Sunday, March 27, 2011

Fr Michael Seed in attempted Balkans arms deal

Papal Indulgences just aren’t what they used to be. Perhaps it’s because they have become as devalued as the Zimbabwean dollar that Fr Michael Seed has been arranging a seedy alternative. He couldn’t really ask his donors if they want a ‘k’ or a ‘p’, not least because His Holiness does not bestow peerages: the only ‘p’ that features in Rome’s hierarchy of orders is that of pope. And not even Fr Michael Seed is in a position to sell that particular honour.

But reports that Tony Blair’s confessor has fixed the odd papal ‘k’ is not the first time this troublesome friar has been accused of bringing his church into disrepute.

As if the conversion of Tony Blair were not disrepute enough, it appears that whenever a celebrity seeks to convert (privately), Fr Michael is never very far away (with a coincidental pack of paparazzi). All the gags about ‘sin-bins’ and his salacious ‘pray-and-tell’ memoirs (entitled ‘Saints and Sinners’, launched at Stringfellows [...where else?]) have perhaps been exhausted. His ‘Confessions of a Cleric’ were allegedly greeted with dismay by Pope Benedict XVI. After all, the confessional is supposed to be confidential, and while Fr Michael has never disclosed that Tony Blair repented of his fervent support for abortion and privately regrets introducing civil partnerships, this particular Franciscan does seem to enjoy name-dropping (or, rather, name-carpet-bombing).

But, in an era which is highly sensitive to any link between cash and honours, the allegations in the Mail on Sunday that Fr Michael Seed has arranged papal knighthoods in exchange for generous donations to Roman Catholic causes are grave indeed.

Paypal cash for Papal honours?

But that isn't the worst of it. The Mail further reports: 'The most damaging evidence concerns his attempted cultivation of an Israeli arms dealer, Hezi Bezalel, who was seeking business opportunities in the Balkans'.

Business opportunities in the Balkans? Was Fr Michael really involved in arming Croatian Catholic nationalists - the long-time adversaries of Western democracy? Fr Michael allegedly claimed he could introduce Mr Bezalel to influential Balkan politicians ‘and the man who looks after all arms for the region’. Who is this person? How on earth does Fr Michael know him? This revelation is grave indeed: far more so than the selling of trivial trinkets like honours.

It’s not as if his superiors could not have seen this coming: vows of chastity and poverty are a little incongruous with a celebrity champagne life-style, which includes a luxury flat in Pimlico and cavorting with scantily-clad women in London’s nightclubs. The Cardinal Sins remain unchanged: lust, greed, pride... Any responsible spiritual leader would have ordered Fr Michael to abstinence, humility and obedience as an immediate and urgent remedy. Haven’t they watched Sister Act? AN Wilson once cuttingly remarked that where two or three Hello!-style celebs are gathered together, Fr Michael Seed will surely be there in their midst, managing to be both clumsily sycophantic and intrusive.

How long is it before he appears on Strictly Come Dancing?

The day may be nearer than he thought.

But perhaps no sooner than he hoped.


Anonymous the recusant said...

What a mean-spirited, malicious and petty little piece of invective. Just thank God you have not had to walk in this man’s shoes.

Beneath contempt Cranmer even for your particular brand of anti-Catholicism.

27 March 2011 at 14:38  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

Just Business, you understand, nothing personal.

My dear Recusant; His Grace is not being mean spirited, at all petty, or using invective in any malicious manner.

Unfortunately the TRUTH hurts, which is a large part of the reason why so very few have eyes to see it, ears to hear it, or lips to tell it.


What His Grace fails to mention is that The CofE operates in much of the same manner, and has been doing so since its coming into being.

There again, why should he? The subject matter here is The RCC, not organized, or long established religion as a whole.

However; this does not prevent myself from changing the subject somewhat.

The more spiritual powers that be, have been working hand in glove with the more material ones for a very long time indeed.

To these people this type of thing is simply business as usual, in the service, or interests of what they personally believe to be the true church of The True God.

Therefore; there are not rules they will not break, nor divinely inspired moral guidance they will not totally ignore, for The Society of Jesus.

