Tuesday, April 26, 2011

As the Government contemplates a multi-faith House of Lords, they retreat on the Act of Settlement

While His Grace foresaw that 2011 would be a year of constitutional reform, he also knew it would be devilishly difficult, if not impossible. House of Lords reform and the Church-State relationship are not minor matters: they are not within the gift of David Cameron to lay at the feet of Nick Clegg for the trivial pursuit of reinforcing his reputation or bolstering the Coalition. It is not for the Prime Minister to offer the Act of Settlement to his Deputy in some murky quid-pro-quo for the loss of the AV referendum.

We read that the Prime Minister is considering a multi-faith House of Lords. Of course, it is Nick Clegg who is responsible for constitutional reform, but His Grace is quite certain that neither of these men actual grasps the issues or understands the complexities. The Lib Dem leader appears to believe that overseeing historic changes to the Lords will compensate for the disappointment his party will feel if his proposal to change the electoral system is rejected in the referendum on May 5. And it would be neat, coming precisely 100 years since the Parliament Act by which the Liberal Government ended the power of the House of Lords to block the annual budget. The timing and symbolism are not lost on either the Prime Minister or Mr Clegg.

But both are lost on the theo-political significance of reform.

Currently 26 Anglican bishops have seats in the Lords. The proposal is that these should be reduced and space made for other Christian denominations, in particular for Roman Catholic bishops. These would be joined by religious representatives of Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism and Sikhism.

While some may observe that the House of Lords already has its self-appointed khalifa of all things Islamic, there is the thorny issue of denominational diversity within these minority faiths. Would the voice of Islam in the Lords be Sunni, Shi’a or Sufi? Should there be one of each? And what of the Ahmadiyyans? Who defines them as a sect? Where is the central Islamic authority to determine orthodoxy? Should the Sikh representative be a ‘proper’ Sikh – that is a turban-wearing, kirpan-carrying follower of the panth? Or one who takes a more relaxed view of the 5 Ks? Hinduism also has no central doctrinal authority: should their representatives in the House of Lords be adherents of Vaishnavism, Shaivism, Shaktism or Smartism? Or all four? And for the Jews? The Chief Rabbi? But he does not speak on behalf all Jews. The successors to the Pharisses, Sadduccees, and Essenes are Orthodox, Reform, Conservative, Hasidism, and Kabbalah. Should Christian denominations be restricted to Trinitarians? What of the Jehovah’s Witnesses?

You see the problem. What the Prime Minister and his Deputy perceive to be a magnanimous act of spiritual modernity is fraught with infinite complexity: for this to be ‘fair’, the House of Lords Appointments Commission would need to be constituted of representatives from every faith also, in order that it is not seen to be a ‘hideously white’ group of Christians imposing their patronising and superficial interpretations of religious orthodoxy upon minorities. And that is not a trivial issue: the incorporation of other faiths into the House of Lords is predicated upon the State’s recognition and definition of the religious orthodoxy of each religion: essentially, they would all need to become 'established' to some extent. For if religious representaives were to be democratically elected, Lord Ahmed could easily be replaced by the likes of Abu Hamza, and then we would be praying for the restoration of the 26 Anglican bishops.

The Lords Spiritual are Anglican for a reason: they (and they alone) represent to government the via media of the nation and sustain the canopy of constitutional Christianity. There may indeed be strong arguments that our legislature might also benefit from the wisdom of leaders of Baptist, Roman Catholic, Methodist and black-led congregations. Religious adherence is actually a far better measure of diversity than skin colour, with which politicians on all sides appear to be obsessed.

But, as His Grace has previously observed, there is no logical end to the eradication of ‘discrimination’ in Parliament. Yet it is a superficial obsession, for it is no more difficult for an Anglican bishop to represent Muslims or Hindus than it is for an able-bodied MP to represent the disabled. One does not need to be homosexual to advocate equality and justice; and one does not need to be an alcoholic single-mother on welfare to speak against poverty and the causes of family breakdown.

There are, of course, already Roman Catholic, Muslim, Jewish and Hindu peers in the House of Lords. The Chief Rabbi Jonathan Sacks is a life peer, as is the Chairman of the Conservative Party, Baroness Warsi, a Muslim. But only a religious leader is appointed to advocate specifically on behalf their religion: there is no sense in which Baroness Warsi is the religio-political equivalent of the Chief Rabbi.

If one were to constitute the House of Commons in proportion to the religious make-up of the nation (excluding the agnostics, atheists and undeclared) it ought to contain 17 Muslims, 6 Hindus, 4 Sikhs, 3 Jews, 2 Buddhists, 465 Christians and 6 Jedi Knights (2001 census figures). With a House of Lords now significantly larger than the Commons, His Grace will leave his readers and communicants to do the math for proportionate religious representation (or wait for the 2011 census figures).

Whoever (if anyone) is advising David Cameron and Nick Clegg on these matters is simply not up to the job. Removal of any Anglican bishops would necessitate the repeal of the 1533 and 1534 Acts governing their appointment, the abolition of the homage oath, some alteration to the Coronation Oath Act and the repeal of the relevant parts of the various bishopric Acts limiting appointment maxima. Is there time for primary legislation to achieve all this? Further, they have omitted to observe that Roman Catholic ‘Clerics are forbidden to assume public offices which entail a participation in the exercise of civil power’ (Canon 285:3). Yet, as one senior Conservative said: "It is inconceivable that we continue with a faith element to the Lords without Catholic bishops being represented.”

And neither have the politicians reckoned on the wholesale rejection by the Church of England of plans to reform the Act of Settlement 1701.

Contrary to popular belief, the Monarch is not free to be any religion or marry into any religion except the Roman Catholic one. For the Act of Settlement requires the Monarch and his or her consort to be ‘in communion with’ the Church of England. While His Grace could write more than a few pages on the meaning of ‘koinonia’ in this context, it must be noted that it is not only Roman Catholics who are prohibited by their own Magisterium from taking bread and wine in Anglican churches: Jews and Muslims would also find this unacceptable, and so adherents to many other faiths bar themselves from being ‘in communion with’ the state Church.

