You are here . on the pale blue dot

Blog notes

'Anonymous' comments for publication must include a pseudonym.

They should be on topic and not involve third parties.
If pseudonyms are linked to commercial sites comments will be removed as spam.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Barry Morgan shot down again

The bishops of Monmouth, Bangor, St Davids (Bp-elect), Llandaff (Abp), Swansea and Brecon and St Asaph in Sacred Synod           Source: Church in Wales

Archbishop Barry Morgan retires today. Referred to on the Church in Wales twitter account as a 'progressive man never afraid to go against the grain', he leaves behind a legacy based on a liberal interpretation of the Bible designed to back his personal views on homosexuality. His interpretation of scripture has once again attracted scholarly criticism (here). Previous examples here and here.

On Sunday in what appeared to be a promotional service 'Light for Our Darkness', Dr Morgan gave a two part address which was oddly split by the singing of the Nunc Dimittus as if to add some sort of divine approval. The service was broadcast from the Cardiff Parish Church of St John the Baptist led by the Vicar, the Rev'd Canon Dr Sarah Rowland Jones, LVO, OBE, OStJ who, coincidentally, is hotly tipped to be the next bishop of Llandaff.

On listening to his address Dr Morgan appeared to be suggesting that opponents of his liberal views are guilty of 'hatred' and 'intolerance', hating the sinner rather than the sins Christ forgave.

Desperate to convert everyone to an acceptance of same sex marriage in Church the Archbishop has consistently put his own interpretation on Holy scripture. Had he been a junior cleric his views, though worrying, would have carried little weight when shared with a tiny congregation. But Dr Morgan is the Archbishop, eulogised by ill-informed commentators as the longest serving Archbishop in the Anglican Communion as if that in itself imparts wisdom.

As a bishop Dr Morgan was called to 'lead and teach', not to lead astray. He may be entitled to his own views but not to represent them as those of the whole Church or to penalise Church members who have disagreed while maintaining the faith of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church which the Church in Wales claims to belong.

Dr Morgan vacates office in full knowledge that faithful worshippers have left the Church because he has consistently refused to make acceptable provision for anyone who maintains orthodox views.

Consequently many devout women and men have been left with nothing but a spiritual vacuum. That in itself is reprehensible but for it to be inflicted by an Archbishop who believes that only he can be right is outrageous.

Speaking about his desire to see same sex marriages performed in Church, Dr Morgan told the BBC: "I haven't done that on my own. I've done that with the full support of the present bench of bishops and also with the support of the governing body" thus making the bishops complicit and the GB accessories.

What an utter disaster. A Province in the Anglican Communion has been led astray for political purposes. In doing so the Church in Wales has been reduced to little more than an outlet for social services. Addressing an invited congregation at his farewell service Dr Morgan said, "Without the input of churches, fewer food banks would exist, less help would be given to the homeless, the poor and asylum seekers".

Divine worship has become secondary. Without a dramatic volte-face the Church in Wales is doomed.

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Archbishop Barry Morgan: alternative valedictory

'Chez Barry' built on former Catholic Archdiocese of Cardiff land. There's unity for you bach!

If readers think that Archbishop Barry Morgan's retirement pad looks like a prison block, most will no doubt be happy that he is retiring there but the specifications are far more grandiose. From the outside it appears that he has taken his inspiration from the Hajj in Mecca which will not surprise readers who recall his preference for putting the interests of his Muslim chums before members of his own church who have remained faithful to the wider Anglican Communion.

Whatever your views, 31 January 2017 is a great day for the Church in Wales. One which has not come soon enough for many who have despaired of Dr Morgan's complete disregard for anyone who disagrees with his vision of a secularised church. As usual Llandaff diocesan office has gone into overdrive leading with their own valedictory appraisal of Morgan's ministry which has been dutifully picked up as an Establishment item by the BBC and ITV, but much slower in the press, example here. Perhaps they have rumbled him at last after reading the official release.

An unelected politician in vestments, Dr Morgan has used the influence of his office to push a personal, liberal agenda. He has appointed acolytes eager to do his bidding advancing their own careers at the expense of others. A glaring example is seen in the Ass Bishop of Llandaff's letter to diocesan clergy in preparation for Barry's ticket only leaving ceremony in Llandaff Cathedral on Sunday in which he appears to liken Barry Morgan to Jesus Christ. A typical example of deluded obsequiousness, here is an extract from the letter in which the Ass+ claims "The Archbishop’s final service on Sunday will rightly be his hour":

"Archbishop Barry is supremely a mountain top person, who has looked wide to horizons far beyond those who toil on the plain. Volcanoes are exciting if dangerous places, and surprise us with heat and light and molten rocks which change the landscape for ever, and the Archbishop has had the nerve and courage to do that. In the words of Cardinal Basil Hume, he has been a bishop who has come to where people are and taken them to places they have never dreamt of going. 

