Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Archbishop Vincent Nichols hails 'the end of the Reformation in England'

It's funny. You hear absolutely nothing from Westminster's Roman Catholic Cathedral for months and months on end, and then up pops Archbishop Vincent Nichols - leader of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales - with a triumphal declaration that the death of Diana, Princess of Wales, marked 'the end of the Reformation in England'.

It's funny, because the Archbishop was present with a couple of cardinals at Canterbury Cathedral last week for the Enthronement of the Most Reverend Justin Welby as the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury. And he will have heard fulsome tribute paid to His Grace on the anniversary of his martyrdom, in the presence of the Prince of Wales, the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition and sundry other senior politicians, not to mention religious leaders from all over the world. He will have heard how the Book of Common Prayer renewed the Church, 'leaving a legacy of worship, of holding to the truth of the gospel, on which we still draw'.

His Grace could not quite see if the Roman contingent said 'Amen' at the conclusion of his Collect, but if that Inauguration ceremony somehow represented the continuation of 'the end of the Reformation in England', then let it go on ending.

John Bingham's article in The Daily Telegraph is remarkable on a number of levels, not least of which is the adherence of an Ulster Prod to the Telegraph's house style of referring to the 'Catholic approach..'; 'Catholic practices..'; 'Catholic voice..' and 'Catholic understanding..' but 'protestant reserve' and 'protestant reformers'. Even the word 'Reformation' becomes 'reformation' beneath the title of the piece.

The Reformation has ended alright - but only in the offices of The Daily Telegraph which, under the Roman Catholic Barclay brothers, has incrementally morphed into a broadsheet tract of the Catholic Herald. Some of their (shared) journalists are pleasant, polite and generously understanding of the constitutional position of the Church of England. A few, however, are virulently, almost pathologically anti-Anglican, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Establishment keeps Christianity at the heart of the British Constitution. Those who rejoice in its weaknesses and flaws, praying daily to Mary for its demise, have seemingly little understanding of history, theology or sociology. And they certainly lack something of the humility and tenderness exhorted by Pope Francis. Even Benedict Brogan tweeted 'about time too' in response to Bingham's news of the end. Do these people not recognise the fons et origo of their liberties?

The Church of England will not be replaced by a victorious Roman Catholic Church: the alternative to the Anglican Settlement is a legal framework of secularity accompanied by an aggressive secularism, under which Christians of all denominations will find themselves despised and rejected.

Perhaps it was just wishful thinking, but Archbishop Vincent is also wrong in his reading of the death of Diana. The weeping and wailing and showering of the Princess’s hearse with flowers did not 'show that the public is reverting to a “Catholic” approach to death after centuries of protestant reserve'. On the contrary: they show an emotional incontinence and outpouring of vague spirituality in an age of materialism and humanism.

The death of Diana in 1997 might indeed represent some sort of 'watershed in British history', but it is not 'the end of the Reformation in England'. His Grace has written previously about 'Dianafication': 'the seeking of a shared and public grief at any given opportunity; the idea that a method of mourning is driven more by selfishness and secularism than by sincerity of emotion; corporate emoting; cumulative and protracted obsession with feelings and intuition.'

This is not a return to Roman Catholicism, but a symptom consistent with the postmodern condition: logic and reason are supplanted by emoting and appeals to the spiritual: politics is no longer the pursuit of policy that works, but policy that feels right. The pendulum has swung towards emotion and the need for spiritual experience. People are no more yearning for the rigidities of Roman Catholicism than they are the strictures of Islam. The age of deference, of respect for institutions, of reference for authority has been replaced by a pervasive à la carte spirituality in which anything goes. The only core philosophy being sought is the self-indulgent mood of sensory satisfaction.

And prayers for the souls of the dead were pagan for millennia before the advent of Catholicism: if they are being 'rediscovered', as the Archbishop avers, that rediscovery isn't quite going hand-in-hand with wholesale submission to the Magisterium of the Church of Rome. And what is particularly Catholic about roadside shrines, flowers and photographs?

His Grace will address one final point, and that is the narrative of 'returning' and 'rediscovering'. Archbishop Vincent said that 'English people were rediscovering their ancient Catholic “voice”'. The thing is, we never lost it. The Church of England is Catholic. We recite the Nicene Creed without hesitation: 'We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.' We pray in our intercessions: 'Loving God, hear us as we pray for your holy Catholic Church'. The point was reiterated by the Archbishop of York during last week's Inauguration:
The Church of England is part of the one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds; which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty- nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons...
The Archbishop of Canterbury responded:
I, Justin Portal Welby, do so affirm, and accordingly declare my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness..
The Archbishop of Burundi blessed Archbishop Justin with:
Que Dieu l’Esprit Saint vous accorde sagesse et discernement pour ouvrir à toutes et à tous les richesses de la Foi catholique.
The Faith which was rendered in English in the Order of Service with an upper-case 'C':
God the Holy Spirit grant you wisdom and understanding that you may open to all people the riches of the Catholic Faith.
The Church of England is part of a Worldwide ('ecumenical') Communion in which the Catholic Christian tradition is enriched and complemented by the spiritual and theological insights of the Reformation. They are not distinct and separate: they inform and enrich one another. The Catholic tradition in England heeds and remembers the Reformation protest, and the Reformation attends to and observes the Catholic tradition. Whatever the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster may preach, pronounce or believe, the Reformation in England is not at an end. As Bishop Hugh Latimer said to Bishop Nicholas Ridley as they were burned at the stake together: "Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God's grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out."