The Act of Settlement was forged during an era of intolerable foreign interference in the governance of England. Like Magna Carta, it is a foundational treaty between the Monarch and his/her subjects which defines our liberties and asserts our sovereign independence from all foreign princes and potentates. Its provisions are ‘for ever’: our forebears made sure it was watertight. If, indeed, Parliament once again permits the Monarch to be or marry a Roman Catholic, what will they do with the clause which states: 'in all and every such case and cases the people of these realms shall be and are thereby absolved of their allegiance'.

According to The Telegraph, the Church of England has flexed its puny muscles and found a few teeth. We read: ‘...the plan to abolish the Act of Settlement was quietly shelved after the Church raised significant objections centring on the British sovereign’s dual role as Supreme Governor.

‘Church leaders expressed concern that if a future heir to the throne married a Roman Catholic, their children would be required by canon law to be brought up in that faith. This would result in the constitutionally problematic situation whereby the Supreme Governor of the Church of England was a Roman Catholic, and so ultimately answerable to a separate sovereign leader, the Pope, and the Vatican.

‘...Mr Clegg was initially attracted to the idea of repealing the Act but is said to have been persuaded that the difficulties raised by the Anglican Church were insurmountable.

‘...A spokesman for the Anglican Church said that although the Act of Succession appeared “anomalous” in the modern world, while the Church of England remained the established religion, the monarch and Supreme Governor could not owe a higher loyalty elsewhere.

'He went on: “The prohibition on those in the line of succession marrying Roman Catholics derives from an earlier age and inevitably looks anomalous, not least when there is no prohibition on marriage to those of other faiths or none. But if the prohibition were removed the difficulty would still remain that establishment requires the monarch to join in communion with the Church of England as its Supreme Governor and that is not something that a Roman Catholic would be able to do consistently with the current rules of that church.”’

So offensive and outrageous is this that Alex Salmond has demanded an explanation from the Government. But it is only what His Grace has been saying for many years, and has frequently been called an ‘anti-Catholic bigot’ for doing so. Now it appears that the Church of England is full of anti-Catholic bigots.

Or perhaps they simply desire to sustain their liberties, customs and traditions.

His Grace would like to end with just one question for reflection and consideration: Why, at a time when the Government is downgrading religion in education and diminishing its status in the school curriculum, are they intent on enhancing it in Parliament and embedding it within the nation’s politics?

76 Comments:

Blogger Drew_Mac said...

Sterling argument in favour of disestablishment and the full secularisation of politics. Bet the NSS will tweet a link to Your Grace's blog!

26 April 2011 at 11:53  
Anonymous bluedog said...

Your Grace, on the 'hideously white' front and let's not breathe a word about the Royal marriage, the CofE is fortunate indeed to have John Sentamu. Not forgetting Michael Nazir-Ali either, whose recent resignation was a disappointment.

Your communicant merely throws these names into the ring so that if Senor Clegg is casting around for a bit of diversity he need look no further than the CofE.

Shallow is as shallow does.

26 April 2011 at 11:54  
Anonymous MrJ said...

"...neither of these men actually grasps the issues or understands the complexities": small squeak from here to indicate unreserved agreement with the whole piece and that morsel in particular.

The 1911 Act's preamble has been a long advent without a definite happening, but when the present meddlers have passed on the present House of appointed baronesses and barons will seem to have been the last of the better days of the endgame.

These proposals come from neither vigour nor insight but from feebleness and narrow minds. What did they teach those boys at Eton College and Westminster School, of all places? "You see the problem".

The piece is too well argued to get a coherent answer from those who are presently operating in the name of Her Majesty's Government, or "Loyal Opposition". May be they are clever enough to bamboozle enough of the backers and focus groups enough of the time. But in the main it seems the People, which members of the Commons House as a body are elected to represent, are not being bamboozled about AV Etc. merely exasperated.

Does the case of North Britain, aka Scotland, offer the possibility that the Crowned Head appoint a Lord Commissioner in respect of Anglican Church government? The way to discontinuing episcopacy would lie ahead, and could ease the strife around the drive for appointing women clergy to that status.

After all that, this fails to answer the question put: Why, at a time when the Government is downgrading religion in education and diminishing its status in the school curriculum, are they intent on enhancing it in Parliament and embedding it within the nation’s politics?

This is another question to which the answer may bring fear and trembling.

26 April 2011 at 12:14  
Anonymous Dreadnaught said...

"Why, at a time when the Government is downgrading religion in education and diminishing its status in the school curriculum, are they intent on enhancing it in Parliament and embedding it within the nation’s politics?"

They fear the argument for having Anglican Bishops in the Lords is a weak one. We have all but surrendered our true national sovereignty and live (thanks to Heath and Blair) in an age of European driven dumb compliance.

They don't want us to educate our children to appreciate that not all religions are preaching messages of love thy neighbour, turn the other cheek and bless'd are the meek etc. The British mindset is being deliberately cultivated for the eventual capitulation to Islamic influence through the Euromed programme.

The Union for the Mediterranean promotes economic integration and democratic reform across 16 neighbours to the EU’s south in North Africa and the Middle East...

...the establishment of maritime and land highways that connect ports and improve rail connections so as to facilitate movement of people and goods...


http://eeas.europa.eu/euromed/index_en.htm

26 April 2011 at 12:34  
Blogger AncientBriton said...

Thank God, and Your Grace, for some sanity.
The utterances of many Anglican bishops makes a good case for their removal but to contemplate including imams is utter madness. Islam rejects the Incarnation and regards non-Muslims as inferior. How can what's left of a Christian nation even consider the idea of giving credence to an alien ideology?

