's agenda to (re)assert a far looser understanding of what we as Anglicans share and call 'Communion.'  If the Church of England declares itself to be in communion with one or more of the ‘breakaway’ episcopal groups in the USA (which I have heard is a distinct possibility), where will the Welsh bishops then stand?  They will have wilfully destroyed a family of faith, and they will find that the very people they have repudiated are able to be part of a separate Anglican province in communion with the ABC......  "

If there is genuine substance to these possible developments vis a vis the 'wider Anglicanism' (and there are widespread rumours - and more than rumours about ACNA's relationship with Canterbury  -  to that effect) then it is high time the Welsh Bench began to practise a genuine degree of collegiality - one which seeks to respect and include all traditions of Anglicanism in Wales - rather than the present bogus 'consensus' manipulated by that master 'liberal' puppeteer of them all  .... 

Saturday 8 November 2014

Welsh Bishops' letter - as promised

The response of the Welsh Bench to Credo Cymru's Chairman, Fr Alan Rabjohns, [see yesterday's post here] is printed below.  Our thanks to an anonymous correspondent. 

The content and tone of the letter represents a rather strange way in which to "hold out the hand of fellowship," or so one might think .... particularly given the fact that the present impasse could be so easily broken by the Bench's adoption of the more inclusive and eirenic policy of the Church of England. There would need to be delegated authority of some kind, but changed circumstances call for imagination and vision from those on both sides of this argument, rather than intransigence and a rigid adherence to a Constitution which  was designed for a more settled ecclesial climate in which the views of the present Bench concerning apostolic order would have been completely beyond the pale,  as, of course, remains the case in those other Churches which 'stand legitimately in any way within the catholic and apostolic tradition,' and whose ministry Anglicans have always claimed to share. 

But, that aside, could this perhaps not constitute the more 'moderated response' that the Bishops themselves are calling for - but have clearly 'overlooked' - a development which would at least go some way towards meeting the genuine needs and authentic concerns of their traditionalist flock?

This is the full text of the letter, signed by all six diocesan bishops: 
"Dear Alan, 
Thank you for sending to us the text of Credo Cymru’s response to the Code of Practice.  
As your Bishops, whom you have addressed as your Fathers in God, we have always been given to understand by you and the others who have met with us on behalf of Credo Cymru that your members reject any concept of “taint” which suggests that when we ordain women to sacred order we forfeit our catholic and apostolic character. This current response seems to suggest otherwise, namely that your members no longer accept us “as true pastors of their souls and as their link with continuing apostolicity.” 
As the Bishops of the Church in Wales, we believe that the apostolic tradition neither denies nor disproves the legitimacy of the ordination of women. We believe that we continue to share with you the substance of that tradition, and we continue to respect and welcome those who cannot accept such ordinations.  It is an extremely serious matter if those whom we seek to include cannot any longer reciprocate that fundamental respect and basic recognition.  This is especially so, given that, in every diocese, those who are members of Credo Cymru have demonstrated themselves until now to be in Communion with us as their bishops, and to accept a share in our cure as the foundation of their ministry.  
In continuing to hold out the hand of fellowship, we have to say, however, that the response as its stands raises fundamental questions about the place of those who now effectively seem to repudiate all the bishops of the Church in Wales as standing legitimately in any way within the catholic and apostolic tradition of the Church.  That being the case it is hard to see on what basis they can continue, with any integrity, both to serve in an ordained ministry which is founded upon sharing in our cure, and as representatives of the Church in Wales. If their view is followed through, it would also call into question the legitimacy of any bishop of any persuasion whom we might now ordain, “traditionalist” or otherwise. 
 We sincerely hope that a more moderated response can be developed which builds upon the faith we share.  However, we must state unequivocally that any attempt to approach another bishop in place of the diocesan to provide episcopal ministry would have very serious implications."

Wilfred Owen: 'Spring Offensive'

Read here by Sir Kenneth Branagh

Friday 7 November 2014

The Lord giveth (in England) and taketh away (in Wales) ....