"Of all the five archbishops I have worked with, Barry is the one who has most displayed the hallmarks of our Lord, surely the ultimate mountain with attitude! Unashamed of his own tenderness, he has a deep and genuine compassion for the underdog and marginalised, and has been a champion for the people of Wales, so often down-trodden. Prophetic to the core of his being, he has been unafraid to overturn tables and fiercely denounce white-washed sepulchres. It seems fitting that Candlemas is on the horizon for his final days as Archbishop, a faithful servant of the one whom Simeon predicted ‘was destined for the falling and rising of many in Israel, to be a sign to be opposed, with the inner thoughts of many laid bare – and a sword will pierce your own soul too.’ "

Much has been made of Dr Morgan being the longest serving Archbishop in the Anglican Communion. If length of service were a measure of success Robert Mugabe would be way out in front. Based on Church in Wales own membership figures, over 99% of the population do not attend Barry Morgan's church so any understanding of the Anglican faith by the population at large and the media in particular will be negligible at best. From a position of profound ignorance they confidently report on matters of faith as if it were a secular issue affecting people in the workplace.

As in the Church of England, the Church in Wales has been targeted by a feminist onslaught which has left many cradle Anglicans with nowhere to express their faith sacramentally, something deliberately orchestrated by Barry and his bench sitters and enthusiastically engineered by the Archdeacon of Llandaff who takes the view that people can leave the church she joined later in life if they do not like what has been inflicted upon them.

None of this is reported in the media let alone explained. The new drive by the bench is to have gay marriage in church accepted. This has been Barry Morgan's ministry. He claims the support of the bench and the Governing Body, most of whom owe their position to Morgan's patronage. His mission has effectively wrecked the Church in Wales in pursuit of political ambition without the courage to test his convictions at the ballot box.

His methods of operation have been devious. Consultations have been ignored when the bench has disagreed with the outcome resulting in much dissatisfaction. So what has Barry Morgan done to deserve the praise and adulation heaped upon him? It cannot be his success as a Pastor because the Church in Wales is predicted to become extinct within a generation. It is because he has followed secular fads to the point of adapting scripture to suit his case which has earned him the dishonorific 'Bullshitter' Barry Morgan: "To claim that they can interpret the Bible in a manner that condones and blesses what it explicitly and unambiguously forbids and prohibits is bullshit par excellence".

Claiming to have been "gobsmacked" when buggin's turn resulted in him being elected as Archbishop of Wales in 2003 he said,  "God has made me a different kind of person" [from his predecessor, Archbishop Rowan Williams] and consequently I can only bring the gifts he's given me to the job." Whatever he thought those gifts were, none has been of any benefit to the church.

The sign to the left was spotted in 'The Lion' in Criccieth.  In 1986 Barry Morgan was appointed Archdeacon of Meirionnydd and Rector of Criccieth with Treflys. Could this be where his views on the ordination of women were formed? 

He was later to claim to have been 'astonished' that when he 'trained for the ministry' in the early 1970s, he did not even question why the ordained ministry was restricted to men.  Only in his little world has it changed.

His triumphalism at the consecration of the bishop of St Davids diminished the Church. There was nothing spiritual or uplifting. Simply that 'I have done it'. Dr Morgan said  “I can’t think of a nicer way to end my ministry – it is fantastic.” The price? A diminished church which has left many cradle Anglicans. Hardly worthy of praise.

Dr Morgan said in his address at the consecration of the bishop of St Davids, “The Church in Wales can now claim to be a universal Church”. Unless he deludes himself in having set up another universal Church, the 'universal Church', the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church does not share the Archbishops views. In fact the Orthodox and Catholic churches wholeheartedly reject them as do the majority of Anglicans. It is so disappointing to have to read public plaudits for a man who has done so much damage to the Church while enhancing his own profile.

In doing so he has displayed an amazing schoolboy naivety. Obsessed with as sense of equality which is reduced to sameness, his own sense of justice has led him to penalise those who fail to follow him. If he recognised that the body is made of many parts, though many, still making up one body, he would have been much the wiser.   

Remember the giants of the Church in Wales before bishops were replaced by 'prefects'. Five held Oxford Firsts in Theology. Need one say more?

                                                                                                  Source: Anglican Misfit

Monday, 23 January 2017

It's such a laugh being a bench sitter

The bishop of St Asaph, an ecstatic Archbishop of Wales, the bishop of Monmouth and the bishop of Swansea and Brecon with Joanna Penberthy,
a monoglot in the conservative, bilingual diocese of St Davids but claimed by the Archbishop to be "the best person to be a bishop"! 

Archbishop Barry Morgan is seen in the above BBC clip preparing for his crowning glory, his consecration of the first woman bishop in the Church in Wales. Not that her election had anything to do with her being a woman he insists, something believed only by his fawning functionaries. The blanket coverage of the event confirmed that it has everything to do with the 129th bishop of St Davids being a woman putting politics before religion.

