Thursday, May 29, 2008

Why isn't this man Archbishop of Canterbury?

The more one heard from the Bishop of Rochester, the more one is reminded that the Church of England is led by the deficient and Parliament breeds poodles. Sadly, for all his theological insight and sociological intuition, he manifests little political nous. If he really wished one day to lead the Church of England, he would be making friends and building bridges in order to attain the position from which he could effect policy. Notwithstanding this, this Daily Mail article is replete with so many gems, Cranmer reproduces it in its entirety:

The collapse of Christianity has wrecked British society, a leading Church of England bishop declared yesterday.

It has destroyed family life and left the country defenceless against the rise of radical Islam in a moral and spiritual vacuum.

In a lacerating attack on liberal values, the Right Reverend Michael Nazir-Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, said the country was mired in a doctrine of 'endless self-indulgence' that had brought an explosion in public violence and binge-drinking.

In a blow to Gordon Brown, he mocked the 'scramblings and scratchings' of politicians who try to cast new British values such as respect and tolerance.

The Pakistani-born bishop dated the downfall of Christianity from the 'social and sexual revolution' of the 1960s.

He said Church leaders had capitulated to Marxist revolutionary thinking and quoted an academic who blames the loss of 'faith and piety among women' for the steep decline in Christian worship.

Dr Nazir-Ali said the ' newfangled and insecurely founded' doctrine of multiculturalism has left immigrant communities 'segregated, living parallel lives'.

Christian values of human dignity, equality and freedom could be lost as the way is left open for the advance of brands of Islam that do not respect Western values.

The Bishopric of Rochester is one of the ten most powerful positions in the Church of England.

Dr Nazir-Ali's attack on the decline of Christianity appears to put him in the opposite corner to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, and many of his fellow bishops.

But he holds some views in common with the Church's other widely-heard and popular prelate, Ugandan-born Dr John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York.

Over the past six months, Dr Nazir-Ali has made a number of criticisms of Islam and its influence.

Among them have been charges about the spread of no-go areas for non-Muslims and worries over the impact of new mosques.

Last weekend he was one of just three bishops who backed a move in the Church's parliament, the General Synod, to encourage the conversion of Muslims to Christianity.

His latest attack once again criticises Dr Williams's backing for sharia law, saying that 'recognising its jurisdiction in public law is fraught with difficulties, precisely as it arises from a different set of assumptions than the tradition of law here'.

Dr Nazir-Ali detailed his arguments in an article in the newly-launched political magazine Standpoint.

The bishop, himself an immigrant from Pakistan in the mid-1980s, admitted that he might be thought the least qualified person to discuss British identity. But he quoted Kipling: 'What should they know of England who only England know?'

The bishop said 'something momentous' had happened in the 1960s. He quoted historians who point to a cultural revolution in which women ceased to uphold or pass on the Christian faith and to the role of Marxist revolutionaries.

Dr Nazir-Ali pointed with approval to a finding that 'instead of resisting this phenomenon, liberal theologians and church leaders all but capitulated. He said: 'It has created the moral and spiritual vacuum in which we now find ourselves.' In the place of Christianity there was nothing 'except perhaps endless self-indulgence'.

The bishop said the consequences were 'the destruction of the family because of the alleged parity of different forms of life together, the loss of a father figure, especially for boys, because the role of fathers is deemed otiose, the abuse of substances (including alcohol), the loss of respect for the person leading to horrendous and mindless attacks, the increasing communications gap between generations and social classes - the list is very long.'

Another result, he said, was that immigrants had been welcomed, not on the basis of Britain's Christian heritage, to which they would be welcome to contribute, but by the 'newfangled and insecurely-founded doctrine of multiculturalism'.

The bishop warned that views not founded on Christianity would not produce the same values. 'Instead of Christian virtues of humility, service and sacrifice, there may be honour, piety, the saving of face, etc'.

He questioned what resources were available for an ideological battle against radical Islamism, saying 'the scramblings and scratchings around of politicians for values which would provide ammunition' were hardly adequate.

