Sunday, December 04, 2011

The end of the traditional church wedding?

This is guest post by Rev'd Julian Mann:

If the Church of England is to avoid substantial numbers of its clergy being prosecuted under the Equality Act, it could have to stop registering marriages when Parliament legislates for same-sex marriage.

That is the clear implication from the commendably candid briefing the Church House Legal Office has just given General Synod members.

The advice is clear that Anglican parish churches are no more required under the Equality Act to register civil partnerships than gentlemen’s outfitters are required to sell women’s clothes. But 'if Parliament were in due course to legislate for same sex marriage, as recently suggested by the Prime Minister, we would of course be in new territory'.

Quite so – we would be on our way to a very cold place indeed for British Christianity.

If the law of the United Kingdom were to define marriage as both between a man and a woman and between two persons of the same sex, then it must become discriminatory for a registrar to refuse to conduct ceremonies for people who are legally entitled to get married.

The legal reasoning given in the Church House briefing on civil partnerships in religious premises explains why and merits careful reading:
A key relevant provision is section 29 of the Equality Act which makes it unlawful for 'a person (a "service-provider") concerned with the provision of a service to the public or a section of the public' to discriminate on various grounds, including sexual orientation, 'against a person requiring the service by not providing the person with the service'. A Church which provides couples with the opportunity to marry (but not to register civil partnerships) is “concerned with” the provision of marriage only; it is simply not “concerned with” the provision of facilities to register civil partnerships.
The briefing continues:
That would be a different 'service', marriage and civil partnership being legally distinct concepts. If Parliament were in due course to legislate for same sex marriage, as recently suggested by the Prime Minister, we would of course be in new territory. But that is a separate issue which would have to be addressed in the course of that new legislation.
Clearly, if the Established Church decides that the price of continuing to register weddings is too high under the same-sex marriage regime, then that would be a significant social change for the nation. The traditional church wedding to which the eligible residents of an ecclesiastical parish are legally entitled is part of the national collective memory. Its cultural continuation is the legacy of the fact that Britain was spared the 19th century revolutions that convulsed mainland Europe, particularly France.

Unlike France, Britain had an evangelical revival in the 18th century in which Anglican clergy such as Wesley and Whitefield proclaimed God's message of salvation by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. Thankfully, the soul of Britain did not fall for the unenlightened cynicism of Voltaire, which meant that our country was spared a state monopoly on marriage registration.

But the Church of England could not be blamed for making such a change in order to protect its front-line clergy from getting sued.

Can there be any reasonable hope that on present form homosexual activists would refrain from pursuing vexatious litigations against churches? Witness what happened to the Bulls.

The fact is that front-line clergy are not wealthy people nor in many cases are the churches we serve. Furthermore, orthodox clergy should not expect a great deal of moral or indeed financial support from their congregations. Often, Christian people in Anglican churches, even evangelical ones, are biblically illiterate compared with previous generations and so are less than clear on the biblical issues at stake. It takes a long Bible teaching ministry in one place to turn that around.

Orthodox Anglican clergy could find themselves quite isolated in civil actions, as well as finding their piggy banks depleted due to legal costs. It is also highly unlikely that there would be much of an outcry from the public over clergy going bankrupt.

In most people's eyes, clergy were dog-collared oddballs on the margins of society even before they started being pictured in the papers on the steps of the Crown Court for being homophobic.

Regular members of churches could still have a Christian service after their civil marriage. But the terms under which such services were offered would need to be carefully crafted in order to avoid falling foul of the Equality Act.

How ironic and indeed tragic that an intellectually able and politically gifted Conservative Prime Minister could unwittingly prove to be the midwife to the end of the traditional church wedding.

Julian Mann is vicar of the Parish Church of the Ascension, Oughtibridge, South Yorkshire. He blogs as Cranmer's Curate.

151 Comments:

Blogger Al Shaw said...

I agree that this may well be where we are heading.

However, am I right in thinkig that in the 17th century, the Puritans understood the administration of the wedding ceremony as essentially a civil rather than an ecclesiastical role, and that ministers rarely conducted wedding services?

Perhaps we are heading back to such an arrangement.

4 December 2011 09:44  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

"But the terms under which such services were offered would need to be carefully crafted in order to avoid falling foul of the Equality Act."

I think this side of things should be easily dealt with, as al that needs to be changed is the name of the service offered to something like "Nuptial blessing", which would be nothing more than something that a church chooses who it does it for.

Another option could be to have the whole marriage ceremony done in a church with a secular officer covering any legal aspects that are required and the vicar covering everything else.
Of course, this could also lead to legal issues (e.g. accusations similar to the B&B owners over preferential treatment for heterosexuals) but I'm sure it's not impossible to find a way of describing it so that it passes the legal issues unscathed.

The key question from all this is what the general public, the majority of whom are heterosexual and still inclined towards marriage, think about any sort of changes. Will they take offence to this change that has been forced upon them by theologically illiterate politicians or will they not care? Will they not care until they see that they can't have the traditional "White Wedding"?
Of course by that point it will be too late and, unlike in the US, almost certainly irreversible in the eyes of our MPs.

So I wouldn't say it's all doom and gloom, but there's definitely a lot to be concerned about and more than a few things to consider!

4 December 2011 10:05  
Blogger IanVisits said...

As most politicians seem to be minded to offer religious buildings a legal opt-out of being forced to hold wedding ceremonies for gay couples, I am not entirely sure why the author is scaremongering like this.

Also, if you look at it from the newly-wed couple's perspective, why would they want to have a religious service presided over by a priest who openly opposes their decision and is only going through the motions because the law requires them to...

...when there is a church down the road with a vicar who would be delighted to bless their lifelong commitment to each other?

There may be a few militant gays who will demand absolutely equality, but most people accept that in the real world, not everyone will approve of everything - and it really doesn't do any material harm in letting a church opt-out of offering religious services to gay couples - and missing out on the revenue they earn from doing so.

I gather weddings are rather profitable for churches. I suspect the lure of Mammon will convert a number of venues to a more enlightened approach.

4 December 2011 10:17  
Blogger graham wood said...

"But 'if Parliament were in due course to legislate for same sex marriage...... we would be on our way to a very cold place indeed for British Christianity."

Or, conversely, for an opportunity to re-assert publicly the Christian witness to the unique institution of Christian marriage as defined in Scripture.

Let us be clear, moves to same sex marriage if legalised would constitute a naked act of assertion on the re-definition of marriage by the secular authority.

Is the church obliged to recognise that? No, because the corporate church since Magna Carta's declaration 'The Church in England shall be free" thereby recongises that in some circumstances the decrees of man are overruled by the Word of God. This is one of them.
The secular authority has no jurisdiction over the internal and doctrinal decisons of the church established over many centuries.

The re-definition of Christian marriage therefore is not an option for churches and clergy.

Notwithstanding the Equality Act, God has clearly and definitively given us but ONE concept of marriage - heterosexual - one man/woman for life.
This is what God has "joined together", and that definition is not dependent on passing cultural or poltical fashions of the day.

If legislation for SSM means disobeying the law of the land in order to accomodate a denial of God's definition of marriage, then so be it.
The mandate for the church under those circumstances is also clear, and the same principle applies as it did to the early church when confronted by the secular authority of the day:
"We must obey God, rather than men" (Acts:5 26-32)

4 December 2011 10:27  
Blogger Sam Vega said...

"intellectually able and politically gifted Conservative Prime Minister"

I was following the argument quite well until that point.

4 December 2011 11:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Isn't this more an issue of the Church of England being mixed up with the State? I don't see why there can't be a distinction drawn between civil registrars and religious registrars. I suppose the right (I think) to be married in one's parish church whether or not one is a Christian needs to be revoked. It just needs a bit of modernising and tidying up to my mind.

4 December 2011 11:06  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Mann: "Can there be any reasonable hope that on present form homosexual activists would refrain from pursuing vexatious litigations against churches? Witness what happened to the Bulls."

Vexatious as far as the Bulls were concerned? Blimey, that's a bit of a leap, especially as the litigants won the case. If anything is vexatious, it's the subsequent appeal by the Bulls which I believe is still pending a judgement.

4 December 2011 11:19  
Blogger Johnnyrvf said...

An 'intellectuaiiy able and politically gifted' Conservative Prime Minister, if you believe that you will never comprehend why the U.K. is going to exist in perpetual misery for very many generations to come.

4 December 2011 12:04  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Does the Church of England consider marriage to be a sacrament instituted by God?

If so, I find it strange that marraige, like baptism, is an entitlement regardless of one's position towards towards Christianity. It is not a 'public service' it is a religious ceremony.

As sacraments surely they should only be available after the Church satisfies itself the person or, in the case of infant baptism the parents, are aware of the nature of the service and its religious nature and obligations?

The 'Miserable Rights' movement should be stopped in its tracks over this. A clear statement from the Church that homosexual acts are inherently greviously sinful and, as such, this mean any 'marriage', intended by God for a man and a woman, would be a perversion of the Holy institution and an affront to God.

Come on the Church of England, take a stand for Christ's sake.

4 December 2011 12:50  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Graham Wood

Your argument about Magna Carta being used to defend the sanctity of marriage and the freedom of the Church, was undermined by the shenanigans of King Henry VIII and his Archbishops.

4 December 2011 12:58  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Padre

There may come a time when the clergy is put to the test. We’ll consider one individual priest who refuses to comply. Whether he would be committing a ‘criminal’ or civil infringement is not yet clear. Yet the strategy should be this: hold the court in contempt. Just ignore the official letters and summonses. Ultimately, this stance will result in a prison sentence. But the time has come to make sacrifices for our beliefs. We’ll see then how the British public respond to this act of spite by the establishment. Ignore the law, happens all the time on the continent, and to a lesser extent here. A law that is ignored is no law at all, especially if it is unjust.

Fight the good fight, with all thy might, what !

4 December 2011 13:34  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "If so, I find it strange that marraige, like baptism, is an entitlement regardless of one's position towards towards Christianity. It is not a 'public service' it is a religious ceremony."

I'm pretty sure it's the case. If so then that's the result of melding the State with a religion I suppose. Yet another reason for separation. The idea of parishes is an odd one, there being ecclesiastical parishes and civil ones. For all the ideas of the importance of tradition, these things clearly evolve.

