Friday, November 24, 2006

The Pope and Archbishop show

So, here’s the score:

Female and gay bishops - bad.
Peace in Israel - good.
Materialism - bad.
Talking – good.

This is the content of mind-blowing Vatican Declaration signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope. By all standards, whether one agrees with them or not, they are considered to be two of the most formidable theologians to hold either office. One might have therefore hoped for insights into the nature of koinonia, ecumenism, soteriology, the atonement, or ecclesiology. Not a bit of it. One is fed instead on superficial statements of the blindingly obvious, as though this were the intellectual and spiritual level upon which we all live. His Grace wonders why these men had to meet at all to draw up such a patronising document.

In his greeting to the Pope, the Archbishop said: ’I have been heartened by the way in which from the very beginning of your ministry as Bishop of Rome, you have stressed the importance of ecumenism in your own ministry. If the Good News of Jesus Christ is to be fully proclaimed to a needy world, then the reconciliation of all Christians in the truth and love of God is a vital element for our witness..

The Pope’s love for ecumenism did indeed begin with his ministry. Let us not forget that this is the man, as Cardinal Ratzinger, who wrote the document Dominus Iesus, which stated that the Church of England, where the apostolic succession of bishops from the time of St. Peter is disputed by Rome, and churches without bishops, are not considered ‘proper’ churches. They suffer from ‘defects’, simply reiterating that its holy order were ‘null and void’. That doesn’t sound very ecumenical to Cranmer. Rome will not budge on doctrine, not least because it is Semper Eadem. It is, however, reported to be reconsidering the use of condoms. Condoms and a Papal calendar - His Holiness is clearly trying to appeal to the masses…


Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is not a 'show'. There is real and intellectual search going on. The declaration is simply a summary of a long and complex dialogue between these two princes of the Church. The 'superficial statements' are yours. Good job you were burned. Good riddance.

24 November 2006 at 08:56  
Anonymous Voyager said...

For those flying BA long-haul this Christmas


24 November 2006 at 09:28  
Anonymous Colin said...

"they are considered to be two of the most formidable theologians to hold either office."

Such unfounded claims demonstrate an ignorance in regard to His Grace's inimitable contributions to the science of theology.

BTW, being ignorant himself, the present communicant humbly begs for illustrations of His Grace's major contribution to theology to improve his insufficient level of erudition with regard to the latter.

"One is fed ... on superficial statements of the blindingly obvious, as though this were the intellectual and spiritual level upon which we all live."

The communicant and many readers would be most grateful to His Grace for demonstrating that more than "superficial statements of the blindingly obvious" are voiced by the official leaders of Christianity as well as for examples of the incredible high "intellectual and spiritual level upon which we all live". Hic Rhodos, hic salta, if His Grace is not too tired for the moment.

24 November 2006 at 10:22  
Anonymous Colin said...

The EU appears to be funding Europe's Churches which might explain some of the superficial and pro-European statements of "the most formidable theologians" of the EU.

Graham Eardley, an active member of the Church of England and of the local Deanery Synod, Parochial Church Council (PCC) and District Church Council (DCC), found out that "A Soul for Europe: Ethics and Spirituality a programme of the European Union" initiated in 1994 to, "Encourage the religious communities to present projects meetings, seminars social activities etc., meant to contribute to the recognition and understanding of the ethical and spiritual dimension of European unification and Politics" and other programmes are clandestinely providing funding for Europe's Churches. Who are the organisations that received funding from the A Soul for Europe programme?

The World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP) received some funding from Souls of Europe for an interfaith youth project that it was started at the end of 1997 in the UK. Furthermore, the Christianity and The Future of Europe (C.A.F.E) group, who's passed Presidents include the Rt Revd the Bishop of Ely, have freely acknowledged this funding in its report.

Little Black Sambo you once asked me about evidence for the funding of the CoE by the state. This is one example. Here the link to Eardley's article The EU's propagandist use of Europe's Churches. Some might claim that the EU is bribing the Churches to support its agenda because one of the clauses for funding is that of "Accept a dialogue that must be continued in line with European integration and explicitly promote the integration of Europe." However, other might say that it is all for the good cause of "achieving Peace", the official aim of the funded World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP).

24 November 2006 at 11:29  
Blogger wrinkled weasel said...

These two chaps have as much to do with ordinary Christians as Britney Spears and Tom Cruise have to do with the general public.

This is musicians on the Titanic discussing which tune to play next.

Something very wonderful has emerged from the Nadia Eweida affair. It is that a plain-speaking woman has spoken more eloquently about commitment and faith, and reached the hearts and minds of a nation and caused more genuine and valuable debate, than these two cross-dressers who have no function other than to maintain themselves in a quaint historical bubble.

24 November 2006 at 12:44  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Colin: State funding of the C of E.
I can't make head or tail of Eardley's article. Is the church giving money to the EU or receiving money from it, or both? Either would be deplorable.
I guess that the bishops are broadly pro-EU (as they are broadly in favour of various other "detestable enormities", in Cranmer's phrase)and have often promoted their schemes with a Chirac-like disdain of what ordinary members think.
Did you notice the recent survey of bishops' expenses? ( The Bishop of Exeter won the Golden Mitre Award for spending £136,080 in 2005 - £372 a day - which would pay for 45 parish clergy.

