Tuesday, 29 April 2014

'Satan's Dance of Triumph'

Scene II of Ralph Vaughan Williams'  ballet, Job: A Masque for Dancing, a work influenced equally by the Old Testament text and the illustrations of William Blake, is entitled Satan's Dance of Triumph. 
This is a description of the tableau which unfolds:

"So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord" 
Heaven is empty and God's throne vacant. Satan alone on the stage. 
He dances, and climbs up to God's throne and kneels in mock adoration. 
The hosts of Hell enter running and kneel before Satan 
who has risen and stands before God's throne facing the audience. 
Satan in wild triumph and with a big gesture sits in God's throne..."

On a quite unrelated subject (to quote Fr Hunwicke: "Beware of irony here, too") the latest meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales presented an agenda and a series of ... what are we to call them ... deliberations .... which are a vivid illustration of Bl John Henry Newman's prophetic words about the Church of England:

"...While Catholics are so weak in England, it is doing our work; and, though it does us harm in a measure, at present the balance is in our favour. What our duty would be at another time and in other circumstances, supposing, for instance, the Establishment lost its dogmatic faith, or at least did not preach it, is another matter altogether. In secular history we read of hostile nations having long truces, and renewing them from time to time.......
Doubtless the National Church has hitherto been a serviceable breakwater against doctrinal errors, more fundamental than its own. How long this will last in the years now before us, it is impossible to say, for the Nation drags down its Church to its own level...."

Clearly, the 'long truce' is over .... both for those united to the See of  Peter and those in communion with Canterbury who struggle, against all the odds and our leaders' ongoing abject capitulation to the neo-pagan relativism of the nation's  'post-Christian' culture, to live a Catholic, sacramental life within our Communion's confines.
The greatest wounds to the Body of Christ are always inflicted by those within the household of faith; most destructive of all are the unintended consequences of decisions made on the basis of a theologically false and philosophically deficient concept of compassion. 
I am aghast - 'chilled' would be a better word - at some of the language used, especially by those chosen to be our Fathers in God, and particularly in the debate on 'assisted dying.'  
There is now indeed significant "dissonance" - to use a word employed by the Archbishop of Wales last week  - but between the opinions expressed this Eastertide at Llandudno and the Christian tradition itself. [here]

"Satan in wild triumph sits in God's throne...' 

Part of  a televised performance from the Royal Festival Hall in 1972 with the great Sir Adrian Boult conducting the London Philharmonic Orchestra 

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

“We often see what we want to see."

“We often see what we want to see . We often use Scripture to reinforce viewpoints that we have already arrived at in other ways and for other reasons."

The Archbishop of Wales, the Most Revd Dr Barry Morgan, speaking at the Church in Wales' Governing Body today [here]

Um ... yes..... but I'm not sure how that necessarily advances his argument ....

We're back to that alien concept, to most (post) modern archiepiscopal minds, of thinking with the mind of the Church .... and not, where there is clear conflict, automatically with that of the Zeitgeist ...

Unchristian Britain? It's not quite as simple as it seems

Cristina Odone at The Telegraph [here] says of Christians in Britain, "only those willing to experience martyrdom or pariah status dare speak of their Christianity."

She's right - up to a point. The problem the Church faces, of course, is that there has been a kind of unacknowledged, bloodless (in more senses than one) coup d'etat amongst those sometimes described as "the metropolitan elite" - aka the sceptics, with whom many of us were at University, who are now running both the media and academe.

This rings true for one coming of age in the the early 1980s: 
"...Middle-aged British Christians were raised in a world of familiar values and rituals: the justice system, charitable bodies, schools, holy days, church on Sundays… even Parliament and the Queen were steeped in a common Christian spirit. Being a Christian then was difficult — to love my neighbour as myself was as tricky in 1984 as it is in 2014; but the whole of the Establishment, its laws and leading figures and even its media, supported these values and were rooting for Christians to practice them.
Today, in our era of unbelief, the Establishment has withdrawn its support of Christian values. Those at the helm relentlessly push assisted suicide, refuse to prosecute 67 GPs who signed abortion consent forms illegally, try to ban faith schools, even try to edit the sacraments to include gay marriage...."
The truth is that, whereas there is  no instinctive hostility to the Christian faith among the general population (indifference is another matter, but it was always thus..), access to the media among those who would advocate a reasoned defence (as of a reasonable faith) of credally orthodox Christianity has been severely restricted, whereas the true extremists - the media darlings of liberalism (yes, admittedly, probably a majority of contemporary Anglican bishops - blame our desperately degraded system of theological education) and their much-needed fundamentalist mirror images - are granted most of the air time. The sight and sound of liberal 'reformers' in debate with with tolerant, convinced but reasoned (that word again) upholders of the historic tradition would simply not reinforce the prejudices our current crop of broadcasters wish to perpetuate. We underestimate at our peril  just how dependent members of the general public are for their sources of information on television, radio and (to a far lesser degree) the print media.   