4 December 2011 14:09  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@IanVisits
I think the author is, far from scaremongering, taking his lead from this (taken from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16016956):
"Gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is urging clergy to defy the ban, which he described as "dictatorial and homophobic".

He said it was "ironic" that the government was allowing civil partnerships in religious premises, but continuing to ban religious gay marriages even if a faith organisation wanted to conduct them.

Mr Tatchell said it was an "infringement of religious freedom" and accused the equalities minister of supporting discrimination."

The basic idea is that if a registrar refuses to marry gay couples then, just like the registrar who got in trouble for not doing a civil partnership, vicars (who are also registrars, as part of their job) are liable for the same legal recourse if "gay marriage" is brought into law.

And the reason why people will want it in church is that a traditional wedding (even if the 2 getting married are not traditional) is ingrained into the psyche of the British nation. My cousin got married in a registry office and she still got dressed up in a white dress (even though this was her second marriage and she already had 2 kids with her now husband), because it's what you do when you get married. For her first marriage she had it in a church with all the same things as in her second (though minus the kids), because it was the done thing. It had nothing to do with religious conviction or anything like that, she did it because it's what she wanted.

Have a look at how many lesbians both wear wedding dresses when they get married/partnered, it's not a low number! And the reason is all because of the attachment that people have for the tradition of a marriage ceremony and all that goes with it.

And, just as an aside, weddings are not profitable as such for churches. There are legal costs (the registrar side of things etc), the standard costs for a vicar to do the ceremony (particularly if you are asked to provide one if you are in interregnum), costs for electricity and heating and so on. it all adds up to an expensive event, but by no means is it profitable.

4 December 2011 14:28  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

The traditional church wedding is a reflection of broad cultural agreement on religion that no longer exists. It used to be that men understood the state to be administering a Covenant established by God. Today men see marriage as a legal relationship defined by the state. The secular world has no place for archaic concepts like 'God.' And so it demands fealty to its authority. It has rejected the true definition of marriage, stiffened its neck, raised its fist at heaven, and substituted its own. The King is dead. Long live the king.

And yet people still want traditional weddings in a church. Perhaps for the ambiance. Perhaps for the tradition. Perhaps for some inchoate feeling that marriage should be more significant than signing a piece of paper at a registrar's office. We want someone or something to affirm that the relationship is greater than the sum total of its parts - even as we legally make sure that isn't true. Much like a funeral. The living want re-assurance that they aren't just a collection of carbon atoms that live for a moment and then die. The significant markers of life must possess gravitas, and man is far too insignificant to provide it himself. So he looks for something to give him that feeling of significance, even if he thinks it is illusion.

None of which is a good reason to make a mockery of the marriage Covenant before God. A secular culture that indulges itself with church weddings is making an external show of promises never intended to be kept predicated upon beliefs not actually held. It is form without content intended only to gratify the senses and sensibilities of the participants. God becomes a minor actor in an elaborate tradition - trundled out to say his lines, and then put back in his dressing room until the next occasion. If the church does not restrict its weddings to .. you know ... believers, then there isn't much point to the traditional wedding in the first place. It's a stench in the nostrils of heaven.

The church must remain faithful. If the state requires a loyalty oath to Baal, then the church must refuse to give it. In a state that increasingly worships Baal, the church must eventually decide whether to disestablish itself. To simply walk away and stand in opposition. To lay down the ability to legally solemnize marriages, and yet to conduct marriages before God as before. To declare publicly that men do not have the authority to re-define what God has established. It doesn't matter who has the legal right to register a marriage in law. It matters what people believe, for upon those beliefs they will act.

carl

4 December 2011 14:36  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Carl

Well said ... maybe Papists and Calvanists have a shared position on this. Heaven help us all!

4 December 2011 14:49  
Blogger Anglican said...

Dodo the Dude said:
A clear statement from the Church [of England] that homosexual acts are inherently greviously sinful and, as such, this mean[s} any [homosexual] 'marriage', intended by God for a man and a woman, would be a perversion of the Holy institution and an affront to God. Come on the Church of England, take a stand for Christ's sake.
You are joking, aren’t you? The present Church of England?

4 December 2011 15:25  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Anglican

The church is its members and they have a duty to confront its leadership when they are leaving the straight and narrow path. Even the 'via media' has boundaries.

There are many good, faithful Christians in the Anglican Community. Rise up and reclaim your church - or, if I may be be so bold, if all else fails, return to the Church that holds firm to Christ's teachings.

4 December 2011 15:34  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

The church is its members and they have a duty to confront its leadership when they are leaving the straight and narrow path.

[Cough ... sputter]

Have I succeeded in turning you from the Manifest Error that is Rome then? For surely no Roman Catholic can say this.

carl

4 December 2011 15:38  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Carl

No ... afraid not!

It is actually a Catholic teaching. Some ultra-traditionists are contending it should be used against the current Pope.

Catholics have a duty to challenge teachings and practices that are held to be inconsistent with accepted doctrines and teachings.

4 December 2011 15:56  
Blogger English Viking said...

How any man which calls himself Christian could countenance voting for the vile liar, Cameron, is beyond me.

He is a self-confessed player of the pink oboe.

BTW All this gay business is starting to get on my tits.

Sexual deviants should not be pandered to.

Not by any means.

4 December 2011 16:10  
Blogger Oswin said...

English Viking: self-confessed? Has he really; or are you refering, in general, to his 'gay friendly' policies?

4 December 2011 16:30  
Blogger Albert said...

to discriminate on various grounds, including sexual orientation

It's interesting isn't it? I don't think that heterosexual marriage only does discriminate against homosexually oriented persons. The "service" offered is heterosexual marriage. It is offered regardless of sexual orientation. Has anyone ever been denied heterosexual marriage on the grounds that they are homosexual?

But I expect that would be lost on the dullards who run the legal system. Very well. The clergy must stand firm and be martyred. And if their witness exposes the illogicality and the intolerance of the secularists and so called liberals then that's well and good too. Do the clergy of the CofE have the balls for it though? - some of them clearly don't.

Carl,

Have I succeeded in turning you from the Manifest Error that is Rome then? For surely no Roman Catholic can say this.

That shows a lack of understanding of Church history and of the Church you deny. Are there any Protestants out there who actually understand the Catholic Church they are rejecting? I spent most of my life as a Protestant, I didn't understand Catholicism (even while I rejected it) and I would say most Protestants understood it far less than I did. The only people who do perhaps understand Catholicism and yet remain outside of the Church are perhaps the Anglo-Papalists.

4 December 2011 16:31  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Why should we be so passive? Can we not see this as an opportunity? Let all Christian denominations get together and issue a declaration that they will deliberately disobey this law and will define precisely where and when they will disobey. The authorities will be asked to come to hundreds of venues to verify that the law is being broken and if they wish, arrest the offending priest or vicar or minister if the congregation allows them to do it. If the government tries to divide and conquer by prosecuting a few selected ones. All the others must appear at the same court and demand they be prosecuted as well. If the police try to remove them they should resist so that they can be arrested under whatever law applies. In that way we can have probably over 1000 clerics in prison. The government can choose if they want to proceed. Who do you think will win and what will David Cameron decide with an election looming? We have more power than we think. Have we got the nerve and the gumption.

4 December 2011 16:32  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4 December 2011 16:39  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Catholics have a duty to challenge teachings and practices that are held to be inconsistent with accepted doctrines and teachings.

Then I must assume that you are currently challenging the leadership of the RCC for its current teaching on Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus. For certainly Rome's current teaching is inconsistent with its 'accepted doctrines and teachings.' There was after all no doubt about the meaning of this phrase at the time of Trent. Technically, I am not affected by the anathemas of Trent because I am already under anathema for being out of Communion with Rome. Five hundred years ago, there was no talk of 'separated brothers,' nor even 100 years ago or fifty. There was no question in Rome about whether Martin Luther was a heretic condemned to hell for his rebellion against Rome. Those "ultra-traditionalists" understand this. They know what Rome used to teach. That's the cause for which they fight - the accepted teachings and doctrines of Rome. To say otherwise is to prove nothing but historical illiteracy.

By what authority then do you determine what is inconsistent? Do you hold the teaching authority of the Magisterium? Are you able to read the Scripture better than the bishops to whom you are sworn in obedience? Over and over (an over and over and over) we Protestants are told that we cannot understand Scripture without the Magisterium to settle disputes. If we correct the RCC from Scripture on its false dogmas, we are told "Who are you to instruct us?" And yet RCs claim the right to rebuke their own leadership from their own private interpretation of Scripture. Or perhaps you aren't referring to Scripture? Perhaps you refer to the doctrines and dogmas and pronouncements of the RCC. Are you a more authoritative interpreter of these documents then the men charged with writing them? Do you know the CCC better than your leadership? Are you understandings superior to theirs? You demand for yourself the right to stand on very the ground occupied by Luther, whom you condemn, and for the very same reason. And yet you claim immunity from condemnation.

No matter. I now know that I have the authority to rebuke the Priest for the false Gospel he preaches. I can tear the Madonna from above the altar for the idolatry it represents. I can root out the corruption of cadaverous corpses held in RC vaults and burn them so them won't periodically be brought forth like magic talisman to work miracles. I can do all these things because I can challenge the infallible leadership of the RCC on the basis of its doctrines and teachings.

But then, that's what the Reformation already did.

carl

4 December 2011 16:41  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Quite right Dodo. “Catholics have a duty to challenge teachings and practices that are held to be inconsistent with accepted doctrines and teachings.” The fellow travellers in high positions in the Church have to be challenged. Let’s get rid of masses for homosexuals for a start. Next thing we’ll have separate masses for taxi drivers or Scots - hardly Catholic. Let’s also demand that the Pope fulfils the request of Our Lady to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. When that happens we will see some real progress in this godless world.

4 December 2011 16:45  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

I must assume that you are currently challenging the leadership of the RCC for its current teaching on Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus.

Your comment is answered by your own questions:

By what authority then do you determine what is inconsistent? Do you hold the teaching authority of the Magisterium?

