Monday, February 19, 2007

So all roads lead to Rome - episode 42

His Grace feels a little harassed by those communicants who have enquired as to why there has been no comment on this or this. He has even been goaded by a few fellow bloggers to make comment, and he therefore humbly obliges (notwithstanding his belief that there are more important religio-political issues to comment upon, like this).

The reality is that His Grace is more than a little bored by the whole Reunification Show. It has been going on for decades, and is about to supplant The Mousetrap as the longest running theatrical propduction in the world. A few deluded bishops at the top of the Church of England can draw up whatever document they wish, but the practical outworking will have no bearing on the theory.

ARCIC has been over-inflated with its own sense of self-importance for decades. It is not that there are not parties on both sides that desire unity; there manifestly are, and it is in accordance with the Lord's prayer 'that they may be one'. But it is manifestly obvious that there are millions of Anglicans (and Roman Catholics, for that matter) for whom talk of 'reunification' amounts to theological and ecclesiological nonsense.

Even in an age which sets aside the differences over such things as soteriology, we are still left with a few insuperable hurdles, like papal infallibility on matters of doctrine and faith. The via media of the Church of England may have supplanted an absolute pope with an absolute monarch, but too much water has flowed under the bridge for swimming against the tide to be credible. Female vicars and bishops? Homosexual vicars and bishops? Gay 'marriage' blessings? Married vicars?

If the holy orders of the Church of England are 'null and void', and His Holiness reiterated in Dominus Iesus that the Church of England is 'not a church in the proper sense', it is manifestly an absence of sense that deludes people into believing that reunification is remotely possible.

Let us just agree to differ, and let our mutually manifest tolerance be light in an increasingly intolerant world.


Blogger Eddie said...

It is a cause of some sadness that your Grace feels harassed and goaded. Either one would surely be enough in and of itself. That being said, it is a sign of the esteem in which your humble communicants hold your Grace that we await your opinions with bated breath.

19 February 2007 at 20:08  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Eddie,

His Grace thanks you for your kind words.

The reality is that there is no hope at all (if it were to be hoped) that the Church of England will 'reunify' with the Church of Rome. Even 'unity in diversity' would create insurmountable hurdles, so His Grace is happy for both to co-exist. The one remains the established national church; the other a remnant of a bygone age on these shores, but an undoubted European power which is prepared to defend a common heritage and expound a common cause.

It is not so much Islam that threatens the religious liberties of the United Kingdom, but postmodern relativism. Against this, all Christians should unite, but this does not necessiate a sole spiritual advocate in Rome, and neither does it demand a Counter-Reformation. The Church of England should reassert the boldness of its own foundation, and the Archbishop of Canterbury should rediscover the faith of his predecessors. It is then for Rome to consider common cause with England.

19 February 2007 at 21:54  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Although I agree with your Grace that ARCIC is well past its sell by date, I do not think this difference of opinion can be laid at the door of the RCC, it appears to be firmly and exclusively a family squabble within the Anglican Communion.

Should some disillusioned Anglicans cross the Tiber, they will have to believe and profess all that the RCC teaches; including the insuperable hurdles you refer to, a pick-and-mix approach is not an option. Such a change of heart does not come from a fit of pique because a woman or a gay vicar turns up in the sacristy. I cannot see mass defections (excuse the pun) of Anglicans on the cards, there may be room for an Anglican Rite authorised by Rome but again it will only be adopted by sections of the TAC, if at all. It is laughable to think the more Calvinistic or liberal branches of the Reformed Churches would have any truck with Rome or the Pope. I don’t think you have any real need to worry.

On a more sober note I think there are only losers from this schism, it saddens me as it further weakens the Anglican Communion, this consequently is unhealthy for England and challenging for our Government as it encourages them (as if they need any more encouragement) in their ever growing secular, relativistic desire to disestablish Christianity once and for all, in this land.

19 February 2007 at 22:06  
Anonymous E Albion said...

your Grace ,the powers that be,in the church and out of it would like to get rid of England as a nation,so they would not stop at getting rid of her church.

19 February 2007 at 22:34  
Blogger tim said...

Your Grace,

Having read similar pronouncements over recent years, I must agree that this is getting much more coverage than it deserves. But I then must wonder, why is the ARCIC allowed to continue at all?

Does the ARCIC believe that one day, the Anglican parishoners will wake up and be told that they're now "Anglican-Rite Catholics," and that they believe everything in the Roman Catholic catechism, and the 39 Articles are hereby disbanded? Especially those troublesome ones like VI: Of the Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures for Salvation--" that whatsoever is not read therein, nor may be proved thereby, is not to be required of any man, that it should be believed as an article of the Faith...", or XIX: Of the Church--" also the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith." Or XXII: Of Purgatory. Etc, etc., etc...

