Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Archbishop of Canterbury invites disaffected Roman Catholics to join the Anglican Communion

Marvellous development. Tremendous day. Truly historic, momentous and extraordinarily generous.

As Pope Benedict XVI issued his ‘Apostolic Constitution’ setting out the terms by which disaffected Anglicans are invited to cross the Tiber and join his church, in a spirit of ecclesial benevolence and with all the generosity of ecumenical reciprocity, the Archbishop of Canterbury has invited the protestantly-inclined, via-media-attracted (mainly) Tablet-reading, liberal-minded Romanish Catholics to join the Church of England.

Except Tony Blair.

Rome can keep him.

The more orthodox-minded Roman Catholics may be as delighted to see the back of the pro-Vatican II liberals, progressives and ‘trendies’ as some in the Church of England may be delighted by the departure of the ‘closet-Catholics’. But although Dr Williams was only given a few days’ warning of Rome’s intentions, the Church of England is not quite so rude. Instead, they have given His Holiness five centuries of advanced notice of the Anglican ‘Apostolic Constitution’, explaining that the Church of England offers a most generous provision to those who prefer ‘High Church’ practices: that they will find within Anglicanism a refuge for those who wish to be both Catholic and Reformed.

Dr Williams said: “It is kind of the Pope to offer a spiritual home to Anglicans distressed by vivacious vicarettes, priests in panties, bishops in brassieres and the whole gay thing. But there are just as many (if not more) Roman Catholics who are equally as distressed by misogynistic ministers, Latin liturgies, paedophile priests and condomaphobic clerics.”

Cherie Blair is one such: she has consistently demanded reformation and, echoing Luther’s protest on the door of Wittenberg Castle, laid out her 95 contraceptive ‘devices’ on the bed of Balmoral Castle.

But Rome can keep her as well.

Cranmer thinks there is an awful lot of fuss being made over the Anglicanorum Coetibus. It will be more honoured in the breach than in the observing, for those in the observing will be so few and far between that the breaches will attract far more attention than a few women priests ever did. And there is more pleasure in its reading and contemplation than there will ever be in its practice and application. If ‘Ut Unum Sint’ made anything clear, it is that unity is unattainable this side of glory, if only because of the infinite theological variety of Christian nature: God loves symphony, not singularity. The only True Church is the Church Invisible - the 'communion of the saints'. Christ may have prayed that believers might be one, might be united in Him, but an awful lot rests on what we mean and understand by ‘one’ and ‘united’.

Not to mention ‘Catholic’.

And Cranmer finds it bizarre that there are some who are positively wetting themselves with infantile exuberance over the supposed creation of an Anglican branch of the Catholic Church: in case they hadn’t noticed, there has been one since AD597. And even before Pope Gregory despatched Augustine to Kent, there is evidence of Christianity in England from the late second century. England has seen eighteen hundred years of catholic Christianity, from the Ecclesia Anglorum, through the Ecclesia Anglicana to the Ecclesia Angliae. The Church in England and the Church of England have been the geographic, cultural, legal, theological, spiritual and ecclesiological cornerstone of English identity before, through and since the Reformation.

The doctrinal history of the Church of England asserts that it is both Catholic and Reformed; Apostolic and Evangelical; Prophetic and Protestant. The Prayer Book states: ‘Whosoever will be saved, it is necessary above all things that he hold the catholic faith...’. Anglicanism is a worldwide universal communion, and repudiates some of the claims of Rome, not least its soteriology, ecclesiology, its unique claim to catholicity and and its understanding of authority. Unless salvation has ceased to be by faith; unless church governance has ceased to be synodical; unless infallible moral authority has indeed been imparted by God to one man, the doctrinal claims of the Church of England, founded on natural law through tradition, reason and experience, have as much validity now as they had four centuries ago. And let it not be forgotten that when Richard Hooker wrote The Laws Of Ecclesiastical Polity, Pope Clement VIII said of the book: "It has in it such seeds of eternity that it will abide until the last fire shall consume all learning."

The outworking of Pope Benedict’s offer will be nowhere near as significant as some suggest, not least because the Anglican capacity for finding a via media through the via media is boundless. Of course, some will find deep encouragement in the Pope’s offer, and take up residence in a ‘Personal Ordinariate’. And Cranmer sincerely wishes them well in their lifelong pilgrimage. But he cannot help thinking that most of those ministers who are inclined towards Rome went 15 years ago when the first women were ordained: those who remained did so because they were Anglican, not Roman. And if they continued in their ministry believing their holy orders to be ‘absolutely null and utterly void’, it begs more than a few questions about their theological integrity and spiritual sincerity.

It is also difficult to discern precisely what is new in this document.

There has always been provision for individual lay people to be accepted into the Roman Catholic Church, and whole congregations have been excommunicated and incommunicated as successive popes have considered such actions appropriate. The papal encyclical ‘Mortalium Animos’ was promulgated in 1928, and exhorted Christian unity while repudiating ecumenism. If anything, Pope Benedict is building on this - by riding roughshod over ARCIC and by sidelining the lifelong work of Cardinals Walter Kasper and Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, and by insisting that Christian unity can only be had on Rome’s terms. Anglican orders remain ‘absolutely null and utterly void’: priests and bishops will need to be (re-)ordained before they can exercise pastoral and sacramental ministry. Essentially, they will be required to submit to the Magisterium, that is to all teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church: to admit that the thousands upon thousands of sacramental actions over which they have presided are deficient; that the Archbishop of Canterbury is a fraud and that every other bishop of the Church of England is an imposter: just laymen in ecclesial frocks. It is evident that Pope Benedict has little time for ecumenical pleasantries.