The individual who challenges in the context that Dodo has raised needs to acknowledge the possibility he is wrong. The mystery of Christ surpasses the grasp of any one generation. Therefore, although the Church can in one age speak authoritatively and definitively on an issue, the further interpretation of that issue is not thereby defined. Thus a person who resists his bishop, even on the grounds that his bishop seems to contradict definitive teaching, must beware that his own opposition may represent and misunderstanding of the prior teaching.

A classic example of this would be a monophysite, who, holding fast to the language of Ephesus in 431 ,has not in fact grasped the mystery to which that Council bears witness, and thus (on the basis of the language of 431) rejects the sound teaching of Chalcedon 451.

Thus, a Catholic, may perhaps find himself in a position in which he must challenge even the highest authority personally, but he must have the humility to accept that he may be wrong, and if the Church answers him authoritatively and definitively, change his mind. But you Protestants have no way of knowing when you are in error.

Thus if Catholic bishops started to allow "gay weddings" we would have to protest. But if per impossibile the Church came to "realise" somehow or other that such weddings were possible, and taught such, authoritatively, we would have to accept that we had misunderstood scripture or the previous teaching of the Church. We are not therefore to fall victim to the latest arguments - our own or those of others - but rest on the promises of Christ to his Church. What do you rest on?

4 December 2011 16:58  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Grace,
Your learned Guest post claimed that our Prime Minister was 'intellectually able and politically gifted'. That he may be but has he wisdom, has he an understanding of the spiritual, is he like his forebear Mr Blair, in the pocket of Tatchell and his cohorts.
Let’s get one thing clear, the LGBT lot are not interested in having a religious ceremony, (and quasi-religious is all it can be as there can be no truth outside of the scriptures), all they want to do is unsettle the status quoi of traditional marriage (as acknowledged by Jesus at his first miracle in Canaan) and their avowed intention is also to destroy traditional family life.
The case against the Balls had nothing to do with the gay guys wanting to stay there; they just wanted to create mayhem.
It was rightly said that the church must make a stand and not compromise on this issue. Removing the legal registration of marriage to a civil court is only a half measure and a major compromise. The pressure will still be on to seek access to the religious aspect. In no quarter will they settle for anything less than the total capitulation of the church to their demands and the eventual destruction of the church (which of course they can’t possibly do).
Christians in Parliament and in any place of influence must make the Government realise that this is a step too far in their pursuit for so called equality.

4 December 2011 17:16  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Come on Guys and Girls, (if there are there any?). I know that it is your favourite pastime to play textoral tennis and throw insults and accusations at one another but none of us have all the light and we all see through a glass darkly. On important issues like this, we all need to expend our energies in a more useful way by writing to our local Vicar, Priest, Pastor or whatever, our local MP, an MP you know that should be supportive of the cause (but fears for his job) and to the media.
Some time it seems a waste of time but I emailed over a hundred Peers about the sexual education amendment for primary schools that had been proposed and I was surprised at the number of positive replies that I received from them.
If we stay silent, the cause will be lost. Don’t stop writing here because I enjoy the intellectual rhetoric, but do make your voice heard elsewhere.

4 December 2011 17:36  
Blogger Corrigan1 said...

It is an article of liberal faith that the connection between a church and the state is damaging to the state; what conservatives forget is that the connection is, ultimately, far more damaging to to the church. Certainly, the de facto status of the Catholic Church as the established church in Ireland was one (although not the only) reason for its demise in status and respect, and the actual status of Anglicanism as the established church in England is one reason for its demise in that country. The other, of course, is that it doesn't actually stand for anything. My advice to Anglicanism is to accpept without demur any change in the law which hastens its disestablishment, at which point it should go where it belongs - Rome.

4 December 2011 17:42  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Carl

Wow ... that was fierce! Where on earth does all that come from? 500 years of pent-up anger, I guess.

I was actually referring to Priests who locally might be teaching against or permitting actions against clear Church teaching. I wasn't for one minute thinking of heading off to Rome, bible in hand to question the Pope on the Prayer Meeting at Assi, for example, or on the doctrine of 'Outside the Church there is no Salvation'!

Besides, challenging the Church isn't quite the same as setting up one's own. At the time of the Reformation many good Catholics were troubled by the behaviours of some of their leaders and the misuse of traditional practices. Thomas More is one such example.

I am not a theologian nor am I an expert on Canon Law, but dividing the Body of Christ has surely shown itself to be a recipe for disaster.

Albert

Thank you for responding to the severity of Carl's challenge. I'm pretty sure this one will run for a time.

Shacklefree

I'm not of a militant disposition.

Seperate Masses for homosexuals in Westminster do seem an odd development, especially, as I understand it, openly active homosexuals are permitted to receive the Eucharist without admonishment. This is an issue for local parishoners and their Bishop.

Fatima has become a fault line in Catholicism. Maybe it was ordained to be so. We'll see.

There are many sides to this one and whilst I accept the appearance of Mary and the Miracle as genuine, the actual message, its authenticity and reliability, given it was written down many years later, is not something I claim to know too much about - despite having read widely on it!

4 December 2011 17:49  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,

challenging the Church isn't quite the same as setting up one's own.

Exactly, in fact, lose the word "quite". There is no similarity between these too.

At the time of the Reformation many good Catholics were troubled by the behaviours of some of their leaders and the misuse of traditional practices.

Spot on again. Most Protestants think the Church is reducible to the Magisterium and assume the Magisterium is identical with the person of the Pope. I know I failed to grasp this distinction for a long time.

4 December 2011 17:58  
Blogger English Viking said...

Oswin,

Google Peter Cook. The Judge.


A loathsome, spotted reptile, who by his own admission...

4 December 2011 17:58  
Blogger Albert said...

Seperate Masses for homosexuals in Westminster do seem an odd development

I don't think they are separate Masses. They are Masses intended to provide a context for homosexual Catholics find strength to live faithful lives - or, in having failed to do that to receive the unconditional love and forgiveness of God. They certainly appear to be unusual Masses, but the aim of them does not seem to me to be bad.

openly active homosexuals are permitted to receive the Eucharist without admonishment

Mmmm. That's harder to prove than you might think. Just because two men are living together, it does not mean that they are actually having some kind of sexual relationship - even if they are homosexual. The test would be whether those who confess to being in a homosexual relationship and show no signs of repentance, are absolved. Of course, that is not not something anyone else is likely to hear about though. So I think generosity requires us to assume that the clergy involved - together with the Bishop who has oversight - are acting in accordance with Church teaching.

4 December 2011 18:05  
Blogger non mouse said...

What a Pygmalion mess.

Some of us would rather be dead than:
Queer.
Communist.
Catholic (Roman).
Camoron's loyal and admiring subjects (Revd. Mann, with all respect due to you - our Pretend Prime Minister has yet to manifest that he is "intellectually able and politically gifted").

It's time we told the euros where to go and what to do with their defintions of 'equality.'

So I'm off to reconsider the dynamics of the Fall of the Roman Empire.....

4 December 2011 18:06  
Blogger English Viking said...

Albert,

Magisterium = Bollocks.

Think. Please, really, think.

When you stand before God, the idea that you were only doing that which you were told to do just will not wash.

Not one little bit.

4 December 2011 18:08  
Blogger Albert said...

Viking,

And when you stand before God you will find that the idea that you were following what you thought the Bible meant, will not wash. You will simply have the following passage quoted to you:

There are some things in them hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other scriptures. 2 Pet.3

4 December 2011 18:12  
Blogger The Gray Monk said...

Your Grace, as I remarked in an earlier post, the answer is simple. ALL marriages must now fall upon the State and its Registrars. The current situation where clergy are required to become "Civil Registrars"in order to conduct a marriage should cease and the Church simply affirm in a religious ceremony, the civil marriage for those who desire it as is done in Germany and elsewhere Voltaire's cynical ideas went.

This is legislation, after all, just another cynical attempt to marginalise Faith and to undermine its moral authority, whether RCC, CofE or Protestant or, ideed, of any other stamp. Where I the Vicar of a church attended by any of the current crop of MPs I would be tempted to fall back on the BCP Rubric and withold the sacraments from them until they made clear their support for the Faith or revealed their true intent with regard to Faith.

Mind you, I'd probably not have the opportunity sinec it is unlikely many would even darken the door unless it were for a media event to promote their election chances ...

Sorry, my cynicism is now showing.

4 December 2011 18:12  
Blogger English Viking said...

Albert,

You really think so?

My salvation depends on a man other than the Christ?

Some Nazi in Rome?

Nah.

When I was child, I thought as a child, but when I became a man...

Popiness is quite obviously filth.

4 December 2011 18:28  
Blogger Albert said...

Viking,

You really think so?

Your surprise that Heaven may quote the scriptures against your individualistic innovation says it all.

My salvation depends on a man other than the Christ?

What on earth makes you think I believe that my salvation depends on anyone other than Christ?

Popiness is quite obviously filth.

I can just say "Protestantism is filthy", can't I? I'm not going to, because simply asserting things - especially with a view to insult, proves nothing, except the absence of an argument.

4 December 2011 18:36  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Viking said ...

"When you stand before God, the idea that you were only doing that which you were told to do just will not wash."

Actually, I'm more than willing to trust my eternal soul to the view that it will be.

Are you willing to trust your soul to your own individual comprehension of scripture before you actually understand the fullness of Catholic teaching that you reject?

Jesus Himself asked us to do many things and the Roman Catholic Church teaches the Gospel and invites all of mankind to accept its message.

I'm a member of the Church and, as with membership of any organisation, one follows rules. Canon Law and doctrinal teaching sets these out. I'm perfectly free to reject these at any time and walk away.

Stop playing the part of an uncouth savage. You know better and can present arguments with reason when you choose to. Afterall you're not an uncultured man, now are you?

4 December 2011 18:53  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo

Wow ... that was fierce! Where on earth does all that come from? 500 years of pent-up anger, I guess.

Let me apologize if I came across as angry. That wasn't my intent. I simply like to use stark sharp imagery when I write. Sometimes I am not careful about how I will be perceived. None of this is personal to me.