Whereas the P.B.I. of the Church (look it up, if you need to: here's a timely link) just gets on with its work .... yet the way we are misrepresented, partly by the self-perpetuating         broadcasting oligarchy we ourselves help to fund, makes that already Sisyphean task more difficult as each year passes ...

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Love's as warm as tears

A setting of words by C.S. Lewis by the contemporary British composer Paul Mealor, sung here by Westminster Williamson Voices, Bristol Chapel-Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey,  with Hunter Thomas, tenor , conducted by James Jordan

"..... Love's as fresh as spring, Love is spring.
Love's as hard as nails, Love is nails.

Blunt, thick, hammered through the medial nerves of One
Who, having made us knew The thing
He had done, 
Seeing (with all that is)
Our Cross, 
And His."

Monday, 21 April 2014

Enemies of the Faith

 - Identified by having appended their names to a letter in today's Daily Telegraph attacking the Prime Minister * for speaking of Britain as 'a Christian country:' [here
SIR – We respect the Prime Minister’s right to his religious beliefs and the fact that they necessarily affect his own life as a politician. However, we object to his characterisation of Britain as a “Christian country” and the negative consequences for politics and society that this engenders. Apart from in the narrow constitutional sense that we continue to have an established Church, Britain is not a “Christian country”. Repeated surveys, polls and studies show that most of us as individuals are not Christian in our beliefs or our religious identities. At a social level, Britain has been shaped for the better by many pre-Christian, non-Christian, and post-Christian forces. We are a plural society with citizens with a range of perspectives, and we are a largely non-religious society.
Constantly to claim otherwise fosters alienation and division in our society. Although it is right to recognise the contribution made by many Christians to social action, it is wrong to try to exceptionalise their contribution when it is equalled by British people of different beliefs. This needlessly fuels enervating sectarian debates that are by and large absent from the lives of most British people, who do not want religions or religious identities to be actively prioritised by their elected government. 
Professor Jim Al-Khalili [the Iraqi-born President of the British Humanist Society - need we continue ...}
Philip Pullman
Tim Minchin
Dr Simon Singh
Ken Follett
Dr Adam Rutherford
Sir John Sulston
Sir David Smith 
Professor Jonathan Glover
Professor Anthony Grayling
Nick Ross
Virginia Ironside
Professor Steven Rose
Natalie Haynes
Peter Tatchell
Professor Raymond Tallis 
Dr Iolo ap Gwynn 
Stephen Volk
Professor Steve Jones
Sir Terry Pratchett 
Dr Evan Harris
Dr Richard Bartle
Sian Berry
C J De Mooi
Professor John A Lee
Professor Richard Norman
Zoe Margolis
Joan Smith
Michael Gore
Derek McAuley
Lorraine Barratt
Dr Susan Blackmore
Dr Harry Stopes-Roe
Sir Geoffrey Bindman QC
Adele Anderson
Dr Helena Cronin
Professor Alice Roberts
Professor Chris French
Sir Tom Blundell
Maureen Duffy
Baroness Whitaker
Lord Avebury
Richard Herring
Martin Rowson
Tony Hawks
Peter Cave
Diane Munday
Professor Norman MacLean
Professor Sir Harold Kroto
Sir Richard Dalton
Sir David Blatherwick
Michael Rubenstein
Polly Toynbee
Lord O'Neill
Dr Simon Singh
Dan Snow

Ed West in The Catholic Herald [here] has pointed out that conspicuous by their absence are the names of anyone from the right of the political spectrum and of any representatives of those other faiths which are supposed to be so offended by attempts to (ugly word) exceptionalise the Christian faith.  In short, the signatories are the usual suspects from the liberal establishment - the militant secularists, leftists and social Marxists who have helped remake our country into what it is today ... and are themselves conspicuously rewarded for their efforts by their constant presence in the studios of our national broadcaster ....

