Church of England

Cartoons of Cantuar: how cartoonists have portrayed the Archbishop of Canterbury over the centuries

This is a guest post by Fergus Butler-Gallie, an Anglican ordinand at Westcott House, Cambridge.


It was noted in the 1930s that the only three people whose opinion actually mattered were the editor of the Times, the Prime Minister, and the Archbishop of Canterbury. In the age of Twitter, where, in terms of the importance of opinions, to quote W.S. Gilbert, “everyone is somebody, and no one’s anybody”, we can no longer make such a claim for John Witherow, Theresa May and Justin Welby. However, these modern day incarnations of the Third, Second, and First Estates of the Ancien Regime are, undeniably, the pre-eminent types for the worlds of Press, State, and Church.

Much that his worthy and weighty has been written about the respective relationships between Press-State and Church-State relations – this short offering is not one of them. Instead it is a whirlwind tour of how an often confused and disinterested press has chosen to present that ultimate representative of the First Estate – the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Pictures are said to speak a thousand words and so, in the interest of brevity, humour, and to spare the reader repetitions of austere editorials ad nauseam, it is a study conducted entirely through analysis of press cartoons. How the incumbent of the Chair of Augustine has been portrayed has, inevitably, varied through the years, but the fact that the Primate of All England has always been, and remains, a figure worthy of portrayal by the cartoonist’s pen is, perhaps, some evidence that there’s life in the First Estate yet.


Cartoon Laud 1Our story begins with Archbishop Laud. The Puritans, though vigorous in their campaigning against religious imagery, were more than prepared to make use of secular imagery to mock ‘The Dwarf of Canterbury’.

Laud is portrayed as the worst of three degrees in the first image, where his attempt to assure a uniformity of liturgy was met by accusations of devilry from Puritanical fanatics.



Cartoon Laud 2In the second of our Laud cartoons, he’s offered a cardinal’s hat in exchange for a deal with the devil whilst being hemmed in by a butler peddling wine on the left and a salesman proffering the trappings of Romish worship on the right. With Church networking, strong drink, and an abundance of ecclesial paraphernalia, scholars have reason to believe this cartoon was the inspiration years later for the structure of General Synod.



Later archbishops managed to keep a tighter grip on the printing press, and there are tantalisingly few publicly available cartoons of archbishops until the 19th century, when the Church’s failings on issues of discipline, the Anglican Communion, and quibbles over doctrine piqued the interest of the Victorian satirical press. Plus ςa change, eh? Punch was at the forefront of this.

Cartoon Longley LambethOur third cartoon is a satire on that favourite press topic – the Lambeth Conference. Mr Punch delivers the manifold problems of the infant Anglican Communion to Archbishop Charles Longley, here seen as a washerwoman with a mortarboard, who is trying to wash everything clean in the miracle soap of Mission. Truly there is nothing new under God’s sun – there is ever another Lambeth Conference one imagines, and whoever then occupies Longley’s place could be portrayed in exactly the same way.

Cartoon Tait RitualistsThe next scandal for cartoonists to focus on was ritualism and the failure to enforce discipline on clergy who broke the Church’s rules after widespread popular support for the mischief makers. No parallels here then, either. Here Archbishop Tait is portrayed as a shepherd desperately trying to stop the Ritualist black sheep from jumping the fence to Rome.


Modern Day

Below is a selection of more recent archbishops portrayed in various ways. There’s nowhere near enough room to include all of them, so here’s a few edited highlights:

Cartoon Runcie 1Robert Runcie is here portrayed as driving a sort of gothic tour bus towards Gomorrah containing the General Synod, indicating, perhaps, a wider biblical knowledge as well as a deeper social conservatism among readers of the tabloids than might be expected today.

Cartoon Runcie 2




Runcie, renowned for his distinctive voice and the occasional banality of his statements, was often portrayed in ovine form. In this fifth image by Peter Brookes in the Times, Runcie is portrayed giving a sound-bite to a tape recorder in a puddle.

