Thursday, November 03, 2011

The Church of England is not a religious cult

Whenever the Archbishop of Canterbury opens his mouth, you’d think much of the media had him confused with David Icke or The Rev’d Sun Myung Moon. The reporting of his statements may be factual, but it is often scornful: journalists tend to be almost universally derisory, if not downright rude.

Consider some of the reaction to Dr Williams’ decision to support the Tobin or ‘Robin Hood’ tax on financial transactions. It was first proposed by the Nobel-prize winning economist James Tobin in 1972. He posited that a micro-tax of about 0.5 per cent on foreign exchange deals could yield billions of dollars which could be used to fund development in poor nations, and so alleviate poverty. In order to make ‘the bankers’ pay for their profligacy – and so mitigate the burden on ordinary taxpayers – the Archbishop has come out in support of this policy.

And you’d think he’d suggested that a woman should be Pope.

Consider Matthew D’Ancona in the Evening Standard, who (rightly) observes the Church of England ‘cannot help tilting towards the liberal Left’. But this leads Jeremy Warner in the Telegraphto splutter: ‘Dear Archbish – do shut up’. Bizarrely, he acknowledges that the Archbishop of Canterbury has thrown himself ‘onto the bandwagon already occupied by the Vatican, Jose Manuel Barroso, Uncle Tom Cobley and all…’, but he never proffered and article headed ‘Dear Pope – do shut up’. Indeed, the Telegraph would never have published such a headline.

Toby Young in the same paper is just as rude: ‘Back in your box, Bish’, he quips. Alex Brummer in the Mail blandly states: ‘Williams does not seem to have a clue on the likely impact of such a tax on Britain,’ but it is patronisingly dismissive.

The Archbishop himself declared that he supports the main proposals of a recent report from the Vatican calling for widespread financial reform and a tax levied on the sale of shares, bonds and foreign currency. He said: “This has won the backing of significant experts who cannot be written off as naive anti-capitalists – George Soros, Bill Gates and many others. It is gaining traction among European nations, with a strong statement in support this week from Wolfgang Schäuble, the German finance minister.”

The BBC also notes this idea is actually from the Vatican, and talks respectfully of the objective of ‘ethical regulation of financial markets’ emanating from the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Dr Williams has simply agreed that the Vatican's proposals should be ‘a starting point for debate’.

As it happens, His Grace disagrees profoundly with Dr Williams’ views on taxation, capitalism and Marx. But that is not the point. The issue is the manner with which one disagrees. And, on that, you will find much of the ‘right-wing press’ pouring scorn upon the economic pronouncements of the Archbishop of Canterbury, while treating the Pope’s economic encyclicals and the Vatican’s ‘Justice and Peace’ agenda with great respect and reverence. Which is strange, because Roman Catholic Social Teaching is, well... socialist. The Archbishop of Canterbury is saying nothing that Pope Benedict XVI has not said, and if not he, his predecessors. You might call elements of it ‘third way’, but fundamentally the Vatican is pro-European, anti-State, anti-individualist and corporatist. Its social doctrine advocates close co-operation between employers and workers, with the state overseeing wages, working conditions, production, prices and exchange. By eliminating competition, the system is meant to promote social justice and order. This model pervades the European Union: the foundation is Roman, and the edifice is incrementally constructed by the continental Christian Democratic parties, presently supervised by the ‘devout Roman Catholic’ Herman Van Rompuy.

Christianity is as fragmented and pluralised as political allegiance, and both have their deviant sects and cults. Political cults differ in popularity, acceptability and prestige in exactly the same manner as Christian sects and cults, particularly in the way the media treat them. The Exclusive Brethren may be pilloried for insisting on a specific education for their children, and Evangelical Christians may be ridiculed for their stance of homosexuality. But television documentaries are far less likely to make the same arguments about Roman Catholic schools or refer to the Pope as ‘Marxist’ or ‘tilting to the liberal left’ (which, in his economics, he manifestly does). The inference is that Roman Catholics are a ‘church’ – indeed the Church – while the Brethren are a ‘sect’. The same treatment may be observed in the media’s treatment of ‘fringe’ parties: ‘Conservative’, ‘Labour’ and ‘LibDem’ are a respectable part of the social and cultural landscape; the deviant cults of UKIP or the BNP are not (the Greens are in transition). And yet there was a time when the Labour Party was a dangerous sect: it is only when groups begin to win elections and constitute a majority that the absurdities of social relativity become apparent.

The Church of England is neither sect nor cult: it is, as Burke observed, along with Parliament and Monarchy, a pillar of the Establishment. Certainly, she is flawed. But one might expect the Conservative-inclined press to acknowledge its crucial constitutional function. And one might also expect its intelligent and discerning commentariat to discern the ruinous economic proposals which are the real causes of poverty.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the 'financial institutions' are the main contributors to the economic disaster we are currently experiencing surely they have a moral responsibility to help rectify the situation?.

Or is the man in the street expected to foot all the bill?

3 November 2011 at 12:00  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

Another reason to wind up the European Union, if one were actually needed. A transnational governmental authority like the EU should, in theory, have the muscle to impose a Tobin tax, since it is so big that the usual atavistic reaction to ANY kind of tax whatever on ANY business people (namely, the threat of 'capital flight') would not apply; Europe is too big to be abandoned by transnational capital. They'd make the rational choice and pay up. But since Europe NEVER uses its muscle in this positive fashion, just exactly what is the point of it? Do we really need it to straighten our bananas?

