Monday, 31 January 2011

Are we good enough?

Ary Scheffer: The Temptation of Christ, 1854Image via Wikipedthe

The truth is that the Church of England is imperfect and I must admit that it gets things wrong very often indeed.

The truth is that Jesus acknowledges this tendency in humanity. Put more clearly; “He died that we might be forgiven”.

The truth is that we have a duty to Christ to give to our fellow beings our best.  As people of Christ we are called to go further than society might demand and to offer charity; agape, to offer love, the shirt from our back, to go that extra mile.

To hide behind the prevailing societal expectation, indeed legislation, is not an option for Christians in matters of moral behaviour.

To live in a place and quote the laws of that place as adequate justification for doing bad things is to abandon our Christian calling, it is to allow secular powers to govern the actions of  us as individuals and the actions of the Church.

In the matter of employment, the Church has to do what the law requires and more besides.

In matters of human rights for all, the church must do what the law requires and more. 

In all matters we have to do what our society asks, demands, and then do more!

From the Archbishop to the humble member listed on the electoral role, we frequently fail to live up to this standard.  Unfortunately for the humble parishioner, many senior clergy, and too many that are ‘blessed’ with higher office, fail to act in good and honest ways and too often their dealings with people are of low moral quality preferring to protect their own reputations and indeed (very often) prospects.

They will hide behind legislation and perhaps falsify matters, if they are able, in order to protect their reputations.  In some cases they prefer to say nothing rather than give false witness, refraining from speaking the truth clearly and openly.  Anything difficult and unpleasant is brushed under the carpet and stays there.

This is why the frequent use of ‘confidentiality clauses’ in retirement packages for those long serving laity is so prevalent and perpetuates a veil of secrecy and some degree of fear amongst many corridors of power.

If only we could be more forgiving and listen to one another’s story, to understand that we are weak and none of us the paragons of virtue we spend so much time encouraging everyone to believe we are!  The damnation is almost deafening!

This situation in the Church is one that we are all responsible for.  We are too quick to criticise and we love to twitter stories that are harmful.

We need to revive the spirit of forgiveness and be more Christ like, to bend the knee and hear the plea of the sinner with compassion and with forgiveness pouring from our hearts by the grace of God.

We must go that extra mile even if it may cost us, even if others call us fools; for Christ.

How wonderful it would be if the leaders we have would be free to do this Christian thing.

Mr C

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Tuesday, 25 January 2011


To be touched kindly and with compassion
Caressed with feeling burdened and yet unbound
To be held and cradled by another
Whom you are loved with and contained
Is alive and living and being light.

How this compares with the horrid and dark
The filthy and selfish touch
That you cannot understand but that it is bad
And is going to take so much from you
Is death and destruction and disaster.

So pray that you can live with a kindly touch
And know that this begins at everyone’s hope.

Mr CatOLick

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

The Three Bishops

Lumen ChristiImage by Eustaquio Santimano via FlickrI have just had a small spat (my first) on twitter following my comment that the three Anglican Bishops who are submitting to re-ordination to the Roman Priesthood are denying their existing Priesthood, conferred on them by Catholic Bishops in the Anglican Communion.  I have apparently forgotten to read what they have said about that complex issue before making such a sweeping statement.

It is a difficult position for for me as I am very much aware of the issues involved and have lived with the tensions for year now.  I guess I am angry because for those who have been ordained to the priesthood in the Church of England, and who adhere to Catholic teachings, the notion of being re-ordained is just not an option, well not in my opinion anyhow.

For years some of us have longed for reunification of some sort with the Roman Church but we would never compromise on Priestly orders as the Roman's demanded, and we were very clear that our clergy would never submit to re-ordination.  This was, at one time, an absolute position almost a badge of honour and proof positive that you were a true Anglican Catholic.  I don't think the arguments have changed!

What has changed is the utter lack of tolerance shown by sections of the Anglican Communion to the Catholic section, those who did not accept the ordination of women to the Priesthood.  We failed to accommodate them and they have been boxed into a terrible corner, and finally have had to submit to Rome!

In fact both sides have been horrid and there's nothing for any side to crow about, many of us are guilty of intolerance in this sordid matter.

My prayers are with these men as they submit to Rome, a church I love and pray for, but a church I am, sadly, not part of.  I understand their need to argue their position and convince themselves and others that there is no fudge, or slight of hand, but I cannot agree.  We must allow them their brush with the reality of the situation they have been put in.  I must remain staunchly Anglican, and Catholic.

Mr C

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Cold Comfort Synod

Cheap HotelImage by bondiben via Flickr
The forthcoming synod which will be upon us very soon, will be heralded by a flurry of difficult decisions.  Conscientious Synod members will have pre-booked their rail tickets by now and hopefully thereby saved their diocese considerable sums of money as they take advantage of early booking savings.  The few who are more apt to leave matters to the last minute will be submitting their claims to the church in the same way, but obviously for a good deal more money.  The parable of the wise virgins comes to mind but not to worry, everyone gets into this particular celebration and no one will be left out in the wintry cold of London.

