Monday, April 16, 2012

Labour to oppose VAT on church renovations



Not content with redefining marriage, subverting the Sabbath and mocking Christians in his own parliamentary party, David Cameron is about to bankrupt the Established Church. Either that, or watch passively as the bells are silenced, pipe organs degenerate into tunelessness, and hundreds of the nation’s most treasured listed building fall into a state of disrepair and ruin.

Along with George Osborne’s other Budget blunders (like taxing Cornish pasties and capping tax relief on charitable donations) he is landing the Church of England – the community nerve centre of David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ – with an additional £20million tax bill every year by imposing VAT at 20 per cent on renovation projects.

As with the ‘pasty tax’, the Chancellor is seeking to correct an ‘anomaly’ in the VAT system – to ensure that millionaires in their Grade 1 listed mansions pay VAT when they install their swimming pools. But by trying to catch the few tax-avoiders/evaders, he is imposing a colossal tax on churches, which routinely need to deploy highly-specialised (and so expensive) crafts like bell-moulding, stone-carving or pipe organ repair.

The Church of England is responsible for 45 per cent of the country's Grade 1 listed buildings – some 12,500 architectural gems – to which all alterations are presently VAT-exempt. His Grace spotted the change on the day of the budget, but was not remotely concerned because the Government’s own analysis assured him that the present DCMS grant for the Listed Places of Worship Scheme would be sufficient to off-set the increase. They said:
The Government has extended the scope of the current grant scheme administered by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Currently listed places of worship, of any faith or denomination, can claim a grant equal to the VAT paid on eligible repairs and maintenance works. From 1 Oct 2012 the scheme will include approved alterations to listed places of worship
And on the Government’s ‘equalities impact’ of the proposed change:
Places of Worship - Listed places of worship will also be affected by the change, although our evidence suggests that places of worship form only a small minority of the total number of listed properties in the UK. These will be predominantly used by Christian denominations. In order to mitigate the impacts on these groups the DCMS is expanding the existing Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme which refunds the VAT on repairs and maintenance work, so that this includes approved alterations to listed buildings.

There is no specific impact identified for any other equalities group.
But it transpires that the grant is not to be expanded to anywhere near the tune of £20million, and that tax will indeed hit the Church of England hardest: ie, it falls foul of religious discrimination legislation.

We know that Labour are not particularly disposed to Christian concerns, but we must be grateful that Shadow Culture Secretary Harriet Harman has jumped on the bandwagon announced that they will oppose the proposed change when the Finance Bill is debated in the Commons. She said: “Listed buildings are our country's heritage – our past and our values built into bricks and mortar. The Government's plan to scrap the zero-rating for approved alterations, alterations which will allow them to continue serving their communities, threaten their future as well as their past."

Bishop of Exeter, the Rt Rev’d Michael Langrish, said: “The VAT change shows muddled thinking on behalf of the Government. It is a poorly thought-out aspect of the Budget, and shows a complete misunderstanding on their behalf. They didn’t really think through the implications.”

Quite.

The YouTube video above features Pamela Greener, wife of the Dean of Wakefield, who has composed a song about the plight of Wakefield Cathedral (and she performs it magnificently). Its renovations were commenced just a few days before the budget, at a cost of some £3million. Now they will need to find an additional £600,000 to pay the VAT bill.

An e-petition has been launched on the Downing Street website which urges the Chancellor to reconsider this at the same time as he U-turns on his philanthropy tax.

As part of the Christian ‘fightback’ urged by the Prime Minister in his Easter message, His Grace exhorts all of his readers and communicants to sign this petition and disseminate it far and wide. The Church of England is the heritage of the whole nation and the foundation of the Constitution. Burke summarised the imperatives of the British Constitution as an inheritable crown, an inheritable peerage, a House of Commons and a people inheriting privileges, franchises and liberties from a long line of ancestors. Underlying all this, he concluded, was the will of God and an established Anglican Church supported by public taxes. It has long been the tradition of the Conservative Party to conserve these fundamentals. For a Conservative chancellor to tax the Church so disproportionately is not only extraordinary, unexpected and shameful; it is profoundly un-conservative.

236 Comments:

Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Your Grace, petition duly signed.

Do they seriously expect the thousands of conservative thinking people engaged in these magnificent restoration projects to actually turn up and vote Conservative next time ?

Chaps, hit the politicians hard on this. Withdraw your party support and transfer it to UKIP. You might have heard of them. It’s where Conservative types have gone. And don’t forget to include this advice in your newsletters. Every bit helps you know, as the supermarkets will tell you.

You’re all doing a tremendous job saving our culture for the future. Do carry on, best you can, with the Inspector’s warmest best wishes...

16 April 2012 at 10:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Almost forgot !

If HMRC is short of a few shillings, then scrap that bloody £ 34 billion railway. Who in their right mind wants to get to Birmingham of all places half an hour earlier. Ludicrous idea, don’t you think !!

16 April 2012 at 10:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Nothing this Government does seems thought through. Even when they are attempting to tax the rich (e.g. at the level of charitable giving) it ends up looking like an attack on the poor. They say they will have "gay marriage" but not impose it on churches, only for the ECHR to say that that won't be possible (obviously), they attempt to put Labour in a corner by heating up the petrol crisis, only to have it backfire on themselves (as it would) and so on. Then there was the inevitable political fall-out from the Granny tax being combined with the reduction in the highest rate of tax. And now there is this extraordinary attack on Cameron's allegedly flagship policy of the 'Big Society'.

Is anyone actually running the Government? Time for a change of leader, before the present man alienates his core vote without picking up new votes from other parties.

16 April 2012 at 10:35  
Blogger Jon said...

If the Church can't afford to maintain its buildings, perhaps it should sell some? In preserving the exemption, we are taking a decision to subsidise a very rich landowner's rebuilding of old buildings, over, say re-fitting the properties of serving members of the military or subsidising improvements to old aged care homes. On the balance of social good, I would prefer my taxes to go to either of the latter.

And VAT as a whole is a ridiculously complicated system riddled with loopholes. It should be universally applicable, and at a lower rate. But if the Church is paying more VAT than it raises, it can always claim it back in its quarterly returns?? LOL. Perhaps if the Church had to fill in a VAT return once in a while, the Lords Spiritual would lobby for the system to be made simpler (and the absurd EC Sales list to be abolished). It's good for them to get a taste of the costs of the regulation that they regularly vote to impose on others.

16 April 2012 at 10:37  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon, what a wonderful contribution you made to this topic. As a godless homosexual, it’s YOUR view that will count today with our politicians, well above others it seems. One problem, what happens when our heritage crumbles to dust ? Still, that won’t bother you, will it. You’ve no interest in the future. You don’t reproduce, so you live the selfish here today, gone tomorrow gay life...

16 April 2012 at 10:47  
Blogger bluedog said...

Another day, another blunder, Your Grace.

Cameron is now in the extremely dangerous position of being completely without credibility. No segment of the electoral demographic listens to a word he says. Just two years ago he had the country in the palm of his hand in silent expectation of deliverance from past follies.

All that hope and the implied trust has gone.

Dave, just ring Goldman Sachs and try to get a directorship on the country advisory board in the UK.

You've blown the other job.

16 April 2012 at 10:50  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Your Garce,
How unhelpful is this? Charities first and now this. We can have no confidence in this Government getting anything right when it disregards and insults the Living God.

I tweeted His Grace this question but I'm not sure my tweets get through.
Who is Cameron’s Ahithophel?
Ahithopel was Bathsheba's grandfather and a friend and adviser to King David. What David did not realise was that whilst appearing to be a friend to David, he was actually working against him in vengeance for what David did to Bathsheba.
So just who is David Cameron taking advice from that is getting him into the hot and smellies?

Inspector; I agree in advice to not vote Tory but UKIP may not be the answer. I don't think His Grace is keen on them as indeed he seemed not keen on my idea for an ‘Integrity Party’ seeking Biblical Integrity for a Judeao/Christian society. But then he has no faith in new party’s period.
Perhaps his Grace could advise us of what way concerned Christians in his opinion should respond at the polls? To wait for Christians to achieve any authority at Westminster and one might as well wait for our Lord to return. We would at least have no need of Politicians then thank goodness.

16 April 2012 at 11:45  
Blogger Charlie said...

Presumably YG saw the insider reports this morning, that all these "anomaly corrections" are things that the civil servants annually attempt to slip into the budget.

The game is that the Chancellor then goes through and red-inks all the things that would be politically disastrous, thus disappointing the pen-pushers but saving electoral credibility.

Unfortunately Osbourne, being unwilling to sully his hands with detail, allowed his team to nod through all the civil servant's cunning plans, thus creating the current mess.

16 April 2012 at 11:47  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Inspector;
Did you see this from Guido Fawkes? I think you will really like it? I don't know how these twitter links work so I have included the HTTP link.

http://bit.ly/JofjGS

http://order-order.com/2012/04/16/watch-kens-tax-downfall/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+guidofawkes+%28Guy+Fawkes%27+blog+of+parliamentary+plots%2C+rumours+and+conspiracy%29

16 April 2012 at 12:00  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

Who is Jon? Does he even know what a cathedral is? Who does he think would buy one? Even irrespective of religion, these listed buildings would have to be preserved, and if the Church were not responsible for them, the Government would have to take them over, as in France, so the cost would all, instead of only in part, have to met by taxation.

16 April 2012 at 12:10  
Blogger Albert said...

Sambo,

If the Church were not responsible for them, the Government would have to take them over, as in France, so the cost would all, instead of only in part, have to met by taxation.

Well said. In France beautiful churches crumble. More or less every town has an architectural wonder rotting away - more an eyesore and a problem for the local community than something that raises the spirits.

In France of course, this occurred because secularists in their bitter and spiteful way attacked the Church. But here don't have that problem. We have the volunteers and the money - but not if the Government taxes that money twice.

It would be a pity if, in this country we let negative and bitter people reduce our beautiful heritage to ruins.

And yet here we have a Conservative facilitating it! Utterly clueless.

16 April 2012 at 12:25  
Blogger Gareth said...

Inspector, what do you do when you live in a consituency where UKIP is not standing? (And where your MP is a new Conservative backbencher this term whose voting record so far is promising)

16 April 2012 at 12:29  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

The most noteable thing for me about this is it's yet another example of rushed legislation that hasn't been thought through and the impression is that the country is being run by the kind of buffoons that can't be trusted to sit the right way on a lavatory. Since it happens so frequently there's only one conclusion I can come to...

16 April 2012 at 12:32  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Petition signed..even by one of your non-christian communicants.

16 April 2012 at 12:44  
Blogger Albert said...

Presumably, some charities are going to be hit twice: once by the so-called tycoon tax (which will reduce income) and once again by the VAT hike.

I've always thought Dave was really a massive statist.

16 April 2012 at 13:33  
Blogger Jon said...

@Inspector, LBS. For goodness sake, there aren't 12,500 cathedrals in the country! I'm just suggesting that they divest themselves of the less used buildings, which is something they're doing already (I've seen several serve as very nice libraries, coffee shops and art centres).

To re-assure you, slightly, LBS, I did most of my growing up in Winchester. I know Cathedrals well, and would love to see them preserved but I do find it funny that you're all Conservatives when it comes to "welfare scroungers" and "forrins", but of course, your beloved Church must be the beneficiary of largesse from the State. Which is just as Jesus said, of course.

It's good to see you're all as illogical and un-biblical as ever.

16 April 2012 at 13:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Integrity dear chap. The Inspector’s main concern today is how not to split the right wing vote. And that’s even if right and left still applies to politics ! It seems the politicians of the main parties have successfully colluded together to deny the honest people of this country a choice. (...Unfortunately not able to visit that link. On a laptop contraption, you know. Not enough steam in it at times...)

Good grief, did you see young Sambo devoted an impressive 3 lines to his comment ! Not like him at all, he must be spitting blood too on the issue....

Gareth. The choice is not clear cut. We must behave at voting times as honourable men, and an honourable man would indeed take on board his sitting Conservative MPs record. You may well indeed be fortunate enough to have a trustworthy soul in parliament, whose influence hopefully in time will help replace the current chancers leading it. However, we cannot allow ourselves to be sullied by the carnival the Conservatives have become in general. Sadly, there is no indication that they will not continue in this way until the rug is pulled from beneath them...

16 April 2012 at 13:54  
Blogger Jon said...

Incidentally, the Church doesn't have to sell any of it's buildings to fund these repairs. It could just sell some of it's massive share portfolio instead. Except this would contravene Jesus' direct commandment

"thou must ensure that thou hast a goodly share of the total market cap of the FTSE 100, especially the arms manufacturers".

16 April 2012 at 13:56  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

welfare scroungers

That is appalling. A welfare scrounger is someone who does not work but expects others to pay for them to enjoy their leisure.

What we're talking about here is people who have worked, who have paid tax on their earnings and who, rather than just spending their money on themselves, would like to "put something back" by preserve beautiful buildings for everyone to enjoy, without the state helping itself for a second time in such a way as make the project fail (so that no monies are collected for the project or the state).

To call that "welfare scrounging" seems to require an ideological commitment.

re-fitting the properties of serving members of the military or subsidising improvements to old aged care homes.

If you're so worried about such things why don't you recommend giving up state funding of gay-pride events. You could call it Section 28.

16 April 2012 at 13:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. You’ve missed the point. We are not heading off to the state and saying here are all these wonderful architectural buildings – fix them. People are actually doing it for themselves, and for US. Can you imagine that ! On the subject of turning them into coffee establishments, is that really a fitting way to preserve the best of the past ? What does the inner you really say ? Is there an inner you ?

16 April 2012 at 14:13  
Blogger Ste Frost said...

The church should pay tax on everything; the same as anyone else. If you want to become a political power instead of a charity, you need to be taxed accordingly. Otherwise, learn your place and butt out of the lives of people with a grasp on logic and decency.

16 April 2012 at 14:48  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Ste Frost. It will be a mere grasp of logic and decency you have then...

16 April 2012 at 15:01  
Blogger Albert said...

Ste,

The church should pay tax on everything; the same as anyone else.

This isn't about the Church, it is about renovating old buildings which are part of our heritage, whether they are Church buildings or not (and many are not).

16 April 2012 at 15:34  
Blogger Jon said...

Albert, you misunderstood. I wasn't likening the donors to welfare scroungers, I was suggesting that the Church could hardly complain about those drawing on taxpayer's funds since it does so itself.

Also - you are wrong and so your wider point is moot. Donations to the Church are tax deductible. Therefore, the money that the church received isn't actually taxed twice. Therefore you receive a tax subsidy which is not enjoyed by other multinational companies.

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/charities/gift_aid/rules/church-coll.htm

In addition, the Church is not the National Trust. It has an ideological agenda beyond the preservation of old buildings, as His Grace regularly highlights.

If you want the Church to be a curator of old buildings, that's fine, but it wasn't the vision what your saviour had in mind for you (I challenge you to find the bit in the Bible where Jesus talks about preservation of Cathedrals with taxpayer's money). And since you use the buildings as your company's shop window for the achievement of your mission statement, I don't see why the tax payer should pay for them, any more than we should be forced to pay Microsoft to build a canteen for their staff.

16 April 2012 at 15:54  
Blogger Jon said...

Albert, I can see the value in these buildings as our common heritage. I think I have a neat compromise. Let the Church sign the buildings and all it's lands over to the state, and then lease the bits back that it needs.

That way, the State can take it's rightful responsibility for the care and preservation of our heritage, and the Church will lose it's rather embarrassing status as a feudal landlord and could cut its costs substantially.

Of course, the other advantage of this is that the church buildings can be used for anything of which the state approves. Jam making, church services and gay marriages spring to mind...

16 April 2012 at 16:02  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. I don't see why the tax payer should pay for them.

That old schoolboy argument ! Er, church goers pay tax too...

You are definitely anti Christianity and anti Christian, yet you would still like your gay associates to be able to marry in churches if they want.

Making up your position as you go along eh ! Fluidity is your answer, never let us tie you down..

16 April 2012 at 16:15  
Blogger Unknown said...

Jon, I know you're an atheist and all that but could you please not put an apostrophe in its all the time when it's not necessary. There's a difference in case you didn't know.....

16 April 2012 at 16:21  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. Your next comment, my we do love the ‘state’ don’t we. Is it because the ‘state’ is so gay friendly these days. In the ‘state’ we trust, what !

Well, a few years ago, the ‘state’ wasn’t so gay friendly. Well, perhaps the ‘state’ one day goes back to that position. There’ll be tears then, but what’s this, you’ve already put all your eggs in the ‘state’ !

That workers paradise, North Korea, rejected their late tinpot dictator’s second son because he was a bit {AHEM} effeminate. Now there’s one ‘state’ coming off Stonewalls holiday brochure, don’t you think ?