Making his place in history regardless of the consequences has been Morgan's mission. After the ceremony he admitted that the occasion had been "a particular honour for him as he ends his ministry". It was "the icing on the cake".

Reminiscent of the absurd claim by the Ass Bishop of Llandaff that 'the ordination of women will rid the world of homophobia, misogyny, brutalisation of women in all situations including those in war zones', in this video Dr Morgan links violence against women with Crossing the Threshold, the St Deiniol’s Group campaign for promoting women bishops.

Ironically it is these same women who have caused so much misery to a far greater number of women and men who have been trampled on by them while claiming to be called by God. They have called themselves. If God were going to call women, Jesus Christ would have done so 2,000 years ago. No matter how they twist scripture to make it appear more relevant to society, He didn't. The cost to Christian unity has been immense but that is irrelevant to them.

The Church in Wales is a tiny little Province in the Anglican Communion which makes its own rules yet supporters of the ordination of women claim that 'the church' has accepted it. The vast majority of Anglicans and the wider Apostolic Church have rejected the innovation. Dr Morgan suggests picking biblical texts selectively to support his view that the decision empowers women. At the same time he disregards all those women who have been cast aside because they have not succumbed to his political point scoring.

An embrace for the woman bishop.  Source: ITV
It is odd that the antics of the Church in Wales receive so much attention in the media given that churchgoing has become so depleted under Archbishop Barry Morgan's administration. His ministry has been dominated by embracing the ordination of women and LGBT issues. It has not encouraged the growth suggested. Instead, people have simply left in droves. Currently around 0.8% of the population regularly attend Sunday services. Decline continues at a staggering 5% a year. But the bench appears unconcerned in their cosy little cocoon. 

In the run up to the consecration the BBC dutifully turned up "at the church's training college" to record the proceedings for posterity. Formerly Wales' own St Michael's Theological College it was forced to close on Barry Morgan's watch as have many churches.

The BBC headline was History will be made tomorrow. A woman will be made a bishop in the Church in Wales for the first time. Unfortunately the iPlayer recording is not currently available but here are the recorded comments of the bishop-elect of St Davids with Barry and the bench sitters showing their true intentions, particularly with regard to the Code of Practice which the bench deliberately put in place to deprive traditional Anglicans of acceptable sacramental oversight as provided in the Church of England.

Asked how she responds to people who still can't accept women bishops the bishop-elect said: 
It's strange that people find it so difficult to see the full humanity in women as well as in men and why men are seen as the person that God calls and women are sort of slightly on the side. People are entitled to their consciences but I think the time for rehashing the argument is over.
It is understandable that she thinks that rehashing the argument is over because on further investigation the duplicity of the bench would be exposed.

I thought the bishop-elect's choice of words was rather odd given the circumstances the Church in Wales find herself in.
Humanity = The quality of being humane; benevolence.
Humane = showing kindness, care, and sympathy towards others, especially those who are suffering.
But who cares? The bench doesn't.

Note also the change of tone having joined the bench. Previously the bishop-elect claimed:
"As someone who in the early years was at the receiving end of prejudice and discrimination, I have absolutely no intention of dishing that out so I think it's important that everybody feels free to be honest about their opinions and about their misgivings."
Asked by Ed Stourton about the nature of the alleged 'discrimination' she had suffered it amounted to no more than "blank incomprehension" that she would want to exercise her own ministry rather than help her husband. If disagreement amounts to discrimination, Barry and his bench sitters have been exercising discrimination against fellow members of their church for years.

Asked how the bishop-elect would manage opposition to women bishops in practical terms she said:
The genius of Anglicanism has been the way we have held people of all sorts and different opinions so there is a code of practice that enables us to make place for people who don't wish to receive my sacramental ministry.
No mention of course that the Code of Practice was written to be inclusive only on terms acceptable to the bench.

An ecstatic Dr Barry Morgan said: She's a woman and women always change things, for the better usually.
Is changing her mind to that of the bench an example of what he had in mind?

The bishop of Swansea and Brecon wryly observed:
It may change the way in which the rest of us behave at bench meetings because we can be quite robust.

Referring to 'Bishop Jo' in her new role, Bishop Dick of Monmouth said:
"The Church in Wales still hasn't got many senior posts with women in and I think 'Bishop Jo' coming along now will be a very clear signal", contrary to the Archbishop's claim that the appointment had nothing to do with Joanna Penberthy being a woman.

Oblivious to any fundamental conscientious objection to the ordination of women, the bishop of Bangor added:
As people see that she will do a wonderful job they will be won over.

But it was the bishop of St Asaph who rather candidly let the cat out of the bag when he said:
The Church needs to be the sort of place which says, this is how to disagree well. The real problem I think is that those who can't accept women bishops want more than we feel able to give.

With that revelation Dr Morgan concluded the gathering by engaging in some light-hearted banter directed towards bishop Jo. He said:
To the Archbishop they say Your Grace if they want to be terribly formal, to bishops they say my Lord, and I was just saying to John, she could be like the Queen, Ma'am. 

