Sunday, December 23, 2007

Joy in the Vatican over one sinner who repents


Chief Vatican spokesman Fr Federico Lombardi hails a day of jubilation and celebration:

‘The choice of joining the Catholic Church made by such an authoritative personality can only arouse joy and respect.’

Well, Scripture is quite clear that he ought to be shouting from the dome of St Peter’s and similarly rejoicing over the conversion of every penniless peasant who has no authority whatsoever, and even those who have zero personality.

The announcement reads like some sort of spiritual coup; a concern with the status, pride, privilege and influence rather than with humility. And doubtless there will be a goodly feast some time to celebrate, and it is likely to be an exclusively Roman Catholic affair. Cranmer would like to know how many of the poor, lame, maimed or blind will be invited (Lk 14:7-14). For ‘if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same…’

And the BBC can’t help but mention that this conversion comes as research indicates that ‘Catholic churchgoers now outnumber Anglicans for the first time since the Reformation in the UK’. And rightly, it puts this down to EU immigration from Eastern European countries: ‘The numbers have swelled due to the large number of EU nationals from Eastern Europe who have immigrated to the UK in recent years… Estimates for church attendances in 2006, based on previous years' figures, reveal 861,800 Catholics attended services every Sunday compared with 852,500 Anglican worshippers’.

So the EU is indeed eroding the primacy of the national Church (though Cranmer freely admits that its leadership is destabilising the foundations of its own accord).

The Roman Catholic Church divides its sins into venial, carnal and mortal, and it is not exactly clear of how many of each Mr Blair is guilty. Of course, the heavens rejoice over one sinner who repents, but Cranmer would like to know if he has repented of all the anti-Christian legislation for which he was responsible while in office. As Ann Widdecombe MP observes: ‘If you look at Tony Blair's voting record in the House of Commons, he's gone against Church teaching on more than one occasion. On things, for example, like abortion. My question would be, “has he changed his mind on that?”’

Indeed.

Cranmer looks forward to being invited to the Blairs’ celebratory dinner, for true Christian hospitality is found in inviting someone who cannot repay you, someone who is unfamiliar to you, someone who is in some sense opposed to you. Then the concept of invitation receives a Christ-related meaning. Christ is the hospitality of God toward us. He invites all of us, from all languages and cultures, from all statuses of society, to the great feast, the Lord’s Supper, the feast which none of us can repay.

17 Comments:

Anonymous Bob said...

So the EU is indeed eroding the primacy of the national Church

I don't think the EU can be solely to blame - surely some of the blame lies on those Anglicans who are too lazy to attend Sunday Services.

The Roman Catholic Church divides its sins into venial, carnal and mortal

There are only two categories of sin recognised in Catholic theology - venial and mortal Carnal sins would more correctly be considered a subset of mortal sins.

Cranmer looks forward to being invited to the Blairs’ celebratory dinner

I would have thought given, that you're enjoying the eternal reward in paradise, your ability to attend this dinner, or the possibility of the Blairs being able to send you an invitation, would be quite impossible.

Merry Christmas!

23 December 2007 at 10:13  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Mr Bob,

His Grace is perfectly able to attend in spirit.

It is, after all, the thought that counts.

23 December 2007 at 10:23  
Anonymous Bob said...

Yes that is true. You're therefore most welcome to dine with me should the Blairs fail to invite you.

23 December 2007 at 10:28  
Blogger Savage44 said...

it's just occurred to me that Mr Blair's conversion might be quite convenient, given the rumours about his accession to the EU presidency. This is considering the (at least nominal) domination of most European countries by the Roman Catholic church. Having the Pope on his side might come in handy.

In any case, I wish your Grace and his communicants a happy and peaceful Christmas.

23 December 2007 at 12:16  
Blogger Manfarang said...

This goodly feast sounds very fishy to me.

23 December 2007 at 12:25  
Blogger Manfarang said...

If his Grace is feeling a bit peckish I could offer him plenty of som tam,it's a bit spicy.

23 December 2007 at 12:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony and his new church should remember the words from the mouth of the Saviour Jesus -
'(Joh 14:6) Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.'

If Tony and his new church goes any other way they will hear these terrible words.

(Luk 13:27) But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity.

23 December 2007 at 16:13  
Anonymous Nathan Hale said...

There is one surefire way to restore the Anglican Church and that is to set it free from the shackles of State control and State money.