It is, shall we say, interesting, that there should be such a clear attempt, not only to airbrush out our Christian heritage and history, but in the process, to appeal to 'pre-Christian, non-Christian, and post-Christian forces.' It's not the first time in modern European history that such a thing has been attempted. 
"Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it..." 

But, let's do what Christians do when faced with this kind of profoundly intolerant and (unsurprisingly) historically illiterate - not to mention linguistically barbarous - attack - and add the above names to our prayer lists ....

* However, such is our completely justified cynicism about the motivations of our contemporary politicians, it's hard to regard David Cameron's original comments as being anything other than a belated damage limitation exercise in the run up to the next General Election...  (after the same-sex marriage debacle, and the staggering arrogance of the appallingly unknowledgeable Maria Miller who piloted through the legislation) 

And - look at the letter again: in its 'enervating' (mis)use of language it could be written (in 1984 'Ministry of Truth'  mode, of course)  by George Orwell ... clearly composed (at least, one hopes) by those rather more at home holding a test tube than a pen ...

P.S. And, no -  that is by no means meant to be a blanket criticism of all scientists (some of those who have signed the letter are also political 'commentators' and, so I'm told, 'comedians') - just this particular group of the historically myopic and profoundly self-important ... 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Crossing the line ....

Once again we are indebted to Ancient Briton for giving us the heads up on a recent  statement from one of the senior staff (that's the term employed, I believe, in establishment circles these days) of the Diocese of Llandaff:

“It’s unbelievably important that discrimination against women in the Church is coming to an end. Anybody coming into the Church in Wales now is joining a Church that opens all its offices to women – we can’t have people joining this Church, with the expectation that it will continue to discriminate – that is absolutely unacceptable...."

The comments are unacceptable certainly, particularly as they are from a senior cleric in a public forum; they are also not only unacceptable but constitute an implicit rejection of Anglican history and theology; but such is the extreme 'Christian feminist' position, one which discriminates against the past and repudiates the continuity of the faith down the ages ...

Of course, it would be a rash person indeed who would make the assumption that these unbelievably oppressive views are shared by any member of the Welsh Bench, particularly after the recent successful and very welcome Code of Practice consultations. Yet until we see definite proposals on the table, a certain suspicion will inevitably remain ...  and, not to labour the point, no one is entitled to utter the slightest criticism or tiniest snarky comment about those who have to cross boundaries at this time of year in order to experience the generosity and hospitality at present denied to us in our own province. 

A recent photograph of Bristol Cathedral

Friday, 11 April 2014

It's that time of year (sigh)

when all kinds of people seem to find a strange pleasure in finding stories which purport to discredit historic Christianity....

This year it's "'Jesus's wife' fragment is not a fake, scientists claim" [here], with the findings of carbon dating (micro-Raman spectroscopy) that the papyrus fragment in question is not a modern or late medieval forgery.
Only two words from the findings seem to be significant - eighth century ...

But isn't it curious how some of those who loudly assert their belief that the fact that the Gospels were written a few short decades after Our Lord's death and Resurrection casts doubt upon their veracity should believe that this story has any major significance whatsoever, much less the importance the media and others are attributing to it?
One would almost think they have some kind of agenda .... 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