It's all such a laugh for bench sitters.

The bishops of St Davids and Gloucester share a laugh.  Source Wales Online     

Bishops in the Church in Wales have their own way of seeing things. Dr Morgan expressed his delight that out of the nine consecrations he has performed, that of Joanna Penberthy was the most applauded. It was reported that more than 500 people attended the bilingual service. The empty seats in the nave shown in ITV News coverage suggests that most must have been stood around the West door! Dr Morgan paid tribute to the Church’s women clergy for “daring to trust and hope” during what had been a “long and hard journey” to ordination, ignoring others left with no hope.

Dr Morgan said he could not think of a nicer way to end his ministry - "it is fantastic" he said. Now he looks forward to further elections when women will be included 'equally' with men (ie, preferentially). Llandaff next while more people leave the church?

Empty seats visible at the Consecration service                                                                                                                                                            Source: ITV

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

The Church in Wales

Church in Wales bishops applaud the election of the first woman bishop     Source: Church in Wales

Guest post from Retired and Relieved.

[This entry was originally submitted as a series of comments under the previous entry which have been combined into a single entry. AB]

Sorry this is only tenuously linked to Una Kroll, but I was at a certain convent of Dr Kroll's acquaintance recently, where a group of former Church in Wales clergy (ie those now serving outside the Province) were meeting. They were being facilitated by a Welsh Anglican academic, and a copy of his paper was left lying around afterwards. It makes fascinating reading and, I think you'll agree, it was bang on the nail. The sentient passage is quite long, so I'll send it in sections. But there is clearly some thinking going on by the exiled about what the future of the Church in Wales will be - and they obviously don't like the Barry Morgan years. So here's the first bit with the rest to follow in about 4 or 5 posts.

The most obvious problem with Barry Morgan’s archiepiscopate is that it has been obsessed (and I do not think this is putting it too strongly) with things that are ‘less than God’. Most obviously, those things are all related to the gender and sexual revolutions of the last few decades: matters about which Jesus spoke very little; and matters from which the rest of the world moved-on long ago. The upshot is that, when Barry Morgan pontificates on the media about celebrating the 20th anniversary of the ordination of women in Wales, or the consecration of a female Bishop of St Davids, wider society’s reaction is ‘So what’? It is just another sign that, theologically, he is still inhabiting the 1970s and fantasizing about being ‘radical’ when, in fact, he is just being off- base.

A post-Barry Morgan Bench is, perforce, going to be obsessed with ‘growth’ (a euphemism for managing the decline over which Barry Morgan has presided). This obsession is, ultimately, grounded in fear, and will come across as fire-fighting. It will do nothing to express the abundant generosity and wisdom of God to the wider world. It will simply be seen in terms of institutional survival – and that inspires nobody.

What the Bishops have failed to do is articulate a coherent vision, not about what Christianity is in general; but what Christianity means for the Welsh people at this point in our national life. I would like to see the Bishops make some arguments in particular: that Christianity is Truth with a capital T; that Christianity is from where all the benefits of our culture originate (including the benefits of science and technology); that the rapid growth and displacement of Christianity imperils all those benefits; and that Christianity is unique. This is not a recipe for arid fundamentalism. Rowan Williams did it (even by being clear that readings from the scriptures of other faiths had no place in Christian worship).

The paradox – the irony, even – is that the Bishops do not actually understand secular culture; and, because they operate within the terms of what they ‘understand’ to be secular culture, they seem almost afraid to say that religion is the principal glue that binds together a community. The Bishops seem oblivious to the fact that the fragmentation of our society stems directly from the breakdown of a shared Christian faith. This has not been helped by the over- inflated sense of importance attached to non-conformity in Wales and its inevitable implosion over the past half-Century (just think of how much dwindling resources have been invested in the CYTUN project over the past 20 years as the world continues to say ‘so what’?). The shoring-up of failed institutions is unlikely to inspire the Welsh people with a vision of God. Whatever you make of his mode of communication, Bishop David Jenkins did precisely that, and got society in general talking about God. Although he was less exciting, but widely trusted as an intellectual force-to-be reckoned-with, John Habgood did the same.

So has another, very different Bishop, soon to retire, whose Diocese has experienced consistent growth over the past 20 years, and who has not been afraid to say the kind of things the Welsh Bishops have cowered from saying. Richard Chartres of London is grounded in a theological tradition much richer and deeper than the liberal Protestantism of Barry Morgan and his Bench. He has not been afraid to draw on that deep well in renewing the people of God. He has doggedly refused to allow the gender and sexual revolutions to hijack the impetus of the Church’s proclamation, thus denying the Church’s internal politics the opportunity to undercut the more vital task of engaging with the questions wider society is actually asking. If that means being opaque about where he stands in relation to womens’ ordination, or the ordination of non-celibate gay clergy, so be it.