Blogger Anabaptist said...

A few years ago I had the privilege of attending a meeting ('service') in St Chad's RC cathedral, Birmingham, presided over by Vincent Nicholls, then RC Bishop of B'ham. The speaker was NT Wright, then (Anglican) Bishop of Durham. It wasn't a full-on mass. I shook hands with both men at the end as they stood outside to greet people as they left. I am very surprised to learn that that such a man really considered that the death of Diana marked the end of the English Reformation.

26 March 2013 at 11:32  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Perhaps he was referring to the "reformation" in the Catholic Church post Vatican II. I certainly hope so.

26 March 2013 at 12:01  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

If Diana's funeral represented a return to Catholicism, then I for one want no part of it.

I agree entirely with your analysis. Christianity itself is turning more and more towards emotion and the 'feel good' factor. The Gospel message is daily watered down as the authority of the Church, as the supposed proclaimer of revealed God's will, is surrendering itself to this "self-indulgent mood of sensory satisfaction" to which you refer.

26 March 2013 at 12:13  
Blogger Corrigan said...

The Church of England is part of a Worldwide ('ecumenical') Communion in which the Catholic Christian tradition is enriched and complemented by the spiritual and theological insights of the Reformation.

Quite incorrect. Protestantism is the reduction of Catholicism; it does not in any way enrich it.

Heresy - “the dislocation of some complete and self-supporting scheme by the introduction of a novel denial of some essential part therein". Hilaire Belloc

26 March 2013 at 13:08  
Blogger IanCad said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 March 2013 at 13:29  
Blogger IanCad said...

So, if Archbishop Nichols has declared that the Protestant faith has been routed then are we to understand that the victory of error over truth is final?

I think not. This false shepherd may delude himself but there are millions who do not bow the knee to Rome.

He wrote:
“The Catholic understanding of saints is that they are alive in heaven and they are attentive to our efforts here, and help us with their prayers.---"

Absolute unvarnished Paganism. The high road to Spiritualism. A total perversion of the Gospel.

We have no other conduit to God but Jesus Christ our Lord.
He sits at the right hand of God. He is our Advocate. When He comes again every eye shall see Him and His reward will be with Him. (Rev. 22:12)

To believe that monsters such as Saint Ignatius (Loyola,) or St Francis (Xavier}are in Heaven and can hear our prayers is a profitable fiction.

If King David is dead and in the grave as the inspired word states (Acts 2:29} Then the claim that the good the bad and the ugly gain direct access to Paradise can only be held in stark contrast to the plain word of scripture.

26 March 2013 at 13:40  
Blogger Nick MS said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

26 March 2013 at 14:15  
Blogger michael north said...

The mass hysteria accompanying the funeral of Princess Diana was not a sign that England was returning to its Catholic roots; it was a sign that England (or London, at least) had turned into California.

26 March 2013 at 15:21  
Blogger Gary said...

The pope is anti-Christ!

26 March 2013 at 15:50  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Thanks for that ringing denunciation of papist idolatry, IanCad - it almost rivals Gary's observation in its depth, reason and theological insight.

Before I don 16th century costume and smash up a shrine, however, there is one thing I was hoping to have clarified - why is it that asking living Christians to pray for us in times of trial, as Protestants frequently do, is not idolatrous, but asking those who have gone before, and are equally members of the body of Christ, to pray for us, is...?

26 March 2013 at 15:59  
Blogger Pétrus said...

This post and its comments have brightened up the day of this poor Catholic.

26 March 2013 at 16:17  
Blogger Preacher said...

A very good report Dr Cranmer. It will take more than the opinion of a Roman Catholic Bishop to extinguish the reformed Christian Church, not only in this country, but throughout the world.
I cannot fathom how the untimely,sad death of Princess Diana fits into the equation.
Although I would not class myself as an Anglican, but simply as a born again believer. I have worked with other brothers & sisters of many Protestant churches. Baptist, Methodist, Anglican, Free Churches such as House Churches etcetera. All would be classified as 'Protestant'.
So if the end has come to the reformed faith it has to include all of them as well.
The Kingdom of God has been built on the Blood of the martyrs.
"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints". The first of which was His own dear son whose sacrifice we remember at this time. The Cross & the Tomb are both empty & Christ has been sacrificed once for all. Now He lives forever more. Not in ritual, but in reality & in person.

Blessings on you Dr Cranmer & on all of good heart who post here.

26 March 2013 at 16:39  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Now there’s an indignant rebuff if ever there was !

Anyway, The age of deference, of respect for institutions, of reference for authority has been replaced by a pervasive à la carte spirituality in which anything goes. The only core philosophy being sought is the self-indulgent mood of sensory satisfaction.

Forget the people – one can’t help feeling that this is the heritage of a church on it’s own, away from communion with Rome. Anything does indeed go in the CoE and the top man is now powerless to put an end to it. The reprobate bishops and clergy will gang together and say to ++Welby, “Who the hell are you to put us right”. Far from being the Conservative party at prayer, the CoE is doing a bloody good impression of St Trinians. The clergy now selfishly self indulge themselves, and without fear of discipline.

