Monday, December 27, 2010

Teaching the Coalition about poverty

The Christmas message of the Archbishop of Canterbury was a partially eclipsed this year by the BBC’s gimmick (and undoubted coup) of securing the Pope to deliver Radio 4’s Thought for the Day. So much has been written about that (with as many column inches also disproportionately devoted to the absurd reaction of Keith Porteus Wood and his National Secular Society) that His Grace can add nothing more.

Except to say, in terms of nuanced theology and practical politics, the Pope’s message is eclipsed by the written and spoken words of the Archbishop of Canterbury, who spent his Christmas reflecting upon the politics of poverty.

But not in a 1980s Lambeth Palace / No10 kind of clash, in which Margaret Thatcher must have felt besieged by a hostile Church of England; where every Conservative manifesto pledge seemed to have an equal and opposite pamphlet issued by the Archbishop’s Commission.

Archbishop Rowan is rather more subtle than that.

So subtle, in fact, that Tim Montgomerie tweeted that the Archbishop ‘misses his best opportunity of the year to talk about Jesus Christ’, and today the increasingly two-dimensional Melanie Phillips accuses him of failing to distinguish between the deserving and undeserving poor.

His Grace refutes both of these crass allegations.

One might expect a polemic Jewess to be ignorant of the depths of Christian theology. But it is a little surprising that Tim Montgomerie misrepresents the leader of the Established Church (though he appears to be commenting upon [and links to] a Daily Mail caricature), and failed to notice that Jesus is mentioned no fewer than six times in the Archbishop’s sermon, three of which came in the opening paragraph.

It is not, in any case, the number of times the name is mentioned which is important: ‘Jesus’ will have been used, abused, sung and blasphemed in thousands of churches and professing churches over this season. What is important is the authenticity and relevance of the message.

And in this the Archbishop of Canterbury was four-square at the heart of the gospel.

His Christmas sermon touched on all of David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ themes of social justice; our need for mutual dependence on our fellow human beings; our need for a spirit of fellowship and loyalty to each other in sharing the burdens of adversity in difficult economic times:
"Faced with the hardship that quite clearly lies ahead for so many in the wake of financial crisis and public spending cuts, how far are we able to sustain a living sense of loyalty to each other, a real willingness to bear the load together? How eager are we to find some spot where we feel safe from the pressures that are crippling and terrifying others? As has more than once been said, we can and will as a society bear hardship if we are confident that it is being fairly shared; and we shall have that confidence only if there are signs that everyone is committed to their neighbour, that no-one is just forgotten, that no interest group or pressure group is able to opt out."
And he points to the need for us to work positively together in order to rebuild trust:
"That confidence isn't in huge supply at the moment, given the massive crises of trust that have shaken us all in the last couple of years and the lasting sense that the most prosperous have yet to shoulder their load. If we are ready, if we are all ready, to meet the challenge represented by the language of the 'big society', we may yet restore some mutual trust. It's no use being cynical about this; whatever we call the enterprise, the challenge is the same – creating confidence by sharing the burden of constructive work together."
In the same way, the Archbishop also urges us to embrace the meaning of the forthcoming Royal Wedding, to recognise the significance of the Christian bond of marriage as a symbol of hope for humanity:
"Next year, we shall be joining in the celebration of what we hope will be a profoundly joyful event in the royal wedding. It is certainly cause for celebration that any couple, let alone this particular couple, should want to embark on the adventure of Christian marriage, because any and every Christian marriage is a sign of hope, since it is a sign and sacrament of God's own committed love. And it would be good to think that I this coming year, we, as a society, might want to think through, carefully and imaginatively, why lifelong faithfulness and the mutual surrender of selfishness are such great gifts."
And in comparing Christian marriage with our covenantal relationship with God, the Archbishop reflects on - not only the trials of marriage - but also the inspirational examples of some marriages which he has seen:
"There will be times when we may feel stupid or helpless; when we don't feel we have the energy or resource to forgive and rebuild after a crisis or a quarrel; when we don't want our freedom limited by the commitments we've made to someone else. Yet many of us will know marriages where something extraordinary has happened because of the persistence of one of the parties, or where faithfulness has survived the tests of severe illness or disability or trauma. I admit, find myself deeply moved at times when I speak with the families of servicemen and women, where this sense of solidarity is often so deeply marked, so generous and costly. As the Prince and his fiancée get ready for their new step into solidarity together, they will have plenty of inspiration around, more than you might sometimes guess from the chatter of our culture.”
And finally, Dr Williams asked us to remember during this time of Christian celebration our brothers and sisters in many lands who suffer repression and persecution for their Christian faith:
"I remind you of our Zimbabwean friends, still suffering harassment, beatings and arrests, legal pressures and lockouts from their churches; of the dwindling Christian population in Iraq, facing more and more extreme violence from fanatics – and it is a great grace that both Christians and Muslims in this country have joined in expressing their solidarity with this beleaguered minority. Our prayers continue for Asia Bib in Pakistan and others from minority groups who suffer from the abuse of the law by certain groups there. We may feel powerless to help; yet we should also know that people in such circumstances are strengthened simply by knowing they have not been forgotten. And if we find we have time to spare for joining in letter-writing campaigns for all prisoners of conscience, Amnesty International and Christian Solidarity worldwide will have plenty of opportunities for us to make use of."
In this sermon there is no absence of Jesus: it is infused with the Lord’s concern for our eternal salvation and replete with His love and compassion.