Unification with Rome can only be done on Rome's terms, as it claims infallibility, not simply in the Pope, but in the Roman Catholic church as a whole. Therefore, they cannot ever have erred in official doctrine, so they cannot ever change official doctrine. And they have also said that communion with them can only be done when united under the Pope, and can that be done without subscribing to their catechism? Any compomises must inevitably go one way, then.

Being allowed a distinct *rite* would strike me as an easy and worthless gift for Rome to grant, after Canterbury had surrendered the field.

20 February 2007 at 03:16  
Anonymous Michael Canaris said...

Moreover, on closer examination it appears the proposed 'distinct' *rite* borrows rather heavily from the 1928 'revision' of the BCP (one which Parliament in its wisdom determined to disallow) for comfort.

20 February 2007 at 04:19  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I remain surprised that the Church of Rome has still not canonised Martin Luther, a figure of such profound historical significance he overshadows most of the Popes in history.

Without true recognition of the seminal importance of this Augustinian monk there can be no discussion of common themes between churches.

I tire of reading drivel about Henry VIII's "divorce" when we all know Catholics do not "divorce", they "annul" as Senator Edward Kennedy was well aware.

That a Pope permitted a King to marry his widowed sister-in-law is one thing; that he agreed to annul an unconsummated marriage and then reneged when her uncle besieged Rome, is another.

The Roman Church had long antagonised the German principalities and England by its constant drains on funds - a bit like Microsoft Vista licence fees being sucked out of poor countries making Linux very attractive to those who rebel.

The document makes interesting reading - I believe most documents of surrender read similarly, but it did little more than make me want to line up with Ulster Man and should this paper get a wider reading I think it will invoke disgust

The errors are huge. Merging Roman Catholic schools forget that Anglican Schools are not like Muslim or Catholic Schools and do not select on the same basis as London Oratory School makes evident - the C of E school is little more than a wrapper on a State School...many of such schools in this area are Muslim in content if not in title.

The C of E is an Erastian Church and it is significant that the complexities of a Church embedded into the fabric of the English State is skipped in this report; only the dismantling of the English Realm could bring about what they propose.

The bulk of the real estate of churches was built by philanthropists in the 19th century as farms became cities; the cathedrals belong to The Realm and Henry VIII did not make great distinction whether Aedes Christae in Oxford was a component of Christ Church or the Cathedral of the City of Oxford....indeed the Oxford and Cambridge Colleges are affected by such policies.

The problem with the Church of England is the failure of leadership. That the Americans have been allowed to dictate in their inimitable way with money that henceforth this and that innovation will be the way America will lead the Church is frankly bunkum.

That ECUSA has a diocese in New Hampshire barely 12.000 strong putting an alcoholic heretic as Bishop is a sign that the lack of State Income Tax has made New Hampshire home to those who teach in the 62 Colleges around Boston, MA. and their 1968 ideologies.

In a nation of 300 million ECUSA might scrape up a nominal 2 million members which makes it somewhat of a social elite compared to Nigeria or even England where most Anglicans are ignored by their Church which has chosen the path of elitist opinion and Guardian liberalism leaving the flock to wander the hills.

The C of E is in many respects like the Rotarians - it collects money for good works, puts on a few events, and occupies the lonely middle class, the widowed and divorced by comforting them in their suffering.........but it does not evangelise but constantly seeks new themes to overcome its embarrassment that Christ was a Jew.

The social activism is a long way from the cloistered monk; and it is sometimes hard to discern whether the Church is itself nothing more than a superannuated bureaucracy in a bureaucratic society unable to minister to individual souls because it is too obsessed with 'group rights' in true 1960s fashion.

Rome may wish to glue the wings of Orthodoxy and Protestantism onto its Vatican fuselage, but forgetting why it lost its port wing and engines in 1054 and its starboard ones in 1519 is not the basis for the fuselage to think it can simply draw up procedures for re-attaching them without changing course

20 February 2007 at 07:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Church of England has abandoned the people of England. What is the point of it given the current leadership in Canterbury and York. Both were appointed by the odious Blair. Do either speak for England or indeed uphold biblical authority if that indeed it the basis of Anglican doctrine.

In any case was England any less English under the rule of Henry vii.

Perhaps it is time for reflection rather than the usual slogans against the Pope

20 February 2007 at 08:17  
Anonymous bob said...

I remain surprised that the Church of Rome has still not canonised Martin Luther, a figure of such profound historical significance he overshadows most of the Popes in history.

Has a miracle ever been ascribed to Martin Luther's intercession?