Some good news from the Church of England:  Fr Philip North, following the debacle of Whitby,  is to be the new Bishop of Burnley (a suffragan of Blackburn) it has been announced today [here]

Meanwhile in Wales, the Bench of Bishops has sent an ugly (if not threatening) letter in response to Credo Cymru's reflections on the Welsh Code of Practice.
It is strange how those whose inflexibility on this issue stands in clear and scandalous contrast to the position taken by the bishops of the Church of England can claim to be so hurt (and clearly threatened) by an unexceptional statement of the implications of catholic theology. 

The text of the Bishops' letter is now in the public domain; if anyone has a copy, I would be very grateful if they could send it to me (anonymously, of course, if necessary - such is the climate in parts of the Church in Wales at present) so it can be made available more widely ....

We must pray that counsels of goodwill and conciliation, which we have reason to believe do still exist on the Welsh Bench, will prevail before the 'Americanisation' of the province is complete.

Monday 3 November 2014

Friday 31 October 2014

Gerald Finzi: The Fall of the Leaf

Appropriate for today's exceptionally warm autumn weather in this part of the world: Finzi's elegy, The Fall of the Leaf - The London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Sir Adrian Boult: violin: Rodney Friend

Sunday 26 October 2014

The strange absence of Tolkien's Catholicism

Am I the only person to find it rather strange that BBC Radio 4's Sunday Worship broadcast this morning from Merton College, Oxford made no mention that Tolkien was a Catholic Christian? His [Roman] Catholic faith is the key, one would have thought, to any adequate understanding of anything he wrote.
How very strange ... or am I missing something?

Saturday 25 October 2014

Clocks go back tonight

In Britain, tonight will mark the end of British Summer Time - the clocks go back an hour at 2 a.m..
So - we have the looming prospect of lighter mornings for a while, but darker evenings immediately. I have to confess, somewhat Margaret-like,  such is my dread at the fall of the leaf and the approach of the short and dark afternoons of winter I would gladly adopt what the europhobes seem now to refer to as 'Berlin time,' although 'Paris time' would do just as well ... and has somewhat different connotations ...
Roll on the 29th of March!

One can't help thinking, though, that the Welsh Bishops have missed a trick by not arguing that in the Principality clocks should never be turned back - only moved relentlessly forward - and, of course, that all timepieces should be resolutely progressive * (ideally having a facility to strike thirteen)  and be made in Wales .... no nasty, irregular, imported, chronometers here ...

“We all want progress. But progress means getting nearer to the place where you want to be. And if you have taken a wrong turning, then to go forward does not get you any nearer. If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that case the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive man.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

For 25th October

The Welsh folk song Suo Gân, sung by the Choir of King's College Cambridge directed by Stephen Cleobury, who made the arrangement.

Friday 24 October 2014

How will they respond?

It will be interesting to see what response (if any) the Welsh Bench of Bishops will make to Credo Cymru's recent statement (October 8th) regarding the Code of Practice presented to the Governing Body in September. 
Rumours (or something more than rumours) that the bishops are divided on the issue are said to abound ....
The problem the bishops have, of course, is that the applied 'provisions' of the Code (if they can be said to be that) are completely at variance with their own assessment of the wider ecclesial context, both in the Anglican Communion  and the 'Church Catholic' itself:
"3. Since the Church in Wales continues to share the historic episcopate with other Churches, including other Churches of the Anglican Communion, the Roman Catholic and the Orthodox Churches, which continue to ordain only men as priests or bishops, the Bench of Bishops acknowledges that this decision on ministry and gender is set within a broader process of discernment and reception within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God." 
[see the above link]
The Bench's unanimous decision (if that does remain the case - and there is significant reason to doubt that - the unanimity, at least) not to allow for episcopal oversight from a Bishop faithful to the Tradition - from within or outside the Province of Wales - negates all these fine sentiments and about a "broader process of discernment and reception within the Anglican Communion and the whole Church of God" and indeed makes them utterly meaningless. 
How can there be said to be, in any sense whatsoever,  an open process of 'discernment' in Wales when there is no provision - even after the first female episcopal consecration - for sacramental and episcopal care by bishops in the 'orthodox,' original, succession? 