Remarkably, a liberal Protestant, Martyn Percy has posted 95 Theses to the English House of Bishops (as a response to Luther’s act of 1517), castigating them for their obsession with institutional survival. Unlike Barry Morgan, however, Percy recognizes the fundamental theological vocation of bishops and their spiritual responsibility to the nation. He quotes the Anglican divine, Evelyn Underhill, as saying that the people are hungry for God. If people in Wales want God, and recognize their need for God, where do they go as the Church in Wales becomes less of conspicuous presence in communities, with clergy who receive scant training and formation, and an erosion of confidence in the distinctive calling of the ordained? As Underhill so perceptively recognized ‘The real failures, difficulties and weaknesses of the Church are spiritual and can only be remedied by spiritual effort and sacrifice [...] her deepest need is a renewal, first in the clergy and through them in the laity; of the great Christian tradition of the inner life.’

I began by saying that the real problem with the Bench of Bishops is that they are not spiritually serious. The population at large sense this, and ignores them. Would that we had a proper prophet – not the social-justice facsimile of prophecy which so many liberal thinkers champion – but one who insists on the priority of the first commandment over all else, and works out, in fear and trembling, the implications for the decisions that we face as a nation today.

Such a person would never have got through the Barry Morgan-controlled selection process to become a Bishop, of course. As Kenneth Stevenson, the wonderfully rooted yet anarchic Bishop of Portsmouth, was fond of saying, ‘We are desperate for prophets and all we get is prefects.’

Except…except, after 20th January 2017, the Church in Wales has the opportunity to stand back, to ask focused questions about what it has been doing over the past decade-and-a-half, and discern what its priorities are for the years ahead. Would it be too much to ask that this task is not left to the Bishops alone? And would it be unreasonable to suggest that, instead of rushing to fill an episcopal vacancy with an all-too-predictable candidate (thus showing the people of Wales that institutional survival is paramount), the whole Church might just start asking what its ultimate purpose is, and what Wales needs from its Bishops in the future when it is hungry for God?
This is rooted in a profound malaise: the Bench of Bishops is not spiritually serious. That is to say they do not seem to believe that the substance of Christianity is, ultimately, a matter of eternal life and death. The Bishops seem to be preoccupied with exactly the same sort of social-justice- pleading, and managing an institution at a time of decline, that any other liberal atheist would be perfectly at home with. Consequently, the Bishops sound just like NHS or education executives. Except that their institution is of infinitely less concern to most people than schools, hospitals and universities.

Why would anyone put up with all the manifold nonsenses of the Church in Wales if there is no sense of fundamental importance beyond HR, finance, health and safety, safeguarding or equality issues?

The basic problem is that the Bishops are there precisely to articulate the Christian faith in the public sphere and – surely! – to run the risk of offending, inspiring, challenging and engaging the population at large when they do. With one obvious exception, I cannot see how any of the Bishops of the Church in Wales are capable of doing this. They are (mostly) ecclesiastical functionaries, chosen by Barry Morgan because they were unlikely to eclipse him in the public glare, or ever likely to challenge his secularizing agenda (whatever they may have once believed).

Postscript [02.02.2017]

In a comment from Retired and Relieved dated 19 January (below) reference was made to a letter published in the Church Times by the Revd Professor Thomas Glyn Watkin:

"Incidentally, if you saw Fr Thomas Watkin's searing letter in last week's Church Times, you will know that (on current form) the Bench is still behaving like a Medieval papacy and treating the rest of us like we don't matter. That has been the problem for far too long."

The Revd Professor Thomas Glyn Watkin is a highly respected NSM in the Church in Wales. He was successively lecturer, senior lecturer, reader and Professor in the Law School at the University of Wales, Cardiff. He was appointed foundation Professor of Law at the University of Wales, Bangor in 2004. He was acting as Legal Assistant to the Governing Body of the Church in Wales from 1981 until 1998. In April 2007 he became First Welsh Legislative Counsel, the legal officer principally responsible for drafting the legislative programme of the Welsh Assembly Government.

This is what he wrote to the Church Times.

Sir, - The Church in Wales Book of Common Prayer, enacted by various canons, declares that confirmation is a rite, and its rubrics provide that confirmation is generally necessary to receive holy communion. The Church's constitution provides that alterations to rites and discipline may be made only by canon.

The Welsh Bishops wish to allow those who have been baptised to receive the sacrament without need of confirmation. They are attempting to do this by pastoral letter, without any authorisation by canon. The Archbishop has written in this paper (Letters, 25 November) that the change makes confirmation "a service of response and commitment to God's grace given at baptism and at the eucharist for those who want to make such a commitment".

Baptism, as both he and the Bishop of Swansea & Brecon (Letters, 6 January) state, is to be the full rite of Christian initiation. Confirmation is to become an optional extra. Is not this an alteration to the rite and to the existing discipline?