Convert who crusaded against the extremists

Born into a Roman Catholic family in Pakistan, the young Michael Nazir-Ali converted to Anglicanism at the age of 20.

As a young man, he suffered rough treatment of the kind regularly handed out to Christians in a country where failing to follow the official religion can sometimes end in murder.

He moved to Cambridge to study theology and then returned as a priest to Pakistan before being brought to London in the 1980s to serve as an assistant to the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Robert Runcie.

He is one of the bishops who has been called on by the Prince of Wales to give advice on Islam.

However, Dr Nazir-Ali does not share the prince's enthusiasm for Islamic values. He has warned Charles to give up his hope of being 'defender of faiths' because of the incompatibility of different beliefs.

Dr Nazir-Ali has accused Muslims of promoting double standards by looking for both 'victimhood and domination'; he has called for powers for officialdom to remove veils from Muslim women for security reasons; and he has warned repeatedly over the dangers of extremism.

In particular he has called on Islamic leaders to allow Muslims to abandon their beliefs and adopt other religions.

Dr Nazir-Ali has spoken up for an estimated 3,000 Britons under threat of retaliation for giving up their faith and he has condemned Islamic states that maintain the death penalty for apostasy.

His outspokenness has put him in the vanguard of opposition to hardline Islamism and made him one of the highest-placed enemies of the gay rights movement.

He angered the Archbishop of Canterbury by threatening to boycott this year's Lambeth Conference of Anglican bishops from around the world.

He has criticised civil partnerships and opposed the extension of IVF treatment to single women and lesbians.

Dr Nazir-Ali has much in common with the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu. Unlike him, however, he does not have a populist touch.

This may have contributed to his failure to win the post of Archbishop of Canterbury, for which he was once considered a leading candidate.

The 58-year-old bishop has now remained in Rochester for nearly 14 years.

26 Comments:

Anonymous hear o israel said...

your grace
i am in a dilemma , rowan williams is one of the foremost anglican theologians for a generation , some of his books and speechs have a depth about them which challenges the mind and devotion .

dr Nazir ali on the other hand is the archbishop who condenses and reducues the beliefs and challenges to the christian faith into a doctrinal stance

john sentemu has a joy that reverberates and a desire for us to have courage in our faith and not faith in our courage .

at this time god has given the CofE an unusual group of leading anglicans each with different but important aspects of both what and why my/our faith is at it is .

we may look to rowan williams to direct this and preside over a rebuilding of christianities position in our country , but it would not be how the C of E chooses to work. this is no time for a media gala to mirror gordon browns predicaments .

my heart sunk when i heard that mystery sermon monitors had been deployed , to see if service was up to scratch .

soon the executive will have to act , and start to discern how best for the faith to find the soil in which it can grow.

but as ever only upon asking the lord do any of us find the answer nor know which path to take .

all three of these men have somthing true about the christian faith , all three of these men will experience dimishing congregations and worshippers if they do not seek the service which god has for them to do .

i can no more ask for a change of leadership in the C of E , than try and excuse my own silence about my faith when it comes to the more wordly aspects of my life .

to make one man a failiure or even responsible for what succesive goverments have done would be too near the spec in my brothers eye .

the church does not need to modernise it needs to breath the call to deepen our faith , to teach us and re explain our forgotten values .

the politicians need to stop depleating the nations moral and spiritual accounts , god is the ultimate service provider who requires strangely neither votes or money at its most fundamental level

30 May 2008 at 01:56  
Anonymous Asian Colonial subject said...

Truly... it is a sad day for Britain when it falls upon Asians to defend your own culture and traditions...

30 May 2008 at 04:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please do not equate Sentamu with Nazir-Ali. Rochester has intellectual rigor and speaks intelligently of important things, things that he considers to be right,taking no regard of political fall-out. York cuts up his dog-collar, sleeps on the pavement and jumps out of aeroplanes.

30 May 2008 at 08:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that those two bishops who originate from countries in which Islam is major religion (Pakistan, Nigeria), in other words, who knows how sharia really feels like, have much tougher and not so pinky stance on multicultural life. As oppose to those Anglicans, UK born, who are seeing world just from their Christian eyes.