Anyways, it might be awhile before I get back to this because I am home from church on a Sunday afternoon, and that means Football. The real kind - not that fake soccer stuff.

carl ;)

4 December 2011 18:55  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Dodo, You may be right about fault lines in the Church and Albert is right that we all have to be careful about setting ourselves up as authorities. Maybe I’m a bit more of a militant disposition but I think you do a great job in your own way. I’ll keep banging the drum about Fatima and the lack of reverence and spirituality emanating from Vatican II but I don’t see fault lines between Catholics in general – more between those interested in maintaining orthodoxy and those who want to re-invent Christianity. The Church has declared Fatima credible and I wait in hope that it will recognize the faults of Vatican II. The new missal is I think a step back to normality but I still think that it is a big mistake to have an inter-religious gathering. I’ve no problem with inter-religious dialogue but worshipping together with Hindus, African witch doctors and freemasons is something that John Paul II is going to have to work very hard to explain. I don'y envy his task. Benedict has indicated reservations about Assissi gatherings but he hasn’t done the necessary and stopped the thing dead.

4 December 2011 18:57  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Carl, Forget soccer. Try Rugby. I know you lot want to pass the ball fowards but sometimes a sideways move is beneficial. Applies to religion too.

4 December 2011 19:06  
Blogger Albert said...

Carl,

Your football isn't football. The ball is hardly ever kicked compared with real football. And as usual with things American, it's a Johnny come lately thing.

4 December 2011 19:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Rugby, a real mans game. The Inspector lives in a rugby town, don’t you know....

No gay couples here, not if they’ve any sense, what !

4 December 2011 19:43  
Blogger Botogol said...

it will lead us to a better place - marriage in the eyes of the state can become separate to marriage in the eyes of the CoE (just as is the case for many other churches and religions)

- to have your partnership recgonised as a marriage for tax/benefit reasons.. go to the state
- to have your partnership registered as a marriage in the eyes of your god.. go to your church.

Sometimes one will say 'yes' and the other will say 'no'. This is right and proper

4 December 2011 19:47  
Blogger Roy said...

This is all ridiculous. Not only is the proposal to legalise same-sex marriage (i.e. the completely change the age-old and universal definition of marriage that is even shared by polygamous and polyandrous societies) completely ridiculous but so is the idea that the Church would simply have to accept whatever our debased and debauched parliament decreed.

Can you imagine the apostles saying "I'm afraid the Emperor has passed a law saying that we must worship him as a god and therefore we will have to change our doctrine and practices to conform to the new law"?

Their response would have been the same as Joshua's.

"choose you this day whom ye will serve; ... but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

If Cameron will close his ears (and harden his heart) to replies that include Biblical verses, such as the quotation from Joshua, and will assume that parliament can overrule God then there is another, blunter reply that can be given to him and those MPs who choose to obey their political leader:

Go to Hell!

4 December 2011 20:26  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

You've got it right Roy. It would be nice if Church leaders would get togther and agree a policy of non-accptance but realistically I think it will come down to lay people having to challenge the government while the clergy, enjoy their comfortable life styles. One day they will be called to account.

4 December 2011 20:52  
Blogger non mouse said...

On the British approach to Roman Falls (and for cat lovers) ... Anyone who knows Baldwin's Beware the Cat will understand why this cat's eye view is on my 'Desert Island' list (along with Beowulf, CT, the LFG, KJV, WS, Purcell, Elgar, various insular lyrics, etc).

Beware the Cat is sometimes touted as the first novel in English, and I say its vision and irony also owe something to Chaucer. In any case, there's a comment or two on marriage, among other things. In EVI's time, the corollaries of marriage- inheritance and free/independent powers- were at least as material as they are now. His Grace will be among those who recognises that this applies to both national and personal interests, as well as to the significance of "Cat-ness."

How tragi-comic that our self-styled elites still imagine (like the froggified Stuarts, later) that they have the right to invite "superior" foreigners in: to 'settle our hash' on these issues. Surely we should have learnt from history, by now...

4 December 2011 21:02  
Blogger Albert said...

Shacklefree,

Steady on. I am quite sure our clergy will stand fast on this one. The problem for the CofE clergy who are orthodox on this question is not that they lack courage, but that the General Synod will, in due course, doubtless pass some yellow-spirited, mumbling compromise about gay marriage, which will completely undermine any legal case such clergy would have had and will sap them of the community strength to which they were entitled. And the laity in the CofE will vote for bogus doctrine along with the clergy and the bishops.

4 December 2011 21:20  
Blogger bluedog said...

Your Grace, just as the homosexuals and their patron Dave are gaming the political system to achieve their goals, so should those of us who oppose same sex marriage (SSM) and its possible enforcement within places of worship.

All communicants must now be aware that we live in a post-Christian secular world where quoting biblical and canonical authority invokes derision rather than respect. So while the aims may be Christian, the means must be secular.

Two thoughts occur to this communicant.

In the first instance it seems necessary to deconstruct and defeat the concept of a one size fits all 'equality'. There is surely a case for determining equality as both subjective and also as objective. Equality is subjective as an overall principle but invariably objective in application because on a case by case application it is rarely possible for outcomes to be equal. So it is with SSM. This communicant has yet to understand how a marriage between two men can be compared to a marriage between man and woman. The outcomes are both different and unequal, why does 'equality' apply?

The second general thought that may have practically application relates to the devolved state of the United Kingdom. Would it be possible for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales to introduce their own Marriage Acts that re-assert the current form of marriage? Thus the only part of the United Kingdom that suffers the indignity and absurdity of SSM is England.

Which leads to another point about the chronic and manifold weaknesses of the British Constitution wherein the status of England is unequal. It is time for a Christian majority in England to demand their own parliament and get it.

Success along these lines leaves Dave and his homosexual friends to enjoy their buggers' nuddle in the solitude of the UK Parliament at Palace of Westminster.

4 December 2011 21:23  
Blogger bluedog said...

Albert @ 21.20, can you see the hypocrisy inherent in a former Anglican such as yourself using His Grace's blog to exchange patronising anti-CofE comment with a fellow Catholic?

Doing so does rather reduce your evident assumptions of moral superiority.

4 December 2011 21:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

No backbone you know, Church of England leadership. Been separated from Rome far too long. Crying out for some CoE Bishop to make a stand, anyone will do, and see these tappers off.

For God, Queen and Country, what !

4 December 2011 22:01  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

bluedog

Bit of a low blow at Albert, especially as he's not one for dishing out personal abuse. Is it because his comments about the Church of England are correct?

Shacklefree

I agree, there have been some strange initiatives since Vatican II. Keeping the light of faith burning in a world darkening by secularism and a loss of belief in the sacred, is calling for different approaches. Blessed John Paul was a great Pope. He made mistakes and Assi did get out of hand. Let's remember the good he did.

4 December 2011 22:13  
Blogger Oswin said...

''For God, Queen and Country'' but NOT for bloody Rome!

4 December 2011 22:13  
Blogger Albert said...

bluedog

can you see the hypocrisy inherent in a former Anglican such as yourself using His Grace's blog to exchange patronising anti-CofE comment with a fellow Catholic?

No.

4 December 2011 22:17  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Dodo @ 22.13, low blow at Mr Albert? Hardly, the comment was a a direct hit.

Mr Inspector @ 22.01, not expecting much action from ++Rowan in the CofE. He's de-mob happy now. However, a principled stand would be characteristic of ++ John Sentamu and +Michael Nazir-Ali.

Mr Albert @ 22.17. No surprise.

4 December 2011 22:24  
Blogger Albert said...

Well bluedog, what's there to object to in my comment? Where's the direct hit? I admitted that there are clergy of courage and orthodoxy in the CofE. That's a compliment isn't it? I said they will be let down by General Synod voting - unclearly - on this question. Who's going to deny that? That's what Synod does. Look at its position on abortion or a host of other things. You yourself have commented that Rowan won't do much. I disagree there BTW, and think you are unfair to him. I firmly expect Rowan to do his best for his clergy. I could make a comment on the hypocrisy of an Anglican judging the actions of his leader before he has even given him the chance to lead.

That would be a greater patronising hypocrisy, wouldn't it?

4 December 2011 22:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Oswin. What ever it takes old chap. But remember Rome is there waiting to be called to help....

Bluedog. Rather admire the Bishop of Chester – how do you feel about him ?

4 December 2011 22:31  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Albert @ 22.29, as a humble Anglican, this communicant feels a deep sense of entitlement that permits him to criticise the Church hierarchy both publicly and privately. A yuman right, if you like.

His Grace's recent post at 7.23am on 24th November suggests that the CofE is doing considerable planning on the broad topic of human rights but does not yet seem to have focussed specifically on a response to SSM.

If wrong on this point, this communicant will be delighted. In the meantime, anything one can do to galvanise action is hopefully a positive. Sometimes one has to push the debate along (qv 'unfair') for the greater good, as one judges.

Were you an ordained member of the CofE?

4 December 2011 22:47  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Inspector @ 22.31, Splendid chap. This communicant likes the cut of his jib. Clone him!

4 December 2011 22:55  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin said...

''For God, Queen and Country'' but NOT for bloody Rome!

My Dear Sir, that is most surely covered in the God bit!

4 December 2011 23:05  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

bluedog asked ...

"Were you an ordained member of the CofE?"

Interesting the way you pose the question.

Not being a church "in the proper sense", having not preserved a valid Episcopate, all Anglican ordinations are "absolutely null and utterly void".

The Anglican rite create ministers who are reduced to members of a mere ecclesiastical institution with no sense of sacramental priesthood - a direct attack on the Eucharist.

Maybe that's why your communion have gone all liberal and Christian principles are undermined by democratic votes at General Synods.

Just a thought from a Papist.

4 December 2011 23:39  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

As far as I am aware, there are no plans to force Church of England churches to hold same sex marriages.

The Equalities Act 2010 does allow exceptions – e.g. in for certain jobs. The following is taken from Prospects Learning Disability Charity website:

“For those jobs that have an Occupational Requirement the following legislation applies:
Under the Equality Act 2010, (Schedule 9 Part 1 Section 3), these posts have an Occupational Requirement to be a Christian. The successful applicant will be committed to the ethos, aims and objectives of Prospects and will be able to demonstrate clear evidence of Christian commitment.

We would expect all Christians to be led by the life and teaching of Christ, clear scriptural teaching and the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the decisions they make for those they support.” (See: http://www.prospects.org.uk/index.php/getinvolved/5/6).