3 November 2011 at 12:48  
Blogger Roy said...

If the governments of all the countries with significant economic clout agreed to a Tobin tax then it would probably work without any significant drawbacks. It would discourage unnecessary speculation without being too restrictive. One man's speculation is another man's risk-taking investment so you would not want to be too restrictive.

Even in countries where the governments have opposed a Tobin tax, like Britain and the United States, it would probably be supported by a significant majority of the public provided the taxes raised were retained by national governments and not handed over to some supranational body such as the United Nations or European Union, to squander. Our own government can do a perfectly good job of squandering money without any outside help!

3 November 2011 at 13:05  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

Some people can be quite rude in debating with others at a distance. The internet and printed media are excellent tools for democratic debate, but telling the Archbishop of Canterbury to "shut up" is misusing it completely. The Daily Telegraph should be ashamed. Plus it has lost all understanding of clerical titles and mixes Very Rev up with Most Rev and so on!

To paraphrase Dame Edith Evans, as Kenneth Williams once quoted her, "This paper has gone off terribly!".

3 November 2011 at 13:26  
Blogger martin sewell said...

Tobin developed his idea before the development of the computer, with all the automated trigger trading we see now, responding to minute fluctuations.

If imposed, there would be nothing to prevent Banks from shifting the micro-trading amongst themselves into a
" virtual financial world" with a single reconciling payment at the end of the month or even year.

The computer whiz-kids who write such tax avoiding software will receive - and deserve- massive bonuses from the money saved.

Any money paid by way of Tobin Tax will be used to "pick winners" based upon the skills of men like Csmerom Milliband and Clegg who have never run a jumble sale or the kind of bureaucrats who have wasted billions on failed Government IT projects that never worked or job creation programes such as Obama's Oakland project that spent $11 million to create 10.8 jobs.

3 November 2011 at 13:34  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

I agree that the leader of the Church of England should be shown greater respect - especially when he supports Roman Catholic ideas about achieving greater social justice.

However, I disagree that the Catholic Church is 'socialist' or that it is anti-state, anti-individualist or corporatist. The Catholic Church is hostile to the central tenets of both socialism and state corporatism. It's teachings are a little more subtle than this. It does not believe in removing competition, having always promoted the right of private ownership and the creativity that comes from being entrepreneurial. Certainly it sees the state as having a key role in promoting rights and protecting the disadvantaged but not through taking control in the way suggested.

3 November 2011 at 14:04  
Blogger Oswin said...

The Archbishop finds himself in the position of the politician who has stayed too long. Regardless of the sense and wisdom of what he might advocate, he is disregarded. Unfortunately, in such a circumstance, the 'sense and wisdom' may probably be disregarded too.

'Good ideas' need to be presented by the right people, hopefully at the right time. Unfairly or otherwise, Dr. Williams has long since lost credibility.

3 November 2011 at 14:04  
Blogger Nonny Mouse said...

The Church of England is a financial institution. It earns a 15% return on its 5 billion pound investment fund. It pays a top salary of 300,000 plus benefits.

Many people donate food to the Church to feed the poor. The Church puts up rents on its farm land by 15% which pushes up the price of food.

Volunteers do great work to help our unemployed in the name of the Church. The Church invests nearly half of its money abroad, creating jobs there instead of here.

The Church of England worships money, not God.

In 2010 the Government gave Vietnam 50 million in aid to help the needy, paid for using our taxes.

In the same year the Church of England took nearly 8 million in profits from building homes in Vietnam to pay Church pensions. They avoided paying taxes on it.

Vietnam just banned Christians from celebrating Easter.

Forget the Robin Hood tax. This is Rowan William's 'Friar Tax' scandal. He is the 1%.

I am an atheist but I have great respect for the Church and the good work that they do for society.

However, they need to take a good look at themselves before getting involved in the politics of taxing the rich.

3 November 2011 at 14:06  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

Well said, Your Grace. While I might disagree with the Archbishop on many things, including socialism in all its guises, I find the manner in which the UK media treats his every action and statement disgraceful. However, I suspect it is all part of the larger picture, an attempt to marginalise Canterbury and the Church of England in public life.

The Church of England does far more good work than is ever reported in the media, or acknowledged by the political classes. As for the management of the portfolio of property and investments - that is not under the management of the Archbishop or any of the other Bishops. It is managed by the Church Commissioners who are obliged, in law, to maximise the return from it in order to pay clergy stipends and Bishops wages. I would add, that any "tax free" investments they may have pale into insignificance against the amount of tax evaded by the Trust which owns the Guardian, or the Mirror or any of the other Media Groups who make such a fuss about the CofE investment portfolio.

It should also be pointed out that the Church manages a huge portfolio of properties it is not permitted to sell or alter since they fall within the National Heritage portfolio - and there is nothing forthcoming from the government of any flavour for its maintenance or upkeep. As a former Church Warden I can also say that Gordon Brown made certain changes which hit churches extremely hard by removing the VAT exemptions for materials purchased for repairs and maintenance...

The CofE has many faults, but it provides a major service to the public at large through the Parish system which permits every person in England to demand baptism, marriage or burial from their Parish Church and Vicar whether they are practicing members or not. It also performs a vast amount of "social work" relieving the State from a much larger burden, but this is generally ignored and sometimes subject to some hostility from so-called "professionals."

It is remarkable that the leaders of other Churches and Faiths can say the same thing and yet be treated with courtesy and deference - but not our own Archbishop who, it seems, can do no right.