The Archbishop followed this up with an article in yesterday’s Mail on Sunday on Good King Wenceslas looking out on the Feast of Stephen.

Continuing his ‘Big Society’ theme, he observes that the good King was motivated by the alleviation of poverty. It is easy, Dr Williams says, to start making political points of one kind or another:
“The Government is being heartless and oppressive, say some; poverty is mostly people’s own fault, say others, and it is none of the Government’s business.”
And he praises Iain Duncan Smith for his ‘clear intention to put things in place that will actually reduce poverty and help people out of the traps of dependency’.

And he warns:
“But – before we relax too much – however good the intention, life at the grass roots is always going to be less black and white, and it is not surprising if a lot of people, already pretty insecure, start feeling even more insecure. At the very least, there is a job of communication to do.”
Less black and white, that is, to everyone but Melanie Phillips (or is it The Daily Mail in general?)

There are very many thousands in this country and millions across the world whose life of poverty is not of their making, and they are impotent to escape it. And so the Archbishop talks of ‘the Victorian distinction between the deserving poor and the rest’:
“Hard-working and honest people who do their best really do face problems; so do people with disabilities, with mental health issues or limited mobility. There are doubtless some who make the most out of the benefits culture (just as there are some who have made the most out of other kinds of perks available to bankers or MPs).”
And then comes the paragraph which so offends Ms Phillips:
“But even if there are those who are where they are because of their own bad or foolish choices in the past, that doesn’t mean they are any less in need in the present. And it can’t be said often enough that most people in poverty – and we should be thinking of children in particular – haven’t chosen it.”
Like Job’s comforters, she clings to the simplistic cause and effect of bad and foolish choices, insisting that the poor who make these poor life decisions thoroughly deserve their resulting penury and have no-one but themselves to blame.

She shows ignorance not only of Jesus’ privileged message to the poor but also surprisingly of her own Scriptures: for every proverb which is concerned with God’s punishment for sin, the Wisdom Literature contains whole paragraphs dedicated to the fact that it rains upon the righteous as well as the unrighteous, and the reason is something of a mystery.

And it is shameful that Ms Phillips fails to distinguish even between the ‘deserving poor’ and ‘the children in particular’.

The alleviation of poverty was foundational to the ministry of Jesus: he preached more about money than he did about eternal salvation. When examining what he said about the poor, consideration has to be given to context and audience, and the nuances of Greek vocabulary also need examining.

What does Luke mean by ‘the poor’ (6:20)? The peasants who possessed little material wealth were not called ‘poor’ (‘ptochos’) if they possessed what was sufficient (ie subsistence) - they were termed ‘penes’. Jesus was (and is) concerned with the literal, physical needs of men (ie not just the spiritual [cf Acts 10:38]). When Luke was addressing the ‘poor’, he meant those who had no money - the oppressed, miserable, dependent, humiliated - and this is translated by ‘ptochos’, indicating ‘poverty-stricken…to cower down or hide oneself for fear’ - the need to beg. The ‘penes’ has to work, but the ‘ptochos’ has to beg. Those addressed by Jesus are the destitute beggars, not ‘penes’ or the general peasant audience of few possessions.

