Bishop of Europe 2
Church of England

Bishop of Europe: Brexit represents loss, abject failure, squandering of birthright

 

“Let me be clear,” said the Rt Rev’d Dr Robert Innes, Bishop of* Europe, as he addressed the General Synod of the Church of England. “From my European perspective, this Referendum and its result represent a sad loss of national vocation; an abject failure of political leadership; and a squandering of the birthright of our young people.” And Synod applauded their Euro-prophet for a full 10 seconds, seemingly oblivious to the fact that lay Anglicans voted for Brexit in their droves (and by a majority). “Britain seems to be a country anxious to build fences,” he added, before reminding the people of God that his task as a bishop is to build bridges. Not to the wider world, it seems. Or even to the 22 nations of Europe which aren’t in the European Union, which includes the supremest bridge Pontifex himself, all neatly fenced off in Vatican City State. But Dr Innes’ task as a bishop is to build bridges to the other nations of the European Union, and without political union he is seemingly bereft and hindered from doing so.

To leave the European Union is not to leave Europe: Europe is not the European Union. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times you say this, there is a reluctance among the religious and political elites to accept it. They can’t quite grasp that Europe is geographic, historic, cultural and emotional: it is fraternal participation and sovereign cooperation. The European Union is political: it is anti-democratic coercion and supranational imposition. One does not need to belong to a political union in order to cooperate. If one did, then Pontifex would have lost his vocation.

The Bishop of Europe acknowledges that some in his Diocese were pleased with the Referendum result, but he doesn’t tell their stories. They are sidelined, disdained and ignored: they don’t quite fit the Bishop’s narrative of shame, anger and deep sadness. “One older man in Paris said to me: ‘I have never been so ashamed of my country.’ A lady in Geneva said to me: ‘I have found it hard to stop being angry.'” There’s no apprehension of joy, liberty, hope or optimism: no awareness of the abundance of bridges we can now build into the whole world. For the Bishop of Europe, British identity and national vocation were wrapped up in ever closer political union: there is no refuge or strength to be found in Brexit.

Christians who voted to leave the EU did so for a variety of reasons, and none of them is worthy of less consideration than the shame of the old man in Paris or the anger of the lady in Geneva. Do we not also seek to cooperate and fellowship with other churches in Europe? Do we not pray to avoid harm and relieve suffering? Are we any less concerned with human rights, the common good or injustice? Are we incapable of loyalty to brotherhood and respect for authority? Is our ethic simply one of nationalistic purity, individualism and xenophobia? Perhaps, as the Independent avers, we are all just thick:

It’s also possible that a great many people simply did not understand the full implications of their vote. One of the strongest correlations with a leave bias identified by the Resolution Foundation was actually relatively low levels of graduates in an area…

Wisdom, intelligence and understanding are dependent on graduation? A degree in golf course management represents a greater understanding of political philosophy and ecumenical theology? Is that why Jesus appointed a fisherman to lead the Church?

Is there not an echo in our historic national vocation of looking out to the seas and saving Europe from herself? Rather than being an abject failure of political leadership, might Brexit not represent a noble and commendable success? Instead of squandering the birthright of our young people, might we not just have preserved their ancient rights and liberties as freeborn Britons?

Bishops may conveniently ignore the fact that a majority of Anglicans voted to leave the EU, but they do so at the risk of exacerbating the political gulf which already exists between the episcopate and laity. If the remnants of catholic polity become a hindrance to the expression of necessary reform, history teaches us that they are very easily cast aside. Or maybe not so easily, but certainly categorically: these days reverence for ecclesial authority has to be fostered, not enforced. What on earth is the point of preaching the virtues of immigration and integration if bishops can’t even accommodate the political differences within their indigenous congregations? Can’t Leavers be as holy as Remainers?

*His official title is ‘Bishop of Gibraltar in Europe’ (or simply ‘Bishop in Europe’ [there is also a Suffragan Bishop in Europe]). The use of the preposition ‘of’ in this blog post elicited some debate in the comment thread and a number of (eagerly awaited) ‘pedantic’ corrections. It was not an error. When the Church of England decided in 1980 to add ‘in Europe’ to the name of this diocese, they effectively set our island nation apart from the Continent, and so detached Euro-ecumenism from the political belief of the majority of bishops, which is pathologically pro-EU. To have a bishop and a diocese ‘in Europe’ implies that the others are not. Is England not in Europe? Which diocese in England is not considered also to be in Europe? Which bishops are deemed to be in Europe but not of it?

  • Martin

    I think the corruption and the inability of the democratic process to change the EU was sufficient to cause us to say, “enough is enough”.

  • Anton

    The sight of Christians saying they have never been so ashamed of their country given that it recognised gay marriage under the same PM is grotesque. This bishop is out of touch. Even Brexiteers didn’t challenge the premise that continental Europe unanimously wanted fuller union whereas we were divided, yet referendums would give a similar vote to leave in several continental countries today and these are Robert Innes’ diocese.

    Hurrah for Your Grace’s second paragraph in particular, and I heartily agree that we often save the continent from itself and may yet trigger the collapse of the EU to the benefit of all. In Christ is neither German nor Greek…

  • magnolia

    Well some of us have been grieving for decades over what we considered a very wrong-headed decision of Heath. We regard ourselves not as having lost, but as having regained our birthright. Many of us regard the club of Rome as having a decidedly dodgy history and are aware of the non-Christian religiosity that was there from the beginning. Some of us regard the EU as being inescapably anti-Christian in its objectives.

    And as His Grace so rightly observes the majority of the lay people in the Church of England were Brexit. Why are our views so apparently under-represented there? Why is our sincerity doubted, undermined, barely heard, and assumed to be naughty when it is largely sincere and earnest and researched and pondered and prayed about? I doubt whether some who clapped have ever even read one longer article let alone a book on the opposite view. Most are just so so self-assured that they are Right. It’s depressing and dismal that so few value democracy or care about the man/woman on the street.

  • The Meissen Bison

    A lady in Geneva said to me: ‘I have found it hard to stop being angry.’Imagine how cross she will be when she finds out that Switzerland is not in the EU!Possibly news to the Bishop of Europe as well?

    • RuariJM

      ‘Twould appear so..!

