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Wednesday, 30 November 2022

Christianity on the wane in England and Wales

Homage of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in Westminster Abbey. Source: Royal UK

The latest release from the ONS Census 2021 reveals  that "for the first time fewer than half of people in England and Wales describe themselves as Christian."

The ONS release emphasises that the religion question is voluntary but 94.0% (56.0 million) of usual residents answered the question in 2021, an increase from 92.9% (52.1 million) in 2011. 

“No religion” was the second most common response, increasing by 12.0 percentage points to 37.2% (22.2 million) from 25.2% (14.1 million) in 2011.

Wales had a greater decrease in people reporting their religion as “Christian” (14.0 percentage point decrease, from 57.6% in 2011 to 43.6% in 2021) and increase in “No religion” (14.5 percentage point increase, from 32.1% in 2011 to 46.5% in 2021) compared with England and Wales overall.

Following my previous entry a commentator trolled: "Another possibility is the infantile and derogatory nature of the thoroughly unChristian contributors to this site. The rest of us, however few in number, do at least try faithfully to address the injunction to love one another and leave the judging to God."

So what is a Christian? What is love? We are made a Christian at our baptism when we pledge to turn away from sin, reject evil and remain faithful to Christ to the end of our life.

Many of us are challenged for being unchristian because we do not accept the secularisation of Christianity. "All you need is love" say revisionists using the word synonymously for same sex relations despite the various forms of love referred to in the Bible.

Church going has declined because for many it has ceased to have any of the 'otherness' of old. Others continue to attend from habit or to seek affirmation of their life style based on the claim that 'all you need is love'.

The issue is coming to a head.

Warning bells are sounding as the coronation of  Charles III approaches. The King's coronation must not be 'woke-fest celebration of so-called modern Britain', former minister Sir Edward Leigh told the Commons. The event must be a 'spiritual one', he said. 

Concerns had been expressed following an interview in 2015 whether Charles would be 'Defender of Faith' or 'Defender of The Faith'. This was the response of the then Prince of Wales:

"No, I didn’t describe myself as a defender: I said I would rather be seen as ‘Defender of Faith’, all those years ago, because, as I tried to describe, I mind about the inclusion of other people’s faiths and their freedom to worship in this country. And it’s always seemed to me that, while at the same time being Defender of The Faith, you can also be protector of faiths. It was very interesting that 20 years or more after I mentioned this – which has been frequently misinterpreted – the Queen, in her Jubilee address to the faith leaders, said that as far as the role of the Church of England is concerned, it is not to defend Anglicanism to the exclusion of other religions. Instead, the Church has a duty to protect the free practice of all faiths in this country. I think in that sense she was confirming what I was really trying to say – perhaps not very well – all those years ago. And so I think you have to see it as both. You have to come from your own Christian standpoint – in the case I have as Defender of the Faith – and ensuring that other people’s faiths can also be practised."

The desire to protect freedom of beliefs is laudable but contradictory in part given the nature of some 'religions'. Under Article 9 of the Human Rights Act 'Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief, in worship, teaching, practice and observance.'

One has only to read the appeal from Release International to see how Christians are persecuted in Muslim countries. Blasphemy laws are used to persecute Christians in Pakistan while Islamic terrorism is rife in Africa.

One cannot justify defending a political ideology that does not respect the rights of others and mandates the death sentence for apostates.

Breaking the trend in the census results apart from the increase in “No religion”, there were increases in the number of people who described themselves as “Muslim” (3.9 million, 6.5% in 2021, up from 2.7 million, 4.9% in 2011) and “Hindu” (1.0 million, 1.7% in 2021, up from 818,000, 1.5% in 2011).

In 2015 a survey found that Islam was the fastest growing religion in the UK while the Church of England was in decline. "In 1983, the number of people following Islam stood at 0.6% of the population compared to a little under 5% in 2014." It needs no encouragement

In the past, leaders in the UK and in the USA have claimed that Islam is a religion of peace despite all the evidence to the contrary. Many in the Anglican Church follow the same line.