20 February 2007 at 08:28  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I'm afraid Bob you have just raised a stumbling block to common discussion......I don't accept miracles as such from any Saint.....the rise of England to global power however has much to do with Martin Luther and Henry VIII and Thomas Cranmer

20 February 2007 at 08:52  
Anonymous bob said...

Well it's also a stumbling block to canonization as the process requires evidence of a miracle through the intercession of the candidate for canonization. So I'm afraid it rather rules out any reason why Martin Luther should be canonized.

20 February 2007 at 08:57  
Blogger Newmania said...

Well thank goodness, I was monentarily tempted to goad a little myself . Luckily I was to busy and count myself innocent of the goading charge .

I have been wondering about the end of the Union recently I wonder if your Grace would , at some time consider , how the English Church is intertwined with the despised and discraded English "ethnicity"

Oops , is that goading,it may slightly be but if I might broaden my scope I , for one would be fascinated to hear how your Grace views Constitutional and political issues outside of the core subject matter of this blog.

For many people , much though it may sadden Voyager , the English church is a cultural component chiefly and has a value outside its theological place.
A value that is under attack

20 February 2007 at 09:40  
Anonymous Voyager said...

For many people , much though it may sadden Voyager , the English church is a cultural component chiefly

Whatever tristesse I may be saddled with by your well-meaning comments Newmania of Islington (has the cash for ermime transaction been sanctified ?), I find it hard to discern what this cultural aspect is you identify as separate from the Erastian nature of the Church of England........indeed I am at a loss to comprehend your comment

20 February 2007 at 10:57  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

So am I.

This whole project is very much about surrendering and submitting. We've seen it for decades - the movement is one way. Rome's perception of itself tends towards infallibility, and when its on the ascendancy, it moves to positions of power.

20 February 2007 at 11:28  
Anonymous The Recusant said...

Ulster Man,

To use your own pejorative terms surrender and submit evokes images of being forced to relinquish the Protestant faith to the mighty Rome under threat or coercion. However I see no Inquisitor holding brands or irons, no priest in holes subverting the Reformed Church and no attacks on Presbyterians, Lutherans or Calvinists. The movement to Rome from Protestantism is 100% voluntary; the RCC is not actively recruiting in the Anglican Communion. To put it another way, you have deserters in the ranks, not just deserter but traitors because they are going over to old enemy, Babylon and all that. Alternatively perhaps they have discovered, once firmly held beliefs are no longer sufficient for their Christian development and that there is more. If this is not so, then what is it within Protestantism that no longer holds the attraction it once did? Rome too has its deserters too, but it does not seem to generate the level of naval gazing that is current in the AC.

20 February 2007 at 13:13  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

Your Grace:


I know now, I didn't previously.

It's all mysterious to me anyway; I find the very notion of belief in a deity incomprehensible. And as for arguments about how to worship said deity ...?

And how would anyone know the will of said deity? I do know that the last person I heard of that claimed God spoke to him is locked up for life in Broadmoor ... Peter Sutcliffe.

I do wonder what would happen in the modern day if a man anounced that 'God' had told him he had to kill his son; he then took said son from his wife to the bottom of the garden, also carrying a carving knife; then just before the actual murder, he changed his mind saying said 'God' had spoken to him again and now said he didn't have to murder the boy after all? Note that no one else heard said 'God' speaking.

And would you want this man as YOUR dad?

20 February 2007 at 13:37  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The movement to Rome from Protestantism is 100% voluntary

A Protestant cannot move to Rome - only crypto-Catholics can make that journey: no Protestant can.

20 February 2007 at 13:48  
Anonymous Ulster Man said...

Recusant's analysis is missing the murkier dimensions!! What do you expect if you've got crypto-Catholics making all the senior CofE appointments? What do you expect if the ministers advising the Queen are RCs? We even had an RC coming up with the plans to reform the RUC. No, Recusant, it is not all Protestant indifference and lack of self belief. There seems to be design to it all.

20 February 2007 at 13:57  
Anonymous bob said...

Protestants can and have, just have Catholics can and have moved into Protestantism - such as Katharine Jefferts Schori, although, frankly, you're welcome to her. Calling someone a crypto-Catholic is just a way of attempting to deny there was any theological, spiritual or philosophical reflection prior to the decision to convert.

20 February 2007 at 13:59  
Anonymous bob said...

So is the solution, Ulster Man, that Catholics should therefore be banned from holding offices in government, law, the forces? If this is what Protestants believe they should at least have the courage to say it plainly.

20 February 2007 at 14:01  
Blogger tim said...


I loved your extended post above! The Catholic church as Microsoft Vista, vs. Protestants as Linux rebels. So that would make the Pope...Bill Gates? Actually, I'd suggest one modification--have the Lutherans and Calvinists be the Linux users, with the C of E being Mac OS X. Same underlying content as Linux, but with corporate management, well-maintained, and a bit more upscale.