More on the global war against Christians

From The Catholic Herald, this is an excerpt from an address given on Tuesday by Lord Alton of Liverpool (the former M.P. David Alton) at a Vigil for Syria in London held at the Jesuit Church of the Immaculate Conception, Farm Street.
Read it all here 
The speech should be sent to every member of Parliament in Britain ....  
'.....The imposition of Sharia Law in Syria and in vast tracts of the world represents a challenge to Western democracies and human rights.
So does the nature of Global Jihad and militant Islam. Our secular society in which we have in the last two centuries, enjoyed religious toleration and increasing religious co-existence is under significant threat but we seem to be sleepwalking into this danger.
While we overlook and fail to understand the religious dimension to these terrible atrocities, and the imperative of harnessing thoughtful and moderate religious leaders from all traditions, we will utterly fail to end the persecution and the unspeakable violence.
We in the West, who enjoy so many freedoms and liberties, need to ask ourselves some tough questions about the disproportionate nature of the causes which we so readily embrace whilst ignoring the systematic violent ideology of an Islamist “Final Solution” directed at the Christian minorities.
Hundreds of parliamentary hours can be spent asserting the rights of foxes or on discussing rights associated with our life- styles but when it comes to the killing of children and students, or the torching of their homes and places of worship, or the destruction of centuries old culture, our political classes have taken Trappist vows. This stems from a misplaced belief that their silence about radical Islamist groups represents “tolerance”. In reality it stems from fear and indifference.
Ultimately, parliamentarians are only as good as the people who elect them – so their electorates are also partly to blame for not organising themselves in the way in which pressure groups do. If political leaders have been indifferent, where here are the western churches?
Secular society has got its priorities wrong but so have western churches which too easily become intoxicated with their own introspective navel-gazing.
If I was sitting in the rubble of a Syrian or Egyptian church, or in a gulag in North Korea, or had just seen my home destroyed or, even worse, my loved ones killed, I would think that our endless self absorbed debates, which often mirror the rights-driven agenda of the secular world, are self indulgence of a high order.
If, in the face of evil deeds, secularists and Christians need to weigh up their silence and priorities, so do our Muslim brothers.
Muslims, who have often settled in our democracies, need to be much braver in breaking the conspiracy of silence and in identifying with those who suffer – among whom are many Muslim victims of visceral hatred motivated by persecution for being the wrong kind of Muslims.
Never forget that many of these families came to Europe to escape the intolerance of countries like Pakistan – where a young Muslim girl can be shot for wanting an education or its Catholic Minister for Minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, can be assassinated for preaching co-existence.
Many of our European Muslims are good, law-abiding people, who want the same things for themselves and for their families as the rest of us. They are not, as some foolishly and wrongly caricature them, an enemy within. But if they remain silent it will increasingly be seen as acquiescence. It will, however, require real courage to speak out against forces which have no respect for difference or diversity, or for life itself.
As he began the slaughter of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals, people with disabilities and many others, Adolph Hitler famously remarked “who now remembers the Armenians?”. Will our generation similarly ask the question “who now remembers the Christian minorities of the Middle East and North Africa?” Or will we ask the other famous question associated with the failure to speak out for the victims of the Reich “who will be left to speak for me?”.... '

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The shocking murder of a priest in rebel-held Syrian city

From The Catholic Herald:

"A Dutch Jesuit priest who chose to remain in the besieged city of Homs to care for its starving population has been shot dead, according to media reports.

Fr Frans van der Lugt, a 75-year-old psychologist, had remained in the rebel-controlled Old City throughout the siege, which is now over 600-days long, with government forces surrounding them. He had been offered the chance to leave, but chose to stay. His death was reported by the pro-government Al-Mayadeen TV, and the Jesuits have since told the Catholic News Service that Fr van der Lugt was beaten and then shot with two bullets in the head. The Washington Post reports that a masked gunman killed the priest inside a monastery in the Bustan al-Diwan area of the city, although the identity and motive of the killer remains unclear.

In February he had told the Daily Telegraph that the city had been abandoned by the international community. He came to Syria in 1966, and in the 1980s had set up an agricultural project outside the city to help young people with mental disabilities. He said that hunger was sending some people insane." [here]

Probably an unwise question to ask, but ....just who is prepared to sacrifice whom and what?

The Archbishop of Canterbury has come in for a great deal of flak over his LBC phone-in comment last week about the possible, even likely, consequences for Christians in some parts of the African continent of any acceptance by the Church of England of same-sex marriage [see here]
Andrew Goddard makes this measured defence from an evangelical perspective at Fulcrum

To play devil's advocate for a moment, who really  seems to be prepared to sacrifice whom here? It's an arguable point.

In contemporary Britain, acceptance of those who are gay in terms of their equal rights under the law is (quite rightly) not an issue; if we are to believe the polling data, neither is complete social acceptance for the rising generation. However, in contrast, what we are beginning to see throughout western culture are alarming signs of the gradual imposition of an absolutist definition of 'equality,' the proponents of which will tolerate no opposition and are prepared to destroy freedom of speech, employment rights and freedom of contract in order to achieve their goal.