Prospects, a faith based organisation that (like many faith based organisations) is heavily reliant on the taxpayer (oh that wicked secular state again!) nevertheless has exception from sections of the Equalities Act 2010.

I think this example demonstrates that there is leeway under the law and in this case Revd Mann is just using the distant possibility of same-sex unions in church as a means of treating us to one of his little obsessions – homosexuality (perhaps it is a big problem in plump little, des res commuter villages on the edge of the Peak District National Park – tho’ I’d have thought most Anglican clergy have got far more pressing matters than writing spurious articles in the world of ifs and ands and maybes...). Why worry about something that seems highly unlikely to happen (esp. in light of Matt 6:34)? In a sense it can be seen as placing a stumbling block in readers’ way, when the path is clear.

What a waste of time and effort Revd Mann – it would be nice to read something edifying for a change – instead of your usual finger pointing and nastiness. But perhaps that is what you’re good at....

As for the Evangelical Revival of the 18th Century – yes, we can see how it led to a socially moral and upright society... child labour, the working class living lives little better than slavery, parish records show a third of conceptions took place before marriage in the 19th century, high rates of syphilis, prostitution (particularly child prostitution) and the rape and economic and cultural enslavement of much of the world via the Empire...

Peter Denshaw
London

5 December 2011 00:16  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

I find this photo offensive. I am also offended by clergy masquerading as Christians conducting ' same sex 'non marriages.

I have no respect for anyone attending these bogus church institutions.The communicants are as guilty as their leaders who are performing a perverted pantomime.

A civil union with testamentary rights should suffice.

5 December 2011 07:44  
Blogger Gary said...

"How ironic and indeed tragic that an intellectually able and politically gifted Conservative Prime Minister could unwittingly prove to be the midwife to the end of the traditional church wedding."

Cameron is antiChrist. He loves the world and all its filth more than he loves the holy gospel. We cannot rely on him to conserve Christ's church.

5 December 2011 08:08  
Blogger IanCad said...

OIG @ 19:43 wrote;

"Rugby, a real mans game---"

Hogwash!! An apprenticeship for buggery if there was.

5 December 2011 08:40  
Blogger Roy said...

@ Peter Denshaw

I am sure that you are right when you state that there are no plans to "force" the Church of England to conduct same sex weddings. I am also sure that parliament had absolutely no plans for allowing foreign murderers to stay in this country when it passed the Human Rights Act. Many of our judges seem to think that the law means whatever they want it to mean and they have shown that they are no more trustworthy than our politicians.

Your remarks about the Evangelical Revival of the 18th Century are utterly absurd. Obviously there were large numbers of people who did not accept the message of the revival but are you seriously suggesting that it made no differences to the lives of the people that did accept its message?

Taking Wales as an example the revival led to a large part of the population becoming literate, thanks to the Sunday Schools. Many of the early trade union leaders were committed Christians. The same was true of other parts of Britain. The Labour Party owed more to Methodism than to Marxism. Heaven knows what the pioneer Labour leaders would make of the party of Milliband!

I certainly would not wish to defend everything done by the British Empire but it was the non-Conformists such as Gladstone's supporters who were most cautious about extending the Empire. Your attitude to the Empire reminds me of the scene in the Life of Brian where one of Jewish Zealots asks "what have the Romans ever done for us?"

The Victorians realised that there were plenty of things wrong with their society and they tackled their problems with great energy and enthusiasm. Just look how our society tackles problems today!

The Victorians had the "Protestant Work Ethic." Today the people in this country with that ethic seem to be Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from Asia and Roman Catholics from Poland!

5 December 2011 10:18  
Blogger tangentreality said...

Your Grace,

I understand the legitimate concerns raised that the Church of England may be legally compelled to conduct same-sex marriages, were they to be legislated into existence, but it got me wondering.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but currently, if you are divorcee, the Church can refuse to perform the ceremony, which also includes the secular 'signing-of-the-register' bit.

If the Church can refuse to perform a service for one type of person, and it not cause any legal fuss, then why can it not refuse to perform a service for another type of person?

5 December 2011 10:29  
Blogger bluedog said...

Mr Dodo @ 15.34 on 4/12/11 said, ‘There are many good, faithful Christians in the Anglican Community. Rise up and reclaim your church…”.

Shows promise, but whoops, see below for correction.

Mr Dodo @ 23.39 on 4/12/11 said, ‘Not being a church "in the proper sense", having not preserved a valid Episcopate, all Anglican ordinations are "absolutely null and utterly void".’.

Standard RC position, we’ve seen it all before and we’ll see it all again.

It’s simply kindergarten stuff. You enrolled in 1536, (or was that 1054?), may be graduation say, in 2036? Five hundred years should be long enough for you.

Here’s a thought, just accept that all those who follow the teachings of Jesus Christ, or have done so in the past, constitute His Church.

No need to get all sniffy about it, particularly when your English mass has been dumbed down beyond all recognition. Just love those plastic order of service cards.

Yawn

5 December 2011 10:35  
Blogger Jon said...

Rev Mann - Is a vicar currently allowed to prevent people who don't go to Church but who live in his parish from getting married? What about people who have been married before?

It was my understanding that they could, where the prospective couple breached their teaching on things like divorce. (Incidentally, I would be interested to know when the last marriage was denied for pre- marital sex. I think almost every marriage I've ever been present at, the couple had committed adultery, but the church was ok with it, or at least turned a blind eye).

If it's the case that the Church can pick and choose to a certain extent within the law already, why are you so concerned at this legislation?

Or, if you are currently forbidden from denying marriage to parishioners who breach your movable moral code, why is the Church comfortable to allow some of its principles to be undermined, but not others?

5 December 2011 10:49  
Blogger Anglican said...

Albert 16:31 4/11 said:
The only people who do perhaps understand Catholicism and yet remain outside of the Church are perhaps the Anglo-Papalists.

No. The Anglo-Papalists have left to join the Ordinariate. Anglican Catholics (or, if you prefer, Anglo-Catholics), remain. They are not Papalists, or ‘Affirming Catholics’, but have a deep understanding of the Catholic roots and heritage of the Church of England, which they wish to protect. They and the Evangelical wing of the Church of England have to work together to prevent it from moving into outright apostasy.

5 December 2011 11:23  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@Roy

Thanks for this, yes, I agree that my comment re: the 18th Century Evangelical Revival is a bit sweeping. However, Revd Mann demonstrates the temptation to bask in the reflected glory of social reformers on the part of some Christians: ‘They were Christians, demonstrating this is what ‘we’ Christians do.’ When the counter argument is pretty sobering, that actually many ‘Christians’ – particularly Anglicans, were happy to continue a status quo that subjugated the working and lower middle-classes. As you rightly note non-Conformity was the main arena for social reform: Quakers, Methodists and latterly the Salvation Army. Even among the Clapham Sect there was a greater emphasis on promoting a Middle-Class Evangelicalism than social reform (Wilberforce a notable exception) – it was not until the latter part of the 19th century that there was a real marshalling of Anglican Evangelical social action; and even then Humanists and Evangelicals often worked together to get bills through Parliament.

One interesting question arises concerning the Evangelical Revival: why did it occur when it occurred? Britain had had 250 years of Reformed Christianity, yet remained four nations of stark social divisions with many shameful social ills. What social and/or philosophical or religious change led to the Evangelical Revival? Obviously it was the Enlightenment. Religion does not remain in isolation from other ideas and worldviews in a given society. A dialogue exists whereby religion absorbs ideas and adapts them and can become the ideological vehicle by which abstract philosophies can find practical expressions – Welsh Methodism is a good example of this (it need it is possible to argue that the success of Pentecostalism in South America and sub-Saharan Africa is the present day inheritor of Welsh Methodism) and of course the nascent Labour Party.

Yet I think you will have to admit that there is a curious irony that this Anglican cleric keeps harking back to the Evangelical Revival – naming two Anglicans who were both vilified for by the authorities for their preaching – their biggest enemy being the Anglican Church!

Whatever, I think great care is needed when looking backwards and presuming that more ‘God’ or ‘Religion’ in society would make for a more wholesome society. This certainly wasn’t universally true; nor can all social reform be seen as the fruits of Christianity. The first subscription hospitals (e.g. Foundling Hospitals) were Humanist in their foundation, as was the first attempt at higher education outside of Oxbridge (UCL); and as noted Evangelical and Humanist Reformers often worked together to get legislation through Parliament – as the bulk of MPs were indifferent. Moreover, care is needed not to see ‘religion’ as the sole factor that would make for a better or more wholesome society. America has a weak welfare state, a strong work ethic, 50% church attendance, yet has higher rates of single-parent families, divorce, teen pregnancy, serial monogamy, violent crime, incarceration, social inequality etc. than any European nation – and some liberal democracies (e.g. Finland) have far higher proportion of two parent families than either the US or the UK. Hence culture is also a variable that needs to be taken into consideration. Some liberal democracies beat the US and the UK on many indicators of social well-being – partly because there is a greater sense of reciprocation and responsibility than the UK especially, where many need a kick up the arse! Hence it is obvious that there is something else going on besides the influence, or lack of same, of religion.

Lastly I will just add, as you note: ‘I am sure that you are right when you state that there are no plans to "force" the Church of England to conduct same sex weddings.’ Hence one has to ask why Revd Mann has put so much effort into writing about a topic that as yet, there seems little chance of it ever happening..? It seems to me he delights in creating panic and discord... so much for Lk 17:1...

5 December 2011 12:43  
Blogger Julian Mann said...

It's an important point Jon raises. Presumably, the Church of England is allowed to set requirements for eligibility for marriage in church on the ground that such requirements apply across the board. Which would seem to leave the current rules on remarriage after divorce somewhat exposed. Currently, it is up to the incumbent whether he or she conducts marriages for divorcees (I don't), which leads to different churches doing different things, even next door. How does that stand under the Equality Act?

5 December 2011 13:07  
Blogger Albert said...

Anglican,

The Anglo-Papalists have left to join the Ordinariate

Some have. But I know Anglo-Papalists who are still in the CofE.