30 May 2008 at 08:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it would be wise to listen to the bishop of rochester who has much knowledge of islam and the effects it has on countries. He speaks with love and good sense, archbisop of canterbury would be wise to listen to him as well as prince charles, i hope he is made the next archbisop.

30 May 2008 at 09:20  
Anonymous Patrich Hamilton said...

It was that secret catholic T. Blair that appointed Williams. In a move no doubt blessed by his secret leader the pope. The destruction of England as a protestant state has always been at the top of the Vatican agenda.
A survey of our history tells us that the popes have always been attacking us. This method of stiking at us from the inside is seen as most effecive

30 May 2008 at 10:18  
Anonymous BIGDAN said...

"He has condemned Islamic states that maintain the death penalty for apostasy"

What about "do not condemn, or you shall be condemned"? I think that may be slip in the wording of the journalist, but all the same, it's worrying.

30 May 2008 at 10:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right Patrick, blame it on Catholics (rolling eyes). Maybe if you Anglicans stop living in past and start living in 21. century, and finaly get over your obsession against Vaticans, you could find solution to your problems within your Church. It seems to me that you yourselves are doing great job of distroying your way of life, so there is no need for Vatican or others to bother (sarcasm).

30 May 2008 at 10:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that wearing that particular Mitre and Cope would be good enough reason for anyone NOT to be Archbishop of Canterbury.

30 May 2008 at 12:08  
OpenID yokel said...

@ Anon at 08:11 Rochester has intellectual rigor and speaks intelligently of important things, things that he considers to be right,taking no regard of political fall-out.

And he certainly has my support for it, especially the no regard for political fall out bit. For are we not in this world to please God, not man?

The CofE is indeed lost. The sooner it crumbles and thereby allows the likes of Dr. Nazir-Ali to minister to the people untrammeled by the constraints of the unholy and the ungodly (eg the perceived need not to upset Gene Robinson), the better the people of this country will be served.

30 May 2008 at 13:33  
Anonymous steadmancinques said...

"The religious and moral condition of English Society has become a matter for serious consideration. It is scarcely too much to say that English Society is ceasing to be Christian. There is no very widespread revolt from Christianity, but there is a great deal of indifference to the claims of religion, and a great deal of uncertainty as to the trustworthiness of the Christian tradition. There is an uneasy feeling in many who are incapable of giving it expression that the researches of scientific men and of Biblical critics have produced results adverse to the Christian Faith. Discussions concerning the freedom of the will and the problems of heredity have weakened the sense of personal responsibility [v/vi] and of personal sinfulness. On all sides there is a silent relaxation of Christian effort.

"At the same time the relation of English Society to the Church is being weakened by the invasion of a large foreign element only partly Christian and wholly alien to the traditions of English Christianity. Occasional attendance at Morning Prayer and Sermon in some country place constitutes the only connection of very many people with the Church of which they are nominal members.

J N Figgis, Religion and English Society, 1911

30 May 2008 at 14:19  
Blogger Sam Tarran said...

He's quite a bloke, certainly the most courageous and insightful prominent figure in the Church of England for a very long time. Like Sentamu, he's an immigrant, which is probably why he has such a good view of the problems blighting society and their causes. He's untainted by the liberal theology that has tainted our institutions.

30 May 2008 at 16:22  
Blogger Stefan said...

Your Grace, I saw the headline come up on my newsfeed and immediately I thought "this is about the Bishop of Rochester".

I'm glad we feel the same!

30 May 2008 at 18:01  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

As a 'left-footer' I hesitate to make a comment on the CoE episcopy, but as a one of your Grace's loyal communicants, perhaps I might be allowed a word.

Like 'hear o israel' I respect all three aforementioned. Dr Williams has a difficult job being in the forefront and trying to hold together what is becoming a fissiparous organisation. York and Rochester have more freedom to stir the pot.

I do agree with 'anonymous' about the mitre and the cope which look as if they have been salvaged from a carpet sale.