The BBC has already taken the lead in promoting Islam by appointing Muslims as Religion Editors. If this spills over to the coronation of King Charles the Church of England may as well shut up shop now along with the Church in Wales where the 2021 census showed that Wales had a greater decrease in people reporting their religion as “Christian” (14.0 percentage point decrease, from 57.6% in 2011 to 43.6% in 2021).

Postscript [01.12.2022]

From Christian Post: Christians are being butchered in Africa. What are we going to do about it?

"The number of Christians who paid with their lives for their faith was 5,898 in 2022, which is up from 4,761 in 2021, according to the Open Doors USA organization.

"Out of that number, around 4,000 Christians were killed in Nigeria by Islamist groups, such as Boko Haram, Fulani herdsmen, and Ansaru, which teach that Christians should either convert to Islam or die."

What are we going to do about it? 

Religious and political leaders can stop endorsing Islam's claim that it is a religion of peace.

Thursday, 24 November 2022

Congregational Catholics

Cardinal Reinhard Marx and fellow bishops from Germany meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican, Nov. 17, 2022 | Vatican Media. Source: CNA

At the Collation & Installation of the new Dean of Llandaff, the Rev Canon Richard Peers, the retiring bishop, June Osbourne, repeated the claim that "the Church in Wales is part of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church", a claim rejected by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches following the unilateral action of some Anglicans to ordain women to the priesthood.

 The bishop invited the Dean-designate to make the following declaration:

"I do solemnly declare my belief in the Faith which is revealed in Holy Scripture and set forth in 
the Catholic Creeds and to which the historic formularies, namely the Thirty-nine Articles of 
Religion, the Book of Common Prayer, and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons as
published in 1662, bear witness; and in public prayer and the administration of the Sacraments,
I will use only those forms of service which are allowed by lawful authority, and none other. And
I hereby undertake to be bound by the Constitution of the Church in Wales, and to accept,
submit to, and carry out any sentence or judgement which may at any time be passed upon me
by the Archbishop, a Diocesan Bishop or any Court or the Tribunal of the Church in Wales."

Somewhat removed from the faith of one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church, the Dean of Llandaff is in a same sex relationship living openly with his partner. The campaigning bishop of Monmouth is also living openly with her partner in a same sex relationship while the Archbishop of Wales is a re-married divorcee.

How can this be? 

Anglican beliefs allow local discretion under The Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral :

1. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments as the revealed Word of God.
2. The Nicene Creed as the sufficient statement of the Christian Faith.
3. The two Sacraments,–Baptism and the Supper of the Lord,–ministered with unfailing use of Christ’s words of institution and of the elements ordained by Him.
4. The Historic Episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of His Church.

'Locally adapted' opens a can of worms. The liberal agenda took hold in the Episcopal Church of the United States (ECUSA, now TEC). In 2003 Anglican provinces declare 'impaired' or 'broken' relationship with ECUSA following the consecration of Gene Robinson, the first openly gay priest to be consecrated a bishop in a major Christian denomination, as bishop of New Hampshire.

Within a generation liberal revisionists have taken control of many Anglican provinces. The Church in Wales has become a joke among orthodox Anglicans and the wider Christian fellowship. The Church of England teeters on the edge of disaster as bishops push their latest deception, Living in Love and Faith.

Liberal provinces face extinction while Anglicanism elsewhere thrives. In the USA, Alarm Bells as Episcopal Church Decline Accelerates but nothing deters the revisionists. If at first they don't succeed they try, try and try again until they have their own way.

For those Anglicans who swam the Tiber the same ominous signs are appearing as German bishops meet with Pope Francis amid concern over Synodal Way

The president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, said he will not deny blessings for same-sex couples.

The Synodal Way "is a controversial discussion process underway in Germany with the declared aim of addressing the Church’s clerical sexual abuse crisis by debating and passing resolutions on whether, or how, Catholicism needs to change (“develop”) its teaching – and the Catholic Church therefore change its approach – to questions of sexuality and the exercise of power, including doctrine and the sacraments."