The weeping and wailing and showering of the Princess’s hearse with flowers did not 'show that the public is reverting to a “Catholic” approach to death after centuries of protestant reserve'. On the contrary: they show an emotional incontinence and outpouring of vague spirituality in an age of materialism and humanism.

If this is true, then why are the public behaving like that. It can only be the failure of the CoE. That’s what the church is for, by the way. Not to keep in the memory the execution of long dead episcopal heretics, but to harness the natural religious aspect of humanity today and have it express itself as Christianity would have it.

Christianity lost something at the creation of Anglicanism. It lost the spirit of northern Roman Catholicism, allowing a church on the back foot to entrust the Italians to run the show for half a millennium. Ask yourself this, which would you truly want to be - a continuing protester, or a northern RC ?

26 March 2013 at 17:15  
Blogger Simon said...

Leave the poor man alone. His press office has just told him that Diana has died.

26 March 2013 at 17:48  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

"why is it that asking living Christians to pray for us in times of trial, as Protestants frequently do, is not idolatrous, but asking those who have gone before, and are equally members of the body of Christ, to pray for us, is...?" Perhaps because one lot can hear you whilst here on earth and who can also offer practical help with that suffering whereas the others cannot? (Luke 16:19-31). It's called a pointless exercise in futility, old fruit but when has that ever stopped Rome.

"Heresy - “the dislocation of some complete and self-supporting scheme by the introduction of a novel denial of some essential part therein". " Where does one even begin with Romish fables..:-{ Started around 350 AD in Rome and been going merrily along perdition road ever since. Hilarious Blofeld.

26 March 2013 at 17:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Greetings Blofeld, rather good to see you and your equally geriatric cat are still with us.

Now the point is this. The bible prohibits summoning up the deceased. What does that tell you ? Yes – they can hear ! They are around, but we are not to contact them on a one to basis...

26 March 2013 at 18:27  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

or even 'one to one basis'

26 March 2013 at 18:28  
Blogger IanCad said...

Darter Noster,

Those who have gone before are dead. No incantations, rites or works of man can make them otherwise. They are in the grave, and, at the last trump those who are Christ's will rise with him to the ressurection of life and the wicked to the ressurection of judgement.

It is not only pointless to pray to the departed, it is an affront to God's clear word.

"or casts spells, or who is a medium or spiritist or who consults the dead." Deut. 18:11

We are counselled to pray for one another as Matthew 5:44 and James 5:16, make quite clear.


26 March 2013 at 18:48  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

He's an RC Bishop.
And, therefore, by definition ..
A professional liar & blackmailer.

Don't bother......

26 March 2013 at 18:50  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Odd statement, but strange and unwanted things do happen.

Let's not assume the Reformation was on the home straight by 1600 though. One finds the letters to the churches a bit of a challenge:

Revelation 3:1-2 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write: ‘The words of him who has the seven spirits of God and the seven stars.“‘I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God.

Interesting 6th paragraph - I read something almost identical a couple of months ago in the writings of someone around 1832 - slowly coming true.

26 March 2013 at 19:13  
Blogger Corrigan said...

G. Tingey,

Replace the phrase "RC bishop" with the word "Jew". Then tell us again about how people like you are an evolutionary leap for mankind.

26 March 2013 at 19:25  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

We were never privy to the mechanics of after death. You could say that is the real test of faith. To believe in Christ and to accept that...

26 March 2013 at 19:30  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

The public response to Diana's death was a really curious thing. I recall on the Sunday that the TV was effectively blanked for the whole day, playing sombre music over a still picture of something like a candle. It was miserable outside too, despite it being August I think. The radio seemed to be playing I'll Be Missing You by Puff Daddy on loop. The whole week was an interminable stream of maudlin stuff on TV and radio, with the newspapers worrying about where the Queen etc was and whether the monarchy would survive. It's no wonder really that loads of people went into a sort of mass hysteria. Crikey, even I felt sad and depressed about it.

26 March 2013 at 19:34  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Inspector, You have the air of a modern day Hilaire Belloc!

'The Great Heresies', by Belloc, is a sweeping analysis of the background and outcome of the Reformation.

"The great religious upheaval which so swiftly turned into a
religious revolution was envisaged by the contemporaries of its origins as an effort to put right the corruptions, errors and spiritual crimes present in the spiritual body of Christendom. At the beginning of the movement no one worth consideration would have contested for a moment the
necessity for reform ... The crying
necessity for putting things right, the clamour for it, had been rising
during more than a century and was now, in the second decade of the
sixteenth century, come to a head."

This reformation within Christianity turned, over time, for diverse reasons, into a revolution that divided the Church.

"There was no constructive doctrine abroad in opposition to the ancient body of doctrine by which our fathers had lived, until a man of genius appeared ... This man was a Frenchman, Jean
Cauvin. He was ... certainly the founder of a new religion."

"For John Calvin it was who set up a counter-Church ... He framed a complete new theology, strict and consistent, wherein there was no room for priesthood or sacraments ..."

He goes on:

"Though the iron Calvinist affirmations (the core of which was an admission of evil into the Divine nature by the permission of but One Will in the universe) have rusted away, yet his vision of a Moloch God remains; and the coincident Calvinist devotion to material success, the Calvinist
antagonism to poverty and humility, survive in full strength."

