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Saturday, 28 July 2018

Monday, 23 July 2018

Mary Magdalene

The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene, Alexander Ivanov, c.1835                                                                                                               Source: WikiArt

Don't tempt me! 

Depending on how you read the painting, 'Don't tempt me!' could be a caption under Ivanov's painting of The Appearance of Christ to Mary Magdalene.

That is not the message conveyed by the bishop of Bangor who preached at a service for the feast day of Mary Magdalene, live from Bangor Cathedral on Sunday 22 July 2018. He emphasised these points:
  • We know very little about Mary Magdalene.
  • She is mentioned in the gospels at least 12 times.
  • Often depicted in the past as a 'loose woman', we now recognise that label as wrong.
  • She is one of the most loyal followers of Jesus witnessing his ministry, his crucifixion and his resurrection life.
  • She is, perhaps, the best example in the Gospels of how love transforms everything.

"How love transforms everything"!

🎜All you need is love🎝 has become the anthem of Western Anglicanism. Today's Golden Calf. Rather than our traditional understanding of God's redeeming love it has become a means of absolving all manner of excess.

Bishop Andy referred to Mary Magdalene as "someone from whom evil spirits had been driven. She was a tormented person. She might have described her life as being ‘out of control’ or unsustainable....The Christian faith is good news for people like us. Because it begins with the conviction that God loves us. This love isn’t founded on the merits of our lives or the choices we’ve made or make. It’s simply in the nature of God whose love is inexhaustible and inextinguishable."

Of course God's love is inexhaustible and inextinguishable but it makes no sense to use the example of someone "we know very little about" as justification for re-writing our understanding of Scripture.

Developing his theme +Andy  said, "There is an irony that the women, those compelled to silence in public life, are now compelled to tell the ground-breaking news of the resurrection. Today it’s easy for us to miss the offense, scandal and drama of this in the ancient world. Women! The ones who had no voice, few rights and fewer privileges now elevated to the highest place. It’s as though we’re meant to see that all who feel on the margins, outsiders, are the very ones whom God calls and draws." [My emphasis -Ed.]

Ah, yes! Minorities rule.

The emphasis placed on the elevation of Mary Magdalene to the position of ‘Apostle to the Apostles’ included a reading of the poem ‘They have taken away my Lord’ by Janet Morley leaving the impression that the whole point of the service was to justify the rise of feminism in the Church in Wales and all the free love baggage that arrived with it.

Pity really. It spoilt an otherwise enjoyable service but that is the Church in Wales today.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

Archbishops favour Islam over believers in the catholic faith

The Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb, listens as the Archbishop of Canterbury speaks during discussions at Lambeth Palace.  Sources: ACNS/Twitter

Writing in the New Statesman in 2009 their senior editor (politics) Mehdi Hasan wrote, "Jesus, or Isa, as he is known in Arabic, is deemed by Islam to be a Muslim prophet rather than the Son of God, or God incarnate."

Islam teaches that Jesus was not crucified so there could have been no resurrection. From 1 Corinthians, "And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." (15:14)

Hasan was involved in a controversy when during a sermon he quoted a verse of the Koran. Hasan said to an audience: "The kuffar, the disbelievers, the atheists who remain deaf and stubborn to the teachings of Islam, the rational message of the Koran; they are described in the Koran as “a people of no intelligence”, Allah describes them as not of no morality, not as people of no belief – people of “no intelligence” – because they’re incapable of the intellectual effort it requires to shake off those blind prejudices, to shake off those easy assumptions about this world, about the existence of God. In this respect, the Koran describes the atheists as “cattle”, as cattle of those who grow the crops and do not stop and wonder about this world."

Hasan's comments have a particular resonance when reading the ACNS article Archbishop of Canterbury hosts Grand Imam for religious leadership talks.

It is not difficult to find references to Islam's attitude towards Jesus Christ, nor is it difficult to find Islam's views on homosexuality (a 'disease'), apostasy (a crime punishable by death) and feminism (the evidence of two women equal to the witness of one man). Dr Jules Gomes writes extensively on the differences between Islam and Christianity in his 'Rebel Priest' blog.