Well at least no one would except that 'the powers that be' have no idea about the cost of London accommodation and delegates are forced to find poor (cold) accommodation near to the venue for Synod or face a long journey to get there but be more assured of a good nights sleep and a reasonable breakfast before the days hard work ahead of them.  Again, early booking can reap some rewards, but  London is a popular place!

Oh so often this situation is bemoaned by synod members and suggestions and indeed 'nicely put complaints' are made, but to no good end.  It appears that the Church of England does not value its Synod members and does not care one jot about their accommodation.

Over and over again Synod members have cried out for a block booking of a large hotel, perhaps, or some other arrangement, but not to leave them with a meagre allowance and left to ‘get on with it’.  If you ring the staff at Church House they will privately sympathise with you and agree that the situation is 'not fai'r or indeed tolerable, but they cannot help you to secure adequate accommodation and you are left to surf the net with your pittance of an allowance gripped tightly in your hand; or more like, a promise to pay it,....eventually.

Of course this really only applies to the delegates who don’t actually live in London or who don’t have friends or colleagues in London, people in the north!  Archbishop Rowan and Mr Sentimoo will have no accommodation difficulties; they will be snuggling into deep pillows and spacious beds at night, and will be able to walk about in their accommodation.  They will not be offering to share their place (palace) to the hard pressed delegates attending their circus this February, nor will the Officers of Church House! 

I wonder why it is not a priority.
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Monday, 10 January 2011

Don’t submit to the Archbishop’s ‘Covenant’!

Statue of Richard Hooker, whose emphases on re...Image via WikipediaThis week key people in the UK will be thinking about their plans to help the people in the Diocese to understand the negative aspects of the proposed ‘Anglican Covenant’.

They will have to face the might of the establishment, not least the force of the Archbishops of York and Canterbury, who are in favour of the Covenant and Mr. Sentimoo particularly is demanding support.

Let’s hope that this restrictive and damaging proposal can be successfully avoided and that moderation and reason prevail.

Statue of Richard Hooker: A founder of 'Anglicanism'. He helped to establish reason and tolerance, along with tradition, as being central to the church.  The Archbishop's covenant is a clear attempt to undermine that foundation.


Mr C is opposed to the Anglican Covenant because it is an attempt to add yet another layer of bureaucracy to the church.  It is an attempt to centralise the world-wide Anglican Communion and to limit its ability to respond to local situations. The Archbishops support it because of the real power it gives to them and to the ‘establishment’ within the Church in their attempt to keep the church as they want it.

The church has already responded positively to the position of women in the church, and this has inevitably resulted in divisions and fractures in the Church of England and the leaders are very nervous as a result.

The path of change has already been chosen and the church leaders applauded it at the time.  The proposed Anglican ‘Covenant’ is a clear attempt by some leaders to discourage any more change. The Archbishops are attempting to stifle the church rather than allow it to grow and develop, they wish to control any future development by having power to discourage that which they may disapprove of.

It is an unnecessary piece of legislation that destroys  the gift of Anglicanism to the Christian world and includes force by discipline for those who wish to continue in the Anglican tradition of liberalism, risk and diversity.

It is wrong of them to suggest that they would not be given new powers to admonish and punish by introducing this illiberal document into the church and it reveals their desperation every time they deny this part of their document despite its clear inclusion.

It is dishonest and misappropriates the true nature of ‘Covenant’ which is God-given and final, and has been with us since Christ redeemed the world.

We have all that we require for salvation in the documents and covenants we already posses.  The current church leaders cannot usurp the truth of salvation through Christ, and they cannot brow beat the church into ‘good behaviour’.

In opening the door of change, from its very inception, the Church of England has walked along its chosen path devoutly and with courage.  It cannot now wish that it were elsewhere and pretend to be in Rome!

Mr. C.
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Wednesday, 5 January 2011

The liberation of humanity by Christ.

The Passion of the ChristImage by six steps  via Flickr
The inclusivity of the church is based on the notion that to exclude anyone must be God’s ‘will’.  To exclude anyone demands a reason.  To state that reason clearly is a duty before God so that your judgement against the excluded is understood and can be examined properly.

Sin excludes us for a time, until and unless we can ask for forgiveness, repent, and become reconciled by the passion of Christ to God, humanity and the Church.

Sexual orientation and gender are matters that cannot be used to exclude us from being wholly part of the church, not honestly anyhow, for it has no possibility of repentance.  It is what one is and to repent because of it would be to be abhorred by one’s own nature that God made.  It cannot be considered as 'being sinful'.

The liberation of the 1960’s didn’t discover anything new, rather it revealed what was already there, but it has become a challenge to the church.  It is a challenge for the church in that the church cannot ignore the openness of society and must state clearly what it believes when that openness appears to challenge its tradition or doctrine.

The problem arises when the church learns from the liberation of the 1960’s that it is challenged, not in terms of tradition or doctrine, but in terms of its prejudice.

Mr C
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