26 April 2011 at 12:38  
Anonymous Atlas shrugged said...

The Devil is in the details, the small print, or the other important things that tend to stay out of view until it is far too late to do anything about them.

In this case, it is SUBVERSION from the very top of the Anglican Church.

For there is little point having Anglicanism constitutionally represented in the House of Lords, if people like The Arch Druid of Canterbury are heading it up.

Not that I have anything against Druids, Pagans, Freemasons, or any other aspect of Mystery Babylon myself, I just thought if may be a nice idea to warn any real Christians out there, of their coming planned demise, or rapid assimilation.

After all the establishment has been planning to get rid of real Christianity for the best part of 2000 years, so the day had to come sometime when they would finally twist the knife.

The good news is this.

If real Christians are right in what they believe they have nothing to fear. For the truth is still the TRUTH, whatever others may say, and even if those others out number the individual by thousands, or even millions to one.

Look not for your salvation in this world, for you cannot receive it here.

You can help others to see the light, you can even help others to feed themselves, but you cannot ultimately save their eternal souls, they can only save their Self, themselves.

26 April 2011 at 13:13  
Anonymous Voyager said...

In what other political system apart from Canada's joke Upper House could politicians mess with the Upper Chamber without consulting the Voters ?

26 April 2011 at 13:14  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Your Grace

‘Why, at a time when the Government is downgrading religion in education and diminishing its status in the school curriculum, are they intent on enhancing it in Parliament and embedding it within the nation’s politics?’

I don’t know why there is an inconsistency. It could be that the political elite believes, as stated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in a recent court case, that religion is an infection and children are vulnerable to a greater degree than mature adults. Presumably then, its cure is eradication.

It is interesting that religion may be enhanced in parliament whilst degrading Christianity in parliament.

The whole approach to reform by the political elite seems to suggest that they view democracy on the basis of equality: that any one is qualified to rule over us. I always thought that the system of democracy was instituted to suggest that no man is qualified to rule over us.

26 April 2011 at 13:17  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

What a dreadful and unedifying tangle retreating Christendom is leaving in its wake. The idea of the Christian nation was the original error -- that Christianity could be imposed by force and that it has any other medium of action than faith.

As soon as the persecuted departed from the margins, taking up the reins of power in defiance of the teaching of Jesus, the rot began. And, despite the undoubted good ('collateral benefit'?) that has been achieved along the way, the means has been and remains a stain on the name of Christ and his churches.

How difficult it is proving now to untie the Gordian knot; and how much worse it would be were the knot simply to be cut.

26 April 2011 at 14:03  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Removal of any Anglican bishops

With the decline of Christian observance and the rise of Islam, the bishops’ removal can only be a matter of time. As dioceses disappear and redundant churches become thriving mosques, the bishops must give way to imams—and if the sight of the Bench of Imams makes people realize how far Islamization has progressed, so much the better. Bring it on.

26 April 2011 at 14:21  
Blogger Richard Gadsden said...

I am appalled that neither Eton nor Westminister has sufficiently educated the two leading figures of our nation to understand the constitution and the history from which it arises.

They surely now realise that they cannot unpick the established Church a little at a time. The wisdom of Liberal Democrat Conference in refusing to consider revising the Act of Settlement separately from disestablishment of the Church of England is again reaffirmed.

26 April 2011 at 14:27  
Anonymous Paul said...

Whither Britain Your Grace ? Please yell me...At some point your identity will disappear...

26 April 2011 at 14:30  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

Richard Gadsden says "I am appalled that neither Eton nor Westminister has sufficiently educated the two leading figures of our nation to understand the constitution and the history from which it arises."

They are products of the age. I remember a vicar once saying to me, of the congregation, "They're very Anglican, aren't they" meaning that they didn't want much depth to the Faith.

Bright and breezy is the religion of many. That's why Alastair Campbell made sure "we don't do God". God's message is mostly diametrically opposite to that of modern day political shinanigans.

26 April 2011 at 14:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From the US, we can see quite clearly that Britain is committing suicide. And we're only a few years behind you. The men who won WWII bought us a half century of relative luxury and peace. It's fading fast.

26 April 2011 at 15:23  
Blogger Graham Davis said...

The Act of Succession!

Isn’t this what we a trying to get rid of in Libya, Syria, Egypt etc.

Why is such a grossly undemocratic piece of legislation acceptable here?

26 April 2011 at 15:26  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Voyager (13:14) : "...politicians mess with the Upper Chamber without consulting the Voters".

What proportion of "the Voters" would be able to come to an informed decision on the matter, which is vastly more abstruse than AV Etc? Not even the Prime Minister or his appointed deputy, or anyone else within sight has a clue (HG, of course, does but only his onscreen writing is in sight).

Should more weight be given to the advice of the supposedly better informed than to the Voter whose predominant interests are elsewhere?

Say, the inspirational Sir Humphrey Appleby (‘It’s interesting that nowadays politicians want to talk about moral issues, and bishops want to talk politics'); or

others of his kind, usually appointed to the House of Lords after retirement (almost ex officio), like Baron Armstrong of Ilminster; or

Professor Bogdanor and other (grey) eminences collected by Sir Augustine O'Donnell, to form the GOD Squad; or

the by now notorious Common Purpose ("Dr Musharraf Hussain is well versed in leading beyond authority because, as he says, Imams have no authority outside their own community: source CP website).

There is so much at stake that it is difficult for any media practitioner either to wish or to be able to report it in a way that could lead to popular understanding. But HG's essay would be about the best available starting point.

26 April 2011 at 15:37  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

This Country is a shithole.

Who gives a stuff what the House of Traitors does, the little Laird Fauntleroys can stick it!

We want a showdown...

26 April 2011 at 15:45  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

You can come from anywhere on this planet and Laird it over the English now.

Thats how pathetic we have become.

26 April 2011 at 15:54  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

Mr Bred in the bone opined: 'You can come from anywhere on this planet and Laird it over the English now.'

