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Wednesday, 19 July 2017

The cost of success

This image from Twitter (H/T Anglican Mainstream) shows the celebration of a lesbian civil partnership at Southwark Cathedral with "Eucharist, Dinner and Dancing". 

It was joyfully attended by the Very Rev'd Professor Martyn Percy Dean of Christ Church Oxford, who pressed Philip North either to renounce his membership of The Society or to decline his nomination as bishop of Sheffield, and his wife Emma Percy, Chair of WATCH who likes to refer to God as a 'She'. 

Taken with the errors committed at the recent General Synod in York, this is another example of how far Anglicanism in Great Britain has become a do as you please religion.

In another recent post on Anglican Mainstream the question was posed, Why is the Episcopal Church near collapse? A note of caution was added: Ed:  The author of this article is not mentioned, nor is it dated.  We believe it to be several years old, but we consider it suitable for posting as the situation has not improved and the article clearly shows the effect of revisionism.

The rot started in the US. If ever there was a cautionary tale to heed one would have thought that the brakes would have been applied but instead progressives in this country have held up TEC as an exemplar.

After all she has done to bring down the Episcopal Church in the United States, their former Presiding Bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, was invited to proclaim the Gospel at the consecration of the new bishop of Llandaff, ignoring the Church in Wales' own Basic Guidance concerning the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist:   "[17.] The Gospel is normally proclaimed by a deacon, where available...and, from the Appendix, It is the duty of the deacon to proclaim the Gospel."

The Gospel stunt was a distraction which focused on the advancement of women in the Church rather than giving glory to God with the central focus of the liturgy being Christ himself (General Guidelines).

Another posing opportunity for women bishops       Source:Salisbury Journal

Back at the parish ministry area level, this comment was received following my previous entry which confirms worrying reports about Ministry Areas:

".... you mention 'inspiring our poor worn out hard working priests'
I agree with you but the management push to force ministry areas everywhere, is doing the opposite. Team leaders here in Monmouth are hard to come by as no one wants to run 3-4 parishes with less and less team members. Cwmbran, became a ministry area and went from 4 full time clergy, to two, the curate recently was moved to Malpas Ministry Area as no one would apply for it, so the remaining ministry team leader has resigned and is off to Llandaff as a team vicar. So soon no full time clergy......but hey plenty of lay readers who have been ordained...........(is it me or is that bad theology?)
I gather Llandaff has a chap going round full time, telling PCC's how wonderful ministry areas are......."

In the wider sphere, an observation from Pope Benedict XVI who sent a "sobering" message at the funeral of Cardinal Joachim Meisner saying he was moved at the dubia cardinal's ability to "live out of a deep conviction that the Lord does not abandon His Church, even when the boat has taken on so much water as to be on the verge of capsizing.

What liberals claim as progress is the cost of their success. At the official level Anglicanism is all but finished in the US with Great Britain not far behind while blind progressives still insist that it is they who are right!

But all is not lost. Please read this hopeful message: To the Anglicans of Great Britain.

Monday, 17 July 2017

More of the same

"Thank you for your kind applause", as Madame Edith used to say in 'Allo 'Allo! after her star turn                                                          Source: Church in Wales

No altar cross or candles on the nave altar when the appointment of the Bishop of Llandaff, June Osborne, was confirmed in Sacred Synod last Friday. Instead the altar was used as a microphone stand. Apt for another political rally!

The first reported utterance of the new bishop on the occasion of her consecration the following day was to urge "sexuality-row" Llandaff diocese to move on, again drawing unwelcome attention to the Electoral College row after the Western Mail re-hashed the Jeffrey John self-promotion story on 11 July, an episode the bench had been trying to bury with their appointment of the Dean of Salisbury, the Very Rev June Osborne as bishop-designate.

More successfully buried had been the Church of England Osborne Report on homosexuality which should have been published in 1989 but surfaced in 2012. Some believe this report damaged Osborne's chances of preferment in the Church of England. Not so in the Church in Wales.

Pursuing another pet theme, bishop June offered her view of the church as a secular institution given over to the advancement of women in a BBC interview which formed part of their coverage of her consecration. She said:

 "Isn't it fantastic, Wales becomes the Province of the Anglican Communion that has the highest percentage of women bishops in it and that has to feel right because one woman is great but more than one woman in an organisation, people know this, really begins to make a change for the better because gender parity, gender equality, women feeling that their voice is respected just as the men's voices. It's what the Church in Wales has been working on for some years now and so I just think that bishop Jo in St Davids will be a fantastic colleague but it will also mean the the workings of the bench of bishops and the whole church will just become more normal. It's what people know in the normal life is mixed gender teams."