3 November 2011 at 14:51  
Blogger Oswin said...

Nonny mouse @ 14:06 :

An interesting post, albeit under a momentarily confusing sobriquet; our resident 'non-mouse' having had 'first dibs' etc.

Having swiftly glanced your own blog, I'm sure that we all look forward to further revelations.

I agree; a healthy respect for the power and value of money is one thing, but a Laisez-faire 'Church' is quite another.

As is (somewhat off-topic) Cameron's tripling of aid to Pakistan, to the tune of six-hundred million-plus!

Seemingly we give succour to our enemies, whilst cheese-paring our own.

3 November 2011 at 15:00  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

The Grey Monk said ...

... the Parish system ... permits every person in England to demand baptism, marriage or burial from their Parish Church and Vicar whether they are practicing members or not.


3 November 2011 at 15:14  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

And it might be that very parish system that sees Peter Tatchell and his cohorts knocking on doors demanding "our rights"! Lynne Featherstone better make sure she's got her head around the legislation she's cooking up for Cameron and Clegg.

3 November 2011 at 16:03  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...

In my adult lifetime the leadership of the Church of England has been as solidly in the hands of the soft left as the BBC.
I noticed that, in general, vicars with conservative/right wing views tended to keep them to themselves but those of the left,like the Archbishop, feel they have to push their ideology from their official positions.

As an EU proposal, a Tobin tax is simply a weapon aimed at Britain where 70% of Europe's financial transactions take place.

As to the Vatican's plea for a world financial authority and currency - well, we are used to claims for universal jurisdiction from that quarter - but nobody with an atom of sense would trust even an archangel in charge of such an institution- let alone politicians or bankers.

It is ironic that one of the euro's claimed advantages was to reduce transaction costs - yet here they go deliberately wanting to put them up!

3 November 2011 at 16:44  
Blogger martin sewell said...

Arden, You are right.if the gay marriage issue is not addressed by someone with deep understanding it will result in the disestablishment and / or fracturing of the CofE.

3 November 2011 at 16:49  
Blogger john in cheshire said...

Tobin tax = vampire tax. And if introduced, just as vampires are insatiable consumers of blood, this tax will only get bigger and bigger until the host is but a corpse.
And who is to manage all this tax money; who decides where it is to be spent and who will ensure it is spent efficiently on things that do 'good'?
The day I see a headline proclaiming the benefits of lower taxes, is the day I will begin to believe that sanity is being restored to our civilisation.

3 November 2011 at 17:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace

It shouldn’t be a factor, but it is – and that’s an individual’s appearance. And yes, he does look like what happens when you mate a sandal wearing ex hippy with a druid. Hapless ++Canterbury was on his last chance on his first day. Then came the Sharia Law outrage, and that really finished him. Well holed below the waterline through that. Took on so much water, he now manoeuvres very slowly, and is thus not only an inviting target, but a very easy one to hit. Bless him.

Do hope he’s reading this, as there is nothing left now other than resignation, not just of his post, but of his hopes of regained credibility.

The Inspector is RC himself. But he appreciates that the CofE needs strong leadership. Every organisation does. Let’s hope those whose opinions count go for a clean shaven no nonsense replacement. The days of the ‘all things to all men’ liberal apologists are over.

3 November 2011 at 18:11  
Blogger David B said...

I agree that the CoE is one of the least cultic of Christian institutions.

However, that is not to say that it hasn't had cultic elements within it, and, for all I know still has.

I don't think, though no doubt I will corrected if I'm wrong, that there is an equivalent of Opus Dei within the CoE, and Opus Dei has many of the hallmarks of a cult.

I look back to Aelred Carlysle, and his short lived monastic experiment, which I understand continues to have its successors.

Looks pretty cultic to me, though very much a minority position within the CoE.

David B

3 November 2011 at 19:13  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

The method of selecting Bishops and the Archbishops of Canturbury and York should perhaps be rconsidered.

Legally the Archbishop is the choice of the Monarch. However, it is made in the name of the Crown by the Prime Minister from a shortlist of two selected by an ad hoc committee called the Crown Nominations Commission.

In recent history, the only prime minister who has not accepted the commission's preferred candidate was Margaret Thatcher, due to his liberal and left-leaning views. If the 'chosen' individual accepts the office, the prime minister advises the Sovereign, who then formally nominates the prime minister's choice.

Then, the diocese's College of Canons meets to 'elect' the new bishop.

In 1856 Ralph Waldo Emerson said of this stage:

"The King sends the Dean and Canons a congé d'élire, or leave to elect, but also sends them the name of the person whom they are to elect. They go into the Cathedral, chant and pray; and after these invocations invariably find that the dictates of the Holy Ghost agree with the recommendation of the King."

3 November 2011 at 19:39  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

David B

Just what hallmarks of a cult does Opus Dei have?

3 November 2011 at 19:44  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

David B

Aelred Carlyle's community of Anglican Benedictine monks was hardly short lived - neither was it a 'cult' unless you define this as an independent community.

It was founded in 1895 and when it came into conflict with the Bishop of Oxford in 1913 over conformity to Anglican practices, Carlyle and most of his monks became Roman Catholics. Carlyle died in the community in 1955 after retiring from work as a missionary priest.

3 November 2011 at 19:55  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

Which other Privy Councillors and Members of Parliament are supposed to keep out of politics?

As for the Holy See’s call for a global authority to keep the money men in check, I think we can all see what that authority ought to be.