5 December 2011 13:53  
Blogger Julian Mann said...

One more 'ting if I may - against the scare-mongering accusation is the fact that the Church of England's own lawyers have raised the spectre of 'new territory' when same-sex marriage is legalised. How secure can any occupational exemption be for clergy as registrars once marriage is re-defined?

5 December 2011 14:30  
Blogger Oswin said...

Albert: I agree with Anglican. I've never heard the term ''Anglo-Papalists' before, excepting perhaps, as 'English Roman Catholics'? I've certainly not met any within the High Anglican community. Perhaps they are Jesuit 'moles' fomenting unrest; Dodo's agents perhaps? ;o)

5 December 2011 14:36  
Blogger Albert said...

Well Oswin, under the circumstances it's hardly surprising you have not knowlingly met any Anglo-Papalists. Although there have been some famous Anglo-Papalists (Dom Gregory Dix I think), on the whole they don't advertise the fact - hardly surprising! There was even a time when there were secret bishops (episcopes vagrantes, I think they were called), who had orders Rome would recognise and who went around (re)ordaining Anglo-Papalist priests who were worried about their orders, on account of the papal teaching on the matter.

As Anglo-Papalists are not likely to advertise the fact of their true allegiance see the list of symptoms to watch out for here.

There's even a history of the movement by Michael Yelton called (imaginatively enough) "Anglo-Papalism".

5 December 2011 15:00  
Blogger Luther said...

The "protection" built into this legislation for those true Christians who object to being forced to perform unbiblical actions on them in their community buildings is risible. As the government knows quite well separate legislation, already in place, will be used to undermine their claimed protection.

It is not only the CofE or the RC church that will be hit with this. The earliest targets will be small evangelical churches with little income and no way of protecting themselves against those who are trying to force people not to hold the beliefs that they do hold.

Ministers in those churches will, as Julian says, not be supported by most of their congregation because they are either infected by worldliness (which is at the root of this whole matter) or they will be to scared to stand by their minister when he stands up for what God's Word (the Bible) actually says.

Pray for the House of Lords - that they will overturn this iniquitous and ungodly legislation next week.

5 December 2011 15:08  
Blogger tio tel said...

Under the present rules of the Church of England a person has the right to be married in their parish church. However if they are a divorced person with a partner still living the following will apply:-

From "Advice to Clergy 2002

2.2 Under the Matrimonial Causes Act 1965 you are not compelled to officiate at such further marriages, nor to make your church available for them (3). If you are unwilling to officiate at further marriages or to make your church available for such services, you should make this clear to enquiring couples at an early stage.

(3). S.8.2 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1965 states, “No clergyman of the Church of England or the Church in Wales shall be compelled (a) to solemnise the marriage of any person whose former marriage has been dissolved and whose former spouse is still living; or (b) to permit the marriage of such a person to be solemnised in the church or chapel of which he is the minister.”

I do not think that this ruling has been tested in the European Court of Human Rights!
If the Church of England offers a 'service' and then discriminates against a certain section of the community it is on very shaky ground.
However, any 'marriage' between couples of the same sex cannot be a 'Christian Marriage' as defined in the Bible.
If it is not a Christian Marriage why should it take place in a Christian Church?

5 December 2011 15:10  
Blogger Oswin said...

Albert: thank you, I shall explore that theme.

5 December 2011 15:24  
Blogger Roy said...

@ Peter Denshaw

I agree with a great deal of what you wrote in response to my criticisms of your first message. The question of why there appears to have been a long delay between the Reformation and Evangelical social action is also one that I have sometimes wondered about.

Perhaps the Reformers thought that action to help the poor and needy was something to be undertaken at a local level, e.g. by deacons, and not something that national or regional leaders should get involved with. Perhaps they thought that safeguarding the Reformation was something that required all their energies. Not being a historian (except in an extremely amateur sense) I don't really know and am just speculating.

One of the bad effects of the Reformation was that the monasteries, which had an important role in the care of the poor and needy, were dissolved without much thought as to how to replace their social functions. However the Dissolution of the Monasteries seems to have been motivated more by Henry VIII's financial problems than his somewhat flexible religious convictions.

I have also wondered why the Church in late medieval times did not do more to prevent torture and barbaric methods of execution (such as being hanged, drawn and quartered). Admittedly such punishments were probably quite rare since they were reserved for offences such as treachery, and the Roman Empire with its gladiators, crucifixions etc. makes medieval Europe look less cruel.

Perhaps Church leaders thought there was only so much they could do to restrain the civil authorities who, presumably, wanted an effective deterrent. Today defenders of the Chinese leaders tend to take a similar attitude and say that compared with Mao's time or the famines and wars that China suffered before the Communists came to power, the current regime is a very benevolent one and is extending the freedoms of the people in so far as it is safe to do so.

However none of this is an adequate excuse for ignoring social problems either in the past or today.

5 December 2011 16:48  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@ Roy

Thanks – I am writing about the British welfare system (part of my PhD thesis) at present and I thought this passage might amuse you:

“In 1538 the citizens of London petitioned the King Henry VIII for the restoration of two of the city’s hospitals, St Bartholomew’s and St Thomas’s. Both had been religious foundations and with the dissolution of the monasteries during the course of the 1530s their land and property passed to the King and the mendicant friars were expelled. Yet the reason for the people’s petition was not out of sympathy for ‘priests, canons and monks carnally living’ but for ‘the miserable people lying in every street, offending every clean person passing by... with their nasty savours.’. Christian charity was indeed a motivating factor in the re-establishment of the hospitals, but the chief concern was a the hazard to health and public safety large numbers of poor and destitute people presented to the inhabitants of London (Grell & Cunningham 1997: 235).”

Curiously enough in both Catholic, but predominantly in Protestant countries, the emergence of the civil government of towns and cities at the end of the Medieval period resulted in pressure from the Church/churches, for civil authorities to take on more responsibility for the poor and destitute. England took this to its greatest extreme with the passing of the Poor Laws, with the responsibility of caring for the poor falling on the Civil Parish – a curious result of this was that visitors to England noted that there were far more beggars in England than on the continent! Perhaps it was at this point we Brits first began our love affair with the ‘welfare state’? Certainly, there is something odd about the manner in which many British people (regardless of class, background or education) see themselves as customers of the state – rather than the welfare state being a reciprocal system. As part of my research I have been working with several faith-based providers of services for homeless people in London. Many of these at present are East Europeans and they too have a similar ‘The State should provide’ attitude – I presume because many grew up amid Communist Collectivism... What we Brits have as an excuse I am at loss to know!

Thanks again:

P.

5 December 2011 17:09  
Blogger Oliver Nicholson said...

Mr. Denshaw: The National Society (fund. 1811) ? The Revd. Charles Kingsley ? Lord Ashley / Shaftesbury - but of course he was opposed to the 1832 Reform Bill, so I suppose his activities do not count as a 'real marshalling of Anglican Evangelical social action'.

5 December 2011 18:37  
Blogger Peter Denshaw said...

@ Oliver Nicholson - yes, this is a comment on a blog post, not detailed history of British philanthropy. As I hope my subsequent comment highlights, that there were many influences in the 18th & 19th century that brought about social reform (and many non-Christian). I think what is the harder question is why, when far more people read their Bible and went Church did we NEED these philanthropists..? You'd have thought looking after ones neighbour would have been endemic! But then as history and the present demonstrate, overtly religious societies tend to be hot on rhetoric and yet rather sparse on fruits!

P.

5 December 2011 19:30  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Roy wondered ...

"The question of why there appears to have been a long delay between the Reformation and Evangelical social action is also one that I have sometimes wondered about."

It's not that great a mystery. Ever heard of the 'Protestant Ethic'? It's dramatically different to the social teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

5 December 2011 19:39  
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7 December 2011 12:20  
Blogger Jon said...

Rev Mann - your thoughts and those of Tio tel appear to have been drowned in (ever!) continuing discussion of the merits (or not) of the reformation!

I'm interested in this because I have been to a lot of weddings over the years, and would rather like my go at getting a complete set of Le Creuset pans and a fancy toaster out of my nearest and dearest at some stage (for Dodo's benefit, I'm being facetious).

It would be interesting to get the CoE's lawyers to address the possible risk faced by the existing guidance on divorcees in the context of its advice on gay marriage. Do you know whether they are considering it?

From my perspective, I think the CoE will find disestablishment substantially increases its street cred, as well as reducing the problems posed by the potential accession of a monarch with an ambivalent attitude towards the established church. It would be sad to lose so much tradition but I think that these kind of existential crises will only continue if they don't.

7 December 2011 14:29  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. Alas, you’ll will hopefully never have the opportunity of a gay marriage in this country. However, if you are itching to get into a white dress complete with tiara and brides-gays in attendance, get yourself off to Canada. Avi will be there presiding and will join you and your man chum in unnatural wedlock. Best to cover up though when boarding the plane – taking off and landing is a serious business and we don’t want the pilot laughing his head off during it…

7 December 2011 18:20  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Inpector

Bless him, don't be too caustic. He just wants to be like his mummy for a day, dress up in a pretty dress, wear sparkling shoes and make-up.

7 December 2011 20:41  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Well, that's mighty white of you, Inspector. Nothing like a bit of friendly trade between two Commonwealth cousins. I'll remember to send you a bottle of Laphroaig for that little business reference. When not trucking around or trapping beaver, I do weddings on the side, of course. Everyone is welcome to my little chapel-on-wheels situated in the cozy cabin sleeper of my boss's Volvo 780. And soon anyone and anything in twos or multiples (as long as they can cram into the cabin without impaling themselves on the Eaton-Fuller 13-speed shifter...unless they want to), be they human or not, alive or inanimate, will be able to wed in Canada if our good and wise judges continue to have their way.

8 December 2011 02:30  
Blogger Jon said...

Good to see the tweedle dumb and tweedle stupid having their little fun. Sad you've both rather missed the point I was raising, but I don't expect you to be able to consider any position except the one your masters in Rome feed you.

Inspector - I don't need to go all the way to Canada. Spain has gay weddings. I know. Catholic spain. The horror!

And Dodo, I can dress up in a pretty dress any time I like - I don't need to get married for that. I could become a Catholic priest for example and wear expensive vestments and hypocrisy for a living.