This is an important distinction for the politician and the journalist, neither of which appear to be capable of grasping what the Archbishop is talking about. He insists:
"That is where the Church wants to be – where it has to be – in all this.
The Church isn’t a welfare agency and it isn’t a political party and it should never forget that. But the Church IS a body of people called by God to make a difference to how people see themselves and their world – called to help people towards greater confidence and fearlessness and generosity.

"Good King Wenceslas wasn’t writing a party manifesto but he did believe he had to try to make a difference because God was calling him to be generous – and that God had showed him how to be generous.

"The greatest resource of the churches is that they have people in them who have the confidence and the imagination to make a difference, people who are willing to be volunteers in the service of society.
Unlike his Episcopal predecessors of the 1980s, the Government has in Lambeth Palace an Archbishop with whom they can do business. He is not into formal receptions and long meetings for discussion, but has a passion for actively working to meet the needs of the poor, irrespective of the cause of their hardship. Like Jesus, he does not care how they became poor: he cares simply because they are poor.

This is an Archbishop who meets with destitute migrants, visits inner-city parishes with programmes of local relief, community education and holiday clubs for children. He wants to discuss the possibilities for expanding hospice care for the dying, and support groups for the unemployed.

And he wants to do all this without ‘carping or point-scoring’:
And the most important thing the Church has to say is that it is willing to help make things work for the good of the people most at risk in society – willing to encourage a few more folk to tread in the footsteps of Good King Wenceslas.
This is the Word of the Lord: a message not just for Christmas but one which chimes harmoniously with every stated social justice objective of the present Government.

So, instead of carping and point scoring, embrace him as a partner and a friend. You will not find it easy to 'use' him. But he is ready and willing to serve his Lord to mitigate the long-prophesied pain caused by the Government's policies.


Blogger Simon Harley said...

Hear, hear, Your Grace.

27 December 2010 at 12:06  
Blogger Owl said...

Excellent article YG. I think you have given me cause to rethink many things. My hat is off to you and Archbishop Rowan.

27 December 2010 at 12:55  
Blogger Gnostic said...

You are talking about a man who heads up an international organisation with a huge property and art portfolio. You are talking about a religion that is little more than a profitable business enterprise where historical, so called houses of god charge the curious masses for admission and the porfolios are managed for profit. Do you really think Jesus would have approved, him apparently into cleansing temples of this type of sharp practice and all?

Like all good little socialists Beardie is very good at spending other people's money. Let's see him dig into his own pockets before he sermonises us.

There's a soupcon of agnostic polemics for you.

27 December 2010 at 12:56  
Blogger Mr Eman said...

Excellent summary of Archbisop Rowan's Christian message.

One brief comment on an oversight on your part of a significant reference by the Archbishop - a reference to Christian unity.

"There will be times when we may feel stupid or helpless; when we don't feel we have the energy or resource to forgive and rebuild after a crisis or a quarrel; when we don't want our freedom limited by the commitments we've made to someone else. Yet many of us will know marriages where something extraordinary has happened because of the persistence of one of the parties, or where faithfulness has survived the tests of severe illness or disability or trauma."

Marriage is analagous to the chuch's relationship between God and His church. Is the Archbishop communicating on different levels? Sending a message to Episcopalians and to Rome?

I would have liked to have read a similar distillation of the main themes of Pope Bededicts message. A message given to the whole world and not restricted to the issues of Western social democracies.

"Let the time of the garments rolled in blood come to an end."

27 December 2010 at 13:46  
Anonymous martin sewell said...

Gnostic, those of us that have some responsibility for Church finance as members of PCC's or Synods know that the Church's inehrited wealth is matched only by its many entirely proper financial obligations commensurate with its role in Society at home and abroad.

It has a large workforce and many pensioners - all labourers worthy of their hire. Nobody enters the priesthood for financial advantage.