I do not know what sort of promise these people are on, most likely not 50 virgins, not female ones anyway, but I am sure you get the picture.

27 March 2011 at 15:12  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr Recusant,

Are you really so obtuse as to mistake valid criticisms of the conduct of one Franciscan friar for wholesale 'anti-Catholicism'? It's curious how you only surface when such articles appear. Have you not read that Fr Michael's own spiritual leaders are 'appalled' by his conduct? Are they 'anti-Catholic'? And as for the question of walking in Fr Michael's shoes, that can only be a manifestation of your own anti-Anglican prejudice, for you clearly know absolutely nothing of the steps His Grace has trod. Instead of puerile ad hominem, why don't you engage with the issues, if, that is, you are able to discern them.

27 March 2011 at 15:25  
Blogger Span Ows said...

Pleased to see Seed trying to convert those poor sinners though; he is clearly flushed from the effort.

27 March 2011 at 16:20  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Martin Luther, do return to bring Protestants back to the true path and have Catholics abjure from Corruption

27 March 2011 at 16:21  
Blogger François said...

Franciscans in the Balkans were known to have collaborated with the Ustasha in Croatia during WW2. They were rabidly anti-serbian, anti-Orthodox, of course. Always ready to execute the orders of their fuehrer, 'Poglavnik', Ante Pavelic.

Then there are also associated with the alleged visions of Medugorje- one of them, who coached the 'seers', is now living a life of far-niente in Italy with his mistress.

But Protestantism is not immune from depravity either... Nor is any religion, any human association, or any human being for that matter.

27 March 2011 at 16:33  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh dear. Repeating slime from the 'Smail' imagining it bears any relation to the actuality was, I imagined, something a bit beneath this blog. Perhaps Cranmer will serve us up 'Diana AIDS scare house price immigrants' stories from now on.

No, of course not. It's just another waspish and rather camp claw-scratch at a Christian who clearly doesn't share Cranmer's misanthropy.

27 March 2011 at 16:34  
Anonymous Paul said...

A friar has no business being involved in shady arms deals! His business is serving the Lord ! PERIOD!!!

27 March 2011 at 16:37  
Anonymous david said...

"Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven" (Matt. 18:18)

Indulgences remain as desirable as ever, though the Protestants who deride them will remain unable to realise their value until they repent of their heresies and unite themselves to the Church founded by Christ. Should they choose to remain outside the one true fold until death, all the indulgences in the world will not suffice to improve heretics' posthumous situation.

As for Fr Seed's dubious behaviour (the Stringfellow's business strikes me as rather more serious than encouraging the perception that knighthoods often follow charitable donations), it's hard to know what to say. I think Fr Seed's order has been trying to work out what to do with him for some time. Let's hope the Mail on Sunday story leads them to approach the task with a sense of urgency.

The less said about the man of blood who constitutes Fr Seed's best-known "convert", the better.

27 March 2011 at 17:26  
Anonymous AnonymousinBelfast said...

With apologies to Chaucer:

"A FRERE ther was, a wantowne and a merye,
A lymytour, a ful solempne man.
In alle the ordres foure is noon that kan
So muchel of daliaunce and fair langage.
For he hadde power of confessioun,
As seyde hymself, moore than a curat,
For of his ordre he was licenciat.
Ful swetely herde he confessioun,
And plesaunt was his absolucioun:
He was an esy man to yeve penaunce,
Ther as he wiste to have a good pitaunce.
For unto a povre ordre for to yive
Is signe that a man is wel yshryve;
For, if he yaf, he dorste make avaunt,
He wiste that a man was repentaunt;
For many a man so harde is of his herte,
He may nat wepe, al thogh hym soore smerte;
Therfore in stede of wepynge and preyeres
Men moote yeve silver to the povre freres.
His typet was ay farsed ful of knyves
Curteis he was, and lowely of servyse.
Ther nas no man nowher so vertuous.
He was the beste beggere in his hous;
(And yaf a certeyn ferme for the graunt
This worthy lymytour was cleped [Michael]."