3 November 2011 at 20:58  
Blogger Gavin said...

I've had a wee think about this, and what I think is, the main reason why the media pours scorn on the AofC's words, is not so much because they view him as a Christian (which he is, obviously), but because they view him first and foremost as a mouthpiece of the state/establishment/government who just happens to be a Christian.

After all, the AofC is appointed by the PM (I think - correct me if I've got that wrong) and so it's natural to assume that the appointment is made with politics in mind. (What's that piece of dialogue in the episode of 'Yes Minister, where they're choosing a new AofC..."Is he a Christian?" -"Well, I don't know, but he's certainly not hostile to Christianity" -"Good, he sounds just the chap we need" ...something along those lines, anyway).
He is viewed by the media as "The mouthpiece of the Tory Party at prayer" - basically a civil servant in a long robe and funny hat, who talks nice, cushy, easy 'moral' stuff, but nothing that will really rock the boat, of course. That is why he rudely gets told to "shut up". Again, in the words of YM, he is "one of us", not "one of them". I mean, it's bad enough that one of us could turn out to be one of them, worse still if two of us were found to be one, two of them; Before you know it, all of us could be (gulp)...all of them! THAT is the mentality which attacks RW.

3 November 2011 at 23:42  
Blogger Gavin said...

Re-reading what I just wrote, I can put in more succinct terms: It's precisely because the Church of England is an 'established' church (established by politicians, and its Head chosen by politicians) that its leader is attacked precisely upon that basis.
Whose pen signed the document which appointed +RW to his position? Tony Blair? Gordon Brown? Well then, he is attacked by the media precisely on that basis.

3 November 2011 at 23:53  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


I covered the appointment process of the Archbishop earlier, though not your thoughts on its implcations.

Legally the Archbishop is the choice of the Monarch. However, it is made in the name of the Crown by the Prime Minister from a shortlist of two selected by an ad hoc committee called the Crown Nominations Commission.

The only recent prime minister who has not accepted the commission's preferred candidate was Margaret Thatcher due to the preferred candidates liberal and left-leaning views. The prime minister advises the Sovereign, who then formally 'nominates' the prime minister's choice. Then, the College of Canons meet to 'elect' the new bishop.


In 1856 Ralph Waldo Emerson said:

"The King sends the Dean and Canons a congé d'élire, or leave to elect, but also sends them the name of the person whom they are to elect. They go into the Cathedral, chant and pray; and after these invocations invariably find that the dictates of the Holy Ghost agree with the recommendation of the King."

Maybe you're correct about why the Archbishop is shown such distain by the media and also by members of his church. It seems to me it is fashionable nowadays to sneer at the establishment and those in authority.

4 November 2011 at 00:45  
Blogger David B said...


I've been busy tonight off-line, and am also in thrall to a severe cold, which is making me muzzy headed.

I hope to get back to your questions tomorrow, or perhaps the day after.

Watch this space.

David B

4 November 2011 at 01:12  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

You really need to get over your phobia about Catholicism.

I read the article you link to:-

What you describe is Socialism not Catholicism. You point out that Ireland has done excellently since adopting the AngloSaxon model - really, that didn't exactly turn out well did it..

Your descriptions of a failed EU actually describe the UK now.

Having lived for 6 years in France, and spending 5 mths a year their now, I can honestly say that the French "poor" are a damn sight better off than the British poor. Its not about money - its culture. Catholic culture.

The true Big Society.

4 November 2011 at 07:04  
Blogger Westcountryman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 November 2011 at 07:15  
Blogger Gnostic said...

...journalists tend to be almost universally derisory, if not downright rude.

It's not only journalists who think Beardie is a meddlesome, Marxist twerp, Your Grace. the Tobin or ‘Robin Hood’ tax on financial transactions. It was first proposed by the Nobel-prize winning economist James Tobin in 1972.

Yeeees. Because Nobel prizes are only given to the very best people who make the lives of millions so muchy better. Al Gore, Rajendra Pachauri and Barack Obama to name but three. Besides, are we honestly expected to believe that any tax Gordon Brown thought to be a good idea is going to work asx intended? And does Beardie really believe that it's going to punish nasty the bankers only? If so I've got this tall pile of French iron girders he might be interested in buying...

...significant experts who cannot be written off as naive anti-capitalists – George Soros...

Hmmm, George Soros,eh? I wouldn't describe him as naive either. Isn't he a speculator and short seller who makes big money out of currency crises? Black Wednesday anyone? Would you buy a money transaction tax from the man who "broke" the Bank of England?

Me neither.

People regard Soros as a philanthropist. Isn't he the one currently colluding with the UN to have governments regulate and censor the internet? Such an outcome would silence all those troublesome AGW deniers that bedevil the machinations of the IPCC if nothing else. Some effing philanthropist, eh?

Soros is also one of the movers and shakers behind the AGW hoax. He was one of the people who tried, and thankfully failed, to extort money from honest, hardworking US businesses (the lifeblood of any nation) in the name of enviromentalism via the Chicago Climate Exchange which closed its doors earlier this year. The US dodged a large bullet that day.

Soros also donated funds to oust the Bush administration before helping his friend, Obama, set up the Chicago Climate Exchange. Neat, eh?

Georgie loves alarmism. He's been writing books about global econo-geddon for years. Did I mention he makes billions out of currency crisis speculation? Talk about cause and effect...