One hopes, too, that our 'Fathers in God' will not be tempted to raise again in their defence, as they have in the past, both in public and private, any suggestion of that convenient and intentionally misleading canard of 'taint.' It is not a question of 'taint' (as has been repeated ad nauseam, but there's none so unteachable as those who don't wish to be taught) : the issue is one of faithfulness to the apostolic tradition - a complex matter both of the necessary sacramental / theological intention  and (to be somewhat irreverent) the essential 'mechanistic' process of hands on heads. 

We can stand on nothing else but the apostolic tradition...

Wednesday 22 October 2014

Response from Credo Cymru to Welsh bishops

For the moment, as we live in very interesting times, we post without comment this excellent response to the stone we were given by our fathers in God  instead of bread. 
It has, of course, been widely commented upon elsewhere....

Response from Credo Cymru to the Bishops' Code of Practice of September 2014

1. The Code enunciates principles, several of which are welcome to us and reflect some things we said in our submission. These state that the Bench wishes every member of the Church in Wales to feel valued and included in the life of the church, and for all legitimate varieties of churchmanship to flourish. Those who cannot accept that the ordination of women as bishops and priests are explicitly recognised as adhering to an acceptable interpretation of the Anglican heritage. However, the meagre nature of the concrete provision made comes then as an entire non sequitur; it simply does not achieve the apparently avowed end of enabling Traditionalists to flourish. There is a clear discontinuity between the initial principles and the actual provision.

2. We cannot accept that the Code as it stands is the last word on the matter. Fortunately the Code itself does not claim to be such. If it were, we would be unable to recommend that the members of Credo Cymru should continue their Christian life within the fellowship and structures of the Church in Wales. We would have sadly to express the conclusion that fully orthodox and catholic life could no longer be lived out under these circumstances, and that our members might well be advised to seek an alternative spiritual home within which to continue their Christian pilgrimage.

3. The Bench of Bishops of the Church in Wales should realise one fact, however unwelcome. If we are correct in believing that in the purpose of God the orders of bishop and priest ought not to be conferred on women (and, of course, we for our part recognise that that is a big 'if viewed from the bishops' perspective), then there is no bishop currently on the bench who is acting as an orthodox and catholic bishop should act. That is a large part of our problem. To offer any male bishop as a grudging sacramental stand-in for a female diocesan hardly meets our need to relate to a bishop whom we can recognise as being in the Great Tradition of the Church. It is not true to state, as the Presidential Address did, that we accept only bishops who happen to agree with our own views when, of course, it is the relationship to historic orthodoxy in which bishops stand, and not their 'views', which gives rise to the request for alternative episcopal oversight and care. It is quite improper to impute to a minority views which they do not hold and then to decline a request on the basis that those views are 'uncatholic'.

4. As presented, the Code of Practice is seriously inadequate for Traditionalists who, in conscience, are unable to accept the ministry of women as bishops. We can only conclude from this that the Bench of Bishops have a fundamental difficulty in understanding our theological position.

5. At the least, Traditionalist members of the Church in Wales are going to have to look to bishops outside the current bench as the true pastors of their souls and as their link with continuing apostolicity.

6. In view of the declining membership of the Church in Wales, perhaps we should all consider the real possibility that our Church currently stands under divine judgement, and that the unrelenting trend towards secular modernity in recent years has simply not benefitted us in any obvious way. These appear to us to have been years in which little serious attention has been given to the divine Word and the Tradition. To plunge on in the same unchecked direction might quite simply be disastrous.

8 October 2014

This rings a bell...

For various reasons, mainly personal, the blog has been silent for a while. For good or ill,  it is back in business from today ...

"...As usual, in the Cassandra zone of combined prophecy and powerlessness in which I live and move and have my being, I sometimes fall victim to the desire to pronounce on what should be done about current events, and set out manifestoes and prescriptions despite having no power or influence, and no means at all to insert my ideas into the sprockets, chains and cogwheels of power..." [here]

For different reasons and in different situations but ...nevertheless...

Monday 8 September 2014

A reminder

on this Feast of Our Lady's Nativity, that, despite everything, there is truth and beauty in the world ...