8 December 2011 14:27  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. The Inspector missed the point – hardly ! He saw your attempt to cosy up to Rev Mann, so thought he would spike it, and show him what a petulant little boy you can be. And it worked – no reply from him yet…

Avi. That’s the spirit ! Also, truckers are a ‘gay fantasy’ as you would probably realise. Other ‘fantasies for men of a certain persuasion’ are: Biker, Cop, Sailor, Construction Worker, Indian and Cowboy. (The Inspector would like to thank ‘Village People’ for their invaluable help in his research.)

Dodo. An early memory of the Inspector’s is one of his little chums walking around in his mothers high heels. He can only wonder how this chap, whose name he regrets has gone, has ‘turned out’….

8 December 2011 17:23  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Also, truckers are a ‘gay fantasy’ as you would probably realise."

That's news to me. The sterotype of a trucker in the UK is a scruffy, unwashed, overweight middle-aged man. Not the stuff gay fantasies are usually made of, it has to be said. Though no doubt there are specialist interests somewhere.

8 December 2011 17:38  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Hospital porters don't normally feature in the list either, Dodo. Sorry.

8 December 2011 17:39  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Apologies DanJ0 – didn’t want to reawaken memories of experiences unpleasant from your youth ! Your point taken though, nowadays you’re not prepared to go down on any trucker but ‘Yorkie’...

8 December 2011 17:44  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

You appear to be fixated on psychiatric hospital trolleys. Post traumatic stress from a course of ECT? It will pass if you stop dwelling on it. Has you memory fully recovered? Maybe the Inspector is causing nasty memories to resurface with his talk of truckers.

Inspector

It's perfectly healthy and natural for little boys to wear their mummy's shoes. It's when it continues into adolescence and they start to don other items that one becomes concerned about their gender identity and sexual preference. Your pal is probably fine.

8 December 2011 18:53  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Jon said ...

"And Dodo, I can dress up in a pretty dress any time I like - I don't need to get married for that. I could become a Catholic priest for example and wear expensive vestments and hypocrisy for a living."

And there you may just have hit on an important insight.

It appears many of your homosexuals brothers did just that - knowingly or unknowingly. Over 90% of the sex crimes committed by clergy were perpetrated against boys.

Thankfully, for the welfare of children, the Church and for the men concerned, homosexuals are no longer permitted to enter the priesthood.

The vestments are not there to "camp it up" in. No doubt you'll stick with Kylie, Abba, Queen, Bowie, TRex and the like from now on.

8 December 2011 23:29  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Thankfully, for the welfare of children, the Church and for the men concerned, homosexuals are no longer permitted to enter the priesthood."

The welfare of the Church being of primary importance, and then some, apparently.

9 December 2011 05:19  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

Not at all and what a nasty little comment.

The strict implementation of admission policies to the priesthood, ignored since the 1960's by 'liberal Bishops, protects all concerned.

It means children will not be at risk, the men will not be put in situations where they cannot contain their impulses and the Church is secured against yet another attack by evil.

Win-win-win situation, I'd say.

9 December 2011 13:04  
Blogger Jon said...

Dodo - I wonder how you're going to test priests to make sure they're not gay? No doubt your devious little mind has some ideas.

Incidentally, I think you've got things the wrong way around. Maybe you should ask why a bunch of people should choose to abuse children whilst ostensibly doing God's work if what they really wanted to do was get their fabulous on in Soho? It seems pretty unlikely to me.

No - I think you're desperately trying to pin the blame for your Church's heinous crimes against a generation of kids on a group of people you hate, and hoping that everyone else doesn't notice your hypocrisy. Just so you know, it's not working.

And I'm not cosying up to anyone, Inspector - just trying to get to the bottom of why the Church's crack legal team appears to have failed to notice the divorce shaped mote in their own eye whilst worrying about the rainbow wedding suit in someone elses.

As for your description of gay fantasy figures, I think your music collection comes from the same era as your social views. I'll take you on a night out in London and show you the sights. One should always be informed on the subjects one seeks to critique!

9 December 2011 13:49  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Jon

Yes, but the 'Miserable Rights' movement hadn't taken off when these particular peado-homosexuals entered the Church. Soho at that time was a den of iniquity for prostitutes and hetrosexuals.

For whatever reason, homosexual men unsuited to the priesthood entered the Church. That now being stopped. One merely has to trust their integrity. The Church has also introduced psychometric testing.

Why do you think I hate you, rather than despising your perverted behaviours?

9 December 2011 16:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon

The Inspector thanks you for the offer of a night out in gay London, but that would never do. Not one’s cup of tea at all. As you know, the Inspector bears no animosity towards the gay community, but he feels gays must play their part to stop the spread of liberalism in this country. And that means keeping as much of our timed served tradition as possible. He is personally against co-habitation, divorce on demand, and absentee fathers. He could go on, but in there somewhere is gay marriage. It devalues the institution of marriage, and marriage is the bed rock of the family unit. Well, there you have it…

9 December 2011 18:45  
Blogger len said...

Jon, Dodo may wave his gay little rainbow fish motif in front of 'gay suspects 'to see if they are attracted?.
Perhaps he could also strut his stuff looking as alluring as possible(admittedly that would probably turn most of the off).

9 December 2011 19:33  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. The Inspector trusts those 7 born again cats are not out in this weather...

9 December 2011 19:54  
Blogger len said...

Inspector,
Thanks for your concern.They are ALL safely tucked up in bed.

When are you going to try it(getting born again)

But wait , that would mean you would go to Heaven and then........

9 December 2011 20:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len.
The Inspector is rather resigned to Catholic purgatory for a bit when he’s called, miserable sinner that he is. Relatives and friends there you know; would be somewhat disappointed if he didn’t show...

Good to hear the cats are in bed. You may lie with them to keep warm, but not in the biblical sense, you understand...

9 December 2011 20:22  
Blogger len said...

Ok Inspector, all the best.

9 December 2011 20:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. Before you go, you must admit it makes for an interesting scenario. You in a double bed with 7 balls of breathing fur, with the silence only broken by the odd cat fart. Even more so if they’ve just finished off the previous nights half eaten vindaloo...

9 December 2011 21:08  
Blogger len said...

my cats are well behaved , wouldn`t dream of such coarse behaviour, they are born again you know, not like some I could mention.

Isn`t it time nurse came round with your(hopefully strong) medication?.

9 December 2011 21:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Medication has arrived. It’s 8 years old too....

9 December 2011 21:33  
Blogger len said...

Just take it there`s a good chap , pleasant dreams.

9 December 2011 21:38  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

len

Are you attracted to the homosexual community? You do seem very supportive of their lifestyle and have stated no biblical objections to homosexual acts or marriage.

Perhaps you'd enjoy a night out with Jon.

9 December 2011 22:02  
Blogger len said...

Dodo, is that a projection of your own desires?.

Bit naught for a a Catholic, what would Benny say?.

10 December 2011 20:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. The Inspector sees that Dodo has a point. You have been curiously silent on homosexuality....

10 December 2011 20:44  
Blogger len said...

You coming too on our night out Inspector?.

10 December 2011 21:41  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

len is inviting you to 'come out' with him. I'd decline!

At least we know the cats will be safe that night.

10 December 2011 21:50  
Blogger len said...

I am beginning (at last) to get the routine here boys.

One of you comes along and attempts to take the person down possibly Albert?.Then the others (once the person is down) come along to give the person a 'good kicking.'
Now here`s some news for you boys that ISN`T the Gospel...right?.The Gospel is the 'Good News'and Christians are supposed to preach it,Jesus didn`t condemn anyone (except the self righteous Pharisees)So if we did a little more Gospel preaching and a little less condemning of sinners,(apart from the self righteous religious sinners) then we could get the job done, the Gospel Preached?.

I hate to disappoint you both when you are possibly getting a little TOO excited about the possibility of me being 'gay'.But I am not.

I think it more than a little curious that you both seem so preoccupied with' Gayness 'is this a' Catholic thing

10 December 2011 21:54  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well done Len, an answer. Regarding the homosexuality factor, it is unfortunate that some communicants need to wave this flag in front of them when they comment. Could well be part of their condition. Who’s to know...

10 December 2011 22:14  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

One of you comes along and attempts to take the person down possibly Albert?

Why am I being dragged into this? I haven't commented on this thread for five days!

a little less condemning of sinners

I take it you are going to be less condemnatory towards Catholics then.

11 December 2011 10:09  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Regarding the homosexuality factor, it is unfortunate that some communicants need to wave this flag in front of them when they comment."

I actually have four main flags here: gay, philosophical liberal in the JS Mill tradition, atheist, and secularist. I switch between them. The gay flag doesn't get waved when (say) abortion comes up.

The gay flag gets waved so often because there seems to be so many gay-related articles here and everyone else just loves to wade in on the topic. In fact, it's Troll Dodo's favourite for trying to cause trouble. It used to be trying to provoke the blog owner over Anglicanism of course but that carries existential risks.

I don't mind at all though. Judging by a comment in the Zimbabwe article, the blog owner knows how popular they are if hit rates are anything to go by and blog hit rates are one measure of success.

11 December 2011 11:17  
Blogger len said...

Albert,(10:09)
'I take it you are going to be less condemnatory towards Catholics then.'

I find this a very difficult one!.

As you will be aware a believer(especially a born again ) believer has the option of being led by either the Spirit or the 'flesh'(natural instincts and impulses not yet under the control and thereby the restraint of the Holy Spirit)

I hold my hands up to this sometimes in the heat of the moment (and the heat of the emotions) I go beyond the Spirits leading.
It is by these outbursts that comes the realisation(to me) that without the Indwelling Holy Spirit I would be without hope at all!.


All the best.

11 December 2011 13:26  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

I commend you for a very generous and honest remark.

May God bless you as we draw near to the celebration of his Son's birth.

11 December 2011 13:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Good reply. The Inspector is obliged you have told him ‘where you are coming from’ when you comment, as they say...

11 December 2011 14:41  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0 said ...

" ... it's (homosexuality) Troll Dodo's favourite for trying to cause trouble."

I admit it, I do enjoy the pomposity of the 'miserable rights' adherents responses to more forcibily put Christian objections to homosexuality. You've come to expect everyone to tippey-toe around you in the name of 'political correctness'.

