bishop gavin ashenden
Church of England

Bishop Gavin Ashenden – if only the Church of England had so consecrated

It sounds good, doesn’t it? Bishop Gavin Ashenden. Say it slower. Bish-op Gav-in Ash-en-den. The Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden has been consecrated bishop – The Rt Rev’d Dr Gavin Ashenden.

Bishop Gavin Ashenden.

It is a consecration long overdue.

Here’s the press release which announced this marvellous news:

bishop gavin ashenden


What’s that you say?

The Christian Episcopal Church of Canada and the USA is a breakaway church?


So it’s not a ‘proper’ church?

So Bishop Gavin Ashenden isn’t a ‘proper’ bishop?

He’s a “reactionary schismatic“?

A “made up bishop in a made up church“?

A “bogus” bishop?

O, that’s a shame.

So he’s a worker of evil?

Best not wish God’s “richest blessings” upon him then, for that only tarnishes you with schism.

But he is steeped in Scripture, preaches the gospel, feeds a flock, promotes moral orthodoxy and defends the Faith.

Whether you believe him to a schismatic bogus bishop, or an overseer with valid episcopal orders in apostolic succession through the Rt Rev’d A. Donald Davies, you cannot deny that he is functioning as an elder of the Church ought; that he is charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by Christians are done rightly; that he has been raised up and qualified by the work of the Holy Spirit to have the spiritual care of the people of God.

One who inspects, visits, investigates, oversees and feeds souls is functioning as a bishop (or overseer, or guardian, or however you want to translate ‘episkopos’). Bishop Gavin Ashenden is ‘Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God‘ (Heb 12:15). He ‘Feed(s) the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind‘ (1Pt 5:2). His ministry is that of watching over, guiding, pastoring, feeding, teaching and protecting. He conducts a Facebook morning prayer which gathers between 50 and 500 people most days. He is a shepherd of the flock of God, qualified by both character and charisma.

By seeking to be a bishop, Gavin Ashenden desires a good work. Of course, he has no legal jurisdiction whatsoever: the Church of England made him Chaplain-to-the-Queen as compensation for not recognising his manifest moral and spiritual episcopal qualifications (cf Titus 1:7ff; 1Tim 3). He was born about 30 years too late; a bit like Philip North. What sorrow and sadness it is that Christian ministers of his considerable learning, theological conviction and vast experience feel they no longer have a home in the Church of England – the church of his learning, conviction and experience.

If you can’t wish a fraternal blessing upon his mission and vocation, then you have a poor understanding of ecumenism, a poorer sense of the love which Christians are called to have for one another, and a woeful grasp of what is actually going on in the Church of England to cause such division.

  • andrew

    The cofe is due to end in the next 20 years anyway. Get over it. Altruism and Ill thought out liberalism aside, the only way for future Christianity to flourish is to return back to orthodoxy.

    • Dolphinfish

      Rome awaits.

      • Royinsouthwest

        What about the New Jerusalem?

        • Dolphinfish

          Strict visa requirements. Contact Trans-Tiber Tours, C/O Vatican City.

        • Manfarang

          The Rev.Tim just got back from Israel. Blowing his shofar in the church at the mid-week service.

      • Chefofsinners

        He said Christian orthodoxy.

  • John

    What we need is not so much ‘apostolic succession’ as apostolic success; preaching the gospel, shepherding God’s people, denouncing heresy, driving out error, promoting the unity of the Holy Spirit, and planting churches. May the Lord richly bless Bishop Gavin’s ministry. Those who bang on about its legitimacy are like the Pharisees fussing over ceremonial washing whilst plotting to do away with Jesus and all he stood for.

  • I care not a fig for ‘apostolic succession.’ For centuries, men who were unfit to pass on such supposed succession have done so to others who were unfit to receive it. It is a nonsense.
    Is Dr Ashenden a godly man? Does he confess the faith? Can he preach the Gospel? These are the only things that matter to me. If the answer is “yes” to all three questions, then all power to Dr Ashenden’s episcopal elbow. If not, then all the ‘apostolic succession’ in the world will not make him fit for the service of God.

    • dannybhoy

      Perhaps one day someone will demand the same forthright examination of your bona fides, Martin..? ;0)
      But I know you speak out of passion for the faith, and having had some correspondence with Gavin Ashenden I believe the answers to your questions would be Yes, Yes and Yes.

      Neither do I accept the clergy-laity divide, but to a greater or lesser extent, where He is given opportunity, God is at work in all the denominations. A vicar or priest can function as an enabler and team builder within his congregation, in the same way we would probably see an oversight or group of elders function in a congregation trying to follow the early church model.
      The fact is we are where we are, and all God needs is brave obedient hearts willing to obey Him.

      • Dolphinfish

        And what are His orders?

        • Dominic Stockford

          Read the Bible, there it tells us: “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

        • Pubcrawler

          “Love one another.”

        • IanCad

          “If you love me, keep my commandments.”
          John 14:15

      • Perhaps one day someone will demand the same forthright examination of your bona fides, Martin..?

        My blog is available to read ( ) and my sermons can be found online on the websites of various churches

    • Dolphinfish

      Apostolic succession never made anyone fit to be a bishop; it merely made them eligible. Graduation after six years of training in an established medical school qualifies you to practice medicine; the fact that you might also be a smoker wouldn’t disqualify you from telling your patients to give up cigarettes.

      • len

        Apostolic succession is a nonsense especially where Popes are concerned.Sometimes there was no Pope, sometimes popes were declared heretic(as now) Two Popes once excommunicated each other, then there were the anti popes etc.
        Unless a person is spirit filled they are not qualified for anything in the Kingdom of God.

        • Dolphinfish

          And how do you know it’s the Spirit you’re full of?

          • len

            The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children(Romans 8:16)

        • Dominic Stockford

          We have two popes today……

      • A doctor operates (one hopes!) in the service of men.
        A bishop/overseer operates in the service of God.
        It is God who must equip the man for the task. A knowledge of Hebrew and Greek is great, but it is no substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit.
        At its very best, ordination is men recognizing what God has already done. At its worst, it is a bunch of unsaved men bringing in another unsaved man to join them.

    • len

      Well said.

    • carl jacobs

      Apostolic succession is properly traced through the Gospel and not the man.

      • Little Black Censored

        Through the whole Tradition.

    • Little Black Censored

      Gosh that sounds pompous!

    • Indeed. Faithful men not frocked men is the NT pattern.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      Hard to argue against that. The historic episcopate has value for we must have some way of choosing the best leaders and blessing them for their roles in the churches. But the idea of “Apostolic Succession” needs some reformation, for example:

  • John Campbell

    I am delighted to see our brother Gavin acknowledged. He has the biblical qualities for an overseer and the CofE spurned them because he was not willing to compromise God’s Word for position.

    All he needs to do now is jettison the mitre.

    1 Cor 11:3 But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God. 4 Every man praying or prophesying, having his head covered, dishonors his head.

    • Little Black Censored

      When he prays he will take it off. Satisfied?

    • David

      I take your point. But in practice bishops seem to walk about, process and pose for photographs in their pointy hats but remove them to do any work, like leading services of preaching. It is a pity they were introduced into the C of E – due to the Oxford Movement I believe.

      • chiaramonti

        At least he isn’t wearing gaiters. Do any C of E bishops or Archdeacons still wear them? Or are they reserved (Yes Prime Minister) for important religious occasion,like Buckingham Palace garden parties?

        PS The first C of E bishop to wear a mitre (at least in public) since the reformation was the Bishop of Lincoln, Edward King, frequently criticised for “Romish” practises.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Gaiters can reveal a handsome calf…

  • David

    Dr Ashenden strikes me as a very godly and wise man. His understanding of Scripture is excellent, his sermons are first class and he has a deep respect for the traditions and history of the Church. It is a terrible shame and a deep waste that many men, so obviously very well qualified to be bishops like Gavin Ashenden and Philip North are not being elevated to the highest levels of leadership within the C of E.

    Moreover those that become bishops, like Michael Nazir-Ali, but who are too conservative, orthodox, and here’s the “sin”, outspoken, are sidelined in favour of wishy washy, appeasing liberal types who will not rock the slowly sinking ship.

    Whilst there are some who will fret about the veracity, or otherwise, of apostolic succession, it is clear that the most impeccable of continuities will not enable an unsuitable man to fulfil the full Biblical role of bishop. So to judge whether this consecration is suitable or not we should focus on all the other qualities that a true bishop should possess.

    I have been a congregant in several of Gavin’s Facebook Morning Services and the high level of skill he displays is very evident. He also appears as one half of the double act on and again one can only be impressed by the mans wisdom as well as sharp grasp of reality of what is happening all over the western world.

    Many of the early bishops were missionary bishops and Dr Gavin Ashenden will fulfil that role very well indeed. I am very pleased that he has been selected for this role.

    May the leadership he offers be blessed by a rich harvest of new Christians, as well as a strengthening of the faith of existing followers of Christ, especially those Anglican Christians who may now be finding it increasingly difficult to locate near them, a church led by an Biblically conservative and orthodox Anglican Christian leader.

    • jsampson45

      If churches accept his oversight as opposed to that provided in their dioceses will they go public about it?

      • David

        Err, it doesn’t work like that.
        Conservative churches within the C of E are stuck with oversight by a liberal bishop, as most of them are liberal. In practice as these churches are mainly big and very rich, like mine, the liberal bishops allow them to do their own thing. But of course many of us resent financially supporting a hierarchy that is becoming ever more liberal and followers of the culture.
        But the already separated conservative churches, of which there is quite a collection, plus the new ones being founded by the Anglican Mission to England would be able to accept his oversight.
        I predict that as more new Anglican, but outside the C of E, churches are founded people like me will leave the C of E. The trickle has started and that will morph into a river. I’d do it now but in my area there aren’t any – yet !

  • carl jacobs

    Dear CoE Ecclesial Liberals who are howling at the prospect of “reactionary schism”. No one who matters is listening to you. You can complain amongst yourselves. You can pontificate to your echo in the echo chamber. What you cannot do is stop what is happening. Conservatives are leaving. You should be happy. It’s what you always wanted. And it is what you guaranteed would happen when you chose as you did regarding WO.

    Unfortunately, they won’t be able to pay your bills anymore. Please send your accounts payable to someone else.

  • Charitas Lydia

    I always thought Bishop Gavin would have been a great Archbishop of Canterbury or York. But the CofE is now officially a circus and Gavin is not a clown (like the current archbishops in post) but a serious theologian, a godly pastor and an incisive prophetic voice. These three qualifications seriously disqualify you from any senior position in the CofE. Forget about even being made a Dean.

  • Dominic Stockford

    He’s a jolly good chap, but this ecumenism stuff will destroy all who touch it.

    • dannybhoy

      The thing is though that the CofE for example has more clout than for example the Baptist Union or FIEC. And there are good sound Christians in there too. We need to pray for them.

      • Martin


        Not sure the BU has many who are sound.

        • dannybhoy

          I don’t know enough about them, but through our involvement with Churches Together we meet with them, the Methodists and Catholics. It seems to me that there is a serious paucity of basic knowledge of Christian discipleship -what Jack might recognise as sanctification, and evangelism.
          Apart from the Gospels the New Testament majors on our relationship to Christ and our relationship with each other. It is sad that there doesn’t seem to be much teaching from the Word or prayer.

  • The Duke of Umberland, England

    ‘What sorrow and sadness it is that Christian ministers of his considerable learning, theological conviction and vast experience feel they no longer have a home in the Church of England – the church of his learning, conviction and experience.’

    On the other-hand, what joy it is to see the bishops of the Church of England now look so mediocre.

    • RobinHMasters


      • The Duke of Umberland, England

        Do be kind to them, Mr Masters.

    • carl jacobs

      What do you mean “mediocre”? I’ll have you know the modern CoE bishop for 2018 comes equipped with Wi-Fi, leather interior, and a snazzy air foil for aerodynamic performance. Plus he is available in seven different shades of purple for the discriminating modern buyer.

      • The Duke of Umberland, England

        I always wondered what they had under their robes. Now I know: a leather interior.

  • Martin

    Bishop is a mistranslation of overseer, part of the duties of the group of elders in each local church. There is no separate role.

    • Chefofsinners

      I know a few CoE bishops who would agree with you. They work within its structures because they believe the opportunities it affords outweigh doctrinal errors.

      • Martin


        As did Newton. Yet I wonder if the opportunities have now fled.

        • Chefofsinners

          If you find them, take them.

        • Anton

          That’s John Newton, not Isaac who is surely the default Newton.

          • Martin


            Yep, of course.

    • Little Black Censored

      Now we know (how silly of us!) – thank you.

    • Little Black Censored

      What colour are they? What is written on the side?
      It is interesting to observe the parallel here to what is going on between Britain and the EU.

    • carl jacobs

      More of a willfully incorrect translation. Mustn’t disturb the hierarchy, right King James?

  • Martin

    Is it me or are His Grace’s n=missives becoming like buses?

    • What fare do you pay?

      • Martin

        Whatever the conductor asks.

        • Sarky

          You’re that passenger that nobody want to sit next to.

          • Chefofsinners

            Has Linus offered you his seat?

          • That’s bad.

          • carl jacobs

            That’s Chef.

          • Martin


            Yep, I get more room.

          • len

            I will sit next to Martin why ever not?

        • Inspector General


          • Martin


            Is your space bar misfunctioning?

            I thought one had to seel one’s soul to come here anyway.

          • Inspector General



          • Linus

            Told you you should lay off the bareback gangbangs for a while.

            Live by the sword, die by the sword, old bigot.

  • James Bolivar DiGriz

    Can someone more familiar with the situation enlighten me regarding what the Christian Episcopal Church of Canada and the USA is and how it relates to the Episcopal Church in the US.

    I am aware of ACNA, we have a friend who is a minister in an ACNA parish, but I had not heard of

    Christian Episcopal Church before today.

    • RobinHMasters

      The XnEC is a tiny fragment of a fragment of a fragment of “The Continuum” in North America.