    • Andy

      Woman is obviously geographically challenged.

  • sarky

    They have a bishop of Europe??

    Well there’s a cost that can be easily cut.

    • Old Nick

      Which Pope was it who said to the Bishop of Gibraltar that “I believe I reside in Your Lordship’s diocese”.

      • chiaramonti

        John XXIII

        • Pope Pius IX or Pope Pius XII.

          • chiaramonti

            No Jack. It was good Pope John. I have the source!

          • Could you cite it. It does sound like the type of comment Pope John would make. Jack has been looking and different Popes are cited in different sources. One wonders if the comment was ever made.

          • chiaramonti

            It appears in Bartlett’s Book of Anecdotes and in a book called The best Catholic Jokes. You may well be right. It is. as you say, the sort of thing people would like him to have said!

          • Thank you.

            Here’s a good Catholic joke:

            An old Irish priest was dying. He sent a message to the parish banker and lawyer to come to his home. When they arrived, they were ushered up to his bedroom. As they entered the room, the priest held out his hands and motioned for them to sit on each side of the bed. The priest grasped their hands, sighed contentedly, smiled, and stared at the ceiling.

            They were also puzzled; the priest had never given them any indication that he particularly liked either of them. Finally, the banker said, “ Father, why did you ask us to come?”

            The old priest mustered up his strength and then said weakly, “Jesus died between two thieves, and that’s how I want to go.”

          • IanCad

            Good one Jack, but not as good as your Baptist joke a year or so back.

          • Is that the one about the suicidal man?

          • IanCad

            Yes – Die Heretic!

      • According to the Telegraph, Pope Pius XII, obituary on Rt Rev John Satterthwaite, but other source attributes it to Pope Pius IX, Robert Ron in The Station: Travels to the Holy Mountain of Greece.

    • Albert

      Quite. It’s a complete violation of Anglican eccelsiology (though somehow, I suspect, that wasn’t your concern!).

      • Little Black Censored

        Quite right. “Bishop of Europe” sounds as silly as “Ministry of Justice”.

  • IanCad

    “Wisdom, intelligence and understanding are dependent on graduation? A degree in golf course management represents a greater understanding of political philosophy and ecumenical theology? Is that why Jesus appointed a fisherman to lead the Church?”

    Should have been in 48 font, bold capitals, underlined, and in red.

  • Notforinfants

    The ‘Bishop of Europe’ it seems is not a democrat and does not like the decision by the people of the UK to exercise their judgement on EU membership.
    A little humility and learning to ‘get over it’ is now in order for the Bishop.

  • Dreadnaught

    Well he would say stuff like this being the next Bishop of Gibraltar – they were vastly Remainers understandably, since Spain is demanding ownership of the Rock when we break free.

  • len

    This Bishop of Europe(whoever knew that there was one?) seems not only to be out of touch with Anglican ‘leavers’ but with the purposes of God Himself for the EU is anti- God emblazoned with pagan symbolism.

  • CliveM

    When will people stop whining about this? Really the reality of Brexit is a done deal, we now have to work out the details of it.

    Frankly this Bishop needs to pick up his toys, put them back in the pram and get on with his vocation.

    Which isn’t complaining about people coming to different conclusions to him (how dare they!).

    By the way, for all the Brexit fundamentalists on this site, Daniel Hannan wrote a very interesting article in the Sun (of all places) last week, thoughtful stuff.

  • John

    Sorry to be pedantic, but Robert is the Bishop of Gibraltar IN Europe, not of it. And the diocese is the Diocese IN Europe.

    • Your pedantry is very welcome; not to say anticipated and eagerly awaited. The official name of the Diocese was known and is indeed as you state. But therein hangs a tale, for which diocese in England is not considered also to be “IN Europe”? Which bishops are deemed to be in Europe but not of it?

      • Uncle Brian

        The website of the so-called “Diocese in Europe” does not unambiguously state, but strongly suggests, that the Bishop of Gibraltar lives in Brussels.

        http://europe.anglican.org/who-we-are/bishops

        • IrishNeanderthal

          I remember reading in Piers Plowman, that the Bishop of Bethlehem is castigated for residing in Rome rather than teaching the folks in Bethlehem about Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

        • The Explorer

          Two thoughts occur to me.

          1 If the Bish is in charge of all the Anglicans in Europe, then Gibraltar’s a bit peripheral. It makes more sense to be somewhere like Brussels. It probably wouldn’t have when the post was set up, because Gibraltar would have been more key to the Royal Navy then than it is now, and Brussels would have been simply the capital of Belgium.
          But arcane titles have a way of surviving in the C of E.

          2. Leeds Castle is in Kent, although Leeds in in Yorkshire. Arundel Castle in West Sussex is owned by the Duke of Norfolk. Name is no guide to location. I’ve never understood it, but some historical ecclesiastical types seem to have simultaneously had half a dozen livings, cures of souls or whatever in diverse parts of the country. They seem to have chosen the one they liked best and never gone near the others; although presumably drawing revenue, or a stipend, or whatever it’s called from all six. If so, a Bishop of Gibraltar living in Brussels would merely be following a time-honoured tradition.

          • The Bishop was resided in Crawley, near to Gatwick Airport, until transferring to Brussels in 2014. The see remains based in the City of Gibraltar where the bishop’s seat is located at the Cathedral Church of the Holy Trinity. The diocese is huge and covers all of mainland Europe, the territory of the former Soviet Union and also Morocco.

          • Old Nick

            The American Episcopal Church has a separate set-up in Europe as well – with a cathedral in Paris.

          • Yes, parishes in: Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. It also supports a “house church” in Kazakhstan.
            I thought Episcopalians were Anglicans. No?

          • Old Nick

            Yes. That is why it is so odd !

          • Americans, eh? Think they rule the world.

          • carl jacobs

            Tsk Tsk Tsk. Sloppy reasoning to equate Episcopalians with Americans.

          • Where have you been hiding? Jack wondered if you’d been captured by renegade Catholics over at NCR.

          • carl jacobs

            Around and about. I don’t have much useful to add about Brexit.

          • Not having anything useful to add about a topic has never stopped you from posting in the past.

          • carl jacobs

            Excuse me for a second, Jack. Someone just shoved a knife in my back and I have to pull it out. Who would be so treacherous?