"This mighty French genius launched his Word nearly twenty years
after the religious revolution had begun: round that Word the battle of Church and counter-Church was fought out; and the destruction of Christian unity, which we call the Reformation, was essentially for more than a century to become the product of a vivid effort, enthusiastic as early Islam had been, to replace the ancient Christian thing by Calvin's new

"Henceforward it was taken for granted that our civilization must
continue divided. There was to be a Protestant culture side by side with the Catholic culture ... the old moral unity which came of our universal Catholicism was ruined."

26 March 2013 at 19:39  
Blogger bluedog said...

A truly superb post, Your Grace.

The idea of the primacy of Rome suffuses the entire RCC and most of its adherents. Some, a very few, are enlightened. The majority simply cannot conceive of any collegiate form of Christianity wherein Christ's Church consists of all those members of humanity who look to Christ for salvation.

Your communicant suspects that the RCC imagines the queue outside the Pearly Gates to be a bit like the queue at immigration at Heathrow - EU citizens and others, only its RCs and the rest. At the final reckoning they assume that only RCs will be waved through without a second glance, and all this despite Vatican II.

One could be forgiven for thinking that Archbishop Nicholls plans a posthumous conversion for Princess Diana so that she may be canonized in order to be drafted as a recruiting sargent.

It is possible to completely overestimate the lasting influence of Diana and Nicholls has successfully done so.

26 March 2013 at 20:03  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The most divisive Church has been and is the Roman Catholic Church.

The early church had four divisions, Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome.

'Rome' did not become prominent until Constantine the Great conquered it and legalized Christianity (he apparantly remained a pagan until his 'deathbed conversion'probably covering all the odds). He gave Pope Sylvester authority over the military there--he was the last humanitarian pope and his successors used force to convert Christians.

Of course Constantine returned to Greece and made the Greek Church supreme.

About three centuries after his death, a forged document appeared called "The Donation of Constantine." Therein it suggests that Peter gave the "keys" to the Pope. That document can be read online and it was originally laughed at by other churches, and proved a fake by Jesuits, but nevertheless, Rome likes the idea and has used it ever since despite it being a forgery.

So Catholics pointing at the Reformers(who were disillusioned Catholics Priests trying to put the Catholic Church back on course is laughable)

26 March 2013 at 20:09  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

"We are the Body of Christ" - where is the evidence to suggest that the saints who have departed cease to play a role in that mystical communion in which all Christians share? As Christ said to the thief on the Cross, "This day you will be with me in Paradise." The nature of our mystical incorporation into the Body of Christ joins us all in a way which transcends time and space, which is why the idea that the saints who have departed can join their prayers with those of us below is one of the oldest Christian beliefs; Hebrews 12:1 - "Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us..."

Invocation of saints is not paganism, and nor is it necromancy; it recognises that our mystical union in Christ with all faithful Christians transcends even death.

26 March 2013 at 20:28  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Damian Thompson, whose visage graces Your Grace’s pulpit, avers that Archbishop Nichols holds to a ‘policy of never saying anything memorable on any subject’. Perhaps we should add ‘or sensible’.

26 March 2013 at 20:34  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter Damian, one isn’t sure if Cranmer really believes that Henry VIII had it right. A new improved church the true heir to St Peter. Certainly, he put to death REAL protestants when he could get his hands on them. If so, then Cranmer conveniently shields his eyes from what happened afterwards during Edward VI.

There is something intrinsically wrong with a movement that is so proud of it’s origins of division. It’s just not right, sure you’ll agree. It stinks of a belief that the Christian church was worshipping Satan, and not, as the truth is, an organisation at the renaissance looking for funds to create our splendid western heritage. So what if indulgences were sold. There’s no better way of saying you’re sorry than by parting with hard cash. And of course, a poor man could be absolved for nothing. When this man suggested Dodo was rehabilitated by some serious money giving, to the Retired Anglican Clergy fund, no less, he was met with rejection. Redemption was available to a thief on a cross, but not to an oft pain in the arse fowl...

26 March 2013 at 20:41  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Any objective look at the Church at the time of the reformation movement can only conclude it was riddled with human corruption and in need of change.

Whilst I believe in purgatory for good, sound theological reasons, the very idea of purchasing redemption is abhorrent. So too the financial machinery that accompanied so many great Church offices. And the sacraments were also becoming reduced to mere ritual.

26 March 2013 at 21:00  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Peter Martyr and Bucer were key teachers at the time of the Reformation. Calvin is a convenient target for Belloc, but it wasn't Calvin's new creed. I remember better things of Belloc than that quoted above. Justification by faith alone is more historic than the early church fathers or the Roman system - time they came back to the flock - they are very welcome.

26 March 2013 at 21:35  
Blogger IanCad said...

Darter Noster @ 20:28,

While scripture is inspired punctuation is not.

You are completely misunderstanding Luke 23:43.

"And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise."

Christ did not enter Paradise until after three days.

If the comma is placed after Today then the text makes sense and, indeed, is in harmony with the rest of the Bible.
Some Bibles have a notation that the comma is supplied as there were none in the original texts.

To suggest that when we die we go straight to Heaven may be comforting but it completely negates the necessity of our Lord's second coming and is entirely contrary to the teachings of scripture.

26 March 2013 at 21:47  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...


Not entirely contrary old chap, and we don't have to resort to commas on that point. Paul wanted to depart to be absent from the body but present with the Lord. Stephen was welcomed into heaven by a risen Christ but pious men buried his body.

Our spirits go to be with Christ, our bodies are raised and clothed with incorruptibility at the resurrection.