When the Church of England relaxed its rules on admission to holy communion, it did so by Measure and canon. The Welsh Bishops state that they have legal advice assuring them that the "step does not require any change in the present Canon Law or Constitution of the Church in Wales". A polite request to make public that legal advice met with an equally polite refusal. That the alteration is controversial is clear from recent correspondence in these columns (Letters, 14 October and 23/30 December).

The procedure for enacting canons exists precisely to ensure that potentially controversial changes are subjected to scrutiny, deliberation, and debate by all orders within the Church. Regardless of one's views regarding Christian initiation, respect is due to the inclusiveness of such decision-making.

The Bishop of Swansea & Brecon wrote of baptism as "birth into a family wherein all are welcome to be nourished by the sacramental family meal at the family table". The Bishops' actions make it plain that, once at the table, unless they are in episcopal orders, God's children are to be seen but not heard.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Dr Una Kroll meets her maker

  Dr Una Kroll                                    Source; Bury Times
Dr Una Kroll, feminist campaigner and prominent activist in the movement for the ordination of women has died in Bury aged 91. Given her chameleon approach to faith one wonders what sort of reception she had at the pearly gates. 

Described as "An inspirational woman famed for her humanitarian work", she had been a doctor, nun, a feminist campaigner and an activist for peace and justice. In 1997 when living in Wales she became a priest but "shocked admirers and friends" by publicly leaving the priesthood she had so long campaigned to be part of. 

The Rev'd Dave Thompson of St John with St Marks Church in Bury summed up her priesthood when he said, “She was a remarkable woman who influenced the church in matters of equality and campaigned tirelessly for women’s rights".  

That is the nub of it. She and her fellow campaigners have achieved the 'equality' they wanted but at the expense of others who have struggled to keep the faith instead of bending scripture and tradition to satisfy their own desires. That is what much of Western Anglicanism has been reduced to.

Writing for the Church Times Linda Hurcombe explains: Information in this article is from a recent interview with the Revd Dr Kroll for Christian Voices Coming Out, a heritage project that captures the stories of pioneering LGBT Christians, and their advocates and allies.

That is the package today. Feminism and LGBT issues, using the church as a vehicle for women's rights regardless of the consequences.

How many people have been led astray by the spiteful organisation WATCH which has urged others to follow their example rather than the example of Christ? Clergy who have determined which way the wind blows, ambitious bishops exercising their liberal credentials and laity who have felt that they have no option other than to go with the flow. They have all become victims of 'equality'.

The saddest thing about these 'pioneering' women is that they appear blind to the disastrous effect they have had on the church as attendance continues to fall. Not content with having achieved their original goal they are now campaigning to change the Lord's prayer to 'Our Mother who art in heaven...'. How long before there are calls for three Queens representing the nature of humanity at Epiphany?

Una Kroll was ordained to the priesthood in Wales by a strong supporter of the ordination of women, Dr Rowan Williams when he was Bishop of Monmouth. Dr Kroll later gave up the priesthood to become a Roman Catholic claiming that she wanted to support RC women claiming to be called by God thus leading even more astray.

A convert to Anglicanism Una Kroll was a nun who married a monk. Clearly she did what she pleased regardless of the consequences for others despite her 'humanitarian' credentials. She may have been a remarkable woman among those who 'influenced the church in matters of equality' but their idea of equality has not been extended to others. Their intransigence was later to cause Rowan Williams great difficulties when he became Archbishop of Canterbury as they obstructed moves to provide alternative episcopal oversight for Anglicans opposed on theological grounds to the sacramental ministry of women.

Many faithful Anglicans who showed charity in accommodating the desires of these women have since discovered to their cost, that their church has left them. This is particularly so in Wales where women were successful in ensuring that there will be no provision for alternative oversight. I have seen no evidence of a campaign for equality on behalf of the excluded.

What, one wonders, did St Peter make of that at the pearly gates?

Friday, 13 January 2017

Islam and the Church

The Barnabas Fund recently published an Editorial: 'Can the Church survive the Islamist onslaught?' The article says that in 2017 Christians can expect to face five major challenges to their freedom of religion:
  • Widespread religious cleansing, 
  • The formal spread of sharia enforcement,
  • The spread of violence to enforce sharia, 
  • Christian refugees unseen, ignored and targeted by Islamists, and 
  • The West’s loss of its own Judaeo-Christian values.
Christianity is experiencing a major problem. As Christianity is being wiped out in many countries abroad, religious leaders in Great Britain continue to cosy up to Muslims in the mistaken belief that they can encourage better relations between Christianity and Islam even though Islam completely rejects basic Christian beliefs.

As explained for the Cranmer Blog by the Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden, Chaplain to the Queen, the latest Anglican gaff took place during the Eucharist in Glasgow's Scottish Episcopal Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin when a reading from the Quran was included in the liturgy. Dr Ashden has been interviewed on Anglican Unscripted (AU) where he gives a clear explanation of the problems facing Christianity today, not only from Islam but from the liberal Left. 