          • The Inspector – every time.

          • carl jacobs

            No, see, the Inspector will always look you in the eye. But then he will stab himself in the foot when he tries to impale you with the knife. He’s sort of the inverse of the black knight at the bridge.

          • Not so much an Inspector General as a Chief Inspector Jacques Clouseau. Anyway, what makes you think you’ve been stabbed in the back? Has someone upset you?

          • carl jacobs

            what makes you think you’ve been stabbed in the back?

            Umm … the knife that was sticking in my back was my first clue. I was just innocently standing there when an assailant or assailants unknown attacked me without warning or cause.

            Not unlike poor Caesar.

          • Ah well, you’ve made a full recovery so no harm done.

          • carl jacobs

            The guilty man flees when no man pursues.

          • …. but the righteous are as bold as a lion

          • Uncle Brian

            Apart from anything else, the U.S. ranks as the world’s fourth largest Catholic country.

          • donadrian

            The post used to be the Bishop of Fulham and Gibraltar.

          • According to the article below a diocese of Gibraltar was formed in 1842 to provide episcopal oversight of English congregations on the northern shores and islands of the Mediterranean, together with the Balkans. There was a Bishop of Gibraltar responsible for this area. Northern Europe, including Scandinavia, was under the jurisdiction of the Bishop of London, who delegated responsibility to the suffragan Bishop of Fulham. These two sees then became merged into a single Anglican diocese of Europe.

            http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/obituaries/10901223/The-Rt-Rev-John-Satterthwaite-obituary.html

          • Anton

            What a bishopric!

          • Anton

            There are many such anomalies. Pre-Reformation (and pre-Trent), bishops were often appointed by the Pope to dioceses hundreds of miles away, and priests to parishes dozens of miles away ( google “absentee priests”), because these were wealthy parishes or dioceses and nepotism was taking place.

            And in the secular world the Duke of Devonshire has his seat in Derbyshire, and there are many similar anomalies.

          • Old Nick

            Was the Duke of Devonshire’s title not a spelling error in the Letters Patent ? You are right about canonries. Petrarch had named in his will about half a dozen different places he might be buried, depending which of his canonries he was enjoying at the time.

          • Little Black Censored

            Leeds Castle just happens to be at Leeds, a village in Kent. The name is indeed the guide to location. Yorkshire has nothing to do with the case.

        • Lived in Crawley, near Gatwick Airport for ease of travel, until 2014.

      • John

        Thank you Your Grace. The ‘in but not of’ plot thickens when you consider the diocesan logo, which all but plagiarises the EU flag. I think the terms are as they are because this diocese, vying with Sodor and Man as most obscure in the C of E, consists overwhelmingly of English language chaplaincies, largely catering for expats who want a little bit of England overseas. The Church of England on the continent is keen not to be viewed by Catholics, Lutherans, Orthodox and the like as empire building in their territory.

        • Little Black Censored

          What is obscure about the diocese of Sodor and Man?

          • John

            Besides students of the Thomas the Tank Engine railway stories, does anyone know what or where Sodor is? And someone once said to me that, in these days of inclusive language, shouldn’t it be renamed the Diocese of Sodor and Person?

      • The Bishop in Africa too given part of the diocese apparently includes Morocco.

      • Albert

        In which case, the rest of the Bishops should be taken to task by the Bishop of Gibraltar for not being part of Europe!

  • The Explorer

    “One older man in Paris said to me: ‘I have never been so ashamed of my country.’” I was puzzled at first reading, but one assumes this is one of the Bishop’s Anglican parishoners, and that is why there is a Bishop in Europe: to cater for Anglicans living abroad on the Continent. The Genevan lady is presumably a Brit resident in Switzerland.

    • Ivan M

      May have been Linus, that chameleon.

      • The Explorer

        Would he talk to a bishop?

        • Ivan M

          He’ll gripe to anyone.

  • Stig

    With respect, the C of E has always been a top down structure – it has never been particularly democratic. That’s why I am a member of the United Reformed Church, with its doctrine of the priesthood of all believers, our highest authority being the will of God as determined by the individual church meeting. We believe that God can and does speak through anyone and everyone, even sometimes non-believers and you can find much support for this in the Bible. We all know what Jesus thought of puffed up religious leaders (not that all of them are).

    • Coniston

      ‘our highest authority being the will of God as determined by the individual church meeting’. Which is why, unfortunately, there are so many sects, and why the URC has just voted for SSM.

      • Stig

        Not quite. The URC as a whole cannot vote for anything, since as I said it is not a top down organisation. But our government doesn’t understand that, so it asked our General Assembly to rule on SSM, something it does not have the power to do. They did what they have to do, and consulted individual churches on the matter, but in the end there is only one conclusion that our constitution could allow, and that is we allow individual churches to decide whether to conduct such marriages, just as they already ratify every request for a marriage in the church anyway. Since some churches may choose to allow SSM, the General Assembly cannot forbid it. This I’m sure has been widely misunderstood, it does not mean that the URC or any synod or individual church favours SSM, only that churches are free to do so if they wish (or not).

  • Roger Sponge

    After carefully listening to some criticisms of the result, I suggest that voting be restricted to those with degrees because anyone else is incapable of weighing up complex issues. Voting age is from degree attainment to age 55. Must be property owners to show they have a stake in the country. Also applies to jurors.

    • sarky

      Stupidest thing I’ve read.

      • PessimisticPurple

        I thinkh he’s being sarcastic.

        • sarky

          Oops, think my sarcasm filter is on the blink. Apologies.

          • Roger Sponge

            Accepted:))

          • Little Black Censored

            Still, you did have a point.

  • David

    I am not surprised by the bishops arrogantly sidelining the many good reasons for reestablishing our own sovereignty, and leaving behind the corruption of the essentially pagan EU. The bishops are a lost cause.
    They preside over a shrinking denomination. They have an exceedingly narrow view and few of them seem to understand much about the wider world. Yet they presume to lecture their mainly pro-Brexit worshippers on why they are wrong. The problem is compounded by the fact that they appoint new members in their own image, so how can the situation be improved ?