16 April 2012 at 16:26  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

It seems the politicians of the main parties have successfully colluded together to deny the honest people of this country a choice.

An important difference between your position and mine, is that you use the word 'colluded' and I use the word 'conspired'.

You seem to believe that this ever more obvious conspiracy is written on the back of a match box, at one of the many HofC bars, while I believe it is a direct result of a long established conspiracy very much involving a higher form of more secretive government, that sits well above the level of party politics.

Some people find conspiracy within Freemasonry, others in certain religious institutions such as The RC, and Mormon Church, central banks, international capitalism, and international Marxism, or within corporations such as Microsoft, BP, Goldman Sacks etc, or in your case between governing political party's.

What these people never seem capable of understanding is that The Conspiracy is working among them all, and a whole lot more besides.

The financial system as we have come to know it ONLY ever 'worked' at all, because the people who took control of it many moons ago knew as sure as eggs is eggs that it will ultimately result in THEM, owning everything, and US owning nothing at all.

In other words our greatest oligarchical capitalists, have long since planned an essentially Marxist Communist future for us all. Which as you should know has no place for religion as we currently know it, most especially a Bible believing Christian one.

Some have marked this conspiracy International Communism. However what an individual decides to call it, is of little relative important.

Other names which may adequately describe The Great Plan, would be Corporatism, Socialism, Social Democracy, Democracy, Dictatorship, Big Brother, Democratic Socialism, Fabianism, The 4th horse of the Apocalypse, The 3rd Horse of The Apocalypse, Fascism, Oligarchical Conservatism, New Ageism, Ancient Mysticism, Genocidal Insanity, Gods Will, The Devils Will, The End of Times, The Way Things Are and Have Long Since been, or Business as Usual.

16 April 2012 at 16:27  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

I was suggesting that the Church could hardly complain about those drawing on taxpayer's funds since it does so itself.

How? The Church receives no state subsidy.

Donations to the Church are tax deductible.

Depends on the amount of tax the tax payer pays in the first place, I think.

I challenge you to find the bit in the Bible where Jesus talks about preservation of Cathedrals with taxpayer's money

Do you think we're all fundamentalists?

I don't see why the tax payer should pay for them

Who's asking for the tax payer to pay for them?

Let the Church sign the buildings and all it's lands over to the state, and then lease the bits back that it needs.

So either way, the state gets bigger. A secularist who wishes to extend the power and scope of the state into community life. What a surprise!

BTW do you agree with my taxes being taken and spent on things like gay-pride marches, abortion and nuclear weapons?

16 April 2012 at 16:33  
Blogger Maturecheese said...

I have signed the petition YG but I must say when you ended your article with "it is profoundly un-conservative" I would say, isn't just about everything this administation does 'un conservative'?

16 April 2012 at 16:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. Your love affair with the ‘state’. The ‘state’ is going to become more Islamic in nature as the number of muslims continues to rise alarmingly. It has to in a democratic country. Now, let’s see about Islamic attitude towards homosexuals. Hmmm, it’s written down somewhere....Ah, here it is...

“Good grief”...”Really”...”Can they do that, do they do that”...”Seems rather harsh”....”Somewhat uncompromising”...”Oooh, now that’s just plain nasty”...

{AHEM}. We’ll forget about what Islam thinks of gays. {QUICK INSPECTOR, FOR GOD’S SAKE CHANGE THE SUBJECT}

Well then Jon lovely afternoon what ! How’s your bottom these days...

16 April 2012 at 16:54  
Blogger Albert said...

Good points, well made, Inspector (until the last sentence).

16 April 2012 at 17:00  
Blogger Oswin said...

Signed, Your Grace; and bravo Pamela Greener! She might even have a 'hit' there; I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I'm not so sure that Government incompetence is wholly 'Party Political' - no one seems able to do anything these days, without bollocking-it-up big time. Top down, or from the bottom up, nothing but bloody uselessness, excuses, and damned poor service.

Half a dozen good secretaries, and a tea-boy, transported from the 1950's-60's, could run this country better than this current shower!

Rant concluded.

16 April 2012 at 17:02  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Jon wrote:

If you want the Church to be a curator of old buildings, that's fine, but it wasn't the vision what your saviour had in mind for you

I hate it when atheists make a good point.

carl

16 April 2012 at 18:42  
Blogger Jon said...

Carl - why thank you kind sir. It always amazes me how people can confuse the Church with churches. Len has some good points about institutional religion. But I'm not an atheist.

Anonymous - I'm sorry. Sometime's I cha'nge thing's as I write, rendering my a'postrophe irrelevant and then, wobble off to make a cup of tea and forget where I was'''.

Inspector, first of all, you pay taxes and consume the same services (broadly) as me I expect. But you also expect tax exemption for your political vehicle. So you're making additional demands on the state which I am not. The CoE does lots of charitable things, but existing isn't one of them. The charitable bits (the excellent work caring for the elderly, the poor, soup kitchens) etc. should be put into a separate legal entity and then CoE PLC could be taxed like any other business, with deductions for things like communion wafers, renovations to facilities, and donations to its own charities, and taxes paid on profits from investments in its massive endowments and share investments.

Albert - you need to think more broadly or you'll never be an accountant when you grow up. A business which is allowed to not pay taxes on profits is effectively being subsidised by those who have to pay taxes.

And I think if you pay any income tax at all, donations are tax deductible - you just need to notify HMRC.

I don't want the state to get bigger, I just think if you're expecting everyone to stump up for your mouldy old buildings, we should at least get some control over them. I'd say sign them over to the National Trust or English Heritage, but doubtless you'd condemn them as heretic environmentalists or hippies or something.

Incidentally, the Inspector and Dodo should read this. It's gonna bring them some peace, I think.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/apr/15/charlie-brooker-gay-video-game

16 April 2012 at 19:08  
Blogger Jon said...

Inspector, as I've pointed out elsewhere, I live in Tower Hamlets and have done for more than a decade. And do you know what, I've had once instance of trouble and it wasn't because I'm gay. I walk down the street with my partner, and we don't get stoned or thrown into a sharia prison.

And as for your pseudo- demographic lecture - muslims make up a small proportion of Britain's population. You sound like a BNP or EDL rally these days. It's becoming increasingly distasteful.

Why are you so afraid? Where in the Bible did it teach you such fear of your fellow man?

16 April 2012 at 19:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. The church is NOT a political vehicle. It’s a religious vehicle. You don’t mind if some of us believe in God, one hopes. Hardly ‘liberal’ to object, wouldn’t you think.

You are increasingly sounding like a sixth former, and not a particularly bright one at that. BNP / EDL indeed !

16 April 2012 at 19:33  
Blogger len said...

It would be interesting to list ALL of the Taxes a UK citizen is liable for?.
And where does all that money go?.


Regarding our Churches.
Could it be that 'the Church' has actually outlived its usefulness and God has moved on?.

It was never Gods intention to live in buildings' made by men' especially after the events at Calvary.
The Church was never supposed to be a building or even a 'religious movement' but 'the ekklesia' the called out ones, groups of Believers living in the community.
Perhaps the Church is so identified with' dead religion'that 'the Church 'itself is dying?

Jesus Christ came to give us life and it would be difficult to find Life in many of our 'Churches'.Most are more reminiscent of' funeral homes'.

Ekklesia is the Greek word that has been translated in the Bible as "church," 108 times! Every time you read the New Testament Scripture concerning the ekklesia, your mind tells you that you are reading about the "church." This is the root of the greatest deception perpetrated on the body of Christ.

Ekklesia means "the called-out ones."

Ekklesia does not mean, "church."

The ekklesia are those persons that Jesus has called-out to Himself. When Jesus began His public ministry He went through Judea and called-out a group of men that became His disciples. Jesus did not begin His ministry in the temple or within the denominations of the priesthood. Jesus began His work outside the temple format and the religious practices of His day by building up men upon "a rock" of revelation: "Thou are the Christ, the son of the living God." Upon this rock,( that’s right,) I will build My ekklesia, not My church! Jesus set out to build people up and into Himself, upon the rock of revelation—He is the Christ!

Therefore, to clearly understand the ekklesia, the body of Christ, we must have direct revelation of the Christ—the anointed one who is coming to rule—the Messiah. It is upon this foundation, Jesus as the Messiah, that the ekklesia is built.

16 April 2012 at 19:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

You need to think more broadly or you'll never be an accountant when you grow up.

Oh dear. Why is it some people have a need to be gratuitously rude?

A business which is allowed to not pay taxes on profits is effectively being subsidised by those who have to pay taxes.

This seems to me to be very confused. A subsidy is when the Government gives money to something, such as when Governments subsidise abortion abattoirs or gay pride marches. If you are so worried about subsidies, then you must oppose the tax payer being forced to pay for such things.

What we are talking about here is whether VAT needs to be paid on renovations to listed buildings. As with the charity tax-break, the assumption is that it is possible for agencies and individuals other than the State to spend money on good causes. In other words, if the money is already being spent well, there is no need for the Government to hive off some more money. Governments do not spend money efficiently. It is therefore more efficient to leave the money where it is. Therefore to tax such monies is to remove money from a good cause and throw it away.

is effectively being subsidised by those who have to pay taxes.

Remember: this money has been raised by donations. If the Government taxes it so that (as in Wakefield), it is not possible for the project to go ahead, the Government doesn't get the VAT. It also cannot claim back the income tax from the people who do the work (because they haven't done the work), the economy does not get the benefit of their increased spending (with the additional VAT and further income tax), but rather has to support such persons with benefits.

And I think if you pay any income tax at all, donations are tax deductible - you just need to notify HMRC.

Assuming someone has signed an envelope (and often they haven't) money is only re-claimed at a basic rate 20%, which is less than the tax an individual may have paid on the donation.

This all seems rather a waste just to pacify your rather negative (and inconsistent) ideological war.

16 April 2012 at 19:37  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Talking of school, we even have the anti social dunce with learning difficulties and behavioural problems coming in at 19:35

No wonder they named a brand of whisky ‘Teachers’ !

16 April 2012 at 19:39  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

The Inspector is perfectly correct that Islam and more traditional religious views will increasingly be expressed in this country. The Inspector's point, I think, is not that he fears Islam, but that you may think again about your love of the state, if more intolerant views on homosexuality are imposed. By then it will be too late: you secularists are aggrandising the state at the moment - it may turn and bite you.

16 April 2012 at 19:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Thank you Albert, for stepping in. Didn’t think we would have to lead Jon by the nose, but evidently he still has much to learn....

16 April 2012 at 20:04  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

Dear Inspector.

I am glad to reassure you that this country will never be run by Muslims, or under Muslim law, for many reasons, the foremost of which being that neither you, me, nor any of our Muslim brothers live in anything like a real democracy.

We do not live in a country designed by the people, we exist in one designed for the people. Which correctly implies that whatever type of country we end up living in, will also be designed for us, and by someone else.

We get what they wish to give us.

They most obviously wish to give us fear, because we are frightened, if for no other reason.

What is more our masters have managed to frighten us almost rigid in so many ways, (or at least people like yourself ) This at a time when all common sense, and correct historical perspective SHOULD dictate that we have far less to worry about today, then at any time during our entire history.

To list a few that spring to mind. All aspects of mass immigration, endemic gun and knife crime, supposed international terrorism, food or environmentally induced cancer, economic calamity, fatal mystery virus and global warming scares.

Fear is a weapon in itself. It is a method by which all government is made possible, most especially bad government. Indeed without fear, we would neither have government, nor need it.

Why do you REALLY think we have so many more Muslims in the UK then say 10-15 years ago, many of which arrived after September 2001?

Do you really think that these types of things just happen all by themselves?

16 April 2012 at 20:29  
Blogger bluedog said...

Len @ 19.37, Christianity will always have an earthly and tangible dimension because that is the nature of mankind. His Grace may conduct a Cyber-Cathederal but for many people, a church provides earthly fellowship sand a structure to the important events in life: birth, marriage and death. Hard to get married on a lap-top. So even if you deconstruct formal religion and divest the estate to local communities, each responsible for its own building, an organisational structure is likely to arise to help the local communities with common problems. It's just the way human socities work.

16 April 2012 at 20:30  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

said ...
" ... we even have the anti social dunce with learning difficulties and behavioural problems coming in at 19:35"

How unkind and unfair - on people with learning and behavioural difficulties.

16 April 2012 at 20:31  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

bluedog
I'm afraid len doesn't attend group worship or fellowship - he's a lone ranger. No need for churches in his belief system. People can meet in fields or tents!

His sabbath is Saturday. Baptism for infants is a no-no. I don't know where he stands on marraige and funerals - nothing in the Bible about them, you see.

16 April 2012 at 20:36  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Atlas. The Inspector can assure you that there is no all controlling power out to destroy this country. What he can do is to inform that our decline is due to several situations. First, we have abdication of responsibility from the class that used to run the country. Second. We are a victim of international socialism as embodied by the Labour party and more recently the Lib Dems and now the Conservatives: I give you Sir, the EU. Thirdly, sheer decadence, resulting in a general malaise of purpose.

It is ironic to consider that it’s clear we cannot go on indefinitely as we are before everything starts to fall apart, but we may just be saved by our new immigrants. THEY will continue the British traditions, at least for the medium term. In the same way the barbarians who occupied Rome gave rebirth to the Roman ideals centuries later...(...only let’s hope it will be much sooner, eh...)

Something to think about tonight, what !

16 April 2012 at 20:44  
Blogger Albert said...

Inspector,

I think Jon is a win-up merchant. Although he could be Danjo in disguise.

16 April 2012 at 20:49  
Blogger Atlas Shrugged said...

The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude

I'm afraid len doesn't attend group worship or fellowship - he's a lone ranger. No need for churches in his belief system. People can meet in fields or tents!

Neither should there be in yours, but there is, is there not?

Why does your faith demand a church, most especially one as grand as say The Vatican or St Peters?

What kind of Christian would not pray in a field, with or without others doing it with him?

What does your faith have against tents used for religious purposes?

Did your beloved savior not preach from field or pitched tent?

To my humble recollection and I am sure Lens, Jesus not only actively preached against the coming of what soon enough became The RCC, and all that goes with it, he accurately predicted it would happen anyway.

Let us all hope he was in a mood for more then a little symbolic hyperbolae when stating what will happen next.

16 April 2012 at 21:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Albert. The Inspector is not so sure about Jon being a winder-upper. If he is, he lacks the gift of providing a sly back hand compliment which a professional would most surely deploy, and which has the Inspector’s admiration and abject glee even when he’s on the receiving end. Indeed, he sits up, claps his hands and barks like a trained seal. Tis a real treat !

DanJ0 is Stonewall in disguise... heh heh

16 April 2012 at 21:22  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

Atlas;
The God of Jehovah and his son Jesus said 'Fear not'. There is no need to fear anything as a believer since death is the ultimate victory.
The Church is not a building but the believers in communion. Jesus taught in buildings. They had to take the roof off to get a sick man to him.
Many of our great preachers have preached in fields and tents. Location is not important; it's the message that conveys the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Many of our great preachers have preached in fields and tents. Location is not important, it's the message that conveys the conviction of the Holy Spirit.

16 April 2012 at 21:36  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

As Churchill said in one of his speeches where he got his pages mixed up: 'You may wonder why I have repeated that sentence. It is because it is the core of my speech to you today'.

16 April 2012 at 21:43  
Blogger Mr Integrity said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 April 2012 at 21:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Any chap out there who wonders what bricks and mortar has to do with Christianity, the answer is comfort. Comfort is not a sin. Indeed, a certain fabric conditioner is named after it. And you don’t get your clothes soft and gentle by washing them in sin....

16 April 2012 at 21:55  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Atlas
Where did I say a church precluded praying in a field? No, I didn't! Catholics regularly do so and I see no issue with it at all. Indeed, the Pope's wonderful visit last year saw worship in the parks of Britain.

However, len is opposed in principle to physical buildings, organised worship or authoritative doctrine. He wants to go his own way - follow his own idea of what he thinks the Holy Spirit is saying to him. That's why he is so confused and dashes about the internet grabbing half truths.

What he overlooks, conveniently, is that without centres of worship and without organised religion, something he sneers at, Christianity would not have spread. It was ordained by God that Peter, the Apostles and their appointed succesors would convert the world.

And why shouldn't men construct wonderful places of worship to praise God and to give him thanks? Why not compose wonderful songs and paint beautiful pictures? Far better than secular 'golden calves', surely? There's a cold mean, cold heartedness in the soul of some men and they project it onto our Creator.

Do keep up before posting, there's a good chap.

16 April 2012 at 22:32  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector
Love is doing you good, my good man. That was very poetic of you!

16 April 2012 at 22:33  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

For me this highlights the insanity of the whole listing system and the absurdity of the way church buildings have been built in the past.