The man is a super-rich Marxist scumbag with a fascist agenda. That he is "gaining traction" amongst the Euro elite is not surprising since they, too, are Marxist scumbags with a fascist agenda. And we are supposed to believe Soros when he tells us that a Tobin tax is a good idea? I have but two words to say to the Great Bearded Tit and one of them is "off".

And then we get Al Jabeeba talking respectfully about the proposal. Gosh, I'm shocked.

As for the manner of disagreement; this Tobin tax BS needs all the scorn that can be poured upon it, Your Grace. If Beardie wants a tax then let us raise extra taxes on beards, bishops palaces, cassocks and the contents of Anglican collection plates and see how he likes it.

I hope I've just delivered a large dollop of scorn, Your Grace. I hope Beardie wilts under th added weight. Somehow I doubt he will.

4 November 2011 at 07:21  
Blogger Westcountryman said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 November 2011 at 07:26  
Blogger Westcountryman said...

Catholic Social Teaching is not socialist. That is just a lazy classification based on the view that if you don't accept warmed 19th century liberalism then you must be a socialist.

Catholic Social Teaching is an attempt to found economics on a Christian foundation, not on the liberal and modernist foundation of the likes of Locke, Smith, Friedman and Hayek. It is perfectly in line with traditional Christianity, far more so than those who swallow free market and neoliberal ideology wholesale.

It is believes very much in private property, in limiting the role of the state and in subsidiary. It doesn't however think that the support and independence of families and communities and the good, Christian morality and spirituality should be sold out just because those quaint economic graphs or the shrill libertarian talk about individualism demand it.

But most importantly it does what all Christians should do, it starts it economic thought in the question, not of how to produce as much consumer goods as possible, or to achieve as much growth as possible, but in what is the traditional Christian view of man and how does this effect how we should view society and economics.

You use phrases like understanding economics in just the same way as people who mistake the simplistic analysis of Friedman or Mises for economics do. You talk about doing well just as people who regard material production as the overwhelming aim of economics do.

There no doubt the influence of Catholic Social Teaching in the European scheme and throughout Europe. However it is a very water-downed and impure form. It is social democracy, quite a different beast which is dominant and which has co-opted it in most places. A good measure of neoliberalism is also present, more than Catholic Social Teaching. It would be extremely inaccurate and uncharitable to try to ignore these massively intertwined factors and blame any problems in the European economies and European scheme on Catholic Social Teaching, indeed it would be preposterous.

That said some of the recent Popes could have done better to differentiate between Catholic Social Teaching, or what is known as distributism and which is very similar to the views of Ruskin and Disraeli, and forms of Social democracy. I think though this has more to do with the desire to make incremental gains and not 'rock the boat' in a Western world where a fairly one-dimensional view of economic development is hegemonic.

4 November 2011 at 07:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Westcountrman' Catholic Social Teaching is an attempt to found economics on a Christian foundation.'

Well if they put their 'religion' on that footing it might be a lot more appropriate.

4 November 2011 at 08:31  
Blogger David B said...


As far as Opus Dei being a cult goes, I refer you to

Carlyle wished to set up a monastery on Caldey Island which, what with the money begged for it and spent on buildings, was clearly meant to be a long term process. This was short lived.

Both the life style of the monks and the fact that so many were moved to change their deeply felt religious identity at the behest of a leader are cultlike, and if you look at the opus dei site I point you to above you will no doubt find more cultlike features.

David B

4 November 2011 at 09:10  
Blogger Westcountryman said...

In what sense would the criterion you are using, to refer to Opus Dei as a cult, differentiate between it and say monastic orders?

4 November 2011 at 10:00  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, it sometimes said that the first time is happenstance, the second time it's circumstance and the third time it's enemy action.

So it is with ecumenical relations between the Roman Church and the CofE. Anglicanorum Coelibus, the triumphal recruiting of retired clergy, the continuing vilification of the CofE by Holy Smoke in the Catholic Daily, Dave's apeasement of Alec Salmond by way of revisions of the Act of Settlement, the attacks on Rowan Cantuar highlighted by Your Grace, it just goes on and on.

One only has to look at the unremitting Catholic propaganda, deceitfully promoted by a serial offender, on this website to wonder if it's not about Rowan at all. It's all about us, the Anglicans. We're in the way and discrediting us and our beliefs, dehumanising us, makes it easier to be rid of us so that the One True Church can resume her rightful place in British life.

It's either that or one of your communicants is over compensating for the fact his father is/was Jewish.

4 November 2011 at 10:12  
Blogger David B said...


I take the view that all monastic orders are cultic.

Some might have more, and/or more marked, cultic features than others, but I'd suggest you look at the list of cultic features featured in the URL I posted above, and see how many of the cultic features the ones you are interested in feature.

David B

4 November 2011 at 10:38  
Blogger Westcountryman said...

So in what sense do you hope to appeal to anyone who is not a rabid anti-Christian/Catholic?

4 November 2011 at 11:15  
Blogger niconoclast said...

This proves the point I have made elsewhere that the Church and Communism are one.Behind all his melifluous nonsense, academicese and stain glass window dressing the arch bishop has collectivism running through his dna.Tobin tax?What else will he Trot out?

4 November 2011 at 11:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the true intentions of the European Union are revealed it will come as no surprise to many that the Catholic Church will be heavily involved in the process.

In 1933 an alliance (Concordat) between Germany and the Vatican was signed. By this concordat the church received more power, and helped Hitler into power. Hitler himself said: "I learned much from the Order of the Jesuits. Until now there has never been anything more grandios on the earth than the hierarchical organization of the Catholic Church. I transformed much of this organization into my own party". ("Smokescream", p. 20, by Jack Chick).