I agree with Voyager and Ulster Man. If you jump ship and swim to Rome over leadership issues, then you must have already disagreed with the Protestant doctrines of the church.

A Protestant doesn't see the church *hierarchy* going nuts and decide to convert to a church that practically worships its hierarchy. (And which has its own issues with wayward priests.)

A Protestant doesn't see his church hierarchy ignoring the Bible and its teachings and decide to convert to a church which lowers the Bible to merely one source of belief, no more important than Tradition.

Yes, it's possible for someone to have a crisis of conscience and change his mind about all kinds of other doctrines. But the ones I read about who leave or have left the C of E for Rome seem to have wanted to go there for a long time before. Newman, for instance. I mean, the whole "Anglo-Catholic" movement of the 19th century... There are, I reckon, still a few of those around now. That's probably the "crypto-catholicism" Voyager & Ulster Man refer to.

Go here to see the Catholic triumphalism over this whole issue:

They're convinced that the conservative Anglicans are all going to "swim the Tiber"--so many of them that Rome will flood!

I've got to expect there aren't too many who lean that way. The C of E has much more in common in substance with the Methodist and Presbyterian churches than with Rome. Heck, we Methodists simply pared down the 39 articles to 24. And Wesley's big fights were with Calvinists--who were all within the C of E.

20 February 2007 at 14:37  
Blogger tim said...

I think my link didn't wrap properly. Let me try linking this post at It's the one titled "Here's a hopeful sign!" on Feb. 19.

As for the idea that the movement to Rome is 100% voluntary--well, this is a joint Catholic/Anglican commission, set up by the two churches' hierarchies. It's not like the laymen are setting up grassroots movements to do this. It's coming from the top down.

And because this bunch keeps flinging up their hands and yelling, "Let's all convert!" every few years, can't somebody just fire them?!

20 February 2007 at 14:45  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Good post Tim....both of them.

I heard there are Proestants who feel more at home with The Orthodox and since Vlad The Bad intends to use The Russian Orthodox Church to bind Russian exiles to the Motherland I have no doubt its expansion will be facilitated.

However Protestants would not be welcome in The Church of Rome because it would not withstand what such an influx could do to it. Rome is fishing for African souls not the English - it wants Akinola's Church not Schori's.

20 February 2007 at 14:54  
Blogger tim said...

By the way, here's the commission's refutation of the Times' article.

20 February 2007 at 15:37  
Blogger kate said...

I live in the US and am a nominal Unitarian. I was originally an Episcopalian and flirted with Rome before giving it all up. I follow church politics and religious orders (I was interested in entering at one time) in both Rome and C of E bec. it's interesting.

I personally don't know a single practising RC. I know a lot of ex-RC's, many in the Unitarian Church, which is almost exclusively made up of refugees from other denominations, usually in proportion to their numbers, ie lots of RC's. This is also true of the Quakers and their members, who are overwhelmingly from other denominations.

But neither UU nor the Quakers nor any of the Protestant denominations trumpet their RC refugees within their ranks. They are too numerous to even talk about.

The phenomenon of fording the Tiber by anglo-catholics is hype by the noisy and few,including angry bloggers and older white priests. This hype is similar to a video feed I saw about the renascence in interest in religious life, attested to by a video of the Dominican Srs. of Mary of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, MI, a new conservative order underwritten by Tom Monaghan's millions (Domino's) showing legions of young women in habits. Well, there are literally a handful of orders in the US with this sort of success. Young people in droves are not entering religious life as the Episcopalians or other Protestants (in the US--Africa may be a different matter) aren't fording the Tiber in droves, either, centainly not to match the droves who are quietly slipsliding away. No one keeps track of them.

The RC church in the US is in bad shape. The latest potential major scandel is embezzlement. The church has so far paid out ONE BILLION in restitution for the pedophile cases. Numbers of priests and religous continue to plummet, (check the CARA website)except for deacons. Parishes are merging ("cluster parishes"), schools and churches have closed everywhere. Apparently Protestants give twice as much per capita as RC's--I was surprised by this figure, as it was 'only' twice-I would have predicted a much higher figure.

20 February 2007 at 16:11  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Kate you have a more confused path than most Anglicans - to move from ECUSA to Catholicism and then from Trinitarianism to Unitarianism and an organisation that is not even Christian (UU) is something which is alien to Christians.

As for the RC Church in the USA it is still by far the largest denomination and will no doubt remain so. I have to say that the problems we encounter in the Anglican Church derive largely from American heretics and it is to be hoped they will be expelled from the Anglican Communion forthwith.