First we have the Church building these highly impressive creations to show off. Not what Jesus preached, but instead the Church reverted to the Jewish methodology of the Old Testament. Instead they go for the idea that "bigger is better" and we have huge steeples, gothic architecture and various other intricate and expensive things. Not created for practical uses so much as shouting "look how great we are!"

Then we have the government saying that, because they like the look of a building, the church in question can't make changes that affect it's appearance.

So we are left with churches that can't get rid of impractical elements that might save money or make better use of the building for the community. It's bloody mental!

16 April 2012 at 22:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Hardly Youthpasta. It’s man worshipping God through architecture. Very much agree with Dodo 22:32

Say, what do you think about selling the buildings and giving the money to the poor ? Of course, they’ll piss it up against a wall, or inject it, or waste it some other way, but at least you’ll be happy....

PS. They don't call you low church for nothing...

16 April 2012 at 23:03  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector
I have been thinkingabout the significant differences between Catholicism, Roman and Anglican, and the harsher Protestantism brought to this country from the European continent.

It seeems to me, at the heart of this protestantism is a meaness of spirit and a coldness of heart. I think it comes from a fear of God and an anxiety that one has to receive the 'Spirit' to be sure of salvation. Another variant is that one is predestined for Heaven or Hell and there's not a great deal you can do about this.

I've always found Catholicism wonderfully liberating. A God of Love who, through His Son, released the world from the power of Satan and threw open the Gates of Heaven. A God who understands us and who established a Church to lead us to Heaven. A God who instituted the wonderful sacraments and the Mass to strengthen us in our journey though life.

Compare this to the joyless faith of some prostestant sects. And the arrogance of some of them too. I'd hate to be a radical protestant and thank God every day for bringing me to His Church.

17 April 2012 at 01:53  
Blogger Nowhere man said...

I've signed the petition.

It's important that the CofE and government work to maintain the ancient Catholic Churches that were stolen.

We will be needing them.

17 April 2012 at 07:11  
Blogger len said...

I suppose religion gives some people a sense of security.
They are given a rule book(do this don`t do that) and they do 'their best' to follow it.Of course they will fail and then they have the 'safety net' of the 'Church to dust them down, pat them on the head. and set them on their way again.This Church also has a 'mama' and a 'papa'and 'brothers' and 'sisters'and gives a sense of belonging to those who are not p[art of the greater family.This is terribly sad.
Of course this' big parent'the Church has all its children firmly under its control .Like the song says "You can join but you can never leave"(Hotel California)

Of course the 'Way of the Spirit' is totally different there are no buildings, no golden thrones, no towering steeples to give one a sense of awe only a rugged wooden cross, persecution, ridicule and opposition.And of course ...God Himself who walks with you and sustains you with His Life.

I know which I prefer.
John Bunyan 'The Pilgrims Progress' describes this perfectly>

17 April 2012 at 07:29  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

LOL.

two naughty boys
battling it out
one with a warm ray of sunshine
the other with a cool moonbeam
playing at battle
with soft weapons
both lovable
both eventually
ending up in the same place
of no squabbles side by side
think upon this


PS
Doddles,you may wish to reconsider Heaven. Len will be there with you:)

17 April 2012 at 09:22  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Indeed Dodo, “meanness of spirit” and “finger pointing” are what the more radical protestants do best. Take Len, with his icy grip on a wooden cross, and his condoning of everybody and everything. It’s not just the light that our souls need, it’s warmth too...

17 April 2012 at 10:56  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

len
You really have got it wrong about the Catholic Church. The Church is Christ's family - we are the Bride of Christ the family of God. And what's wrong with a bit of Paternalism and instilling a sense of discipline based on God's expressed intentions for us? As brother's and sisters of Christ, joined to Him in Spirit, surely we too have the love of His Mother? And, as for picking us up when we fall, isn't this what the Good Samaritan did?

I've often wondered why fundamentalist protestants never really discuss Christ's parables or His miracles. Each has a meaning that seems lost to them.

Carry on your search but do stop misrepresenting the Catholic Church. It offends God. I appreciate you are not doing this deliberately and have had your head filled with nonsense.

cressida de nova
Let's pray you are correct and Heaven awaits all people who sincerely seek God and do His will. I do hope there will be no theological disputes in Heaven - that would be Hell or, at best, Purgatory!

Jesus told us His Father's House has many Mansions. I'm sure len and I could be neighbours provided he leaves me to manage my own garden the way I want. We could share a glass of whiskey over the fence of an evening and laugh about our mutual earthly ignorance of God's great, mysterious plan.

17 April 2012 at 12:14  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Ps

He'd have to keep his blessed cats out of my garden too. Nasty, smelly critters!

17 April 2012 at 12:16  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Don't go too far now Doddles. No kissing and making up! Remember you are not a French Catholic!

17 April 2012 at 12:56  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Dodo,

I think I found/ find the Roman flavour a little oppresive myself. Lots of rules.

You know my parish priest told me it would be wrong to receive holy communion. But if I go to an Anglo Church it's fine. Wonder why? Perhaps I need to say 395 Our Fathers and 692 Hail Marys just to get through the door?

I used to love benediction at the convent though, but now it's been turned into flats.

17 April 2012 at 15:56  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Inspector: "Any chap out there who wonders what bricks and mortar has to do with Christianity, the answer is comfort."

Plus it makes a statement, like those minarets.

17 April 2012 at 17:56  
Blogger len said...

Cressida,(09:22) LOL.

Very insightful.

Love covers a multitude of sins (and sinners)

Even the Inspector could be lovable.Or is that just going too far?

17 April 2012 at 18:42  
Blogger oldfozzie said...

Indeed, as resident in France, I can confirm that Churches are indeed left to fall apart. Mind you, barely anyone attends services, but that is another matter.
As for voting conservative or liberal......do they (the govt) really think that any civil servant/teacher/local govt/or other public sector worker will EVER vote for them again after the way they are robbing pensions ? Cameron ,Osborne Clegg and co are consigning their parties to the wilderness. Useles s though (new)labour are, they are certain of government at next election.

17 April 2012 at 20:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

DanJ0...or like a rainbow flag perhaps ?

17 April 2012 at 21:50  
Blogger David Lindsay said...

Miliband is making hay, entirely sincerely and without any hint of opportunism, over the Coalition's daft schemes to cripple provincial economies by slashing the spending power of public employees far from London, to redefine legal marriage in order to include same-sex couples (which has never been Labour Party policy, and on which Labour MPs are probably going to have a free vote), to deregulate Sunday trading, to devastate rural communities by flogging off our Post Office and our roads to private companies and even to foreign states, to break the Royal Mail's direct link between the monarchy and every address in this Kingdom, to abolish Gift Aid while drastically reducing the activities entitled to charitable status, and to bankrupt the Church of England by imposing VAT on listed building repairs.

Even among the rolling fields of the South of England, Labour is now winning council by-elections with 60 per cent of the vote in villages where it had not stood candidates for 20 years, for 30 years, for longer than that, or even since the dawn of time. Tony Blair never won Labour places like that. He never even tried to. But Ed Miliband is winning them resoundingly. The rules are different now.

17 April 2012 at 22:26  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Jocelyn
We've discussed this before haven't we. Make that trip to Arundel!

Being a Catholic you will know receiving the Eucharist in a state of grievous sin is not permissible. The Church asks that you receive the sacrament of Reconciliation beforehand and free yourself from attachment to any such sin and receive forgiveness from God through the Priest.

Anglicans, generally, do not have the same views about Communion, sin and the need for Confession.

Your immortal soul, your life and your decision.

17 April 2012 at 22:45  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

cressida de nova
I'll leave all the over the top French stuff to the likes of Oswin, thank you.

In some Churches the 'Sign of Peace' is a handshake and a small kiss on the cheek. Me, I like to give a good hearty cuddle too but not everybody is comfortable with that.

17 April 2012 at 22:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo The ‘sign of peace’ is a loathsome thing. It successfully put off the ‘lads’ from attending church when they were young. Bring back the Tridentine rite NOW !!!

17 April 2012 at 23:14  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector
Parishes are at liberty to use the Tridentine Rite.

How did the 'sign of peace', generally a handshake, put off the 'lads'?

Surely it's not too much to ask that people make contact with the person sitting next to them in Church and share an exchange of love?

17 April 2012 at 23:48  
Blogger Oswin said...

Cressida : 22:50 :

Moi?

18 April 2012 at 00:18  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

The Tridentine Rite is the only true mass.Besides, it's safer than attending the dumbed down version..the sign of peace could lead to one being grabbed and kissed by a complete stranger. This could prove traumatic for some women,particularly if the peace groper was not attractive.

18 April 2012 at 01:08  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Len if you don't mind I decline to respond to your last question .There are limits.

Oswin I refer you Shakespeare who has a birthday this month.
"Take, take those lips away.....

18 April 2012 at 01:16  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

cressida

Do not encourage the Inspector, please! The kiss is neither mandatory nor customary in Britain.

The Tridentine Mass is wonderful, I agree. It is not the only true Mass. For some it is too long, incomprehensible, being in Latin, over elaborate and too ceremonial.

I prefer the simpler version. The New Order Mass was perhaps too 'protestant' in form but has now been changed to be more in line with Catholic tradition.

At the heart of both forms is the Word and the Eucharist. These have not changed.

18 April 2012 at 01:22  
Blogger Oswin said...

It's all beyond ''the likes of Oswin'' ...

18 April 2012 at 01:32  
Blogger Albert said...

Dodo,
Anglicans, generally, do not have the same views about Communion, sin and the need for Confession.

Interesting, that's not what Cranmer thought when he wrote, in the BCP:

DEARLY beloved in the Lord, ye that mind to come to the holy Communion of the Body and Blood of our Saviour Christ, must consider how Saint Paul exhorteth all persons diligently to try and examine themselves, before they presume to eat of that Bread, and drink of that Cup. For as the benefit is great, if with a true penitent heart and lively faith we receive that holy Sacrament; (for then we spiritually eat the flesh of Christ, and drink his blood; then we dwell in Christ, and Christ in us; we are one with Christ, and Christ with us;) so is the danger great, if we receive the same unworthily. For then we are guilty of the Body and Blood of Christ our Saviour; we eat and drink our own damnation, not considering the Lord's Body; we kindle God's wrath against us; we provoke him to plague us with divers diseases, and sundry kinds of death. judge therefore yourselves, brethren, that ye be not judged of the Lord; repent you truly for your sins past;

And in another place he wrote:

because it is requisite, that no man should come to the holy Communion, but with a full trust in God's mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned Minister of God's Word, and open his grief; that by the ministry of God's holy Word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness.

If Anglicans today are more "generous" with regard to Holy Communion, this is not because Anglicanism is, it is because Anglicans typically the sacraments, and the need for repentance, less seriously than their forumlaries and liturgy allow.

18 April 2012 at 09:45  
Blogger Albert said...

Sorry add the word "take" between "Anglicans" and "typically".

18 April 2012 at 09:46  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Albert.

I don't read any of that as necessitating confession with a priest: it is an option of course. But it seems merely to exhort a person to examine their own conscience. It seems perfectly possible for someone to genuinely repent merely through self examination, and equally possible for someone to recite a number of Our Fathers and Hail Marys and yet fail genuine to repent. I don't think either approach lacks seriousness. They seem to be merely two different but equally valid approaches.

18 April 2012 at 10:07  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Er..genuinely to repent.

Incidentally I asked to speak to the parish priest and he basically said, read the catechism, start coming to mass again and then if you still want to talk someone will talk to you. That means just turning up at mass among strangers, and not taking communion. My nerves can't take that :-)

18 April 2012 at 10:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo, the sign of peace is a gushy liberal creation that has absolutely no place in the worship of God. The Inspector has on countless occasions seen what could only be described as conduct just short of love making. He has to reassure himself the participants are not strangers but are known to each other !

Also hold similar views on guitars in church, and Kum By Yar. urrrghhh...

18 April 2012 at 10:34  
Blogger Albert said...

Jocelyn,

I don't read any of that as necessitating confession with a priest: it is an option of course.

See below. The Thirty-nine articles of the CofE are far more severe than your parish priest.

XXXIII. Of excommunicate Persons, how they are to be avoided.
That person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath authority thereunto.


Now I'm not suggesting that this would apply to you - but you get the point about severity, I hope. But I must admit, it doesn't sound like your parish priest is being terribly helpful. However, underneath all of this is the question of who you think is the highest moral and theological authority in your life. If it's the Church, then conscience should say you should do what the Church requires (even if you don't altogether understand it), but if it's yourself then receiving communion in the Catholic Church is against your conscience. You did describe yourself earlier as a non-Christian - well a non-Christian shouldn't receive communion.

That means just turning up at mass among strangers, and not taking communion. My nerves can't take that :-)

I really sympathise with that (speaking as a convert)! However, if the Catholic churches are as full in your neck of the woods as they are in mine, no one is likely to notice you not going to communion, and if they do, they will think you are perhaps a visitor from the CofE or some such. No one really cares about who's receiving communion and who's not.

18 April 2012 at 10:41  
Blogger Albert said...

Inspector,

the sign of peace is a gushy liberal creation that has absolutely no place in the worship of God.

Gushy and liberal in the way in which it is done. As a sign it is no modern creation but is ancient.

18 April 2012 at 10:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Albert, the sign of peace is an introduction the Inspector recalls as a child. The ancient sign of peace is an arm raised, open palmed, to indicate you are not carrying a weapon. Now even that would be an improvement, but lets just throw the whole idea out of the church window shall we, along with other ‘reforms’...

18 April 2012 at 10:52  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Albert,

You're coming in part way through a conversation between myself and Dodo which has spanned many comments and many different posts, so I guess I should explain.

I'm considering - seriously - becoming a practising Christian again after many years: I was raised a Catholic but have considered myself an atheist for a considerable time. At what point in this journey does one become a Christian, would you say? For in some sense I have always been one(baptised,confirmed) and in some senses I am not. If I feel called back to Christ, so to speak, am I then a Christian? Should I explore that sense of calling somehow without going to church services and receiving communion? It's really not that clear cut,is it?

To me the fact that I've responded to that call and attended a service is repentance. And to the C of E it seems to be enough that I respond in that way, and that I am confirmed.

What do you say?

18 April 2012 at 12:42  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Auberon Waugh ,eminent Catholic author wrote on the new face of Catholicism and the abandonment of the Tridentine mass in the 1960s.
His article reflects my views.

" It is hard to believe that these new kindegarten assemblies bear much relation to the ancient institutions of the Church as it survived throught the Renaissance. The new Mickey Mouse Church has nothing to do with the old religion,being no more than a diversion for the comunally minded. Whatever truth survives is outside it,buried in the historical awareness of idividual members."

18 April 2012 at 13:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

JK. The definition of a Christian is someone who accepts Christ. No dotted line to sign on, no bond to be lodged. Just turn up and be with the rest of us sinners trying to make a go of life. Inspector also recommends a small glass of ale before service, and a couple of pints afterwards. Irish Catholicism, if you will...

18 April 2012 at 13:22  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Jocelyn
Find a good Priest - God will assist - arrange a meeting and share you doubts and misgivings with him. I would recommend a Monsignor as they are appointed by the Vatican and I've never met one who has not been helpful or insightful.

(Avoid Jesuits! Just joking.)

Don't work too hard at all this. It might help reading the cathecism too. Catholics often acquire a bad case of 'scruples' growing up and set standards way too high for themselves - like the good Inspector!

You cannot drink 'ale' less than an hour before Communion Inspector, except for medicinal purposes! It used to be 12 hours.

18 April 2012 at 13:41  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Jocelyn. I'm delighted to hear you are thinking of making that move - whatever path of Christianity you take.

What do you say?

I say you should go to Mass without receiving communion until you feel able (or at willing) to commit yourself. I don't mean that you can expect to reach a point of absolute intellectual certainty before you make a decision, but you do need to make a decision. Holy Communion is precious, you will not do yourself any favours by entering into the communion of the Church until you are really committed to communion with Christ. This is the point the CofE used to make (in the passages I cited), by not making it any more, it has made communion seem cheap. This is what one of the greatest Protestant theologians, Bonhoffer said when he spoke of "cheap grace". Once we've cheapened it, we cannot make it precious again.

But as it is the grace of Christ in the sacramental is supremely good and precious and not to be taken prematurely.

Instead, confession is a key component in ensuring one receives Christ by his grace, not by one's own efforts. As scripture says confess your sins to one another and If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.

I was an Anglican for most of my life. It's nothing like as wonderful as the Catholic Church. Anglicanism is easier as it is watered down, but as a result it gives you much less.

What holds you back?

18 April 2012 at 13:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Dodo. It’s taken as a laxative. Fortification of the soul is merely a side effect....