27 March 2011 at 17:28  
Anonymous Ashmolean said...

I loved the picture of Seedy surrounded by a bunch of Playmates of the Month.
Most reassuring, because earlier the phrase 'row of tents' kept coming to mind.

27 March 2011 at 18:41  
Anonymous non mouse said...

With him ther rood a gentil PARDONER
Of Rouncivale, his freend and his compeer,
That streight was comen fro the court of Rome. (GP 669-71)
... Hym thoughte he rood al of the newe jet; (GP682)...
His walet, biforn hym in his lappe,
Bretful of pardoun comen from Rome al hoot. (GP686-7)

This Pilgrim boasts of his talent for preaching against the sins he practices (and understands so well); his theme is always: Radix malorum est Cupiditas. (PP334; 426). [From 1 Timothy 6.10]

The Pardoner ends his "Prologue":
For I wil preche and begge in sondry landes
I wol nat do no labour with myne handes,
Ne make baskettes and lyve therby,
By cause I wol nat beggen ydelly.
I wol noon of the apostles countrefete,
I wol have moneie, wolle, chese, and whete,
Al were it yeve of the povereste page,
Or of the povereste wydwe in a village,
Al sholde hir children sterve for famyne.
Nay, I wol drynke licour of the vyne,
And have a joly wenche in every toun.
But herkneth, lordynges, in conclusioun:
Youre likyng is that I shal telle a tale.
Now have I dronke a draughte of corny ale,
By God, I hope I shal yow telle a thyng
That shal by resoun been at youre likyng.
For though myself be a ful vicious man,
A moral tale yet I yow telle kan,
Which I am wont to preche for to wynne. (PP443-461)

So here we are again, all modern and original.... Innit great?

Chaucer, Geoffrey. "The General Prologue," and "The Pardoner's Prologue."

27 March 2011 at 19:10  
Anonymous Voyager said...

unite themselves to the Church founded by Christ

Fanciful notion. Last time we looked Jesus was a Jew, Torah-observant, and nearer the Pharisees than the Saduccees in terms of belief.

The only Church Jesus was involved in was The Temple and Judaism. Whichever Church is nearest to Judaism can claim association with Jesus Christ. The Church of Rome spent so long removing all traces of Judaism from The Bible that it is devoid of meaning in whole books, and the grafting of Roman pagan ritual onto Christian doctrine has been blasphemous in the extreme

Pontifex Maximus is a pagan Roman title

27 March 2011 at 19:25  
Anonymous the recusant said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

27 March 2011 at 19:32  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

It's not a bad idea buying Indulgences at the moment if one is of that persuasion.

Apparently, the Rapture is scheduled for 21st May this year according to this preacher:

It is not clear whether it's 6pm PST so I suppose it is worth the rest of us steering clear of flights, buses and so on all day.

27 March 2011 at 19:44  
Anonymous Papal Bill said...

It is rumoured that Blair, in conversation with the Pope, tried to persuade His Holiness to break with tradition and canonize the former PM while still in this world - a move that would have made him the first living saint.
Evidently his Tonyness has lowered his sights a bit.

27 March 2011 at 19:46  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Hasten to add that my own contribution supports His Grace, and to tag my comment on originality as irony.

I say the only original thing under the sun is Original Sin. Our great literature - before and after Chaucer - makes it only too clear that we never have learnt from our mistakes, we just keep on repeating the same old tricks. Maybe the only reason we're stuck out in this lonely spot in the Universe is: that way we can't contaminate the rest of it.

As for RCs - wot Voyager said. We needed to reform their practices, and that's what we did. Now they need to appreciate that our (reformed) loyalty is to the One Almighty God - as theirs should be. Never mind taking revenge by sitting on vaults that contain those nasty pieces of parchment - you know, the ones that swear to cost us all the money that we don't have?

Chaucer was right. His Grace was/is right.

27 March 2011 at 20:03  
Anonymous not a machine said...

And it was all going so much better than before , however when it became obvious that pop culture and god had mixed far more greatly than before , he perhaps had to move on .
CofE bishops have not been immune to popculture seductions either .