One of Hitlers close coworkers, Franz von Papen, said: "The Third Reich is the first world power which not only acknowledges but also puts into practice the high principles of the papacy." (Der Voelkischer Beobachter, 1/14/1934).

In this connection it is interesting to note that Germany has been a sword in Europe, not least during the Second World War. Hitler, Mussolini, Lavel and Franco were all Catholics.

In the struggle to unite Europe along the principles of the Vatican, Cardinal Manning said: "We are prepared to deluge Europe in blood in order to recover the Pope's temporal power" (Jesuit Octopus, p. 209). They failed. Catholics launched new attempts through the Coal and Steel Union, which now is the European Union. This, of course, is founded on Catholic principles.

4 November 2011 at 12:12  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...


The Nazis were also accomplished liars and deceivers. They were certainly not a pro-Catholic organisation. Having first deceived and then destroyed the Catholic Zentrum party, they quieted the fears of the papacy with the concordat which guaranteed the rights of the Church and its social organisations. They started to break the concordat almost as the ink dried, closing down all sorts of Church groups, youth organisations and charities, leaving only religious services more or less alone. Persecution, including murder, torture and imprisonment was the lot of many Catholic priests, religious and laity who were slow in conforming.

Rather like today's secularists, the Nazis believed that religion should be a strictly private matter because it was "divisive" of the German Volk.

Nazi cartoons often depicted Cardinal Pacelli, the Nuncio and later Pope, as in league with Jews and black market spivs.

Whilst not at all decrying the steadfast witness of the Lutheran "confessing Church", I would point out that there was no Catholic equivalent to the "German Christian" movement of the Lutheran Church which replaced the cross with the swastika on many altars.

A German Lutheran friend of mine thinks that his Church was much more collaborative with the Nazis, in no small part due to the historic close association of the protestant Church and state, a little bit like our "Establishment", going back to the post Reformation settlement.

The Pan German movement in old Austria from which Hitler emerged had long had a
"Los von Rom" - Free from Rome movement.

4 November 2011 at 12:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hitler considered himself a Catholic until the day he died. In 1941 he told Gerhard Engel, one of his generals: "I am now as before a Catholic and will always remain so." In fact, Hitler was never excommunicated from the Catholic Church, and Mein Kampf was not placed on the Church's Index of Forbidden Books.

I accept that Luther was anti -Semitic but this fact certainly does not make anti Semitism right.(I am not a follower of Luther but a follower of Christ!)

Like many tyrants both past and present, Hitler used the mantle of religion to justify and further his selfish, hateful, and destructive philosophy. By conditioning people to blindly follow the pronouncements of authorities, instead of teaching them to think for themselves, religions often make it easy for such evil dictators and demagogues to succeed.(The Anti-Christ will emerge from a corrupt religion.)
Perhaps if we examined our religions in the light of Biblical truth we could avoid following men instead of Christ?

4 November 2011 at 14:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Corrigan, I'm not sure that you're right, sadly. I think global capital would avoid the EU by the very simple means of doing its trading from a platform other than Turquoise or the LSE (the Swiss would be the main beneficiaries). This may not destroy the City of London, but it won't do it any good.

There are plenty of other pools of capital which would be glad of the depth that London (and to a lesser extent, Frankfurt and Paris) have. I'm sure New York would be very pleased to see the Eurobond market come back, for example!!

This is also a tax that disproportionately hurts London - as the world's largest centre of Forex trading.

The Tobin tax proposals are explicitly designed to hurt the banks, but appear to do so at the point at which they are most useful (notably the function of providing trans-national finance which assists with exports and imports).

Why not propose a tax on corporate M&A activity which has yielded so little economic value, or investigate the non- competition on advisory fee levels. Or better yet IFAs and investment advisers who push managed funds at the expense of passive funds because the former pay richer commission? Or the link between captive audit committees and corporate performance.

Having said that, I agree with Cranmer's central point. If the Archbishop were a "community figure" he would be afforded more respect, and his position, if not his views, deserve better.

4 November 2011 at 17:06  
Blogger Edward Spalton said...


Whilst it would be popular to tax the banks with a Tobin tax, it would not be a tax on the banks. The banks would collect the tax and simply add the cost to the charges they make on their clients' accounts - rather like VAT.

The people who pay the tax would be all those with unit trusts, pension plans etc - in other words the thrifty and provident would be taxed to fatten feckless, reckless government.

Ironic, isn't it that the main claimed benefit of the euro, reducing costs on financial and exchange transactions, should be offset by the people who crucified a continent on their currency project?

4 November 2011 at 17:21  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


You've been surfing those fundamentalist nut sites again haven't you? Will you never learn?

Naughty, naughty, you're just uncritically copying this nonsense. What else can one expect?

4 November 2011 at 18:00  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len You enjoy asserting that Hitler was a Catholic, as if that had a part to play in his wish to dominate Europe and subjugate the Jews. You might as well say that all the dictators of Europe in the thirties and forties were white. Don’t think I’ve ever come across such a rabid anti Catholic who still considers himself a follower of Christ as you ! The truth of the matter is that Hitler had little interest in religion. Once Europe was united under the swastika, Hitler planned to leave his mark on the world by impressive feats of architecture and construction on a massive scale. (qv Inside the Third Reich Albert Speer).