We have many historic buildings which the nation expects to be kept up for a variety of purposes and attached to those we have major social facilities meeting a a wide variety of social needs from village halls/ nursery schools, homeless facilities - even SureStart centres and sexual health clinics.

Most who go on about the wealth of the Church know nothing of it or its use.

Your Grace, I know the Archbishop is a deep and nuanced thinker.

Some of us are mildly critical that in this soundbite age, Vince Nichols was savvy enough to get his Christmas message reported as the Nation must turn to God, whereas Rowan Williams was reported as giving the Christmas message of Ed Milliband. Surely there must be some advisors who could see this coming and assist His Grace with delivering a message in which he had a chance of controlling the headline which- however shallow, is very important nowadays.

27 December 2010 at 13:48  
Blogger Bryan said...

The sermon, though obviously the product of a brilliant mind, is broken in twain.

It begins with a nice Scripture lesson, then segues into an unrelated man-centered social-rallying call. There is no Gospel (the Good News) here, though the Archbishop does come within spitting distance toward the end of the first half. As for the social part, it lies flat on the Earth as it relies solely on man and is therefore totally without hope, or basis for hope.

Finally, the painful attempt to sew the two halves together again via the final paragraph fails, utterly.

27 December 2010 at 14:02  
Anonymous Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! Christians and Muslims coming together to condemn the persecution of Christians in Iraq? Who are these Muslims? Whay haven't we heard of this before?

27 December 2010 at 14:12  
Blogger Mr Eman said...

martin sewell

Maybe more theology in the Archbishop's speech would have balanced the 'political' message.

NOT a BBC gimmick - a profound message to the world.

Pope Benedioct XXVI
Theological message:

"I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; he came to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is “Emmanuel”, God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus."

"The Word and the flesh are mutually opposed realities; how can the eternal and almighty Word become a frail and mortal man? There is only one answer: Love... Sacred Scripture shows us the great love story of God for his people which culminated in Jesus Christ."

"The Incarnation is the culmination of creation. When Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, was formed in the womb of Mary by the will of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit, creation reached its high point. The ordering principle of the universe, the Logos, began to exist in the world, in a certain time and space."

”The light of this truth is revealed to those who receive it in faith, for it is a mystery of love. Only those who are open to love are enveloped in the light of Christmas ... In the night of the world a new light was kindled, one which lets itself be seen by the simple eyes of faith, by the meek and humble hearts of those who await the Saviour."

Pope Benedict XXVI
Social message:

"And what do our hearts, in effect, seek, if not a Truth which is also Love? Children seek it with their questions, so disarming and stimulating; young people seek it in their eagerness to discover the deepest meaning of their life; adults seek it in order to guide and sustain their commitments in the family and the workplace; the elderly seek it in order to grant completion to their earthly existence."

"“The Word became flesh”. The proclamation of Christmas is also a light for all peoples, for the collective journey of humanity. “Emmanuel”, God-with-us, has come as King of justice and peace. We know that his Kingdom is not of this world, and yet it is more important than all the kingdoms of this world. It is like the leaven of humanity: were it lacking, the energy to work for true development would lag ... the impulse to work together for the common good, in the disinterested service of our neighbour, in the peaceful struggle for justice.

"It is a source of hope for everyone whose dignity is offended and violated, since the one born in Bethlehem came to set every man and woman free from the source of all enslavement."

27 December 2010 at 14:17  
Anonymous len said...

I think many will get a lesson in poverty from the coalition.
A Nation which is turning its back on God perhaps needs a slightly more radical message?

"If My people, who are called by My Name, will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land." (2 Chronicles 7:14)
PS Mr Eman (did the Pope really say that?)

27 December 2010 at 14:26  
Blogger Mr Eman said...


Rhetorical, cynical or genuine question?

Yes - Google the full text of his Holiness' Christmas message.

Will now want to say something about forms of 'slavery' and miss the message?

27 December 2010 at 15:02  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

A bit of preaching from The ABofC is not a bad thing in itself, it is after all part of his job, if only a relatively small one.

However I often feel more then a little patronized to be told by all sorts of religious or otherwise leaders that which should not only be self-apparent, is most clearly self-apparent to the majority of human beings currently still existing on this planet.