This is not about hating Muslims as explained here. It is about recognising that Christians are being led astray while Muslims seeking salvation are being denied the truth

The AU video should be compulsory viewing for clerics, especially trendy liberals.

Postscript [15.01.2017]

Glasgow Quran Reading: Scottish Episcopal Church 'Deeply Distressed At Offence' Caused.

Postscript [23.01.2017]

Why I've resigned as Chaplain to the Queen - Dr Gavin Ashenden in Premier Christianity.

Monday, 9 January 2017

The naked truth

Tambourine clerics celebrating their success at the expense of the Church                    Source: BBC

Women priests in the Church in Wales have been celebrating the twentieth anniversary of ordinations of women to the priesthood.

Seen dancing on the left (above) is Methodist Superintendent Minister's wife, the Rev Canon Jenny Wigley. She danced down the aisle of Llandaff Cathedral with her Governing Body (GB) collaborator, the Ven Peggy Jackson (obscured by the Archbishop), whom Canon Wigley plucked from the congregation for a celebration jig as they rejoiced in their success at the expense of the Church. BBC TV coverage here

After preaching at their celebration service in Llandaff Cathedral Canon Wigley said in an interview for the BBC that she looked forward to the day when there were no more minds to be changed about the acceptance of women priests, revealing a lack of tolerance which has characterised her campaign.

That day should not be long coming since she and the Archdeacon of Llandaff have been doing everything in their power to obliterate opposition to their feminist objectives. They convinced the GB that there should be no separate provision, as provided in the Church of England, for theological conviction that the teaching of the Apostolic church carries more weight than provincial synods. 

Responsible for placing these women Archbishop Barry Morgan wallowed in a fool's paradise as he jubilantly tweeted ‏@ChurchinWales:
'It was a great day 20 years ago and has been a great day today - the Church has come an enormously long way'. He omitted to say, on the path to extinction under his watch.

The reality has been consistently glossed over. At GB meetings the Membership and Finance report is relegated to the bottom of the Agenda with a passive Motion: That the Governing Body do take note of this report.

So here is the naked truth.

Icing on the cake      Source: Twitter
"If the predictions are proved true, by 2050 Wales will be home to the smallest church-going population in Britain. Church attendance in Wales could decline to less than a quarter of its current level according to an analysis of the country’s religious trends.

New figures compiled after an analysis of membership of religious bodies have revealed the numbers attending church on a monthly basis could fall from 200,000 to fewer than 40,000 over the next four decades – that is less than the average attendance at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge football ground."

That was in 2008 when regular attendance was expected to sink to 40,000 by 2050. 

In 2015 the average Sunday attendance had already sunk to 29,019 and falling at a rate of 5% a year.

In 2015 the Church in Wales was predicted to be extinct by around 2040.

BBC Wales coverage of the women's celebration was extensive, both before and after the event. Coverage went like this. "Twenty years after women were permitted to become priests, how much has the Church really changed? One of the first women to be ordained and a man who still cannot fully accept women as priests. Women saw themselves as 'pioneers' ".

The whole issue is regarded by the media as one of equality of opportunity in the workplace and how women have succeeded in breaking barriers.

Bishops’ Adviser for Church and Society, Canon Carol Wardman, who preached at the service in Brecon Cathedral followed the lead of "bullshitting" Barry Morgan putting her own interpretation on Galatians 3:28 in an attempt to prove her point.

It was not surprising that the TV coverage was presented as a secular issue since that is the way the Church in Wales presents it. Priests and laity who are unable to accept the sacramental ministry of women are portrayed as old-fashioned misogynists unable to keep up with the times despite being in step with the vast majority of Christians worldwide.

The Church in Wales Review (Section 10) recognised the "dire seriousness of the situation" facing the Church in Wales in 2012:
"In addition to congregations declining, a high percentage of the clergy retiring and a shortage of ordinands, the number of young people with whom the church is in contact is miniscule", an observation easily verify by looking around most congregations if you still attend Church in Wales services.

To put the position into perspective, some figures from the 2016 Church in Wales Report from the 'Age Limits Working Group' (Para 16):

 the average age of ordination as deacon in the Church in Wales since 2005 (Appendix 5.1) is:
- 39 for stipendiaries (with averages for each diocese ranging from 36  to 44) and 
- 57 for NSMs (with diocesan averages ranging from 50 to 61);

 the current profile of stipendiary clergy in post (Appendix 5.2) shows that 50% are 55 or over;

 the average age of stipendiary clergy at retirement since 2005 (Appendix 5.3) has been 65 with 13% retiring after 67 and only 2% after 70. 

Pressured by this crisis having exhausted most possibilities for combining parishes, no time was lost by the Bench in covering the cracks by developing Ministry Areas to mask the collapse of our historic parish system. That has given rise to more discontent and is increasing as the faithful find that instead of seeing a priest in their hour of need, a lay person with a few hours training is substituted.