Rachmaninov: Sonata for Cello and Piano 3rd Movement - played by Kathryn Price, cello, & Douglas Ashcraft, piano. Recorded at the Jacqueline du Pre Hall, Saint Hilda's College, Oxford.

Thursday 4 September 2014

From out of chaos - a couple of good stories

Despite the general air of decline -  or even worse, numerical and doctrinal collapse (not unrelated) - here are a few encouraging contemporary Anglican developments:

Firstly, from the Church in Wales - where the future for orthodoxy looks particularly bleak - the setting up of the Benedictine- inspired Holywell Community in Abergavenny [here and here]
Kudos to Fr Mark Soady and his parish.

And secondly, the Archbishop of Canterbury is setting up the Community of St Anselm  specifically for young people to experience 'prayer, study, practical service and community life.'

All right, these communities have temporary vows and a somewhat looser interpretation of Benedictine community than is traditional (and in the case of the Lambeth experiment we need to be more than a little wary of the liberal jargon - "through these disciplines, they will also be immersed in the modern challenges of the global 21st century church...")  but - in very dark days indeed  - in these very small beginnings may there be a tiny glimmer of hope? The Lord moves in mysterious ways ...

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Catching up after the silly season

Although we could be tempted to think that, for us, the silly season is now a permanent and unseasonal reality ..


Fr John Hunwicke on the patrimony of Anglican Catholics, particularly as regards the questionable methods of 'modern' biblical scholarship and that elusive but immediately recognisable "Anglican, patristic, literary, Oxford tone." He should know ... [here

The recent Ashya King story has raised some disturbing questions as to the integrity of the family in the face of the suffocating  'benevolence' of the modern liberal State. Not a few news reports ran with the underlying theme that this particular family was 'religious,' so inevitably both dangerously weird and automatically in the wrong ...
This is their MEP Daniel Hannan's reaction.

Sadly, priest and fellow blogger, Fr Mervyn Jennings SSC has died. May he rest in peace. He will be very much missed.

Cranmer has had a long series of posts in the last few weeks about the nature of Islam and its own inherent difficulties in combating the contemporary attraction of fundamentalism.

Peter Hitchens makes another plea for restraint and for more of a historical sense from the leaders of the West as regards the escalating situation in Ukraine. After the acres of print used up this year in analysis of the causes of the Great War, it is astonishing how we fail to see parallels or draw conclusions. One wonders how literate our politicians really are .... 

And, a real silly season story - perhaps or perhaps not oblivious (when is self-deprecation ever really meant in the post-modern context?)  to the log in his own eye, the novelist and ubiquitous media presence, the aptly named Will Self attacks George Orwell on the BBC as a 'literary mediocrity.' [here]
You would think he would be able to recognise that when he reads it ... 
But one can't help feeling that Mr Self really hates Orwell, not for his prose style nor his disputable prescription for writing clearly and intelligibly, but for his very Englishness, in certain circles as desperately unfashionable in Orwell's day as it is now ....

Monday 1 September 2014

"The first Anglican woman bishop to preside and preach in a Welsh Cathedral."

Details can be found on the Diocese of St Asaph website [here

There's an interesting piece of propaganda on the the same subject here
A 'threshold' has indeed been crossed ...

"Bishop Gayle was invited to the Cathedral by the Bishop of St Asaph, Dr Gregory Cameron, who will also attend the conference in Cardiff.
He says, “Women bishops have been a reality in the Anglican Communion, if not in Wales, for some time now.  It is good to be able to welcome Bishop Gayle into our midst to lead our worship in this time of transition.” 

And, on a related subject, rather than indulge in yet more pointless and wearying speculation, we will see exactly how many 'friends'  traditionalists have on the Welsh Bench 'in this time of transition' when the long awaited (and inexplicably delayed) Code of Practice is presented at the Church in Wales' Governing Body when it meets in Lampeter on 17th and 18th September.