The situation in the Roman Catholic Church in the USA owes much to men like Gene Robinson being admitted to Catholic Seminaries in the 1960s in direct contravention of a 1962 instruction from The Vatican to screen out pederasts and those not inclined to celibacy.

I doubt Roman Catholics would find anything in Unitarianism or UU unless they had become atheistic or agnostic; and Protestants who veer to Rome are crypto-Catholic since Protestantism can recreate a Church at will as the Rev. Ian Paisley has shown in Northern Ireland - those who prefer 'smells, bells' and the notion of apostolic succession may prefer Rome where that has not been compromised by priestesses and other deviations from Christian Faith

20 February 2007 at 16:36  
Anonymous The Recusant said...


I respect your opinion, you have broadened my horizons on many an issue with intelligent and reasoned debate, but on this we must agree to disagree. Protestants do move to Rome. I understand you may refer to them and crypto Catholics or high church etc but they are Protestants. Why? because they are adherents of a Christian body that separated from the Church of Rome during the Reformation, in accord with those German princes who protested against the decision of the Diet of Speyer in 1529. In the Spirit and the letter they are Protestants, even if they don’t protesteth too much.

Ulster Man,

I would agree my analysis may be missing many dimensions, murky or otherwise, unlike our host I am not an academic, however your assertion that government bias, even if the whole cabinet went to Rome, does not explain why Protestantism is loosing parishioners to Roman Catholicism.

Your argument is that because so called crypto-Catholics are making all the senior CofE appointments, advising the Queen and reforming the Royal Ulster Constabulary into the Police Service of Northern Ireland the ordinary Protestant turns Catholic. I’d be insulted at the banality of the logic never mind the insinuation that I were a simple minded, unthinking sell-out. And that you can suggest Her Majesty would renege on her coronation oath is frankly ridiculous (I’m a Papist Royalist, who ever heard of such a thing).

My analysis never suggested either protestant indifference or a lack of self belief as you suggest. My analysis concluded with the question “what is it within Protestantism that no longer holds the attraction it once did?”, an eminently reasonable question with no hidden meanings or overtones.

Sir Henry Morgan,

So you don’t like Father Abraham, well at least he spared his child, the God free Utopia you dream of has already killed 6 million children in the UK in its headlong narcissistic, arrogant, headlong march to a more inclusive culture of death. Got a pensions problem? Have to import cheap labour from abroad? Not enough nurses for the NHS? Well now you know why. The seven ‘sacraments’ of your secular culture are abortion, buggery, contraception, divorce, euthanasia, feminism of the radical type, and genetic experimentation and mutilation. Things that your average friendly secularists unabashedly espouse profess and promote. Government is full of your kind of people and they, to a man present a clear and present danger to our survival as a nation.

20 February 2007 at 21:14  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...


No, I don't. But then, I don't like the way we conduct our affairs either.

It doesn't logically follow that because I dislike one I must therefore like the other.

20 February 2007 at 21:26  
Blogger tim said...

Sigh. I've been looking again at the Catholic sites on and Lots of triumphalism and claims that Protestants are ready to all crawl to Rome.

I've finally realized that there cannot be honest doctrinal discussions with the Roman Catholic church. At least, not "honest" in the sense of there being some theoretical possibility of convincing the other side it has made a mistake.

As long as Rome claims the infallibility of their church, they cannot admit the possibility of ever having erred in official pronouncements of faith and morals. Therefore, they cannot possibly change.

And we can't convince them of their ever having made a mistake. If we point out a mistake in their interpretation of scripture, they can say they're relying on Tradition. If we say Tradition is unreliable, they can claim it's transmitted by Apostolic Succession. And they can cap it all off with Infallibility, which is supported by Tradition and Apostolic Succession and which in turn supports those two.

Infallibility, "Sacred Tradition," and Apostolic Succession. Without changing their minds on these three, I don't think there is any way to win a doctrinal argument with a committed Catholic.

So why have the ARCIC? Disband the thing and be done with it.

21 February 2007 at 00:15  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Ah Tim, read this satirical comments list in The Times


21 February 2007 at 06:56  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Tim, I decided to add to Mark Shea

The only reason for Protestant Anglicans to enter The Church of Rome is to bring it back to the Path of Jesus Christ and away from being The State Church of the Roman Empire and assuming such pagan titles as Pontifex Maximus.

When Martin Luther is given full-recognition as one of the greatest religious figures in history then Rome can make peace with itself.

Having driven away Christian Orthodox in 1054 because of Papal Politics and delivered Constantinople to the Muslims; the depravity of the Papacy and is obsession with gold drove the Christians of Northern Europe after centuries of disquiet out of the Church of Rome.