No conflict, just joy.

26 March 2013 at 22:00  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

And anyway, there were 40 days of resurrection life on earth before the ascension so pinning metaphysics to seconds and hours has to be approached a bit more carefully.

26 March 2013 at 22:03  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

As Rasher Bacon says, trying to make metaphysics work on a human time-scale is pointless. Christ is fully divine, as well as fully human, and the divine is present at all times and in all places.

"I say to you today, you will be with me in Paradise" seems to me and many others to make less sense than "I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise" because in the first version the 'today' is basically redundant, whereas the Greek word shmeron (can't do Greek text at the moment) suggests 'this very day', which serves a purpose in the second version.

I don't believe everyone will go straight to heaven, and neither does the Roman Catholic Church; only those exceptional individuals who pass the particular judgement after death and become Saints will do that. Even John Calvin suggests that death is not just total unconsciousness until the Final Judgement.

26 March 2013 at 22:38  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Belloc was correct about Calvin. What other reformer developed a holistic, internally coherent theology - false, but coherent? And it is the spirit of this new religion that divided Europe and dominated protestant countries on the continent. Unfortunately, Cranmer weaved elements of Calvin's heresies amid his Catholicism.

26 March 2013 at 23:02  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Sorry, I should have said I agree with the sense of what IanCad said- Christ is our only focus, never departed saints, who in Thessalonians are described as fallen asleep as to their relationship to us. The use of the comma would make sense, I was just picking up a more minor point.

Seeking contact with departed people, be they as holy as Samuel, gets very bad press in the Old Testament- at best it is a symptom of distance from God. Saints are Christians - those sanctified by Christ's blood, not those signed onto a saint list by a specially invented process.

Still coming across as terse -sorry, IPhone is painful.... Talking of sleep, I'm off.

26 March 2013 at 23:06  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Peter Damian - not new, and all ironically found in the Epistle to the Erm... Romans! That'll do me. Goodnight

26 March 2013 at 23:19  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

The Transfiguration was what? Were Moses and Elijah mere apparitions or ghosts? Or were they in their perfected state having attained the Beatific Vision?

Thomas Aquinas considered the Transfiguration "the greatest miracle" in that it complemented Baptism and showed the perfection of life in Heaven. It was a meeting of the temporal and the eternal, with Jesus acting as the bridge between heaven and earth.

Jesus taught (Matthew 22:32) that God is not "the God of the dead, but of the living". Moses had died and Elijah had been taken up to heaven without dying (2 Kings 2:11), yet here they are now alive, with glorified bodies, in the presence of the Son of God. This shows that the same return to life can apply to all who die and are perfected.

26 March 2013 at 23:23  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

The best response to the RC Archbishop's hopeful words would be to quote Louise Mensch, "Hilarious wishful thinking... Nuts!"

26 March 2013 at 23:26  
Blogger OldJim said...

When I read Archbishop Nichols' comments, an analogy sprang to mind.

Imagine an Islamic cleric writing to his co-religionists on the topic of the reformation in England:

"My friends! The English are in the business of tearing down all of the idols that pollute their Churches, turning their minds ever closer to the Oneness of Allah and against the blasphemy of graven images! They ignore or despise their clerics, preaching an equal spiritual commonwealth of men under Allah, and turning only to the texts of their Bible, just as we receive all wisdom only from the Holy Quran. In fact, their great leader, John Calvin, has recently denied that in doing evil men are thwarting the Invincible Will of Allah, affirming with us that everything that is done, both good and evil, is done under the decretive will of Allah! Catholicism is dying in England, and Islam is ascending!"

Now, we can see the magnitude of this error. The Islamic cleric sees that Catholic sentiment is dying in England, and being replaced by a religious spirit that reminds him of his own. It too is focused wholly on a text, teaches the spiritual equality of all believers, preaches the predestination of all things by God, and dismisses all religious art as idolatry.

But we can see he makes a grave error because he fails to note that Protestantism takes this natural religious spirit of man and conforms it to the vision of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, which is foolishness to this world.

Likewise, this Catholic cleric sees expressions of spontaneous popular grief, the erection of shrines and homages, the sort of sentimental gaudy kitsch which is highly compatible with Catholicism but anathema to the Protestant and he says "My brothers! The Protestant spirit is dead! England is becoming Catholic!"

But we can see his mistake: sure, these acts are incompatible with the Protestantism. And sure, they share elements with the Catholic religious spirit. But the Catholic religious spirit conforms itself to the vision of Jesus Christ and Him crucified, which is foolishness to this world. And just as with Protestantism and Islam, the element of Christ makes all the difference in the world, so with Catholicism and Paganism. They might share a basic spirit, but they are divided at the sharpest point: "Do you confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour?"

27 March 2013 at 00:14  
Blogger OldJim said...


Christians have often worried over the question of what happens to those who sin after having been "saved" by Christ. Must they be "saved" again? Can they be "saved" again?

Historic Calvinism solved the difficulty by saying that a man who was saved by Christ will stay saved by Christ. A man who falls away, however passionately he seemed to believe the Christian religion and however sure he was at the time of his Salvation, was never saved, and so if he came back to the Church he wouldn't be "saved again", he would just be "actually" saved this time... unless he fell away again, in which case he was never saved.. of course..

Other Protestant sects said that a man might sin after his "salvation experience" but that if God has saved a man he remains saved no matter how much he sins. Men are saved because God wills their salvation, not because they're good, after all...