Dr Gomes concludes, "Here’s what Welby actually said: ‘Thank you Grand Imam of @AlAzharUniv for an honest and hope-filled conversation about the role of religious leaders in our world today. And thanks to our Christian and Muslim #EmergingPeacemakers for your challenging questions and inspiring contributions.’

 "Could it be that Sheikh al Tayyeb has been giving Justin Welby a masterclass in taqiyyah, the Islamic practice of dissimulation, which permits Muslims to lie to infidels? Or, could it be the other way round, with the Archbishop of Canterbury giving the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar a one-to-one drill in the use of Anglican double-speak and weasel words? "

The Archbishop of Wales has been keen to defend Muslims while completely disregarding the plight of Anglicans who have become marginalised because of they remain committed to the beliefs of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.

The Archbishop of Wales supporting a community event arranged by the Muslim Council of Wales
on Tuesday, April 3, as a stand against the ‘Punish a Muslim Day’
 campaign.      Source: CinW

A provincial press release reported that archbishop John Davies rightly described the ‘Punish a Muslim Day’ campaign as an incitement to hatred and discrimination. There can be no complaints about that. Muslims who are victims of Islamic teaching need to be brought to Christ but how can the bench justify more concern for Muslims who deny Christ crucified than for Anglicans whose belief in the catholic creeds has led to their exclusion?

The new Archbishop of Wales is following in the footsteps of his predecessor. "More of the same - but faster" What a sad commentary!

Postscript [22.07.2018]

Candidate of Imran Khan's party killed in bombing days before Pakistan election
Source: REUTERS/Stringer/Twitter

The latest from the Pakistan elections.

"A candidate from the party of Pakistan prime ministerial hopeful and former cricket star Imran Khan was killed on Sunday in a suicide attack that wounded four others, a police official said, days before Wednesday’s general elections.

"The attack in the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa follows a series of bombings at political rallies before the election, the most devastating of which was a suicide attack this month that killed 149 people."

What is it that is so attractive about Islam? Their blasphemy laws? Their second-class treatment of women? It can't be the burning of Christian churches and slaughtering of the innocent so it must be ignorance.

Check out Egypt and the plight of the Copts, Iran, Saudi Arabia. How much evidence do people need to convince them that Islam is a supremacist, political ideology that will use every trick in the book to gain dominance?

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

President Chump

President Trump has arrived back in the US to face the music after his press conference in Helsinki with Russia's President Putin. Sky News has the headline Could Donald Trump be impeached after 'disgraceful' news conference with Vladimir Putin?

From Christian Today:  "Standing side by side with Vladimir Putin, US President Donald Trump refused on Monday to blame the Russian leader for meddling in the 2016 US election, casting doubt on the findings of his own intelligence agencies and sparking a storm of criticism at home."

Previously, after putting Western political leaders in their place (here) and stopping off in the UK where he detonated his Brexit bomb, President Trump was welcomed with a Guard of Honour when he met the Queen at Windsor Castle but Her Majesty wasn't to be messed around like Europe's political leaders.

It appeared obvious that Trump had not bothered rehearsing the honour arranged for him. Instead the Queen used some clever footwork which made President Trump look like President chump.

Source: Twitter @russian_market

Perhaps Poland's First Lady had the right idea.

Update [17.07.2018]

Some hasty back pedalling from the US president:

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Same-sex marriages and transgender madness

From: Coalition for Marriage (C4M)

European Court orders all EU countries to recognise same-sex marriages

Dear marriage supporter,

The Court of Justice of the European Union has ordered all EU countries to recognise same-sex marriages, even if they are illegal under national law.

In a ruling last week the Court ordered Romania to grant residency to an American man who married a Romanian man in Belgium. This is despite Romania’s laws only recognising marriage between a man and a woman.

Eight EU member states support real marriage through their laws, including Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and Croatia. They now face being forced to recognise extra-territorial same-sex marriages in their immigration and welfare systems despite there being no democratic mandate to do so.

Across the world, same-sex marriage has been brought in through the back door without a popular mandate.

In the United Kingdom (aside from Northern Ireland) it was introduced by David Cameron’s government despite not being in his party’s election manifesto.