The real scoundrel of Europe was Himmler, whose historical interest in the German and Nordic peoples he hoped to recreate by installing a vicious version of their religion as was practised before Christ and occurred towards the end of the Iron Age, based as it was on the purity of blood, the soil and superstitions. A newly barbarian people who would have embarked on a second sack of Rome.

So, no more on ‘cardinal’ Hitler if you don’t mind…

4 November 2011 at 18:01  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Edward: "Rather like today's secularists, the Nazis believed that religion should be a strictly private matter because it was "divisive" of the German Volk."

This secularist thinks religion should be a private matter in the same way that supporting Liverpool FC is a private matter. I certainlt don't expect the religious to do it in the privacy of their own homes or behind closed doors and curtains ... though I think there's a quid pro quo there. The reason is nothing really to do with it being socially divisive.

4 November 2011 at 18:25  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

David B

Opus Dei a cult?

One example:
Speaking in “tongues”
In Opus Dei, numeraries don’t speak in tongues, but they do speak in Latin.

Gosh! Must be a cult.

4 November 2011 at 22:44  
Blogger David B said...

Seen the rest of it, Dodo?

No cultic features?

Is it intellectually honest to cherry pick one of the very few things that don't fit the cultic bill very well?

David B

4 November 2011 at 22:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dodo, The' fundamentalist nut sites' I frequent are mostly Catholic ones ,
thought that was a bit harsh of you to say that about being one and all...but there again?

4 November 2011 at 23:14  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Inspector , I though you said(recently) once a Catholic, always a Catholic, (in reference to Hitler) who was a self proclaimed Catholic, baptised confirmed and all?.

Are you going back on that statement?

4 November 2011 at 23:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. The Inspector remembers that phrase from one of Dodo’s posts. Accuracy never was your forte now, was it...

4 November 2011 at 23:34  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


Lying again? Ashamed to confirm your sources. We both know the sites you frequent.

Now that comment about once a Catholic, always a Catholic. Was it me or the Inspector?

Ah yes, I remember, it was me, but if you recall I also said one could be faithful, unfaithful, practicing or lapsed.

Which one are youweasel?

Baptism is permanent - a state of grace isn't. Now do stop spreading malicious untruths about the Church.

5 November 2011 at 01:29  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can be a bit confusing trying to deal with Dodo`s multiply personalities, who is he today...Napoleon?

Also, you too seem to be singing from the same hymn sheet(out of tune ,droning, and monotonous, some sort of chant?) so does it really matter which one I address?.

Q, Can Catholic infants join in with the service..yes or no..?

5 November 2011 at 08:49  
Blogger David B said...


What do you think of Dawkins' point that talking about Catholic - or Islamic or Baptist etc - infants is as silly and wrong as talking about Labour infants, or post modernist infants?

I see a lot of sense in it myself.

David B

5 November 2011 at 08:59  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


That question was answered in an earlier post where I provided biblical references explaining the nature and the validity of infant babtism. Clearly you need to read them.

5 November 2011 at 10:37  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Infant Baptism

Col 2:11-12 - baptism is the new "circumcision" for all people of the New Covenant. Therefore, baptism is for babies as well as adults.

Psalm 51:5 - we are conceived in the iniquity of sin. This shows the necessity of baptism from conception.

Matt. 18:2-5 - Jesus says unless we become like children, we cannot enter into heaven. So why would children be excluded from baptism?

Matt 19:14 - Jesus clearly says the kingdom of heaven also belongs to children.

Mark 10:14 - Jesus says to let the children come to Him for the kingdom of God also belongs to them. Jesus says nothing about being too young to come into the kingdom of God.

Mark 16:16 - Jesus says to the crowd, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved." But in reference to the same people, Jesus immediately follows with "He who does not believe will be condemned." This demonstrates that one can be baptized and still not be a believer.

Acts 2:38 - Peter says to the multitude, "Repent and be baptized.." The Greek translation literally says, "If you repent, then each one who is a part of you and yours must each be baptized” (“Metanoesate kai bapistheto hekastos hymon.”) This actually proves that babies are baptized based on their parents’ faith.

Acts 2:39 - Peter then says baptism is specifically given to children as well as adults. “Those far off” refers to those who were at their “homes” (primarily infants and children).

Acts 10:47-48 - Peter baptized the entire house of Cornelius, which generally included infants and young children.

Acts 16:15 - Paul baptized Lydia and her entire household. Paul baptizes the household based on Lydia's faith, not the faith of the members of the household.

Acts 16:33 - Paul baptized the jailer (an adult) and his entire household (which had to include children).

Rom. 5:12 - sin came through Adam and death through sin. Babies' souls are affected by Adam's sin and need baptism just like adult souls.

1 Cor. 1:16 - Paul baptized the household of Stephanus.

Eph. 2:3 - we are all by nature children of wrath, in sin, like all mankind. Babies should not be denied baptism because they are unable to make a declaration of faith.

Matt. 8:5-13 - the servant is healed based upon the centurion's faith. This is an example of healing based on another's faith.

Mark 9:22-25 - Jesus exercises the child's unclean spirit based on the father's faith.

1 Cor. 7:14 – Paul says that children are sanctified by God through the belief of only one of their parents.

5 November 2011 at 10:58  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Ps len

You didn't answer my question. Are you a lapsed Roman Catholic or a lapsed Catholic Anglican? Go on, you can tell me, I won't tell anyone.

6 November 2011 at 00:33  
Blogger David B said...

I wouldn't get high and mighty about failure to answer questions, Dodo, as you still have some of mine outstanding.

