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Monday, 30 December 2013

First things first!


Darkness in Llandaff Cathedral                                                                                           Picture: BBC

Being in Wales over Christmas I picked up 'the news where you are' as the BBC's gesticulating George likes to put it after his six o'clock news show. Included in the Welsh News bulletin was an interview with the Archbishop of Wales. (Clip here.) He was asked what the highlights for the church were in 2013. Revealing the obsession that has consumed him the archbishop said: For the Church in Wales obviously it's the bill to make it possible for women to be ordained as bishops but many had "missed the point" adding "The fact is that what the bill made possible was that at least women could be considered as candidates for the episcopate, and that's the really important thing. The rest will come later - who knows when?"

The 'many' will have missed the real point because they have been led astray by Dr Morgan and others like him who busy themselves trying to make the Church 'intelligible to our wider society'. The episcopate is not a political club in which local rules may be applied. Scripture and tradition have sustained the Church for two thousand years. Christians around the world, including most Anglicans, continue to practice their faith as it has been received but for others practicing their faith has become a challenge because politicians in clerical garb have substituted politics for religion to the detriment of the Church.

When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead but four years later of the 677 entries the most hits have, with a couple of exceptions*, centred on the tribulations of the Church of Wales and the Diocese of Llandaff in particular. The 'All time' top 10 posts in descending order are:

The twilight of the cross 21 Oct 2011*
Morgan's organ 5 Nov 2013, 66 comments
The ruin of Landaft 23 Nov 2013, 56 comments
Swan song? If only... 14 Nov 2013, 19 comments
Dean of Llandaff resigns 9 May 2013, 10 comments
Starbucks service 15 Sep 2013, 40 comments
'Archbishop invalidates Cath... 19 Nov 2011,  2 comments
Llandaff Cathedral bucking a trend 21 Dec 2013, 21 comments
"The thing that you will do - do it quickly." 20 Nov 2013, 23 comments*
The Dean of Llandaff resignation saga 21 May 2013, 14 comments

Nine months after my first post the very popular Llandaffchester Chronicles blog disappeared after irritating the Welsh church establishment. Although satirical it must have been too close to the bone. It is obvious now that trouble was brewing. If only the warnings had been heeded Llandaff may not have found itself in the mess that it is. To put this in proportion, the whole Province of Wales is about the size of the Diocese of Oxford in the Church of England yet has six diocesan bishops and an Ass Bishop to serve just 1% of the 3 million population of Wales in 2011 and declining. So what is the problem?

The common factor is the Archbishop of Wales whose own Cathedral is, as one commentator put it, "becoming a laughing stock". Compare the obvious professionalism of the Diocese of St Davids here and here with Llandaff here and here which is riven by conflicting interests, something which Dr Morgan comments on but exacerbates rather than heals. The Anglican Church is beset by conflicting views about the ordination of women but the process of reception was supposed to have have been one of mutual respect. That is visible in St Davids, why not in Llandaff?

For the Church in Wales it is not the bill to make it possible for women to be ordained as bishops which should be highlighted in the Church of Wales in 2013 but the apparent disintegration of Llandaff Cathedral under the supposed care of the Church in Wales' chief pastor, Dr Barry Morgan, the Bishop of Llandaff. That is why his Cathedral and its congregation are of the utmost interest to readers of this blog. They deserve our prayers.

LIGHTEN our darkness, we beseech thee, O Lord;
 and by thy great mercy defend us from all perils and dangers of this night;
 for the love of thy only Son, our Saviour, Jesus Christ. Amen.

27 comments:

  1. Landav Mathematicus31 December 2013 at 09:12

    Archbishop Justin Welby this morning on the Today Pragramme ‘Good Vicars = Growth’. At Llandaff Cathedral we have ‘x = Decline + Decay + Atrophy + Bankruptcy’ where x equals?

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  2. Possible answers
    1. x = bad archbishop
    2. x = bad dean
    3. x = bad archdeacon
    4. all of the above

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  3. Gentlemen, is it not time for the Fraud Squad? Or has His Darkness secured a 'D' notice restriction on this as well?

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  4. I am confused... The Bench of Bishops is supposed to be in consultation ( with themselves ?) .but how can they put in place any arrangements which are not in line with the Bill which has been passed by the GB?

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  5. ++ Bishop Barry will just say this what we can offer (or not ) , and I guarantee he will add the easy words " we love you"

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    Replies
    1. Simple soul, this may help:
      http://ancientbritonpetros.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/church-in-wales-code-of-practice.html

      The problem is in the Archbishop's words "We have been entrusted to draw up a Code of Practice within a year and we are keen to consult as widely as possible with church members in order to reflect their views as best we can.” The sting is in the tail.

      The implication is that the bishops will consult as widely as possible then do just as Barry wants. If that is the outcome it will be a clear breach of faith. The proposed amendment sought to "reflect the overwhelming view of Governing Body members that there should be recognition and provision allowed for those who in individual conscience dissent from this move". That is not the conscience of the Bench but for whom provision is intended.

      Anyone who has not made their views known should email them before midnight tonight to the Provincial Secretary at this address julianluke@churchinwales.org.uk

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  6. Could anyone enlighten us as to what happened at Llandaff Cathedral over Christmas? How did the boy choristers manage the Nine Lessons & Carols, and Choral Eucharists without the men? What music did they sing?