Obviously, historically, the Catholic Church has affirmed that a man is washed clean of sin by virtue of baptism, and if he sins after baptism can be cleansed of these sins by having his confession heard by a successor to the apostles, to whom Christ delegated the power of forgiving sin.

These are the modern differences of opinion among Christians that we are used to, but they're not the only opinions that Christians have ever held.

Now, Constantine didn't wait til he was on his deathbed to convert because he was some sort of "secret pagan". He was a fully converted Christian, but he had been converted to Christianity by a religious sect who would have denied all of the opinions given above as errors. They said that baptism saved a man from all sin, but that if a man then sinned again, he was damned, and being baptised a second time just wouldn't do the job. You had your chance, mate. You're damned now.

Constantine waited until the last possible moment to be baptised not because he wasn't a very earnest believing Christian, but because he was mortally scared that having been baptised, he would sin again, and be lost without hope of another chance.

Not his fault he believed that, he just had heretical teachers. Much better heretical Christian teachers than pagan ones, though.

As for the donation of Constantine, it wasn't about Peter being given the keys by Christ. The text you're thinking of is called the Bible, that's where that particular incident happens.

No, the Donation of Constantine was a document that claimed that Constantine donated his empire to the Papacy.

It didn't claim that the Pope had Spiritual authority, those claims were already well understood. It claimed that the pope had inherited the Roman Empire, and so had temporal authority

It was a forgery, and it was a group of Catholics that demonstrated that. Goodness knows who forged it. It seems to me that most of the Popes of the period were quite earnest in believing that it was real.

As for the Patriarchates of Jerusalem, Antioch, Alexandria and Constantinople, remind me, do they teach Protestantism?

I was under the impression that, cut off from the West since the first millennium, they nonetheless taught the sacraments of baptism, chrismation, communion, confession, ordination, marriage and extreme unction, the communion of the saints, apostolic succession, the use of images in worship.. need I continue?

27 March 2013 at 01:25  
Blogger Maxine Schell said...

My prayers are addressed to the Triune God, through my Lord Jesus.
I don't know if St. Ignacius or St. Francis can hear my prayers, and neither do you.

27 March 2013 at 04:32  
Blogger Rasher Bacon said...

Peter Damian
If the transfiguration happened now, who would be your focus? To whom did Peter speak? Would you rabbit on to Moses and Elijah? The whole event meant to centre our vision on Jesus Christ, and we turn it into an excuse to pray to dead Christians? Why do that? Absolutely staggering.

God said at that event "This is my beloved Son, in whom I have found my delight, hear him." Oh that my dear Roman Catholic brethren would do just that, and shut their ears to all the recycled darkness that's falsely peddled as orthodoxy.

And lifting up their eyes they saw no-one but Jesus only.

27 March 2013 at 07:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Reformation was an attempt to take the focus off 'the Church 'and place the focus back' onto Christ' where it should have stayed in the first place.
Fot the church to run around saying 'we got the keys'is an appalling portrayal of the trust Christ gave to those who would believe in Him to spread the Gospel of the Kingdom.The Catholic Church only came up with the 'keys fabrication when the' donation of Constantine' was proved to be a forgery.
The Catholic Church has a history of trying to crush all opposition(by whatever means) and for Vincent Nichols gloating about the (possibility) of the reformation 'running out of steam'seems to sum up this very un- Christian attitude to those who desire to know the truth about God through any means other than the Catholic Church.
The Catholic Church is all about power and it is about control of people lives there is enough of that going on in politics at the moment without those who should know better attempting to' put the boot in'.
Those who 'point fingers 'at the Reformers would do well to take along hard look at their(Catholic) Church history past and present.

27 March 2013 at 08:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Jim,'Christians have often worried over the question of what happens to those who sin after having been "saved" by Christ. Must they be "saved" again? Can they be "saved" again?'

The Bible answers this.
'But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.'(1John 1 1:7)

I do not believe in' once saved always saved'.I also do not believe you can just 'loose' your salvation.But I do believe if you constantly sin(without confessing)that sin will harden your heart towards God and you will come to the point when you no longer care about your salvation and throw it away.

God does not say' so many strikes and you are out' but if you genuinely repent and gradually transfer your attention towards God for strength and not rely on your own abilities then spiritual progress will be made.

God knows we are not suddenly made perfect and we will and do sin but He wants to transform and sanctify us IF we will let Him.

27 March 2013 at 08:29  
Blogger E.xtra S.ensory Blofeld + Tiddles said...

Office of Inspector General said...

"Now the point is this. The bible prohibits summoning up the deceased. What does that tell you ? Yes – they can hear ! They are around, but we are not to contact them on a one to one basis..."

Dear fellow.

The Bible prohibits any contact with the dead or spirit world...even the praying and worship of angels is forbidden and rejected by angels excepting one who we all know desires it!

"What does that tell you ?" It is forbidden in all cases..Samuel is the one off and he was particularly cheesed off that Saul had requested this as he was happy in Paradise (known as Abraham's Bossom in the NT ) where all believers were prior to Christ's descent to claim them after Calvary) and as Saul never listened to one word that Samuel had told him whilst alive!!

Yiu exclaim "they can hear" How so? Must it be shouted aloud..what about the prayer in the mind..can they hear that, are the more well known such as St Francis, hearing EVERY prayer that all seekers around the world who ask of them..Have they missed lots of requests because many RC's were asking at the same time for St Francis's and others help in heavens. Are they now God-Like??