Fascinatingly, there are very few cartoons of George Carey on the internet. Perhaps the rigour of the King’s College London Student Union has extended to the internet as well as the University buildings, and the 103rd Archbishop’s views are considered unacceptable for a 21st-century Google search…

Rowan Williams was portrayed in a number of ways. Below we see the image largely proliferated in Church circles today: the 104th successor to St Augustine is beardy, erudite, prophetic, and, ineffectual. Whether he’s portrayed as Noah, Dr Who, or St Sebastian, the images of the black-clad Tait or diabolical Laud could not be further from the hirsute, bumbling academic whose comments on Communion affairs, climate change and Islam were seized upon by bishops and press alike, as portrayed in these images from the Guardian and Telegraph:

Cartoon Rowan 1Cartoon Rowan 2Cartoon Rowan 3

Yet Williams was not exclusively portrayed like this. When it suited various cartoonists, he could be portrayed as more of a ‘hard man’. Below, his attacks on David Cameron over tax rates see him portrayed as a daring Robin Hood, and his role in the Lords sees him portrayed (albeit in a Humanist magazine) as an authoritarian slave driver.

Cartoon Rowan 4Cartoon Rowan 5











The appointment of Justin Portal Welby in 2012 marked a new era in ecclesiastical cartooning. Initially, given his relative outsider status, cartoonists were unsure of how to depict Welby. A number of publications picked up on his Etonian schooling, principally because looking up and portraying HTB was probably considered too complex. Here he’s portrayed, variously, as a slice of cheese, calling for his fag, and, finally, with a number of O.E members of the then government, in a very handsome triple-decker pulpit.

Cartoon Welby 1Cartoon Welby 2





Cartoon Welby 3

However, cartoonists soon realised that Welby is a considerably more sophisticated and complex figure:

Cartoon Welby 4Cartoon Welby 5Cartoon Welby 6

His stringent opposition to government benefit changes was picked upon, as was his condemnation of Wonga. There’s a noticeable change from previous archbishops who, from Geoffrey Fisher onwards, were largely portrayed as Dick Emery’s vicar characters writ large – bumbling and ineffectual. By contrast, whether it’s marching to a song about ‘Bums on Pews’ or rebuking Iain Duncan Smith in the guise of Pontius Pilate, a much more formidable figure has emerged.

This was a trend that, ironically began with Rowan Williams (as in the Robin Hood cartoon above). Perhaps it’s an acknowledgement that the 21st-century looks set to be more religious than ever, and that, perhaps, whether he’s pictured in cope or lawn sleeves; depicted as Our Lord or as a slice of brie, the opinion and the figure of the Archbishop of Canterbury does matter to the press after all.

Cartoon Welby 7

  • len

    Some are quite funny’What a friend we have in cheeses’.But they all make a point.
    It seems the same problems have existed for some time ,but it also seems the position of the A B of C is somewhat of a poisoned Chalice?.

    • Dreadnaught

      Blessed are the Cheese Makers.

      • Sarky

        My daughter asked if she could make a nativity scene at Christmas. An hour later she came back with a plate full of Babybell. “What’s that?” I asked. “Little baby cheeses”, she replied.

        • dannybhoy

          Hmmmm, you made that one up din’tcha?

      • chefofsinners

        Blessed are the cakemakers: for they shall be called Christians of the year.

        Blessed are the Treweek: for they shall become bishops via gender-positive discrimination.

        Brian Blessed is the next bishop of London, for he hath a stage presence, which is
        what counteth in these latter days.

        Brexiteers are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: but theirs is the
        kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

        Bladdered is the Inspector, for he posteth outrageous comments.

        • Inspector General

          Treweek is a bloody disgrace to Christianity. Christ called God his father. That should be enough alone for her to fall into line…

          • chefofsinners

            Thought that would lure you from your crevice.

          • Inspector General

            Still penitanting….

          • It will make you go blind.

    • dannybhoy

      Yes because the role of an Archbishop of Canterbury is not to champion the Gospel but to keep the bishops of whatever opinion in the Anglican boat. They don’t have to plot a course or start rowing in unison; the Archbishop just has to keep them in the boat and the water below the gunwales..