  • bluedog

    One can understand CoE prelates following government policy when that policy was Remain, the CofE is after all a state church. But to continue on a course that is no longer government policy seems unwise. Has the bishop never heard of the Vicar of Bray? Most good politicians can change policy in mid-sentence. Is it too much to expect a competent bishop to reverse his moral stance in mid-sermon? One would hope not.

  • The Explorer

    In the days of de-colonisation, one of the cries of the African liberation movements was, “Europe for the Europeans, Africa for the Africans”. For them, the British settlers were Europeans who should be back in Europe, of which Britain was a part.

    For Henry James characters, a European tour includes London, Oxford etc.

    The British were European before the EU existed, and will continue to be European (and British) once the EU is a memory.

  • Richard B

    This guy sadly epitomises the difference between ‘Churchian’ and Christian – but what’s truly challenging is that many of those who hear from the Lord are outside the CoE and knew and publicised His desire on this contentious issue.
    SO why did most clergy and archbishops get it wrong? – after all they’re scripturally supposed to recognise and exercise the prophetic gifting!

  • Merchantman

    The Episcopate as evidenced by the good Bishop and his outlook ( wish it were so) is clearly holding the C of E back. In fact one can understand why he clings to the EU. Both establishments are holding their people back.
    Before the referendum some undoubtedly prayed ‘let thy Will be done’. Let it be.
    We need a say in who are appointed Bishops.

    • David

      I do believe Merchantman that you are right. Although there are a few genuine godly bishops, the bishops as a group, are holding back the faithful of the Church from doing its core business, preaching the gospel and winning souls for Christ. Their real affinities are with earthly kingdoms like the EU and the government. They preach a social gospel of peace, love and charity whilst ignoring the cries of pain from the people that they claim to serve; they seldom if ever, preach the full gospel of salvation through repentance and faith in The Lord.

      • Little Black Censored

        I wonder whether there is any correlation between a bishop’s orthodoxy or lack of it and his affection for the EU. I believe C of E bishops generally were overwhelmingly in favour of Remaining.

        • David

          Correlation ? Possibly. You are right, in that apart from a few, the bishops were in favour. But then they seem to show groupthink in a number of areas. There are few individualists amongst them. Perhaps this is because so many went to public school ? They also seem to ignore practical considerations, being very influenced by vague, unproven theories. As a group they are a self-perpetuating, self-appointing group which is perhaps why they are attracted to a top down, undemocratic EU. I would like to see the entire system of governance of the C of E reformed.

  • preacher

    I’m afraid this is what happens when most of the leaders of Christian Churches have to choose between the gospel & the government. It’s rather like deciding on whether to join the Navy or go on a cruise, both have ships but one is for recreation the other is a Warship.
    Let us be clear, false shepherds have no spiritual discernment or prophetic or other gifts. Why ? Simply because they do not need them to fulfil their calling. As time goes by the Worldly benefits of dead religious practice have blinded them & lured them further away from the God they claim to serve until the lines of communication are totally broken. Regrettably they cannot see this & exchange love of the flock, humility & care of the them for pride position & power. Thinking themselves wise in their own eyes they are exposed for the charlatans that they are. Their haughty, attitude & arrogance make them appear hypocritical to most non Christians & disenfranchised from the believers. Thus Church membership decreases & the power these leaders need no longer flows from the throne of Grace until they grind to a halt. Grand to look at in their finery, but no fuel in the tank.
    Wesley’s journal carries a long list of places that he was asked to leave or told not to return to. But man of God that he was, he continued serving the Lord until on one Sunday 10.000 people turned up in an open air pasture to hear him preach.
    We need modern day Wesley’s whose eyes are on God & whose ears are open to the Word of the Lord. Then & only the will renewal of the Church return.

    • IanCad

      Amen, Amen!

    • David

      Yes indeed – well said !

    • Redrose82

      I have given you an uptick. If I could give you one for each of the 10,000 who turned up to listen to John Wesley I would do so.

      • Richard B

        Agreed 🙂

    • Anton

      “I’m afraid this is what happens when most of the leaders of Christian Churches have to choose between the gospel & the government.”

      A temptation faced only by the Established church…

  • Gladiatrix

    Dear Cranmer

    Assuming you have sympathisers at Synod why don’t you ask one of them to read out this column?

    • Uncle Brian

      … adding the Meissen Bison’s comment, a verbal dagger slid unerringly between the Bishop’s ribs, about five or six comments up from the bottom of the thread. Deservedly, the Bison has been awarded 14 upvotes so far (3.20 p.m. BST)

  • Maalaistollo

    I see that the Bishop of Europe is currently based in Brussels. I wonder why this location was chosen, when the geographical centre of Europe is in Lithuania.

    • Anton

      Where is the eastern border defined?

      • Maalaistollo

        The Rt Revd Dr Wikipedia informs me that: ‘Europe is a continent that comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia. Europe is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west, and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. To the east and southeast, Europe is generally considered as separated from Asia by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways of the Turkish Straits.’

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Oh for goodness sake…Bishop of Europe indeed!

    • The Explorer

      The title dates from 1842, when Anglicans were everywhere in Europe. Apparently the jurisdiction also includes Morocco and Russia.

      That’s fair enough. If Morocco’s not in Europe, a lot of its inhabitants are.

      • Uncle Brian

        Explorer, I can’t see anything wrong with including Morocco in the C of E’s “Europe” for diocesan purposes. After all, for football purposes, UEFA’s “Europe” includes Turkey, Israel, and Kazakhstan.

        • The Eurovision Song Contest includes Australia.

          • Royinsouthwest

            What’s wrong with New Zealand, or Canada for that matter?

          • Maybe it’s time for a Commonwealth Song Contest.

          • Old Nick

            At least all the songs would be in English (except the one from Quebec).

          • The Explorer

            Why isn’t China a member of the EU?

          • These things take time. There may come a day when Europe is a part of China.

          • len

            Part of Europe now….

          • Anton

            Und morgen die ganze Welt…

        • The Explorer

          No problem at all. I just wondered why they singled out Morocco. What about the rest of the Maghreb? What have they got against Mauritania?

          • Uncle Brian

            Dunno, Explorer. What have yougot against Mauritania?

          • The Explorer

            Nothing, but I’m not the one deciding the extent of the Bish’s jurisdiction.

          • Old Nick

            The Tetrarchic Dioecesis Hispaniae included the Mauretanias.

