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Thursday, 21 December 2017

Christmas messages from the bench of bishops

The bishop of Bangor gets quite a lot of stick from commentators on this blog but again, following his Easter message, out of the six diocesan bishops of the Church in Wales I have found his Christmas message most engaging, even if somewhat disconcerting in the way he keeps looking aside as if expecting a visit from the constabulary.

As for the rest, the bishop of Monmouth makes a bold attempt as he concentrates his attention on an Orthodox icon of the nativity but sadly such spirituality is not reflected in the move to non-conformity embraced by the bench.

In her first Christmas message, the bishop of Llandaff says gifts are not just for Christmas so she devotes just one sentence to the Christmas story in an otherwise secular discourse.

The bishop of St Aspah muses about a colander Christmas as he reminisces about his mother's Tupperware, well removed from "a pregnant unmarried teenager, no place to stay, rural folk seeing visions, and strangers seeking attention from the East" which he refers to.

The bishop of St Davids compares the "saccharine nature" of the Christmas bonanza with the "increasingly uncertain world we live in" - the more so for traditional Anglicans.

Last to deliver, the Archbishop of Wales, who is also bishop of Swansea and Brecon, writes of Love: "real, blood-red love – is the most powerful weapon the world has, and Jesus shows how it should be used and must be used for the sake of the world he was born to renew".

Because Jesus said that we should love one another 'love' has become a password for progressives to permit just about any deviancy but Jesus added, "As I have loved you, so you must love one another". In that context the meaning of love is clear. His true message is simply ignored.


  1. "Ordained ministers [including, we presume, bishops] place their whole life at God’s disposal through the Church. By the help of God they accept the Holy Scriptures as containing all things necessary for salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord. By the help of God they believe and uphold the doctrines of the Christian faith as the Church in Wales has received them."

  2. Given her recent disgraceful conduct one could hardly expect the Llandaff Caiaphas to preach "Peace and goodwill to all men" with a straight face.

    1. I don't know why people are referring to the Bishop of Llandaff as Caiaphas. Caiaphas said, "It is better that one man should perish than the whole nation be destroyed." (John 11: 50) If the Bishop has decided to save one man, and to hell with everyone else, she is not very Caiaphas-like at all.

      E. Scrooge

  3. Yawn yawn yawn - same old pious platitudes ... Christmas in every day, folks, as is Easter ...

  4. And a happy Christmas to you also bishop. From all at Castle Square English Presbyterian Church Caernarfon.

    Hefin Wynne.

    1. Sad to think that statistically this character could one day be elected archbishop of what, if anything, is left of the Church in Wales.

    2. So now we know what the covert camera man in front of Castle Square Church was doing recently. Or was he secretly filming another certain individual?


  5. Llandaff in the news for all the wrong reasons yet again.
    If you lie down with dogs you'll get up with fleas.
    Issue 1460
    Heathen’s greetings for Advent!
    ADVENT Sunday is an important date in the Christian calendar: the start of the liturgical year, as well as of spiritual preparation for Christmas. But it seems no one tipped off the clueless chancers who now run the BBC’s Songs of Praise.
    “The Advent season has some wonderful hymns and music,” a caller to the BBC audience duty log on 3 December pointed out, “which can only be sung and played at this specific time of year with specific reflective themes over the four weeks.” However, as another noted: “No mention of Advent on Advent Sunday.” The programme was instead given over to a sub-X Factor gospel choir competition.
    Cue outrage from Songs of Praise devotees – including many older people no longer able to get to church, who rely on it for their weekly access to choral music. “We feel quite sick and as if we have been kicked in the stomach,” said one. “Why on earth does this ‘competition’ have to be shown today? Have you got any sense of loyalty to those who have been following you for years?”

    Plummeting quality
    That question at least is easy to answer: none whatsoever. Since July the plummeting quality of SoP has been all too apparent to viewers, and the explanation can be seen in the final credit: it has been moved out-of-house and is now produced by an amalgamation of two production companies, Avanti Media and Nine Lives. The decline in quality has been particularly visible in recent weeks as they ran out of money, having recklessly spent much of the BBC’s initial payment in the first weeks of the contract this summer.
    Avanti has previous form here. When it won a contract to produce three editions of SoP from Llandaff Cathedral in 2013 (Eye 1340), the BBC Trust launched an anti-bribery investigation after learning that during the tendering process the company had entertained SoP’s editor to a night out at the Albert Hall and a party in a nightclub. (The trust eventually decided the freebies did not influence the outcome.)
    There was another row when it emerged that Avanti was paying the Llandaff choristers just £55 a day to perform – barely a quarter of the daily rate of £214 agreed between union Equity and the BBC. And yet more controversy arose when the Eye revealed that Avanti had used the episodes to promote singers who were on the books of its talent agency, Avanti Artists – in flagrant violation of BBC policy on commercial conflicts of interest. Avanti boss Emyr Afan is nicknamed “Del Boy Bach”.
    Despite all this, Avanti/Nine Lives have somehow won the £12m contract to make every episode of the programme for the next three years with Del Boy as executive producer, even though more reputable companies (such as ITV Studios and Tern Television) submitted bids. You’d think the bare minimum qualification for making Songs of Praise is to know something about hymnody – and to have heard of Advent. But apparently not. Do they even know it’s Christmas?