We do share the burden, we do look after each other, we do sacrifice our own selfishness for the well being of our children, communities and families. We do this because this is the very nature of human being, without which we would not have survived to this day.

However caring has long since been corporatized by first the priest-hoods using established religion, and then by also their governments.

How are we expected to look after ourselves and others if the government has already stolen most if not all of our spare wealth, and we are all working overtime simply to keep a roof over our heads?

Which would be bad enough, had our leaders both spiritual and terrestrial simply been spending and largely wasting only money that they had stolen on a day to day basis.

However they have not, they have been doing all of this, as well as borrowing at interest from THE central BANKS, more money then they did trying to defeat NAZI Germany, and the axis powers.

Please be reminded that the same powers that long since controlled capitalism, also long since controlled what we now know as socialism. I hope very much that we can now start to see why this is the case, and who or what these powers are.

27 December 2010 at 15:31  
Blogger HeavensForfend said...

Well put, well put Your Grace.

I almost despaired reading Melanie Phillips take on it, but you remind me that compassion is compassion, which is not meant to be used as a servant to political ideologies but is basic component of faith and the common purse of humanity.

I especially enjoyed the employment of the Wisdom Literature- often such a neglected part of the bible.

27 December 2010 at 15:33  
Blogger John M Ward said...

I knew you'd provide your usual degree of insight and analysis, Your Grace, and indeed promised my readers that you would (almost certainly) do so. I have now added a link here to my post on this from yesterday morning.

Yes, the generally-excellent Melanie Phillips suffers from the limited viewpoint of those who do not accept Jesus Christ, and therefore have to make do with a narrower perspective.

Despite that, I find the lady generally useful, and a lot better than many other commentators/columnists in our national dailies.

Regarding Dr Williams: although I am no great fan of his, I did think that what I had seen and read of his sermon showed that he was more with the Big Society than the Lefty commentators suggested, and wrote as such on my own 'blog.

For all his faults (and he has several) I do believe that Rowan Williams is a basically decent fellow, and has a better handle on the realities of life in Britain (and perhaps elsewhere as well) than the Establishment figures who elevated him to his present position would have wanted.

In other words: he is speaking more for the people, and less for the Establishment of that time (in the Labour years) than the latter ever wanted.

27 December 2010 at 16:28  
Blogger Sally said...

excellent post your grace.

27 December 2010 at 17:10  
Anonymous not a machine said...

As ever with The Arch bishop you have to read and re read his words , they perhaps didnt make as much impact as the Holy Fathers but I think it was perhaps right to have given a reaffirmation of the popes visit and impact , not so much for anglicans but for those who might have been hearing the first sounds of the christian faith.
The Archbishops words perhaps had a warning and did sound to me a little left , which is perhaps what Ms Phillips picked up , as he does not go deeply into the unforgiving lands of political theory delivery. You are right that we in such battles we/I forget the work with the poor.
I think we are perhaps at a point of getting somthing far more workable from a political point of view , the no nonesense and wasted soft expense of Ms Phillips , who I am no doubt sure sees that a poor spirit should be faced with more resonsibility (although again we find education being of importance) and the warmth of Rowan Williams making the case that love is not based on income and interms of god we really are all in this together .

The developement of the underclass under Labour is precisely what has gone wrong , the fabian progressives have created a very dysfunctional world of pop promoters and disenfranchised users and consumers of there propganda . The claims of everyones life being better through having more technology, 3D movies and silent shopping , certainly doesnt make poverty disapper .
Poverty is in both senses of your graces divison a lack of somthing, we have seen the poverty of communism and considered capitalism to be more efficient , however whilst there might not be good communism , it is pretty clear that only good captalism actually walks the talk . People must work under and for good , they musnt lie or cheat or the system fails and becomes unshared . What then to do with liars and cheats who cause poverty , the politicians who let bankers ruin banks and systems .
Work is better than benefits , the traditional progressive use of benefits for hard times or circumstances , is christian , however this has a more latent question of if it is christian to remove work from the economy via imported manufactured goods , so that globalised financial services balance sheets can blossom and be fiddled, or for that matter to make a service sector unaffordable and debt producing for all too shallow election/political purposes.
Work is better than benefits as it is quite obvious that there can be no benefits without work to put them aside , this means some better thought on economics (which poverty must be closest linked to) once the ego made conpsiracle debt byrden/theat has been removed

27 December 2010 at 21:04  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

Of course, the media boils down the Archbishop's message to a soundbite which appears to be an affirmation of ever expanding state welfarism.