Given that now to express any reservations, for whatever reasons, about society's validation of same-sex marriage, civil or ecclesial, carries the risk of being regarded by society's 'progressive' opinion- formers as ipso facto 'homophobic,' the future prospects for any kind of sane, constructive, theological and ethical consideration of this issue within our already highly-secularised Church are looking particularly bleak.

In terms of the global politics of the Anglican Communion (note: politics not theology - for political lobbying is where all the energy is expended these days), Archbishop Welby has been accused of sacrificing gay people on the altar of expediency, yet it would have been far more 'expedient' in the present media climate in Britain for him to keep silent. It is to his eternal credit that Archbishop Welby chose not to keep his mouth shut over this, despite those who are now so concerned , in their inimitable way, to question his integrity and his intelligence.

But, of course, what Archbishop Welby's critics are really saying is that, regardless of the facts, it was 'inappropriate' of him to mention the subject at all. He was guilty of a failure of self-censorship - in the present cultural atmosphere, the ultimate crime ....

Sunday, 6 April 2014

(Even) More bishops for Wales....?

Ancient Briton has this report on the forthcoming Governing Body Meeting of the Church in Wales, referencing particularly (sense of déjà vu, anyone?) "the Church in Wales response to the Proposals from the Gathering of the Covenanted Churches 2012." 

The 'long term recommendations' of the inevitable working group include these proposals for what we can only describe as Welsh pan-protestant unity (emphasis is mine) :
"That the Church will have nine jurisdictions – the six existing Anglican dioceses plus a Methodist jurisdiction, a Presbyterian jurisdiction and a URC/Covenanting Baptist jurisdiction, each of which will be invited to elect its own bishop
and that the elected bishops of the new jurisdictions (who would 'ordain all those who are to become ministers' within that jurisdiction) "will be a bishop in the Church Uniting in Wales and will share collegiality and full interchangeability with all the other bishops of that Church."

My understanding is that there will be no insistence that the new bishops will first have to be ordained to each of the three orders of ministry (and, no doubt, historical anomalies will be produced like rabbits out of a hat to justify that one...) 

One wonders how much support there will be for this bureaucratic masterpiece among the Free Churches themselves, all of which have resisted the introduction of episcopacy for so long, including some traditions whose ecclesial polity is historically defined by that rejection ....  
It's curious that the contemporary response to catastrophic decline appears to be the introduction of yet more cumbersome administrative structures.

I'm also told there is very little enthusiasm for this particular scheme from the Church in Wales itself, particularly from those who are deemed to be in the running to become Wales' first female bishops... after all what would be the point in striving for 'gender equality' in the episcopate, only to have the currency so fatally devalued? Having crashed through the glass ceiling of institutional misogyny they would have little to show for it except the headache....  

The proposals would, of course, if approved, lead to the astonishing spectacle of a 'united church' in Wales which had not only bishops who were (for several reasons) not bishops at all, but that some of them would also be 'bishops' who had no belief in episcopacy (of course, as distinct from episcope) much less in apostolic succession in any recognisably 'catholic' sense ...

And as someone said out to me this afternoon, "Nine bishops for a 'uniting church!' And the prospect of one bishop to care for traditionalists would kill them ..... ?"

Saturday, 5 April 2014

For the beginning of Passiontide

The hymn, Drop, Drop, Slow Tears, with words by Phineas Fletcher, set to Orlando Gibbons'  Song 46  - sung here by the Choir of King's College, Cambridge, directed by Stephen Cleobury.