  • David

    A good cartoon is worth a thousand words.
    Indeed cartoons can be effective levellers, so necessary if we are to have a free press that reveals the pomposities and idiosyncrasies that can creep up upon top public leaders.
    Another characteristic of cartoons, is that even if they portray someone whose views your disagree with, somehow repeated portrayals of them softens your attitude to them, over time.
    Humour is an intrinsic part of being human, certainly from my western, British perspective.
    But other, more brittle, cultures see things differently of course….

  • Dominic Stockford

    “structure of general synod” – yes, yes, yes…..

  • carl jacobs

    accusations of devilry from Puritanical fanatics.

    Just a slight bit of editorial comment in that statement.

    • The Puritans were fanatics. Archbishop Laud was caught between the fanaticism of both the Puritans and Calvinists. He wanted wooden “communion tables” replaced with stone “altars” and favoured stained glass windows. This infuriated Puritans who saw all this as a blatant move towards Catholicism. Laud’s love of ceremony and harmonious liturgy – the “beauty of holiness” – and his attempts to restore discipline and order to the Church of England, ran contrary to the Puritan campaign to “purify” the Church and his Arminian doctrines were regarded as dangerously close to “Popish superstition”.

      Puritans sought to cleanse the culture of what they regarded as corrupt, sinful practices. They believed that the civil government should strictly enforce public morality by prohibiting drunkenness, gambling, ostentatious dress, swearing, and Sabbath-breaking. They wanted Christmas banned. They wished to purge churches of every vestige of Roman Catholic ritual and practice – the Episcopalian structure of bishops and cardinals, the ceremonies in which the clergy wore vestments and adhered to a prescribed liturgy.

      Laud was put on trial for trying to subvert the laws of England and endangering the Protestant faith. The charges were never proved, nevertheless he was beheaded at Tower Hill on January 10th, 1645.

      • carl jacobs

        One should always be circumspect of Catholics who criticize the Puritans. Expunging the residue of Rome is a worthy goal of course. Most of what you describe must be seen in that light. And Rome is Arminian.

        Anyways. The Pilgrims were Puritans and they came to the new world long before 1645. Why was that again? I’m sympathetic to the Puritans mostly because I’m not sympathetic to the CoE.

        • “And Rome is Arminian.”

          Care to demonstrate that assertion?

          • Martin


            You’re surely not going to suggest it is Calvinist? At the very least your soteriology is synergistic.

          • chefofsinners

            Which is why his warp drive has malfunctioned.

          • Martin



          • dannybhoy

            I always thought there was warped about him…

          • Calvinism? Of course not. But go ahead, explain the similarities and the differences between Arminianism and Catholicism. In researching it, you might actually learn something.

          • Martin


            Ah, so you wouldn’t agree with Augustine or Paul.

          • carl jacobs

            Silly Martin. You shouldn’t be reading either Augustine or Paul. They are too difficult to understand. You should be reading the Catechism.

          • Read away – it’s how one understands Augustine and Paul that counts.

          • carl jacobs

            Better is this formulation:

            It’s from where one derives one’s understanding that counts.

            Why, if it wasn’t for the Pope we would never have know that Matthew 16 was about the Papacy.

          • And you back Calvin!? The early Church understood the authority of Matthew 16 and the authority of Apostolic teaching.

          • carl jacobs

            I became a “Calvinist” fully three years before I had ever heard the name “John Calvin”. A Presbyterian minister once gave me an article by iirc Jonathan Edwards titled “Against the Remonstrants”. I read that article and discovered that I was a Calvinist. I didn’t even know it had a name. I only use the term because there isn’t a better one. I don’t “back” Calvin. I’m not particularly well read when it comes to his writings.

            And no one in 100 AD knew from the Papacy. That’s a Roman myth. Without the prior existence of the Pope, the “infallible” Roman reading of Matthew 16 would never have existed. The Pope simply read his office back into the text in order to justify himself.