Whereas for a couple of hundred years we went more or less everywhere on the planet and lairded it over the inhabitants, teaching the fuzzies to wear trousers, don't ye know?.

What goes around comes around.

26 April 2011 at 16:56  
Anonymous Voyager said...

What proportion of "the Voters" would be able to come to an informed decision on the matter

Does that matter ? I know more about this matter and most others than Clegg or Cameron ? Why am I excluded from decisions ?

That alone is sufficient. You don't know what proportion and do not bother to find out. That is dictatorial.

At some stage those of us who are well-informed and others not so well-informed may decide Cameron/Clegg etc are simply out of control and need removing. That process could curtail their input into even quite mundane decisions, permanently and irrevocably.

It seems hasty of them to ignore public opinion and risk their own personal destruction

26 April 2011 at 17:09  
Anonymous MrJ said...

Voyager (17:09) : Well said, Agreed.

26 April 2011 at 18:00  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

I have a great idea ... how about a secular state so that this sort of thing is not even an issue? :)

26 April 2011 at 18:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Church leaders expressed concern that if a future heir to the throne married a Roman Catholic, their children would be required by canon law to be brought up in that faith.

This simply isn't true. Catholic Canon Law states:

Can. 1125 The local ordinary [usually the bishohp] can grant a permission of this kind [a mixed marriage] if there is a just and reasonable cause. He is not to grant it unless the following conditions have been fulfilled:

1/ the Catholic party ... is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power so that all offspring are baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church;


Such wording is very careful and recognises that there are times when children will not be able to be brought up as Catholics - as when marrying into the British Royal family.

This would result in the constitutionally problematic situation whereby the Supreme Governor of the Church of England was a Roman Catholic, and so ultimately answerable to a separate sovereign leader, the Pope, and the Vatican.

If these are real reasons, then I think more study needs to be given to the Letter to the Duke of Norfolk by Bl. John Henry Newman. With more care it would be obvious that they provide no just reason to exclude Catholics from the office of Head of State or consort to the Head of State.

26 April 2011 at 18:29  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Albert said...

Sorry Albert but you are wrong! As a party to a 'mixed marriage' it was made clear to me that not only does the Catholic makes a promise but so too does the other party. S/he promises not to interfere in the raising of any children as Catholics.

To go into a marriage with the cited 'escape' clause in mind would simply be considered illicit and, on this basis, the marriage would probably be sacriligious.

No genuine marriage could trake place between the Supreme Governor of the Church of England and a Roman Catholic without one of them abandoning their faith.

Canon law is not for the feignt hearted and neither is marriage in the Catholic Church!

26 April 2011 at 18:56  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

Canon Law is the authority on this matter. But if that is doubted, how about this from Pope Paul VI:

Furthermore, the Catholic partner in a mixed marriage is obliged, not only to remain steadfast in the faith, but also, as far as possible, to see to it that the children be baptized and brought up in that same faith.

The same document abrogates the following older law:

"Catholics are under an excommunication latae sententiae reserved to the Ordinary:

[...]

(2) who contract marriage with an explicit or implicit agreement that all children or any child be educated outside the Catholic Church;

(3) who knowingly presume to present their children to non-Catholic ministers to be baptized;

(4) who, being parents or taking their place, knowingly present their children to be educated or trained in a non-Catholic religion.


I can only assume that either you married before the present Code was in force (1983) or else that for some reason (probably an error) the Church's Law was not followed. By what authority were you expected to agree to that?

In any case, any matter of Church Law can be waived by Church authority, so there would be no difficulty in the monarch marrying a Catholic.

26 April 2011 at 19:10  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

Shut the place down.

Act this

Act that

Act the other

Conquered on paper without a shot fired, not even the fuzzies layed down that easy.

26 April 2011 at 19:46  
Anonymous Voyager said...

how about a secular state so that this sort of thing is not even an issue? :)

Why have a State at all ? Why not have two ?

You are so keen on a "secular state" DanJ0, but I am not. So if we decide to fight you will have to acquiesce or fight yourself ?

We had such fights in 1641 and maybe we should again ? Maybe that is how matters will be decided now that the political structures are hollowed out and decayed

26 April 2011 at 19:49  
Blogger Albert said...

A secular state?

The period after the French Revolution wasn't entirely peaceful! But there is a point here about the constitution effectively foreclosing against some religious groups that should be addressed.

26 April 2011 at 19:51  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Voyager: "You are so keen on a "secular state" DanJ0, but I am not. So if we decide to fight you will have to acquiesce or fight yourself ?"

Well, we've managed to work out whether we have a Labour or a Conservative government over many decades without fighting, though it has come close at times. I'm a reasonable person, I'll rely on the strength of the arguments one way or another like a true liberal and democrat. Sometimes ideas take a while to settle in so I don't mind if it takes a decade or two for us to be free of the (albeit fairly light) yoke of Christianity in the UK.

26 April 2011 at 19:56  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I thank your grace for an informative and clear outline of somthing for most of my life ,I had taken as the constitutional jewels and value of the christian faith.
My first port of call is perhaps that the lords often get thrown into the bear pit as a sort of bait by reformers ,it is such a beautifully ornate chamber ,containing as it does the throne .Perhaps most people have not realised the Palace of Westminster has a very visible route of passage of law , ending in royal assent via the throne ,having passed so many view points and people in the process.
Of course in days gone by ,changes in law or new laws were things that were debated and considered with certain degrees of responsibility as to the effect on the United Kingdom and her subjects .There was little trouble over splinter groups needs ,as being a christian homogenius society , we understood ,that what was made law , was by and for us ,hopefully well debated with god derived conscience.
I am often unsure if politics breaking out from its reverencial bond with the christian faith ,was somthing that quietly happend after ww2 or a terrible mistake.