In America it was forced on all states by the judiciary of the Supreme Court.

And now across the European Union member states will be forced by this court judgment to recognise marriages in other states which would be illegal under their own national law.

There is cause to take heart in all of this: despite what we are often told, same-sex marriage is not universally accepted or approved. If it were, there would be no need for such underhand tactics the world over in making it legal.

Doctor dropped by DWP for asserting biological reality

A senior doctor who was set for a role as a disability assessor at the Department for Work and Pensions has been dropped due to his belief in the biological basis of gender.

Dr David Mackereth has worked as an NHS doctor for 26 years. He told his instructor that as a Christian his faith would not allow him to use a person’s preferred gender when writing reports if that gender was not their biological one. His contract was subsequently terminated.

It says something for the bullying and bigotry of the transgender zealots in government that a man with a quarter of a century of public service behind him can be treated in such a disgraceful way.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed) Thomas Pascoe

Campaign Director
Coalition for Marriage (C4M)

Thursday, 12 July 2018

They do it their way

Having a laugh at Confirmations in Church of England Mercia Deanery led by @BpRepton                                                                    Source Twitter @gprutter

Readers of this blog may recall a 2013 entry headed Archbishop opts for delusion after Justin Welby appointed Jan McFarlane, then Archdeacon of Norwich, to be to be his acting Press Secretary.

I wrote at the time: "As Communications Director for the Diocese of Norwich the Venerable Jan McFarlane is not simply being reunited with her former theological college fellow student, Justin Welby. She has demonstrated her skill as a communications person by her ability to turn a disaster into a success, well illustrated in an interview here after the news that according to the 2011 census, the City of Norwich was rated the most godless city in England but apparently the good people of Norwich are 'doing their church-going differently'!" - ie, staying away.

As a bishop in the modern Church of England McFarlane continues to do things differently from holding her crosier in the wrong hand to losing her pectoral cross, possibly in Morrison's she thought!

The Bishop of Repton mislays her pectoral cross and fears she may have left
 it in Morrisons  Source: Twitter@BpRepton

Following in the footsteps of Rachael Treweek, the bishop of Gloucester, Jan McFarlane is another former Speech and Language Therapist by training. Read about the speech therapist, the oil executive and the midwife in Divinity? - Who needs divinity, we've moved on!

Commenting on her appointment as bishop of Repton the bishop of Norwich, the Rt Rev Graham James, said: “She has been a fine communicator of the Christian faith in the local and regional media, and an archdeacon who has won the confidence and affection of lay people alike. We will miss her enormously in this diocese but we are thrilled that she has been called to be a bishop in God’s church.”

Another communications failure there.

The Church of England may be God's church to them but for the majority of Christians, including Anglicans, it has become another do-as-you-please church following the road to ruin along with the Church in Wales and The Episcopal Church in the US.

Divorced from the teaching and tradition of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, they simply do it their way. It's such a laugh for some being an Anglican bishop today.

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

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Mission impossible!

The boys who became trapped in a cave in Thailand                                                                                          Source: GETTY IMAGES

Against what appeared to be impossible odds, twelve boys aged between 11 and 17 who became trapped in a cave with their coach on 23 June have been rescued thanks to the efforts of a brave team of rescuers, all of whom deserve medals for bravery. 

As we rejoice, the celebrations are tinged with sadness over the loss of a former Thai navy diver Saman Kunan who died last Friday while on a re-supply mission inside the cave in support of the rescue. He gave his life so that others may live showing the selfless courage which highlights the human spirit at its best.

May he rest in peace and rise in glory.

Saturday, 7 July 2018

Caption corner 7 July 2018

"A sign that I have arrived"         Source: Twitter@JillLCDuff

#AllmitresGreatAndTall                         "Wow, that's even bigger than Shirley's!"

Captions invited.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Government’s attack on the family

From: Coalition for Marriage (C4M)

The Government’s LGBT Plan is an attack on the family

Dear marriage supporter,

This week the Government announced a package of measures which amounts to an assault on marriage following a taxpayer-funded survey only open to homosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals.