Sunday 24 August 2014

Dominic Grieve: British Christians face "an aggressive form of secularism"

The former Attorney-General, Dominic Grieve, has warned in an interview with The Telegraph that an aggressive form of secularism is forcing Christians in Britain to hide their beliefs or be excluded from public life. 
Given his role at the heart of government in the United Kingdom and at the centre of the English legal establishment until only a few weeks ago, this is an astonishing and shocking admission, confirming our suspicions that the present coalition government, despite all protestations to the contrary, is not a natural friend to the practice of faith in the public square. 
Many have sought to downplay this growing problem (a situation which has been all too evident to certain of us for some time), claiming that complaints of discrimination against Christians and the Christian faith in modern Britain have been grossly exaggerated. 
However, if anyone should know the truth about this it is Mr Grieve himself.

This is the relevant section of the article which can be read in full here  
"..Dominic Grieve said he found it “quite extraordinary” that people were being sacked or disciplined for expressing their beliefs at work.He described Christianity as a “powerful force for good” in modern Britain and warned that Christians should not be “intimidated” and “excluded” for their beliefs.He said that politicians and public figures should not be afraid of “doing God” and that they have a duty to explain how their beliefs inform their decisions.The “appalling” scenes in Iraq, which have seen Islamic extremists behead and crucify religious minorities including Christians, showed that it was “more important than ever” for people to express their religious beliefs, he said. He told The Telegraph: “I worry that there are attempts to push faith out of the public space. Clearly it happens at a level of local power.“You can watch institutions or organisations do it or watch it happen at a local government level. In my view it’s very undesirable.“ Some of the cases which have come to light of employers being disciplined or sacked for simply trying to talk about their faith in the workplace I find quite extraordinary.“ The sanitisation will lead to people of faith excluding themselves from the public space and being excluded.“It is in nobody’s interest that groups should find themselves excluded from society.” Two years ago the Government changed the law to ensure that councils could not face legal challenges for holding prayers before town hall meetings after the High Court backed a controversial campaign to abolish such acts of worship.There have also been a series of high-profile cases in which people have been banned from wearing crosses at work or sacked for resisting tasks which went against their religious beliefs. Mr Grieve, a practising Anglican, said that Britain is “underpinned” by Christian ethics and principles..."

Friday 22 August 2014

Jean Langlais: Messe Salve Regina

For the today's feast of the Queenship of Mary, Jean Langlais' Messe Salve Regina of 1954, with Maìtrises de Notre Dame de Paris, de Sainte-Marie d'Antony et de la Résurrection d'Asnières, L' Ensemble de Cuivres Roger Delmotte, Quatuor de Trombones de Paris, Georges Bessonnet, Orgue de Choeur and. Pierre Cochereau, Grand Orgue, under the direction of Patrick Giraud 

Thursday 21 August 2014

James Foley - "It didn’t make sense, but faith did."

There is a report here which speaks of the Catholic Christian faith of the murdered American photojournalist, James Foley, a victim - it would seem to our shame - of a fanatical British adherent of the savage barbarism which is the 'Islamic State.' Perhaps his appalling death will at last alert the world to the monster we have allowed to grow unchecked, both in the Middle East and in our own backyards.