    • Bishop in Europe.

      • Anton

        Absolutely. We can’t have these bishops of one place claiming wider jurisdiction, can we?

        • Are you referring to the Archbishop of Canterbury?

          • Anton

            Among others! But he is most certainly included.

          • Unity requires an office that represents the Anglican Church worldwide. Otherwise all you’ll get is squabbling geographical factions. Wouldn’t you agree?

          • Anton

            You already know my views Jack, so only the briefest of summaries: disunity is disunity between hierarchies, ergo no hierarchies, no disunity. And I cannot find hierarchy above congregations in the NT. Once the founder of a congregation passed on (whether to found other congregations elsewhere, or to glory) that congregation WAS the church in that place. OK, a few congregations would go heretic, but that’s better than an entire hierarchy going heretic, which everybody in hierarchical systems thinks all the rest are. You surely know the joke about a tour round heaven and the line “Hush; they think they’re the only ones up here!”

          • That line about heaven was directed at Calvinists.

  • Inspector General

    The title ‘bishop’ doesn’t do the man full justice and is rather misleading as he apparently has little time for Brexiting goats. ‘CoE Political Officer domiciled in Brussels’ is much, much better…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_commissar

    • sarky

      Not bashing the bishop again are we?

    • dannybhoy

      Reminds me of that there William Joyce.
      “Strasbourg calling..”

      • The Explorer

        Haw, haw haw.

        • The Inspector is a fan of Lord Haw Haw. Even uses his name for one of his email addresses.

          • Inspector General

            Seemed a humorous anonymous hot.mail address at the time, having visited Galway where he lived and was eventually buried. No longer in use. Haw Haw or indeed Hot.mail

          • Visited Braunau yet?

    • Royinsouthwest

      Political Officer? Wouldn’t “Political Commissar” be a more appropriate term for these politically correct types?

  • chefofsinners

    Perhaps it is time that Bishop Innes was replaced. Bishop Outes, maybe?

    • Very good.

      • chefofsinners

        You Catholics have an Archbishop Goh of Singapore. Nickname : Wash’n’
        I don’t suppose you’d like to swap?

        • Uncle Brian

          In the eighties and nineties there was a Cardinal Sin in the Philippines.

          • The Explorer

            Which of the Seven was his speciality, or did he rotate them?

        • Not a swap. No thank you. What about a transfer fee? You’d have to arrange personal terms too.

    • dannybhoy

      https://disqus.com/by/chefofsinners/
      Freaky but also Cool….

    • carl jacobs

      There is something strange about your avatar. It looks different somehow. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

      Did you let Jack get into your computer again?

      • len

        Shush… were all pretending not to notice’

  • Andy

    Listening to Radio 4 and someone said that the EU was founded by ‘French, Socialists, Catholic, bureaucrats, [was a 5th but can’t remember what that was]’ He went on to say that everyone in Britain could object to at least 3 of those 5. Thus the British have never loved the EU nor ever would.

  • Bishop of Europe? Does this mean Anglicans are now laying claim to be the Church of Europe and not just England?

    • David

      Good point HJ. The title should contain the words “Bishop for (Anglicans in) Europe” I’d say. The use of “of” is inappropriate I think.

      • Uncle Brian

        The C of E enjoys playing around with prepositions. The Falkland Islands also have an Anglican bishop, but he is neither the Bishop of nor yet the Bishop in, but the Bishop to.

        http://www.anglicannews.org/news/2014/01/abp-welby-announces-new-bishop-to-the-forces-and-bishop-to-the-falkland-islands.aspx

        • David

          Well spotted Uncle Brian, you’re an experienced preposition hunter !
          I believe that + Nigel works as the right hand man of ++Welby most of the time, so his Falklands role is, I’m guessing now, just an add on. That may explain the otherwise odd selection of preposition.

          • Uncle Brian

            Speaking of ++Welby, you could say he is the Archbishop of Canterbury but the Archbishop in Lambeth, since that’s where he lives and works most of the time, isn’t it?

          • David

            Uncle Brian. Yes I suppose so. But anyway I defer to your more acutely developed sense of the correct use of prepositions.

          • Uncle Brian

            You give me more credit than I deserve, David. It’s the Church of England, not me, that can proudly display its staggering collection of subtly differentiated prepositions.

          • Anton

            Perhaps you would care to clarify the meaning of the word “bishopric”?

          • Uncle Brian

            Your guess is as good as mine, Anton.

    • bluedog

      Church of Europe? Why stop there. One can envisage a pressing need for a Bishop of Mecca and Medina to bring the gospel of post-modern secularism to the infidel, as only the CofE knows how.

      • A Bishop of Africa, Arabia and Persia.

        • bluedog

          If needs must. But purges are very much The Look this summer – think Downing St and Occupied Constantinople.

          Perhaps the CofE house of Bishops should be given some kind of political enema to rid it of those who take speculative political positions that fly in the face of the democratic will. There was never any need to take that particular risk; talking Brexit, of course.

          As a Remainian you would presumably agree.

          • Uncle Brian

            How many bishops would survive your purge? Possibly only one, Mark Rylands of Shrewsbury.

            http://archbishopcranmer.com/mark-rylands-mocked-by-fellow-clergy-for-coming-out-as-a-brexit-bishop/

          • bluedog

            Hard to say, UB. A Disciplinary Tribunal convened by the Church Commissioners would be an appropriate first step to give a veneer of legitimacy to the process. Initial screening would disqualify all those with subscriptions to the Grauniad and the New Statesman. If there were more than a handful left after that exercise, one would be pleasantly surprised.

          • The referendum was not a matter of Christian faith or a test of one’s orthodoxy. The bishops would do well to accept the result and move on and not bad mouth the integrity or intelligence of the voters. The decision has been made so what good will come from whinging?

            To be clear, Jack voted remain but would not consider himself a remainer. His vote did not signify support for the EU but a preference for Britain to be in there undermining the drive for closer economic, fiscal and political union. The EU will fold soon enough and it would have been better to wait for this than to unilaterally withdraw. Who knows, our withdrawal might actually give greater spur to increased union once the others witness the difficulties we face in adjusting on our own.

          • bluedog

            Who knows indeed, HJ. In any event your explanation is sufficiently plausible for you to be granted full absolution.