This is where the nonsense of philosophical reason leads to, despite the obvious, old boy.

"They are around, but we are not to contact them on a one to one basis..." Strewth, Omnipresent as well. God-Like indeed ?

Always a joy to hear from you dear chap.



Tiddles said Hi.

27 March 2013 at 10:06  
Blogger Darter Noster said...

Old Jim,

Funny you should mention the Churches of the East.

The 16th century Reformers got in touch, assuming that if they too had split with the Western Catholic Church then the Orthodox must also have thrown off the various "heresies" which the Reformers attributed to the corrupt Papacy and Mediaeval Church.

One can only imagine their surprise when they discovered that the ancient Churches of the East were, in their basic theology, much the same as that of the West, and wanted nothing to do with the Reformers' new-fangled reading of Paul.

27 March 2013 at 11:45  
Blogger Corrigan said...

The eastern churches are generally considered schematic rather than heretical. The split basically revolves around papal primacy, not dogma.

27 March 2013 at 15:11  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Damn pre-emptive text. That's "schismatic", not "schematic".

27 March 2013 at 15:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

There’s a thing, Blofeld !

even the praying and worship of angels is forbidden and rejected by angels excepting one who we all know desires it!

Of all the calumnies the Protestant extreme has NOT thrown at us hapless RCs on this site, it’s that. And yet, you’ll be hard pressed to find an RC church from the 19th century or earlier that does not portray these heavenly messenger fellows in stone somewhere. So how is it that venerating (…not worshipping…) Mary is considered on a par with Golden Calving it by your crowd, but the seraphim and cherubim are viewed upon as art when depicted in this form, and not idolatry. Of course, it might just be that your gang so have it in for Mary to such an extent that you really didn’t notice the angel presence.

Tough one, what ? Even for chaps as long in the teeth as you and the cat.

pip pip !

27 March 2013 at 18:08  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Remember there is no such thing as a homogenous 'Protestant' faith that warrants use of the terms: "Protestant extreme", "your crowd" or "your gang". There are many who are not in communion with Rome who believe in intercessionary prayer to the Saints and Angels, praying for the dead and who venerate Our Blessed Lady.

28 March 2013 at 01:20  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

My sympathies Your Grace. Even my own ilk were allowed a humbled and precarious existence by a succession of popes, even if only as Exhibit A to the assumed pedigree and triumph of Christianity. Perhaps the good archbishop could dust off a page from history and see it in his wisdom and mercy meritorious to apply a variation on the XIIIth century constitutio pro Iudaeis.

I kid thee not, YG. For example, in this reuse and recycle age and in these gentler Vatican II times, Archbishop Vincent can borrow from Innocent IV's May 28,1247 epistle to the Archbishop of Vienna: Divina iustitia nequaquam populum Iudaeicum...er,rather, "Divine justice has never cast the [Protestant people] aside so completely that it deserves no remnant of them for salvation... " Not so terrible is it? Now, you may have to live in a, uh,gated community and wear funny hats and badges on your Proddie cloaks, but it beats total perdition to the tune of Sir Elton's mangled Candle in the Wind.

28 March 2013 at 04:05  
Blogger Corrigan said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

28 March 2013 at 11:44  
Blogger Corrigan said...

I'm afraid you misunderstand the naturre of cradle Catholicism, Peter. If you're not one of us, you're a Protestant

The Orthodox are kind of like us, although obviously, not quite.

Those who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in a certain, although imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. With the Orthodox Churches, this communion is so profound that it lacks little to attain the fullness that would permit a common celebration to the Lord's Eucharist
Cathecism of the Catholic Church, 838

28 March 2013 at 11:47  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

You had me worried there for a moment, Corrigan, until I understood that you meant the Eastern Orthodox. Phew. Not to worry, a shot of brandy and a shower to wash off the cold sweat will put me right in no time.

28 March 2013 at 12:00  
Blogger Corrigan said...

You thought I meant the Hasidim, Avi? Hah! I'd need a serious hair transplant!

28 March 2013 at 13:05  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Wasn't worried about *you* going Hasidish...be my guest and send us a card... but about getting hauled by my plentiful locks to the baptismal as was done in olden times. Vatican II put a firm stop to such spectacles, but you're no fan of it, for whatever reasons, and that got me all jittery-like.

28 March 2013 at 15:04  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Well, forced baptism beats forced circumcision every time, don't you think?

28 March 2013 at 15:12  
Blogger Avi Barzel said...

Depends on who's doing it, I'd guess. BTW, your good friend Mr Henson appears confused by your Irish. I took the liberty to interpret, but you might want to handle it yourself, seeing that you're better at diplomacy than I am.

28 March 2013 at 15:57  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

You think I misunderstand the nature of cradle Catholicism? This being represented by the battle cry: "If you're not one of us, you're a Protestant? I understand only too well the form of cradle Catholicism you have exhibited.

If you are asking do I believe the Catholic Church possesses the truth and is Christ's Church, then I do accept this. In that regard there is a 'them' and 'us' divide.

However, the 'Protestant Reformation' has produced a wide specrum of theologies. Some are closer to the truth than others and through dialogue these brethren may be persuaded to "come home". Others, without direct divine intervention, are unlikely ever to reunite under the Bishop of Rome. Presenting Catholic truth has no need to resort to the methods and antics of our MP's.