Proposals include:

Spending £4.5m of your money on an LGBT Action Plan which will promote the acceptance of homosexual adult relationships and transgenderism in schools, usurping the role of parents who may wish to teach their children the primacy of real marriage between a biological man and a biological woman.

Confirming that forthcoming compulsory relationships education for primary school children will be used to promote “LGBT+” issues, despite the fact that real marriage is strongly correlated with better outcomes later in life and should be taught as a priority instead.

Consulting on allowing anybody to change gender without seeing a doctor first, removing an important provision against bad faith in current law and undermining the idea that male and female are fixed biological realities and not a matter of choice. These plans are a sinister assault on women and children which should never have been put forward.

This Government has consistently bullied and ignored supporters of real marriage, choosing instead to pursue a path of indoctrination in schools and intimidation in the courts.

Real marriage supporters are often libelled as extremists by the press and politicians, but the reality is that it is the Government’s policy which is extreme and out of touch: a poll published this week found that only 18% of the general population agreed with Theresa May’s proposals to amend the Gender Recognition Act.

At a pivotal time for the future of the country it beggars belief that the Government should concern itself with attacking parents, children and biological reality in this way. In doing so they have proven themselves extreme, arrogant and totally out of touch.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed) Thomas Pascoe

Campaign Director
Coalition for Marriage (C4M)

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Catholic-Anglican dialogue

Pope Paul VI (right) presents his episcopal ring to Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey when the two met in 1966 in what was the first public meeting
between a Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury since the Reformation. Source: Anglican Communion News Service (ACNS)

Years ago I would have been thrilled by the publication of the first report by Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission in 13 years which considers authority and role of laity. Now I recoil in fear and trepidation for the Church.

"Among the considerations in the 68-page report, released July 2, are questions of how the Catholic Church might learn from the Anglican experience to empower local church leaders to act more independently from Rome at times, and to give more governing authority to consultative bodies such as the Synod of Bishops.

It says that the Catholic Church can also "fruitfully learn from the inclusion of laity in decision-making structures at every level of Anglican life."

In March 1966 there was a Common Declaration by Pope Paul VI and Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey after their meeting in Rome. They gave "thanks to Almighty God Who by the action of the Holy Spirit has in these latter years created a new atmosphere of Christian fellowship between the Roman Catholic Church and the Churches of the Anglican Communion."

"In willing obedience to the command of Christ who bade His disciples love one another, they declare that, with His help, they wish to leave in the hands of the God of mercy all that in the past has been opposed to this precept of charity, and that they make their own the mind of the Apostle which he expressed in these words: ‘Forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press towards the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus’ (Phil 3:13-14)."

Anglicans in the West have become obsessed with 'love'. Not love in the sense referred to in the Declaration but as a do-as-you-please passport. In a word, eros. When an openly gay man in a realationship, Gene Robinson of the US Episcopal Church (TEC) was appointed of New Hampshire Episcopal Bishop it caused a hiatus.

Western Anglicanism is in disarray. So much so that it has been reported that TEC spends "$8 million brokering rites for sodomite marriage into the Episcopal Church and messing with the Book of Common Prayer (over three triennium) to change it so non-heterosexual marriages are forever enshrined in the BCP in order to cater to the behavior of a handful of homosexuals and lesbians who may or may not choose to get married. And Jesus will weep. "

Ahead of their General Convention three bishops from the TEC have proposed a "compromise resolution on same-sex marriage which they hope will move the church forwards in an 'atmosphere of mutual respect, reconciliation and the love of Jesus Christ'."

Anglicans landed in this mess because faith is decided by committee, dominated by special interest groups which claim to be persecuted, while appealing to secularists for support. This is the well tried strategy:

  • Exploit the “victim” status;
  • Use the sympathetic media;
  • Confuse and neutralize the churches;
  • Slander and stereotype [traditionalist] Christians;
  • Bait and switch (hide their true nature); and 
  • Intimidation.

Taking one step at a time Western Anglicanism has moved from deaconess to women bishops, from a sympathetic understanding of homosexuality to brazen homosexual relationships among clergy who demand to be allowed to marry in church. All in the name of love.

