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Thursday, 25 August 2011

Summer breaks

Spare a thought for poor David Cameron. Twice he has had to interrupt his Summer holidays this August. Not wishing to make the same mistake as when he idled back from Tuscany to take charge in the aftermath of the riots that were engulfing our major cities, earlier this week he dashed back from Cornwall to claim credit for what might have been dubbed Cameron's war had it worked out better. No matter that US missiles and French carrier support were to the fore, he supplied intelligence so no time was to be lost in claiming victory even if the fighting in Libya goes on

Perhaps a little too quick off the mark this time but at least it pushed the Coulson affair into the background for a while. Better luck next time Dave.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Wales Ordinariate Exploration Group

Belmont Abbey is the venue chosen to begin the process of exploration and discernment for those who are interested in knowing more about the Ordinariate. Anglo Catholic laity and clergy will meet there with the Ordinary, Monsignor Keith Newton, on Saturday 5 November 2011. The following details have now emerged: 

11.00am tea/coffee on arrival at Belmont Abbey 'Parish Centre'
11.30am Keynote Address (Monsignor Newton)
12.45pm Midday Office with the Belmont Abbey Community, followed by lunch
1.45pm 'Open Session' - further questions & answers, discussion, and briefing on plans for continuing further exploration after the day
3.00pm conclude with a brief Act of Devotion and depart

How ironic that 'traditionalists' in Wales have their own Archbishop "Bazzer" of Neath to thank for this development. Since the retirement of their much respected Provincial Assistant Bishop David Thomas, the Archbishop has shown remarkable contempt for traditionalists in Wales. In fact, his concern for followers of a false prophet over the faithful in his own church earned him the title of Grand Mufti of Wales in the Llandaffchester Chronicles. Helping him to rub in the salt have been members of the clergy with an eye on preferment who have sold out to His Darkness's vision of a church that is 'more relevant to society' than a vision of heaven on earth and who now belittle those who remain faithful to the teaching of the Universal Church. Their sneers that an Ordinariate in Wales had a fat chance are about to be tested.

In a comment under an earlier post the question was posed, "With two bishops on its pay roll, statistics reveal, that the diocese of Llandaff has the least number of communicants throughout the province of Wales. How on earth do these two keep their jobs?" Quite so. With six Diocesan Bishops and Deans, an Ass Bishop and 26 Archdeacons presiding over ever decreasing numbers, the Harris review already has plenty to think about. The possibility of an Ordinariate in Wales and all that that implies will give them an unexpected bone to chew over.  

Thursday, 18 August 2011

The will of Allah

The extraordinarily violent events on British streets and resultant court cases have largely eclipsed the dreadful plight of the people of Somalia who been suffering on a far greater scale than we can ever imagine in Great Britain.  'The will of Allah' oddly links these tragic stories. The Somali Islamist insurgents see it as their duty to purge, what they see as their land, of non-Muslims while Tariq Johan exhibits a dignified acceptance of Allah's will after the loss of his son in the riots. A N Wilson gives a moving account in his Mail Online article, Legacy of a society that believes in nothing.

In his grief Tariq Johan echoes the 'pale blue dot' sentiments of Carl Sagan while in Somalia the Islamist militants Al-Shabab are content to see millions of people suffer for the Islamic cause using taqiyya to spread lies in the process. With the situation worsening, the BBC has now picked up the story again in this report showing the continuing dire need for aid.

Back in in Britain a moving call for unity tribute  has appeared on YouTube. Speaking of his son's death and the faith that sustains him, Mr Jahan said, "I’m a Muslim. I believe in divine fate and destiny, and it was his destiny and his fate, and now he’s gone may Allah forgive him and bless him."

If only Muslims the world over shared the same vision there would be less need for non-Muslims to fear 'the will of Allah'.

Monday, 15 August 2011

South Wales Ordinariate Exploration Group

A couple of weeks ago I picked up a hint that an announcement was imminent. This has proved to be correct. Anyone interested in exploring this further, without commitment, should follow this link which popped up on my dashboard this evening. 