          • dannybhoy

            ” to be in there undermining the drive for closer economic, fiscal and political union.”
            I think Brexit has precipitated the end of the EU in its current form Jack, and that’s a good thing. If it reforms into a unity of sovereign nations with accountable governments, working together for the good of each, that will be an even better thing.

        • Old Nick

          That would be the Diocese of Jerusalem and the Gulf.

        • Little Black Censored

          A lot of formerly Christian areas are represented in titles still bestowed on bishops in the RC an Orthodox churches. I don’t know the technical name for these titular bishoprics.

          • Old Nick

            In partibus infidelium. The Orthodox do it too – Fr. Kallistos Ware is Bishop of Dioclea (Diokleia).

    • len

      Anglicans rule!.Get used to it.

      • Now, now, Len, we know you’re not an Anglican. God help us all if you’re correct. The Canadian Anglican Synod has just taken the first steps in approving homosexual marriages in their churches. How long before England folds?

        • Little Black Censored

          It is already folding, in practice.

    • Old Nick

      There is (or was until recently) something called the worldwide Anglican Communion.

  • Redrose82

    I voted for Leave and nothing I have seen or heard has given me cause for regret. In fact the opposite is the case and it seems daily I get an increased feeling that we are on the way to a great new prosperous and happy chapter in the history our country.

  • David

    Anyway where’s the evidence that gaining a degree in some specialism or other makes you wiser than the non-graduate ? Churchill and many others, to countless to list, seemed to do rather well without having studied a specific academic specialism at university level.
    Of course the world is full of self-justiying academics who need to believe that their “products”, degrees, confer some special, extra quality upon the lucky recipient. But then what would the average academic know about life outside academia ?

    • Old Nick

      “where’s the evidence that gaining a degree in some specialism or other makes you wiser than the non-graduate ? ”
      Simple. If you actually know about something, you will also know what it feels like not to know about something and that will prevent you from sounding off on subjects concerning which you are ignorant.

      • David

        You rightly contrast knowledge gained in one specialism with a corresponding rise in realism and humility in all other areas. That represents a good reaction to studying a subject. Unfortunately there is a belief circulating, and swallowed by many, that being a graduate gives you greater understanding across many fields – that’s the vain myth being peddled by many in the Remain camp.

        • Old Nick

          You speak a true word. It is why one would rather have politicians who have done Classics (and can at least conjugate “rego’) rather than those who have learned to woffle in a weekly essay for PP and E.

  • Redrose82

    “reminding the people of God that his task as a bishop is to build bridges^

    Bob the bridge builder is he
    A bishop with Europe his See
    He dismissed with disdain
    Those who shunned vote remain
    And from the EU would be free.

  • The socio-political realm which the good bishop is called to serve and build bridges is the kingdom of God and it does not belong to the EU.

  • len

    About time for a Bishop of Brexit?

    • Merchantman

      He could start North of the border then.

      • Anton

        They did away with bishops several centuries ago, and not peaceably either.

  • Johnzh

    The most divisive person in history isa not Satan as some might believe, after all he specialise in unholy alliances, no, it was surely the Lord Jesus Himself who said “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. (Matthew 10:34-36)

    • len

      There is ‘division’ everywhere today. I believe God is dividing the Light from the Darkness as He did in the beginning…

  • Watchman

    If the bishop picks up and reads his bible he will find that it was God who created the nations and it is God who judges the nations. By being joined to a Europe who will not acknowledge our Creator in its constitution we are inviting God’s judgement on ourselves.

    One aspect of this is that Europe does not support Israel and as a member of the EU we are not permitted to have our own policy towards Israel. God’s promise of blessings to those nations that bless Israel and curses to those who curse Israel still stands. Unlike the bishop I would rather be the recipient of blessings than curses

    • David

      Well said, Sir !
      I recently informed my local bishop that the EU opposes God’s plan, revealed at The Tower of Babel, to prevent the building of empires of soaring ambition.
      But are these liberal bishops interested in what The Bible says ?

      • The Explorer

        Not if they’re process theologians. The faith is evolving beyond the Bible.

        What foundation the faith is then based on to ensure common agreement becomes a bit tenuous: a bit like asking a Hindu what is below the turtle on which the Universe is resting.

        • David

          “process theologians”
          Most bishops are a bit light on theology I find and more into trendy issues.
          But isn’t “process” just an attempt at dressing up, in academic speak, being liberal ?
          Once we leave belief in revealed Scripture behind, we are in faith terms, dead wood floating in the water and carried hither and thither by the ever-changing streams of culture.

          • Watchman

            Perfect description of today’s church. Three of us have formed a church based on biblical belief. God is already blessing us in miraculous ways. He is always faithful to His Word and blesses those who act in accordance with It.

          • David

            Three of you – as a house church ? Which is where it all started in Paul’s time.

          • Watchman

            That’s the idea. The problem with normal churches is that human dynamics take precedence over seeking God’s face and making Jesus Head of his church. The more people you have the more it is likely that someone will try to take control and you all end up doing dead works; not the things that the Head of the Church wants. The priority is reading the word, praying and fasting and listening to what we are to to do. We believe that He will prepare us for doing the good works that He is preparing for us to do. We can do nothing of ourselves but through the Holy Spirit we can do all things. That’s how it started and that’s where we are starting from.

          • David

            Thank you for explaining that, and I hope that your new church group is blessed by God.

          • Watchman

            Thank you, David, bless you.

          • Richard B

            Amen

      • Watchman

        Not really, one of the prophecies we have that we are entering the last days is that the church will become apostate. The CofE (among others) certainly qualifies.

        • David

          I’d say about 10% of the Anglican local churches are now led by Scripture, without the liberal “adjustments”. But they contain perhaps almost 20% of the worshippers. That is where the new growth springs from. As for the last days, well we were told to wait patiently and work for the Kingdom which is what I try to do.

          • dannybhoy

            Agreed.
            As a good Evangelical I certainly believe in Biblical prophecy, but as you say we should work whilst it is still day, and God will take care of His timetable.

          • David

            Agreed – same here.

        • peter the painter

          Which Church ? Surely the ‘seven synagogues of satan’ ? Which are the Calvinist church (halfway house to atheism – half hearted) The Sunnis, and the Zionists. Who else ?