24 November 2006 at 12:50  
Anonymous MTK said...

Your Grace,

What do you make of Damian Thompson's piece in the Telegraph today:


24 November 2006 at 13:27  
Anonymous Colin said...

Little Black Sambo,

Thank you for the link to the Bishop of Exeter's expenses. Very interesting, indeed. I am always wondering who is paying for all this.

As far as I understand Eardley's article, the EU is indirectly giving money to European Churches via programmes for ecumenical organisations of the Churches such as the Conference of European Churches and several others. The CoE is a member. A complete list of the member Churches can be found here. The condition for receiving EU funding is the support of these Churches for the European integration. The money trail might explain why the leaders of the different Churches are officially pro-ecumenism and pro-EU. Something His Grace is often complaining about.

24 November 2006 at 14:45  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Colin,

His Grace stated quite clearly that the Archbishop and the Pope are considered to be formidable theologians.

He never stated that he himself considered them to be.

24 November 2006 at 21:05  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

Very slippery.

Nice one.

24 November 2006 at 21:28  
Anonymous Colin said...

His Grace,

Thank you for your comment. Apparently, I correctly interpreted your posting in the sense that you had serious doubts about the eminence as a theologians. In my neverending struggle against my own ignorance, I hoped for instruction from His Grace who he considers to be the most formidable theologians of our time and why. May I repeat my humble request for information about the better alternatives or does His Grace prefer to keep it an eternal secret?

24 November 2006 at 22:23  
Anonymous Colin said...

Sorry for the typo. I meant: about their eminence as theologians.

24 November 2006 at 22:25  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Colin,

If you insist, if you demand, if you impose upon His Grace a request for a direct response, he is drawn to draw your attention to the Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright - the finest theologian in the Church of England.

24 November 2006 at 23:30  
Anonymous Colin said...

I am most grateful to His Grace for providing me with the reference to the Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright. Obviously, an highly intelligent and very productive man. I already started to read some of his impressive lectures and articles which can be found on his unofficial website. For those readers who are also interested to learn more, here the link.

24 November 2006 at 23:53  
Blogger kris said...

Your Grace

I am aware that Your Grace is engaged with matters spiritual, but i am wondering if you would, for our benefit and edification, compile and publish a list of 10 Things you'd never do. I am afraid you have been "tagged".

Sir, I remain...

25 November 2006 at 00:03  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Oh I don't know, I hace read some of Benedict's works in German and find them erudite. He was a Professor of Philosophy and has not - fortunately - written anything as daft as Rowan Williams' output with Jeffrey John, nor pronounced on soap operas or children's my money is on the educated Bavarian rather than the Woolly Welshman

25 November 2006 at 07:33  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Kris,

His Grace is honoured to have been 'tagged', but begs to draw your attention to the thread below, where this matter has already been discussed and dealt with.


His Grace has been aware of these rumours for a while; indeed, he had a meeting with Lord Carey just last month, and this possibility was mooted. Whether the next Archbishop of Canterbury is Sentamu of York or Nazir Ali of Rochester remains to be seen. Both would provide very persuasive evidence of 'multi-cultural' embrace. His Grace's money (metaphorically, of course) is on Sentamu, not least because Nazir Ali is a convert from Catholicism, and his elevation would be sure to upset the ecumenical apple-cart.

Mr Voyager,

His Grace never said that the Pope was not erudite. Indeed, His Holiness fulfils both the criteria for contributing to this august blog, and he would be welcome (if he does not do so already incognito). Yet, as you point out, he is a philosopher-theologian, and it is the theological philosophy which constrains the philosophical theologian.

25 November 2006 at 08:43  
Anonymous bob said...

I think you may have confused your popes. Pope John Paul II was a professor of philosophy at the University of Lublin, his area of speciality being phenomonology. Pope Benedict XVI is very much a theologian, his area of speciality being patristic theology. He obtained his doctorate in 1953 with a thesis entitled "People and House of God in St Augustine’s Doctrine of the Church." He lectured in theology at several universities. He was a theological adviser to the archbishop of Cologne during the Second Vatican Council. Together with Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac, considered to be two of the greatest Catholic theologians of the last century, he founded the theological journal Communio. I'm happy to say that Pope Benedict is very much a theologian, and, in my opinion, quite eminent and formidible.

25 November 2006 at 09:06  
Anonymous Ratzinger XVI said...

"I hace read some of Benedict's works in German and find them erudite."

"Pope Benedict is very much a theologian, and, in my opinion, quite eminent and formidible."

Vielen Dank, Reisender und Robert. Aber das ist zuviel der Ehre für mich.

25 November 2006 at 15:35  
Anonymous The Devil's Rectum said...

Would His Grace accept contributions to his erudite blog from those who follow Beezlebub- provided they met the erudition criteria?

25 November 2006 at 15:47  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Devil's Rectum,

His Grace is welcoming of all contentious discussion and vigorous debate, provided, as ever, that the standards of intelligence and erudition manifest on his august blog are not compromised.

Those who follow Beelzebub may indeed therefore contribute, though His Grace might expect followers to at least be able to spell the name of the one they profess, even if that follower is the Rectum, whence comes not much that is intelligent or erudite, merely biologically necessary.

25 November 2006 at 18:18  

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