The Church of England Synod voted to ordain women to the priesthood and to the episcopate. The Governing Body of the Church in Wales followed suit. The Church of England is seeking to emulate the Church in Wales, blessing same sex partnerships as a precursor to same sex marriage in Church. Disaster looms closer.

Faith by committee is not the faith of the one Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. Ultimately it has led to Jesus being depicted as a "rosy-cheeked Christ with breasts, beard and make-up jumping in front of a rainbow".

As Tony Barber wrote in the Financial Times yesterday, "The American priest and author Andrew Greeley once said: “The opposite of Catholic is not Protestant. The opposite of Catholic is sectarian.” But just as secular politics in western countries is a battleground between mutually suspicious conservatives and liberals, so Greeley’s appeal to respect differences of religious opinion is drowning in a doctrinal struggle for control of the Roman Catholic Church."

Postscript [04.12.2022]

Monday, 14 November 2022

Thirty years on...

Dawn French playing the Rev Geraldine Granger, Vicar of Dibley, who dons a joke bishop's hat
 in a 2013 Comic Relief sketch.  Source: Mail Online

A tweet from one of the Church of England's celebrity priests indicates that thirty years on from the approval by General Synod of the final legislation for women to become priests, a third of all those who are in ordained ministry are women and 31 women have been made bishops.

The Rev Kate Bottley along with the fictional Vicar of Dibley are about as far removed from the traditional view of priesthood as we could have possibly imagined 30 years ago but they fit in perfectly with the aims of Women and the Church. Their 'charitable' objectives are purely secular -

"The promotion of gender equality and diversity with the Church of England as experienced by both lay and ordained people for the public benefit by:

1. The elimination of discrimination on grounds of gender;
2. Advancing education and raising awareness in gender equality and diversity;
3. Conducting or commissioning research on equality and diversity issues and publishing the result to  the public; and
4. Cultivating a sentiment in favour of gender equality and diversity."

The secular aims of gender justice, equality and inclusion are far removed from the 'otherness' enjoyed by churchgoers thirty years ago. They have split communities and friendships as false notions of equality have replaced theology. 

More 'diversity' has resulted in bishops and archbishops abandoning traditional understanding of biblical teaching which has been handed down over two millennia.

The Five Guiding Principles which provide guidance for candidates for ordination in the Church of England have been consistently undermined by WATCH under the mask of ‘institutionalised discrimination’, something the absent bishop of St Davids, Joanna Penberthy, regularly complained of.

When pressed to describe the alleged discrimination the best the bishop could come up with was that some people disagreed with her. That precisely sums up the attitude of WATCH

The same tactics have been adopted by LGBT complainers to accuse anyone who disagrees with them of discrimination and homophobia with no evidence whatsoever, something with which readers of the blog will be very familiar.

All of which has led to blessing same sex couples with same sex marriage on the horizon, which is driving Western Anglicanism further away from the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of which they claim to be part of in such as the Five Guiding Principles.

It is predicted that the Church of England will be extinct by the 2060's and the Church in Wales well before that.  Equally dead!

Thursday, 10 November 2022

The long grass

One of four questions asked at the last meeting of the Governing Body of the Church in Wales was:

 "Following the recommendation in the Harries Report, Ministry Areas have been introduced across the Province. Also in the report was the recommendation to reduce the number of Dioceses. What progress has been made with this?"

Answer given by the Bishop of Monmouth 

"Thank you for this question, Cathryn.  The Harries Review report does indeed make reference to the number of dioceses, but its references to the reduction in their number are predicated on an initial period of closer working together, amalgamation of committees and a move to three administrative centres.  Only when that has been operating for some years (the report suggests three) should a judgement be made as to whether or not to reduce the number of dioceses. 

The Harries report also makes the good point that any move to reduce the number of dioceses would consume a lot of time and energy when we should, arguably, be occupied with more important matters.  The Church in Wales Review Implementation Group, which advised on the implementation of the Harries report’s recommendations, also considered this not to be an area of high priority. 