That is - just a a touch- unfair. Yet how many times have we heard the Archbishop denouncing the millions of free loaders? Their depredations, though individually small, are collectively massive.

Of course the Church should show concern for the genuinely unfortunate, as it did in its early days when its charity for the underdog also attracted free loaders. We saw how many there were in this country when hundreds of thousands of East Europeans came here and found jobs which were beneath the consideration of our feather-bedded welfariat.

St Paul had a brisk way with such. II Thessalonians 3.10 "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat".

If I had heard a few sermons from the Archbishop along those lines, I would be more inclined to take him seriously. The welfare state has become an agency of plunder of the hard working and the thrifty by the feckless and wilfully idle. That is a moral issue at least as great as the behaviour of the rich.

27 December 2010 at 21:45  
Blogger A Simple Fool said...

What drew me to christianity at first was the sermon on the mount and when Jesus spoke about how he would judge us when we died.

I'm not keen on quoting scripture but reading the Archbishop's and the Pope's talks made me remember them.

Matthew 5: 3-12
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn,
for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they shall possess the earth.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for justice,
for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure of heart,
for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice sake,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Mathew - 21: 34-40
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

“Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’"

Brilliant and so simple!

27 December 2010 at 21:46  
Blogger Chancellor More said...

Bravo brother William, Archbishop of Canterbury.
Bravo brother Carl, His Holiness Benedict XXVI.

Such profound commentaries on the Gospel and on the ills facing the 'modern' world that seems determined to rush headlong into Satan's grasp.

May God Bless you both and strenghten you in His cause.

27 December 2010 at 22:27  
Anonymous Minnie said...

Superb, your Grace. Thanks to you and Archbishop Rowan & best wishes to all for the New Year.

28 December 2010 at 10:34  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Mr Sewell, I take note of what you say. If only all ecumenical purse string holders were so diligent. My experience is that the Church speculates to accumulate wealth. Members of the clergy who can rake in the readies tend to be promoted quickly. It is mostly volunteers who do the good deeds at their own time and expense under the aegis of their church and the Church takes the credit for the good works.

The Church provides financially for its own clergy but what else does it pay for? Congregations, community good will and taxpayers (in the case of historical buildings) tend to fund the upkeep of the buildings with donations and grants. Every church I've ever entered has had some sort of steeple or roof fund in operation. My local church was sold off and demolished but a fund was started up immediately to "save the church hall".

So how much or how little does the Church actually spend on performing good works rather than preserving itself and its financial interests while making people feel guilty? We'd find out soon enough if the army of volunteers all went on strike tomorrow.

28 December 2010 at 12:23  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Urban parishes were abolished as a unit of local government in 1933

Homelessness was a huge concern of mine, only today we find nothing but the Archbishops favoured migrants selling the Big Issue.

I see no mention of the causes of poverty then, usury has become the norm for these charlatans.

28 December 2010 at 13:07  
Blogger starcourse said...

You grace is certainly right that his grace your successor is someone who the coalition should embrace as a partner and friend, not at all in a partisan way. I hope and expect your wise words will be heeded. The CofE is the backbone of the Big Society.

28 December 2010 at 16:21  
Blogger English Viking said...

A man that lives in a palace and takes his wages from the offerings of the por is ill-qualified to waffle about poverty.

Actions speak louder than words; faith without works is dead.

28 December 2010 at 21:38  
Blogger English Viking said...

RE The above post.

Please feel free to add an 'o' in the appropriate place, rather like the ABC with zeros.

28 December 2010 at 21:40  
Anonymous Matt London said...

A delight to find this post, coming back to my computer after Christmas (yes - I know it's still Christmas for a bit).

Thank you!

29 December 2010 at 10:00  

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