However, I reject the suggestion I don't stand by what I write. I will always view homosexuality as a sexual disorder, regard engaging in homosexual practices as perversions and continue to object to the normalisation of the abnormal through 'marriage' and adoption.

I think all Christians should be as forceful in their criticisms and stop pandering to the idols of 'diversity' and 'equality'.

And, for the record, in case len is reading this, I am not condeming you - just your behaviour.

Indeed, the Catholic Church has a more understanding approach than many. Whilst it rejects the practice as greviously sinful, it accepts that full moral responsibility might be mitigated to some extent by the addictive and compulsive nature of the disorder. However, you do have to accept what you are doing is wrong and have a genuine desire to amend your ways.

11 December 2011 16:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. The Inspector recalls a time when homosexuality as a disorder was under scientific investigation, with willing participants from that community looking for a ‘cure’ . One would not be surprised if all that has come to end, for fear of upsetting the PC crowd, and maybe even picketing by LGBT !

11 December 2011 17:20  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector, I expect many of those people wanted a cure from being a social outcast and a cure from facing prison for following their natural and essentially harmless inclinations. No need to that anymore! :)

11 December 2011 19:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "I think all Christians should be as forceful in their criticisms and stop pandering to the idols of 'diversity' and 'equality'.

I suppose your particular sect needs to devote all its time and energy to pandering to its own painted plaster idols and other ungodly embellishments.

11 December 2011 19:08  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0. Interest in a cure was there years after illegality finished. The Inspector will endeavour to investigate when he finds the time...

11 December 2011 20:37  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector, aggressive homophobia was rife in the 1980s. It wasn't until the late-1990s onwards that things got more tolerant. In schools, certainly where I grew up anyway, being outed was almost a suicide issue for teenagers. It's the one good thing Blair, Harperson et al did, really. Of course, the internet and social media has helped massively too. And the marginalisation of structural religion, with its latter-day Pharisees, I suppose.

11 December 2011 21:41  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

(Dodo being a prime example: all doctrine and dogma, and no discernable god in it at all)

11 December 2011 21:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

aggressive homophobia was rife in the 1980s

I'm glad that there has been a decline in irrational homophobia. The trouble is that, as you have indicated, it has really been to do with whims of people like Tony Blair. There hasn't been a proper public debate about how far homosexual couples can be regarded as equal to heterosexual couples. Consequently, irrational homophobia has just been exchanged for irrational "homophilia". With such a weak intellectual basis it could all swing back again. Look at how quickly the discourse has changed on immigration. One minute anyone who questions mass immigration is branded a racist, the next minute the political parties are trying to out do one another in what was racist.

I suppose your particular sect needs to devote all its time and energy to pandering to its own painted plaster idols and other ungodly embellishments.

More evidence that Dan and Len are actually the same person.

11 December 2011 21:53  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

People can and do overcome the homosexual compulsion if they accept it is against nature - that it is sinful. In my experience, some men and women go on and have successful hetrosexual relationships. Others have to accept celebacy. Others face a life of temptation and occassional relapse.

'Treatment' used to be brutal. I think I referred in an earlier thread to the transplantation of testicles! Other approaches were hormone therapy, behaviour modification programmes and even chemical castration. Yes, horrific!

Nowadays it really is a matter of personal choice and, apart from Christian based groups, is not regarded as a medical disorder at all so therapy is unavailable. Prayer, group support and one on one discussion is the approach.

11 December 2011 22:05  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

"More evidence that Dan and Len are actually the same person."

Feel free to email the blog owner about it then, you fuckwit. The IP addresses show the truth as Dodo found out to his cost when he was operating multiple IDs here.

11 December 2011 22:07  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "People can and do overcome the homosexual compulsion if they accept it is against nature - that it is sinful."

You mean, if they're brainwashed by certain god squads and made to feel bad about it. There's no need for teenagers to feel bad about it now, it's the Catholic Church and other morally degenerate groups that ought to feel bad. Vulnerable people need to be kept out of its creepy clutches.

11 December 2011 22:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0,Albert. Irrational homophobia is far from past. A few years ago, a young lad from Stroud, Glos was murdered in London. Recently, a trans gender, who was working as a prostitute, died when the punter found out the truth. A sex act had already taken place between them; no imagination on what that was is needed here. We have to accept there are low intellect people everywhere, who are a danger to us all. When campaigning for gay marriage, it is right to bear in mind this. Be gay, but do so on the quiet, for a peaceful life...

11 December 2011 22:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Well, I see the Idol of Catholics is complete. Idol being a suitable collective noun, I think.

Inspector, people are still killed in racist crimes too. I wouldn't suggest they should keep to the backstreets with their heads down in case they attract attention and become victims of crime. Better, I think, to keep their heads up and look people in the eye. When people are abused or murdered, it's the perpetrators who need to be treated with contempt, not their victims for inviting their own abuse or murder by walking around openly in public like everyone else.

11 December 2011 22:32  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0, you and Dodo surprisingly have one thing in common. You are both uncompromising hard liners. Do bear that in mind when you exchange....

11 December 2011 22:42  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Careful, the technologically-challenged will start thinking we're one and the same person, only in opposite corners to troll the blog by creating conflict. Obviously, the actual reality of IP addresses needs to be ignored but I doubt creating a special version of reality to match a desired belief is much of a problem there.

11 December 2011 22:53  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0

Now you know that by using computers at different locations or by routing ones computer to another IP address, it is possible to be whoever one wants to be.

Interestingly, I do agree with your post @ 22:32. (The second paragraph.) However, in the case of the transgender posing as a female prostitute one has to wonder if he was crazy!

However, I would still urge you to abandon the 'Miserable Rights' movement.

11 December 2011 23:28  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

Ps
DanJ0, I think Albert was being ironic as both you and len seem fixated on whether he and I are are one and the same person.

Lighten up - afterall, you and I might be the same person! Who really knows?

What was that film where all the characters were the psychotic manifestation of one person? Was it 'Diner'?

11 December 2011 23:36  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Dodo: "Now you know that by using computers at different locations or by routing ones computer to another IP address, it is possible to be whoever one wants to be."

Dodo, it's just a forum below a blog where regulars post messages over months. We're not characters in Mission Impossible here. However, if some posts are coming from an anonymising server then you might have a point. Mine don't.

Mine mostly come from a source which, although dynamically allocated, identifies the rough geographic location. I occasionally use my iPhone too. As most people have dynamically allocated IP addresses, I expect Len's rough geograpic location is available too from his IP address.

11 December 2011 23:56  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

DanJ0 said ....

"We're not characters in Mission Impossible here."

WHAT?! You mean I've been sending embedded messages on the wrong blog? And I thought the good Inspector was our man in Iran. As forlen I assumned he was an innocent nutter who stumbled on here by chance.

You ... I was never sure of and wondered if you were a double-agent. You're not really gay are you? That's just a cover, isn't it?

12 December 2011 01:05  
Blogger Albert said...

Dan,

Feel free to email the blog owner about it then, you fuckwit

You don't really think I was serious do you? Dodo had it right.

12 December 2011 10:46  
Blogger Jon said...

I looked long and hard for a cure for my homosexuality. I really beat myself up very badly for it throughout my teens and early 20s. I really didn't want to be gay. In my school, one boy came out as gay when he was 15. His parents threw him out of the house and never spoke to him again. I saw him a while later destitute in the local town centre. Calling someone gay was the worst thing you could say.

I went to churches and various events, and was prayed over by various people to "have the demon removed from me". I bear no malice to these people - they were doing what they thought was right, I suppose. But they were in a position of responsibility to me, and I think they failed, pastorally as well as theologically, in that I wasn't cured.

There was nothing wrong with me at all, nor was there anything wrong with the boy from my school. We didn't choose this, but for the sake of others like the guy from my school, I won't accept that I have to live "a quiet life" either, Inspector. Because I am privileged to live in a time and place where being gay is relatively pain- free, I will continue to fight for people in other places whose lives are made miserable or ended for something I now know we have no choice over. Just as Cranmer highlights the awful treatment meted out to Christians in many countries.

These are no miserable rights. For me, they are joyous and I will celebrate them and fight for others to be able to share them. I regard the time I wasted fighting myself with regret and wouldn't wish that level of guilt or self- loathing or abnegation on anyone.

12 December 2011 12:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. Yours is a testimony the Inspector heard many years ago. You can see now why he doesn’t condemn. But there is much to be said for keeping a low profile. A bit like a visiting football fan having to avoid the home fans pub haunts…

12 December 2011 17:54  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "A bit like a visiting football fan having to avoid the home fans pub haunts…"

Perhaps gay people should avoid churches and church-goers should avoid gay bars. Dodo and others like him can, of course, decide which he is on the day. I think that would work in a liberal society like ours.

As it happens, I'm working on encouraging the Mormons and the Jehovah Witness couples to avoid my front door but they seem to think that my doorbell being there gives them the right to press it.

12 December 2011 18:04  
Blogger Jon said...

Inspector - I know, and I know that you're not mean with it (except when you're occasionally caught up in one of Dodo's hoity toitier moments).

But just as Cranmer can't sit by and watch idly as people around the world are mistreated for something they BELIEVE, I don't like watching people being mistreated for something they ARE. What you see as people rubbing your face in a lifestyle you don't approve of in principle, I see as an (admittedly sometimes over-exuberant) expression of rights and a sign that people like me are safe-ish here. The message that that sends to someone like me visiting from Iran or parts of Africa or even some areas of the US is potent and it's living proof of our liberal democracy.

What's more, the areas where my rights aren't the same as yours, I'll fight to correct. I pay the same taxes as you do, so I should get the same rights.

12 December 2011 18:05  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon, DanJ0, the Inspector can see your point of view. What he has done is approach the matter from his perspective. Of course you lads are young, proud and fearless, but as you get older the quiet life does beckon. Incidentally, we are ALL at risk from meeting the low intellect inadequate who’s had a drink., whoever you are. Fading into the background is always the best idea when it happens...

12 December 2011 19:08  
Blogger johni said...

He said that Christian Marriage counseling is necessary for three key issues such as....

16 December 2011 18:03  

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