I am happy with it being a mistake that perhaps failed to edify the godhead as i can no longer see that protestant and roman catholic antipathy is serving god. I am a little wary of trying to define which communion is correct, as it seems to me that they , if beyond the ability of organisations to fail and that they may act as check and balance .
there is quite enough in the bible for the rest of humanity to discover, without a post jesus squabble over rights to what is somthing ultimately given unto the world .

27 March 2011 at 20:07  
Blogger François said...

Behold how all this has generated into primary, gratuitious anti-catholicism, which i doubt, was the author's original intent.

But, yes, give thellow-born prods something to vent their frustration on.

27 March 2011 at 20:12  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

God chooses who he will.

So this guy is a bit of a twit and comes from a long line of odd eccentric people who serve God in diverse ways.

This story is hardly earth shattering and one wonders why so much attention is being paid to it.

27 March 2011 at 20:39  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Your Grace, you suggest that this friar will end up being on "strictly come dancing". I suspect that a more appropriate role would be to star in Dr who to be the new incarnation of dr who's villian "the meddling monk" ....

PS- What's anti-catholic about the posts here? Chip? Shoulder?

27 March 2011 at 21:58  
Blogger Willie said...

I have always wondered who financed the re-equipment of the Croatian Army to enable it to undertake the clearance of the Krajina under General Ante Gotovina.
Perhaps we should be told.

27 March 2011 at 23:19  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Yes, The Last Dodo makes good points -- and sinners work to God's purpose, wittingly or not. So that necessarily goes for twits, too.

The SMail story does smack of victimization. Yet, I agree with His Grace, arms brokering in the Balkans is noteworthy stuff - whoever is involved. A pity Fr. S. must be the scapegoat who drags it to scandal and trial by media: who surely are qualified to judge no one.

Ah, the wages of Lady Fame.

Someone once told me the three knots on a Franciscan's cord signify Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience...

28 March 2011 at 00:28  
Anonymous Oswin said...

Wot, no 'casting of seed' and 'stony ground' jokes?

28 March 2011 at 01:20  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Are we simply to accept the Sunday Mail's account? I've read the articles and they present no evidence. Is there any?

And, yes, whatever is claimed, there is an anti-catholic tone to this blog. Just one more in a long line of oh, so clever, jibes at Roman Catholism.

'Innocent' and 'abroad' spring to mind so far as Fr Seed is concerned. Other words suggest themselves about the motives of this report and the author.

28 March 2011 at 01:41  
Anonymous non mouse said...

The Last Dodo - If refusal to be governed by RCism and/or Rome is anti-catholic, then so be it. As if we haven't got enough to do with the euSSR and the never-ending Roman game.

For my part I've appreciated some RCs. A Franciscan nun it was who told me about the three knots; they treated me well, at their convents. Further still, we'd have no English or its Literature - had RCs not brought us literacy: though I also believe in credit due to Greeks, Hebrews, Anglo-Saxons, Irish, and the Welsh.

Further yet, I would refer you to His Grace's quote in the sidebar - from Dr. Fisher.

Certain facts mentioned here may indeed support a perception that many of us refuse to be Roman Catholic - Cranmer's story is about that stand; Christ was a Jew, not a Roman; Chaucer is among others who chronicled the historical abuses practiced by falling Christianity. Nobody says anyone was or is perfect: simply that we prefer our independent approach to, and understanding of, Christ's teaching.

That said, I do agree the SMail account is questionable. I personally know nothing of Fr. S; but he was associated with the appalling Blairs; and the photographs and other publications testify to some aspects of his misfortunes.

Perhaps we should let your Church attend to its own problem and say our prayers for its child.

28 March 2011 at 02:47  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rather than blaming the man, I would like to apportion the blame to his superiors. It's a well known fact that the RC has always sold 'stuff' from indulgences (now out of fashion) to gong. The availability of papal paraphernalia has always been proportional to income, rather than real efforts. The poor lady who has slaved all her life cleaning the church would seldom receive anything, the multimillionaire who bestows a couple of hundred thousand pounds, would (not dissimilar from governments by the way). So the issue here is why did the hierarchy allow Seed to continue to mix with these undesirable individuals for as long as that. It was obvious that he had lost it ages ago, when he was pictured cavorting in Stringfellows and had started getting a ghost author to write his memoirs. A responsible superior would have recalled him there and then.
Seed isn't an evil man, just a misguided one. To operate untainted at the highest levels of power requires clergymen with a strong combination of fortitude, rectitude and holiness. Someone whose life had clearly been a shamble could only do so successfully with appropriate guidance, just like when Seed operated under the late Cardinal Hume. The rot, as you would notice, started afterwards when he was left alone and without a strong direction.