The lords is not ment to be a zappy ,tweeting hip ,personality focused chamber , it is at its best a wise ,reflective and thoughtfull chamber of respect and responsibility ,free from the concerns of election ,as one is appointed .Of course the handing out lords titles like hospitality patronage awards has not helped but alas nothing new.
The reformers always wish to show the ermin in perhaps slow elderly form as somehow being unsuitable ,completly forgetting some elders have sharp and refined minds that have seen both the damage and success of previous goverments and legislation .
It is living history , a process
, not a 5yr whim , which has given our country a unique approach to both legislation and national stability.
An elected chamber ,has additional cost and a following loss of meaning , to be in the lords is responsibility , goodness knows what you might get in any elected scenario ,one only has to consider what fools and corrupts can get elected to the commons ,to doubt the merits of a fully elected lords.

26 April 2011 at 20:03  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

The Act of Settlement is a mixture of Hanoverian supremacy and protestant ascendancy. Until this German influence occurred, the Church of England had bounced from catholic to calvinist and back.

As has been said, the monarch and consort are required to be in communion with Canterbury. This could mean any shade of Anglicanism from Anglo-Papalism to snake belly lowliness.

The Book of Common Prayer does not mention the word protestant, assuming that the established church is reformed yet catholic. It was only when King William asserted protestantism as a kind of political religious thought process that the Church of England slumbered through a century and a half of effortless religion.

The Oxford Movement helped to halt the decline of sacramental integrity.

Nick Clegg may think he has a plan, but the British Constitution is made up of many parts. Pull one out and suprises often occur. He'd be best off leaving well alone.

26 April 2011 at 20:10  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Having just read this:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/26/pope-john-paul-blood-vatican

and felt quite sick, I have to say that a secular state where the religious are not in the legislature simply for being religious really sounds quite appealing.

26 April 2011 at 20:11  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I take it danjo that ,the fullfillment of the law is only a secular action then ?

26 April 2011 at 20:20  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

I'm going to need some context there, I think.

26 April 2011 at 20:42  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ DanJ0 (19:56)—I don’t mind if it takes a decade or two for us to be free of the (albeit fairly light) yoke of Christianity in the UK.

Any plans for dealing with the (slightly heavier) yoke of Islam in the UK?

❛In September 2008, a young gay man called Oliver Hemsley, is walking home from the gay pub the George and Dragon when a gang of young Muslims stabs him eight times, in the back, in the lungs, and in his spinal column. In January 2010, when the thug who did it is convicted, a gang of thirty Muslims storms the George and Dragon in revenge and violently attacks everybody there.❜—Johann Hari

26 April 2011 at 21:03  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

"Any plans for dealing with the (slightly heavier) yoke of Islam in the UK?"

It's part of the same plan, Johnny.

26 April 2011 at 21:06  
Blogger Bred in the bone said...

From where do atheists claim their powers to rule?

An atheist is just another bloke trying to tell me what to do.

Based on his belief I have no mind of my own to Govern my own Acts

26 April 2011 at 21:07  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ DanJ0 (21:06)—Dan has a plan. Our problems are solved.

26 April 2011 at 21:14  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Indeed. I'm a staunch advocate of John Stuart Mao so I'll be taking over everyone's mind from my bunker in Frankfurt.

26 April 2011 at 21:20  
Anonymous DanJ0 said...

Indeed. I'm a staunch advocate of John Stuart Mao so I'll be taking over everyone's mind from my bunker in Frankfurt.

26 April 2011 at 21:21  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Usurpers, attention-seekers, and subverters not without sitting down .... His Grace would like to end with just one question for reflection and consideration: Why, at a time when the Government is downgrading religion in education and diminishing its status in the school curriculum, are they intent on enhancing it in Parliament and embedding it within the nation’s politics?

Having followed Your Grace's link on "downgrading" I am nauseated at the inclusion of English education under the 'baccalaureate' system, and can only choke out: Who asked us? Why would we want to be educated by the frogs? Why would we dumb ourselves even further down to the euro level?

Might the answer to part of Your Grace's question be that the alien power imposing its educational rules on us is itself secular? Cleggerons now achieve what charley boy could not ...


The euros intend that nothing should remain of British identity or culture. Nothing.


Oh - and I disagree that this manifests 'goes around comes around' --- we did not deconstruct and degrade other cultures. Furthermore, we left; and at that point they retained control of all the advancements they coveted....

26 April 2011 at 22:52  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 April 2011 at 23:23  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Albert said ...
26 April 2011 19:10

You've presented a very slippery case and fundamentally flawed, if you don't mind my saying so.

The FULL Canon Law has two clauses that have to be considered together:

"Canon 1125.1 the catholic party is to declare that he or she is prepared to remove dangers of defecting from the faith, and is to make a sincere promise to do all in his or her power in order that all the children be baptised and brought up in the catholic Church;

Canon 1125.2 the other party is to be informed in good time of these promises to be made by the catholic party, so that it is certain that he or she is truly aware of the promise and of the obligation of the catholic party."

The meaning and spirit is clear and the obligation on both parties definite.

A valid marriage between a Catholic and another christian is permitted so long as their is a promise by one party and the prior acceptance of this obligation by the other, that all children will be baptised and raised as Catholic and remove any dangers of defecting from the faith. This includes the heir to the throne. There's no dispensation for loyal rank or status.

Of course, the children when they reach the age where can make choices for themselves can leave the Catholic Church - or stay. Presumably an heir to the throne could relinguish his faith to become King.

All gets very olde worlde referring to questions of royal succession, doesn't it?

Maybe it is time to dis-establish the church as it remains a symbol and sustainer of christian disunity. Surely the conditions no longer apply for Queen Elizabeth's 'political' settlement intended to stop Catholics and Protestants killing one another.

26 April 2011 at 23:32  
Anonymous berserker-nkl said...

To save all this huffing and puffing about the Lords, why don't we just abolish it completely?