      According to its website, it has 5 bishops (Gavin is the fifth) overseeing 13 priests ministering to ~100 members in ~4 parishes.

      It has no connection to ACNA.

      I am puzzled as to why Gavin decided to board that particular ship, but I assume he will address his reasons.

      • Inspector General


        • RobinHMasters

          The Continuum started with 30,000 and has ended up with about 8,000 scattered over 40 or so one true holy catholic and apostolic churches. And they only had to overcome TEC, hardly in the same category as Jupiter.

      • Linus

        Ashenden is a professional contrarian. Of course he joined the tiniest, most obscure churchuscule he could find. It’s him and 117 others against the world now. Just the kind of odds he likes.

        Someone should tell him there’s another micro-cult out there in the wilds of Alberta with just seventeen and a half members, all of whom are bishops, the half member being a 4-month old foetus who’s already proving a handful for the poor woman who’s carrying him.

        She is not a member of the church because of course her lack of penis means she is not worthy. But the little bishop she’s carrying is destined for a see bigger than most European countries, and is awaited with some anticipation by his flock of zero, although doctors warn that the two metre long crozier he’s waving about in the womb could hamper his chances of being born alive. But never fear, Ashenden is here, with mitre cocked and crozier at the ready, poised to leap with gusto into his episcopal role ministering to zero priests and zero faithful with zero impact for a non-existent Sky Pixie.

        He was born for the job and with his years of practice preaching to empty pews back in England, will surely make a success of it. So tell him to jump ship from the huge and unwieldy Pixtian Episcopal Church of Canada to the slim, trim and dynamic Canadian Pixtian Episcopal Church. It may make him a splitter, but he’ll like that.

        • Chefofsinners

          Do you always have to write so much?
          Your contributions could only be described as pithy by someone with a lisp. Indeed they are pith-poor.

          • Linus

            Yawn. Could someone turn off the Pixmas cracker crappy joke-generating software?

          • Chefofsinners

            So that humanity might bask in such witticisms as “Pixmas” and “Pixtian”.

          • Linus

            Witticisms? I suppose someone for whom everything is fodder for a joke might think that. But no, they are not witticisms. I am merely trying to be consistent when referring to your religion and its terminology.

            In fact I could do with some advice. I have a letter to write to an English cousin turning down his invitation to the baptism of his recently born daughter. Would you mind reading it and telling me whether I’ve got the Pixtian terms right?

            « Dear Cousin X, » it reads. « Many thanks for the invitation to little X’s pixtening at the Church of Sky Pixie the Fatuous, Pixchurch, Dorset. Shan’t be able to come because, as you know, I don’t go to Pixtian ceremonies. But I do wish little X all the best as she embarks on a life of resisting the Pixtian brainwashing that you and that narrow-minded bigot of a wife of yours are going to put her through.

            « Please accept this generous little trust fund set up in X’s name so that when she turns 18, she’ll be able to make up her own mind about what she believes without you holding her to ransom by refusing to pay for her university education.

            « You won’t be able to touch a penny yourselves, but should the dear little one succumb to your campaign of Pixtian indoctrination and not wish to avail herself of the money, it will of course revert to my estate.

            « You will see by the terms of the grant that any attempt to use any portion of the fund to promote Pixtianity or Pixtian causes will render the endowment null and void. But if, as I suspect she probably will after a childhood spent being pounded on by two Pixiebook thumpers, little X decides to use the money to take a gap year and rut her way around the world in a haze of mind-altering substances, she’ll find her needs very well catered for with enough left over to fund a comfortable lifestyle at whichever university she decides to attend.

            « Wishing you all the best on the day, and if you ever manage to sire another child on that dried up Pixtian martyr of a wife of yours, please don’t hesitate to send another begging letter to your rich French cousin, who will be only too glad to settle something on the poor little blighter, although you and she will get nothing as I know exactly what you’ll do with it, and have no intention of letting you use my money to fund your local branch of Catholics for Fascism and Homophobia.

            All the best
            Cousin Linus »

            What do you think? Have I struck the right tone? Respectful and affectionate, yet realistic and firm?

          • Chefofsinners

            My advice would be to précis.

          • He inhabits a dark and malicious fantasy world.

          • Chefofsinners

            It inhabits him.

          • True … but it seems he’s a willing host. Frightening to witness his hatred.

          • Chefofsinners

            It’s all guff. He’s almost certainly writing from inside a secure psychiatric unit, wearing just his underpants and smelling of stale sweat.

          • Playing with toy helicopters.

          • Chefofsinners

            “Jack attack! Jack attack! Scramble Thunderbird One. Ba ba ba ba ba boooom!!!!”

            “Time for your medication Mr Linus.”

          • Linus

            What, you mean « Bog off Pixtian scum. The sprog can ‘ave a bit a dosh but you’re gettin’ nuffink. »?

            It’s certainly pithy, but not exactly in my usual style. Still, I suppose I could tweet it and save the cost of a stamp.

            Good idea. Thanks for the tip.

          • Chefofsinners

            Rarely has the word ‘style’ been so woefully misapplied.

          • Inspector General



          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Never mind attributing fascism; your next door neighbours are having a rerun of National Socialism:

          • Linus

            Ukip are dead in the water.

          • Anton

            Yeah. They were a one-cause party that won.

          • Let’s hope they disown you after reading that lot of garbage. You can’t even be happy for them can you. You can’t just live and let live, attend the event with a smile, wish them well and give the little girl a hug can you. It’s all got to be about you, justifying your lifestyle and making you feel good with your hefty conditional donation. I wouldn’t be surprised if they reject your money.

          • Linus

            Disown me? I wish they would. Then I’d stop getting begging letters from them every time they bring another child into the world.

            I’ll cough up of course. I always do. I work from the principle that no matter how odious her parents may be, the child isn’t to blame for their behaviour.

            I don’t really even care if they do poison the child against me. She’ll make up her own mind when she’s old enough and, like so many of her cousins, is likely enough to leave Catholicism behind her.

            Only a few in each generation cling to the faith, and that number is declining all the time. So even if her unpleasant parents remain as staunch and unbending as they’ve always been, she’ll more than likely dismiss their faith as “Mummy and Daddy being all weird about the Church”, just like her elder brother whispered to me while rolling his eyes at a family gathering the last time in was in England. I told him it was hard luck, but when he was 18 he could do what he liked. He looked rather pleased about that…

        • Inspector General

          “For weeks on end I would be bed-bound: my body temperature was out of control, I couldn’t hold anything in. I kept going to specialists but they couldn’t work out what was wrong, which was very scary.

          “When I did eventually get the diagnosis, it was really disturbing to hear I was positive. I knew nothing about what it’s like to live with HIV.”

          • Linus

            Oh, I see. So that’s what’s wrong with you. Your brain is rotting due to some kind of opportunistic infection caused by an untreated HIV infection.

            I’ve suspected a physiological origin for your insanity for some time. I thought it was caused by alcohol abuse, but now I see that was just a symptom.

            Get yourself to a doctor and start a course of anti-retrovirals now. Your brain has clearly turned to jelly, but if you start treatment now, perhaps some basic cerebral functions may be salvageable. Worth a try at least, don’t you think?

          • Inspector General




          • Linus

            What’s with the underscores, old bigot? Caught another virus, have you? You should be more careful about where you dip your wick.

          • Inspector General

            Linus. Not wishing to be hateful, but…
            A new survey has found that one in four gay men have contracted an STI while in a relationship.
            Gay men’s mag FS quizzed more than 1,000 guys for the survey.
            It found that 23% had contracted an STI while dating a guy, the most common being chlamydia, in 38% of cases, and gonorrhea, 36% of the time.
            14% said they contracted HIV while in a relationship, with 44% of those saying they got it from their partner.
            Almost half of guys surveyed (41%) said they didn’t use a condom with their partner.

            EXPLANATORY NOTE: What constitutes a ‘relationship’ in gay land. Well, you know that stranger you met on your app last weekend. If you agree to meet him at the deserted city centre graveyard a second time then Wham! You are dating and in a relationship. So simple then. You just take it from there. He might even tell you his name the third time. Ain’t Gay Love grand! And love trumps all, they

          • Linus

            Not wishing to be hateful?

            Hateful is all you know how to be.

            Whatever your opinion of gay relationships, the fact is they exist and are not going to go away because you don’t approve of how they may be conducted. Come up with all the bogus statistics you like. They won’t change the fact that equal marriage is here to stay.

            If two married individuals, be they of the same sex or different, want to live in an open relationship, that’s their decision. The state has no business telling them how to live their lives. And neither do you. Rant all you like about how gay relationships may not live up to rigid and outmoded Pixtian ideal of one penis and one vagina locked up together in a prison cell for their whole lives. Pixtian ideals no longer form the basis of our civil institutions even if the charade of a national church is still played out wherever anything touches the monarchy.

            Wait until the old bird falls off her perch and you have an unrepentant adulterer on the throne. That should root out the last traces and pretences of Pixtian ritual from the state. Then you’ll be under no misapprehension that your religion no longer sets the standard for anything in your society.

            Shouldn’t be long now.

          • Inspector General



          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            LONDON, September 17, 2008 ( – A new study in the United Kingdom has revealed that homosexuals are about 50% more likely to suffer from depression and engage in substance abuse than the rest of the population, reports

            After analyzing 25 earlier studies on sexual orientation and mental health, researchers, in a study published in the medical journal BMC Psychiatry, also found that the risk of suicide jumped over 200% if an individual had engaged in a homosexual lifestyle.

            These findings strongly support the results of similar studies conducted in the United States, which have unveiled the severe physical and psychological health risks associated with homosexual behavior. Drs. Paul and Kirk Cameron of the Family Research Institute revealed in 2007 that research shows that the lifespan of a homosexual is on average 24 years shorter than that of a heterosexual. As a health threat, even smoking pales in comparison, as studies show smoking can shorten one’s life by only 1 to 7 years on average.

            While the Health 24 article suggested that homosexuals may be pushed to substance abuse and suicide because of anti-homosexual cultural and family pressures, empirical tests have shown that there is no difference in homosexual health risk depending on the level of tolerance in a particular environment. Homosexuals in the United States and Denmark – the latter of which is acknowledged to be highly tolerant of homosexuality – both die on average in their early 50’s, or in their 40’s if AIDS is the cause of death. The average age for all residents in either country ranges from the mid-to-upper-70s.

            Dr. Rick Fitzgibbons, a psychiatrist and member of the Catholic Medical Association, says there is evidence that homosexuality is itself a manifestation of a psychological disorder accompanied by a host of mental health problems, including “major depression, suicidal ideation and attempts, anxiety disorders, substance abuse, conduct disorder, low self-esteem in males and sexual promiscuity with an inability to maintain committed relationships.”

          • Linus

            Ah yes, the medicalisation of homophobia. A well-known tactic of the fascist Right who invent statistics and bear false witness to plug their predetermined conclusions, to the general hilarity of all serious medical practitioners.

            The Catholic Medical Association and the Family Research Institute are two notoriously homophobic organisations who regularly lie and bear false witness against the LGBT community in their concerted yet remarkably ineffective campaign to make us disappear.

            We’re still here. And we’re gaining ground all the time. But the ground they stand on is precarious indeed. Sinning in order to eliminate sin. If we’re going to the Pixcinerator, so are they, only won’t they be surprised when they get there?

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Facts are not homophobic.

          • Linus

            And there are few or no facts in the « information » you quoted. Everything has been willfully misinterpreted, twisted, exaggerated or plain made-up with one thought in mind: slander the gays. Paint a picture of them as sick and evil. Bear false witness against them in the name of Sky Pixie, because the end justifies the means, doesn’t it?

            See you in the Pixcinerator, propagator of homophobic lies. Or not. Probably not because there’s no such place. But if there is, you’re definitely heading there. You’re an unrepentant liar and bearer of false witness. Where else could you go?

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            You know Linus, more and more scientific studies, from different countries, are presenting the same conclusions.

            You have no response left, except the emotional equivalent of the Glasgow Kiss.

            Your anger stems from the self-realisation that with each passing sexual encounter, you affirm that you are unable to achieve manhood.

          • Linus

            The only « scientific studies » that show the results you want them to show are those that have been conducted in such a way that they say what you want them to say.

            That’s not science. It’s pure unadulterated animus.

            No respectable professional or scientific organisation accepts any of these bogus findings. Only those with an axe to grind use them as « ammunition » in their battle to eliminate the LGBT community. It’s a battle they’ve already lost, but the ease of communication provided by the Internet keeps these people talking among themselves and reassuring themselves that someone is actually listening.

            You are. Nobody else is. We’re just laughing at you and treating you with the contempt you deserve.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            The reason why you’re not laughing is that you yourself are experiencing the emptiness of the futility of homosexuality.

            When did start? When you were a young man? You were dusgusted by what happened to you; yet you cannot shake of the ecstatic and intense joy. Eh?

          • Linus

            Yawn. One more homophobic bigot tries to beat up a gay man with his harsh words only to find the gay man has heard it all before, wasn’t impressed by it then and certainly isn’t going to do anything except laugh at it now.

            There’s only one word for people like you: scum. Well no, two words: homophobic scum. When they’re as virulent as you, there’s usually history there. Gay son who’s disowned you, perhaps? Or did you drive him to suicide with your hatred and now you’re looking to assuage your own guilt by making it all his fault?

            Whatever it is, it’s clearly eating you up with spite and venom. Pity this mythical Sky Pixie can’t do anything about it. Goes to show how useless these imaginary deities really are, doesn’t it?