But, your question Cathryn is a very helpful prompt to remind us about the Harries report’s recommendations about closer diocesan and provincial working and the streamlining of structural administration.  We are considering this in our discussions relating to the 10-year plan, but I think it is fair to say that we could have made more progress in this area over the last ten years.  There are some instances of good inter-diocesan working and sharing of resources but, of course, more could be done.  I would hope that your question will encourage us at both provincial and diocesan levels to look more urgently at what resources can be pooled and administrative functions shared.  It is, after all, a matter of exercising good stewardship and making the best use of the resources God has given us.

So, basically Cathryn, no substantive work has been undertaken to reduce the number of dioceses, but I am hopeful that we can strive for more progress on the integration of administrative structures and operations.  Whether this leads us towards a reduction in the number of dioceses is something we will discover."

This recommendation was referred to in Area Ministry: the Business Solution dated 24 September 2012.

From Section 15 of the Church in Wales Review:

"The present number and shape of dioceses may not be ideal. If we
were starting again we would have three. However, the present number and
configuration works and we think that the Church should continue, at least for the
next four years, with the present six dioceses. ... These recommendations should be reviewed after three years, with a view to evaluating the effectiveness of the change. At that point a judgement should be made about whether or not the church is best served by six dioceses with three administrative centres, or three dioceses. If the latter, we believe there should still be the same number of bishops as at present, namely seven."

Ten years later another punt into the long grass with senior and administrative staff increasing to minister to less and less members.

Sunday, 6 November 2022

Pied Piper of Oxford

The bishop of Oxford, Dr Steven Croft, has decided to ditch his baptismal vows and turn from Christ following the example of the former archbishop of Wales.

Other bishops have swiftly followed. No doubt more will join them as they follow the herd listening to the simpering stories of 'suffering' peddled by Jayne Ozanne and the Ozanne Foundation.

The Church in Wales is a prime example of what happens when Anglicans abandon their baptismal vows. Blessings of same sex unions will soon be followed by marriage in church of same sex couples when the bishops have bent the minds of the puppets on the Governing Body. 

The Scottish Episcopal Church and the The Episcopal Church of the United States have trod the same path. All are in decline.

The revisionists could not care less for the pain and suffering of those, often cradle Anglicans, who have been effectively excluded from the church for keeping their baptismal vows.

Secularism is killing Anglicanism.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

'Love' and 'Hate'

It is a sad reflection of the Church in Wales that anybody who attempts to uphold traditional teaching in the Church can be described as 'hateful'.

The self styled Mthr Rosematy Hill SMMS, a long time LGBT promoter, recently had her same sex partnership blessed. Of her charity she will pray at Mass for those she apparently regards as sinners for believing in the sanctity of marriage.

On Twitter she describes herself as "Vicar for Children, Family & Community in @EastCardiffMA  & School Priest in @StTeilos. Unashamedly LGBT+. She/Her. Students will not be followed back."

Police with Welsh Pride
Source: Twitter @PrideCymru
Children are unashamedly used in promoting the LGBT agenda. The tweeted photo on the left shows a shouldered child carrying  a rainbow police flag. The tweet promises treats to come; "From a dog show to drag story time, we can’t wait for you to stop by! 🐶👑"
Regular LGBT defence comes from @CommsGuyMatt who could well be mistaken for the Llandaff diocesan LGBT liaison officer, 

Complaining of homophobia himself he is not averse to mocking a critic of same sex blessings by reversing the gender to tweet 'Ooh she's angry! 😂'

One wonders why Llandaff diocese tolerates the use of official channels for private purposes but then  CommsGuyMatt is a member of bishop Osborne's 'Leadership Team', a bishop who has spent much of her episcopal ministry advancing the LGBT cause to the detriment of the Church. Something she has tried to perpetuate by the appointment a new same sex partnered dean to take office just before she retires.