Best wishes to all concerned.

A link here including Belmont Abbey directions.

Riots in England: Mending our broken society

The television series 'Shameless' supposedly illustrates the life of Britain's underclass but programmes such as this, like 'Porridge', often glorify the anti-hero blurring the edges between right and wrong, creating an acceptance that would not have been tolerated years ago. 

The court cases in the aftermath of the riots have illustrated a downward slide in parts of society so that even comparatively wealthy people have been helping themselves to 'freebies' in the looters' paradise that followed the riots. Therefore, a distinction needs to be drawn between this sort of spur-of-the-moment opportunism on the one hand and the alleged responsibility of the 'underclass' for the riots which all political parties are now, belatedly, eager to address.

While most of us have simply tried to get on with our lives, bemoaning the litter-louts, bad manners, lack of consideration  in general - the list is endless - we just wish that someone would sort out the problems that have blighted us for so long submerging us in a malaise of grudging acceptance of that's life now. Some of those who have 'had-a-go' have suffered injury or death so if we can, we ignore the problems and just pray that our children will escape the post-code lottery of the failing schools and secure a job which enables them to live in a 'respectable' area, pay the bills and, hopefully these days, make provision to live comfortably in retirement.

But problems don't go away by ignoring them. There have been many warnings of troubles ahead including an Audit Commission report which highlighted the fact that young people with five good GCSEs were failing to get a job or stay on in education and that in some parts of the country, one in four "forgotten" teenagers are living on benefits so 10% of teenagers – more than 85,000 across the country – were at risk of becoming an underclass, cut off from mainstream society and drifting into crime as they spend long stretches without a job, education or training.

That report was published over a year ago. It has taken days of rioting and looting for the Prime Minister to act on what he promised to do when he took over as party leader, that is, "to mend our broken society". He must now fulfil that pledge putting an end to the moral decay which blights our society. He keeps reminding us that "we all in this together" but the reins of power are in his hands, not ours.

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Riots in England: Crime and punishment

Of all the knee-jerk reactions to those found guilty (or not) of involvement in the recent riots, the worst must be the threat to make people homeless. Of course, that cannot apply if you are a millionaire's daughter living with your parents in a "£1million detached converted farmhouse in Orpington" - unless your parents throw you out!

I have no sympathy whatsoever with the rioters but how can one compare a mother being made homeless because of the actions of her teenage son with the blip in the life of a family at the other end of the social scale? The punishment in one instance far outweighs the other so is justice seen to be done? It is to be expected that people benefiting from state support will be viewed as undeserving of help in the circumstances witnessed but apart from the inequality of the punishment, what is the point of creating yet another social problem by stopping benefits and putting people on the streets, or is that another 'Big Society' opportunity where charities will have to pick up the pieces?

The Government has already come unstuck by making claims which are disputed by the police and it has not escaped people's attention that some of the 'haves' in society have, at a much higher level, been helping themselves at the expense of the taxpayer. David Cameron has made much of bringing US "supercop" Bill Bratton to Britain to sort out the gang culture that exists in major cities but Mr Bratton has already warned, and the Chancellor has agreed, that there are very deep-seated social problems that need to be tackled. Whoever gets the job of restoring our broken society, there seems little point in adding to them before work starts.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Riots in England: the Prime Minister's response

In his statement to the Commons this morning the Prime Minister admitted what was obvious to anyone watching recent events unfold, that is, 'the police got it wrong'. MPs representing areas worst affected said that their constituents looked on in disbelief as the police simply 'observed' looters entering vandalised shops and walking off with stolen goods. This was the view witnessed by television viewers around the world.

Apparently the police viewed the situation as a "public order" issue rather than criminal activity!  The irony is that, as illustrated here, the police are much swifter in dealing with 'public order' protesters than with criminals, often employing controversial 'kettling' procedures to restrict movement. Watch the BBC clip here and listen to what the then Metropolitan Police Commissioner had to say about containment to avoid trouble spreading. 