People will say that this is undemocratic and would give too much power to the Commons. I say it would make the voters much more careful and discerning in their choice of MP's. So let go the last vestiges of the Model Parliament and concentrate the minds of Mr and Mrs Citizen to true democracy which requires effort and thought.

After all most of Scandinavia has but a Single Chamber, not to mention New Zealand, Greece etc.

27 April 2011 at 00:43  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

berserker-nkl said...
"To save all this huffing and puffing about the Lords, why don't we just abolish it completely?"

I'm coming round to this way of thinking. Both the restrictions on the Monarch's religion, the position as Supreme Governor of the Church of England and the composition of the Lords, all date back to times of civil and religious wars - both within England and between this country and the continent.

Are they really necessary 450 years on? Do we need all this 'tradition' today with its privileges and advantage? It is reflective of a divided Britain - in terms of class and in religious belief and practice.

Perhaps it is time for a considered conversation about a complete overhaul of our constitution.

27 April 2011 at 01:25  
Anonymous not a machine said...

Well NN decided to have a good go at AV and managed to stave off late night violence , although the ping pong (or is it whiff whaff). I think I would have lept my table for a greco wrestle, at the moment Lord Ashdown said it "would end tactical voting" .That aside a bit of raw politics slipped out in that 200 odd seats deemed marginal , or the ones where peoples votes would count more. Being somewhat pleased that the make your mp work harder line had run aground on its unprovable rocks , so we now have the idea that marginals where voters need convincing about the party or candidates qualities , will benefit from AV .This perhaps resonates with the mp will have to work harder line , in that marginals now have to not only , choose a candidate , but will be patronisingly better off if they believe, their candidate will work specially harder if they have AV .
I though hold on a mo , if in a marginal the candiate wins via AV ,how can you be sure that he/she now stands (accountably) opposed to anything the others spoke about , being as there manfesto didnt win the simple most votes . Dont forget FPTP has the other benefit , in that if you really dont like a candidate or polices , it gives them a firm boot as well .
The manifesto accountability is an important part of elections
it is how the voter can assay what they have voted for .Under AV whose to say , said candidate doesnt start becoming vague on certain issues to be positioned better , does that serve the public .
In FPTP you need courage and tact ,in AV you need coniving and manufactured tears.

The other thought must be AVs undoubtable effect when you have a goverment that is politely termed as tired and discredited , imagine the scene , those 200 marginals , the helicopters , the limos , the haggerd spads and secretarys , loitering at every bustop,train station ,supermarket and pub ,day and night for 2 weeks ,pressing the same question "will you be voting for me as your no1 or no2 "
Or the slightly darker possibility of handing out sample voting slips flyers , showing the no1 and no2 crosses ,you need to do to ensure you keep X out.

AV isnt fair because it allows the power of doubt to take a bigger stage in the hear say , we have all been accosted by dodgey sales spiel and its pry bar nature ,alternating between undermining and overplaying to pull you round to the pre rehearsed yes .But imagine being in a marginal ,with a discredited and desperate goverment in power hunting for your every mental weakness for a whole two weeks to stay in power via a calculation .

What sordid sights we may see under an AV election ,to get that no2 vote

27 April 2011 at 01:38  
Anonymous Voyager said...

we've managed to work out whether we have a Labour or a Conservative government over many decades without fighting

I think those days are coming to an end.....party labels but the same policies

27 April 2011 at 07:05  
Anonymous Voyager said...

To save all this huffing and puffing about the Lords, why don't we just abolish it completely?

Then you will have to abolish The Monarchy too as the Prince of Wales is a Member of the House of Lords (vf. US Veep as Member of Senate)

Further, The Commons does not have authority to abolish The Lords....if it did it could extend the life of The Commons indefinitely without elections


Learn some constitutional theory and history before proposing Coup d'Etat

27 April 2011 at 07:08  
Anonymous Voyager said...

all date back to times of civil and religious wars -

No they precede them The Lords pre-dates The Commons in fact. The Lord Chancellor pre-dates Parliament itself. It is The Commons that is new and frankly not needed with Devolution.

27 April 2011 at 07:10  
Blogger D. Singh said...

DanJO

'I have a great idea ... how about a secular state so that this sort of thing is not even an issue? :)'

Communist or Nazi?

27 April 2011 at 08:00  
Blogger D. Singh said...

DanJO

'Indeed. I'm a staunch advocate of John Stuart Mao so I'll be taking over everyone's mind from my bunker in Frankfurt.'

Mao (thesis) + Frankfurt (anti-thesis) = National Socialist

27 April 2011 at 08:04  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

Thank you for your reply. I have the full Code in front of me and am aware of what the second clause says. There are two flaws in your interpretation.

Firstly, there is no reference to validity here. A feature of Canon Law is that a breach of the canons does not make something invalid (only illicit), unless the canon specifically says the canon must be kept for validity. There is no reference here to validity, therefore Church authority could waive the Canon.

The second problem is that even with the Canon 1125.2 it still does not require children to be brought up as Catholics. This is for two reasons:

(i) It merely requires the priest to inform the non-Catholic party of the duty of the Catholic party. It does not impose any duty on the non-Catholic party. Hence the semi-official commentary, used by canonists in this country, mkaes it clear that the canon is not to bein interpreted in such a way as to imply the non-Catholic has no rights in the matter.

(ii) Since Canon 1125.2 does not add to the requirement (for the Catholic party) of Canon 1125.1, it follows that it does not in fact give any further duty than 1125.1, and since 1125.1 does not require the Catholic party to bring the children up Catholic, it follows that neither does 1125.2.

Maybe it is time to dis-establish the church as it remains a symbol and sustainer of christian disunity. Surely the conditions no longer apply for Queen Elizabeth's 'political' settlement intended to stop Catholics and Protestants killing one another.