The deviousness of special interest groups knows no bounds. Governance by committee has allowed them to infiltrate, dictate and regulate to the point that many cradle Anglicans now find themselves excluded while the infiltrators drive the wedge ever deeper between the Anglican Church and the Holy Orthodox and Catholic Churches.

"The future of ecumenism is in great peril with the gap widening between orthodox and progressives, said Metropolitan Hilarion of the Russian Orthodox Church a noted theologian and church historian."

Back in 2008 Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council of Christian Unity posed the question to Anglicans: "Are you Protestants or Catholics? He said it was time to decide: "Ultimately, it is a question of the identity of the Anglican Church. Where does it belong? Does it belong more to the churches of the first millennium, Catholic and Orthodox, or does it belong more to the Protestant churches of the 16th century? At the moment it is somewhere in between, but it must clarify its identity now and that will not be possible without certain difficult decisions." See Fr Z's blog entry at the time here.

Against this background it seems almost incomprehensible to read: "Will the Amazon synod open the door to women deacons?" as reported by the Catholic News Agency.

That was the road to disaster for the Anglican Church. Read The journey's end but for whom?

Bishop Gene Robinson putting the Anglican Church on the road to ruin

Sunday, 1 July 2018

A joyous, solemn occasion

New priests for the Personal #Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, ordained yesterday at the Birmingham Oratory.          Source: Twitter @FrJamesBradley

Compare the above photograph of eight new priests ordained at the Birmingham Oratory yesterday with the selection of photographs of Church of England’s dabbing deacons and jumping bishops.

As a Guardian article put it prior to the Petertide ordinations, "the stern, decorous images that used to mark these occasions are being replaced by a trend for more frivolous action shots – with dabbing deacons showing up alongside priests leaping, baring their knees and even wearing L-plates. Their defenders see the new informality as a sign of holy joy. But hardcore traditionalists, along with casual curmudgeons, are less than elated.

"Their ire was recently roused by a shot of six readers being licensed at St Alban’s Cathedral, showing clear air under the heels of a jumping bishop of Hertford, the Rt Rev Michael Beasley."

Ministry reaches new heights in St Albans as 6 Readers are licensed.        Twitter@StAlbansAbbey

There is no dignity of office apparent in the St Albans photograph. The sacred ministry is made to appear comic. While the Anglican Church has become 'more relevant to society' it has lost its sense of 'otherness'.

Following a previous entry a commentator took exception to my reference to Messy Baptism which appears to be getting people out of church rather than in. When the Messy 'font' was revealed a child could be heard calling out, "That's our paddling pool!" Precisely. 

Fonts are often placed at or near the entrance to a church's nave to remind believers of their baptism as they enter the church to pray, since the rite of baptism served as their initiation into the Church (Wikipedia). In bygone days there was a link with the past when generations of the same family may have been baptised at the same font.

Surely it is more important to get people into church and Holy Baptism is one of the main opportunities for doing so along with marriages and funerals.

But that is no guarantee of success. People can be easily put off as was a mother who complained to a friend about a modernised confirmation service in which the bishop invited all the candidates to stand around him in a semi-circle. He awkwardly negotiated his way between the vicar and the candidates in an informal, happy-go-lucky manner rather than having the candidates kneel individually in front of him to hear those memorable words: "Confirm, Lord your servant with your heavenly grace, and anoint him/her with your Holy Spirit; empower him/her for your service and keep him/her in eternal life.  Amen." A moment I still recall as one of deep spiritual significance, probably enhanced by the austere bearing of the bishop.

The lack of 'otherness' was not helped by the fact that the bishop first baptised one of the confirmation candidates inserting a few wisecracks. If holiness is next to Godliness the Almighty was conspicuous by His absence.

Familiarity is killing Anglicanism. On BBC Breakfast TV yesterday, the Chief Constable of Durham police shared his supposedly impartial views on the consecration of woman bishops.

Consecration of woman bishop                                                                 Source: BBC Breakfast TV

Struggling to explain what was happening he reached a consensus with the presenters that the consecration of women bishops had become 'normal', creating a 'balance'.

It may be 'normal' for the Church of England as currently informed by society, mainly non-churchgoing bystanders who feel free to voice an opinion from a position of ignorance.

It is definitely not normal in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.