          • The Catholic Church accepts predestination of the elect to heaven but also affirms the freedom of the human will. Predestination to hell always involves man’s free will, and foreseen sins, so that man is ultimately responsible for his own damnation, not God.

            God is sovereign, in our view, every bit as much as in Calvinism. All that is disputed are the intricacies of the grace / free will paradox, which is one of the most mysterious and difficult questions in the history of Christian theology.

            The Catholic Church affirms predestination as a dogma, while at the same time affirming free will.

            Before being handed the article by Jonathan Edwards you’d have been predisposed to this way of thinking. Imagine if you’d been handed a copy of Ludwig Ott’s Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma.


            a) The Problem

            The main difficulty . . . lies in the question whether God’s eternal resolve of Predestination has been taken with or without consideration of the merits of the man (postorante praevisa merita).

            Only incomplete Predestination to grace is independent of every merit (ante praevisa merita), as the first grace cannot be merited. In the same way, complete Predestination to grace and glory conjointly is independent of every merit, as the first grace cannot be merited, and the consequent graces, as well as the merits acquired with these graces and their reward, depend like the links of a chain, on the first grace . . .

            b) Attempts at Solution

            The Thomists, the Augustinians, the majority of the Scotists and also individual older Molinists (Suarez, St. Bellarmine) teach an absolute Predestination (ad gloriam tantum), therefore ante praevisa merita. According to them, God freely resolves from all Eternity, without consideration of the merits of man’s grace, to call certain men to beatification and therefore to bestow on them graces which will infallibly secure the execution of the Divine Decree (ordo intentionis). In time God first gives to the predestined effective graces and then eternal bliss as a reward for the merits which flow from their free cooperation with grace (ordo executionis). The ordo intentionis and the ordo executionis are in inverse relation to each other (glory-grace; grace-glory).

            Most of the Molinists, and also St. Francis de Sales (+1622), teach a conditioned Predestination (ad gloriam tantum), that is, post and propter praevisa merita. According to them, God by His scientia media, sees beforehand how men would freely react to various orders of grace. In the light of this knowledge He chooses, according to His free pleasure a fixed and definite order of grace. Now by His scientia visionis, He knows infallibly in advance what use the individual man will make of the grace bestowed on him. He elects for eternal bliss those who by virtue of their foreseen merits perseveringly cooperate with grace, while He determines for eternal punishment of hell, those who, on account of their foreseen demerits, deny their cooperation. The ordo intentionis and the ordo executionis coincide (grace-glory; grace-glory).

            Both attempts at explanation are ecclesiastically permissible. The scriptural proofs are not decisive for either side. The Thomists quote above all passages from the Letter to the Romans, in which the Divine factor in salvation is brought strongly to the foreground (Rom 8:29; 9:11-13, 9:20 et seq.) . . .

            The Molinists invoke the passages which attest the universality of the Divine desire for salvation, especially 1 Tim 2:4, as well as the sentence to be pronounced by the Judge of the World (Mt 25:34-36), in which the works of mercy are given as ground for the acceptance into the Heavenly Kingdom. But that these are also the basis for the ‘preparation’ for the Kingdom, that is, for the eternal resolve of Predestination, cannot be definitely proved from them . . .

            While the pre-Augustinian tradition is in favour of the Molinistic explanation, St. Augustine, at least in his later writings, is more in favour of the Thomistic explanation. The Thomist view emphasizes God’s universal causality while the other view stresses the universality of the Divine salvific will, man’s freedom and his cooperation in his salvation. The difficulties remaining on both sides prove that Predestination even for reason enlightened by faith, is an unfathomable mystery (Rom 11:33 ff.).


            a) Immutability

            The resolve of Predestination, as an act of the divine knowledge and will, is as immutable as the Divine Essence itself. The number of those who are registered in the Book of Life (Phil 4:3, Rev 17:8; cf. Lk 10:20) is formally and materially fixed, that is, God knows and determines with infallible certainty in advance, how many and which men will be saved . . .

            b) Uncertainty

            The Council of Trent declared against Calvin, that certainty in regard to one’s Predestination can be attained by special Revelation only . . . Holy Scripture enjoins man to work out his salvation in fear and trembling (Phil 2:12). He who imagines that he will stand should take care lest he fall (1 Cor 10:12). In spite of this uncertainty there are signs of Predetermination which indicate a high probability of one’s Predestination, e.g., a persevering practice of the virtues recommended in the Eight Beatitudes, frequent reception of Holy Communion, active love of one’s neighbor, love for Christ and for the Church . . .