I don't think the Elizabethan Settlement was about stopping Catholics and Protestants killing each other, since it excluded Catholics. But I do agree, the Constitution prevents large portions of society from being Head of State or being married to the Head of State. I fail to see why I should endure that just because the CofE wants to be established.

27 April 2011 at 09:32  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Not a Machine said 27 April 2011 01:38

Excellently presented argument..as always. Much better reasoned than all those paid politicians have laid out before the public.

Ernst

27 April 2011 at 10:54  
Blogger D. Singh said...

The Vatican prevents a protestant from becoming pope.

Why?

27 April 2011 at 10:55  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Albert

You should become a canon lawyer with your 'liberal' and 'modernist' spin on church law!

I still hold to my understanding of the spirit of the canon law. Surely the catholic promising in advance and his/her partner knowing rules out your 'interpretation'.

With slick arguments ways can probably be found around most things. To my mind if the non-catholic had no intention of respecting the pre-marital promise this would be grounds for an annulment!

27 April 2011 at 11:07  
Blogger D. Singh said...

Does anyone know if the phrase 'Deo volente' has been used to officially announce the wedding of the couple?

I have checked official sites and cannot find it being used.

27 April 2011 at 11:16  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Albert (09:32)—the Constitution prevents large portions of society from being Head of State or being married to the Head of State.

The Constitution bars very nearly the entire country from being Head of State: that is the nature of hereditary monarchy. As for being married to the Head of State, Roman Catholics can always follow the example of Mrs Peter Phillips.

England is Protestant, and all those who find her insufferable on that account—Roman Catholics, Muslims and atheists—are perfectly free to leave.

27 April 2011 at 11:33  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

I am not offering a modern or liberal account. The law does not say what you say it says. In the light of the Papal document I cited, it is not surprising that it does not say what you say it says.

Johnny,

What do you mean by saying England is a Protestant country? More people attend Mass than go to the CofE, and why should we be expected to leave just because of the CofE?

27 April 2011 at 11:53  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Albert (11:53)—My understanding is that England has been Protestant (apart from a brief interlude under his appalling half-sister) since the reign of King Edward VI.

27 April 2011 at 12:06  
Blogger Albert said...

That does not answer the question of what is meant by saying it is a Protestant country.

27 April 2011 at 12:25  
Blogger Drew_Mac said...

Told you the NSS would tweet a link - seems they agree that this is a great argument for the complete secularisation of the Lords.

So what exactly is YourGrace's argument for retention of the present arangement of Lords Spiritual from the Established Church?

27 April 2011 at 13:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'for retention of the present arangement of Lords Spiritual from the Established Church?'

It is CofE bishops who are well placed to speak for other people.

27 April 2011 at 14:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

'for retention of the present arangement of Lords Spiritual from the Established Church?'

It is CofE bishops who are well placed to speak for other people.

27 April 2011 at 14:30  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

It is a damn good job that mrs saxe-coburg gotha abolished herself and the English people by signing the sixth treason treaty,or else who knows what a mess we might be in.

27 April 2011 at 14:33  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Albert

The Papal letter you refer to also restates catholic teaching and I'd draw the following to your attention:

"Neither in doctrine nor in law does the Church place on the same level a marriage between a Catholic and a baptized non-Catholic"

"... the Catholic party ... is also gravely bound to make a sincere promise to do all in his power to have all the children baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church."

There's also an issue about the service:

"The celebration of marriage before a Catholic priest or deacon and a non-Catholic minister, performing their respective rites together, is forbidden. Nor is it permitted to have another religious marriage ceremony before or after the Catholic ceremony, for the purpose of giving or renewing matrimonial consent"

Gravely bound to do all in his/her power to raise any children as catholics is stern language! You try getting through the preparatory sessions and gaining dispensation if you declare any children will be raised as anglicans and there's nothing in your power you can do!

And a catholic marriage officiated by a catholic priest in a catholic church for a King or Queen who is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England? Unlikely.

We'll need to agree to differ on this.

27 April 2011 at 15:54  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

"... the Catholic party ... is also gravely bound to make a sincere promise to do all in his power to have all the children baptized and brought up in the Catholic Church."

That is not the same as requiring the children to be brought up as Catholics. If the Church wanted the law to say what you want it to say it would say it (as it did before Pope Paul VI changed the law).

The usual pastoral interpretation of "all in his power" is, within the unity of the marriage.

Here is the commentary in Letter & Spirit the offical guide by the Canon Law Society of Britain and Ireland:

This phrase [all in his power] must be interpreted carefully in the light of the Council's teaching on ecumenism and religious freedom: it is not to be understood in an absolute sense as if the non-catholic party had no rights in the matter. Any decision on the religious upbringing of the children must take account of the potential effects on the marriage relationship itself as well as on the faith commuitment and rights of the non-catholic party.

27 April 2011 at 16:35  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Albert

Ummm ... interpreted carefully ... ecumenism and religious freedom ... not to be understood in an absolute sense as if the non catholic party had no rights ... account of the potential effects on the marriage relationship ... faith commitment and rights of the non catholic ...

All a little bit loose and open to whatever interpretation one wants! These are qualifications though rather than significant amendments.

However, these are all issues to be explored before the marriage, are they not? If a Bishop is asked to grant dispensation knowing children will be most certainly be baptised and raised as non catholics, I think he would struggle notwithstanding this guidance. Fair enough if the commitment was given in good faith and then proved difficult to achieve and/or caused friction in the marriage or confusion for the children. But these are the very reasons why couples of mixed marriages are carefully counselled beforehand.

And I don't see how the catholic can do all in their power to have their children baptised and raised as catholics if they know in advance they are powerless and it won't happen because of the strength of faith or social and legal responsibilities of their partner. For example, a catholic marrying an anglican minister.

Remember too we're talking here about a catholic marrying the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

27 April 2011 at 17:11  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

If a Bishop is asked to grant dispensation knowing children will be most certainly be baptised and raised as non catholics, I think he would struggle notwithstanding this guidance.