18 April 2012 at 13:44  
Blogger Jon said...

Inspector/ Albert, I'm going to break down the questions I'm posing for you in one place, since they are all over the thread at present and I'm either not explaining them well, or you're deliberately avoiding them!

1. Should the Church want to preserve these buildings?

It's not the Church's core role (as Carl confirmed). Why should the Church divert money from other activities to care for old buildings? And if it chooses to do so, why is that the concern of those for whom the buildings serve no purpose, which brings me on to;

2. Why should society pay for these buildings?

I agree, there is great public utility in the preservation of our heritage. My question is why the public purse should pay what is essentially a private enterprise (the church) to maintain what it claims as public heritage but then allow the Church to circumscribe the use of said public heritage? It doesn't seem a good use of money to me.

And before the Inspector comes back at me with some statement like "Christians pay taxes too", Cranmer has already pointed out that

"His Grace spotted the change on the day of the budget, but was not remotely concerned because the Government’s own analysis assured him that the present DCMS grant for the Listed Places of Worship Scheme would be sufficient to off-set the increase".

This shows that there is a specific grant for the preservation of places of worship from public funds. Obviously public expenditure is a finite resource, so the spending on places of worship comes at the cost of say, expenditure on military housing or public care homes. My preference would be for expenditure on the latter, but I'm happy for this to be democratically decided.

Of course Christians pay taxes, but society must justify the specific release of funds in this circumstance because there is an implied priority being placed upon the preservation of places of worship. You'll come back at me with abortion or something, and you have an absolute right to question state expenditure. But this is the status quo. If you want to change it, you should find a political party that supports your stance (or failing that, as I've told the Inspector before start one).

3. What is the status of the Church?

The inspector has unilaterally decided that the Church is not a political vehicle! Maybe tell our host, as his entire blog is devoted to the religio- political! The Church does not exist in a vacuum, it is a supplicant for state aid in this case, a caring arm of the state in others, and it cannot deny that in doing so, it assumes a political role. The AoC and the Catholic Church both regularly make political interventions. The Inspector's suggestion is therefore naive, at best.

I'm not a wind- up merchant, Albert. I wouldn't waste my time doing that. Occasionally, I'm whimsical, which here you appear to have interpreted as me being rude, for which misunderstanding, I apologise.

I look forward to your carefully directed answers.

Jon.

18 April 2012 at 13:48  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Albert,

What holds me back?
*Doubt
*A firmly atheist wife
*The public utterances of some Christians, with which I often profoundly disagree
*Some bad memories (though I also harbour good ones)
*Thirty years of being outside

well, as it happens I just went to a BCP service in a rather drafty but beautiful old church (Anglican, obviously) just up the road.

18 April 2012 at 14:14  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. Here you go again with the ‘state’. The Inspectors insight tells him that humans are programmed to accept a higher authority. For many it’s God, others the football team, but the ‘state’ ? You can do better than that...

What makes you think the church has any duties beyond spreading the word of God. That’s a serious point there, think about it. If you walk past a preserved church, there you have a building dedicated to God. It’s advertising in it’s broadest sense. Spreading the word. Society as you mean it DOESN’T pay for churches. You are confusing tax breaks with actual contributed monies. YOU have a tax break. it’s called your tax free personal allowance. Now, you wouldn’t like the ‘state’ to remove that from you, yet you’ve no problem removing the churches from theirs.

What is the status of the church ? In it’s broadest, a collection of like minded people. Is it political, no it’s not, it’s why Cranmer has to portmanteau two words to get across where he’s coming from.

You mention that the church is a de facto caring arm of the state. Under what authority ? Under what statute ? The church certainly involves itself in charitable work to help the disadvantaged, but to suggest it does so on behalf of the state is not only ludicrous, but a lie !

Let’s see if you can walk a few yards, on your own, without clinging to the state. Remember our earlier discussions. The state is benign now, but it didn’t use to be. It burnt your man on this blog, and it jailed the likes of you for decades...

18 April 2012 at 14:19  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Generations of Catholics have been robbed of a magnificent art form of worship replaced by dumbed down happy clappy music strummed on guitars by badly dressed nuns. God has been dished up this crap for years. He deserves better.

Excuses such as the old mass was too lengthy and no one understood the Latin are laughable. No one immediately understands a fugue. But after listening countless times the beauty of counterpoint becomes apparent.

Jocelyn to take the Eucharist one needs to be in the state of grace.
I know it is hard to believe with the laissez faire attitude towards it by Catholics themselves. If you really believe that the host contains the Christ,then it is a very big deal and should be treated seriously.If you think about it,is quite a terrifying concept.

To be a practising authentic Catholic demands immense self sacrifice ,being completely trusting of Church authority,sincerity,
honesty and truth which will be difficult attributes to retain anyway and especially when you witness the blatent hypocrisy of the majority of other Catholic lip servers who sadly do not have the courage to 'walk away'..constantly banging heads against a brick wall hoping for change in the rules.

The few exceptions are the most wonderful genuine generous people who show their goodness by example by the way they lives and their treatment of others.I found one. And it took ten years.

The unsympathetic priest is not your way back..You have more chance of enlightenment and kindness here on an Anglican site which seems to be overrun with Catholics because obviously it is better here than anything their own can offer them.

18 April 2012 at 14:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Cressida. an Anglican site which seems to be overrun with Catholics because obviously it is better here than anything their own can offer them

Madam. The Archbishop’s site is the finest in Christendom, the Inspector General will have you know...

18 April 2012 at 14:29  
Blogger Jon said...

Inspector, again, I can't work out if you're deliberately misunderstanding me or if you're being thick!

And since you're chosen to abandon my clearly set out stream of thought for a random sequence of ad- hominem bibbling, I shall have to try to reassemble your thoughts into a coherent argument for you.

1. Why should the Church want to preserve these buildings

You said "What makes you think the church has any duties beyond spreading the word of God. That’s a serious point there, think about it. If you walk past a preserved church, there you have a building dedicated to God." Your first two sentences appears to be agreeing with me - the Church's main duty is to spread the word of God. Good, we're making progress - I agree with you.

2. Why should society choose to pay for this?

You went off piste a bit here. First of all, you appear to confuse me with a statist, which I'm not. Since you are asking for an extension to PUBLIC funds to pay for PRIVATE buildings (which by your own admission serve primarily to "advertise" the PRIVATE services of your Church), why should the PUBLIC pay for them. If, as you say, these donations are to be funded by charitable contributions, they will be untaxed (up to a £50,000 individual limit as recently proposed) as they would be any donations to a charity.

What you're essentially saying therefore, is that you'd like to preserve the tax exemption attributable to your donors on their gifts to the church (which I agree is akin to the personal allowance in some limited sense) but you'd also like exemption from VAT because these "adverts" are of some significance to the wider community (which I don't deny in some cases), or you would like the PUBLIC fund to which His Grace refers, which pays for some of these renovations to be topped up to pay for the additional costs but you'd also like to deny the public the right to determine what goes on in the buildings that they have just paid to renovate.

I'm afraid you can't have it every way. You're going well beyond tax deductibility here, and into subsidy. You are clearly the statist. I could support the tax deductibility of donations to the church (just) because of the public interest in retaining our heritage. But your (statist) insistence on further state subsidy contradicts your belief that this is somehow the result of donations! This is hardly the stuff of Burke's platoons!

3. The Church's status.

I've been reminded by no less a person that Dodo in the past that the Church's many charitable works happen at the behest of the state and that the Church is the foremost arm of the "Big Society" which I'm sure is entirely because of its benevolent outlook, and forms, in no way, part of its wider desire to see tax payers subsidise your advertising!

Inspector, I'm an entrepreneur. I don't cling to the state, and I expect little from it for myself. You are trying to have your church and eat it!

Put simply, either the churches are public property and should be preserved for the sake of our heritage (not the state - the public - there's a difference) in which case, the public can do what they like in them, or they belong to God and his people can pay for them. You should not expect taxpayers to bail you out because you choose to inhabit lead- lined buildings which are hundreds of years old!

Now make your choice and stop moaning, man!

18 April 2012 at 14:43  
Blogger Oswin said...

Cressida @ 14:23 : excellent! If only 'the likes of' recent deserters from Anglicanism had that same spirit, let alone the R.C's! Especially so Ann Widdicombe, once a Latin Scholar; as there's more to be found in High Anglicanism, than in the RCC today.

18 April 2012 at 15:19  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Inspector,no one is questioning the excellence of HG's religious Anglican site.I was just commenting on HG's generosity and magnaminity in allowing a very rowdy Catholic cuckoo invasion.

As much as it pains me to agree with you..I do support your views on contraception and sex without before middle and after prayers.

However you will have to come to terms with the fact that you are a lapsed Catholic because you oppose the Church on certain doctrine. Dodo is the only goody two shoes Catholic on this site.

MOO!

18 April 2012 at 15:38  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

I think you are making an unreal division. You seem to be saying either the Church pays for the buildings (in which case the Church has full use but gets no tax benefits) or the state does (in which case, the Church loses rights over her properties).

But this distinction is surely false. However one looks at the payment of the upkeep of church buildings, everyone benefits. No one wants a crumbling, rat infested building where they could have a beautiful Church. (Cf. no one expects the state to support the upkeep of horrible modern buildings.) Our Cathedrals are part of our common heritage, they draw tourists, they support the economy. No one goes to France to see the churches, because, beautiful as they once were, they are now dilapidated. And then there are all the benefits to the economy coming from the extra work etc.

On the other hand, it is the Church overwhelmingly that pays for such buildings to be looked after. When she does so, she benefits everyone, but yes, she benefits most. Therefore, she should pay most (or, as with the original post, she should pay, but not receive the fine of taxation for a service to the community).

So I think there's something unreal about your proposal, which is why I suspect you of political motivation. Which is further confirmed by this comments:

You'll come back at me with abortion or something, and you have an absolute right to question state expenditure.

No, I wasn't questioning state expenditure, I was questioning you. I've asked you twice now whether you support my taxes going to pay for gay pride marches and abortions, and you have refused to answer.

18 April 2012 at 16:06  
Blogger Albert said...

Jocelyn,

I'm not sure if your reply is in answer to what holds you back from being a Catholic or what holds you back from Christianity. If the former, I would say you need to make a decision. Anglicanism is comforting because it does not really require of you a choice, it enables you to be religious without your religion really interfering with those parts of your secularism that you want to keep. The question is, is that really what Christianity amounts to? I think not. If it's worth bothering with, it's worth going the whole way with it.

18 April 2012 at 16:09  
Blogger Albert said...

Cressida,

an Anglican site which seems to be overrun with Catholics because obviously it is better here than anything their own can offer them.

Odd. The benefit of this site for a Catholic is that it provides opinions from another perspective and that gives occasion for discussion, which is what I enjoy.

The few exceptions are the most wonderful genuine generous people who show their goodness by example by the way they lives and their treatment of others.I found one. And it took ten years.

I'm sorry to hear that. It's also not my experience. One of the things that has always impressed me about Catholics since I converted is how, as group, they are much more serious, holy and generous compared with Anglicans. One reason for this is that the CofE is always arguing with itself, it is riddled with party-spirit and often mean-minded

Dodo is the only goody two shoes Catholic on this site.

I'm not aware of any way in which I depart from Catholic teaching myself either!

18 April 2012 at 16:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. Thundering retort what ! You are a purist, wanting to break everything down and then rebuilt in your style because the young child in you squeals “It’s only fair”. Well, bloody tough !

Now listen, there is no such animal as society. Just you, me, him round the corner, the Kumars at number 22, and so on. There is also no such thing as public money money. Just the money taken, yes taken, from the aforementioned. It doesn’t BELONG to the blasted state. How can it, the state is our SERVANT !

And something else, part of the aforementioned actually WANT to go to church. What’s more, they are not too happy when secular junior philosophers like you stand in their way by trying to deny them a tax break using their own previously seized money !

Don’t think for one minute the Inspector doesn’t know what this is all about. You and the rest of the campaigning homosexuals of this country take great affront to your frankly quite bizarre behaviour being criticised by the churches. You know the church’s attitude will NEVER change so if you can’t close us down which by the way, your people would do tomorrow, the next best thing is to make life bloody difficult.

Some people don’t approve of gay behaviour – get over it....to paraphrase a recent slogan !

So there you have it. you’ve been called out. And yes, we can have it every way, because who is going to stop us ? YOU ?

18 April 2012 at 16:41  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Albert you are easily identifiable as a convert because you are deficient in characteristics that identify a Catholic.

Catholicism is not just learning the teachings ,it is an intrinsic
quality from generations of Catholic ancestry..probably in DNA somewhere.

This is not your fault. You are an Anglican who has converted to Catholicism. It is an intuitive insightful thing that makes me see the difference. The Catholic Church embraces anyone who wants to join up..a cynical person could say that it was power by numbers.
Anyway the important thing is that it brings you and Doddles great joy and peace...except that I can see his joy
but I can't see yours.

18 April 2012 at 16:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Cressida. There’s a thing, we’ve more in common than you care to admit. If you’ve been following the Inspector's posts you will know that he considers Catholics have to get themselves into heaven by themselves, not ride on the back of RCC doctrine. With that, he’s prepared to account for his relationship with his church at his own time of judgment. No one is the boss of him, and certainly not the RCC. Jesus will understand...

Cuckoos ?

18 April 2012 at 16:59  
Blogger Jon said...

Albert, thank you for a measured response. Inspector, I'll deal with you later (assuming you've not had an aneurysm first!)

From my perspective, the amounts of money that we're talking about (His Grace said £20m I think) are so piddling, I'm staggered that the government hasn't coughed up. This is a salutory lesson in why Dave left PR - he isn't very good at it.

Firstly, I am questioning why the Church is so invested in these buildings. Many of them aren't comfortable in a cold, wet northern climate - hence why more parishioners can usually be found in the village pub than the village church! This isn't really my problem though, but I'm curious.

Secondly, I'm asking whether it's right that everyone else should be asked to contribute, and whether the generality of "heritage" is sufficient to compel the rest of us to support what the Inspector concedes are really giant ad hoardings. As I've indicated, the amounts aren't prohibitive, but as one who rails against taxpayer funding for things with which you disagree, I'm glad that you can see the inherent tension. The difference here is that the government of the day supports taxpayer funding for abortions, and taxpayer contributions to policing (although not actual funding you'll be pleased to hear) of gay pride marches. You must make your case for funding (as opposed to tax deductibility of donations or taxability of renovation works) of your projects, and this is healthy in a democratic process.

You draw a distinction both between beautiful cathedrals and ugly modern buildings. (Your comparison with France is slightly unfortunate (their tourism industry is far larger than ours), but that aside, I take your point.) Whilst I don't go to church anymore, I still appreciate a beautiful Cathedral as much as the next person. I wouldn't like to see them become dilapidated, and would be prepared to make a private contribution to the upkeep of those I appreciate. Should I be able to deduct this from my tax bill - I don't think I should be able to, just as I can't tax-deduct a visit to a museum or a visit to Alton Towers, but hey, who am I to complain? Should this contribution be compelled from me and everyone else in the form of a tax levy, though? I'm not so sure, given that the buildings give me pleasure, but that others may rather contribute to, say, the renovation of military housing.

Thirdly, I'm curious why there is an insistence here on holding onto establishment of the church. These issues will continue to present themselves, as the decline of the established Church in the face of apathy and other religions (including, for that matter, yours) rubs up against the ever increasing cost of maintaining an old and beautiful infrastructure. The main problem is that you hold the Church in a regard that is not universally held by other tax-payers. Moreover, as I've pointed out before, the US Church which receives not a penny of state funding (by virtue of their Constitution) is both healthier in terms of bums-on-seats, and offers what appears to me to be a more robust defence of what you would probably define as "traditional values". It would appear to me that the CoE has become utterly compromised by association with the putrid body politic and ought to cut itself free for its own sake (assuming that the CoE was ever pure, of course, but that's for Dodo and Len to debate!).

Rather than rely on the Church's historically priveleged position, massive land holdings, and bully-pulpit in the House of Lords, wouldn't you rather try to win the battle of ideas because you're right?

Inspector - I'm not the one railing against the inequity of a situation here - you are, and you're doing so with little eloquence or grace. So man up and found your own political party, or do shut up, old boy. There's a dear.

18 April 2012 at 17:31  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Cuckoos are boisterous birds that take over the nests of the little reed warblers.

No I think our attiude to religion is different. You split with the Church is rebellious and a refusal to submit to authority.

Mine is more considered and conceptually based.It was an extremely difficult decision for me to make. Stangely enough it was being given the tools of integrity and unflinching conscience by Catholicism that enabled me to leave it.They set me up to leave them. I suppose there is a degree of unintended freedom in that.
St Ignatius would be very pissed off!