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            In his book, Suicide in America (1995), Herbert Hendin, MD (former Executive Director, American Suicide Foundation) offered this common-sense understanding:
            With all its sexual and social activity, the “gay life” provides no more than an alienated and isolated existence for many homosexuals. Continuity of relationships between two homosexuals is rare, although many homosexuals spend a lifetime seeking it. For those who do seek it, any relationship that offers that possibility is apt to be intensely over invested rather quickly. Since such relationships usually lack social or family support, rejection or disappointment signifies not merely abandonment but despair over the inability to escape emotional isolation.
            A report from 1994 speculated:
            … more than one third of suicides in the total population were committed by homosexual men – figures that put them at least two to three times more likely to commit suicide than the general population. Researchers conclude, “Increased receptive anal sex behavior may in itself be considered a form of avoidant coping or suicidal behavior.”
            A 2014 study from the Australian Institute for Suicide Research confirmed that,
            … a leading cause of suicide among “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex” (LGBTI) people is stress from their romantic partners. “We tend to assume that the psychological distress LGBTI people are often going through is due to family rejection. But it seems that’s not so much the case. The conflict seems to be largely related to relationship problems, with partners,” Dr. Skerrett [head of the research team] said. “The numbers are telling us there’s a general acceptance at the family level,” something he said is “great” and “really heartening!”…
            The researchers with AISRAP also found that a higher percentage of homosexuals took their lives [out] of despondency, rather than other psychological illnesses. While one-eighth of all Queensland suicide victims had been diagnosed with a psychosis that impaired their judgment, Skerrett reports “there were no such diagnoses among LGBT individuals.” The conclusion adds to the consensus that depression disproportionately besets active homosexuals.
            In GLB-affirming Sweden (where the suicide victim’s “sexual orientation” is recorded), suicide risk was found to be slightly elevated among female “married” couples, and almost three times as high among male “married” couples, compared to heterosexual married couples. …
            Similarly in Denmark (in the first twelve years of legalized domestic partnerships),
            … the age-adjusted suicide rate for same-sex RDP [registered domestic partner] men was nearly eight times the rate for men in heterosexual marriages, and nearly twice the rate for men who had never married.

          • Linus

            Suicide attempts are more frequent among women than men. According to your kind of «science», this means being a woman is a dangerous sickness. Pixtians should offer counseling to women to lead them out of their terrible, destructive lifestyle and encourage them to become men. Men don’t attempt suicide at nearly the same rate as women, which must mean it’s healthy to be a man and unhealthy to be a woman. Sky Pixie must want us all to be men otherwise why would women keep trying to top themselves?

            Ludicrous assumptions make for bad science and, what’s more, they make laughing stocks out of those who promote them.

          • Jodie

            The CHIOLDISH comments need to STOP

          • Linus

            Chioldish? Don’t you mean pueriole? Or juveniole?

            You shouldn’t let yourself be so easily rioled. It really is very futiole. Why don’t we reconciole?

            Hmmm … thinking about it though, as you’re talking nothing more than a piole of viole biole, I think I’oll continue to reviole your hostiole style, because illiterate cælodæmonophioles really do make me smiole.

          • Inspector General

            Alas, they are not so much childish comments but part of an earnest wrecking spree. The cult of homosexuality must disarm the church if it is to become the pre-eminent culture of the West. (Which is what it’s doing and doing rather well at that)

            It’s also why you might see a devoted atheist like Tatchell picking churches.

            You see, by forcing their values onto the church, at pain, if not, of being declared homophobic (a word that now means intense murderous hatred, apparently), the idea is to eat the thing from the inside out. For a strategy, it will work, as indeed it does in nature…

          • Jodie

            The CHILDISH comments need to stop

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Who made you a judge over us?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            The inner parent within. It is always revealed when people treat others as if they were children.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            I would be much obliged if you and Jodie stayed out of this debate.

            Thank you.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You may think it is rude for us to comment when you are focused on
            debating someone, but I think it is rude for you to tell us to stay

            This is a public forum where everyone has an equal right to make comments. I would very much like some of the commenters here (like Linus) to be banned by the moderator but I do not have the authority to do that on this website. But we are ALL free to ignore people and even to block their comments on disqus. So feel free to ignore Jodie (and myself) if you wish. But despite your privileged name, Duke, you cannot stop us from reading your comments and making our own.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Then contribute constructively.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            And who made you judge of what is constructive?

            Besides there is no requirement on this website for contributing constructively. Just read all the comments, many of which are merely socializing and others which are downright silly. If Jodie and I want to critique your debate (or each other’s comments), the criticism may be quite constructive. Or perhaps droll and entertaining to some. Or perhaps worthless. Bottom line: Duke, you have no authority here to enforce your personal rules. But feel free to ignore my posts.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            You begin by giving at least, if not more, tacit support to an infantile assertion and you end with: socialising, silliness, drollness, entertainment and worthlessness.

            You then make a plea for ignorance but insist on attracting my attention.


          • Bruce Atkinson

            Chuckle. Can’t leave it alone, can you?
            THAT was a completely silly but entertaining analysis of my comment. Kudos. Monty Python would be proud.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            It takes great intelligence to be a comic of the calibre of Monty Python. One of the masters of incongruity.

  • RobinHMasters

    Anglicans Unscripted just put up a “Purple Episode” with Gavin on YouTube.

  • Chefofsinners

    Ah, that phrase “If only the Church of England…”
    How many endings could be appended? How many Godly people have sighed “If only…”?
    I fear that we are all like battered wives and the CoE is the abusive husband. We cling to the forlorn hope that it can be reformed, that it’s better nature will prevail, that it is worth the pain, because in our idealised vision it would be so good. Yet gradually all that is good is draining away and orthodox Christians are that thing which God abhors: a despised wife. Perhaps we are too close to see it for what it has become. Perhaps we lack the courage to face the world without the social acceptability it conveys. Perhaps we have made excuses for it too long.

    • David

      Very true. I am extremely fortunate. Because after months of prayer I was led to a Biblically conservative church within striking distance of my home , which is still within the C of E. But as more and more churches are founded by AMiE, and similar, conservatives will leave the institutionally old ship to board a more Spirit led vessel.

  • Inspector General

    What wonderful news!

    As you say, Cranmer, a significant loss to what’s left of the old Established Church of England…

    But it is a punch on the nose for his detractors. By the way you mentioned rotters, if a fellow is ‘made’ a bishop and a Christian following (whose allegiance is to Christ and not corrupt man) accept him as bishop, then a bishop he be. Yes, it really is that simple…and we don’t need your damn permission neither!!

    So, you modernising rabble lose on this one. Hopefully the fellow will be available for loyal-to-Christ rank and file male clergy to call on when in doctrinal need, instead of risking falsehood from whatever it is sits on their own diocesan cathedra…

    Hurts, don’t it!

  • not a machine

    I don’t know if I am allowed to be delighted but pleased for bishop Gavin Ashenden and pray he considers god , in his journey .

    • Inspector General


      • not a machine

        i am thinking about the real victory of salvation of souls…even though having a pop at my church grievances and questions is all too tempting …

  • Chefofsinners

    A poem, which one suspects may have inspired Gavin:

    When I am an old man I shall wear purple
    With a pointy hat which doesn’t go, and doesn’t suit me.
    And I shall spend my stipend on brandy and summer gloves
    And Jesus sandals, and say we’ve no money for collection.
    I shall sit down on the pavement when I’m tired
    And gobble up soggy biscuits in church and press alarm bells
    And run my crozier along the altar railings
    And make up for the sobriety of my youth.
    I shall go out in my cassock in the rain
    And pick flowers off people’s graves
    And learn to spit.

    You can wear terrible shirts and grow more fat
    And eat three pounds of sausages at a go
    Or only bread and communion wine for a week
    And hoard pens and pencils and beermats and things in boxes.

    But now we must have theology that keeps us dry
    And pay our tithes and not swear in the pulpit
    And set a good example for the children.
    We must have friends to dinner and read theology.

    But maybe I ought to practice a little now?
    So people who know me are not too shocked and surprised
    When suddenly I am old, and start to wear purple.

  • The Duke of Umberland, England

    ‘He was born about 30 years too late; a bit like Philip North.’

    Nobody has ever been born too late nor to early.

    Now is the time for North and Ashenden.

    • Bruce Atkinson

      Apparently it was not the time for him four years ago when Ashenden was actually consecrated (Oct. 17, 2013)– no lie. We are a just now hearing this old news because the CEC (and Ashenden) kept it under wraps.

      • The Duke of Umberland, England

        All organisations have their industrial secrets.

        It is written: there is ‘a time to be silent and a time to speak’.

  • Don Benson

    Amongst the current inner circle of pigmies within the Church of England there could never be a place for the likes of Gavin Ashenden; he’s simply too big a man for them.

    And perhaps the greatest mark of his authority is his willingness to set himself up for mockery if that’s the price for faithfulness and integrity: only true soldiers of Christ dare walk that path, and he does it with the best of good humour, humility and love. May God bless him and all the faithful who have not yet given up on the Church of England.

  • Darter Noster

    “A made-up Bishop in a made-up Church”

    So no different to every other Church of England Bishop since 1532 then.

    • chiaramonti


    • Dominic Stockford

      And all bishops ever – ALL denominations are man created.

      • Having walked away from the Catholic priesthood and tried social work, didn’t you become a bishop of “Evangelical Connextion of the Free Church of England ” in 2008? This church having come into being in 2003 as a result of secessions from the Free Church of England.
        All this chopping and changing must get confusing.

        • len

          There is one Body.
          Is Jesus going to ask”Which denomination?”

          • True …. it’s the Catholic Church which isn’t a “denomination”.

          • len

            No far worse.

        • Dominic Stockford

          You clearly haven’t done proper research before seeking to criticise me once again. The definition of ‘bishop’ according to the 1863 Deed Poll of the FCE is as follows:

          “It is hereby expressly declared and agreed that in the Free Church of England there are two orders of Ministers videlicet Bishops and Deacons. The first order shall be designated Bishops, or Presbyters or Elders the words being applied in the New Testament to the same persons. This order includes the President or Bishop Primus President of the whole Body, The Diocesan Bishops or Presidents of the Districts, Congregational Bishops or Presidents of the Congregations. These may be associated in the several Congregations with other Ministers as Doctors or Teachers and those Elders or Presbyters who do not minister the word but whose gifts qualify them to rule in the Government of the Church.”

          You will note ‘congregational bishops’ – the individual pastors with oversight of a single congregation.

          One such individual is appointed as Bishop Primus. ‘Bishop’ is therefore not the Roman error of a man with ultimate power over all in ‘his’ diocese, but simply an elder, as in Scripture.

          And, whatever inaccurate barb you might try to throw my way next, it doesn’t prevent the truth of the fact that all denominations are man-made.

          • What a collection – a “Bishop Primus President of the whole Body”, a “Diocesan Bishop” a “President of a District”, a “Congregational Bishop” and a “President of the Congregations.”

            Still a “bishop” nonetheless and you were “consecrated” by other “bishops”, rather than elected, were you not?

            In April 2008, a former Roman Catholic priest, Dominic Stockford, was consecrated as bishop for the Connexion by Arthur Bentley-Taylor and various other leaders of the wider Reformed church in the UK. Stockford resigned in 2012 for health reasons. A ‘Co-ordinator’ for the Connexion was appointed.[5]


            Was this the FCE or the Evangical Connextion of the FCE? Not to be confused with the Countess of Huntingdon’s Connexion from which FCE originally emerged – a supposedly Calvinistic Methodist movement?! (Scratches head. Is this possible?). It’s so confusing try to keep up!

          • Dominic Stockford

            I was elected. The ‘consecration’ was simply the public ceremony of prayer for my time in the role.

            You should read Faith Cook’s book about the Countess of Huntingdon, you would mock less if you were open to learning more.

  • I am reminded of the dear old Anglican joke … stop me if you’ve heard it before … yes, we old men are such bores … about the laying on of hands during Episcopal Consecration.

    “What” asks the ubiquitous Tiny Boy, “are they all doing to him?”

    (I should explain here to Cradle Catholics that the Anglican tradition most happily preserved the ancient ritual whereby all the Consecrators – they might be a dozen or more – imposed hands simultaneously. It looked rather like a rugger scrum, with the Consecrand submerged in the middle.)

    The child’s Father explains to him: “They are removing his spine”.

    • not a machine

      personally jack I blame modernity , either that or my theological/ discussion view is around the time of Darwin.that was painful that joke 🙂

      • You need to evolve, Good Sir.

        • not a machine

          well yes Happy Jack that is one route I suppose , its when evolving reduces quality of understanding that I am working on at the moment.

    • Manfarang

      Not a joke. A very keen church warden took his four years old son to church until one day at home they found the boy standing on a chair with a book in his hands making groaning noises.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Gavin Ashenden is the sort of man who the Church of England desperately needs but does not want. By coincidence earlier this evening I came across a video which shows what is wrong with the CoE’s present leaders.

    British Apostate Tells Tommy Robinson: Muslims “Tried to Kill Me”

    “Nissar Hussain is a former Muslim. Since converting to Christianity, he’s experienced 16 years of abuse. He tells Tommy Robinson that police, politicians, and even bishops have ignored him.” It is not just Nissar Hussain but also his family who have been persecuted.

    The chief constable of Bradford deserves to be prosecuted for the deliberate failure of the police to do their duty. The MP for Bradford West, Naz Shah, who is a Muslim, cancelled three appointments that Hussain had made to see her and after that she simply ignored all his messages. The behaviour of the police and the MP is an utter disgrace but that of the leaders of the Church of England is even worse.

    When David James was the Bishop of Bradford he told Hussain that he would not welcome converts to the church. Nick Baines, when he was the Bishop of Bradford, and the current bishop. Toby Howarth, also refused to help. In 2014 Nissan Hussain encountered the Archbishop of Canterbury at a conference, but when he tried to speak to him Justin Welby said that the CoE were doing all they could and then turned his back on him and walked away.

    Like the mob addressed by Pontius Pilate the modern Church of England, given a choice between Barabbas and Christ would choose Barabbas.

    • amostheprophet

      Dear Royinthesouthwest,

      I do wonder why you believe everything Nissar says in that EDL video? Are you personally acquainted with the events? Imagine, just for a moment, that the story he tells, and the motives he ascribes to others, are perhaps not accurate?