A Pope who blessed the Norman invasion of England; another who annulled the marriage of the niece of The Holy Roman Emperor so she could marry her brother-in-law and bind England to Spain against France but then sent a nuncio to London to annul this unconsummated marriage until her uncle besieged Rome and forced the Pope to recant.

Spain which had never paid the dowry now allied to France posed a threat to the safety of England - when Philipp II of Spain first married Henry VIII's daughter, Mary Tudor he thought Spain would control England. Her death led him to try to marry her half-sister Elizabeth..........shades of Spain attempting with the daughters what it had tried with the father.

The daughter of Ann Boleyn refused and faced a Franco-Spanish invasion fleet in 1588.

21 February 2007 at 07:56  
Anonymous The Recusant said...


I think you confuse the opinions of the faithful (markshea, jimmyakin et al) who lets face it are preaching to the converted, with Church teaching. Although the essence of Catholicism is unity it is not uniformity, we don’t all have to agree on everything (except official Church teaching). You will see if you look a Mark Sheas blog in particular that he has a lot of detractors on his site. If I were to say I hope no Catholic will vote Labour, that doesn't make it binding on every Catholic. I'm sure we both know generally the USA is more certain about everything, perhaps that’s why they get themselves into a few more scrapes. The dialogue you refer to is not carried out at Parish or Dioceses level but at Magisterial level the objections you raise (the usual ones or infallibility, Rome claims, Sacred Tradition, Apostolic Succession blah blah..) have what to do with Bishops Gene and Schori? Nothing, My opinion (again not Church Teaching) is that Protestants will not convert in droves, a few here, a few there maybe.

21 February 2007 at 08:04  
Anonymous Voyager said...

the recusant is reasoned

21 February 2007 at 08:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"bob said...
So is the solution, Ulster Man, that Catholics should therefore be banned from holding offices in government, law, the forces? If this is what Protestants believe they should at least have the courage to say it plainly".

It doesn't need spelling out it is in The Bill of Rights and other Acts of Union (still in force) after the Roman Catholic Relief Act (Emancipation) who wished were supposed to take an oath to uphold that the UK is Protestant, that has fallen by the way side to suit thieves and crooks in the Church and Parliament.

UK as Protestant meant we (the nation) would not become a tool of Papist's war mongering and previous genocides in the same way as we would not be drawn in to fight Religious battles (as part of an Islamic Caliphate courtesy of New Labour and Tony "Ponzi" Blair the Catholic in Proddy clothing.

21 February 2007 at 12:42  
Blogger islingtonian said...

Your Grace, I am much amused by your erudite reference to the Church of England's via media.

Here in Islington the Media Road is the only thoroughfare in town. Like the crowd on the Apenine way its denizens grow no older. Socialists and Conservatives walk harmoniously in each others' footsteps, with Liberals barely half a pace behind.

Once the Church of Rome adopts this route I fear 'reunification' may be inevitable. Public opinion will demand it.

21 February 2007 at 22:13  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Public opinion will demand it.

That is the least valid justification for anything....and incompatible with the nature of Christian Faith...... public opinion demanded the freeing of a murderer and the execution of an innocent man nearly 2000 years ago

21 February 2007 at 23:21  
Anonymous The Recusant said...



22 February 2007 at 07:42  
Blogger Newmania said...

ISLINGTONIAN -Socialists and Conservatives walk harmoniously in each others' footsteps,

Well I cannot imagine what fictitious Islington you are living in but I certainly do not walk harmoniously side by side with any Socialists and nor does any other Conservative I am aware of .. Who are you Islingtonian ? There are plenty of leaflets that need delivering , if you are feeling your life requires a little more political commitment , which clearly it does. Perhaps it is time to throw down your decadent lilacs and don the fiery blue Rosette .

I would not want anyone to have the impression that there are any lions lying with Lambs , in our Borough . It is a foul and unnatural practice, and any Socialist that gets anywhere near me is likely to be the recipient of a finger wagging sermon on his many failings and moral inadequacies.

Get with the Programme Isinlingtonian. Join the party. By your presence here it is clear you are not so lost to all right feeling that we cannot save you from this laconic fatalism.

Strength through Joy Citizen Isligntonian. I look forward to seeing you and the torchlight rally by the Town hall.


22 February 2007 at 10:09  
Blogger Man in a shed said...

Your Grace, A secular view on this takeover has just been posted by The Economist. ( Its a merger in the same sense that BP and Amoco was a merger and is now BP. )

22 February 2007 at 11:32  
Anonymous Voyager said...

man in a shed...hardly worth coming out to explain why The Economist is as adrift on serious issues like the Christian Faith as The Guardian or BBC

22 February 2007 at 12:06  
Blogger tim said...


Ahh, thanks for the back-up over at Mark Shea's. They've taken refuge in the idea that "England is only accidentally Protestant" a number of times and need to be reminded that Henry VIII's desired annulment wasn't the only thing going on.