28 March 2011 at 08:50  
Anonymous len said...

If your faith (or should I say particular brand of religion )is not open to scrutiny then I would suggest to you that it is not worth having.
When your religion is stripped away what will remain?

'By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames.'

( 1 Corinthians 3)

I would add that some religions even omit the foundation stone!!

28 March 2011 at 22:22  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

non mouse said:

Thank you sir or madam for your considered response. Of course you are free to follow your faith as you see it. And yes, Christianity, be it Romanan or other, has much to answer for in its long, mixed history.

For me, personally, I regard being 'governed' by Rome as subjecting myself to an authority and discipline established by Christ. Not an unquestioning and blind slavery but a following based on as full an understanding as I can arrive at of the theology behind the doctrines and dogmas of the church. However, the 'yoke is light', as someone once wrote.

I know of no 'game' being played by the current Pope or his predecessor which is not to say that some Cardinals are not all they appear to be.

It would be good to see others on this blog follow your example of respectful disagreement and leave the bigotry and battles of the past 400 years where they belong.

28 March 2011 at 22:31  
Anonymous len said...

'Respectful disagreement?'
This to men means compromise which is something I can never do!

Jude wrote, "earnestly contend for the faith." These words describe and teach what the Christian is to do for the faith and how he is to do it. The Greek word rendered "earnestly contend" is epagonizomai. This compound word is very descriptive. Consider W. E. Vine's comments concerning "earnestly contend:"

"Epagonizomai: signifies 'to contend about a thing, as a combatant' (epi, 'upon or about,' intensive, agon, 'a contest'), 'to contend earnestly,' Jude 1:3. The word 'earnestly' is added to convey the intensive force of the preposition" (Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words).

This is a battle a war between Truth and error.

Jesus warns us what will happen to the lukewarm. It is the duty of every Bible believing ,born again Christian to contend, to fight, for the Truth and NOT to remain silent!

29 March 2011 at 19:06  
Anonymous len said...

It would be good for Christians to wake from their slumbers and to start making an impact on Society, to make a stand for the Gospel.
There is a huge tide of false religion, Atheism,Secularism, sweeping forth across the Land and Christians need to stand up and be counted or be swept before it.
Christians need to cultivate an appreciation for Biblical Truth and then stand for that Truth.The current Secular view of 'no absolutes is contrary to Biblical Truth.
The Truth of God`s Word has been compromised,Politicized, and twisted in every imaginable way.
We must return to the Truth of God`s Word in an uncompromising, forthright manner as we oppose false doctrine and those who oppose the Truth as revealed in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

29 March 2011 at 19:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theological ethics doesn't have to be restricted to the exact literal meaning of the original text...sometimes Jesus offers a principle upon which to act rather than just a specific act. Thus the 'poor' don't necessarily have to be exactly what Jesus meant by the term.

29 March 2011 at 21:31  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...


So to "ernestly contend" justifies hatred, bitterness, hostility? Where do you draw the line?
2000 years of Christian history of spreading and preserving the Gospel of Love in some dubious ways tells us otherwise.

Respect for someone with a different understanding is surely a necessary platform for dialogue? Or does one just impose ones view on others?

29 March 2011 at 23:53  
Anonymous len said...

The Last Dodo,

Acceptable Anger

Ephesians 4:26 says, "Be angry, and do not sin..." This tells us something very important - there is an anger that is acceptable.

Unacceptable Anger

"Be angry but do not sin." Not all anger is wrong for man, but some anger is clearly wrong.
Ephesians 4:31 (NKJV) Let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice.

30 March 2011 at 19:46  

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