      I personally know all three bishops of Bradford that he mentions. They are good people and far from ignoring him, I happen to know personally that they all made genuine attempts to help him. There may be more going on in the background of this story than you know about… For example, I know that David James was very keen to welcome converts to the church, so whatever he said in the conversation with Nissar has either been misunderstood or wilfully misinterpreted. Nissar’s case is well known in Bradford. Many good Christian people have sought to stand alongside him, both Anglicans and non-Anglicans. Ask yourself why they always ended up getting burned?

      A dear Christian brother went to visit Nissar in hospital after his attack, and was treated incredibly rudely. Please don’t continue to propagate stories you know nothing about, to the detriment of people who love the Lord and have done great service in seeking to serve and support Nissar and his family. No-one denies that Nissar has suffered terribly. But I question why he has suffered. It may be for the reason he claims it is, but it may not.

      • Royinsouthwest

        Obviously I could be wrong as I am not personally acquainted with the case. In fact I hope you are right and that the bishops concerned have done their jobs faithfully.

      • Pubcrawler

        In the interests of accuracy, then, note also that it is not an “EDL video”.

        • Anton

          It’s a Rebel Media video. RM was begun by a fine Canadian secular right-wing Jewish news commentator called Ezra Levant.

    • David

      Assuming that this is true then it is truly shocking.

  • Father David

    I think that someone needs to have a quiet word in Gavin Ashenden’s shell-like about how to dress up properly as a bishop. The pointy hat is not usually worn with rochet and chimere but with either cope or chasuble. Dear old Wallace Benn never ever wore a mitre I suspect that Rod Maidstone doesn’t either? I would further suggest that a black preaching scarf or fur tippet would be more appropriate than a red stole. Lovely crozier though!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Goodness! I find myself agreeing with you…I will go and lie down immediately

      • Father David

        Good gracious to me – I too am reaching out for the sal volatile.

        • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

          Now if only you would abandon the teachings of St. Marx I am sure preferment in Bar set could be arranged. We are looking for a new Rector of St. Viagra-atop-the-Wardrobe, and you may just fit the bill.

          • Father David

            Most kind. I’ve just heard of the demise of St. Hugh of Playboy. Had he not departed this life at the remarkably young age of 91 (which I understand to be the average age of the Barchester diocesan parochial clergy) then I’m sure he would have been exactly the right man to fill the vacancy at St. Viagra’s. For a start the aged sidesmen could have been replaced by Bunny Girls – a sure and certain way of increasing the size of the congregation – it would certainly prick their interest or alternatively …. oh, never mind!

          • (From a “Breitbart” commenter)

            “Hugh Hefner has died.

            I bet he wasn’t as stiff in a long time.”
            (Hat tip to Mr M)

          • Inspector General

            This from Hefner’s Wiki entry…

            “After the Charles Beaumont science fiction short story “The Crooked Man” was rejected by Esquire magazine in 1955, Hefner agreed to publish the story in Playboy. The story highlighted straight men being persecuted in a world where homosexuality was the norm.”

          • Dominic Stockford

            An astonishing story.

          • Inspector General


          • You do know he was “bisexual”?

          • Inspector General



          • Have you tried reinstalling Windows, Inspector?

          • Inspector General



          • Jack isn’t an expert but he doubts that any virus can’t wreck one’s hardware. Try wiping the hard drive and reinstalling the operating system. Then purchase and install a reputable anti-virus and malware program.

    • len

      “The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”(1 Samuel)

    • Dominic Stockford

      He is an odd position, as soon as you indulge in ecumenism you end up mixing not only theologies, but also styles. The chap mentioned in the write-up, Fenwick is in a bunch that does exactly the same mish-mash of things.

    • Guglielmo Marinaro

      Well, I’m no expert on clerical attire, but I have read about a bishop of one of these odd, schismatic meatbeater churches who allegedly goes around clad in a lounge suit and a biretta. That must be a cause of great mirth.

      • Anton

        A beretta would be better in Rome!

  • len

    A few godly men could turn the C of E back to God. The foundations are there but it is like a neglected garden.Some trees need to go , dead wood needs clearing out, and young growth encouraged.

    • Then step forward, Len. The Anglican church needs you …..

    • David

      What would rescue it is, in practical terms, a change of the balance of the bishop back towards a majority that respects Biblical authority. But the existing hierarchy has become a self-perpetuating liberal elite which does not obey Scripture.
      Spiritually it requires a strong movement of the Holy Spirit to wake up the Laodicean hearts of these “leaders”.

      • The fundamental problem is that Anglicans have no “fundamentals” other than changing and disputed “interpretations” of Scripture, and no final authority. As Anglican Conferences and Synods are held to be capable of error, although, at the same time, guided by the Holy Spirit??, it means what was held to be “true” yesterday can become “error” today. You’re not founded on a rock – but on the quicksand of shifting ideas and human opinions.

        • len

          The Cof E has the Word of God, as does the RCC .Pity they both have chosen the word of man above the Word of God.

  • Without wishing to appear triumphalist (who, Jack?), this rather puts the previous article on the problems besetting the Catholic Church into perspective.

    Catholics stay and fight for the preservation of God’s Truth, confident that the Holy Spirit will ultimately protect the Faith and preserve the Church from error. We don’t leave to form new sects or new churches. Because of the charism of infallibility and indefectibility given the Apostles and their successors, we know the Magisteriun is Divinely protected and we thus accept settled doctrine and defend the Deposit of Faith when it appears threatened. Thus we are not forever reviewing and changing Truth in matters of faith and morals.

    “What Catholics once were, we are. If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.
    We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed.
    We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now.”

    (Robert DePiante)

    • carl jacobs

      Without wishing to appear triumphalist …
      A sure sign that a triumphalist statement will follow. We only say things like this to give ourselves permission to do what we otherwise think we shouldn’t do.

      Catholics stay and fight
      You stay because your view of the Church gives you nowhere else to go. You may desire to fight, but you have no means to move the chess pieces on the board. You don’t even have any chess pieces to move. You are at the mercy of the hierarchy to which you have attached yourself. Who are the bishops and cardinals appointed over you? They will determine the direction of Rome. When they lead you where you do not wish to go, what then will you do?

      The problem with the Roman structure is that it possesses no means to correct itself. Hence all this straw in the wind about indefectability and infallibility and divine protection. You must assert these things because the construction of the Roman system prevents any challenge to corruption at the top. Only the Magisterium can correct the Magisterium. And what happens if the Magisterium goes south? Well, we are about to find out, aren’t we.

      Gavin Ashenden represents a means of correction for a church that has corrupted itself. If people can no longer go here, then they can go there. Orthodoxy for a Protestant isn’t chained to an organization. But Rome hath spoken clearly on this matter and, as for Rome, it is settled. “Pope, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” It is a great sorrow and pity that Catholics hear these words and believe them.

      • “The problem with the Roman structure is that it possesses no means to correct itself.”

        Catholicism doesn’t need to correct itself in matters of faith and morals. It develops like an oak tree from a small acorn and remains true itself and thus to Christ. Of course you have to reject this because of the implications for your own man made version of the faith. And yes, Catholics believe the Magisterium, when speaking definitively and authoritatively, speaks on behalf of Christ and its members should show obedience to it.

        The Church is not simple an “organisation”. It is the Mystical Body of Christ, here on earth, headed by Christ, made visible through human structures, whilst we wait His return in Glory. The Magisterium can never “go south”. If there is uncertainty or ambiguity (even heresy) in some of the Pope’s words, then these will, in time, be corrected. Whilst there may be human corruption in the Church, there can never be doctrinal corruption.

        • Manfarang

          By the apostolic constitution Indulgentiarum doctrina of 1 January 1967, Pope Paul VI, responding to suggestions made at the Second Vatican Council, substantially revised the practical application of the traditional doctrine.

          • Did he indeed? The “practical application” of doctrine is not a change in doctrine. Many Popes have done likewise. That’s their job. Jack is not so incensed, as some are, by changes in the liturgy, although he finds these regrettable.

        • Cressida de Nova

          True…many Catholics are fighting to maintain the doctrine of the true faith on their religious blogs and by writing letters to the Archbishops. The doctrine is clear and is made clear so that the gates of hell will not prevail against the Church in whatever form it takes.

          • len

            The Gates of Hell will not prevail against the Body of Christ..
            the RCC has a history of trying to kill the Body of Christ and corrupting the Word of God.

        • Anton

          Trouble is, the First Vatican council definitively settled the question of where ultimate authority lies in the Roman Catholic church: with the Pope, and not with a General Council of Bishops. The context of this deserves to be seen for what it is The council of Pisa in 1409 insisted that the will of a General Council was higher, as had to be the case for it to deal with the scandal of three men all claiming to be Pope and excommunicating each other as heretics. The papacy saw the danger and Pius II’s bull Execrabilis of 1460 was a threat to anathematise anybody calling for an ecumenical council to question papal decrees. Since 1870 there remains no mechanism for a Pope whom every Cardinal and Bishop believes heretical to be deposed. None. Enjoy Pope Francis.

          • Now you’re an expert on Canon Law and the Papacy?! Goodness! You really should offer advice to Cardinal Law. The Council of Pisa was conducted in exceptional circumstances. Let’s wait and see, shall we? Greater minds than yours in the Catholic Church are addressing this very issue.

          • Anton

            But it’s not really about intelligence and knowledge, is it? It’s about power politics and plausible-sounding excuses. Pisa happened because Catholic monarchs had had enough of two, then three Popes simultaneously demanding tithes, and those rulers knocked a few heads together.

      • Dominic Stockford

        When I left I received a message from another, much more elderly, RC priest – he said, in essence, ‘well done, I wish I could leave, but I’ve nowhere to go’. He’d have been out on the street if he had left, and he knew it, and at his age he simply couldn’t.

        • Guglielmo Marinaro

          Poor man. It must be dreadful to find oneself trapped like that.

          • It’s called moral cowardice.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Who am I to judge?

          • You can’t judge his soul but you can pass comment on his behaviour. There’s nothing worse than a weary priest who has lost faith. He can cause untold harm to souls.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            I suspect that there are far more such priests around than we know about. However that may be, I remember some years ago an announcer on RTÉ radio – I can’t now remember his name or anything – saying “Never judge your neighbour if you haven’t been in the same situation.” I just thank God that I’ve never been in that one.

          • Well, Jack doesn’t agree that one shouldn’t comment on the behaviour of a person who is failing in his duties and is unfit to continue performing them.

            Would you be so “non-judgemental” about an incompetent surgeon? They deal with the body. How much greater is the responsibility in matters of the soul?

            Jack isn’t a paedophile but can comment legitimately on the harm they do, and seek to curtail it, without having experiential knowledge of their predilections.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            No, I wouldn’t be so “non-judgemental” about an incompetent surgeon. But incompetence is not what we are talking about here. A priest in that situation can continue to do his duties as a priest conscientiously and to the best of his ability. And there is always the possibility that he may in due course recover his faith. Is there not supposed to be such a thing as “the Dark Night of the Soul”? As I have said, it is not a position that I would like to find myself in.

            Since you have raised the subject of paedophiles, I would just point out that paedophiles and similar sexual predators in the priesthood have done far more damage in “matters of the soul” than have priests whose faith has been lost or damaged.

          • Well, Jack would tend to agree with you on both counts.
            However, if a priest expresses the opinion that he’s only remaining in the priesthood due to material concerns then this seems more than a temporary crisis of faith and he really should be discussing it with his spiritual counsellor rather than encouraging another apostate priest. So far as sexually abusing priests and those who protected them are concerned, they have been and are a scourge on the Church.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, as long as we live in this world we inhabit material bodies, whether we like it or not, and so a material concern like the prospect of being out on the street in old age with nowhere to go is not exactly a trivial one. For a priest in that situation to be encouraging a younger “apostate” priest to get out before he finds himself trapped in a similar situation is surely a work of charity.

          • Sarky

            Bit like ‘never judge a man until you have walked a mile in his shoes’.

          • len

            Just like the RCC has.

        • Not must trust or faith in God or evidence of spiritual conviction.There’s nothing more tragic than a Catholic priest who loses his faith and clings on due to material concerns.

    • Manfarang

      The Great Schism
      The Old Catholic Church.
      Czechoslovak Hussite Church.

    • Chefofsinners

      And there was I thinking the Church of England was formed when a bunch of people left the Catholic Church. Clearly not.

      • Exactly – they left and look what’s happening.

        • Chefofsinners

          So, if I can follow the logic…
          Anyone who leaves the Catholic Church is no longer a Catholic. Therefore Catholics do not leave their church.

          • They left the Truth to follow error. They remain Catholic – it’s for life – but become schismatics or heretics. Perhaps one should have written “Faithful Catholics”, which clearly they were not.

          • Manfarang

            Truth? The doctrine of perpetual virginity has obscured recognition that Jesus had full brothers and sisters.

          • Did He? Tell that to Him and His mother when you meet.

          • len

            And you also.

          • It’s impossible for Jesus or His mother to experience personal shame. Rather, she and her Son are wounded and insulted by the denials of true status and the honour she is due.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Why is perpetual virginity an honour for a married woman?

          • One would say being Immaculately conceived, being the Mother of God, full of grace and without sin, and being Assumed into Heaven, most certainly is.

          • Anton

            Which isn’t an answer to his question.

          • The special honour due to Mary is not because of her perpetual virginity. So the question was answered.

          • Anton

            Yeah, sure.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            So you agree that there is no reason to regard perpetual virginity as an honour for a married woman (e.g. Jesus’s mother)?

          • On its own its a commendable act of self sacrifice and deserving of respect. As Jack pointed out, Mary’s service to her son and to God went way beyond this.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Well, I don’t see it as a service to God, to her son, to her husband or to anyone else, and as an act of self-sacrifice it seems a singularly pointless one, but since it’s clear anyway from the New Testament that it is purely imaginary, cadit quaestio.