      • Royinsouthwest

        Do you want a list of empires since Babel? Did God try to prevent the creation of the “Empire on which the sun never sets”?

        • David

          Defend empires if you wish, but that is simply not my role. Personally I am not very keen on empires.

          • Anton

            It is indeed a good job that the British Empire did not go on to rule the entire world, for then we should have had the dubious privilege of producing the Antichrist. Some cranks in the 19th century believed that London was the New Jerusalem, in fact. Personally I think that we may be glad that God used the Empire to further the Christian faith and to return the Jews to their land.

          • David

            My thoughts exactly as well. We seeded the empire with Christianity, and in many areas it is now flourishing. In fact we desperately need reverse missionary activity now.

          • Uncle Brian

            It’ll be interesting to see what kind of celebration, exactly, they will eventually agree on to commemorate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration next year.

          • chefofsinners

            Dickie Bird was alright.

    • David Harkness

      Excellent post watchman. And as you say, being out of the eu will give us the opportunity to have our own policies towards
      Israel. God grant our government grasps that opportunity

  • Albert

    Well said, Dr C. Thank you.

    • TropicalAnglican

      Amen! Thanks also for the link reporting Anglicans voting in huge numbers for Brexit. That was very heartening and encouraging to read. I may not hail from the Province of Canterbury/York myself, but may I assure you of my support!

  • preacher

    Well now we are heading for the exit, & presumably by his comments Robert Innes is looking for a job, maybe Andrew White in Baghdad could do with a break, this job would I’m sure be well suited to the experienced ” Bishop ” , having had to deal with all those dangerous E.U secularists for years. He must be well used to bloodshed & violence !.

    • The Explorer

      The post appears to have been created in 1842 to cater for Anglicans in Europe. As far as the post goes, the only effect of Britain leaving the EU might be fewer Brits working in mainland Europe; although a lower percentage of those currently there would be practising Anglicans anyway than was the case in 1842.

      • preacher

        Well he must be bored out of his mind having such a cushy number for so long, a bit of exercise on the spiritual as well as the physical will do him the world of good. 1842 eh, overdue for a spring clean then, get rid off all the rubbish in the cupboard don’t you think Mr E ?.

  • Watchman

    Haven’t the CofE got the Catholic equivalent of Craggy Island where they can exile those mistakenly ordained or do they simply create diocese for them. Peter Sellars, I seem to remember became bishop of outer space in one Ealing Comedy!

    • Albert

      When I was in the CofE there was a thing called “South Bank Religion”. It seemed to fit the bill!

      • A socialist, homosexual enclave if one recollects correctly.

        • Albert

          Do you think Fr Ted was homosexual? I don’t think Fr Jack was, and Fr Dougal seemed not to have reached the age where sexuality is a question at all.

          • Jack was referring to the Honest to God “South Bank Religion” and the dioceses of Southwark and Woolwich.

          • Old Nick

            Woolwich is a suffragan of Southwarrk.

          • Pubcrawler
          • Albert

            That was my thought. There’s quite a lot of heterosexuality in the Fr Ted. Quite blatant, one might say!

          • Pubcrawler

            And there’s Fr Noel Furlong…

    • dannybhoy

      Now that would be fun!

    • preacher

      I thought that WAS the E.U !!!

    • sarky

      They do!! Their last eurovision entry was ‘my lovely trojan horse’

  • David Trevett

    Pontiff~ Pontifex comes from potnes, strength.
    Nothing to do with bridges. Early popes cowered and scampered where they could.

    • Pubcrawler
      • chefofsinners

        Everyone knows it comes from Pontefract cakes, which were the favourite confection of Pope Liquorice III.

        • Pubcrawler

          And pointedly not served to Richard II.

          • Uncle Brian

            In Hebrew, though, which is written from right to left, “pontifex” means an ex-pontiff.

          • chefofsinners

            Not forgetting Spandex, meaning Rudolf Hess’ imprisonment, and pyrex, referring to Cranmer’s death.

    • Uncle Brian

      Pontiff~ Pontifex comes from potnes, strength.

      Is that the correct spelling, potnes?
      There’s a word potens, meaning strong or powerful, but it’s an adjective, not a noun.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        Mae’n trolio, yn ôl pob tebyg

        • Uncle Brian

          Does that mean Don’t feed the trolio ?

          • IrishNeanderthal

            For a brute force translation of what I wrote:

            (He/she/it) is trolling, according to all likelihood.

          • Uncle Brian

            Yes, I cheated, I went to Google Translate. It didn’t give me trolio so I had to puzzle that one out for myself!

    • Old Nick

      Varro (Ling. Lat. V, 83) actually disagrees:
      Sacerdotes universi a sacris dicti. Pontifices, ut Scaevola Quintus pontifex maximus dicebat, a posse et facere, ut pontifices. Ego a ponte arbitror : nam ab his Sublicius est factus primum et restitutus saepe.

      That is to say, Varro preferred the ‘bridge’ etymology, while recording that Q. Mucius Scaevola P.M. preferred ‘potens – facio’. And surely perception is what is important when it comes to Christian adoption of the term. As for scampering, how many Popes can you count up who were martyred in the 250s alone.

  • Maybe at the Casa Santa Marta.

  • Royinsouthwest

    Since when has membership of the EU been part of our “birthright”? Since when has sovereignty not been part of our birthright? That bishop has got a colossal cheek in saying that Brexiter’s are the ones who have put people’s birthright at risk when he and his fellow Remainiacs are obviously the ones who were willing to sell this country’s birthright for a mess of potage.

    • Erik Dahlberg

      Can’t upvote you enough

    • Intonsus

      Exactly so, as I have written using the same words.

  • William Lewis

    How long are we to be condescended to by these reactionaries?

  • Shadrach Fire

    Birthright? We have, or had, a birthright in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Europe will do nothing to foster a unity amongst Christians or further the advance of the Gospel. We need these ne’er do wells out of the Synod.

  • Inspector General

    Greetings chaps. Anyone like guessing games? The Inspector does. So, with no further ado, ideas for a cabinet position for a lovable old Bolshevik in an Owen Smith shadow cabinet…(Exactly, who’s Owen Smith…)

    • Hmmm …. Owen Smith is promising a referendum on any eventual Brexit deal. Is it worth the £25?