            [For scriptural proofs against absolute assurance of salvation I submit the following passages: 1 Cor 9:27, 10:12, Gal 5:1,4, Phil 3:11-14, 1 Tim 4:1, 5:15, Heb 3:12-14, 6:4-6, 2 Pet 2:15,20-21. These I consider the most compelling, but there are many others as well: e.g.: 1 Sam 11:6, 18:11-12, Ezek 18:24, 33:12-13,18, Gal 4:9, Col 1:23, Heb 6:11-12, 10:23,26,29,36,39, 12:15, Rev 2:4-5.]

            [Many evangelical Protestants claim to have an absolute “assurance,” but when all is said and done, both biblically and epistemologically, they simply can’t attain to this certitude, and are no more “certain” than a devout Catholic or Orthodox is. Such claims are simply unproven and unprovable. In other words, Protestant “assurance” involves the following “argument” in a vicious circle: in order to possess assurance of salvation you must believe that you have salvation. This has been called “fiducial faith,” and is completely subjective, every bit as much as the Mormon “burning in the bosom.” Martin Luther himself illustrates the incoherence of this innovation:

            We must day by day struggle towards greater and greater certainty . . . Everyone should therefore accustom himself resolutely to the persuasion that he is in a state of grace . . . Should he feel a doubt, then let him exercise faith; he must beat down his doubts and acquire certainty . . . The matter of justification is difficult and delicate, not indeed in itself, for in itself it is as certain as can be, but in our regard; of this I have frequent experience.{In Hartmann Grisar, Luther, London: 1917, vol. 4, 437-443} ]


            By Reprobation is understood the eternal Resolve of God’s Will to exclude certain rational creatures from eternal bliss. While God, by His grace, positively cooperates in the supernatural merits, which lead to beatification, He merely permits sin, which leads to eternal damnation.

            Regarding the content of the resolve of Reprobation, a distinction is made between positive and negative Reprobation, according as the Divine resolve of Reprobation has for its object condemnation to the eternal punishment of hell, or exclusion from the Beatific Vision. Having regard to the reason for Reprobation, a distinction is made between conditioned and unconditioned (absolute) Reprobation, insofar as the Divine resolve of Reprobation is dependent on, or independent of the prevision of future demerits.


            The reality of Reprobation is not formally defined, but it is the general teaching of the Church.


            Heretical Predestinationism in its various forms (the Southern Gallic priest Lucidus in the 5th century; the monk Gottschalk in the 9th century, according to reports of his opponents, which, however, find no confirmation in his recently re-discovered writings; Wycliffe, Hus, and esp. Calvin), teaches a positive predetermination to sin, and an unconditional Predestination to the eternal punishment of hell, that is, without consideration of future demerits. This was rejected as false doctrine by the Particular Synods of Orange, Quiercy & Valence and by the Council of Trent. Unconditioned positive Reprobation leads to a denial of the universality of the Divine Desire for salvation, and of the Redemption, and contradicts the Justice and Holiness of God as well as the freedom of man.

            According to the teaching of the Church, there is a conditioned positive Reprobation, that is, it occurs with consideration of foreseen future demerits (post et propter praevisa demerita). The conditional nature of Positive Reprobation is demanded by the generality of the Divine Resolve of salvation. This excludes God’s desiring in advance the damnation of certain men (cf. 1 Tim 2:4, Ezek 33:11, 2 Pet 3:9) . . .