The ‘Ordinariate’ effectively establishes separate dioceses within Roman Catholic dioceses: it will be Anglican in the sense that certain ‘riches’ (Hooker? Laud? Herbert? Donne? Law? His Grace?) of the tradition may be retained. But Cranmer is more than a little intrigued to know which aspects of the Anglican tradition will be preserved within the new structure. Doubtless many of the XXXIX Articles must be dispensed with, and the Prayer Book considerably amended. On worship, the Apostolic Constitution says that ‘the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments... according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See’.

The liturgical books used in the Church of England are those approved by Parliament. They refer to the Queen as being the Supreme Governor. Presumably, if there is to be some accommodation in the use of Anglican church buildings by the Ordinariate, all references to the Queen’s governance of the Church will need to be eradicated. Yet the Church of England has neither the authority to permit the Ordinariate to use its buildings in order to accommodate a changed Anglican liturgy: only Parliament may do so. Yet if Parliament were to do so, they not only negate the Queen’s Coronation Oath, they undermine her status as Supreme Governor of the Church of England and deprive her of ‘the style, honour (and) royal name of the imperial crown of the United Kingdom’.

In short, by granting a Roman Ordinariate permission to use an Anglican church for a revised Anglican liturgy and prayers in which Her Majesty is no longer 'our Governor', Parliament would be committing treason.

The Anglican ship might have a lousy captain, but her bow is sound. And if she be holed beneath the waterline, Cranmer would rather reach for a bucket and repair the damage before he would abandon her to the rocks and waves. But one thing is certain: if this matter comes before Parliament – which any bowdlerised Prayer Book and amended liturgy spoken in an Anglican church would demand – they would find that erastianism may not be impliedly repealed, and Prime Minister Cameron will yearn for the halcyon days of Lisbon.


Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

‘Essentially, they will be required to submit to the Magisterium, that is to all teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church: to admit that the thousands of baptisms over which they presided are of no effect; that the Archbishop of Canterbury is a fraud and every other bishop of the Church of England is an imposter: laymen in ecclesial frocks. It is evident that Pope Benedict has little time for ecumenical pleasantries.’

How are we going to tell distraught parents, their children who have been baptised and their grandparents what this might mean?

10 November 2009 at 09:47  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Singh,

It is curious you mention that. His Grace had written (but decided to exclude) a tangential paragraph on 'damages' and the rights of the defrauded victims to claim compensation for the hurt caused by the pseudo-sacraments.

10 November 2009 at 09:51  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Thanks for brightening up my morning Your Grace.

Do you think your new Ordinariate will accommodate liturgical dancing?

Will this be called 'swimming the Thames?' Good job its much cleaner than it used to be.

10 November 2009 at 09:56  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

This time you've really done it; Mr Singh has keeled over.

10 November 2009 at 09:56  
Blogger Rebel Saint said...

D. Singh said... "How are we going to tell distraught parents, their children who have been baptised and their grandparents what this might mean?"

Distraught parents? I wouldn't worry too much. It's impossible to underestimate how unimportant these things are in the minds of just about everybody.

10 November 2009 at 10:03  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Good news, if correct.

Is this a 'cramner' exclusive as I am having difficulty in tracing it on other media outlets. Rowan William's official site does not mention this- it is all about climate change....

10 November 2009 at 10:20  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

'Bishops in braziers'?? Nothing particularly 'gay' about that.

Presumably you (he) meant bishops in brassieres. Bishops in braziers (metal receptacles for holding live coals or other fuel) would include your namesake, the original Cranmer, along with Latimer and Ridley.

10 November 2009 at 10:28  
Anonymous Knighthawk said...

In these godless times when everything is relative, traditional perceptions of good and evil, truth and error, are airbrushed from the canvas.
Where black and white have been mixed into infinite shades of grey, every tenet becomes negotiable and capable of redefinition, especially so by parliament and its supra-national overlord.

10 November 2009 at 10:38  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Anabaptist,

You have made His Grace laugh, for which he is deeply appreciative, and he has amended.

Bless you.

10 November 2009 at 10:46  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Mr Singh

I am a little confused by your post, do you think that the Roman Catholic Church does not recognise Anglican baptisms, if you do I can assure you, you are mistaken , as for the ABC, Bishops etc they are Bishops(esses)/prists(esses) in the Anglican Church, just not in the Catholic Church.

His Grace waxes lyrical regarding that old chestnut claiming a sort of independent (from Rome) Catholicity in England from the time of St Albion, St Julius and St Aarons. It’s a simple trick for the simple and gullible minded but doesn’t stand close examination. I think the IQs of the Anglican ecclesiastical community and the Roman Catholic Church will both improve if like minded protestant Catholics left shift to Canterbury, I wish them well, but I suspect His Grace is 'Aavin' a laarf! .

I do think that after the provision is in place it will clear the decks of this ‘Catholic Anglican’ nonsense, those wishing to be Catholic can join the Catholic Church (Just as they always could), those who don’t can remain protestant and come firmly out of the reformed closet. Any still wishing to be called ‘Catholic Anglicans’ can rightly be asked why they are ashamed of their Protestant heritage.

Don’t sweat the small stuff.

10 November 2009 at 10:52  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Recusant - if CofE orders are null and void, how can they administer valid sacraments? The question is genuine, thanks.

10 November 2009 at 11:02  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

It would be nice to see the Methodists welcomed back into the Anglican fold as well.....Afterall Wesley was an Anglican to start off with....

10 November 2009 at 11:14  
Anonymous Francis said...

Recusant, you are right in saying that the RC Church recognises Anglican baptisms – the person administering the sacrament does not need to be in holy orders.