18 April 2012 at 17:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Cressida,

Albert you are easily identifiable as a convert because you are deficient in characteristics that identify a Catholic.

I think it is a bit odd to try to grasp someone's personality through a blog. I know lots of people do go for this psychology, but it seems very unreliable to me, especially on this blog in which one is almost inevitably caught up in an argument. Anyway, if a convert can't get the Catholic DNA then I wonder what that says about poor old St Augustine!

Anyway the important thing is that it brings you and Doddles great joy and peace...except that I can see his joy but I can't see yours.

I'm sorry about that - but I am a very joyful person. Thomas Aquinas was as well, but you won't realise that from looking at the Summa Theologiae but at his prayers and commentaries. If I'm honest, I find you a bit unhinged, not least in the ways in which you attack me, which are usually over-hasty and unjust. I don't expect you are unhinged, but that's how you come across. I put it down to the forum, not to your personality though!

18 April 2012 at 17:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Jon. You have eloquently laid out your position. The Inspector has considered what you ask for. He has accepted you tried to hold a valid position, but you have failed to demonstrate that said position is not free from a personal and corrosive self interest.

He rejects your demands outright. There is no right of appeal. You are hereby dismissed. Good day to you Sir.

18 April 2012 at 17:53  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Albert
>I'm not sure if your reply is in answer to what holds you back from being a Catholic or what holds you back from Christianity.

I wasn't sure which of those questions you were asking either, but I was answering the latter.


>If the former, I would say you need to make a decision. Anglicanism is comforting because it does not really require of you a choice, it enables you to be religious without your religion really interfering with those parts of your secularism that you want to keep. The question is, is that really what Christianity amounts to? I think not. If it's worth bothering with, it's worth going the whole way with it.

I can see your point, but I'd be surprised if all or even most Catholics don't also hang on to those bits of secularism that they want to keep. But I suppose most Catholics I know are ex- or "recovering" ;o) Anyway that sounds a bit "the Catholic church is the true church and the others are just pretend" which I feel I must reject.

As I said though, I DO have some fond memories of the RCC as well as bad ones.

18 April 2012 at 18:09  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

Thank you for yours! I agree about the sums of money involved - the Government seems to be alienating it's own base without gaining much! In fact, it has been a free gift to Labour who normally manage to alienate the religious more than the Tories do (or rather, did, prior to Cameron).

Firstly, I am questioning why the Church is so invested in these buildings. Many of them aren't comfortable in a cold, wet northern climate - hence why more parishioners can usually be found in the village pub than the village church! This isn't really my problem though, but I'm curious.

The buildings convey something. I speak from experience. The Anglicans have all the best churches - beautiful buildings with a wonderful sense of transcendence and history. It's much easier to pray in such buildings. Some of the modern Catholic buildings look like car parks (and not only on the outside!).

I'm asking whether it's right that everyone else should be asked to contribute

But I don't see that I have argued that everyone else should. I have simply said that given that the work benefits the entire community and that the money has to be raised from donations, why should the state come along and hive off a portion of it to throw into a bottomless pit?

In contrast, abortions and gay pride marches are actually funded by the tax payer (you're wrong on gay pride marches BTW - perhaps central govt does not fund them, but local councils do). It seems a little churlish to support such funding, which is so partisan, but deny tax breaks to churches when the work they are doing is of benefit to the community as a whole.

Should I be able to deduct this from my tax bill - I don't think I should be able to, just as I can't tax-deduct a visit to a museum or a visit to Alton Towers, but hey, who am I to complain?

I sense a confusion here, which I've wondered about in your earlier posts. With gift aid you don't get the tax back from your donation - the church does. And let's not forget that the church is not asking for a special privilege here: gift aid applies to all charities, and the VAT on buildings has been waived on all buildings of a certain type. Thus it seems to me that you are unfairly discriminating against the Church simply because you do not like some of what it stands for. Which brings me back to the inconsistency of that with approving of funding for gay pride marches and abortions...

I'm curious why there is an insistence here on holding onto establishment of the church.

I'm not arguing for the establishment of the CofE and I don't see that as entailed by the original post. Also, I'm all in favour of free and fair discussion of religious and political issues, but we need a little less censorship for that! (We also need a little more self-criticism from naturalists and secular supremacists.)

18 April 2012 at 18:12  
Blogger Albert said...

Jocelyn,

Anyway that sounds a bit "the Catholic church is the true church and the others are just pretend" which I feel I must reject.

I don't think that the others are just pretend, but I do believe that the Catholic Church is the true Church. And this is the key: believe that and conscience should say "I must belong to that and believe what it teaches". Disbelieve it and you can't in conscience be a Catholic.

But my question would be why don't you believe the Catholic Church is the true Church? Is it because you have made a careful study of the theology involved and are unconvinced (as I was for many years) or just because it offends against another intellectual commitment you currently have (for example, a political correctness - and I don't mean that disparagingly). If the latter, how do you feel when Jesus says "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me"? That's a saying which really helps us to think about which are the intellectual commitments we have made that most important to us.

Now if Jesus is the way the truth and the life, why wouldn't he have preserved his grace and message in his Church? If he isn't, why be a Christian?

But I do sympathise with the reasons you gave earlier about what holds you back from Christianity. The trouble is, if Christ is not enthroned in our hearts, something else will be. What is it, and does it have a better claim than Jesus? (I'm not expecting an answer to that, it's rhetorical!)

18 April 2012 at 18:21  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Albert.
I'm not convinced by the arguments I have heard but maybe I haven't yet heard the clincher, who knows. But in that sense according to your words I cannot in conscience be a Catholic. So the C of E then.

18 April 2012 at 18:29  
Blogger len said...

The question I would ask Catholics is what is the ONE thing that decided it for you that Catholicism is the only way forward for me?.

I know exactly why I am a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

But I am genuinely interested in your reason.

18 April 2012 at 19:16  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Goodness, this has been a busy blog this afternoon!

It's difficult knowing what theme to pick up.

cressida de nova
I can assure you I am no "goody two shoes". Indeed, there have been times in my life when I was a great sinner. And there are times I am unhappy too.

I suspect from your earlier posts the issues you're referring to as barriers to your Catholicism are contraception and abortion in certain circumstances. Both are rejected definitively by the Catholic Church. I'm not completely sure on your position concerning homosexuality. Stand against the Church on these issues and your rejecting Papal authority and the authority of the Magisterium and, I guess, this unravels the foundation i.e that the Church has been given Christ's authority to lead His Church and will be guided in this by the Holy Spirit.

What's important is that the Church understands its teachings to be the Will of God revealed by Scripture and natural reason. It's the "do no evil" argument.

I am not a cuckoo. You should also know that the cultural background I grew up in was Jewish as well as Catholic.

Jocelyn
I'm not sure what particular teachings you struggle with. What seems apparent is that you are being drawn back to Christ.

len
I was out of the Church for years. I had a strong sense of God in my life and considered all religions and no religion. Agnosticism would have been so convenient. Concluding that Christianity was the only comprehensive and rationally consistent faith, I prayed as to what way I should go.

Having accepted Christ, what decided me Catholicism was the true Church? Funnily enough, the very encylical that drives so many others away - Humanae Vitae. Going Anglican would have been convenient too. And 'sola scriptura'and 'sola fide' are, in my opinion, seriously false doctrines.

Reading scripture just reinforceS the Catholic approach for me. The Jesus of the New Testament is the Jesus I meet in the Catholic Church.

18 April 2012 at 19:47  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Dodo: yes. This has been going on for some time. It was attending C of E services connected with the kids school that began the whole thing I think. I've approached the Catholic church once or twice but on the whole found it cold, unwelcoming, unforgiving and uninterested. In contrast the C of E was warm, friendly, interested, enthusiastic even. Maybe they are more desperate!

18 April 2012 at 20:19  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

@Inspector - So the world was sorted, leaving time to focus on the irrelevancy of buildings as worship? Which world are you living in? I live in a world where we need as much money as possible to put on events to encourage people to be a part of the Church again. As such, if a building needs money to fix something that does nothing to this effect (and, as a former church caretaker, I know this is the case) then it is taking away from the church's primary mission, i.e. mission!

18 April 2012 at 20:35  
Blogger Albert said...

Jocelyn,

But in that sense according to your words I cannot in conscience be a Catholic. So the C of E then.

Except for two things: 1. You are already a Catholic 2. You would need to place the burden of proof on the CofE as well - not just "Why should I be a Catholic? but also "Why should I be an Anglican?" And that question is really about which is the Church founded by Jesus Christ.

I'm sorry you haven't had a more positive experience of the Catholic Church - I couldn't comment of course on whether the CofE is more desperate - but these things are not the key issue. Judas was member of the 12. Not a good example of a Christian but still a real apostolic minister chosen by Christ.

One thing I would say is that it would be better to just come back to Christianity one way or another. If that means worshipping with the Anglicans while you get back into it and think through what really matters, then thanks be to God.

18 April 2012 at 20:47  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

I would ask Catholics is what is the ONE thing that decided it for you that Catholicism is the only way forward for me?.

The fact that I came to the conclusion that it is the true Church, where I could find Jesus in all his fulness, enter into the fullest unity for which he died, keep the faith of the apostles, receive their sacraments, and know that the faith was protected by the promises of Christ, rather than just what I or someone else decided (often rather lazily) was the right thing.

You seem to be placing being a Christian in opposition to belonging to his Church. I don't think that is scriptural.

18 April 2012 at 20:50  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Albert. It was you who suggested that I could not in conscience be Catholic. However who is to say. I may well end up there. Thanks for your help and encouragement anyway.

18 April 2012 at 20:58  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Youthpasta, dispense with church buildings altogether why don’t you. Hold services out in a field. Don’t worry about dwindling numbers as time goes by.

Buildings represent permanency. The Christian faith is permanent. As for needing money to encourage people to be part of the church, forget it. You can’t bribe them into faith. Don’t underestimate them, the people out there. They know full well about the church down the road. Cups of tea and a biscuit are all you need. May God be with you, and good luck !

18 April 2012 at 21:01  
Blogger len said...

Dodo and anyone else interested. (we seemed to have strayed somewhat from the original topic but ...)

I suppose everyone thinks his religion is the' right' one whatever that religion( or denomination )is !.And is it possible to know the absolute truth?.
I believe it is.

The Truth must be the ultimate reason for choosing a religion IMO only a fool would choose a religion which he knew to be false!.

So how can we know truth?.

Firstly we must have a love of the Truth and be prepared to ruthlessly abandon anything which doesn`t measure up to the truth, however hard however painful!. This will also apply to ourselves!.

2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
King James Version (KJV)
'And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.


The three things that must line up for the truth to be revealed are

The Word of God ( the Bible)
The Words of Jesus.
The Witness of the Holy Spirit.



"But I will send you the Advocate--the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me.(John 15:26)
..............
If anyone thinks he cannot be deceived without God`s written Word, Jesus The Living Word, and the Holy Spirit to guide and help them then they probably already are!

18 April 2012 at 21:07  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

len

Except Christ establihed an Apostolic leadership and history shows your approach just leads to heresy, division and disagreement. Remindme, how many different protestant variants are there? All guided by the Holy Spirit?

You really think you have the ability to understand scripture without the guidance of the Church?

18 April 2012 at 22:23  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

So len, just how did you commit to your version of Christianity?

What persuaded you that you could go it alone, bible in hand within no worshiping community, just the internet, and trust you were actually being led by the Holy Spirit?

You haven't said.

18 April 2012 at 22:40  
Blogger Youthpasta said...

Don't be such a cretin, Inspector, I never suggested anything of the sort. Churches need buildings as a base for meeting and inviting. But they should be buildings if purpose and open to change when it is needed, rather than the excessive hoops that you have to jump through with faculties (and that's just for normal CofE buildings that aren't listed!). The paperwork and excessive costs of maintaining the material, yet spiritually (and thus eternally) worthless, aspects of a building suck the life and wealth out of the people which means that evangelism suffers. Get it back to basics and things work far better!

For example, my church want to build a vicarage on church property, just behind the church building. The church building has been given notice that it may in the future be listed (note, it is not yet listed and the hassle is already starting!). Because of this, in order to build the vicarage, the church has to make presentations to the council and relevant bodies that the build will not damage the appearance of the church building or impact on it's structure. The process could potentially take 18 months (we started in January) and we have a new vicar starting next month who will be commuting until the summer and then moving to local rented accommodation until the vicarage is built. All that money on travel and rent wasted because of a building being a possibility of being listed!

So, buildings are a big yes (always value your church caretaker!) but they must be able to change with the changes of the church's ministry without all the insane red tape that holds it up by many months!

19 April 2012 at 00:20  
Blogger len said...

Dodo. ( 18 April 2012 22:40 ) The same way that Paul did!.

I was baptised as an infant, confirmed,and went to church up to the age of 16. then stopped going to church.I didn`t exactly' fall away' because I realise now that despite water baptism as an infant and later confirmation I was totally unchanged and Jesus Christ and 'religion' were a total mystery to me.I became an outspoken Atheist!.Nothing(I thought) could convince me of the reality of God.
It was when a relative became' born again'and I saw such a total change in them that I became curious as to exactly what had happened to them.
To cut a 'long story short'I began searching for spiritual truth.I had some very lucky escapes from encounters with the 'new age religious' movement.
I realise now that the Holy Spirit was protecting me and guiding me towards God`s Truth.
It was when I was searching for truth that I had an encounter with the risen Lord Jesus Christ.
I am a strong independent person but I could not stand in His presence.Every doubt I had about Him was instantly destroyed.I had not grasped a theology, or a religion,an intellectual idea, assented to Biblical ideals, or joined a denomination but had met a Person.
This encounter has changed me and my life and my perception of religion forever.
Religion is cold and heartless the Lord Jesus Christ is Love, not has Love but IS love.
Religion just doesn`t even feature in God`s plan, when what Jesus wants is relationship.
It is terrible sad that in 'The Revelation' Jesus stands outside THE CHURCH and knocks waiting to be invited in.

19 April 2012 at 07:57  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

len
I am pleased God brought you back to Christ - maybe your journey has yet to be completed.

Remember Paul spent time with Peter learning about Christ after his meeting with Him.

Really you have not given what you disparagingly call "religion" a chance.

Of course water baptism and confirmation do not change you as if by magic - they offer the gift of Grace and make you a member of Christ's Body. The challenge as Catholics see it, is staying one with Christ and not seperating ourselves through sin.

Religion is not "cold and heartless" if understood properly. Just what is it? It is common worship, a sharing common prayers and sacraments and a common understanding of God's revelation to us. We become one member of Christ's Body - the Godhead itself is mutual Love and giving, not isolated.

You focus too much on what you consider to be the externals - the outside signs of inward Grace. So too do many Christians but, in my experience, they too are good men and women who have faith and who are doing their best.

Why do you invest so much energy in attempting to show Catholicism is the anti-thesis of Love? And why is your 'research' restricted to so many narrow minded and hateful sites?

19 April 2012 at 09:20  
Blogger Albert said...

Jocelyn,

It was you who suggested that I could not in conscience be Catholic.

Yes, indeed: I did not mean to sound critical at all. I was just intending to feed in some extra relevant factors.

May God bless you on this journey!

19 April 2012 at 09:27  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

I haven't got time to read this discussion you are having with Dodo, but this caught my eye:

The three things that must line up for the truth to be revealed are

The Word of God ( the Bible)
The Words of Jesus.
The Witness of the Holy Spirit.


The words of Jesus are interesting (I would have thought we should add his actions too!), for scripture says:

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book

and

But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

These things are to be found in the church's tradition:

So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.

This is not to say that there are extra doctrines in the tradition not found in scripture, but rather that a complete grasp of Jesus, of the meaning of his words and actions recorded in scripture is to be found in the apostolic tradition - the tradition which, of course, provides us with the canon of scripture, as well as so much else.

The second thing from your list is that as far as truth is concerned, scripture does not just speak of the word of God, the words of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, it also says:

the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

The Protestant lone ranger approach to scripture alone, is thus incompatible with scripture - which is why Protestants do not find the unity which scripture shows to be part of the very esse of the Church:

Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Now there is no way a body can be divided, which is why Jesus says a branch cut off from the vine "withers". And neither can the pillar and bulwark of truth be itself in disagreement on the truth, for

God is not a God of confusion but of peace

Thus, I am afraid, there is no way any Protestant communion can claim to be the Church of scripture. But as Jesus said:

You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Where was this Church of apostolic tradition, truth, unity and unending promise of Jesus Christ, before the Protestant Reformation? If it was the Catholic Church, then it is the Catholic Church still, if it was not the Catholic Church then no such Church existed and the promises of scripture and of our Lord are null and void.

I am a Catholic because I believe those promises - and rejoice!