I was just listening to some Anglican devotional music yesterday and I thought to myself, "Surely God has inspired many preachers and members of this Church, else they wouldn't be able to produce such staggeringly beautiful music."

The problem is, State control has made the Church tentative and weak. Allow the Church to teach and admonish according to Christ's doctrines rather than Caesar's!

23 December 2007 at 17:27  
Blogger Greg said...

Interesting what the current incumbent of your chair, said:

"Tony Blair has my prayers and good wishes as he takes this step in his Christian pilgrimage. A great Catholic writer of the last century said that the only reason for moving from one Christian family to another was to deepen one's relationship with God. I pray that this will be the result of Tony Blair's decision in his personal life."

Was that sacrifice of 21st March 1556, for nothing? The Bible hasn't changed and, from my reading of the current RC Catechism, nothing of substance has changed in RC doctrine, so who has moved?

23 December 2007 at 17:31  
Blogger Man in a Shed said...

Mr Blair needs to explain his conversion - how it came about and its timing. He also needs to explain if he stands by his old voting record in the commons.

he can try to argue for privacy - but scripture stands against him if he does.

Once he was a member of CND also - when it was convenient for him.

23 December 2007 at 17:57  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Was that sacrifice of 21st March 1556, for nothing? The Bible hasn't changed and, from my reading of the current RC Catechism, nothing of substance has changed in RC doctrine, so who has moved?

The current incumbent of His Grace's chair.

Perhaps, as Simon Hughes MP epitomises, people have ceased to understand the history, theology, and politics of such an act. In his opinion, the conversion is simply like changing from Sainsbury's to Waitrose. He says:

"But if people understand that the old Christian differences are reducing not increasing every year, and that changing from one branch of the church to another, although important, is much like changing from one branch of a store to another, then we would all be better off, including people in the church."

Here is a clear example of when it is best to ignore a politician attempting to do theology.

23 December 2007 at 18:20  
Blogger AethelBald, King of Wessex said...

There is no forgiveness for bungling the war in Iraq. Not in this life, anyway.

He may feel some forgiveness from his new pals. I understand that they can do that sort of thing. But can they forgive a war that they informed in advance was unjust by their Just War criteria? Seems a litle too comfy-wumfy if they can. Still, he is a celeb, and so is deservedly admitted by some elevated type who is not exactly Father Ted, and Blair's forgiveness must be golden. Lucky Bliar.

23 December 2007 at 18:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A cynical "Proddy" married to a Catholic writes..

Well as I said to the other half, "don't you have to believe in Catholic theology to be a Catholic?"

Has Mr Blair repudiated his un-Catholic (indeed un-Christian) legislative record (as noted by Cranmer in his last post). If so a Paulian conversion indeed.

The words "Vicar of Bray" come to mind. Now there is no danger of a conflict between promoting his un-Godly policies and his Catholic beliefs he feels safe to convert.

24 December 2007 at 10:34  
Anonymous Miss Jelly Bean said...

Bob said... "Yes that is true. You're therefore most welcome to dine with me should the Blairs fail to invite you."

How very thoughtful of you, Bob. Hey, can I make a contribution? How do you feel about halaal meat Cranmer? Or is it strictly bread and wine? in which case, is it ok if we substitute ribena for the wine?

24 December 2007 at 11:01  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Forgive me your grace for my own attempts at theology, and please shoot me if I ever become a politician. Because I will simply depress people to death.

You are right of course there are very very important differences between the CofE and the Roman Catholic church. However in my opinion these differences for the ordinary person are reasonably superficial.

The real important differences are exactly the same as they were in the 16th century. One lot is run for the benefit of the British establishment headed up by the Queen of England messing around in Scotland most of the time.

The other is run for the benefit of the Devils representative on earth living in a completely independent very small fraction of Europe. Who presides over the second largest independent piece of ill gotten gain next to the Crown Estates.

24 December 2007 at 18:40  
Blogger Oliver McCarthy said...

I love the idea of TB with his broad phylacteries and a nice big ring on his finger.

Of course, the fact that his conversion comes just as Catholics pull ahead of Anglicans in terms of actual observance must be purely coincidental.

27 December 2007 at 13:47  
Anonymous Athiest said...

So, the EU IS trying to destroy the English Church.
I'm an athiest myself,

but by choice,

if the EU is going to force me, I'm going to start going to church.

2 January 2008 at 18:45  

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