I just think care needs to be taken in lumping all 'Protestants' together as if they all believed the same thing and what they believe should be all be discarded. I have to say too that the challenge to Rome in the early 16th century was long overdue and very necessary, and that a good deal of positive influence came from the protests of some of the reformers.

28 March 2013 at 16:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter. Remember there is no such thing as a homogenous 'Protestant' faith that warrants use of the terms: "Protestant extreme", "your crowd" or "your gang".

Context dear chap. We have no less than 2 on this site at the least who revel in the term Protestant extreme and wear it as a badge of honour. To wit, those reprobates Blofeld and Len. They want nothing to do with Rome or Mary or praying to saints. In fact they have not only closed the door behind them but locked it.

28 March 2013 at 19:30  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

In my opinion, the biggest gap in Trinitarian Christianity is between those holding to a Calvinist theology, a "new religion", and the Truth held by Catholics. The 'born again' evangelism professed by len has a kernel of truth amid the error. Sadly, he seems to have acquired a hostility towards the Church which makes this difficult to explore.

28 March 2013 at 20:20  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter. Don’t hold out too much hope for Len. He gets his Christianity from dubious sites on the internet. He’s also a great copy and paster. Lord, how we have suffered in the past...

28 March 2013 at 20:39  
Blogger Dodo the Dude said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 March 2013 at 00:54  
Blogger Harry-ca-Nab said...

Forget any notion of the people, en masse, becoming Catholic - they,on the whole, haven't a clue about religion or faith.

After all most of them probably went to a CofE school.

The problem for Christianity in the UK IS the CofE. It has failed spectacularly in maintaining religious observance and understanding.

It has failed in schooling, in maintaining its congregations, its place in the community and in its role as a part of the Establishment.

It has become a, not very funny, joke.

And, you may be surprised to hear, that deeply saddens me....

Just look at the widespread coverage of the new Pope? Look at the presence that Pope Benedict had when he visited the UK.

I have many non-Catholic friends who have marvelled at it all and begun to reconsider their Christian faith.

Contrast that with the almost invisible investiture of the new ArchBish of Canterbury? Look at the public spats and the divisions in the CofE. Look at the childish behaviour over the vote on female Bishops and gays.

The CofE MUST get its act together before it disappears completely - and takes down the rest of Christian observance in the UK with it.

29 March 2013 at 04:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Church that seems to be dragging Christianity into the gutter is the Roman one?.

People (seem) to be born Catholic and are instructed not to question any of the Roman Catholic doctrines (in case they see through the fabrications) so it will take a good dose of the Truth to remove the blinkers from Catholics.'The Pope' is a public spectacle religion in all its pomp and circumstance the public would just as easily turn out to see a passing circus or the 'X' factor.

The Anglican Church has been led by those who caved in to political pressure and didn`t have the backbone to make a stand for Biblical Truth (hopefully that is about to change?)

29 March 2013 at 08:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Peter' Have you been here in a past life?.

29 March 2013 at 08:04  
Blogger Corrigan said...

Perhaps we Catholics have been waiting 2000 years for the second coming of len.

29 March 2013 at 08:47  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

...Len will come again, to judge the living and the dead...

29 March 2013 at 12:38  
Blogger carl jacobs said...

Dodo the Dude wrote "This comment has been removed by the author."

Hrmmmm. Do you suppose someone made a post with paying attention to which account he was using?



29 March 2013 at 13:22  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

29 March 2013 at 18:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think 'the duck 'is re- surfacing.

By their fruits you will know them!.

29 March 2013 at 21:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Catholics have been waiting 2,000 yrs to get their theology right....still trying I see!.

Well I think I can help...dump the Pope... get yourselves some Christian Bibles ...read the bibles...follow the scriptures...simples even you can do it!

29 March 2013 at 21:38  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

We could always dump Len. Fellows, a vote if you will...

29 March 2013 at 22:35  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


Have we not already seen on this weblog the second regeneration of the Dude Lord?


30 March 2013 at 04:40  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think we have Carl.

Dodo`s 'disguise' is about as affective as one of 'Inspector Clouseau`s'.

30 March 2013 at 17:12  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Inspector Clouseau was a little clumsy but a genius nevertheless. He always solved the crimes and those who scorned him were left with egg on their face.Bit like you len and Carl.You both wear your sense of inadequacy like the hearts (neither of you have)on your sleeves.

31 March 2013 at 03:23  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I rather like Clouseau his heart was in the right place.

'Inadequacy'is not something to be scorned I will wear it like a' badge of honour'That He might increase and I might decrease.

What you Catholics intend for harm God will use for good ...keep it coming.

31 March 2013 at 14:32  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Is there merit in leading others to sin by inviting abuse?

From the 'Lorica of Saint Patrick', dating back to the 4th century:

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

31 March 2013 at 16:58  
Blogger Mr. Mcgranor said...

African Anglicanism will ensure that Catholic worshiping, and the renounced Protestantism of post-Counterculture commie punks will kill only themselves. Take your Guy Fawkes devil worship mask off world, before Nigeria re-instates the Common Law...after the blood of Papist and Mohammedan saves no soul.

1 April 2013 at 02:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dodo('Peter' 31 March 2013 16:58)

Matthew 7:5

'Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.'

1 April 2013 at 10:58  

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