Sorry, I didn't make my complaint clear about discussing doctrine with Catholics. Sure, I know they disagree on plenty of things, and Mark Shea's got arguments with plenty of his own (including, oddly, one Sunegesis (sp?), who's arguing the Earth is the center of the universe...).

But I was mostly meaning on matters of official doctrine, established in their catechism or canon law. For a group like the ARCIC, which is high-level and official, how can there be any honest discussion of doctrine? If there is any purpose to discussing doctrine (including the position of the Pope), then there must be the possibility of somebody changing his mind on an issue.

Our side, not claiming infallibility, is possible to convince of mistakes, at least in theory. But the Catholic side claims infallibility on doctrine and therefore cannot possibly change it. Reason, Biblical references--nothing can be allowed to show an error, because infallibility means you can't have made any.

So how can we talk? It's the same as talking to a brick wall, except with the added twist that the brick wall will try to convert you.

22 February 2007 at 13:27  
Anonymous The Recusant said...


Does honest discussion necessarily mandate subsequent agreement and consequently a change of opinion in one or other party; surely that is coercion, even unsound dogma to begin with, not honest discussion? I do not agree that, as a precondition of honest discussion, all parties involved have to be prepared to surrender their previously held theological metaphysical perspective. To my mind this type of thinking is the product of the post Christian, relative secularisation of the West, where it is most definitely un-de rigeur to hold or advance religious convictions, just in case someone is offended.
We see it from the BBC and its camp follower GROLIES (Guardian Reader Of Low Intelligence in Ethnic Skirts) discussions all the time; "Well how can anyone hold that opinion in the 21st Century..." and "I thought Christianity was supposed to be a religion of love..." or "Doesn’t it say in the bible..". What they all boil down to is this: “Change your mind or shut up and die”, it presupposes that anyone disagreeing with my lifestyle/choices must be a vile medieval religious bigot of the worst kind. It fails spectacularly to elicit the respect that it unconditionally expects from others, in fact it goes one stage further, under the deception of honest discussion and the pretence of fair and equitable discourse it soundly holds up to ridicule and detestation any opinion not in accord with it's own mantra and of particular ire and foaming at the mouth bile, a hatred is Christianity. Its weapons are “Hate Crime”, ”Homophobic”, ”Sexist”, ”Racist”, ”Bigot”, and more recently the intention to change the law to attack non-conformists (adoption row).
Watch the steady encroachment on parents choice to home school their kids and monitor the lies language used, ‘ensure the highest standards’, ‘needs of the child must come first’, ’consistent level of education’ etc etc. As our host has previously intimated, it has definite overtones of fascism. I’ll give it a decade at most under the current mindset of the state.

Here possibly, is where I come in for a sound kicking from my separated brethren, whom I esteem greatly, but I think it bears mention. I do not exempt the Anglican Communion for allowing themselves to become victims of this slow encroachment of relativist thinking. The idea is manifest in Real Politick Ecumenism summed up in “the World sets the agenda, the Church responds to it” — or, more succinctly, “go with the flow.” Historically, Anglican Erastianism took the form of, in England, the authority over the church is the Crown-in-Parliament and, more recently, by the Church of England’s slavish obsequiousness to bien-pensant public opinion, and, in America, the “social Erastianism” of deference to elite secular opinion and social consensus, spiced up at times by romantic Anglophilia and medievalism; and as elite opinion has moved away from Christian moral and social teaching in both countries (if at different speeds and in different ways), so Anglican bishops and clergy have found ways to “sanctify” its every stage and advance in a facilis est descensus Averni that has led from the approval of contraception to that of routine remarriage after divorce and from priestesses to the sanctification of sodomy. A sad confirmation of the analysis of this can be found in the utter inability over the past three decades of Continuing Anglican bodies to arrive at a coherent and prescriptive consensus about what constitutes the “Anglican orthodoxy” that they profess, for the most part, to preserve — save by the clear if (for the most part) tacit repudiation of the distinctive views of the English Reformers (His Grace [sic]) and striving instead to embody a purported non-papal Western Christianity, and one in which the 39 Articles are seen more as an embarrassment than an asset.

So no Tim, I don’t think we have to agree or have any intent or even the possibility of agreement to enter honest discussion. I suspect your position is consequential of the above but I would say however, that respect of another’s position is necessary if discussion is not to descend into an ontological slagging match on Apologetics.

22 February 2007 at 16:13  
Anonymous Voyager said...

the recusant makes good points. It is true the Anglican Church slipped its moorimgs some time ago and floated out to the open sea where American pirates sought to board her and throw true Anglicans overboard.