Yet more of the same in a radio interview here (advance to 51.12).

Rather than the Cornerstone, Jesus Christ has become the stepping-stone for women to pursue their careers in the church, demanding parity rather than spirituality. 

Stand by for more of 'what the Church in Wales has been working on for some years', substituting politics for faith when bishop June and her 'fantastic colleague' bishop Jo 'make normal the workings of the bench of bishops and the whole church'.

What bishop June failed to mention when she referred to the 'whole church' was that she had in mind the Church in Wales, one of the smallest provinces in the Anglican Communion, and possibly the Church of England. The vast majority of the world's 80 million Anglicans, along with the Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, regard provinces such as the Church in Wales and the Church of England as being in error which puts her views into context.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Dumbed-down, dressed down, let down

The Church of England at Synod

Who needs scripture, tradition or reason when a few dozen like-minded people can gather together in His name to make up the rules as they go along?

The headline in Plant Transgender after the transgender blessing debate was 'Church of England votes to bless transgender lives'. This is the attitude the Church has validated and sums up the current trajectory of the Church of England as progressives pander to lobbyists who seek to make the church more relevant to society regardless of the evidence and views of the wider Christian Church:

  "Imagine awakening one Sunday morning joining with your family at church for a special service to celebrate your authentic gender?  A coming out like never before is taking place at the Church of England, the third largest Christian communion in the world. Blessed by your church you would find yourself confident, spiritually empowered and ready to face life as never before. A motion to make this a reality has been agreed on during the Church’s four-day general synod meeting in York which started on Friday. but may take three years to finalize."

As the Rev Peter Ould put it, 'T is for Tearing up the Rules of Anglicanism'. Listen to his excellent podcast on Radio Free Canterbury here.

On their web site the Church of England proclaims 'a Christian presence in every community'. That is a presence for all on equal terms but now there is a special welcome for LGB+T people who claim they want to be treated the same as everyone else while demanding special treatment.

Also, clergy are to be allowed to ditch their robes in a 'further sign of dress-down Britain'. This is likely to result in some bizarre sights removing any semblance of the 'otherness' as mystery is replaced by the commonplace.

Again and again the bishops of an Anglican Church have let down those they are meant to guide.

Monday, 10 July 2017

The Llandaff problem

Llandaff Cathedral and the soon to be vacant again Deanery?

Many of the comments received in response to entries in this blog have been about the problems besetting Llandaff Cathedral, latterly as the result of Archbishop Barry Morgan's appointment of his former Chaplain as Dean.

Dean Capon has his admirers as well as his critics. My view is largely one of sympathy for someone who lacked the necessary experience and seniority to be catapulted into a role for which he was  not qualified. To his credit he stepped in when asked, inheriting problems not of his creation when others declined.

How long the Dean will survive after the enthronement of bishop June Osborne is a question many have been asking. One commentator suggested that the Dean would be promoted to Assistant Bishop in the Autumn. This was later withdrawn as a joke; however, it tied in with other rumours that the new bishop had plans to resolve the difficulties in which traditionalists find themselves because they are unable in conscience to accept the sacramental and pastoral oversight of women. In short, the bishop would promote Dean Capon to Assistant Bishop to care for traditionalists in her diocese.

Firstly, if true, to promote someone out of trouble is unacceptable but more importantly, an assistant to a female bishop would be representing a bishop who, in conscience, is regarded as unacceptable on theological grounds so that would not be a solution.

I also have a problem with the Dean's judgement, most recently in disclosing, in general terms, people's giving, and suggesting that the depth of someone's pocket along with a willingness to dig deep was an essential qualification for appointment as the Treasurer of the Friends of Llandaff Cathedral.

This was commented on by Lux Et Veritas under a previous entry, in response to a communication from the Dean following the death of  Sir Donald Walters. Dissatisfaction continues to rumble on with further comments coming in from both sides.

Another potential problem for Llandaff Cathedral was identified in the Church Times disclosure that, using the Freedom of Information Act, Dr Jeffrey John had obtained partially redacted emails sent be­­tween the Welsh bishops in the run-up to the electoral college.