19 April 2012 at 09:42  
Blogger Jon said...

Albert,

Thank you for your post. I'm going to leave the first question of why the Church should want to preserve all the buildings, since there appears to be a consensus that you should. I think this is the most curious part, along with the attachment to establishment, but still. There are two remaining things I disagree with you on.

1. The church is of benefit to the whole community.

For the sake of this discussion, I assume that we're talking about the building, rather than the people! Aside from an appreciation of their architecture, I don't think the church buildings actually do me much good. In Winchester, I like walking around the Cathedral grounds and appreciating the building from the outside, but it costs so much to go inside, I hardly ever bother.

Since hardly anyone attends CoE services anymore (what is it now - 7% of the population?) the numbers of people who derive any real utility from the buildings is diminishing. Since tax payer funding comes from everyone, there is a democratic requirement, at least in theory, that such funding be in the interests of everyone. You're right, perhaps gay pride parades aren't the best use of public money, but Brighton's parade has been ticketed because of the withdrawal of public money, and this has been a common theme for years now. But if the democratic will exists, then let the funding commence!

2. Which brings me on to funding and taxation. There are three separate financial issues raised by this;

a. The tax deductibility of donations to churches (now capped at £50k I think)

b. The imposition of VAT on repairs to listed buildings

c. The fund which exists to pay specifically for repairs to buildings used for worship

They are all separate issues.

I don't really have a problem with (a). Donate to a charity, and in my eyes you're probably a more decent person for it, although I question the motives for giving if tax deduction is the point, but fine.

b. There are various ways that tax policy can influence economic activity - for example the effective subsidy to the airline industry which exists through the untaxed nature of kerosene (I know why this is before anyone jumps in) against the massive taxes on petrol - drivers are effectively subsidising fliers across the same journey.

The imposition of VAT on listed buildings is an attempt to correct an anomaly which is costing the exchequer next to nothing, and in so doing clobbers a number of people who can ill afford it. It's the definition of an ill-thought through policy with profound implications for a small number of people, many of whom can neither afford it nor would consider voting Labour under normal circumstances. And these people aren't the sort to keep their dissatisfaction to themselves. This is the best objection to the policy (if you're George Osborne), rather than a noble appeal about the costs of church roof repairs.

Then we have (c) which I think you'll agree appears to be anomalous in the context of our financial discussion, in that it's purely directed at churches and other places of worship. Since His Grace has kindly pointed out the high proportion of the listed buildings affected by the change which are in the care of the Church of England, it is tantamount to state funding of the Church. So, whilst the amounts are piddling (both for the government, and the church, which is formidably wealthy) the impact on sentiment, as demonstrated here is not.

My remaining question is therefore whether the monies which are being used in (c) could be better spent in a way which would bring more value to the nation. Since the Church of England is one of the richest financial institutions in the country, spending money on paying for Church renovations is like giving money to the Duke of Westminster to buy Pall Mall - what do they need the help for?

19 April 2012 at 10:00  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

Thank you for your post. I found it very helpful and especaially the passages from scripture you shared.

19 April 2012 at 10:46  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you Jon for a very considered post.

Aside from an appreciation of their architecture, I don't think the church buildings actually do me much good. In Winchester, I like walking around the Cathedral grounds and appreciating the building from the outside, but it costs so much to go inside, I hardly ever bother.

I really had in mind the externals rather than the internals. It is lovely to live a Cathedral city, it makes a huge difference to the overall environment. You don't have to go in, just having beautiful architecture around benefits the local community. Granted, this cannot be crudely measured in a utilitarian way, but I don't expect either of us wants go down a pseudo-logical positivist road.

Secondly, the Cathedral brings benefits to the local community. People come to see the building and to soak up the atmosphere. I remember Bill Bryson saying: “There is no doubt in my mind that Salisbury Cathedral is the single most beautiful structure in England and the Close around it the most beautiful space”. What would the cost to the economy be if such buildings were unable to stay standing? And no one would benefit - I've commented a couple of times on the loss of work and employment, the fact that the govt wouldn't be able therefore to pick up the VAT, the loss of money into the local community and to the govt from their income taxes, not to mention the cost of benefits arising from job losses. So I find your suggestion that the community does not benefit, hard to understand.

Contrast this with the Government's funding of gravely immoral practices like abortion. These cost the economy a great deal £118M, and that's without taking into account the extra human costs of the mental illnesses that can arise as a result, the costs to the economy from that, and the fact that because of such practices our pension cannot be paid. Which means each of us will have to work longer for a less decent standard of living in old age. If you can stomach all that, then I cannot see why you quibble about the very small sums (which are win-win for the economy) that help with old buildings. This is why it seems ideological: cutting off your nose to spite your face.

(c) which I think you'll agree appears to be anomalous in the context of our financial discussion

I do agree - I don't see why non-worshippers should have to pay for worship spaces. If such monies are provided, I suspect it is because of two things: the fact that if the interior is not kept well, then there will be a smaller group of people to pay for the externals and so the externals (which benefit everyone) will not get done (result in all the problems I've mentioned). Secondly, it probably is just too difficult for the exchequer (or whoever) to manage the distinction. Considering we are talking about very small sums of money making big differences to the local community, it is probably more hassle than it is worth drawing a distinction.

Since the Church of England is one of the richest financial institutions in the country

I'm not an Anglican, but when I was an Anglican I remember that at every level, the CofE had terrible financial problems. Yes it is rich in properties, but those properties need maintaining, which brings us back to whether it is right to clobber volunteers doing work which benefits everyone, with prohibitive tax bills. I think not and I cannot see that you have made a case for it (especially not when one asks for consistency with other things like abortion).

19 April 2012 at 10:47  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Albert
I've been thinking about what you've said and, at the risk of sounding confused and undecided I will give serious thought to going to mass as you suggested. It can't hurt and who knows, it may swing things one way or the other. I do have some reservations about Anglicanism. I am reminded that it has been described as the Tory party at prayer, and I'm certainly no Tory!

19 April 2012 at 11:01  
Blogger Albert said...

Jocelyn,

at the risk of sounding confused and undecided I will give serious thought to going to mass as you suggested.

Great news! There's no shame in feeling confused and undecided - this is a time of exploration, it would odd if you didn't feel that way.

Newman wrote of his time as an Anglican before he became a Catholic:

For is it not one's duty, instead of beginning with criticism, to throw oneself generously into that form of religion which is providentially put before one?

You will be in my prayers.

19 April 2012 at 11:52  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Jocelyn
I'll say a prayer for you.

At times of difficultly when I lived in your neck of the woods I used to pop along to Chichester Cathedral. There's a wonderful shrine there to Our Lady where one can leave petitions. If you go, now I'm in Scotland, can you say a few words for my intentions?

God Bless.

19 April 2012 at 13:41  
Blogger Jon said...

Albert, thank you, and by way of response it looks like the remaining matters are;

- churches as a community focal point -

"“There is no doubt in my mind that Salisbury Cathedral is the single most beautiful structure in England and the Close around it the most beautiful space”." I don't know about the most beautiful, but it's certainly very pretty. However, I don't think for one second that the Church would have trouble raising money for the upkeep of Salisbury, Canterbury, or Winchester.

His Grace said: "The Church of England is responsible for 45 per cent of the country's Grade 1 listed buildings – some 12,500 architectural gems". There simply aren't 12,500 Salisbury cathedrals in the country!

I found this online:

http://www.churchofengland.org/media/1244828/final%20annual%20report%20at%2019%20april%202011.pdf

Page 13 details what has happened to the Churches disposed of by the CoE. From 06 to 2010, nearly 26% were used by alternative Christian bodies for worship and over 15% were used for community purposes and a further 5 were turned into schools. I think we can agree that these uses (leaving aside those which went to housing or retail, of course!) are noble purposes which would preserve the material beauty of a church and perhaps inject it with new relevance for a community which may no longer prize it as a place of CoE worship? You never know, it may still cause people to wonder at the original cause of such architectural exuberance!

Surely this is better than preserving them as empty museums to a diminishing national institution?

- churches as a focus of economic activity -

I admit, I hadn't considered this, however, I'm not sure that as a conservative blog, there is a great demand here for keynesian stimulus schemes. I know that the French early on in the credit crunch had a scheme whereby they were paying the unemployed to clean up cathedrals, but given that most conservatives accept the effect of taxation is, ceteris paribus, to diminish economic activity, I'm not sure that money spent in this way is well placed.

- the church in need -

Furthermore, the report also details on page 15 onwards, the performance of Church funds, starting with the statement that the Commisioner's fund was worth £5.3 billion at the end of 2010. There simply is no excuse for the Church being described as "poor"!

So, if the Church wishes to retain and maintain its 12,500 architectural gems, it certainly has the resources to do so.

You also say "Yes it is rich in properties, but those properties need maintaining, which brings us back to whether it is right to clobber volunteers doing work which benefits everyone, with prohibitive tax bills.". I'm not sure how volunteers' tax bills will go up - perhaps you can explain?

As to your point about alternative uses for taxation, and your specific reference to abortion, I'm afraid I'm not going to comment. It's not because I don't have a view, but because, as I understand it, the majority view of both the population at large, and the HoC supports taxpayer- supported abortion, so I think it's probably moot for now.

19 April 2012 at 13:48  
Blogger Jon said...

Also - I hope you realise now, I'm not trying to get a rise, and I'm not actually that bothered about the amount of money that we're talking about.

If anything, this whole thing makes me rather sad. I know the CoE has latterly been rather unhelpful where gay matters are concerned, but that isn't the sum total of my view point on the world, and I also see the value that the Church can bring in terms of community cohesion, and especially mobilisation of communities to support one another.

You may attribute this to a central deity, but other belief systems also have broadly the same effect (for example buddhist monks in Burma), but I think it's important for people to feel like they can rally around something in times of need.

The institutions remaining exclusively to the English are so few and far between, and I think this contributes to our sense of being hard done by, by both the European and celtic parliaments! If we were more confident in our culture, our institutions, and the unbroken cultural line which stretches back hundreds of years through some of humanity's most important people and moments of progress, perhaps we would have more appreciation of what we had to lose, and more pluck in defending it, but also more confidence that it would survive the momentous changes which threaten to overwhelm our remaining sense of self.

19 April 2012 at 13:57  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Dodo not sure if you meant Chichester or Arundel but whichever way, I will do. I'm thinking of visiting both next week.

19 April 2012 at 14:08  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Many thanks and likewise

19 April 2012 at 14:10  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

There simply aren't 12,500 Salisbury cathedrals in the country!

But many of these buildings are gems looked after by a small number of people. The country as a whole would be the poorer if we lost them. As you agree the sums of money are very small. If we sold them all there wouldn't be enough for all these buildings to do -some would just be ruined. In any case, if a local church remains a church it is something people can visit, many other uses exclude people from visiting them.

I don't however have a problem with churches being sold off some of the time, but if the community can raise the money to keep them for us all - with the exception of the tax bill - it seems a bad argument to sell them off.

I don't want to get into an argument about the Church Commissioners, but I would say that most of their money goes on pensions, which are paid for by congregations. You might say that they should cut the stipendiary clergy then. But this would be a loss to the community and also would result in smaller congregations, meaning the pensions couldn't be paid. Again, it seems a very peculiar move just for the principle of being able to put VAT on renovations.

I'm not sure how volunteers' tax bills will go up - perhaps you can explain?

I don't mean that their personal bills go up, I mean the cost of the project goes up and becomes prohibitive - see the original post/song.

In speaking of the church as a focus of economic activity, I mean in terms of the building projects it supports. Most conservatives would be opposed to extra taxation which had a negative effect on (say) the amount of tax raised (hence the argument against the 50p rate). So, as the amounts of money are tiny, the money is already going to a good cause, and the extra taxation would reduce tax actually taken, and harm various industries, simply on economic grounds, your positions seems highly irrational (sorry - I'm not being rude, that's just how it looks to me!).

as I understand it, the majority view of both the population at large, and the HoC supports taxpayer- supported abortion, so I think it's probably moot for now.

The point about abortion and gay-pride is of course to say that it's no good secularists whining that the exchequer is supporting partial causes like churches. Money is taken from me to pay for things I think are actually wicked and harmful to us all. Whatever objection you have to the church not paying VAT, I have a much stronger objection to my taxes being spent on scrapping babies from their mother's bodies. If you accept that that is okay, then you cannot complain on ideological grounds about the VAT. It just looks like special pleading.

But if the majority view is the only consideration, I expect most people support the churches on this - which is why Labour jumped on the chance to support religion, tradition and local community against a conservative govt.

19 April 2012 at 14:22  
Blogger Albert said...

Cont.


I also see the value that the Church can bring in terms of community cohesion, and especially mobilisation of communities to support one another. You may attribute this to a central deity

I think it has been widely demonstrated to be so - regardless of the deity! Religion simply provides social capital which is good for all (see Jonathan Haidt's The Righteous Mind for details - Haidt is a left-wing atheist, but he cannot deny the evidence). Perhaps we should tax the non-religious the way we tax smokers to make up for the additional cost the bring to the community!

If we were more confident in our culture, our institutions, and the unbroken cultural line which stretches back hundreds of years through some of humanity's most important people and moments of progress, perhaps we would have more appreciation of what we had to lose, and more pluck in defending it, but also more confidence that it would survive the momentous changes which threaten to overwhelm our remaining sense of self.

As Haidt points out, nothing is more effective at undermining those things than secularism, and the multiculturalism that it has sneaked in with a view to trashing the traditional Christian culture of this land.

19 April 2012 at 14:22  
Blogger Jon said...

Albert,

"Again, it seems a very peculiar move just for the principle of being able to put VAT on renovations."

I agree, but I'm saying that I think a better counter- argument against the chancellor is pointing to an old lady who can't afford to re-thatch her listed roof, than complaining that the Church can't afford to fix it's own, when it plainly can - it just would rather someone else paid.

"but if the community can raise the money to keep them for us all - with the exception of the tax bill - it seems a bad argument to sell them off" - I agree, but it's not the community raising the money, it's HMRC in this case. Since the local community disproportionately benefits from a local church building, let them fund it (and reap the attendant environmental and economic benefits from enhanced tourism to which you allude). It's localism in action - Burke's platoons - which is surely appealing from a conservative perspective?

Per the report (P.13) "We co-sponsor the Churches Conservation Trust (70% state-funded and 30% Church-funded) which preserves
outstanding closed church buildings for which no suitable new use can be found."

Per P16 of the report, 31.1% of the funding is needed for pensions, so I'm afraid that argument doesn't stack up either.

"In speaking of the church as a focus of economic activity, I mean in terms of the building projects it supports." But this is a Keynesian stimulus plan (albeit a miniscule one) dressed up in a cassock! If conservatives are prepared to support a stimulus plan via church restoration, when does a Keynesian stimulus become a "bad thing"?

I agree that the Church probably has the majority support on this, and agree that Labour is jumping on a bandwagon. On abortion, I think it's an entirely separate topic (which you've included in the debate purely because I'm linking state support to democratic legitimacy). Needless to say, there is value in debating this, but i don't think emotive terms are helpful, especially when deployed by men. Far better that we debate in objective terms where possible.

I also don't think the Church can complain about "special pleading". I'm always rather amused by the power attributed to Stonewall et al on this blog. The CoE has bishops in the House of Lords, receives tax funding, owns large swathes of the countryside through historic pillaging (from monasteries and others) and handling of stolen lands, and has an entire administrative branch of english governance built around its parish structure, and yet little Stonewall with a few people apparently outmuscles you and raises ire on here without fail.

I think you have to consider whether you've either created a bogeyman to frighten yourselves, or if Stonewall is so much better at lobbying than the Church is, why that might be.

"As Haidt points out, nothing is more effective at undermining those things than secularism, and the multiculturalism that it has sneaked in with a view to trashing the traditional Christian culture of this land." This is where you lose me. First of all, I don't see how secularism undermines the religious mind. After all, faith isn't dependent on reason, I can't disprove your belief in God any more than you can prove it. What has faith to fear from reason if it really is faith?

Also - secularism and multiculturalism aren't intrinsically linked, but have been accidental bedfellows in UK politics, I think. Also - secularism isn't necessarily a pre-cursor to religious decline (as the US illustrates perfectly).

Additionally, druids pre-date Christians in this land, as do animists, whose religions, institutions and festivals Christianity either destroyed or appropriated. I don't think the Church can legitimately complain about evolution of culture when it has, itself, been the beneficiary of this evolution in the past!

19 April 2012 at 15:14  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

I agree, but I'm saying that I think a better counter- argument against the chancellor is pointing to an old lady who can't afford to re-thatch her listed roof, than complaining that the Church can't afford to fix it's own, when it plainly can - it just would rather someone else paid.