What follows is taken from a very moving letter written by Mr Foley to his alma mater, Marquette University in Milwaukee, following his earlier period of captivity in Libya, and now published on their website
"....Myself and two colleagues had been captured and were being held in a military detention center in Tripoli. Each day brought increasing worry that our moms would begin to panic. My colleague, Clare, was supposed to call her mom on her birthday, which was the day after we were captured. I had still not fully admitted to myself that my mom knew what had happened. But I kept telling Clare my mom had a strong faith.
I prayed she’d know I was OK. I prayed I could communicate through some cosmic reach of the universe to her.
I began to pray the rosary. It was what my mother and grandmother would have prayed. 
I said 10 Hail Marys between each Our Father. It took a long time, almost an hour to count 100 Hail Marys off on my knuckles. And it helped to keep my mind focused.
Clare and I prayed together out loud. It felt energizing to speak our weaknesses and hopes together, as if in a conversation with God, rather than silently and alone.....
Later we were taken to another prison where the regime kept hundreds of political prisoners. I was quickly welcomed by the other prisoners and treated well.
One night, 18 days into our captivity, some guards brought me out of the cell. In the hall I saw Manu, another colleague, for the first time in a week. We were haggard but overjoyed to see each other. Upstairs in the warden’s office, a distinguished man in a suit stood and said, “We felt you might want to call your families.”
I said a final prayer and dialed the number. My mom answered the phone. “Mom, Mom, it’s me, Jim.” “Jimmy, where are you?” “I’m still in Libya, Mom. I’m sorry about this. So sorry.”“Don’t be sorry, Jim,” she pleaded. “Oh, Daddy just left. Oh … He so wants to talk to you. How are you, Jim?” I told her I was being fed, that I was getting the best bed and being treated like a guest.“Are they making you say these things, Jim?”“No, the Libyans are beautiful people,” I told her. “I’ve been praying for you to know that I’m OK,” I said. “Haven’t you felt my prayers?”“Oh, Jimmy, so many people are praying for you. All your friends, Donnie, Michael Joyce, Dan Hanrahan, Suree, Tom Durkin, Sarah Fang have been calling. Your brother Michael loves you so much.” She started to cry. “The Turkish embassy is trying to see you and also Human Rights Watch. Did you see them?” I said I hadn’t. “They’re having a prayer vigil for you at Marquette. Don’t you feel our prayers?” she asked. “I do, Mom, I feel them,” and I thought about this for a second. Maybe it was others’ prayers strengthening me, keeping me afloat. The official made a motion. I started to say goodbye. Mom started to cry. “Mom, I’m strong. I’m OK. I should be home by Katie’s graduation,” which was a month away.“We love you, Jim!” she said. Then I hung up.I replayed that call hundreds of times in my head — my mother’s voice, the names of my friends, her knowledge of our situation, her absolute belief in the power of prayer. She told me my friends had gathered to do anything they could to help. I knew I wasn’t alone.My last night in Tripoli, I had my first Internet connection in 44 days and was able to listen to a speech Tom Durkin gave for me at the Marquette vigil. To a church full of friends, alums, priests, students and faculty, I watched the best speech a brother could give for another. It felt like a best man speech and a eulogy in one. It showed tremendous heart and was just a glimpse of the efforts and prayers people were pouring forth. If nothing else, prayer was the glue that enabled my freedom, an inner freedom first and later the miracle of being released during a war in which the regime had no real incentive to free us. It didn’t make sense, but faith did."
May he rest in peace; our prayers are offered also for his family and friends.

another colleague, for t

Wednesday 20 August 2014

"It is clearly the time for seeking and for calling" - Thomas Merton on Saint Bernard

St Bernard by Philippe de Champaigne

"...But now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation. It is clearly the time for seeking and for calling, for often his presence is sensed before he is called. Now hear his promise: `Before you call me,’ he says, `I will answer. See, I am here.' The psalmist, too, plainly describes the generosity of the Bridegroom, and the urgency: `The Lord hears the crying of the poor; his ear hears the movement of their hearts.' 
If God is to be sought through good works, then while we have time let us do good to all men, all the more because the Lord says clearly that the night is coming when no-one can work. Will you find any other time in ages to come to seek for God, or to do good, except that time which God has ordained, when he will remember you?  
Thus today is the day of salvation, because God our king before all ages has been working salvation in the midst of the earth ..."
St Bernard of Clairvaux: 
from On Seeking Him With the Whole Heart - Sermon 75 on The Song of Songs 

Here is a very interesting recording of a monastic conference where Thomas Merton OCSO speaks about St Bernard, 'the last of the Fathers,' and his view of the 'real humanism'...