However, neither the RCC nor the CofE recognises the possibility of someone being a Bishop/Priest "in the Anglican Church, just not in the Catholic Church", as though there were some distinct thing called "Anglican orders" (as opposed to the question of which jurisdiction the orders are conferred and exercised within). There are simply the orders of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church, not "Anglican orders", "Roman Catholic orders", "Eastern Orthodox orders", etc.; and the question is whether Anglican clerics (such as myself) have received those orders. The reiteration of the judgement of Apostolicae Curae in the Apostolic Constitution's "Complementary Norms" makes clear that Rome still insists that we have not; and if I were to take advantage of the Apostolic Constitution's provisions, I would indeed be making a lie of every priestly act I have ever conducted.

There will be those of my colleagues who are prepared to perjure themselves in this way, and take part in the sacrilegious act of repeated ordination. They will quiet their consciences by arguing along the lines that you can't make an omelette without breaking eggs; or that they are subordinating their judgement to that of the Catholic Church and humbly doing as they are told. I don't know how that will go down when we stand before the throne of judgement: the ends do not justify the means, and I can't imagine that saying "please sir, the big boys made me do it" will cut any more ice than it did at school.

10 November 2009 at 11:42  
Anonymous martin sewell said...


You have to forgive His Grance, such feminine fripperies had not been invented in his day.

10 November 2009 at 11:48  
Anonymous oiznop said...

Francis - which sacraments can lay people administer and which are only for priests? If lay people can validly baptise, why can't they perform marriages or administer Holy Communion? Is baptism a lower order of sacrament or something?

Your Grace,

As the last Archbishop of Canterbury to be ordained by a pope, you wouldn't be eligible (however much you recanted) to be a bishop in this new outfit.

10 November 2009 at 11:52  
Blogger F.G.S.A said...

Thankfully and mercifully Christianity is not restrcited to Hildrebrand, Innocent III, Boniface VIII, Luther, Calvin and the hellish breed of Anglo-Saxon non-conformist conventicles and hereticks on both sides of the Atlantic or other shores. The Church of England had Jewel, Andrewes and Cosin, but chose to repudiate or pervert their legacy.

Thank God for the Carthusians and the Mount Athos for their unceasing prayer and intercession while thousands of soi-disant Christians still procrastinate or remain obstinate in error, and waste their time in sensual gibberish about their idea of the Church.

Wasn't it an Anglican worthy who said: "The Church that is married to the spirit of the age becomes a widow in the next."? This was presumably said not only against Hegel and his sweet-sour following but also for all subsequent generations.

The Church is not be associated with the conservatism of dead values or the novelty of new-fangled immoral claims, but with the Holy Spirit- which inspires her living Tradition which is impervious against the attacks both of wanton, proud popes and braggart, lewd kings.

Almighty God unto whom all hearts be open, &c.

10 November 2009 at 12:04  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

The ABC is like the Captain of the Titanic. He doesn't understand why people are abandoning his ship. He is more concerned with making sure the deck chairs are properly arranged.

The Pope is not worried about a few stray sheep who have been shown where the sheep gate is. He is looking to the future of the whole flock and how to heard them and unite them into one fold.

10 November 2009 at 12:13  
Anonymous Francis said...

Oiznop: In addition to Baptism, in the Western Church's understanding it is the couple who administer the sacrament of Matrimony to one another, the priest's rôle being to bless the union rather than to bring it about (though I believe that in the Eastern understanding it is the priest who administers the sacrament). The five other Catholic sacraments require Holy Orders for validity.

The basis for the distinction is not entirely clear. In the case of baptism, the reason may originally have been one of pastoral necessity: it being required for salvation that one be baptised, a child's eternal fate could not be allowed to depend upon whether a priest happened to be available; and theology duly followed practice (as happens more often than we are sometimes prepared to admit.)

10 November 2009 at 12:21  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

Martin Sewell told me that 'such feminine fripperies had not been invented in his [Cranny's] day.'

Very true. But are you aware of the recent invention (courtesy of Mr Seinfeld's television programme) of a male version of the said garment, variously named the 'Bro' and the 'Manssiere'? These were not intended for members of the 'gay' 'community' so much as for males who suffer from enlarged protuberances of the chest (demotically referred to as 'man-boobs').

Of course, there is also the possibility of members of the 'gay' 'community' possessing such protuberances, but these are unlikely to be related to their sexual preferences.

This is getting too complicated.

I note that I am obliged to put so many words in quotes, I almost might so punctuate my entire communication.

10 November 2009 at 12:37  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

The statement by Dr Williams is one of the most destructive I have ever had the displeasure of reading.

What ‘The Grand Mufti’ of Canterbury is saying is this: those in the Anglican Communion who have stood against left-liberal theology and defended moral norms (established since time immemorial) can leave.

What is astounding is that he seems to suggest that the C of E is free of paedophiles. That is like Cameron saying ‘Don’t vote for the socialists because they are Europhiliacs.’

‘Misogynistic ministers’ is really code for those Catholic and Protestant ministers who defend the complementary and correct positions of authority between men and women.

‘Condomphobic clerics’ is really a promotion of unbridled lust and a failure by Canterbury to advise that men and women sometimes need space and time alone to contemplate the great themes of the Judaeo-Christian faith. Faith to be exercised requires discipline.

And what is essentially wrong with a liturgy in Latin? Why nothing for the man who understands it – I am sure it must be beautiful – the real criticism here is that not all understand it for lack of knowledge (but that still leaves room to learn its beauties).

But how many of us understand the Sunday sermon issued by the vicar who holds the ‘Third Way’ position on the proposed answer: why football is a game of two-halves?

Canterbury I find here is destructive and Rome constructive. The solution is for Canterbury to expel those, who for example, do not believe in the historic doctrine of sin. That won’t happen. As Canterbury himself does not believe it.

10 November 2009 at 12:42  
Anonymous Ian from Eastbourne said...

Does the Bible actually speak of a national church? No: then how can it be supported by Bible believing Christians? It is time, surely, to give attention to matters ecclesiastical as to matters salvatorial. Apologists for Roman Catholicism and Anglicanism alike operate in a Biblical void.