I have a feeling that archbishop's mitres seem to be getting bigger and more ridiculous in both the CoE and RC Churches. Is this just my impression?

Anyway I prefer the zuchetto, the little skull cap, sported by my hierarchy in purple, red or white.

30 May 2008 at 19:18  
Blogger Man in a Shed said...

Your Grace should also read Rochester's article in the new Standpoint magazine entitled "Breaking Faith with Britain" - oddly dated June 2008, so it must be prophetic in some way ...

30 May 2008 at 19:34  
Blogger Man in a Shed said...

I should have added that the short answer to your question in the title is "Tony Blair" - who preferred the weak and ineffectual Rowan Williams who has weakened the CofE so much, and then went of to finally join the Roman Catholic church.

30 May 2008 at 19:56  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Patrick Hamilton you make me laught. Now blame the Catholic church for your problems in the Anglican Church. Maybe if you did not let gays and Women priest you would not have so many people living the Anglican Church. Do you want to blame that Catholic Church for that problem too? You make me laugh.

Bruno
(Rome)

30 May 2008 at 20:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nazir-Ali will probably lead the Evangelical Protestant Church which will emerge from the ruins of the C of E post-Lambeth. The husk is being shed so new life can emerge from the old shell - it is a Reformation of Anglicanism that is re-aligning in North America and England both

30 May 2008 at 20:57  
Anonymous billy said...

anonymous said...
Nazir-Ali will probably lead the Evangelical Protestant Church which will emerge from the ruins of the C of E post-Lambeth. The husk is being shed so new life can emerge from the old shell - it is a Reformation of Anglicanism that is re-aligning in North America and England both

30 May 2008 20:57

I hope that this is prophecy.

30 May 2008 at 22:23  
Anonymous brotherjonathan said...

It seems His Grace has realized that the Church can only be the Body of Christ when it is cut free from the state.

1 June 2008 at 17:19  
Anonymous TexasAnglophile said...

(The original Thomas Cranmer's reformation of Catholicism eventually resulted in the Anglican Church. That he was allowed to proceed with the English Reformation owed to his willingness to serve King Henry VIII's desire to annul his marriage to Catherine of Aragon. What an interesting blend Cranmer was of submissiveness to Royal Authority, yet rigorous Biblical originalism.) It appears Rochester has the theological grounding, but as others have intimated, he will not play the political games that would allow him to be appointed Archbishop of Canterbury. Not that it matters, "dying husk" and all. I wish him great success in the future. If it's God's will to raise up the English church again, He can do it with any one of the weak or foolish persons He has to work with, even bloggers.

1 June 2008 at 23:43  
Anonymous edward tattysyrup said...

''Why isn't this man Archbishop of Canterbury?' comes the enquiry.

Because he is a nakedly self promoting careerist.

That's why.

3 June 2008 at 19:09  
Blogger Margo said...

Get the government out of the religion business. This is nothing but Caesaopapism. Under Caesaropapism, the archbishop or primate was reduced to a government minister of religion. The Bishops should be elected by the priests or selected by the Archbishop. The Archbishop should be selected by the Bishops. The Monarch or PM should have nothing to do with this. Poor Rowan Williams should have stuck with theology. Thatwas his forte -- not being a trussed up authority figure. If it were not for the Africans and Asians, the CofE would have sunk a long time ago. Their bishops are the not afraid to speak out. The Church of England is rapidly turning into a museum.

4 June 2008 at 18:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND LEADERSHIP HAS BEEN PUT TO THE TEST AND FOUND TO BE ON SHIFTING SAND.WE CHRISTIANS LOOK TO THEM FOR LEADERSHIP AND FOUND NOTHING!
IF THEY DO NOT STAND ON THE ROCK(CHRIST) THEY WILL BE SWEPT AWAY AS A MEANINGLESS IRRELEVANCE.

7 June 2008 at 08:09  
Anonymous edward tattysyrup said...

Stop shoutng anonymous!

We'll have no trouble here...

7 June 2008 at 10:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why not? It's those damned sideburns I can't stand to look at.

4 August 2008 at 07:15  

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