      • Inspector General

        Does the Labour party expect new members to publicly denounce Christianity yet?

        • Well, you do it all the time so it wouldn’t be an impediment if you wanted to join.

          • Inspector General

            Spend your £25, Jack.. And help to bring forth one or other of the two revolutionary international socialists in the contending…

          • You really think Smith is a revolutionary socialist?

          • CliveM

            The Eagle has flown. Or in this case fled.

          • chefofsinners

            And yet Smith wants her to be his ‘right hand woman’. I had no idea she performed favours of that sort. Quite the contrary…

          • Allosexuel

            Oh là là.

          • CliveM

            Eeeeeeuwe……….! Thanks for that.

          • Pubcrawler

            Would she have him as her back-door man, though.

          • Allosexuel

            Quelle horreur !

          • carl jacobs

            To the naughty step for that. And don’t come back until you are called.

          • len

            On fine form Jack..

    • Uncle Brian

      It’s not a cabinet position, but how about ambassador to the Islamic State? Young Mr Smith can arrange with the RAF to have him delivered by parachute.

      • Inspector General

        Good idea Brian! He’ll do well. One understands he’s made many friends in the area of Islamic rights over the years…

    • Another Welsh blatherskite Inspector.

      • Anton

        Seen where he was born?

        • Yes of course, but he grew up in Barry and is of Welsh parentage.

  • bluedog

    One struggles not to be superficial, Your Grace, but is it not apparent that Bishop Innes is in fact a train-spotter? The proximity to a powerful locomotive with all the imagery that entails, the wispy beard, the radiant smile, Innes only lacks an anorak. Has he missed his real vocation in life?

    • chefofsinners

      His ability to spot a gravy train is legendary.

      • IanCad

        Chief, by any other name, is still as smart.

  • David

    “A squandering of the birthright of our young people”
    The full implication of this remarkably superficial statement has only just sunk in…
    I have eventually realised that this means that the bishop values little about the birthright of Magna Carta, Common Law, Trial by Jury and our entire system of democratic government so carefully created over hundreds of years of struggle against oppression. He focusses almost entirely on a system of making this country subservient to an far less democratic, elitist, top-down system of government from a distant place, all of which was put into place by lies, stealth and deliberate deception. The indisputable fact that the EU is corrupt, favours big business over small businesses, and has failed to balance its books for the last 22 years, with all that that implies in terms of honesty and integrity, is all totally ignored.
    What does this tell us about the morality and judgement of this man and all those who applauded his speech so loudly ?

    • Anton

      Excellent point. Do write and tell him.

      • Richard B

        Totally agree with Anton – and I’d want to know why, as a supposed man of God, he doesn’t hear and know the Lord’s heart on this matter!!

      • David

        I have written in a similar fashion to my local bishop after his partisan “warning” regarding the danger of xenophobia following the Brexit vote. The hierarchy are, with a few notable exceptions, interpreting their episcopal roles through the lens of their very dated Socialist belief system, which is totally removed from what many of the working class think.

        • TropicalAnglican

          Did you get a reply?
          Methinks probably only the bishops aged 70+ (old enough to remember the glory days of Old Labour pre-Thatcher) are still using those dated Socialist lenses, the younger ones are probably wearing rigid liberal lenses incapable of accommodating alternative views and with loads of blind spots.

          • David

            A useful short analysis – and probably about right.

        • Neil Fix

          I don’t know what your Bishop said, or what your reply was, but it is a fact that racist incidents rose post Brexit. Most of what I have seen online from Christians who agree that we should leave seems to ignore this or play it down.
          I am not in any way accusing them of being racist, but it would be fantastic to see them speaking out against it. It would come across so much more strongly from pro Brexiteers, and the more public this becomes the better.

    • SeriouslyChristian

      Superb comment!

  • TropicalAnglican

    As I said in my first post here, I do not hail from the Province of Canterbury or York, but I am grateful that Great Britain brought the gospel to both my country of birth as well as country of current citizenship, so one feels inclined to shout into the Bishop’s left ear (presumably the right one is not working): “Which country has done more than Britain to spread the gospel? Surely you could at least be proud of that? And what is Great Britain’s greatest export? Is it not the rule of law and parliamentary democracy? Where was parliamentary democracy born and bred? Squander birthright, indeed! British Anglicans, whom you are supposed to be speaking for and not against, are merely reclaiming their country’s birthright from the EU, or which part of ‘Take Back Control’ do you not understand, Your ….?” [sorry, I am not really sure how to address a bishop].

  • Richard B

    SOME clergy aren’t unsettled by the Brexit vote and, like myself, regard it as ‘an act of God’. In fact, several folk known to me ‘knew’ the outcome in advance. I’d direct any fellow readers wanting to check such claims to my blog at http://wp.me/p1Y1yB-8gI

    • TropicalAnglican

      Thanks for the link to your blog!

      • Richard B

        You’re most welcome and trust you’ll enjoy and be blessed

  • David Waters

    Dr Innes is an unelected bishop presiding over an organisation that is of shrinking relevance in the world. I can understand his enthusiasm for the EU.

  • Giles Brennand

    Families, tribes and nation states have evolved to provide context and meaning to people’s lives.

    The EU’s relentless pursuit of political union by undermining nation states is a key driver of the rising alienation of young people.

    Harmony does not mean uniformity. The church should be encouraging harmonious relations between sovereign states not supporting their abolition

  • Intonsus

    Another person who, displayng an abject ignorance of his country’s
    history and culture of opposing tyrannies without and within, thinks
    that being shackled to an undemocratic oligarchy which may bring (a fast
    disappearing) mess of protectionist economic pottage is preferable to
    the birthright of free Britons, Common Law, Habeas Corpus, Trial by
    Jury, the Presumption of Innocence before trial and Parliamentary
    elections.
    By contrast the EU is founded on rule by appointed
    oligarchs (main qualifications: lose an election in your own country,
    and, ideally, be arraigned for fraud or incompetence); Corpus Juris –
    which assumes guilt because all not allowed is prohibited; and the
    ‘little people’ as untrustworthy and certainly not to be allowed
    to decide things through voting!