I think the old lady should have the same benefits as the church. The principle here is that we shouldn't tax the up-keep of our heritage. It's a good cause in itself. As to whether the church has the money, again, I don't know about the CofE's finances, but when I was in the Cofe, it was down to the local parish to look after its building. Grants might come from other places, but on the whole, it was down to volunteers. It's a good cause already. Why tax it?

Now you want to say that there are better causes. But if that is the case, oughtn't we to have a varied scale of how much gift aid a charity can claim back, depending on the value of the charity. I think this is a blind alley myself.

when does a Keynesian stimulus become a "bad thing"?

I don't know whether I'm economically a conservative, but I think we are at crossed-purposes: it's not that this is an efficient way to stimulate the economy, but that the introduction of the VAT may actually harm the economy over all.

especially when deployed by men.

If you mean to imply that men cannot comment on abortions, then I would say that I wasn't commenting on abortion but on the fact that I am required by the state to fund them. In any case, none of us has been aborted so the "you don't know what it's like" argument cuts against abortion. But the real issue here is that it won't do to oppose church VAT breaks because you do not belong to the church and do not believe - unless you are in favour of me not having to support abortions, gay pride marches.

I'm always rather amused by the power attributed to Stonewall et al on this blog.

It comes from the fact that a kind of sexual orthodoxy is being imposed on the land, in which people lose their jobs - I think it should disturb all people who value freedom.

First of all, I don't see how secularism undermines the religious mind.

Depends on the kind of secularism. Secularism as meaning everyone is entitled to contribute in the public sphere regardless of religious belief or lack of it, is a secularism I agree with. What we are getting is a dogma that says religion should only be a private thing not a public thing (as we used to say about homosexuality). The best way to remove religion from public life is to point out that there are too many religions to be accommodated now - mutli-culturalism. That unfairly favours the non-religious.

After all, faith isn't dependent on reason, I can't disprove your belief in God any more than you can prove it. What has faith to fear from reason if it really is faith?

I don't associate secularism (in the objectionable sense) with reason. It is typically ignorant and prejudiced. For record, having studied theology and philosophy all my adult life, I do hold the view that atheism at least is irrational.

I don't think the Church can legitimately complain about evolution of culture when it has, itself, been the beneficiary of this evolution in the past!

I'm not objecting to evolution of culture - the church is much better at evolving in the long term than is secularism, which quickly becomes dated (just look back over the last 200 years, even in academic philosophy secular ideas struggle to last very long, they become extinct). What I object to is a dogma that seeks to silence some of us, in order to privilege others.

Now you've raised a number of objections to the church not having to pay VAT on buildings. I don't think you have managed to defend your argument in a consistent way - you are open to constant tu quoque objections.

19 April 2012 at 15:57  
Blogger Jon said...

Albert, my objections are consistent.

I don't think the Church merits special financial consideration since it is neither in need of the money, nor an especially deserving cause. The money allegedly being taken away would not noticeably impact the Church's financial resources should it be forced to shoulder the burden on its own. The fact that the Church centrally chooses to impoverish the parishes locally is its own business. Far be it from me to interfere!

The financial support available to the Church through the fund I've repeatedly referenced is in excess of that available to individuals in listed buildings who haven't been granted monastic lands to rent out or sell, nor have they drawn chancery fees from unwilling populaces for hundreds of years! These people are more deserving than the institution in my view.

I don't think you entirely grasp my point about Keynesianism and the implied value of tax-funding (or actually debt- funding currently) expenditure in order to stimulate future tax receipts. I'm not a conservative either, but I'm cynical about the value of things that don't nudge up productivity (like, say, education spending) in stimulating tax receipts in the long run. This part of your argument is probably fallacious unless you're an ultra Keynesian. Therefore, you should stick to the cultural rather than economic value of Church maintenance.

Since you keep bringing up gay issues, how could Stonewall, and a group which numbers a very small proportion of the population impose an orthodoxy on an unwilling majority? This isn't the Raj! Stonewall don't have superior weaponry and a destroyer stationed off the coast! As I've said to the Inspector, if you'd like to test your thesis, start a political party! Otherwise, maybe it's time to wake up to the fact that every party in Parliament supports gay rights and almost everyone in parliament supports a woman's right to choose. And maybe there's an electoral (and maybe moral?), rather than a conspiratorial reason for that? So if you don't want to support gay pride marches or abortions, form a "no gay pride or abortions" party. I doubt Stonewall would try to or could stop you (and I think they'd lose a lot of donations if they did).

"The best way to remove religion from public life is to point out that there are too many religions to be accommodated now - mutli-culturalism. That unfairly favours the non-religious." I don't think I've ever tried to exclude a religious view on this blog (how hard would that be?!) But Christianity has competed and won in the religious marketplace throughout its existence - why are you so afraid now? You're on home turf? And if, as you say, secular ideas come and go, you'll get the last laugh. The religious perspective is amply accommodated in our public life, not least in a permanent clerical presence in our legislative body.

I agree that some secularists are unpleasant, but you should see some religionists. For a people supposedly divinely inspired, you don't half sound diabolical sometimes. And you don't have to look very much further than this blog for evidence.

19 April 2012 at 16:37  
Blogger Jon said...

-- continued--


I've raised a number of objections, because I have a number of objections. You've tried to shift the goalposts to abortion and tried to goad me on gay issues, but the fact is that you can't come up with a single good reason for tax payer funding for Church buildings (which you now appear to have conceded is what the Church is effectively lobbying for) other than "they look nice". I agree with you on that point, I'm just not sure that that sits comfortably when the landowner complaining of poverty has £5.2 billion in its back pocket.

I think that the Government will probably backtrack - it's already fighting on too many fronts as it is. But I wouldn't interpret that as tacit agreement with the rest of your agenda by the majority of the population. If you disagree, I'll help you raise your deposit for your chosen parliamentary seat. I can't promise I'll vote for you though.

19 April 2012 at 16:37  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

The fact that the Church centrally chooses to impoverish the parishes locally is its own business.

The point I am arguing about is the original VAT issue, not whether the church should receive extra handouts - I'm much less sure about the latter. However, I don't think the picture of a CofE awash with money is one I recognise from either my experience of the CofE or from the various ways it gets reported in the media. On the other hand, the CofE isn't the only church in this. The Catholic Church I suspect does not have the kind of money hanging around that you say the CofE does. Would you be happier with the Catholic Church having the VAT break if it can be shown to be too poor to pay for its own buildings?

I don't think you entirely grasp my point about Keynesianism

I probably don't - I'm not an economist (though if the last 10 years are anything to go by, most economists don't understand about money either). What I am arguing however, is that one need to put all the pros and cons together. Yes, I dare say by imposing VAT the Government may win overall, I'm not sure, but it would be a trifle and that needs to be taken into account against the disbenefits to the community.

how could Stonewall, and a group which numbers a very small proportion of the population impose an orthodoxy on an unwilling majority?

I don't think I've kept mentioning Stonewall - in fact, I haven't. But your point is the problem, there seems to be an auto-legitimacy claimed by a majority. Perhaps the majority cannot see any moral difference between gay and heterosexual relationships. But the fact is that the fact that the majority think X does not make X true, and does not of itself provide grounds to discriminate against persons who cannot support X. There is a curious irony that a gay movement which has gained support as a minority (quite rightly up to a point) has taken to appealing to the majority view to silence or unemploy the minority who stick with traditional morality.

I don't think I've ever tried to exclude a religious view on this blog


From the tone of your last post, it perhaps sounds as if I previously came across as being more aggressive on this - or worse - more personal than I intended. If so I apologise. This has been a good tempered discussion and I wouldn't want to make you feel I wanted it any other way.

I'm not saying you are trying to exclude religious views, I am saying that anything that enables naturalism unjustly to superordinate other world-views is wrong and anti-democratic. Naturalism is very difficult to justify - even non-theist writers are beginning to realise this. Therefore, to build policy around naturalism, as if naturalism is neutral is unjust. That is my point.

And if, as you say, secular ideas come and go, you'll get the last laugh.

Oh we will. I do not doubt it - humanity is too religious and secularism is too vacuous. The question is, what will follow it?

19 April 2012 at 17:49  
Blogger Albert said...

Cont.

The religious perspective is amply accommodated in our public life, not least in a permanent clerical presence in our legislative body.

But I don't think it makes much appreciable difference. In fact, it is usually used to count against us - as you just did. From a purely pragmatic point of view, disestablishment and certainly removal of the Lords Spiritual would be good for the Church. (And it's worth remembering that my own bishops are not there and that the CofE is so compromised that half the bishops are likely to vote in support of the secular cause!)

For a people supposedly divinely inspired, you don't half sound diabolical sometimes. And you don't have to look very much further than this blog for evidence.

We don't claim that we are divinely inspired, but yes, when we sin this is a cause for shame and repentance.

You've tried to shift the goalposts to abortion and tried to goad me on gay issues

I haven't tried to goad you onto those issues. If you want to argue that the VAT should be imposed on all such buildings then that's one thing. I have felt however, that actually you particularly don't like the Church receiving this benefit because it is the Church, if that is true, and you support tax-payers supporting gay pride marches and abortions then I think you are inconsistent - but perhaps I have misunderstood you.

the fact is that you can't come up with a single good reason for tax payer funding for Church buildings (which you now appear to have conceded is what the Church is effectively lobbying for) other than "they look nice".

I don't think that's fair at all - as the above would show.

I think that the Government will probably backtrack - it's already fighting on too many fronts as it is.

I think we can agree on that: this government is really politically quite inept. I suspect we won't have another Etonian as leader of the Tories for a while... In the end, one has to ask when the last time DC or GO sat on a local fundraising committee, made up of hard-working pensioners.

19 April 2012 at 17:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Youthpasta. Thank God for planning regulations. Every now and then some concern wishes to build a gin palace in the beautiful Cotswolds. They soon abandon their design when the consent that is eventually offered, far from what they envisaged, even denotes the mix of the mortar. So fine is the detail now. Good thing too.

Your problem is a mere trifle, if only you were to realise it. To save money, the Inspector suggests your new vicar advertises in the local press to rent a room in a private house say, Friday to Monday, and goes back to his family in between. It’s what the rest of us would do. The 14 months left is not that long a time…

19 April 2012 at 18:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Albert. An observation from the Inspector if you will. You put yourself in the position of interegee to that man whose crowd would sweep us from the churches in vindictive revenge. And just look at his final rant. He was toying with you all along; and yes, you did ask for it. Don’t let it happen again. There’s a good fellow.

19 April 2012 at 18:40  
Blogger Albert said...

I agree that gay rights people sometimes come across tom us as bitter and vindictive. But I don't think you are being fair to Jon. He's argued perfectly reasonably: I disagree with him, he disagrees with me. I don't think he's fair when he says I have no argument, but it's not a rant.

19 April 2012 at 19:08  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

You're too gracious. That last post was a self opinionated, self absorbed rant against Christianity - in my 'umble opinion.

19 April 2012 at 19:27  
Blogger len said...

Albert,
(19 April 2012 09:42)

Your statements 'Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book
and
'But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.'

This IMO a' total cop out'.
Because this means that you can add ANYTHING you wish to Scripture and call it 'tradition' because Jesus MIGHT have said or done this!.

I think you are trading on very dangerous ground and are perverting the Gospel.There are curses from God for anyone who does this!.

'But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!'(Galatians 1:8)

"Add thou not unto His words, lest He reprove thee, and thou be found a liar" Proverbs 30:6.

In our day there is the belief in “progressive revelation” that originates from outside the Word. What right does anyone have to teach what is not in Scripture as if it is Scripture? False teachers do not want to submit to its original intent, so they do not seek what Scripture actually means, instead, they conform it to what they want it to mean). They will look to 'another source' as their authority because they are not under God’s authority. This is why Paul admonishes us in 1 Corinthians 4:6: “not to think beyond what is written” (exceed or go past). Why? So pride will not have an opportunity to operate and puff us up. It is pride that makes one participate in false doctrine which makes him spiritually destructive to himself and others who listen to him.

The reason God is so adamant on this is because “The entirety of Your word is truth” (Psalms 119: 160). Proverbs 30:5-6: “Every word of God is pure; he is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.”

Also in the Book of Revelation,

"For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this Book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this Book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the Book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this Book" Revelation 22:18-19.

All who tread the course of 'adding to scripture'(however well meaning or with 'good intentions' do so at their own peril.

19 April 2012 at 19:42  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

Why do you do this? We both know that I will be able to answer your objections - if only because we have been over this over and over again. Of course, you will not be convinced - that is your prerogative. But the pattern that emerges is this:

You attack Catholics.
We defend ourselves.
Ten posts later, you accuse us of bullying you.

As surely as you think we are adding to the word of God (and note, I am not open to that objection because I explicitly excluded it), we believe you have cut off those bits you don't like and misinterpreting other bits. What's the point in the discussion?

19 April 2012 at 20:28  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

len

What has 'progressive revelation' got to do with this? I think you are misunderstanding the theological concept.

The Church believes it has a progression in it's understanding of revelation, not progressive revelation itself.

"The tradition which comes from the apostles develops in the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit. For there is a growth in the understanding of the realities and the words which have been handed down. This happens through the contemplation and study made by believers, who treasure these things in their hearts, through a penetrating understanding of the spiritual realities which they experience, and through the preaching of those who have received through episcopal succession the sure gift of truth. For, as the centuries succeed one another, the Church constantly moves forward toward the fullness of divine truth until the words of God reach their complete fulfillment in her"
(Vatican II, Dei Verbum 8)

St Paul actually wrote:

" ... that in us you may learn, that one be not puffed up against the other for another, above that which is written."

And, of course, the New Testament was not written when he wrote this! Paul and the Apostles preached to the first Christians.

We've been over all this before. The Holy Spirit was sent to bring the fullness of truth to the Church and to guide it until Christ's return. The Church was given the authority to loose and bind. And, the bible says not everything did was written down.

It seems to me it is you who is unbiblical.

19 April 2012 at 20:33  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Albert

He does it for others who may be reading and attempts to present a perverted view of Catholicism to undermine it.

The best thing to do is copy your replies, save them and simply repost them. I, for one, will not allow him to attack the Church without defending it.

So don't give up. That's what he's hoping for. Do not let him or his silent side-kick discourage you.

Okay, it was unkind and perhaps we shouldn't have, but that's what the Inspector and I used to call the weasel watch.

19 April 2012 at 20:40  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Bravo Dodo & Albert. Send the scoundrel packing. You are far too considerate of him. He won’t desist until he’s half drowned you two in the local pool....

19 April 2012 at 20:41  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Inspector

Do you suppose he's after my title as "... the most tedious communicant upon His Grace's blog”?

He shall not seize my crown!

19 April 2012 at 23:14  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Quite.

Like the Triple Crown, that headgear is yours for life.

19 April 2012 at 23:17  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

There’s telling you, hapless bird..

19 April 2012 at 23:26  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Then again, Dodo, the Archbishop is being somewhat unreasonable. There must be people in wheelchairs, ethnic types, gays and atheists queuing up to rob you of your eternal prize. Fair play, what ! Poor show, that spirit...

19 April 2012 at 23:48  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Ummmm .... the Triple Crown of Thoroughbred Racing? How kind. I shalltreasure the accolade.

Dr Cranmer have you ever considered annual honours on your birthday? The Cranmer Awards would attract considerable interest I'm sure.

Think of the fun you'd have dreaming up the categories, inviting nominations and then unilaterally deciding.

20 April 2012 at 00:04  
Blogger Oswin said...

Nah, that's the 'Triple Crown Toss-pot' award for knackered old nags, Dodo.

20 April 2012 at 00:45  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Oswin, my, my, you are in an abusive mood tonight.

The Triple Crown I alluded to is awarded to three year old thoroughbreds - the greatest accomplishment in horse racing.

And, of course I know it does not apply to me. Silly boy. Ah, but to dream, to dream.

20 April 2012 at 01:08  
Blogger len said...

I 'attack' the Catholic religious system and rightly so .It needs to be attacked because it has usurped the place of Christ and the Holy Spirit in salvation and placed a man in a dress on a golden throne who calls himself' God'.

If this Catholic religious system doesn`t set itself up to be attacked then nothing should be attacked we should tolerate every false religion on Earth.

I however refrain from attacking Catholic People(unless continually provoked by senseless remarks and misquoting of scriptures which makes' the flesh' break through) God loves Catholics and desires to free them from the chains that bind them.

"Unless I am convinced by proofs from Scriptures or by plain and clear reasons and arguments, I can and will not retract, for it is neither safe nor wise to do anything against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. God help me. Amen."

20 April 2012 at 08:02  
Blogger len said...

Albert(19 April 2012 20:28)

You seem to be implying that you can 'interpret Scripture'to attack Scripture.

I find this sinister.

20 April 2012 at 08:22  
Blogger Albert said...

Len,

You seem to be implying that you can 'interpret Scripture'to attack Scripture.