            In the question of Reprobation, the Thomist view favours not an absolute, but only a negative Reprobation. This is conceived by most Thomists as non-election to eternal bliss (non-electio), together with the Divine resolve to permit some rational creatures to fall into sin, and thus by their own guilt to lose eternal salvation. In contrast to the absolute Positive Reprobation of the Predestinarians, Thomists insist on the universality of the Divine Resolve of Salvation and Redemption, the allocation of sufficient graces to the reprobate, and the freedom of man’s will. However, it is difficult to find an intrinsic concordance between unconditioned non-election and the universality of the Divine Resolve of salvation. In practice, the unconditioned negative Reprobation of the Thomists involves the same result as the unconditioned positive Reprobation of the heretical Predestinarians, since outside Heaven and Hell there is no third final state.

            Like the Resolve of Predestination the Divine Resolve of Reprobation is immutable, but, without special revelation, its incidence is unknown to men.

            The reading of Mathew 16 is the only plain reading of it, especially when set in the context of the rest of scripture. That the Apostles had authority, under the leadership of Peter, is apparent in Acts and in the development of the early Church.

          • Simon Platt

            Also, the letter of Pope St Clement I to the Corinthians, certainly from the first century, would seem to disprove the business about no-one recognising popes at the turn of the second century.

            I wonder whether there is any evidence of Christians disputing the primacy of the Roman Church and the successor of St Peter?

          • Only heretics disagreed in the early Church and do so now.

            “Owing to the sudden and repeated calamities and misfortunes which have befallen us, we must acknowledge that we have been somewhat tardy in turning our attention to the matters in dispute among you, beloved; and especially that abominable and unholy sedition, alien and foreign to the elect of God, which a few rash and self-willed persons have inflamed to such madness that your venerable and illustrious name, worthy to be loved by all men, has been greatly defamed. . . .

            Accept our counsel and you will have nothing to regret. . . . If anyone disobey the things which have been said by him [God] through us [i.e., that you must reinstate your leaders], let them know that they will involve themselves in transgression and in no small danger. . . .

            You will afford us joy and gladness if being obedient to the things which we have written through the Holy Spirit, you will root out the wicked passion of jealousy”
            ( Pope Clement I; Letter to the Corinthians 1, 58–59, 63 [A.D. 80])

            “But since it would be too long to enumerate in such a volume as this the succession of all the churches, we shall confound all those who, in whatever manner, whether through self-satisfaction or vainglory, or through blindness and wicked opinion, assemble other than where it is proper, by pointing out here the successions of the bishops of the greatest and most ancient church known to all, founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul, that church which has the tradition and the faith which comes down to us after having been announced to men by the apostles.

            With that church, because of its superior origin, all the churches must agree, that is, all the faithful in the whole world, and it is in her that the faithful everywhere have maintained the apostolic tradition”
            (Irenaeus; Against Heresies 3:3:2 [A.D. 189]).

          • carl jacobs

            Why would I go to Lugwig Ott when I can go to the Gospel of John and the Book of Romans and … well, you get the idea. The letter by Edwards didn’t convince me of anything. It simply gave me a nomenclature. I had already been convinced by Scripture.

          • Because as Lugwig Ott points out Scripture requires interpretations and appears contradictory in this

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, but I don’t need Rome to interpret it. And your alleged contradictions are a Roman mirage.

          • No, you just need yourself ….

          • carl jacobs

            A Catholic friend once gave me an article to read that purported to prove the RCC was the One True Church. He did so because I had pointed out to him the incontrovertible fact that his choice of infallible interpreter was itself a fallible choice rooted in private judgment. (As in “You just need yourself”.) The article was somewhat humorous in that its proof was to assert there must be One True Church and then exclude all churches but Rome. Why funny? Because the author did not subject Rome to the same examination. It was by design the only church left standing after every competitor had been removed.

            Your choice of infallible interpreter is indistinguishable from the choice of Joseph Smith as infallible interpreter. Either choice would have equal validity. You may choose to slave yourself to such an interpreter. I will not do so. Because once you have made that choice, you surrender all ability to make judgments ever again.