10 November 2009 at 12:43  
Anonymous Francis said...

I fear I must correct another factual error in His Grace's post. Under the "Ecumenical Canons" (B43 and B44) the Church of England does have the authority to permit the use of its buildings for worship by any Church to which the Church of England (Ecumenical Relations) Measure 1988 applies, using their own rites. The Roman Catholic Church (of which the Ordinariate will of course be a part) is one such church. Such arrangements are already lawfully functioning in many places.

One other question does arise, though. Since the Book of Common Prayer is Crown Copyright, can the Crown prevent the use of altered versions of the BCP under copyright law?

10 November 2009 at 12:45  
Anonymous Francis said...

D. Singh: sorry to disillusion you, but I think you will find that the purported statement by Dr Williams is an example of His Grace's satirical humour. (His Grace our present host, that is, not His Grace presently residing in Lambeth Palace.)

10 November 2009 at 12:48  
Anonymous Prue said...

I will only consider this if
the Archbishop shows some respect
for Anglicans and the Anglican faith by paying attention to his
personal grooming habits starting with the eyebrows.It is utter arrogance that he appears like this

10 November 2009 at 12:52  
Anonymous Anabaptist said...

Ian from Eastbourne asks, 'Does the Bible actually speak of a national church?' And he rightly answers, 'No.'

The Reformers never sought to undo this most terrible of wrongs, which underlies the concept of Christendom, and has its roots in the time of Constantine. Since then, the major 'churches' have always been in the business of forcing conscience, usually by violence. Indeed, the original Cranmer was burnt at the stake by rivals for the very system which he himself supported: the maintenance of the national 'church' by lethal force.

Who knows how many thousands of my own spiritual forefathers were put to death by these merchants of blood and enemies to the cross of Christ?

However, Ian from Eastbourne, you should be aware that the absence of a teaching from the New Testament is no impediment to the supporters of the national 'church' They must add to it the accrued strata of 'tradition', and so derive their authority from various 'saints' and doctors, from some Pope, or from St Martin (Luther) or St John (Calvin), or from Councils and Confessions. These 'traditions' have become the de facto standards by which theological and ecclesiological practices are judged, and if thereby they demote to second or third place the authority of the New Testament, then so much the worse for the Bible.

I fear you have opened the proverbial can of worms here and that we may expect a deluge of obloquy and spluttering from certain all-too-frequent contributors to these comments.

10 November 2009 at 12:57  
Blogger D. Singh said...


Well. I shall phone NHS Dircet and request a stretcher.

10 November 2009 at 13:04  
Blogger Preacher said...

Your Grace.
I'm happy for the Anglican communion that they have invited disaffected Roman Catholics to join with them, but the postings today are starting to make me rather dizzy. Someone mentioned the methodists & we should not forget the baptists & others of the protestant faith who reject the RC faith,simply because they know what they believe & who they believe in, as soon as the celebrations are over can we of the combined protestant faith ALL start work to reach the lost, including those of other faiths who have been led astray for centuries?.

10 November 2009 at 13:04  
Anonymous Mufti of Canterbury said...

Yes I thought the 'quote' from Williams was a bit unlike the current ABC.... but a very good gag from his Grace.

And D Singh's one liners are also extremly entertaining !

10 November 2009 at 13:08  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Dear Mr Francis (or are you 'Rev'?),

His Grace is intrigued. Is it then (theoretically) possible and lawfully permissible for the Queen to find herself unwittingly participant in a Roman Catholic Mass in her own Church, by virtue of her Church having granted permission to a Roman Catholic priest to use his own rites, about which she had not been forewarned?

It is one thing for the Church of England to grant such usage as an ecumenical gesture, but what if a converting bishop were to 'stake a claim' for his Anglo-Catholic heritage? If this becomes in any sense a claimed jurisdiction over Anglican buildings, it will be a decidedly unconstitutional move.

10 November 2009 at 13:13  
Blogger TreeSleeper said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 November 2009 at 13:16  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Your Grace,

Whatever the clergy may say, people are changing their churchgoing habits all the time. There must be, every year, a certain number of Catholics who, for whatever reason, opt to become Anglicans (or Congregationalists, or Baptists, etc.) instead, and vice versa. But does anyone keep track of the numbers? Do we have any statistics? Would it even be possible to compile accurate statistics? Do we at least have reliable estimates, as far the Anglian Communion is concerned?

10 November 2009 at 13:17  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Mr Francis,
I agree with what you say to a point, yes the RCC doesn’t recognise your orders etc, this is old ground, do we need to go over it? My point I suppose was I can put a cocked hat on my head and call myself Napoleon, it doesn’t make me the Emperor of France, however much I would like to believe it or my friends tell me I am. I can act just like an Emperor, pass laws and have people call me sire, again without the authority of the people of France I’m just play acting however good an Emperor I believe I am. The RCC might not recognise the ordination of Anglican clergy, but I bet any ordinations of Ex CofE clergy will be conditional because of the last crisis of confidence when CofE Clergy went looking for the ‘Old Catholics’ a 100 years or so ago. The RCC will even address Anglican Bishops with the titles they prefer to avoid hurt feelings, a lot of this is about hurt feelings, you may say this is a little hypocritical and I guess a case can be made for that, but why deliberately antagonise good people for the sake of it. If I was an Anglican Cleric, I wouldn’t care a jot what the RCC believed, my orders would be valid because I said they were not some old Pope in Rome anyone who thought different could go blow. So, back to my point, again I think I am right in saying that the RCC will afford the courtesy of titles etc to Anglican Clergy, but they are just not recognised as such outsider the Anglican Communion, I myself know a few Anglican Vicars (even a Vicarette) and while I will use the titles they prefer, not to cause gratuitous offence, I do not accept they hold valid orders, however well intentioned.