Tuesday 19 August 2014

"You are in danger" - updated

The blog Rorate Caeli has a translation of  this report from a correspondent writing for the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera
"August 9, 2014. 
The young ask for guns. The elderly approve. "Our sufferings today are the prelude of those you, Europeans and Western Christians, will also suffer in the near future," says Amel Nona, 47, Chaldean archbishop of Mosul exiled in Erbil. The message is unequivocal: the only way to end the Christian exodus from the places that witnessed its origins in the pre-Islamic age is to respond to violence with violence, to force with force. Nona is a wounded, pain-stricken man, but not resigned. "I lost my diocese. The physical setting of my apostolate has been occupied by Islamic radicals who want us converted or dead. But my community is still alive." He is very glad to meet Western media. "Please, try to understand us," he exclaims. "Your liberal and democratic principles are worth nothing here. You must consider again our reality in the Middle East, because you are welcoming in your countries an ever growing number of Muslims. Also you are in danger. You must take strong and courageous decisions, even at the cost of contradicting your principles. You think all men are equal," Archbishop Amel Nona continues, "but that is not true: Islam does not say that all men are equal. Your values are not their values. If you do not understand this soon enough, you will become the victims of the enemy you have welcomed in your home."
Without in the least wishing to impugn the motives and values of the vast majority of British Muslims, most of whom wish, like the rest of us, to live in peace with their neighbours and be free to practice their religion freely and  without fear of violence or discrimination, one has to admit that the Chaldean Archbishop, deeply scarred by the atrocities committed against his people by ISIS and others , may not simply be guilty of alarmism or scaremongering in order to promote the Iraqi Christian cause.

The dangers and tensions to a large extent inevitable in the welcoming into our country of millions of those with a different culture and faith (itself a legacy of the injustices, complexities and ambiguities of an imperial past, lest we forget) have certainly been exacerbated by the rise of  a fundamentalist form of Islam. We already know that the security services are deeply concerned by the numbers of young British Muslims seeking meaning and foreign adventure in allying themselves to the jihadist cause. * We should also be aware by now that the established policy of 'multiculturalism' (such is our recent transatlantic enthusiasm for the recognition of 'communities' of all kinds),  far from having encouraged a high degree of integration and harmony, has instead, very predictably given the natural desire of incomers and their families to live in a  familiar and friendly cultural environment, promoted the creation in many of our large towns and cities of parallel societies with sometimes rather tenuous links to British society as a whole. 
This, of course, has been a taboo and even toxic subject in the United Kingdom for a long time, our politicians, partly out of a fear of being accused of racism or Islamophobia - and, of course, either of inflaming the situation or of losing votes, until recently largely choosing to ignore rather than attempt to address and in some way ameliorate the social problems which have arisen.

But the major difficulty, of course, lies not so much with the British Muslim community as with contemporary western secular culture which, while in effect discouraging positive social integration,  has turned its back on our own faith, history and culture, preferring to pursue the philosophical dead-end of relativism whilst creating a rootless social climate of hedonistic consumerism. 
Moreover, the Church (that is Christians of all traditions and most particularly their leaders) can't be absolved from its own responsibility over the last half century or so for the virtual disappearance (save in a purely ceremonial, constitutional, or vestigially nostalgic sense) of the Christian faith from the lives of most British people. It is not so much an Islamic take-over which should concern us, but that, in culture as in nature, vacuums have a habit of being filled ... and as we know from recent European history, given the right conditions the most evil and fanatical ideologies can easily gain a foothold even in the most outwardly civilised of societies.

Liberal secularists, of course, place their hopes in the belief that immersion in the globalised 'culture' of the western world will gradually, within a few generations, result in the complete assimilation of those of other faiths; that, to put it crudely, the appeal of a combination of Harvey Nicks and the satisfaction of unbridled sexual appetite will prevail over that of the mosques as it has over the churches.
Time will tell. 
But it would, however, be a little premature to write off all religious faith as a thing of the past. The human spirit seems naturally to crave ideals which are nobler and more self-sacrificial than that offered up to us by the interests of international economics and the prevailing atomised narcissism of our elites. If so, given the present downward cultural trajectory of the West, the Archbishop of Mosul may prove more prescient than we think ...  
We have been warned.

* Update 20.08.2014 
See here for a very alarming insight into the problem we face now in Britain.
From The Telegraph:
"Islamic State jihadists have released a video in which a militant speaking English with a British accent beheads a man they claim to be an American journalist.The journalist, claimed by Islamic State to be James Foley, has been missing since he was seized by armed men in Syria in 2012.The terrorist group, formerly known as Isis, released the graphic video of the beheading, saying it was conducted in retaliation for US air strikes in northern Iraq.The killer then issued a threat to President Barack Obama that a second journalist would be killed unless air strikes are called off.White House National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said: "We have seen a video that purports to be the murder of US citizen James Foley... the intelligence community is working as quickly as possible to determine its authenticity..."