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Sunday, 2 October 2016

Sense and nonsense

John Sentamu, Archbishop of York  

The Archbishop of York and the Archbishop of Wales have both been in the news recently speaking about immigration. John Sentamu fled Idi Amin’s regime in Uganda for the UK in 1973 so unlike the Archbishop of Wales he has some experience in the matter. Dr Sentamu has taken the biblical view inspired by the parable of the Good Samaritan. Dr Morgan's view is typically academic emphasising the popular political but partial view that EU migrants help sustain our economy and health service.

Of course immigration has benefited the UK but in a controlled manner. Evidence from Europe, particularly in Germany where opinion has changed sharply, shows that a huge influx of mainly young Muslim men has not been as rosy as Dr Morgan suggests. Had we not voted to leave the EU hundreds of thousands of migrants would have been eligible to move to the UK from Europe.

Dr Morgan is quoted as saying that "the Christian faith compels us to affirm the dignity of every human being and to offer help to anyone in need. Britain has always in the past shown generosity, kindness, solidarity and decency to those facing persecution, even at times of greater deprivation and difficulty than the present time" but unfortunately Muslims are not reading from the same book.

The Archbishop's words also sound very hollow to members of his own church who continue to believe in the authority of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. They have been left in a spiritual vacuum without sacramental assurance and pastoral support since Dr Morgan refused to appoint a replacement after Bishop David Thomas retired as Provincial Assistant Bishop eight years ago.

Politics were in evidence when Dr Morgan was thanked at the last meeting of the Governing Body for his "extraordinary" service to the Church. The Chair of the Governing Body’s Standing Committee praised the Archbishop for his Presidential Addresses and the sermons on "church governance matters, women bishops, the Anglican Covenant, etc. You have explored devolution, climate change, Gaza, gender and sexuality, parenting, assisted dying, organ donation and much more, he said as if Dr Morgan were retiring from the Welsh Assembly. He went on, you use public media so effectively that on all these issues the imperatives of the gospel are heard. They are always carefully constructed, based on extensive reading and scholarship, and learning lightly worn. They are listened to with respect even by those expert in their own field." Not a view taken by others when Dr Morgan's 'scholarship' was queried following his last Presidential Address entitled ‘Biblical stories can reveal a new understanding of same-sex relationships’. It was widely ridiculed.

The praise heaped on the Archbishop made no mention of the steep decline in church attendance or of the divisions caused in the Church in Wales under Dr Morgan's leadership. He must have had his tongue in his cheek when the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon praised Dr Morgan for his "leadership" of the Church in Wales "at a time when significant changes in society have caused us to examine some of our own disciplines, some of our own opinions and practices". Bishop John said that Dr Morgan's approach to walking those paths, to examining possible changes, has been to "remind us of scripture, tradition and reason" and has done that "cogently, consistently and compassionately". A more accurate description would have been in the absence of scripture, tradition and reason as Dr Morgan pursued his political agenda thus secularising a diminished Church.

It is clear that the bench of bishops live in their own little bubble. Although they claim membership of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church they go their own way having ignored pleas of the Orthodox and Catholic churches and forged closer bonds with local Free (or non-conformist) Churches under the guise of Ecumenism.

The bench of bishops appear to have their heads in the sand unless it is their ultimate desire simply to be a tiny segment in the Uniting Church in Wales. In a tribute to the Bishop of St Davids as he prepares for retirement, Dr Morgan described Bishop Wyn as a "quintessential Dean and a rather reluctant bishop". That is true. Bishop Wyn is greatly admired for his extraordinary work as Dean of St Davids but in a video interview marking his retirement he sadly illustrates how the bishops of the Church in Wales all appear to become infected by 'Bazzeritis'.

Referring [@29 mins] to people who 'tend to slag the church off in terms of decline' Bishop Wyn highlights a small but stable congregation of 8, ignoring the massive decline in church attendance under Dr Morgan's leadership. If that had been his vision as Dean, his Cathedral would not be the jewel in the Church in Wales' crown that it is today, especially when compared with the sorry state of Dr Morgan's Llandaff Cathedral.

Is it any wonder that so many of us feel like refugees in our own Church?


  1. "I will enter your gates with thanksgiving in my heart." Shake the dust from under your feet and seek fellowship, my dear brother.

  2. I do not understand why it is repeatedly claimed that EU immigrants sustain our NHS and economy. There are very few EU doctors, some from the Asian continent.The doctors who at first glance suggest they are migrants have most likely been born and trained here-similarly the nurses ,but some may be from the Philippines (not EU) There maybe cleaners working as EU immigrants.
    As far as the economy is concerned,the black or shadow economy is very difficult to quantify ,but it is estimated that the Treasury loses around £40billion a year in lost tax ; it may not all be down to migrants , but do the Archbishops wonder how much? : there is little doubt migrants contribute to this loss. As usual biblical accounts are being taken out of context and merely adapted to support spurious arguments.

  3. Sorry that I have the same patronymic as the 'bishop'! He is an insult to the name.
    James Morgan
    Olympia WA USA

  4. I believe the title of "Sense and nonsense" is the appropriate thread for this this little gem.

    "For whom the bell tolls: York Minster to fall silent as ringers sacked"

    The same short-sighted unchristian attitude as Llandaff sacking its Cathedral Choir in 2013.

    1. Llandaff has Peggy the Pilate, Bangor had Cyanide Sue, now York bell-ringers point the finger at ‘Vicious Viv’

  5. Plenty of sense ad nonsense on Radio 4 this morning.
    In the red corner providing the sense was the current chief Bell ringer.
    In the blue corner the nonsense came from Varicose Vivian, Dean of York Minster. who was obviously trained at the Barry --Morgan school of bullsh*t and bluster.
    It would serve her right if all campanologists blacklist York Minster and she finds herself without Peals of Bells for a lot longer than a few weeks.

    1. It looks like Llandaft and York have a lot in common.

      The PR disaster is hotting up!

    2. And gets hotter!

      "Bells fall silent as cries peal out against chief ringer
      York Minster is tangled up in claims of sexual impropriety going back nearly 20 years"

      Better to hang thirty innocent bell ringers than risk letting one guilty bell ringer get away with it.
      The fly in "Vicious Viv's ointment is that no-one has been found guilty of anything.

    3. Llandaff Pewster24 October 2016 at 10:43

      The ears in the walls suggest bully boy --Bazza is so impressed by Vicious Viv's management style she's won herself a place on his short-list for the St David's vacancy.

  6. Under the heading of Nonsense the latest sham process is about to begin.

    "Election of new Bishop of St Davids – November 1"

    Even if the St David's diocesan representatives and allies manage to resist bully boy --Bazza for 3 days the decision will revert to his bench of bungling cronies who will impose their choice and the darkness will continue to spread.