10 November 2009 at 13:28  
Anonymous non mouse said...

"In short, by granting a Roman Ordinariate permission to use an Anglican church for revised liturgies and prayers in which Her Majesty is no longer 'our Governor', Parliament would be committing treason."

Well that'd be OK by Parliament, then; won't it? Standard practice.

10 November 2009 at 13:32  
Anonymous non mouse said...

- wouldn't it - sorry.

10 November 2009 at 13:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

recusant- typical roman catholic arrogance. I guess you also think that anyone who is not a Roman Catholic isn't really a Christian either?

10 November 2009 at 13:49  
Anonymous Francis said...

Your Grace: The Canons require that notice of such services be given "with an indication of the rite to be used and the Church to which the minister who is to preside thereat belongs"; but on closer examination that only applies where a Local Ecumenical Project has been formally established, not in cases where the incumbent has issued the invitation himself (though he must obtain episcopal permission). So, theoretically, the situation you describe could arise. (And, yes, I am a "Rev".)

Recusant: The "Complementary Norms" issued with the Apostolic Constitution go out of their way to state that "the ordination of ministers coming from Anglicanism will be absolute, on the basis of the Bull Apostolicae curae". The lack of any possibility of conditional ordination will surely (and needlessly) do injury to a great many consciences.

10 November 2009 at 13:55  
Blogger D. Singh said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 November 2009 at 14:59  
Blogger Recusant said...


This isn't about the CoE. To Rome they are a minor grouping and to your average Catholic outside of the UK and the North East US, completely unknown. This is about a much bigger fish: the Orthodox church. Like JP II before him, Benedict's biggest motivation is to undo the damage wrought by the Great Schism a thousand years ago. The 'invitation' is sending a signal to them and any movement it creates amongst Anglican's will be an extra benefit which will probably occur in the US and Antipodes, not England.

10 November 2009 at 15:01  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

‘…Cameron will yearn for the halcyon days of Lisbon.’

Unlike Cameron we will not let Lisbon rest.

Cameron shall discover that the Conservatives and tombstones have one thing in common: the cross on the tombstone and on the ballot paper.

10 November 2009 at 15:03  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

[. . .] but what if a converting bishop were to 'stake a claim' for his Anglo-Catholic heritage? If this becomes in any sense a claimed jurisdiction over Anglican buildings, it will be a decidedly unconstitutional move.

Your Grace, my impression is that all those Anglicans, whether clergy or laypeople, thinking of taking Benedict up on his kind offer, are well aware that they can't take their real estate with them. The Church buildings, along with any portfolio investments, are and will remain C of E property. Has anyone suggested otherwise?

10 November 2009 at 15:10  
Blogger TreeSleeper said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 November 2009 at 16:13  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

What protestant heritage does Mr.Singh imply? The Church of England is not protestant. It is the reformed catholic church of the English people. Henry VII never intended continental protestantism to come ashore in this land. There is a political protestantism as enthusiastically embraced by that great Dutchman King Billy and plied upon the nation in 1688. Thankfully he never got round to rewriting the BCP in which the word protestant never occurs.

10 November 2009 at 16:22  
Anonymous IanCad said...

Your Grace,
All the rich and poor, free and bond are chiming in on this one.
In the light of Matthew 15:9 "But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men" is Anabaptists "can of worms" going to be opened?

10 November 2009 at 16:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What arrogance . Perhaps Rome should actually be asking the Orthodox Church if it wants to unite with Rome, if that is what this is all about, rather than playing games with what you dismiss as "a minor grouping".

10 November 2009 at 17:10  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Forester,

King Billy, you say? He is the very reason why the British have been living illegally for for over 350 years.

I am sure that you know your constitutional history?

10 November 2009 at 17:12  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

D Singh

Your one liners have now go me lost .What are you talking about ? British have been living illegally for over 350 years ? What are you talking about and what does this have to do with Constitutional history?

10 November 2009 at 17:16  
Blogger D. Singh said...

My Lord Lavendon,

Please bear with me. I shall probably explain tomorrow; my wish is for Mr Forester to step forward.

10 November 2009 at 17:21  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

The other practical matter is how on earth is Rome going to pay for all the forward in faith Vicars who leave the C of E? Or are the Roman Catholics churches in England more wealthy than the Anglican ones (looking after half of England's grade II listed building does make finances a bit tight!- Recusant would doubtless not understand this because the Anglican Church is, naturally, a 'minor grouping').

10 November 2009 at 17:32  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

The Church of England is not protestant. It is the reformed catholic church of the English people. Henry VII never intended continental protestantism to come ashore in this land.

That is the Catholic view, I believe: Western Christendom is not divided into two categories, Catholic and Protestant, but into three categories, Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant. But Anglicans I have known consider themselves Protestant and consider the C of E to be a Protestant Cburch, not since Henry VIII's reign, true enough, but at least since Elizabeth I.

10 November 2009 at 17:35  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Except Tony Blair

Rome can keep him !

I hope the lord allows me a bellicose chortle with you on your graces article.

Your Graces article is very interesting and the argument has long puzzled me , as it would appear the protestant faith has explained a good deal of the christ and not been as second rate as rome would like to imply.

His holiness pope Benedict is a wise and travelled man and great theologian and this curious embrace between the two churches may yet yield some interesting harvest . I am sure god speaks unto both churches , and we have the apostolic example .

Whilst the Angle isles was an outpost of the Roman empire , travel no doubt ensured Christianity arrived on these shores before Augustine was made Caesar in York , indeed the expansion of the early church (currently on BBC4 history of christianity) is perhaps quite amazing when state panthionism was such an important part of roman empire rule, and one can only wonder at the power of what the appostles had to communicate.