Of course you can. Scripture says so:

And the Devil took him to Jerusalem, and set him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to him, "If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here;
for it is written, `He will give his angels charge of you, to guard you,' and `On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'"
And Jesus answered him, "It is said, `You shall not tempt the Lord your God.'" And when the devil had ended every temptation, he departed from him until an opportune time.


You see? The Devil interprets scripture to attack scripture. This is why your constant quoting of scripture is indecisive. For scripture says:

So also our beloved brother Paul wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, speaking of this as he does in all his letters. 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.

You go on:

It needs to be attacked because it has usurped the place of Christ and the Holy Spirit in salvation

I'm sorry to say this to you Len, but I think you have made this move too often. You usurp the place of Christ and the Holy Spirit in salvation by setting yourself up in their place as the arbiter of scripture - despite repeated warnings in scripture against doing this, despite the fact that you can never defend your own position on scriptural terms in anything like a conclusive way and despite the fact that on any given point a large number of bible-believing Protestants will actually disagree with you - often enough siding with us.

On which note, how odd that you have included a nice quotation from Martin Luther: he would not have recognised your position on the Eucharist as scriptural, and this is the problem with Protestants like you: no evidence from scripture will convince you. But all that shows is that one of these two is correct:

(i) You are malicious in your interpretation of scripture.
(ii) Scripture is not formally sufficient.

Now I will not accuse you of (i) (though you set yourself up as judge of us in a similar way), but that just leaves (ii) which implies either God has allowed his revelation to be lost, so that we can never have the certitude of faith as proclaimed in scripture, or that he has left a Magisterium through which he himself interprets his own Word to us.

I will not go further for fear of being accused of bullying you.

20 April 2012 at 10:22  
Blogger Albert said...

How odd. I had posted a reply to Len but it seems to have disappeared. I can't believe that Cranmer has removed it as it was no different from the usual stuff posted here.

Dr C do you know what has happened to it?

20 April 2012 at 10:53  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Recovered.

Sometimes posts get picked out by the automated spam system.

20 April 2012 at 10:59  
Blogger Albert said...

Thank you - I was racking my brain to see if I could think of any reason why you had censored it! Glad to see it back.

20 April 2012 at 11:02  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Albert
Ah, but don't you understand? Anything and everything Luther got incorrect was due to inculcation from his former membership of the Catholic Church. This includes his views on the Jews and on Petrine and Church authority.

It would seem even the Holy Spirit cannot overcome this influence!

len
Why do you divide yourself into 'flesh' and 'spirit' so much? Surely you are one and these aspects interact?

20 April 2012 at 11:13  
Blogger Albert said...

You're quite right Dodo on Luther, and in doing so, you've added another argument against the formal sufficiency of scripture.

If this particular Protestant notion of scripture & Holy Spirit cannot overcome Luther's Catholic background, neither can it overcome a secular background, in which case, it fails completely I would have thought.

20 April 2012 at 11:21  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Albert/ Dodo/ Inspector:

A question if I may: do you regard Len, and protestants in general, as Christians?

20 April 2012 at 12:18  
Blogger Jon said...

Albert - thanks and apologies - I hadn't intended to take offence, but reading my post it appears I may have at least partly saddled up my high horse, but your post was very reasonable.

Let's agree to disagree on this as we've clearly exhausted the topic! I wouldn't want to even approach Dodo's olympian efforts at tedium generation!

Also - thank you for your defence. I enjoy a good argument, and that's what we've had, as opposed to the bully boy tactics too often employed by Dodo Dastardly and Inspector Muttlee!

I also wouldn't want you to "give up" as the Inspector implies. I'm not an evangelical agnostic, nor do I believe it's possible to make someone gay (any more than it is to make them straight) so evangelism there is futile too. I'm simply seeking to understand the world better.

20 April 2012 at 13:30  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Jocelyn
Yes I do regard most protestant sects as Christian and, as such, part of the world wide church. So does the Catholic Church. In error, misguided, schismatic, heretical and without an authentic priesthood or sacramental structure, but Christian.

20 April 2012 at 14:24  
Blogger Albert said...

Jocelyn,

A question if I may: do you regard Len, and protestants in general, as Christians?

Oh yes, absolutely. When you were proposing going back to the CofE you will recall I was rejoicing. The fullness of Christ is to be found in the Church Christ himself established, but his presence and his grace is to found in all Christian communities.

I guess your question arises because of the discussions we have with Len (and Ernst). These two Protestants seem ambivalent about whether we are Christians - certainly they think (and say) the Pope is the anti-Christ. This goes on, week in, week out, the same old points again and again.

I think they need answering. Firstly, and most importantly, when they assert unpleasant things about the Church, we should defend the Church - she is the bride of Christ, I would defend my wife if she were attacked, shouldn't I then defend the Bride of Christ? This is particularly the case because that same Bride - the Catholic Church - has given me great joy.

Secondly, because Len in particular seems to think he is the only person who believes in the Bible. He needs to be shown robustly that in the very least, other Christians can make that claim.

Thirdly, anyone else who reads these pages needs to see that Catholics can robustly defend themselves at the bar of scripture - otherwise some readers may think Catholics really are unscriptural. Why should he be allowed to convince other people of that, just because he is so aggressive and at times, rude?

20 April 2012 at 15:37  
Blogger Albert said...

Jon,

thanks and apologies

No problem at all - I was worrying that it was me that was at fault!

Let's agree to disagree on this as we've clearly exhausted the topic!

Yes, I think we've had a good discussion - thank you for your arguments, which have been helpful in clarifying some issues in my own mind.

I'm not an evangelical agnostic, nor do I believe it's possible to make someone gay (any more than it is to make them straight) so evangelism there is futile too.

I don't think you are either. One of the sadnesses to me is that in the present political climate, Christians seem to come across as being very anti-gay. But I think back to the 70s and 80s (well the literature on those decades anyway) and I think that the Church was very much more generous and welcoming to homosexuals than was the prevailing culture. It's a shame that we have reached the point where we Christians feel we need to take a stand because we think vital freedoms are at stake. But I really can understand why some people think we are unreasonable, especially when it gets caught up in suggestions (as you imply) of "curing" gay people.

20 April 2012 at 15:49  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

I wasn't denying your right to defend the church, Albert, just seeking some clarification. I'm afraid I've forgotten pretty much everything I ever knew about this kind of thing, and suspect I probably new very little to start with.

When I was growing Protestantism/ the Church of England were simply never mentioned - it was as if they did not exist. In my childhood ignorance I even bought a copy of the King James Bible and knew not that it wasn't a Catholic Bible. My knowledge now of the various different branches of Christianity and the differences between them is pitiful. But then, for the last 30 years I simply haven't given a monkey's about all that, so it's not surprising.

20 April 2012 at 15:49  
Blogger Albert said...

Jocelyn,

Sorry, I understand now.

I suppose the Church's teaching is this: God's revelation is fully known in Christ. There is real truth outside of Christianity - pride of place goes to Judaism of course - however, the fullness is to be found in Christ. The Church is clear that non-Catholic Christians really are Christians and are not in anything like the same state as non-Christians.

So how then are we to understand divisions between Christians? The Church itself is visibly one, both now and through the ages past and still to come. Other Christian communities are outside of the Church. On the other hand, God's grace is to be found outside of the Catholic Church in other Christian traditions. Their baptisms are valid for example. In this sense they are already share in a real, though imperfect sense in the communion of the Church Catholic. But the fullness is to be found in the unity of the faith of the Catholic Church.

The most recent authoritative explanation of this is Dominus Iesus which says this (the quotations are from Vatican II):

“This is the single Church of Christ... which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other Apostles to extend and rule her (cf. Mt 28:18ff.), erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth' (1 Tim 3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”.54 With the expression subsistit in, the Second Vatican Council sought to harmonize two doctrinal statements: on the one hand, that the Church of Christ, despite the divisions which exist among Christians, continues to exist fully only in the Catholic Church, and on the other hand, that “outside of her structure, many elements can be found of sanctification and truth”,55 that is, in those Churches and ecclesial communities which are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church.56 But with respect to these, it needs to be stated that “they derive their efficacy from the very fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church”.57

This makes a lot of sense to me because in many ways, Protestants actually claim less for themselves than Catholics claim for their Church. As someone put it, I do not believe any less in the Anglican ministry now that I am a Catholic, than I did as an Anglican, it's just that as a Catholic I have come to see there is so much more than I claimed had been given when I was an Anglican.

This is why conversions from Anglicanism are normally marked by lasting joy. As Blessed John Henry Newman wrote 20 years after his conversion:

I have been in perfect peace and contentment...it was like coming into port after a rough sea; and my happiness on that score remains to this day without interruption.

20 April 2012 at 16:28  
Blogger Albert said...

Sorry, I have terrible trouble with this new preview function. The second paragraph should read thus:

So how then are we to understand divisions between Christians? The Church itself is visibly one, both now and through the ages past and still to come. In this sense other Christian communities are outside of the Church. On the other hand, God's grace is to be found outside of the Catholic Church in other Christian traditions. Their baptisms are valid for example. In this sense they are already share in a real, though imperfect sense in the communion of the Church Catholic. But the fullness is to be found in the unity of the faith of the Catholic Church.

20 April 2012 at 16:29  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Wait for it ....

20 April 2012 at 18:32  
Blogger len said...

Catholics and Muslims draw their 'authority' from the Scriptures but they then refuse to accept the authority of the Scriptures!.

I do not consider the majority of Catholics as 'Christian' in the true sense of the word as they follow a heretical religious system.

There are many differences between Catholics and Christians and the path to Salvation is just one of them. We can know that we have eternal life and we can have assurance of our salvation because of the greatness of Christ’s sacrifice. Christ’s sacrifice does not need to be re-offered or re-presented. Hebrews 7:27 says, “He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.” Hebrews 10:10 declares, “…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” 1 Peter 3:18 exclaims, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God…” Christ’s once for all sacrifice was absolutely and perfectly sufficient. Jesus declared on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus’ atoning sacrifice was the full payment for all of our sins (1 John 2:2). As a result, all of our sins are forgiven and we are promised eternal life in Heaven the moment we receive the gift God offers us – salvation through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).
However the Catholic' religious system' wishes to retain control over the people and uses the constant and ongoing 'salvation process' as a 'lever to obtain that.

(This is just one of the differences between 'Biblical Christianity' and Catholicism.)

There are many, many more!.

20 April 2012 at 18:40  
Blogger Albert said...

(Marvellously timed Dodo!)

Len,

Catholics...draw their 'authority' from the Scriptures but they then refuse to accept the authority of the Scriptures!.

Outrageous! All we deny is your authority over scripture.

I do not consider the majority of Catholics as 'Christian' in the true sense of the word as they follow a heretical religious system.

By which you mean we reject your particular religious system. But in rejecting your particular religious system we join with many Protestants and the entirety of Bible readers prior to Protestant Reformation.

There are many differences between Catholics and Christians and the path to Salvation is just one of them. We can know that we have eternal life and we can have assurance of our salvation because of the greatness of Christ’s sacrifice. Christ’s sacrifice does not need to be re-offered or re-presented. Hebrews 7:27 says, “He sacrificed for their sins once for all when He offered Himself.” Hebrews 10:10 declares, “…we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” 1 Peter 3:18 exclaims, “For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God…” Christ’s once for all sacrifice was absolutely and perfectly sufficient. Jesus declared on the cross, “It is finished” (John 19:30). Jesus’ atoning sacrifice was the full payment for all of our sins (1 John 2:2). As a result, all of our sins are forgiven and we are promised eternal life in Heaven the moment we receive the gift God offers us – salvation through Jesus Christ (John 3:16).

All of which we believe (unless I've misread something here). But then you say:

the constant and ongoing 'salvation process' as a 'lever to obtain that.

You are confusing too things here: on the one hand the fact that salvation is won for us fully and completely in Christ (once for all), but on the other hand, that salvation must be infused into us (a process).

It is plainly contrary to scripture to infer from the completion of salvation on the cross to the belief that there is no on-going process of salvation in us. For scripture says:

Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.

and again, St Paul tells us:

Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,

As for the Catholic Church controlling people through this system, the Church does nothing more than continue the apostolic ministry:

All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We beseech you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.

and our Lord says:

If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.

while James tells us:

Is any among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord;
and the prayer of faith will save the sick man, and the Lord will raise him up; and if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.


Catholic Christianity is perfectly biblical, Len, but the principles by which you have attacked us, seem in plain conflict with the plain meaning of scripture.

20 April 2012 at 18:59  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

This brings out some of the complexity that makes Christianity so fascinating. I'm not sure I can fathom it all out though in the short time left to me! I shall nevertheless make the attempt in the company of Diarmaid MacCulloch, Alister McGrath, and hopefully the curate at the church round the corner.

20 April 2012 at 19:43  
Blogger Albert said...

Jocelyn,

I'm not sure I can fathom it all out

This is why Christ was so generous and kind in giving us the teaching office of the Church - so that we don't have to work it all out for ourselves. It isn't meant to be some kind of intellectual test. Instead, it is a question of us loving and trusting in Jesus!

Diarmaid MacCulloch, Alister McGrath

Excellent writers, both of them, but both Anglican clergymen (albeit of quite different sorts - MacCulloch pretty liberal, McGrath orthodox Evangelical - though it was his big book on justification which convinced me that the Protestant doctrine of justification is not the doctrine Christians believed in the 1500 years prior to the Protestant Reformation).

20 April 2012 at 20:27  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Well Albert, any suggested Catholic writers? Not that I would expect them to be any less biased than you seem to think the Anglican writers are :-)

20 April 2012 at 20:32  
Blogger Albert said...

Oh no, I'm not saying Anglican writers are biased (as I said, McGrath put a very honest and fair case for the Catholic view of justification, though I expect he is nearer to that than is say Len, because Len's position just hasn't stood up to historical scrutiny). I would say every writer has a stance and it's just useful to be aware of what it is. MacCulloch in particular has his own agenda. On the subject of Anglican writers I would thoroughly recommend NT Wright. As for Catholic writers, it rather depends on the subject (and how heavy you like your books to be!)

20 April 2012 at 20:50  
Blogger Jocelyn Knockersbury said...

Think I may have read something of Wright's already. I have realised during the last year or so that my mind and body no longer possess the powers they once did. I tend to fall asleep after a few pages, unless I do my reading in the morning! And my ability to retain facts seems to have deserted me. If you have any suggestions fire away though.

20 April 2012 at 21:02  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Jocylyn
On my return to the Church I came across a wonderful book, very simple and very basic. It's probably out of print now but was called 'Our Faith' and the author was simply a Priest. People often leave books at the back of Church too. Believe it or not, the cathecism can be a good read too.

I guess what I'm saying is that once you start looking for answers they tend to just pop up and you may find your own book.

As Albert said, the journey isn't all intellectual.

len
What a mean spirited little man you are. Catholics aren't Christian!

You remind me of the twisted nutcase who, the very day after Blessed John Paul's death, was publically rejoicing in my Town Centre's square that he was in Hell alongwith all other deceased Catholics. I swear, I nearly throttled him and it was only Mrs Dodo's ability to quell my ire that prevented it.

20 April 2012 at 21:44  
Blogger Albert said...

How about Catholicism for Dummies (ignore the title, from what I've seen of this book, it's very good) or Catholicism: A Very Short Introduction by Gerald O'Collins?

20 April 2012 at 21:45  
Blogger Albert said...

I swear, I nearly throttled him and it was only Mrs Dodo's ability to quell my ire that prevented it.

Mrs Dodo must be some woman!

20 April 2012 at 21:46  
Blogger Albert said...

Very often Jocelyn, you can't go wrong with Catholic Truth Society booklets. There's probably a book stall at the back of your local parish, pick a title that grabs you and read it!

20 April 2012 at 21:48  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Albert, She is!

However, the poisonous weasel was left in no doubt about my views. Like him, I exercised my full right of freedom of expression and even raised a warm applause from the bystanders many of whom were Catholic.

20 April 2012 at 21:52  
Blogger The Way of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

That 'She' should be lower case - I wouldn't want anyone forming a view that I am under Mrs Dodo's control.

"Yes, sweetheart, I'll delete that last comment. Promise."

20 April 2012 at 21:56  
Blogger Albert said...

She is!

Good for her!

A good wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels...She girds her loins with strength and makes her arms strong.
(See Proverbs 31 for a full biblical check-list.)

and even raised a warm applause from the bystanders many of whom were Catholic.

Good for you! Well done, good and faithful servant

20 April 2012 at 21:59  
Blogger Longinquus Via of Fais Dodo the Dude said...

Thank you.

I'm not sure Mrs Dodo girds her loins and I hesitate to ask!

20 April 2012 at 22:25  

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