          • Well one really wouldn’t expect you to be an advocate of chastity, GM. To set aside sexual gratification for love of God and yet still have a loving relationship with one’s spouse rather challenges the modern world’s preoccupation with all things carnal and man’s assertions of entitlement in this area.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            What you would or would not expect me to be an advocate of is of no consequence here: it tells us nothing whatever about the marriage of Mary and Joseph. I think I’m right in saying that the decidedly odd concept of a deliberately sexless marriage for love of God is a most unlikely one to have occurred to a Jewish couple. In any case, the New Testament gives not a glimmer of support to the invention such a marriage for Mary and Joseph; on the contrary, it clearly contradicts it.

          • Okay, let’s give the more detailed account.

            When Mary was told by the Archangel Gabriel “Behold, you shall conceive in your womb, and bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus” (Lk 1:31), he also added that this was to come about because “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the Holy one to be born shall be called the Son of God” (Lk 1:35). By stating it in those terms the Archangel declared to Mary that God would enter into a marital relationship with her, causing her to conceive His Son in her womb, For “to lay one’s power over a woman” was a euphemism for a marital relationship. Likewise “to overshadow” (Lk 1:35) was another euphemism for marital relations.

            Joseph, having been enlightened by an angel in a dream regarding Mary’s pregnancy, and perhaps further by Mary concerning the words of the Archangel Gabriel to her at the Annunciation, Joseph knew that God had conducted himself as a husband in regard to Mary. She was now prohibited to him for all time, and for the sake of the Child and Mary he could only live with her in an absolutely chaste relationship. Living a celibate life within marriage was not unknown in Jewish tradition.

            In Jewish Law a man betrothed to a woman was considered legally married to her. The word for betrothed in Hebrew is , a word that is derived from the Hebrew word which means “holy” “consecrated,” “set apart.” Because by betrothal (as in Mt 1:18; Lk 1:27) , or marriage, a woman became the peculiar property of her husband, forbidden to others. We know from the Gospel of Matthew 1:14 that Joseph the husband of Mary was a righteous man, a devout law-abiding Jew. Having noticed that Mary was pregnant and that he, her betrothed, had nothing to do with the pregnancy, Joseph had either to publicly condemn her and have her put to death for adultery (Dt 22:22-29) or put her away privately. His decision was made when an angel appeared to him in a dream, saying: “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife; for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; she will bear a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Mt. 1:20-21). The Angel does not use the phrase for marital union: “go in unto” (as in Gn 30:3, 4, 16) or “come together” (Mt 1:18) but merely a word meaning leading her into the house as a wife. For when the angel revealed to him that Mary was truly the spouse of the Holy Spirit, Joseph could take Mary, his betrothed, into his house as a wife, but he could never have intercourse with her because according to the Law she was forbidden to him for all time.

            Living a sexless life within marriage is not unknown in Judaism. According to Jewish tradition, Moses, who was married, remained continent for the rest of his life after the command to abstain from sexual intercourse (Ex 19:15), the seventy elders abstained thereafter from their wives after their call, and so did Eldad and Medad when the spirit of prophecy came upon them; indeed it was said that the prophets became chaste after the Word of the Lord communicated with them.

          • Anton

            That would be the Jewish tradition that the Catholic church criticised the Jews for adding to the written law in the Old Testament? Why should we take your Catholic traditions that add to the New Testament any differently?

            God did not marry Mary. That is grotesque. In that case she was committing bigamy by marrying Joseph, even if they did not have sex as you seem to think. And see 1 Cor 7:5.

          • Not too good at discerning spiritual similes are you, Anton. Or with comprehending scripture through an understanding of the contextual meaning of its allusions and what the words and metaphors meant to the authors who were inspired to write it and how these impacted on people at the time. Mary and Joseph were Jews, as were the authors of the New Testament.
            Jesus condemned the Pharisees for hypocrisy and adding unnecessary burdens on people. He also redefined marriage, raising it to a different level, as we see in Saint Paul’s writings. He also said: “The scribes and Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. So practice and observe everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach.”

          • Anton

            Not too good at thinking for yourself when meeting arguments that Rome’s playbook does not give the moves to counter, are you Jack?

          • It was hardly a “counter move”, Anton, as demonstrated by your lack of response to the arguments advanced.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “Okay, let’s give the more detailed account.” In other words, “Let’s look at my ad hoc, factitious glosses.” You can come up with those till the cows come home, but the fact remains that the alleged perpetual virginity of Mary is not only unsupported but contradicted by the New Testament. I’m familiar with attempts to deprive Jesus of his brothers and sisters by arguing that they weren’t really his siblings. They are thoroughly unconvincing.

          • What you mean is you don’t accept the arguments and evidence as convincing. That’s your privilege. The fact is that the term “brother” was used in a different way in Israel at the time of Christ. The fact is that the terms used by the Angel in his encounters with Mary and Joseph, as recorded in scripture, have the meaning Jack presented. The fact is that Mosaic law would have obliged Mary and Joseph to behave as described.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            The books of the New Testament were written in Greek, and the term “adelphos” means “brother”. The words for “cousin” and “near relative” are, respectively, “anepsios” and “sungenis”. Jesus’s brothers are *always* referred to as “adelphoi”, never as “anepsioi” or “sungeneis”. The difference is clearly brought out in the Epistles: Paul asks that greetings be sent to his *kinsman* (sungenis) Herodion (Romans 6:11), and Mark is called the *cousin* (anepsios) of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10); by contrast, James is called the *brother* (adelphos) of the Lord (Galatians 1:19).

            “But to assert that ‘cousins’ could be called ‘brothers’ in ordinary prose, time after time, throughout a perfectly plain and simple history, with no hint whatever that they were *not* ‘brothers’ in the everyday sense, and always in connexion with the *actual* mother of Him whose ‘brothers’ they are called – and not seldom when His mother with these ‘brothers’ appear together on the scene with a desire to check, or control, or dictate to their Divine kinsman – is to assert something for which no analogy is to be found either in Semitic or any other literature in the whole world. No language could be contented with the use of terms habitually misleading. In this case such a form of speech would not only be misleading, but could only be termed a direct encouragement to views which theologians have attempted to represent as all but heretical.”
            – F.W. FARRAR, The Early Days of Christianity, Chapter XIX

            With regard to the proposition that “brother” and “sister” were used “in the Hebrew sense” for “cousin”, Dean Farrar remarks in a footnote:

            “In the New Testament there is not a single instance of such a usage. In the Old Testament (i.e. in a literature which spreads over a thousand years) the Hebrew word אָח is used *twice only* in a loose general sense. In every other instance (not metaphorical) it has its proper meaning. The sacred writers usually mean what they say.”

            The fact is that all that you have given in support of the perpetual virginity doctrine is eisegesis, based on your own purely subjective a priori notions of what would have been appropriate for Mary. If you choose to be convinced by your own poor arguments, that is your privilege.

          • Scholars and theologians have been debating this for nearly two millennia, arguing whether those “brothers” and “sisters” were in fact biological siblings, step-siblings, half-siblings, or not even siblings at all, but cousins. The confusion originates in Hebrew and Aramaic, the languages of most of the original Old Testament texts and of Christ. In these languages, no special word existed for cousin, nephew, half-brother, or step-brother; so they used the word “brother”. When the Old Testament was translated into Greek and the New Testament written in Greek, the word “adelphos” was used to capture all of these meanings.

            The term brother (adelphos) has a broader meaning than uterine brothers. It can mean a biological brother, but it can also mean brothers not born of the same parents, like a half-brother or stepbrother. The word also described other relationships, like cousins, nephews, etc. an extended relative, or even a spiritual brother. Take Genesis 13:8 for example. Here the word brother is being used to describe the relationship between Abraham and Lot, who were not biological brothers but uncle and nephew.

            Because of the Bible’s broad semantic range of “brother,” we can rest assured that although St. Paul writes, “[Jesus] appeared to more than five hundred…brothers at the same time” (1 Cor. 15:6), we need not infer from this verse that Mary gave birth to more than 500 children! That would a stretch even for a Catholic! These “brothers” are never once called the children of Mary, although Jesus Himself is in John 2:1 and Acts 1:14.

            These arguments continue to be defended and disputed by scholars today, whose positions depend on their particular traditions and how they interpret early church theology.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Examples from the Old Testament of the Hebrew word for “brother” being used to refer to another relative, such as a nephew, are of no relevance to the use of the Greek word in the New Testament; nor is their literal translation in the Greek Septuagint any more to the point than is their later literal translation in the English KJV. Furthermore, in the instance which you cite, Lot’s actual familial relationship to Abraham is already made clear only a few verses earlier, where he is explicitly described as “the son of Abram’s brother” (Genesis 14:12). There are only a very few such instances – Farrar could find only two – and the reason for them is inapplicable to the New Testament, whose original documents are in Greek and are not translations from Hebrew (or Aramaic). Consequently, there was no need or reason for such imprecise usage in the New Testament, nor, as Farrar noted, are there any examples of it.

            Except when the word is clearly being used in a metaphorical sense (as, for example, in the appearance to “more than five hundred brethren at one time” and in the exhortation “when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren”), “adelphos” means simply “brother” in the straightforward, biological sense. Mark is called the cousin (anepsios) of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10), not his brother (adelphos), and the angel refers to Elizabeth as Mary’s relative (sungenis) (Luke 1:36), not as her sister (adelphē). No, of course Jesus’s brothers and sisters are never once called the children of Mary. Why on earth should they be? If someone is asking after my brothers and my sister, they won’t say “How are your mother’s children?” If my mother, my brothers and my sister had come to see me on some memorable occasion, no-one writing my biography (God knows why they would do that) would say that I had been visited by my mother and my mother’s children.

            No-one, as far as I am aware, has tried to argue that when Peter and Andrew or James and John are described as brothers (Matthew 4:18-21) the writer might have meant that they were just cousins, or that perhaps Lazarus, who is called the brother of Mary and Martha, was really only their cousin or other near relative. If scholars and theologians have been arguing about the status of Jesus’s brothers and sisters for centuries, the only reason is that some have been trying desperately to explain them away because they don’t fit a doctrine for which there is no justification in the first place.

          • Of course it has relevance if they were translating Hebrew or Arabic into Greek and that language didn’t have the broad scope of meaning the original language did! Jesus and his contemporaries didn’t speak Greek.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Of course the way that the Septuagint translators translated the Old Testament into Greek – especially if they wanted their translation to reflect the original Hebrew/Aramaic texts as faithfully as possible – has no relevance to the way that the New Testament authors needed to use the Greek language when writing new original documents in that language. The possibility that Jesus and at least some of his associates spoke Greek cannot in fact be ruled out, but either way that question is of no great importance in the present context. The writers of the New Testament did write Greek, and it is abundantly clear from their writings that they were not trying to imitate Hebrew ambiguity (why should they want to anyway?) by using the Greek words for “brother” and “sister” when they meant “cousin” or “relative”. Nor was it necessary for them to resort to such imprecision: in contrast to the case if they had been writing in Hebrew, the specific Greek terms (anepsios and sungenes) denoting those relationships were available to them, and they actually used them for that purpose, as I have shown.

            Dean Farrar rightly observed that (1) Jesus’s brothers are ALWAYS called “adelphoi”, never “anepsioi” or “sungeneis”, and that (2) they nearly always appear in the company of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and never in that of some other supposed mother (Vide F.W. FARRAR, The Life of Christ, 1894, Chapter VII). If I may borrow the words of Mr Sherlock Holmes, “Each fact is suggestive in itself. Together they have a cumulative force.”

            “This was settled early on in the history of the Church…”

            If by “this” you mean the present question, then yes, it was indeed settled very early on. It was settled when the New Testament authors wrote about Jesus’s brothers and sisters and called them that.

          • The perpetual virginity of Mary, the mother of Jesus, has been consistently taught from the early Christian era. Western and Eastern Catholicism, and the Orthodox, consider it a fixed doctrine. Even early Protestant reformers, including Luther and Calvin, asserted the doctrine as worthy of belief.

            Do you suppose Jesus and his contemporaries spoke Greek? No. The authors of scripture translated the Aramaic/Hebrew words used into Greek. And, despite what you say, in Hebrew no special word existed for cousin, nephew, half-brother, or step-brother; so they used the word “brother”. When the Old Testament was translated into Greek and the New Testament written in Greek, the word “adelphos” was used to capture all of these meanings. The confusion arises in English because of the lack of distinct terms for relatives in the Hebrew and Aramaic, and the usage of the Greek to signify all of these relations. When the Jewish scholars translated the early Church writings from Hebrew to Greek, they literally translated the word “brother” as “brother.” Since they were accustomed to the word that could mean either “brother” or “cousin,” they did not believe that it was necessary to define when it means “brother” or when it means “cousin.” Therefore, in instance where a reference might be made to a cousin of Jesus, the word “brother” was applied.

            As already stated, in Gn 13:8 and 14:14, the word adelphos was used to describe the relationship between Abraham and Lot and these two men did not share a brother relationship, but one of uncle and nephew. Another instance is that of Laban, who was an adelphos to Jacob, not as a brother, but as an uncle.

            Other Gospel passages clarify these relationships. James and Joses were the sons of Mary of Clophas (Mk 15:40). Judas was the son of James (not either of the Apostles) (Lk 6:16). James the Lesser was the son of Alphaeus (Lk 6:15). James the Greater and John were the sons of Zebedee with a mother other than our Mary (Mt 20:20).

            After the birth of our Lord, although the Gospels do not give us many details of His childhood, no mention is made of Mary and Joseph ever having other children. Never does it refer to the “sons of Mary” or “a son of Mary,” but only the son of Mary. This point is again corroborated at the crucifixion scene. Before He dies, our Lord says to Mary, “Woman, there is your son” and then to St. John, who is definitely not a blood brother, “There is your mother.” According to Jewish law, the oldest son had the responsibility of caring for the widowed mother, and that responsibility would pass to the next oldest if anything happened to the first-born son. By this time, St. Joseph has died. Since Jesus, the first born, had no “blood brother,” He entrusted Mary to the care of St. John.