The Restored Elizabethan Settlement gave us the moorings of 1662 BCP, KJV, and XXXIX Articles and Hooker's Three-Legged Stool Analogy - but I am happy with KJV, BCP, and XXXIX.

Those who have no allegiance to those cornerstones are not Anglican but Rotarians who have turned the C of E into a secularising force rather than an evangelising one and are consequently more Sadduccee than Pharisee.

That Blair found a non-member of the Church of England to be its head is bizarre - and this document reveals just how bizarre


22 February 2007 at 17:34  
Blogger tim said...


I agree with you wholeheartedly and enthusiastically on your sound and deserved whupping of the churches and church leaders on all sides who have succumbed to post-modern moral relativism and illogic and the consequent unmoorings of many churches from the Biblical anchor and drifting with the whims of the world. No need to get a beating from our side over this--I criticize my own denomination, the Methodist church, for the same thing, when my bishops have tried to yank us the wrong direction.

In fact, you're preaching to the choir on this one, because that's still not what I meant.

What I'm talking about is what the premise was, going into the founding of a group like the ARCIC. The idea of finding common ground in which to work together is good and useful. Problems of morality need to be addressed by Christianity (and Judaism, too) in a united front, and this could be helpful.

But beyond this, it seems that ARCIC has been debating doctrinal issues relating to "healing the rift" between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches. They're talking about going back to the issues of the English Reformation. Now, as I pointed out 'way above, there are about 9 or 10 of the Thirty-Nine Articles which directly contradict Roman Catholic doctrines or pracitices. And there are Roman Catholic doctrines and magisterial pronouncements (like a lot of what came out of Trent) that directly contradict certain Protestant doctrines.

So the "rift" cannot be "healed" without somebody changing his mind about *something*. We go into this sort of a discussion believing that we are right, and your side goes in believing it is right. Or, at least, I hope that's true--if we don't believe we're right, why do we believe it at all? And this is all well and good.

But what's the idea of a "discussion" on such issues if one side has a priori ruled out any *theoretical* possibility that it could ever have erred, even in principle, and that, moreover, to find and change an error would violate its very theology?

I still say it's dishonest, if the premise of the talks has been to "find ways of healing the rift," and if doing so means examining the underlying theologies.

But the fault is clearly on our side for agreeing to such a futile sham in the first place. We knew it coming in, or at least should have.


P.S. to all-- I will admit one thing, though. While in principle the claim of infallibility means that Rome can't ever change magisterial pronouncements of "faith and morals," it's gotten around that before by redefining the terms it used.

The example that comes to mind is the meaning of the "church" in the formula "extra ecclesiam nulla salus" ("outside the church there is no salvation"). It's clear that the old sources mean "the Roman Catholic church." And that, by definition, means those who are in communion with the Pope. And being in communion with the Pope was rather easy to discern.

Nowadays, we Protestants are said to be not necessarily going to Hell, after all. How could this be? Ahah--redefine who's in the church! We're clearly not in communion with the Pope, or else there wouldn't be any ARCIC (devoutly to be wished!). But we are declared to be in a real, though imperfect, communion, through our very baptisms.

Voila! Problem solved.

So if the Pope wants to "heal the rift," we just convince him to redefine what the rift is, or their understanding of it.

The only benefit I see out of any such "healing" is (1) convincing the Catholics to take communion with everybody else, like we should be. (2) And most importantly getting Christianity to stand together in matters of practical importance--evangelizing and moving the Gospel forward against the immorality and decay and irreligion of the modern world.

I don't want the churches to merge (unless Rome up and becomes Protestant, but not even then). I like having my church's style and beliefs. I don't feel the need to impose them on anybody else, nor do I want to be imposed upon. If the Catholics started believing the same as Methodists, I'd gladly let them join with us, but no need to make everything uniform.

22 February 2007 at 22:04  
Blogger tim said...


And my apologies for the high-seas piracy by some wayward American "theologians." I'd be happy to see the Episcopal church here washed of all traces of Bishop Spong, Jefferts-Schori, and the like, too.

I've got to ask my uncle, who's an Episcopal priest, what effect the secession of the two Virginia parishes is having. That's in his diocese, I think. A close friend of mine is a traditionalist Episcopalian and goes to a church that seceded decades ago, when the US Episcopal church started really going nutty. I hope enough traditional parishes will secede that they can finally get organized on their own and provide a viable challenge to the current leadership.

22 February 2007 at 22:14  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Tim - fair points well made. It is a strange thing to invite discussions on a Christian Front to face a muddled world, but to think it isa prelude to integrative merger is false premise and akin to the much touted joint-venture between pig and hen in the bacon and egg repertoire

23 February 2007 at 09:35  

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