Referring to piece on cultic aspects of Opus Dei, and your rather snide reply, above.

'Seen the rest of it, Dodo?

No cultic features?

Is it intellectually honest to cherry pick one of the very few things that don't fit the cultic bill very well?'

David B

6 November 2011 at 00:44  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

David B

By the criteria specified Christ Himelf was the leader of a cult!

So would members of the Armed Forces!

Accepting any transformational belief system entails leaving one's old life behind and embracing a new one. The process can be difficult and painful. Joining a community makes the process total.

What one person sees as a 'cult' another sees as a legitimate life changing experience. Is every priest, monk and nun 'brain washed' and controlled?

One is free to join and to leave Opus Dei. For the most part the assessment relys on accusations based on the subjective experience and personal testimony of disenchanted ex-members.

Not proven, I'd say.

6 November 2011 at 01:02  
Blogger David B said...


'By the criteria specified Christ Himelf was the leader of a cult!'


'So would members of the Armed Forces!'

There do seem to be certain elements in common, as with some other secular groups, like those involved in pyramid selling schemes. There are matters of degree though. As far as members of armed forces go, perhaps the Kamikaze showed the most cultic features.

'Accepting any transformational belief system entails leaving one's old life behind and embracing a new one. The process can be difficult and painful. Joining a community makes the process total.'

Yes, indeed. I remember my period of ashram life well enough.

'What one person sees as a 'cult' another sees as a legitimate life changing experience.'

Yes. No-one, I think, believes that they are joining a cult, they think that they are doing something of immense benefit not only to themselves but to the world.

'Is every priest, monk and nun 'brain washed' and controlled?'

Mutual reinforcement is a powerful thing. The practices of keeping people short of sleep and on restrictive diets, periods of solitude and silence, long periods of work without pay seem pretty common to cults. It was in mine.

'One is free to join and to leave Opus Dei.'

One is free to join and leave the Moonues, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Salvation Army (at officer level), even Jonestown had people who left. Even Sea Org. Those who devote themselves to Ashram life under Sai Baba, Osho, Maharishi et al.

There are social and family consequences involved in either joining or leaving any of these, though.

'For the most part the assessment relys on accusations based on the subjective experience and personal testimony of disenchanted ex-members.'

Yes, in all the cases cited above, and that is what those who remain in the cult generally excuse themselves with.

'Not proven, I'd say.'

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck...

David B

6 November 2011 at 08:02  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

6 November 2011 at 12:55  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

David B

Sorry, but your very first comment confirmed my position ie that you consider Jesus to have been the leader of a sinister 'cult'.

As for the rest, well, presumably you saw the error of joining the ashram and left of your own volition.

As I said, what one person regards as a 'cult' another sees as the path to truth.

6 November 2011 at 12:58  
Blogger Oswin said...

David B @ 08:02 :

Hereabouts, if it ''walks like a duck and quacks like a duck'' it's usually a defunct duck - la Dodo!

(See Len for recipe suggestions!)

6 November 2011 at 17:31  
Blogger David B said...


Are there not enough biblical references that, without very special pleading, show that Jesus - presuming he existed as a historical personage, as is my working hypothesis - and Paul both believed that the world was coming to an end in their times?

I'd have thought this showed a resemblance to such people as Charles Taze Russell, Jo Rutherford, Michael Travesser, and Harold Camping, among others.

David B

6 November 2011 at 17:43  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

David B

Are you being serious?

Jesus gave no date and in fact warned against such pointless speculation. St Paul, like the other Apostles, certainly appears to have believed Christ's return was imminent. However, unlike those you cite he gave no definitive dates or any concrete historical events that would proceed this.

len may be able to give you an insight into biblical prophecy as it's just not 'my thing'.

6 November 2011 at 20:31  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


The day draws ever closer!

7 November 2011 at 00:31  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: oh goody; one does so enjoy crispy duck! I'm not a fan of canard a l'orange, so you may rest easy as to the potential 'smarting' engendered by citrus. Any preferences re' stuffing?

Mind you, 'pressed duck' has a certain touch of the 'medieval' about it, which might appeal to you? A practice long perfected within the Tower of London, I'm told. Or is that merely a piece of Jesuit spam?

7 November 2011 at 16:28  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


I'm awaiting confirmation from my superiors and then ....

7 November 2011 at 22:17  
Blogger Oswin said...

Dodo: don't leave it too long, you might 'go off' ... eew, all that salmonella! ;o)

8 November 2011 at 16:08  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


Revenge is a dish best served cold.

8 November 2011 at 21:58  
Blogger Oswin said...

Like a duck consommé?

9 November 2011 at 01:34  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


If you had to, what meal would you choose as your one?

9 November 2011 at 19:15  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...


LAST one, that is!

9 November 2011 at 19:16  
Blogger Oswin said...

er, a hundred sequential Christmas Puddings perhaps? Breakout the centenary custard! Feel free to join me for the final course. Black tie/or cowl. RSVP

10 November 2011 at 14:13  
Blogger The Way of the Dodo said...

Oswin, ummm ... no RSVP, leaves a trail. You do know 'we' don't wear cowls? Never have. Black tie and suit is fine and befits the occassion. Sleeves too for you know what.

10 November 2011 at 19:01  
Blogger Oswin said...

Hm, you lot probably stole them from Benedictines, for 'lurking' purposes.

11 November 2011 at 23:12  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Newer›  ‹Older