Friday, 4 April 2014

The mob and the decline of civility

It would seem that the new McCarthyism - this time of the left - is set to define western culture and politics for some time to come. In the U.S.A. the newly appointed CEO of the computer software company Mozilla, Brendan Eich, has been hounded from office by what one can only describe as a howling cyber-mob of the uber-correct liberal left. The reason: not that he was bad at his job or guilty of discriminating against minorities in the workplace but for a purely private opinion (and a voting record in what is, presumably, a representative democracy) on the subject, predictably, of same-sex marriage. 
It was sad, too, to seer Mr Eich, who by all objective standards is the 'victim' here, having to make the ritual genuflection to the new social totalitarianism by apologising for 'causing pain.'  In any free society this kind of 'pain' is simply the price which has to be paid by everyone for having to hear opinions which differ from their own. This is precisely what those who are obsessed with the ideology of equality cannot bear.
The future for freedom of religion, indeed, freedom of speech itself, is increasingly bleak.
A brief report from CBS 6 here and comment from Ryan Anderson here

And on the subject of the declining civility of our society, but this time from the other end of the political spectrum, let's not be too overcome by the fascination of certain sections of the mass media with Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP, whose forthright way of expressing himself is in sharp contrast to the perceived blandness of the mainstream political class and their employment of the dark arts of spin. 
However, we may have considerable reservations with its scandalous 'democratic deficit' and with the way the European Union has contemptuously turned its back on the foundational faith of the continent, without stooping to the kind of personal abuse we see in the video below. Among other things, it's  the civility of our discourse which separates us from the barbarism of the mob .... and those they would raise to power. The fact that someone is our enemy's enemy doesn't necessarily make him our friend.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Cinderella laws in an increasingly Grimm society

It was hard to believe that the 'Cinderella Law' under consideration by the British government was anything other than an early and  remarkably far-fetched and dystopian April Fool. Not so, it seems:
"The government is considering whether to introduce a new offence of emotional cruelty to children, it has been confirmed.
The proposed change to neglect laws in England and Wales would see parents who deny their children affection face prosecution for the first time.
It follows a campaign for a "Cinderella Law" from charity Action for Children.
The government said child cruelty was an abhorrent crime which should be punished.
Social workers have a definition of child cruelty that they work on but because it is not written into law, this makes it difficult for the police to gather evidence.
Currently social workers operate guidance in civil law that does recognise emotional abuse of children
But police are limited because criminal law only recognises physical harm
Action for Children's chief executive, Sir Tony Hawkhead, said the change would be a "monumental step forward for thousands of children".
Robert Buckland, a Conservative MP who has backed the charity's campaign, said the current law was outdated as it is based largely on legislation first introduced 150 years ago.
And he stressed that non-physical abuse could cause "significant harm" to children.
"You can look at a range of behaviours, from ignoring a child's presence, failing to stimulate a child, right through to acts of in fact terrorising a child where the child is frightened to disclose what is happening to them," Mr Buckland told BBC Radio 5 live. " [Report from the BBC here]
It is quite remarkable how our increasingly dysfunctional 'democracy' is concerned to increase the intrusion of the State into our lives and even to legislate on matters such as the denial of perceived 'rights' which themselves bear a highly subjective interpretation.  I'll leave any further comment to Lord Tebbit [here]:
"The idea of the state giving the Law Courts power and responsibility to decide whether parents have given sufficient love and kindness to children is beyond even anything Orwell conceived.
Coincidentally it comes just as psychologists and others are raising the alarm of the effects of the exposure of children through the internet to the depravity, violence and cruelty of computer games and programmes on mobile phones and over the internet. Scientists, behaviourists and psychotherapists, even sociologists, have concluded that what many of us have been saying for years is indeed true. Such exposure does normalise depravity and violence.
So what should a loving parent do? Should he or she deny their children access to such programmes? Or would that be emotional cruelty and an offence against the criminal law? We know that the agencies which are supposed to protect children all too often fail to do so. How would they, the police, prosecuting authorities and courts cope with pursing parents or guardians who might offend against a Cinderella law?
All we can be certain of is that the lawyers will do well out of it, as appeals grow in numbers and the ECHR sticks its obtrusive nose into our legal system. Mr Clegg has shown his illiberal side rather too often in blocking such things as the long-overdue reform of constituency boundaries. I hope that his Liberal instinct will now persuade him to block this spasm of illiberal and poorly thought through legislation."