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    Replies
    1. Dear Anonymous, the silence is unbearable. But have you not heard of the 'Confidentiality Act Clause' applicable under 'Canonical obedience' and the 'Rules and Regulations of the Constitution of the Church in Wales'? The name is 'Llandcraft' not 'Llandaft'.

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    2. Is there paranoia in the Llandaf campus concerning the role of the choir and Christmas services Ancient Briton?

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    3. I contributed the two comments towards the end of the Llandaff bucking the trend thread (comments 19 and 20 I believe). I was at both the Nine Lessons Service and the 1045 Choral Eucharist, and I would say that the boys sang superbly, but the depth of the men's voices was obviously missed. Let this not take anything away from the boys' performance, however, which was greatly appreciated from the comments I heard after both services. What a number of us from the congregation feel is now needed as Dean is someone who will bring a calming and, particularly, a healing and unifying influence there. I would argue very strongly that there is no member of the present Chapter who would currently bring this, maybe with one exception, but he's far too wise, and probably too near retirement to take it on, or, perhaps more significantly, to want to take it on. Just a few thoughts from someone who represents no one other than themselves, and whilst I am genuinely concerned, I have no truck with the personal attacks on individuals, whoever they may be, nor with the personal agenda that appear to be peddled by some on here.

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    4. With respect Anonymous. The personal agenda expressed is one created by Barry Morgan and forced upon the rest of us. Are you saying we should 'put up and shut up'?

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    5. Word has it that we can soon expect to learn who is the stooge whose ambition has made him or her ready to be the puppet in the Deanery at Llandaff.

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  7. I have not received any reports, sorry. Perhaps the fly on the wall has flown - or been swatted!

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  8. Apparently, when asked individually, none of the Chapter is prepared to accept responsibility for the sorry state of affairs at Llandaff being anything to do with them. Peggy the Pilot may be an exception but then she only does the bidding of the master whose creature she is
    Could this possibly be because nothing can happen at Llandaff against the wishes of an arch-bigot even if, just because his seat may be there, the running of a cathedral isn't supposed to be anything to do with the bishop? No, surely not.

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    Replies
    1. As a journalist I can inform you that my profession find Dr Barry Morgan, the present Archbishop of Wales, to be a vain self made national laughing stock. Its just that the present Church in Wales are prepared to spend, spend, spend on legal fees to prevent any criticism of him in the press and media. Never mind, history always has its day folks!

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  9. Seems to me the Archbishop is simply not up to the job. The Church in Wales needs to recruit a commercial director (not clergy) to run the Cathedral as a business.

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  10. "As a journalist I can inform you that my profession find Dr Barry Morgan, the present Archbishop of Wales, to be a vain self made national laughing stock". When I read this I felt misinformed to be honest. Whever I see the man on national TV he comes over sincerely and with clarity (and with some humour). I really doubt your views represent those of your profession - maybe they're views that spring from a more personal dislike?

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    Replies
    1. Not very convincing Anonymous. Must try harder.

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    2. Wasn't trying to convince anyone of anything, just share my incredulity that the journalistic profession universally see the Archbishop as a laughing stock. I can only think that the journalist who wrote the above is some kind of hack (or "hackette" as private eye would have it) who is somehow aggrieved at having to turn out sensationalist and fictitious pieces week after week. No wonder he couldn't get the Archbishop to play ball; no sensationalism to be found there. Yes, I think that's the answer.

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    3. As with one or two dissidents in the comments section of this blog there are those who hold the view that criticism of the one next in popularity to the Archdruid, namely the Archbishop, are 'views of personal dislike'.

      Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather. Up till lunchtime today, all 310,586 of them. Give and take the odd sycophant.

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    4. The Archbishop of Wales is not only a laughing stock to the press but in all walks of life in Wales and further afield, no more so than amongst the clergy!!!!

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  11. Reading these comments I am reminded of a young University Chaplain addressing, (minutes) a clergy chapter in the city of Bangor in 1980. He maintained that the Church in Wales, (presumably bishops as well) were in no position to speak out on social and political issues when considering the manner they treated their clergy.

    The chaplains name is given as Rev Barry Morgan. What ever happened to that guy?

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    Replies
    1. He became a fan of Clint Eastwood - 'Hang them high', Rev Williams.

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  12. Rumours are knocking around the walls within the Cathedral that the archbishop is now desperate to appoint a dean so that someone else can take all the flack for the Llandaff mess. All approaches to high ranking lady clergy have been turned down. The Rectoress of Radyr declined, preferring to wait for the assistant bishop’s hat to become available. Who can blame the other ladies for not wanting the job considering what happened to the last dean the archbishop parachuted in? So still intent on appointing an old woman to the deanery it would seem that the parish of Newton Nottage may be soon looking for a new incumbent. Poison chalice?

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  13. the old lady of nottage? Heaven's no - like marmite that one.

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  14. Unwarranted comments again about personalities/individuals in the two comments above. The reality is any member of the current Chapter is tainted by their past actions and will not have the confidence or support of many members of the cathedral congregation. Indeed, some may well take their allegiance elsewhere. We need an outsider (from the Chapter) who will bring people together and try to rebuild confidence and trust, as well as tackling the issues that the cathedral faces. Please, someone listen!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. Gratuitous remarks do not strengthen the case. I would be grateful if commentators would keep to the point so that readers may be informed without causing offence. The alternative is not to publish comments thus denying readers of what may otherwise be interesting information.

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