Force needs to be met with force employing any lawful means to take control of a situation but in this instance the riotous looting was allowed to get so out of control  that the Prime Minister has since had to speak of 'fighting back'. Rubber bullets have been used elsewhere in the United Kingdom so why not in England? If the police fail to protect citizens it is inevitable that they will seek to protect themselves with all that implies.

The only good thing to come out of this shameful episode is the Prime Minister's stated determination to get to grips with the gang culture and other elements that have blighted our society for too long. It's a pity it comes at such a price.

In the row that has blown up about whether the Government or the Metropolitan Police should take credit for bringing the London riots to a halt we have been treated to this statement by the Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin "As a result of that we were able to nip this in the bud after a few days." 

The problem wasn't 'nipped in the bud', it was allowed to flower grotesquely for 'a few days' resulting in loss of life, homes and jobs with millions of pounds worth of damage. There was much talk on Question Time last night of the difficulties 'officers' face because of fear of further criticism for rough handling but the cases referred to arose as a result of lawful protest, not criminal behaviour involving riots and looting.

Neither the Government nor the Metropolitan Police should be looking to take credit for damping down the public disorder. The complacency in the interview is mind blowing - self praise is no recommendation! 

If more trouble flares up 'nipping it in the bud after a few days' is entirely unacceptable. No wonder we are in such a mess. 

An American view here.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A message from the Archbishop of Canterbury

Rejoice! is the message from the Archbishop of Canterbury "on the occasion of the consecration of the Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough" in the August edition of New Directions:

"Today has been a very happy day indeed. We have welcomed Bishop Norman and Bishop Jonathan as colleagues amongst the Bishops of the Church of England and we have celebrated in a very moving service at Southwark Cathedral the inauguration of their Episcopal ministry.

Speaking for myself I'm delighted that we have bishops of such quality to join us in ministering to this very significant section of the church of England. Without the traditional Catholic voice and presence the Church of England would be less than itself.

It would lose a robust, creative, deep rooted part of its tradition. My hope and prayer is that the appointment of these two new bishops and their future ministry will consolidate that tradition, reinvigorate it and help it play its part in the Church of England and the wider church of God for many years to come."

Shame on the Archbishop of Wales, then, for not sharing ++ Rowan's vision, stubbornly refusing those in the Catholic tradition in Wales the Episcopal ministry they also value. If the Ordinariate takes root and Archbishop Morgan loses "this very significant section" of the Church in Wales with all that implies, not least financially, there will be no-one but himself to blame .

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Summer holidays

Along with some of the rest of the population, the Prime Minister and his Chancellor have scraped enough together to take a Summer holiday - or two! David Cameron chose Tuscany while George Osborne has chosen Hollywood to provide some relief from the miserable economic outlook to which he has become accustomed during his stewardship.

With the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg in Spain, William Hague has been left in charge to cope with any little difficulties that may arise to accompany the continuing problems facing the Government such as poor economic growth, the phone-hacking scandal, the NHS and defence to name but a few.

We all need a break!

Monday, 1 August 2011

An Ordinariate in Wales (2)

Way back in December 2010 anyone interested in exploring the development of an Ordinariate in Wales was asked to register on a new blog. Since then, nothing! But it appears that the seeds planted may be about to germinate.

Before leaving for his Summer holiday, Fr Michael Gollop left this tantalising comment on his Blog:

"While the blog is quiet for the next few weeks, you could do worse than keep an eye on the Welsh Ordinariate site (link on the right). A usually reliable source tells me to expect some kind of announcement about future developments after the middle of the month. See you in September!"

In February 2010 the Telegraph's Damian Thompson published an article under the title "Why it doesn't matter if the Pope's Ordinariate for ex-Anglicans is small at first". Since then there have been many developments In England with those in Wales apparently left out in the cold. Perhaps things are about to change. From little acorns....!

As suggested, I for one shall be watching this space.