There is nothing more sinister than the modern liberal state 
which is utterly convinced of its own infallible benevolence

 On a related theme, Spiked has this article from Brendan O'Neil, chronicling another example of the suffocating authoritarianism which lies beneath the 'compassionate' mask of contemporary liberalism:
"...So in a stunningly short period of time, not only has gay marriage been normalised, but opposition to it, traditionalism itself, has been denormalised. This reveals the extent of the corrosion of the old conservative values of long-term commitment and family life, whose one-time proponents in the church and elsewhere have effectively vacated the moral battlefield and stood back as marriage has been redefined. (‘The terms of our surrender’ was the fitting headline to a recent sad article by one such conservative.) And it also reveals the ability of newer cultural elites, especially the media classes, to impose new narratives on public life and to set political and social agendas. The media have been key to the gay-marriage crusade, playing a leading role in promoting it, defining it, and demonising those who question it. As a consequence of an historic emptying-out of political life in recent years, of the decline and fall of the classes and interests whose tussles were once the lifeblood of politics, the media have come to be an increasingly important political actor, their concerns and prejudices often taking centre stage in public life. The unstoppable rise of gay marriage really speaks to the replacement of older, conservative elites with a new elite, one that is, remarkably, less tolerant of dissent and more demanding of psychological affirmation of its every idea, whim and campaign than its predecessors were. 
So perhaps we should put all that champagne on ice. For the transformation of gay marriage from just an idea to a juggernaut in the blink of an eye actually has little to do with the expansion of tolerance, but rather speaks to the very opposite phenomenon: the emergence of new forms of intolerance that demand nothing less than moral obedience and mandatory celebration from everyone - or else."
And the most concerning issue for many of us is the response of the Church. Due to the creeping 'Scandinavianisation' *  of British Anglicanism, our leaders will not only acquiesce, but without doubt begin to act as the cheerleaders for the new social 'orthodoxies' .... 

* the by now tried and tested way of preparing the ground begins like this - see here

"Nothing must be lost"

Women bishops: "Nothing must be lost" was the heartening headline on the front page of the March edition of Pobl Dewi, the newspaper of the St David's Diocese,  The article itself consists of  a very fair report (remarkably so, given the tight editorial control exercised over other official Anglican publications these days) of the Women Bishops' Code of Practice consultation meetings in the diocese.
Following the meetings in the other Welsh dioceses which were very similar in terms of the opinions expressed, it will now be very hard indeed for the Welsh Bench to avoid their moral obligation (if the honouring of promises is to mean anything in this Christian community) to provide a traditionalist bishop to minister to the 'original integrity' within the Province.

The text of the report is printed below [link above]

Women bishops: “Nothing must be lost”

Meetings across the diocese have sent a clear message to the bishops as they draw up a Code of Practice to cater for those who, in conscience, cannot accept the principle of female headship

 THE Governing Body voted in September to allow the ordination of women as bishops one year on. And the present Bench was required to bring forward “without delay” a Code of Practice which would govern how opponents of the measure could be accommodated. 
The Vicar of Tregaron, Canon Philip Wyn Davies, set out his stall at the opening meeting in Aberaeron: “It must be acceptable to have reservations about women’s sacramental ministry, at least until the Anglican Communion as a whole has taken a position,” he
said. “There is no evidence that women [bishops] will bring anyone into the Church and we can’t afford to throw anyone out. Nothing must be lost.”
But how? The most frequent suggestion was the re-introduction of an assistant bishop, such
as the one appointed in 1996 when women were first ordained into the priesthood.
Elizabeth Arnold-Davies, a Reader in the United Parish of Lampeter, pointed to the Provincial Episcopal Visitor scheme in England, which seemed to work well. “We have to find acceptable provision for all,” she said. “We have no right to deny people access to Christian worship in church.” 
Another concern was the timescale. Would the Code be in place before the first consecration?
Fenella Strange (Cwmann) believed  this was essential. And to what degree would whatever the bishops come up with be open to debate? Others, though, did not believe gender was an issue. 
Carol Griffiths (St Tysilio’s, Llandysiliogogo) believed calling – “a gift from God” – was more important and feared creating a Church within a Church. “We are a family,” she
said. “We have to live together or we will die together.” 
Rhoda Healey said that if
priests were there to represent the Bishop at the Eucharist, there was no logical sense to opposing women bishops, when women already administered sacraments, as priests.
But Revd Stephen Edwards (Priest-in-Charge, Llanilar) had a stark message: “You either have to take your conscience and go,” he said, “or deny your conscience. If you want priests with no conscience, then pity the Church.”