            About 380, Helvidius suggested that the “brethren” were the children born of Mary and Joseph after Jesus. St. Jerome declared this as a “novel, wicked, and daring affront to the faith of the whole world.” In his On the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Mary, St. Jerome used both Scripture and the Fathers, like Saints Ignatius, Polycarp, Irenaeus and Justin Martyr to refute Helvidius. Later, the First Lateran Council, 649, definitively declared that Mary was “ever virgin and immaculate.”

            Therefore, as Catholics, based on Sacred Scripture and Tradition, we do not believe that Mary and Joseph had other children.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “…in Hebrew no special word existed for cousin, nephew, half-brother, or step-brother; so they used the word ‘brother’.”

            I really don’t know why you keep on harping about that. I have never for one moment disputed it (although, as I have pointed out, there are only a very few examples in the Old Testament of its being used in that way). Nor have I disputed that when the Old Testament was translated into Greek, the translators, wishing to be as faithful as possible to the original Hebrew/Aramaic texts, would for that very reason have translated their usage in that regard literally.

            That, however, has no relevance to the New Testament writings, which were NOT translations of Hebrew or Aramaic texts, but were themselves new, original documents written in Greek. No matter what the constraints on the Septuagint translators, the New Testament writers had no good reason, no obligation and no need to imitate the Semitic languages’ deficiency of vocabulary designating different family members. Nor did they in fact do so. Barnabas’s cousin Mark is CALLED his cousin (anepsios), not his brother; and Elizabeth is CALLED Mary’s relative (sungenis), not her sister. By contrast, Jesus’s brothers and sisters are ALWAYS called brothers (adelphoi) and sisters (adelphai). Attempts to identify the brothers with other New Testament characters with similar names tell us absolutely nothing: as Farrar noted, “this argument loses all force from the extreme commonness of those names, which were as common among the Jews as John and William among us. The genealogies of Joseph show, moreover, that they were in part family and ancestral names.”

            “After the birth of our Lord, although the Gospels do not give us many details of His childhood, no mention is made of Mary and Joseph ever having other children.”

            In fact the Gospels tell us next to nothing about Jesus’s childhood, but what they do tell us is that Mary and Joseph had subsequent children, because those children appear later during Jesus’s ministry. Here is just one example:

            “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works? Is not this the carpenter’s son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas? And are not all his sisters with us?” (Matthew 13:54-56)

            That passage rather loses its punch if his “brothers” and “sisters” are taken to mean merely his male and female cousins.

            I don’t know why you are shaking Jerome’s opinion of Helvidius in my face. If ever a man was thoroughly hung up not only about sexuality in general but about marriage, it was Jerome. “I do not deny that holy women are to be found among wives, but only when they have ceased to be spouses, and when they themselves, in the predicament which the married state brings in its train [!], imitate virginal chastity” (JEROME, Adversus Helvidium). His attitude is one that I’m delighted not to have and which I would most certainly not recommend anyone else to acquire. I remember reading his purported refutation of Helvidius some years ago. It merely confirmed me in the opinion that Helvidius was right.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Yes, they are thoroughly unconvincing … to anyone who does not worship the RCC and its traditions.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Both the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption strike me as rather curious doctrines, but I don’t suppose that there is any harm in people holding them as what I gather used to be referred to as “pious opinions”, and I respect their right to do so. The problem arises when they are made into compulsory dogmas. I can’t help wondering whether Pius XII defined the Assumption in 1950 simply because he felt that it was time that he defined SOMETHING, and that having the (supposed) ability to define dogmas infallibly and not using it was like having money burning a hole in your pocket. Whatever, I agree with what Hans Küng wrote, now nearly half a century ago:

            “…quite apart from the question of their truth, it must be regarded as an aberration when a Church, without being compelled to do so, produces dogmas … for reasons of piety and propaganda (the two Vatican dogmas about Mary). The aberration is the greater when it deepens the divisions of Christendom.”

          • Manfarang

            “brothers and sisters”
            In Israel I visited churches. At the Arab churches-Maronite, Greek Orthodox , Assyrians etc. I received a welcome but not at the Roman Catholic of course.

          • Chefofsinners

            …so schism happens in the Catholic Church just as it does in all others. Turns out you didn’t need to worry about being triumphalist at all. How soothing.

          • The point, dear man, is that faithful Catholic stand and protect the Church and seek to resolve disputes and disagreements, confident in the Holy Spirit. They don’t scurry away to form other churches which then beget other churches, which then beget others.

          • len

            The RCC is in error, constantly.
            And the tragedy of the RCC is it cannot change error for truth.

          • The joy of the Catholic Church is that she cannot change truth for error.

          • len

            Then you call the Word of God into question?.

          • Chefofsinners

            And those who do… aren’t faithful Catholics. Hmm. The art of saying nothing.

          • By definition, if you walk away from the Church you’re unfaithful.

          • Chefofsinners

            So by definition, your boasting about the actions of ‘faithful’ Catholics is tautology.

          • Who’s boasting? Tautology or not, it’s fact. The Apostles didn’t always understand or agree with Christ. Nevertheless, they stayed with Him until His Passion, except one, and returned to Him once they understood.

          • Chefofsinners

            Of course. You are not boasting, because you said “Without wishing to appear triumphalist…”
            You were in no way suggesting that Catholics don’t suffer from schism whereas Anglicans do. And the fact that the Apostles disagreed with Christ proves that they do. Or don’t. Um… obfuscate, obfuscate…

          • It’s a protestant blog. The Truth hurts so Jack was making light of it. Clearly a mistake.

          • Chefofsinners

            And what exactly is the truth which you are attempting to communicate?

          • You lot are wrong – and Catholics are correct.

          • Chefofsinners

            And you communicate this by making statements which cannot possibly be correct but, by the magic of Catholic infallibility, become incontrovertible fact.

          • Then you don’t want to understand the nature of infallibility and indefectibility and the role of the Magisterium. It’s not “magic” but rests on the promise of Christ and the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Catholic’s apply these to the Church – you, so far as Jack can tell, to private judgement and individuals.

          • Chefofsinners

            You have explained the nature of infallibility and indefectibility perfectly: “You lot are wrong – and Catholics are correct.” That really is all it amounts to.

          • It’s the only level you appear to want to understand. It’s all perfectly scriptural if you’ve a mind to comprehend. Invincible ignorance is a tough nut to crack. It requires an action of the Holy Spirit.

          • Chefofsinners

            The truth, both scriptural and in bodily form is this: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” and “Who has know the mind of God, or who has been His Counsellor?”, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but by me.”
            And so forth.
            The truth is that God is right and mankind is wrong. Any man who appropriates to himself infallibility is guilty of blasphemy.

          • No man is infallible. The Church is through the power of the Holy Spirit.

          • Chefofsinners

            The Church is made of men. How can something infallible be composed of many small parts, each of which is fallible? It sounds like a British Leyland car.

          • You’ll have to ask God that one. The clues are in the Church being the Mystical Body of Christ, with Him as it’s head, with a physical presence and existence through its members. Think of it as an imperfect body being directed by a perfect soul and protected by the Holy Spirit.

          • Chefofsinners

            The Church, the mystical body of Christ, exists on earth and in heaven simultaneously. It is composed of sinners made perfect in God’s sight through Christ’s atoning sacrifice for sin.
            You are taking that loftiest purpose of God, for which Christ died, and conflating it with an entirely different concept, namely the idea that a certain group of people on earth can never get a doctrine wrong. The two concepts are as different as heaven and hell, which are indeed their origins.

          • Sinners are transformed in Christ through cooperating with the Holy Spirit. Corrupt matter is transformed through the infusion of grace – not simply “made perfect in God’s sight” through a forensic imputation/covering by the merits of Christ. That’s one of the fundamental flaws in protestant theology. If this can be achieved for a man by the power of God, then the existence of the gift of infallibility in the Church Militant is easily understandable.

          • Chefofsinners

            Sinners are indeed being transformed, but the process will not be completed in this world. This is evident throughout the New Testament, but 1 Corinthians 15:42-57 and Romans 7 would be good places to start.
            The theology of propitiation applies to our sins committed up to and until the moment of our being made perfect.

          • The Church is not an individual man. It is Christ’s Mystical Body, invested with His authority and assured that if will be free of error.
            The “theory of propitiation” is insufficient to explain the profound nature of the atonement. Christ did far more than appease a wrathful Father. Christ atoned for us and, in some capacity, substituted for us due to our inability to make our own atonement. The question is: In what sense did he substitute for us? But that’s a whole other subject.
            Jack’s off to bed now – doctor’s orders. Speak tomorrow.

          • Chefofsinners

            Where, when, how is the Church “assured it will be free from error”? Only ever when looking to eternity.

          • Anton

            Too right it is a tough nut to crack, especially if invincible ignorance is surrounded by a defence such as the assertion of infallibility.

          • len

            God is right , that makes the RCC wrong.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Unfaithful to a particular church is not necessarily unfaithful to the Lord. In fact, sometimes leaving a church is the most faithful thing you can do.

          • From Jack’s perspective, based on scripture, the Catholic Church isn’t a “particular church”. She is the Church. Bottom line: Jack accepts one has to follow one’s conscience and if one loses faith and cannot accept her claims and her doctrines, then one has to walk away. Far better than being lukewarm or a ‘pick and mix’ Catholic. Whether this is being objectively faithful to God is another matter. It’s between oneself and God on judgement day. Of course, as a protestant, where no claims are made of Divine authority and infallibility located in a Magisterium, one is more likely to leave if the message is different from one’s personal reading of scripture.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            As if even a majority of Catholics agreed with the Magisterium or with each other on issues of doctrine and interpretation of scripture! Catholics, if they are to believe anything at all taught by the Church, still must interpret personally what the leaders tell them the scriptures say (no different than protestants interpret the scriptures). Everything we hear and read must be interpreted personally; there is no way to avoid this problem. You can say you have faith in the Magisterium and church tradition but that is B.S. because on any particular detail you will have your own take on it (and your own take on what the authority is teaching). Some of us simply trust the Source more than secondary human opinions about that Source. I would rather have the Bible at my side (the highest spiritual authority) than what others may say about the Bible, although I will also examine what they say if I have that option (which I do).

          • One accepts in faith and then, according to one’s faculties, goes as deep as one can. No one goes “cold” to scripture. We all read it through a particular set of lenses. Besides, the dogma and doctrines are not that complex. The Christian message and Good News came before scripture.

          • Anton

            “But what if the Pope becomes unfaithful?”

            “He can’t.”

            “Pope Francis?”


          • len

            The Pope cannot be in error, even when he is, (This is’ the logic’ of the RCC)

          • There are always rebellious dissenters ready to ferment division. It’s the nature of man.

          • Anton

            Actually it’s the nature of yeast. I think you mean “foment”.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            ‘It’s for life’ sounds like the Islamic doctrine of reversion.

          • A sacrament, properly confected, cannot be undone. Thus, marriage, ordination and baptism are permanent.

          • Anton

            Confected? You reckon the wafer gets turned into chocolate now?

          • Do you know what the word actually means? Seemingly not.

          • Anton

            I am invincibly ignorant of indefinitely pompous Catholic terminology.

          • No, you’re culpably and wilfully ignorant. Look it up in any dictionary. It’s not an exclusively Catholic word.

          • Anton

            No thanks, I’ll go and get some confectionery. It’s much more to my taste.

      • Inspector General


        • len

          You seem to have a line on this?

    • Anna

      An interesting talk about the first schism in the Christian church and the current state of the RC church.

    • “What Catholics once were, we are. If we are wrong, then Catholics through the ages have been wrong.
      Yep! Wrong then; wrong now.
      We are what you once were. We believe what you once believed.
      We worship as you once worshipped. If we are wrong now, you were wrong then. If you were right then, we are right now.”

      Nope. Roman Catholicism bears no resemblance to Biblical Christianity.

      • But how would you know? Presumably this opinion is based on your own interpretation of scripture which just happens to differ from others in the protestant churches?

        • len

          The Word of God has been given so that we all can know the Truth.
          Pity few seem to follow it?.

          • Dolphinfish

            Even bigger pity we all had to wait 2000 years for you to arrive and figure it out for us.

          • Anton

            You didn’t. People have been saying this for centuries but you always refuse to listen, because you think that the apostolic succession is a magic formula regardless of faith in Christ.

          • Er, sorry, … “you think that apostolic succession is a magic formula regardless of faith in Christ.”

            Not “magic” but an ontological change giving the priest supernatural power.
            Are you alluding to the Donatist controversy? The Donaists argued that the validly of a sacrament depended on the celebrant being in a state of grace, i.e. sinless. However, the validity of a sacrament is a property of the priesthood, independent of individual character and, to some extent, belief.

            That said, the Church has solemnly defined that for the valid confection of a sacrament neither faith nor the state of grace is required in the minister. Therefore, both sinful and heretical, schismatical and apostate priests or bishops can still validly confect the sacraments, provided, of course, that they use the proper matter and form and have the necessary intention.

            The Church has defined that the minister must have the intention of doing what the Church does. Therefore, at least the external intention of doing what the Church does, and thus of accomplishing the ceremony properly, is required. Today some theologians hold that the external intention does not suffice, but that to confect a sacrament validly, the minister must also have, at least implicitly, the internal intention of doing what the Church does – even if he doesn’t necessarily believe it.

          • Anton

            “Not “magic” but an ontological change giving the priest supernatural power.”

            An “ontological change giving the priest supernatural power” is just a pompous pseudo-Christian definition of magic.

          • Look what happened at Pentecost. Was that “magic”? To a pagan, yes. Not to a Christian.

          • Anton

            That was a direct act of God, obviously, and no analogy with what we are discussing.

          • It was God’s Holy Spirit descending on the Apostles. It’s directly relevant.

          • Anton

            But you still think that the apostolic succession is a magic formula regardless of faith in Christ or its lack.

          • len

            Not relevant.

          • In summary, the church has defined that it’s the outward performance of the ritual that counts, and thus holds to the same position as the Pharisees did when Christ came, and much of the nation in the times of the prophets who specifically addressed such a gross error. It ought to concern you that that’s where you’ve ended up.