The emails reveal anxieties over the potential appointment of Dr John:
 "An email dated 8 February, which appears to be from Bishop Davies, states: 'My instinct is that JJ’s stance on the matter of same-gender relationships and his own situation might be un­­welcome to many in the Diocese who would suspect that Barry’s [the former Bishop of Llandaff and Welsh Primate, Dr Barry Morgan] evident liberal agenda was being perpetuated by his election. It would probably do the perception of the Bench, at home and elsewhere, no particular good either'. Personally, I also think that his elec­­tion would be an immense distraction in the Province at the wrong time."

He also writes: "I am still of the view that JJ’s election could set off a media circus.” Returning to the state of the Llandaff diocese he wrote: “Whilst neither sexuality nor age are con­clusive factors here, I think that the depth of problems in Llandaff has yet to fully emerge. . . Getting to grips with all this, becoming known and trusted and turning things around will take a deal of time, possibly more than JJ has given his age.”

The bishop of St Asaph appears to be more sanguine in his response adding weight to the suggestion from some quarters that it was he who had spoken with Dr John in the row about Electoral College confidentiality, something Dr John chose to ignore in the interests advancing his own candidature.

Regardless of one's views on the matter, the Bishop of Swansea and Brecon simply mirrored the conclusion reached previously when Dr John was a candidate, latterly for Monmouth.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

New Anglicanism: secularism with ritual?

"Recent developments in The Episcopal Church with respect to a change in their Canon on marriage represent a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching held by the majority of our Provinces on the doctrine of marriage. Possible developments in other Provinces could further exacerbate this situation." - Scottish Episcopal Church Agenda and Papers, General Synod 2016.

Last month the Scottish Episcopal Church voted to allow same-sex couples to be married in church.

The Archbishops of Canterbury and York have been criticised for inviting the proposer of the Scottish gay-marriage motion to the General Synod meeting in York, placing a group of the Synod’s laity and clergy in an “invidious” position.

There should be nothing to discuss if a change is "a fundamental departure from the faith and teaching" but the Archbishops of Canterbury and York appear to be one-track minded on this issue. In January 2016 there was an explanation in The Telegraph explaining how the Anglican Communion came to find itself in this mess.

Much has been made of changing attitudes towards gay marriage but how many simply go with the flow? That public opinion has shifted is hardly surprising in a do-as-you-please society which fails to recognise the absurdities of the new 'anything goes' mentality.

In what could be a "world first" an eight-month-old Canadian baby has been issued with a health card that does not specify the child's sex. It has been done at the request of parent Kori Doty, a non-binary transgender parent who identifies as neither male nor female. The obvious is no longer obvious.

The Holy Smoke podcast above poses the question: Are Christians warming to gay marriage? For secularists same sex marriage is defined in terms of equality, regarding any opposition as discrimination. That religious groups are apparently falling into line indicates not so much a change in view of the sacrament of marriage, rather it indicates how the church has been infiltrated by lobbies determined to advance their agendas at any cost.

Civil partnerships were introduced to ensure that homosexual couples are not discriminated against. For the Anglican church to introduce same sex marriage would be to turn it into a secular institution with ritual, a return paganism.

Update [09.07.2017]

Reporting on GS Misc 1158 - Proposals for the Pastoral Advisory Group on Human Sexuality and the Development of the Teaching Document (item 8 on Saturday's Agenda at the York Synod) - Archbishop Welby "hoped a document would be available for discussion at the synod in early 2020 'though on a process this complicated we cannot be pinned down relating to time'."

Had the Archbishop maintained Christian doctrine ‘founded in scripture, in reason, in tradition, in theology and the Christian faith as the Church of England has received it’, the Church would not have the complication.

Winding up the debate on her motion calling for a ban on the practice of Conversion Therapy aimed at altering sexual orientation, Ms Jayne Ozanne quoted a tear jerking letter from a retired homosexual priest in his 90's who complained about homophobia in the Church. This has been alleged so often that the bishops believe it when in my experience the reverse is true, often with the innocent on the receiving end as some gays seek to extend their influence at the expense of others.

Next up: Church of England to vote on transgender services. To follow, 'polyamorous' marriage?


Please also read Sin at Synod - How the Church forbad forgiveness by Gavin Ashenden and listen to Peter Ould losing it in his Podcast T is for Tearing up the Rules of Anglicanism.

What hope can there be for Anglicanism in this country?