There is a legacy of european church formation which is solely attributable to the church which Peter founded and we would be ignorant to miss Roman Catholicism importance for nearly 1100 yrs before Henry VIII accedeed to the throne in 1502 , nor must we forget that Henry was devoutely Roman catholic gaining the title of defender of the faith from the then pope for waging war against France , before his own rule and desires met with the lutherans travelling to these shores and the pope lost a war and became a political capture and Henry then thought differently .

Perhaps both churches tell us somthing , but to say one is better than the other would instantly dissolve both churches evangelical missons .

Rowan williams response perhaps is the beggining of a return to faith and its exposition for both churches , we may yet be grateful for his holinesses audacity in opening closed eyes .

10 November 2009 at 17:36  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anybody told Damien Thompson yet and his happy band of Romanish bigots?

10 November 2009 at 17:55  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is slightly off topic, but I do know that His Grace's communicants will enjoy. Let's hope this level of honesty reaqches our shores also.

Italian TV show dares to spout a little truth.

Very refreshing and very funny.

10 November 2009 at 18:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hilarious watching the opposing witch doctors competing for the sheeple...bah!

10 November 2009 at 18:58  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Forester,

My hounds, Satan, Boxer and Sabre are pleading.

Don't keep me waiting.

Mr Gardner, Head of Legal, come on Old Boy, ''ave a go'.

My Lord Lavendon - your intellect is likely to accept the answer - but your heart - like mine - will revolt against it.

10 November 2009 at 19:06  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Gardner,

I can smell your fear.

You can, as the old negroe song, 'We Shall Overcome.'

10 November 2009 at 19:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with returning to the original, Orthodox, church? It has its share of internecine ethnic silliness, but God is front and center.

10 November 2009 at 21:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, I'm not that original Anonymous; I'm the taller one on the right.

10 November 2009 at 21:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lavendon. You are a pompous fool, your views are infantile and you lack any kind of intellectual influence .

10 November 2009 at 22:00  
Blogger TreeSleeper said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10 November 2009 at 22:07  
Blogger Alan Douglas said...

Your Grace,

Purely for the sake of accuracy, Mrs Blair, to whom the Pope is MORE than welcome, actually referred to her "contraceptive equipment". I believe this was at a place calle Immoral Castle ?

I have been trying ever since to NOT think about what this might be. Are chastity belts still in vogue ?

Alan Douglas

Sentient WV : vicing - I swear !

10 November 2009 at 22:31  
Anonymous None of the other anons said...

Gardner would probably wax lyrical about how this is all justified , using some evidence from some abscure legal dispute and some random act of parliament or euro directive and whatver bollox came into his legal head.

Lawyers, the people always on the money.

this is almost as bad as lord "the banker" Lavendon.

10 November 2009 at 22:34  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

I think the problem of defining what is protestant and catholic at the time of the reformation and what it is today some 500 years hence is an issue.

As an example when I was a student (many years ago) I went to a church service to which I thought was 'Anglo Catholic'.

I did get into a discussion with the Vicar and the Churchwardens and they were adamant that they were Protestants and not anglo catholic; in fact they took pride in the 'traditional' Anglican worship they conducted.

To prove so , they pointed out that they used not the Roman Catholic liturgy or even the book of common prayer, but a prayer book used in the time of Edward VI and as any historian will tell you Edward VI was the most protestant of the Tudors !

10 November 2009 at 22:59  
Anonymous no nonny said...

None of the other anons - Well said re G; though I think D. Singh has already elicited the gem that G is not a lawyer. One assumes, of course, that the gentleman's head is legal in the sense of 'licit' or 'lawful.'

10 November 2009 at 23:38  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Treesleeper - you're so right! As Christians we shouldn't pay into the 'divide and conquer' strategy of our enemies. Unfortunately, I fear the RCs have fooled the British into that game ever since Pope Alexander II backed the invasion by William the Bastard. Elsewhere (Spain) that same pope also backed the Normans against the mozzies: he was just pro-Norman, for his own reasons.

It may be difficult for the RCs to break their habit against us - having effectively got rid of the Anglo-Saxons they set about encouraging Celt to hate Celt and Viking: by calling some of us English. And we still buy into that one.

Re the Present Day (or is it night), I'm suspicious of RC affiliation with the eu: what with the Treaties being housed in the Holy City, etc. I can't help feeling they're more 'agin' us than for us.

Not a Machine - "Whilst the Angle isles was an outpost of the Roman empire" - the Angles (+ Jutes and Saxons) moved in after the Romans left. Like the Romans, they never conquered all the Isles - which remained British, not Anglian.

Admittedly we got a second run of Roman influence via Augustine: but we were lucky in that they also sent us Theodore and Hadrian, and so lots of Greek academic expertise that was sympathetic to the development of vernacular culture.

Btw: Post-Norman ... in Chaucer's day (14th century) Wyclif and the Lollards began a proto-Reformation here: way before Luther and Henry, that is to say. Catholics were not always consistently admired or unchallenged in Britain - as Chaucer shows.

wv:anglypi - I kid you not.

10 November 2009 at 23:48  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Sorry to go on, Not a Machine - but it niggles!

"Whilst the [...] isles was an outpost of the Roman empire" --- it's an attitude lefties and euros like to adopt, nowadays. The sneering is calculated to convince us of our inferiority, I believe; and that is meant to make us more amenable to accepting the yoke of our euro masters.

We were a couple of thousand miles away from Rome it's true. But if we were so insignificant and unimportant, why did they make it a priority to conquer us? And why did we fight so hard to keep it? What, apart from our courage, was so different about the Present Day situation with the Neu Empire? They're at us for our own good? Lol.