          • What an odd comment.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Bingo! All of Paul’s arguments versus the Law and the Jewish requirement of circumcision for early Christians can be applied to the developed dependence on the rituals and traditions of the RCC (and even to a lesser degree to the EO).

          • What “rules” and “traditions”?
            The “Law” Saint Paul referred to was the external Mosaic ritual and dietary law. The “rules and rituals” of the Catholic Church concern worship, the sacraments and following Christ’s commands through cooperation with the graces dispensed by the Holy Spirit which transform us to become ever more Christ like through a relationship with Him.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Churcholatry? All your words defending your church (which is not really The Church) reveal that you actually worship your church tradition rather than Jesus Christ. I do not recall reading where you have praised and elevated the Lord, but I have heard a lot on this website from you about how right and wonderful the Catholic Church is. Hmmm. Your words have revealed your priorities … which are questionable. Surely you agree that Jesus Christ is Lord?

          • Jack has been answering questions on the Catholic Church. What do you expect? And Jack doesn’t worship the Church but understands her for what she is – the Mystical Body of Christ and His Spouse. We honour God by recognising and defending the Bride of Christ and His chosen instrument for the salvation of souls.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Still no clear personal knowledge of our Lord do I hear, nor a primary focus on Him (see Colossians 1:15-20). Focusing on the Bride and her rituals does not qualify.

            Here is how Jesus defined “eternal life” (certain to be a high priority): “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” (John 17:3). So, of all the things that we pray for,
            knowledge and understanding of God (through an intimate relationship with
            Christ) should be at the top of our list. Paul writes: “…I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord … I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.” (Philippians 3:7-11). No emphasis on the Church, no emphasis on Mary, no emphasis on the Apostles and other saints, no emphasis on rituals/sacraments. Just knowing Jesus Christ.

          • Intermediaries?! Like the Apostles?! Jesus Himself commissioned the Apostles to speak to the world on His behalf, to loose and bind, to baptise, forgive sin and commemorate His sacrifice.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Everything the Apostles did (and we should do as well) is to glorify Christ. They did not glorify themselves but their Lord. Neither should we glorify our leaders, nor our traditions. Only the Apostles were clearly and without doubt chosen by our Lord to have special authority. Because they directly knew our Lord and were His disciples and witnesses of His Resurrection, we must listen to what they said/wrote. They spoke (wrote) for Him after the Ascension. However, no later leaders have that same authority; none heard Jesus speak directly to them, none were witnesses of His Resurrection. As for an eternal priesthood, it was Peter who indicated clearly that the priesthood was of ALL believers, not some elite ruling caste of clerics.

          • Of course, that’s all based on your interpretation of scripture and, if Jack may say so, an element of human pride. No amount of study, degrees and experience equips one to speak with the authority of Christ.

            “I know how to interpret the scriptures and use many interpretive tools (which is easier today because of the availability of so many of them online). I certainly do not need a Magisterium to tell me what to believe.”

            The Apostles and their successors speak for Christ -the Holy Spirit and God’s authority was given to them – and we, the priesthood of all believers, should listen with humility and obedience. Every sect claims authority from the Holy Spirit and each advances scriptural justification for its claims, citing this or that passage. And yet look at the wide and inconsistent interpretations they advance. Clearly the Holy Spirit is not available to all in these matters. But, you are correct when you say this: ” I am responsible only to my Lord Jesus Christ for what I believe and what I teach.”

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I never hinted that I have the authority of Christ, or any authority at all. However, I am responsible to the Holy Scriptures, the Holy Spirit, and my conscience and reason (all of which are under Christ).

            It is the Roman Church’s grievous error (there is no scriptural promotion or Apostolic commandment about this) to assume that her bishops have received the same authority as the Apostles. Not so. Not even close. As you wrote, “No amount of study, degrees and experience equips one to speak with the authority of Christ.” And this “no amount … to equip” also includes any degree of church rituals and prayers. Apostolic Succession is really about passing on the scriptures (Apostolic doctrine) and not about providing authority and power to those leaders who come later. But of course, with the Apostles gone, ambitious and Pharisaical ecclesiastics would want for themselves such authority and power in the now highly organized church.

          • Fine, but that’s not how the early Church understood itself and developed. By the middle to end of the first century there were ordained bishops and the authority of Rome was widely recognised. You really suppose this was all done without the approval of the Apostles?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Our readers can understand that “… how the early Church understood itself” greatly changed over the first few centuries after the Apostles were gone. Having overseers (we now call bishops) was of course already happening. But “ordination to the priesthood” did not even exist, not as we understand and use it today in those denominations who ascribe to Apostolic Succession and regard the historic episcopate as sacramental. What we have in the NT is only a couple of instances of Apostles laying hands on particular individuals to bless them for particular goal-oriented tasks. This was hardly the same as all the training requirements and liturgical traditions that make up “ordination to the priesthood” today. Clericalism in general were post-Apostolic (revisionist) developments in the newly institutionalized churches of Rome, Constantinople, and Alexandria.

            I, for one, do not trust all the changes that they made, especially those not endorsed in the New Testament. But I well understand that members of those churches (like the RCC) who practically worship their own post-apostolic traditions … will fully trust them today (and even condemn those who do not).
            I happen to think that they were greatly deceived by Roman and Greek culture, leading to being infected by syncretism (hierarchical clericalism, a caste system, highly ritualistic pagan mystery religions, goddess worship, etc.).

          • Again that’s all your personal opinion and must be seen in the light of your protestant formation.

            Catholics and members of the Eastern Orthodox Churches do not worship their “traditions”. Indeed, they don’t regard their episcopal structures and sacraments as “post-apostolic” at all but as coming from the Apostles.

            It’s inevitable that practises and structures developed as understanding deepened and as the Church grew and spread throughout the known world. If, as you claim, the Church was infected by Greek and Roman culture, then Christ’s promise was meaningless. Do you dismiss all the Council’s of the early Church and all the writings of the Church Fathers? You know, the men who put scripture together (which you so rely on as the only source of truth) and developed the Creeds and understandings of the Triune God and Christ’s Incarnation, death and resurrection? Or do you “pick and mix” those bits you personally agree with?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            You views are also only your personal opinion. I know Catholic priests who do not agree with you.

            No, the post-apostolic early church did not get everything wrong (for example the historic creeds) but they got much wrong… as a immature and easily influenced organized church. The early Church Fathers did not agree on many things, so you cannot depend too much on them. Fortunately, there have always been many Christian individuals in every age and culture who did not buy into the errors.

            God planned and engineered the Reformation to repair many of these errors. Many more reformations are necessary and some are happening as we speak (e.g., among Anglicans), and I am sure that even more are coming.

          • “Your views are ALSO only your personal opinion. I know Catholic priests who do not agree with you.”

            Jack’s views are not personal. They have been shaped and formed by the Church. You’ll have to be more specific about what these Catholic priests disagree with before Jack can comment further. Jack is aware there are liberal-modernist priests in the Church whose private views, particularly on moral issues, contradict the teachings of the Magisterium. All this means is that they are victims of spiritual deception and, depending on the nature of their disagreements and whether they voice them, really shouldn’t stay in ministry if they are formal heretics. There will always be false shepherds and other priests who will have doubts and misgivings. It’s in the nature of things and has been long prophesised. It’s the reason the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith exists.

            “The early Church Fathers did not agree with each other on very many things, so you cannot depend too much on them.”

            Of course they didn’t agree on everything. They didn’t have the charism of infallibility and were wrestling with Divine mysteries. That’s why there’s a Magisterium to set the boundaries of theological speculation and to settle matters where necessary.

            “God planned and engineered the Reformation to repair many of these errors.

            The Protestant revolution was permitted by God. It has hardly produced great spiritual benefits. It was as much driven by socio-political forces as spiritual ones.

            “Many more reformations are necessary and some are happening as we speak (e.g., among Anglicans), and I am sure that even more are coming.”
            Further division and confusion among the People of God is hardly God’s will. Maybe God is permitting it as a way of sifting the wheat from the chaff but it hardly promotes His Kingdom or secures the salvation of souls. It just strengthens the Enemy’s hand.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Wow, Jack. Finally you have revealed the underlying hubris of your soul. Your opinions are not personal? You have received some divinity that the rest of us do not have? You have fully understood and perfectly interpreted all that the Magisterium has taught and of course are fully in agreement (because it is infallible and divine)? You could not possibly be the victim of deception. So therefore you must be always right, right?
            Perhaps you do not realize that spiritual pride is among the worst of sins. You know a lot about the RCC but you have provided no real evidence that you truly know Jesus Christ. Perhaps if He shows up tonight in your room it might scare the hubris out of your soul.

          • Jack accepts with obedience and humility his own smallness and trusts Christ’s promise to Peter that the he, the Apostles and their successors speak for Him in matters concerning his salvation. One doesn’t have to fully understand and perfectly interpret all the Magisterium has taught. It would certainly be pride to believe that Jack was competent to judge the 2000 years of collective wisdom and revelation given to the Church. When in doubt, one can accept the dogma and doctrine of the Church on trust because of the promises of Christ and seek to better understand them.
            This isn’t “spiritual pride”/i>. Quite the reverse. And how do you know Jack has not met with Christ or experiences an intimate connection with Him? How do you know the quality of Jack’s relationship with His saviour and brother? The hubris in not Jack’s.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Don’t B.S. me, Jack. So where is Christ’s “promise to Peter that the Apostles and their successors would speak for Him in matters concerning His salvation”? Especially is there nothing about “successors to the Apostles” ever mentioned. Such language is never used. That there would be leaders in the churches is common sense (overseers, presbyters, deacons are named, and I am sure Paul would have named other roles if asked), but it is never even hinted that any of these would be successors to the Apostles. Prove me wrong, please.

          • Matthias.

          • Bruce Atkinson

            He took the place of Judas Iscariot so there still would be 12– while the rest of them were alive. Matthias’ being chosen was hardly an ordination process (rolling the dice) and we can argue about his actually being chosen by God. I think Paul was the Lord’s choice. After the others were one-by-one martyred, we do not see any successors being chosen. I think Paul or Luke (in Acts) would have said so if it occurred. But later, the church leaders wanted to promote their own authority and power to rule in the organized church (very human of them) and so instituted Apostolic Succession.

          • “And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, “It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty… These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands upon them. “
            (Acts 6:2-6)

            “Till I come, attend to the public reading of scripture, to preaching, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophetic utterance when the council of elders laid their hands upon you.”
            (1 Timothy 4:13-14)

            “Hence I remind you to rekindle the gift of God that is within you through the laying on of my hands; for God did not give us a spirit of timidity but a spirit of power and love and self-control. Do not be ashamed then of testifying to our Lord, nor of me his prisoner, but share in suffering for the gospel in the power of God.”
            (2 Timothy 1:6-8)

            “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.”
            (Acts 13:2-3)

            “and what you [Timothy] have heard from me [Paul] before many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others al so.”

            (2 Timothy 2:2)

            As early as AD80 Pope Clement I wrote:

            “Through countryside and city [the apostles] preached, and they appointed their earliest converts, testing them by the Spirit, to be the bishops and deacons of future believers. Nor was this a novelty, for bishops and deacons had been written about a long time earlier. . . . Our apostles knew through our Lord Jesus Christ that there would be strife for the office of bishop. For this reason, therefore, having received perfect foreknowledge, they appointed those who have already been mentioned and afterwards added the further provision that, if they should die, other approved men should succeed to their ministry”

            ” … and celebrating the Eucharist with them, he appointed, as bishop over them, Maro, who had entertained him in his house, and who was now perfect in all things; and with him he ordained twelve presbyters and deacons at the same time. He also instituted the order of widows, and arranged all the services of the Church; and charged them all to obey Maro their bishop in all things that he should command them
            Ignatius of Antioch Epistle to the Magnesians.”

          • Bruce Atkinson

            Acts 6 was about delegating people to wait tables. None of these scriptures have one word (and no command) about them also laying hands on others and they on still others (no secession into perpetuity mentioned). There is not one word about Timothy or any others having Apostolic authority, just a role in ministry in passing on the gospel. They could have been baptists if we simply read the NT words. Not even Clement (already becoming clericalized) ever mentions that these ministers have the authority of Apostles. No place in the NT and no place in the earliest Christian writings (Clement, Shepherd of Hermas, Didache ,Ireneaus, etc.) do we hear this. They did however need to chose leaders in the church and they did so. And of course, if these men died they would need to be replaced (as with any office). This is hardly what we now call “Apostolic Succession.” Any office or role will need replacement, but none of them had the gifts and authority of Apostles. Only the 12 plus Paul. Except perhaps for Judas Iscariot, they were never replaced (nor were they replaceable).

          • Len

            I’d give that 2 upticks if i could .Well said sir.

          • len

            The Holy Spirit is the promised interpreter of the Truth>He is the author after all.
            You comments are rather crass Dolphin old chap , if you don’t mind me saying so?.

        • You, Jack, use your own private interpretation to interpret developments in the Roman Catholic church, which you claim is the standard of truth. You reject some teachings of the Pope, and accept others. Other Roman Catholics accept the ones you reject, and reject the ones you accept. The apologetic line which you, as a Roman Catholic apologist, trot out – that Protestants rely on ‘private judgment’, whereas you don’t and instead rely on clear objective truth – is just propaganda. It has no real correspondence to what you actually do, or to the state of the Roman Catholic church.

          Yes, Protestants don’t 100% agree on 100% of the teachings of the Bible. But, no more do 100% of Catholics agree on 100% of the teachings of Rome. So, individual congregations and persons weigh it up and make decisions, based upon the evidence available to them, using the brains that God gave them. There is no real difference here, other than between one set having the belief that the Bible is above and interprets the church, and the other set having reversed those roles.

          • Jack rejects no teachings of the Magisterium – i.e. the teaching office of the Church consisting of the Pope and Bishops. He is not obliged to accept the personal opinions of any cleric.