But in saying this you have conceded the point - the law does not require children of mixed parents to be brought up as Catholics. If it did, you would simply quote the law and wouldn't need to lace your comment with words like "I think" and "he would struggle." These are rather weaker terms than legal requirement. Remember, Canon Law does not require us to read into it more than it actually says (in fact to do so would be a crime because it would reduce rights the law has given).

I don't see how the catholic can do all in their power to have their children baptised and raised as catholics if they know in advance they are powerless and it won't happen because of the strength of faith or social and legal responsibilities of their partner.

I really don't see why not. What the law is doing is placing a demand on the person to do, within the marriage, what is possible for them to do. It is clearly leaving room for the impossible - otherwise it would say something like "marriages are not permitted in which either party has failed to give their consent to the children being brought up Catholic." But even if it did say that, it would still be possible for the Pope to dispense from this law - as he does the clerical law of celibacy in some instances.

Remember too we're talking here about a catholic marrying the Supreme Governor of the Church of England.

Of course, this requirement that the monarch be Anglican (and be married to an Anglican) because they are the Supreme Governor of the CofE is bogus anyway. For all practical for all practical purposes, the monarch isn't the Supreme Governor, the PM is and he could be a Satanist (provided he had been democratically elected, of course)! What all this shows is that the establishment of the CofE is bad for the country and bad for the CofE.

27 April 2011 at 17:52  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Albert said ...

I have to admit the points you make are sound and persuasive. Not sure I completely agree with this liberal interpretation and application though but then it's not my place.

I do agree with you on the disestablshment of the Church of England.

27 April 2011 at 19:31  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

We're probably reaching the end of this anyway. One thing I would add though is that I have never been accused of being a liberal before (at least not in matters of theology). I'm a down the line, Holy Father following, I'll change my mind if someone can show me the Magisterium has taught differently, kind of Catholic. Of course, youm might think the Law (if my interpretation is correct) is currently too liberal on this matter. But in that case you would have to take your complaint to the Supreme Legislator of Church Law...an elderly German Gentleman, currently residing in Rome! Thanks for the chat!

27 April 2011 at 20:35  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

Albert

Good to come across another Catholic on here as we're rather out numbered.

If your interpretation is correct, and it is soundly presented, the church has become more liberal in these ecumenical times.

Not sure I'll make a case to Rome though. The more pastoral and realsitic the church is and the more space it can allow people to make decisions in such challenging circumstances, without compromising on the fundamentals of our faith, the better it is with me.

On the other hand, developments like this may be partly responsible for relatively few children being baptised and receiving communion these days.

27 April 2011 at 21:22  
Anonymous MrJ said...

not a machine 01:38_A vivid account of a train of thought. After boiling down the deceptive cacklings in that way the clear message emerges:

"AV isnt fair because it allows the power of doubt to take a bigger stage".

On Topic: Much the same applies to the current proposals about replacing the present House of Lords, which sits in the chamber where the monarch presides after a new Parliament has been summoned in her name and under her authority, as the one who is the crowned head of the realm (Edward the Confessor and earlier, refurbished under Victoria).

If the proposals were understood they would be seen for what they are: a further and incremental attempt not to reform but to abolish the constitution of this country.

I daresay it has not escaped the notice of HG that the views of Prof. Bogdanor (one of the "GOD squad"), who is widely esteemed in academic circles as an authority on topics connected with the British constitution, deserve to be treated with some sceptical caution.

28 April 2011 at 02:07  
Anonymous len said...

I think the Catholic Church is loosing/has lost/ any sort of moral authority it might have had.
How can it pronounce moral judgements on the upbring of children when it`s own house is so sadly out of order.

28 April 2011 at 06:57  
Blogger Albert said...

The more pastoral and realsitic the church is and the more space it can allow people to make decisions in such challenging circumstances, without compromising on the fundamentals of our faith, the better it is with me.

I think that's the aim. Remove unnecessary burdens from people's backs. There are pros and cons of this of course.

28 April 2011 at 09:43  
Blogger The Last Dodo said...

len said...
"I think the Catholic Church is loosing/has lost/ any sort of moral authority it might have had.
How can it pronounce moral judgements on the upbring of children when it`s own house is so sadly out of order."

Sorry, but an unwarrented and underhanded attack on a christian church!

The Catholic Church, like all churches and society at large, is facing many challenging issues in these difficult times. Christ warned Satan would attack the church but promised he would not prevail.

If you were Satan of course you'd attack the weaknesses of the clergy. He has done so for 2000 years - greed, lust, power, ambition - and not just the Catholic Church. It's a human organisation in a fallen world.

Do remember too that the grooming and sexual abuse of children was really not understood very well before the mid-1980's. Neither were the techniques for silencing children. Prior to this it was generally assumned it was 'men in dirty macks' who perpetrated such crimes.

We now know much more and, in fact, children are at greatest risk from their own family members. They've also been and are being abused, abused in care homes, by foster parents, by school teachers and by others in positions of authority, including ministers from other churches.

This is not exclusively a Catholic problem. It's a societal wide problem and, being part of the real world, for good and evil, the church will not be fully shielded from it. All it can do is own the problem, seek to understand it and get to grips with guarding against it as best it can.

I believe the Catholic Church is now responding appropriately to this serious issue - from the recruitment and training of priests through to clear procedures for dealing with suspicions and allegations of abuse.

Do stop attacking a christian organisation! Why not pray instead that it successful?

28 April 2011 at 10:09  
Anonymous len said...

Dodo, You ask me to pray for an organisation (Catholicism) which is based on compromise?

OK, I pray that the roots of Catholicism be removed and Jesus Christ replaced as the head(deposing the Pope)
I pray that all that is not of God in Catholicism be destroyed.I pray that Catholicism will line up its practices and traditions with Holy Scripture.

Amen

29 April 2011 at 11:20  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older