This 'outpost' was not nearly so primitive, insignificant, or 'little England' as they would brainwash us into thinking. Well worth a visit on that score is Oxford University's Vindolanda website. Multicultural and literate - is what Romans made of this paltry 'outpost'; and they liked the trade and taxes they elicited. Tacitus is worth a glance, as well (Germania) - you can get him online, too.

11 November 2009 at 00:24  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Tree Sleeper : A society degenerating is one that has run out of reason to exist via devaluation of the stories of life. The dumbing down of society has removed the respect for learning and stories .The immediacey to me is more about loss of value or worth .Stoning each other to death over who has the biggest TV is very worrying .

No Nonny , there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that pre roman Britain was wealthy and culturally sophisticated , the beaker people are still somthing of a mystery and had clear metal working skills . Pre christian Britain is rooted in druid belief.
The romans constructing temples for there gods and rituals must have caused much change in what people thought . The point I was trying to make was the infrastructure through which Christianity came and in Romes case through the Roman empire .If the Roman Empire had continued to perceive christianity as a threat then Europe may have never set off .
As for is the Roman catholic church trying to recreate itself as a sort of head within EU rule and is therefore pro EU is rather like trying to how italians feel about Italy

11 November 2009 at 00:59  
Blogger Brad Evans said...

Your queen swore to uphold the "Protestant Reformed Religion" established by law; was she referring to something else besides the church of england?
Anglicanism as a sort of Western Orthodoxy is basically a pre-Raphaelite affectation; nearly anybody before the 1830s who was in the church of england or the episcopal church in the US if asked would have said he/she was a Protestant if asked.

11 November 2009 at 03:54  
Blogger Brad Evans said...

And please separate church of state. Iran, the Vatican and England are the only three countries in the world where clergy are automatically part of the government.
Even the Spanish, Italians and Portuguese have secular states now.

11 November 2009 at 03:55  
Anonymous no nonny said...

Not a Machine - Oh yes, I see. Clearly druidism preserved an ancient oral culture, and it co-existed here with Roman paganism and an equally unknown amount of Christianity. The evidence includes, for example, the 4th century mosaic from a villa at Hinton St. Mary, in Dorset - which displays a Chi-Rho emblem. But Diocletian (r. 284-305) had indeed perceived Christianity as a threat: yes, he thought Christianity usurped loyalty to Rome.

You're right - Constantine (r. 312-337) thereafter encouraged religious tolerance. He was declared emperor by his troops at York in 306; later built Constantinople; and favoured Christianity.

However, the Anglo-Saxons did bring an influx of paganism after the Romans left (around 407). And it surely was the missions of Augustine (597), and then Theodore (668-90), Hadrian, and Benedict Biscop that converted them and firmly established Christianity and literacy in England - and vernacular literacy, at that.

The Irish, though never conquered by Rome, also retained some Christianity and literacy after the fall. I've even heard that Irishmen claim to have saved civilization (cf Thomas Cahill). This because, when the Germanic tribes invaded Gaul, some Christians escaped to Ireland and took their manuscripts with them! Which the Irish copied. They later augmented Christianity and Latin scholarship for us via Whithorn, Iona, and eventually Aidan and Lindisfarne (from 635).

I understand we can take a little credit thereafter as evangelists to euroland (Willibrord 693); and for education of euros: not least through Alcuin of York (c 735-804), who worked for Charlemagne and headed up establishment of the educational system in France.

I don't think I mean that the RC church is trying to re-create itself - I realize it's global in scope! It's just that their proximity to the treaties of Rome and Lisbon troubles me, especially in view of their later history of aggression against us.

I have no ideas at all about Italy and Italians.

11 November 2009 at 05:37  
Blogger D. Singh said...

This is why the British have been living illegally for centiries.
‘On 30 June 1688, a group of Protestant nobles, later known as the Immortal Seven invited the Prince of Orange to come to England with an army. By September, it had become clear that William (King Billy) sought to invade. Believing that his own army would be adequate, James II refused the assistance of Louis XIV, fearing that the English would oppose French intervention. When William arrived on 5 November 1688, many Protestant officers, including Churchill, defected and joined William, as did James's own daughter, Princess Anne. James lost his nerve, and declined to attack the invading army, despite his own numerical superiority. On 11 December, James attempted to flee to France, first throwing the Great Seal of the Realm into the River Thames. James was captured in Kent; later, he was released and placed under Dutch protective guard. Having no desire to make James a martyr, the Prince of Orange let him escape on 23 December

1. Immortal Seven? Victors write history.
2. Invited? Plotted.
3. ‘his own army would be adequate’? It was full of traitors.
4. Arrived? Invaded.
5. Defected? Betrayed.
You either accept that this military coup d’etat was illegal or you turn a blind eye to what our children are being taught.
Glorious Revolution? Get real.

11 November 2009 at 08:57  
Blogger TreeSleeper said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11 November 2009 at 09:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But he's a druid !

11 November 2009 at 09:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I'm not being charitable, I would say that the anglo catholics had this coming. They wanting one of their 'own' rather than an Evangelical like the former Bishop of Rochester. I recall talking to a senior layperson (general synod) when Carey was ABC. They lamented Carey's failings as ABC and said 'well the problem was he was a happy clappy parish priest' before being a Bishop. Well at least Carey didn't split the C of E from top to bottom and at least he had a bit of connection with real parishoners. Unlike the druid who is in charge now.

Reap what you sow........

11 November 2009 at 14:05  
Anonymous Peter Jackson said...

Lord Lavendon
Wesely was not only an Anglican to start with - he was also an Anglican to finish with.