Talking to Premier, Canon Wardman trotted out the well worn claim, "aspiring women clergy sometimes still face resistance and negative attitudes when pursuing ordination in the Church in Wales" echoing the groundless claims of the bishop-elect of St Davids after the disgraceful election of a monoglot bishop in a bilingual diocese, flying in the face of a policy of encouraging the use of the Welsh language.

Despite all their talk of equality these women have no regard for faithful Anglicans. They are consistently marginalised and excluded. As the Ven Peggy Jackson candidly put it on a previous occasion, "individuals with conscientious difficulties over women’s ministry will simply have to make personal decisions and individual choices, to find accommodation as best they can".

More reminiscent of party politics than Christianity, if these women were not so self-centred they would acknowledge the devastating decline of the church during 20 years of women priests rather than use the Sacrifice of the Mass for self-aggrandisement.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Festive Charades: Welsh bishops

Bishop of Llandaff (Pritchard Hughes) Source: Wikipedia
Soon it will be time for the Electoral College of the Church in Wales to elect another bishop. This time the Bishop of Llandaff. Secrecy is the name of the game. An oddity when openness has become the norm, especially in matters of sexuality. The reason becomes obvious when the meeting in St Davids which resulted in Canon Joanna Penberthy becoming bishop-elect of St Davids is regarded as the biggest stitch-up yet.

Ignoring the specific requirement for a fluent Welsh speaker enabling the bishop to communicate effectively with all worshippers in a diverse, conservative diocese, the 'election' of someone who can conduct a service in Welsh parrot fashion was deemed to be sufficient.

The Archbishop keeps repeating that Canon Penberthy was elected not because she is a woman but because she is "the best person to be a bishop". This cannot be true if as reported, a fluent Welsh speaker was specified in the diocesan profile.

In a valedictory interview for BBC Radio Wales, Dr Morgan again repeats his assertion in an attempt to convince his listeners that the election was not a stitch up. Believe that if you will despite the fact that Canon Penberthy's name had been circulating as the next bishop for months before her election.

Dr Morgan's interview starts with a promise recorded fourteen years ago at his installation as Archbishop of Wales: Will you be faithful in your ministry in calling the dioceses of the Church in Wales to work in harmony together. And will you so guide us in our work ecumenically that all the churches of Wales may see in our ministry the work of fellow members of the body of Christ? 
Dr Morgan answers: With the help of God, I will.

Regrettably, harmony has turned to discord. Motivated more by politics than by the mysteries of faith Dr Morgan has steered a different course to all but like minded liberal primates in the Anglican Communion such as Katharine Jefferts Schori, the disastrous former Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church of the United States.

People sitting on Dr Morgan's side of the fence will agree among themselves that he has much to be proud of but that is from a secular point of view. For others his tenure has been a disaster. His influence will linger on among those owing their 'success' to him so it is with little surprise that I learn that the options being considered for the see of Llandaff are close to Barry's heart, advancing the role of women in the church, homosexuality and same sex marriage (SSM).

One name which routinely pops up whenever there is a vacancy is that of the Dean of St Albans. His ministry has suffered greatly from church politics but he did himself no favours when he came Out4Marriage, bending scripture in the modern fashion to accord with personal circumstances. Many others, despite what Dr Morgan says in his BBC interview, have suffered more for their faith. Ignored or passed over because they have not gone along with Western Anglicans' obsessions with so-called women's rights, LGBT+ and SSM issues.

Thought to be the favourite candidate is a woman vicar serving in a parish in the centre of Cardiff. If elected she will of course have to accept that she is second best despite her superior CV because 'the best person to be a bishop' according to Dr Morgan is the Bishop-elect of St Davids regardless of her being a monoglot in a Welsh speaking diocese.

With a second female bishop in place, women on the bench will still lack parity so that will be the next feminist clamour dressed up as an equality issue. Parity could be achieved next year if the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon retires at 65. That would leave one male bishop, the Bishop of Monmouth, to cover the whole of South Wales under the flawed Code of Practice which was designed solely for the advancement of women in the church, hence the urgent need for some sort of Society similar to that operating in England to support faithful Anglicans who have been marginalised for their faith in their own church.

When feminisation of the Bench is complete there will of course be no male bishop to provide "appropriate sacramental episcopal ministry" under existing rules. But the provision is a nonsense anyway because none of the existing bench sitters shares the conscientious beliefs of those for whom provision was intended.

To provide some semblance of choice on this occasion a third name is in the frame, that of one of the Llandaff Cathedral canons so unless there is a translation the choice is gays v. wimmin so spare a thought for all those loyal, straight male priests who Barry says he listens to but has ignored like a backfiring bishops' consultation.

Striking a positive note for the New Year, as church attendance continues to shrink, at least Barry Morgan can be proud of his promise to work ecumenically. Thanks to his efforts, much of the Church in Wales is becoming indistinguishable from chapel so we are all in it together.