            Christ promised to protect the teaching of the Church : “He who hears you, hears me; he who rejects you rejects me, he who rejects me, rejects Him who sent me” (Luke 10. 16). When the Church presents some doctrine as definitive or final, it comes under this protection, it cannot be in error; in other words, it is infallible. The day to day teaching of the Church throughout the world, when the Bishops are in union with each other and with the Pope, and present something as definitive, this is infallible.

            Anyone who claims he ignores the Magisterium is in error. The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. The Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God. It is its servant. It is in service to the Word of God and authentically interprets the Word, whether in Scripture or in the form of what has been handed on. It’s there to “guard what has been entrusted” (1 Tim. 6:20).

            The Holy Spirit teaches the Church “all things”, bringing to mind everything that Christ first taught His apostles (Jn. 14:26). That is why Jesus can say, regarding His Apostles and their successors, “He who receives you receives me”(Mt. 10:40). Chosen by Christ, they exercise the Church’s teaching office. Christ sends His Apostles and their successors as the Father sent Him – with “all authority in heaven and on earth” (Mt. 28:18).

            Jesus did not leave His people vulnerable to the doctrinal whims of competing leaders. Rather, He built the Church on the solid foundation of the Apostles (Eph. 2:19-20). He gave the Church His Holy Spirit to enable her to be “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Despite the cultural winds that have blown through the ages, the faithful have always had a visible, easily identifiable magisterial rock on which they could safely stand in all seasons. Because Christ instituted the Magisterium to communicate His saving truth, as a faithful Catholic, Jack responds in obedience and joy to the Church’s teaching out of love for Christ. Jesus declared that the gates of hell would never prevail against His Church (cf. Mt. 16:18-19). This protection from evil includes protecting the Magisterium from teaching error. Regardless of who the Pope and bishops in union with him may be at a particular time in Church history, the faithful have Christ’s Word that the Holy Spirit will guide His Magisterium in preserving and teaching the truth.

            Some Catholics will not assent to a particular teaching unless the Church has demonstrated to their satisfaction that the teaching is true. Some go so far to reserve the right to overrule any magisterial pronouncement with a judgment of conscience. In doing so, they erroneously apply the Church’s teaching on conscience, in essence arguing that every Church teaching is subject to their approval. Faith is not mere agreement, but a humble submission to God’s authority.

    • len

      The Cof E (like theRCC) has the Word of God so it is able to discern Truth and Error.Neither Church however, has remained faithful to the Word of God and has fallen from the Truth.

      • Dolphinfish

        Lucky they have you to tell them where they’ve gone wrong, then, len.

        • len

          They have the Word of God, as you do.

          • Dolphinfish

            Just at the moment, we seem to be getting the word of len. I suppose it’s easy to get them mixed up.

          • len

            For someone in the RCC perhaps ?

      • dannybhoy

        What would make me respect Anglican leadership more is if they explained why they no longer adhere to the clear teaching of Scripture or Christian morality -save where it coincides with humanistic teaching.
        If they explained, resigned and then joined the Fabians or whatever, I could seriously respect their integrity.
        That they don’t believe and don’t step down indicates that either they love the attention, the ritual, the frocks etc., or else they are intent on destroying the CofE from within.

    • The Duke of Umberland, England

      The pope, is changing matters in faith and morals and the best Roman Catholic scholars know.

      He is the False Prophet predicted in the Book of Revelations.

      • And you know this how? Are you Elijah or Enoch?

        • The Duke of Umberland, England


          You’re a bright lad. I am sure you can track down the 62 or so Roman Catholic scholars.

          Why not use your, wisdom, intelligence and knowldge to warn the Roman Catholic faithful.

          • Jack is familiar with their valid concerns and also with the concerns of Cardinal Burke et al. Pope Francis may or may or may not be a formal or manifest heretic. Granted, there are very troubling statements being made by him which suggests he is a modernist supported by a similar group in the Curia. However, to leap from this to him being the False Prophet who arrives and prepares the way for the Antichrist, seems somewhat premature at this time. Jack is more guarded in such matters, as are the scholars and clerics criticising him.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            There is ‘civil war’ in the Vatican.

            The homosexuals are ruthlessly expelling the orthodox.

            Now is not the time to be defensive.

          • Jack is not being “defensive”. He simply has faith that these issues will be resolved in God’s own good time and that we have to trust in God’s Providence. It’s really too soon to claim this is the Great Apostasy that precedes the return of Christ.
            The division in the Church is deeper than sexual perversity which has been around for centuries. The disagreement is between modernists and those who wish to conserve the true faith. Of course, some homosexuals will be pushing this agenda in order to appease their consciences and justify their lifestyles. So there’s no doubt some of the modernists will be homosexuals, as, indeed, will some of the more orthodox bishops and cardinals.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England


            You introduce the ‘Great Apostasy’. I presume for you it means turning away from the Roman Catholic Church?

            For me it means churches turning to the Roman Catholic Church.

          • Honestly? Jack sees the Great Apostasy not as a squabble between Christians but as the world abandoning all belief in a Creator God.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England


            That doesn’t make sense. In order for the ‘world’ to commit apostasy, it has to believe in a Creator God in the first place.

          • There was a time when the Christian Western world did believe in a Creator God. Not any more. Materialistic humanism is the new faith and a belief in man’s autonomy.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            I refer you to my previous remark.

          • Bruce Atkinson


          • carl jacobs

            Granted, there are very troubling statements being made by him which suggests he is a modernist supported by a similar group in the Curia.

            Elephant? In the living room? Let’s not go jumping to conclusions here! I agree there is a large pachyderm type animal in view, but it may or may not be an elephant. And in point of fact we have no evidence that it intends to stay in the living room. It may just be passing through on its way to the neighbor’s kitchen. Yes, there a troubling signs. But we need to be careful before we leap to any conclusions.

          • He’s being corrected and offered an opportunity to clarify those personal opinions which appear to contradict settled doctrine. That’s how Catholics resolve these issues. It’s been reported he handed AL to an adviser and asked if it was orthodox. Personal failings and poor leadership do not the final False Prophet make. He may just be theologically challenged.

          • Simon Platt

            I’m sure that the Holy Father is not a formal heretic.

          • Jack prays it is not so. Jack is no canon lawyer or theologian but he has been troubled by some of the Holy Father’s words and actions. He may have strayed inadvertently into suspect theology, or been led there, or has simply confused himself. Hopefully he will clear up these confusions and concerns before too long.

          • Simon Platt

            I should perhaps make it clear that I am not sure that the Holy Father is not a material heretic.

            I don’t judge, of course. After all, who am I to judge?

          • Then let’s hope and pray he is not obstinate and responds to the concerns being expressed.

    • You labour under the false conception, nowhere found in the Bible or teaching of the apostles, that there has to be a single, hierarchical outward organisation which is “The Church (TM)”, and that these aspects – of outward organisational unity with a single geographical headquarters – are fundamental to the Biblical view of the church. Little could be less in line with actual Biblical teaching about the church.

      • Of course all that is your private judgement understood through the lenses you use – as “influenced” by the protestants “sola scriptura” mantra which itself is unbiblical.

  • RobinHMasters

    According to a statement by the XnEC Bishop of Richmond, this consecration took place on October 17, 2013.

    • 安德烈

      so the conspiracy of rejecting the authority of the Archbishop of Canterbury has already been planned three years ago?

      • RobinHMasters

        He was consecrated to serve as missionary bishop to France. So unless the ABC had episcopal oversight of France in 2013, no.

        • Kentigern

          “At the time of his Consecration, Bishop Ashenden was appointed to be my Suffragan in Normandy for the Channel Islands and France, and he will continue in that office as well as that of Suffragan Bishop in and for England.”

          So yes.

          Whatever one may make of his supposed episcopal status, and the supposed ecclesial status of his new denomination, he has clearly been acting for some years in an utterly dishonest and disreputable manner.

          I wonder if Cranmer will change his tune in the light of this new information?

          • Bruce Atkinson

            I would say that it is premature to assume evil motives. I am sure we will discover over time the reason for the episcopal cover-up; perhaps he could not work in the role of bishop due to a conflict of interest as the Queen’s Chaplain. In such a case, he should have waited until now to be consecrated. It may perhaps have been poor judgment but I would not impugn his honesty until I knew all the facts.

          • RobinHMasters

            The plain sense is that “England” has now been added to his original appointment. And the status of the Channel Islands in the ABC’s provenance is a matter of some debate.

            It is, nonetheless, problematic.

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            Yes, these episcopi vagantes have been around for ages. I’m not surprised to discover that he’s one of them.


          • Kentigern

            “For a few decades it was quite the rage …”

            Sadly, it remains so, in some quarters anyway. I personally know of four CofE clergy who have received such orders, and I have no doubt that there are many more.

            “… and hardly a sign of disrepute or dishonesty.”

            There I must disagree. Such behaviour is frankly contemptible. It serves to build up the cleric’s ego (and how!) but does nothing to build up the Body of Christ. It is a mere parody of the purpose for which Christ gave his Church the rôle of episcopacy.

            (BTW, the Channel Islands remain firmly part of the Province of Canterbury. That is not in dispute. The question which is currently a matter of some unclarity is to which Diocese within that Province they relate.)

          • Guglielmo Marinaro

            “It serves to build up the cleric’s ego (and how!)…”

            Is that not, in most cases at least, its main purpose?

          • Anton

            he has clearly been acting for some years in an utterly dishonest and disreputable manner

            I expect that that was Caiaphas’ view of his most famous prisoner.

          • Kentigern

            Ashenden has been lying for 4 years. Lying to his (CofE) Bishop, to whom he remained bound by oath of canonical obedience, while clandestinely receiving orders in quite another jurisdiction and accepting canonical obedience as Suffragan to another bishop. Lying to Her Majesty the Queen, whose Chaplain he remained even as, without her knowledge or that of the Church of which she is Supreme Governor, he claimed episcopal authority over Crown territories. And lying to the whole Church of England by ministering as a priest of that Church (and continuing to receive the material benefits of that ministry), all the while covertly having another allegiance entirely.

            Can you seriously dispute that that is dishonest? That that is disreputable?

            And in that behaviour you compare him to our Blessed Lord?

      • Bruce Atkinson

        And a long time coming. The Church of England has been in a Gadarene slide for half a century at least.

      • What authority?

        • Bruce Atkinson

          Similar to the authority of the Queen, I would think.

  • Bruce Atkinson

    It was entirely ironic to say that Ashenden’s consecration was “long overdue” (to which I happened to agree). The date of his consecration was on October 17, 2013. Yep, almost four years ago. And this consecration was kept secret, even the current report has not been at all clear about this. Check out the details.

    • This is all rather mysterious. Was one of the Queen’s Chaplain’s a fifth columnist for the Christian Episcopal Church, being a Suffragan bishop in Normandy for the Channel Islands and France for the past 4 years?

      Therefore, as the Principal Consecrator of Bishop Ashenden, I should like to make it known at this time that he was duly approved as a candidate for Consecration by the Archbishop and Bishops of the Christian Episcopal Churches of North America; and that he was then duly, lawfully, regularly, and canonically according to the prescribed rites and ceremonies of the undivided Catholic Church consecrated Bishop on the Seventeenth Day of October in the Year of Our Lord 2013, publicly before the face of a Congregation of Christian Faithful in the Pro-Cathedral Church of Saint Saviour, by me the Right Reverend Robert David Redmile, Lord Bishop of Richmond, British Columbia …..

  • len

    One thing that has come to me over the years since becoming a christian (and even on this blog) is that the greatest enemies of the Gospel of Jesus Christ are not the atheists or even the Muslims but it is the followers of a false Gospel.These people believe they are Christians and on the way to heaven.These are the modern day pharisees.
    One former Pharisee (the apostle Paul) gave this advice to all Christians’
    Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you–unless, of course, you fail the test?’ (2 Corinthians 15:5)
    It is not some sort of ‘super Christian’ who hears the voice of Jesus, but this is basic level Christianity.I say ‘hear His Voice’ not audibly but inwardly.
    ‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.’ (John 10:27)

    IF you think as a Christian you cannot be deceived there is a possibility that you already have been.

    Check everything by the Word of God , cling on to what lines up , reject all that doesn`t .

  • Anton

    Meanwhile, Welby has the neck to say to the BBC “I haven’t seen the same integrity over the BBC’s failures over Savile as I’ve seen in the Roman Catholic Church, in the Church of England, in other public institutions over abuse.”

    Integrity? All three institutions did their utmost to do nothing public whatsoever until the situation became impossible to ignore.

  • Demon Teddy Bear

    I was just reflecting on the ecumenical movement when I read these jewels from its proponents: “He’s a “reactionary schismatic“; A “made up bishop in a made up church“; A “bogus” bishop; O, that’s a shame” etc.

    Not very ecumenical, is it?

    • Julie Tempan

      I agree that the tone of the above statements reveal their unworthiness. They are reactionary statements. I wager that Bishop Ashenden will not respond. His orders are valid. His Christian work is valid. His consecration was not reactionary nor schismatic. It was beautiful.

  • Bruce Atkinson

    Well said, Archbishop Cranmer. I heartily agree that Gavin Ashenden is worthy to be a bishop. His picture is in the encyclopedic Christian dictionary next to the term “orthodox Anglican priest.”

    However, I do have questions about the hidden nature of his consecration four years ago. I think some people in the CEC (and Gavin) were impatiently running ahead of God. I have done that myself and gotten myself into a spot of trouble as a result. We will see if the public reaction affects his ministry in a negative way. I hope not. He is well qualified and I have been impressed with his writing. I confess that I am biased; he always seems to agree with me.

  • Mike Stallard

    When the Wesleys died, the Methodist Church broke into a lot of different pieces like a shattered glass. Now the New Methodists are doing the same thing. Shame.

    • Anton

      Perhaps they will twig that the original church did not have today’s episcopal structure. That said, Christ loves his own in all church structures.

      • Mike Stallard

        And, as Catholics heard today, Prostitutes and Tax gatherers get into the Kingdom before a lot of us religious experts too!