11 November 2009 at 16:12  
Anonymous len said...

Jesus Christ didn`t come to earth to start a new religion!.
Jesus Christ came to Earth to restore fallen man to a Holy God. Denominations and religions originated because people wanted to control each other and ultimately themselves. From the beginning, when Adam took of the fruit, man has always desired to have control over himself and those around him. In setting up a religion, which is ultimately a list of rules and rituals, mostly outside the Bible, carried out so that a person can feel "holy" because of their works, while maintaining their independence, since rules and rituals negate the need for God. Religion is basically a way of saying that I'm holy since I do this list of things, and you're not, unless you do them too. Religion can even become dangerous when the people begin believing that their rules make them Holy and therefore everyone should be forced to do the same so that they can be Holy as well. This has happened through the ages with religions like the Catholic church and Islam, among many others.
Since there is but one mediator between God and man, man can be saved only through the reconciliation made possible through Jesus. Jesus recognized this when He said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me" (Jn. 14:6). Jesus is man's only access to God. Any religion that tries to approach God in any other way than through Jesus Christ is worthless. Hence, Buddhism, Hinduism, Mohammedanism, etc. are just so many worthless and false religions. One can have access to God through the one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ.

11 November 2009 at 17:46  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

"One can have access to God through the one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ."

Well said Len. Many religions might lead to Jesus Christ. But only Jesus Christ can lead you to God.

11 November 2009 at 19:23  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Mr Francic,

I missed that, you are correct, it looks like conditional ordination will not be an option, well, well, well.

I see I have a facsimile on His Graces Blog, now there are two of us you lot are surrounded, come out with your hands up or the BCP gets it. Tiber swim teams this way…

11 November 2009 at 20:31  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Oh dear. First there were several Anons now there are 2 recusants!

Are you the recusant, Sir, who thinks the C of E is pawn in Rome's plan to bring the Orthodox Church back to the Vatican ?

11 November 2009 at 21:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Funny, you don't look druish.

11 November 2009 at 22:56  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace,

It looks like our faith in France is growing - report from The Age magazine:

Belief in the gospel truth is spreading.

As the piano strikes up, the congregation sways, fists in the air, murmurs of hallelujah punctuating the music. Pastor Franck Lefillatre, bathed in the spotlight on his podium, intones into a microphone.

''Let out the words that are in your heart,'' he urges. His whispers crescendo to booming rhetoric. Behind him, emblazoned in gold lettering, are the words: ''Jesus Christ: the same yesterday, today, eternally.''

As evangelical services go, this gathering on a rainy Sunday is nothing unusual. In countless churches across the US and many countries, it would be a staple means of Christian worship.

But this is not the American Bible Belt. It is the Church of Paris-Bastille, and this congregation is one of a growing number of evangelical communities spreading through France and prospering in spite of its secular - and Catholic - traditions.

From a postwar population of about 50,000, French evangelicals are now estimated to number 450,000 to 500,000. According to the Evangelical Federation of France, the number of churches has risen from 800 in 1970 to more than 2200 today.

Last week, the boom made headlines when thousands of evangelicals descended on Strasbourg to turn the 500th anniversary of Calvin's birth into a huge media-covered event.

On paper, France would seem one of the least likely places for this branch of Christianity to gain a foothold. For centuries, Protestantism was the embattled minority in a country Catholics liked to call the ''eldest daughter of the church'' because of its strong ties to Rome. That minority still makes up just 3 per cent of the population.

More importantly, ever since France wrote a separation of church and state into the constitution, the country has worshipped at the altar of laicite - the concept of a secular state.

So the emergence of evangelicals as a force has raised eyebrows, with some critics questioning whether their beliefs are compatible with the values of a secular republic. They are associated in many minds with the politically powerful movement of the US religious right.

Jean-Francois Colosimo, a writer and religious historian, provoked a furious backlash from evangelicals when, after it emerged that France's intelligence services had launched a ''census'' of the domestic population, he said: ''Everything in France would seem to ban a politico-religious mixture. But laicite is fragile and temptations are present'' - a direct reference to the evangelicals.

These arguments are rejected as irrelevant by French believers. Just because they have the same faith as the Americans and a similar style of worship, they say, it does not mean they share the same politics. But Henri Tincq, a religious commentator, said issues such as abortion and homosexuality were creeping up the agenda.

12 November 2009 at 09:20  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

It sounds to me Mr Singh that you are on the verge of taking the plunge for a swim across the Tiber.
I'll have the piano wire waiting on shore to reel you back in when you change your mind half way!

12 November 2009 at 10:11  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Mr Sydneysider

That reminds me of an incident that happened some years ago as I was deep sea fishing in the English Channel.

I was alone on the old rowing boat.

Suddenly I heard someone yelling ‘Save me! Save me!’ Naturally I thought it was a sinner in distress, desperate to hear the Good News. I turned round and saw this fellow clinging onto my boat. I tried to calm him down as I hauled him in. The poor fellow was drunk and hysterical. He claimed he had fallen overboard from a passenger liner, bound for Egypt.

Anyway I repeatedly asked him to stop yelling at me – he wouldn’t – so I chucked him back into the drink.

Anyway I think I saw him on the news some years ago, he had made it to France and ended up as cyclist.

12 November 2009 at 10:51  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Please, PLEASE, your grace, take the ghastly Tony Blair back from us, and his wife as well, and as many trendy closet protestant and liberal clergy as you can possibly manage. I, for one, will be eternally grateful to you, and it will doubtless count greatly in securing your 16thC namesake and former Catholic priest release from purgatory after all these centuries!

12 November 2009 at 16:00  
Anonymous Anglo-Methodist said...

Harking back to an earlier comment, the Methodists didn't leave the Anglican church, they were forcibly ejected. But that happened after John Wesley's time. He was an Anglican priest until his dying day.

13 November 2009 at 07:48  
Anonymous Captain Rugeley said...

'Swimming the Thames'? What's wrong with Lambeth Bridge?

13 November 2009 at 09:11  

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