          • It rests on the Apostles and the practice and beliefs of the early Church, not just on an interpretation of scripture. Having said that, scripture is very clear in itself about this. Liberal “Catholics” (heretics) who challenge the authority of bishops and popes claim the words of Christ in Mathew 16 were inserted as a power grab.

          • Martin


            My catechism has Scripture proofs. 😉

          • That’s not an answer, Carl.

          • Martin


            To the first two sentences, certainly. But since Rome claims that it alone can understand what it teaches I’m on a lost cause in the latter part.

          • Good to see you admit you don’t understand Catholic teaching and are in no position to comment on it.

          • dannybhoy

            Why didn’t you just say ‘doctrine of salvation’ Martin?
            You had me scrabbling for my medical dictionary…

          • Martin



          • dannybhoy

            I am encouraged to see you are developing a sense of humour Martin.
            Have a good day in the Lord.

          • Martin


            I’ve often expressed a sense of humour, it’s just that many don’t get it.

          • carl jacobs

            No. I overstated the case. Rome can certainly sound Arminian when it wants to. But Rome is not Arminian. However, I can see how someone could listen to an Arminian and see an affinity with Rome. ECT didn’t come out of thin air.

          • Indeed, and some Catholics can slip into Arminianism if they are not careful. Certainly, the gap between Arminianism and Catholicism is not as wide as the gulf between Catholicism and Calvinism.


          • carl jacobs

            Evangelicals and Catholics Together.

            What I was getting at was this. An Arminian can read his doctrine into RCism because both are synergistic. So you will hear Arminians say things like “Aren’t we saying the same thing in different ways?”

            To which a Catholic responds “Ummm … Why …Yes! Yes, we are! You should come home to Rome.”

            But a Calvinist would respond “No, we aren’t.”

            The Calvinist is right, of course. But being right is our destiny.

          • Except Catholics and Arminians are not saying the same things. They just need to shed the remaining vestiges of Calvinism.

          • carl jacobs

            Catholics know that. Calvinists know that. Arminian don’t necessarily know that. And Rome is not above using that fact to its advantage.

        • Not to mention that Calvinists are related to Puritans.

          • carl jacobs

            Technically, a Puritan is a subclass of Calvinist. But, yes, I almost said that myself.

        • Maxine Schell

          Rome (do you mean the RC ?) is Arminian? WOW! Since when?

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, yes, OK. When Rome wants to describe justification it can do so in classic Arminian formulation. I have read statements by Catholics that an Arminian could have quoted word for word without a twinge of conscience. But, you are right. The “faith plus works” system at the heart of Catholicism is not truly Arminian.

          • William Lewis


      • Anton

        Laud arranged with the king to have Puritan pamphleteers flogged and had their ears cut off merely for wanting to worship in their own way outside the Church of England. Eye for an eye and ear for an ear and if Laud had received as many floggings as he oversaw then it would undoubtedly have killed him. His trial was a stitch-up, but he got what he deserved. Thanks to his religious policies 40,000 of England’s citizens most committed to honest dealings and family life emigrated.

        • “His trial was a stitch-up, but he got what he deserved.”
          You serious?
          …. and Britain was set on a course leading to Civil War.

          • 1642again

            It was the King’s attempt to abolish Parliament and impose a Continental style absolute monarchy (all of which were RC) that did that. Laud, while flirting with elements of catholicism, simply gave the impression that Charles was moving to RC practice as well. Laud was an arrogant fool.

          • Anton

            Yes. At one service the choir sang from Psalm 24, “Lift up your heads, ye gates, and lift up yourselves, ye everlasting doors; and the king of glory shall come in” at which point the church doors opened for Laud’s entry.

          • Anton

            Thanks to him and King Charles declaring war on a Puritan community which had no thought of insurrection in the 1630s but only wanted to be able to worship in its own way. I explained why he got what he deserved in the sentence preceding that phrase. And I’m as serious as he was about persecuting the puritans.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    I am inspired to take up my sketch book and capture my Lord the Bishop’s likeness, a gentle caricature of course…

    • chefofsinners

      I too love to do this in church on a Sunday. For do not the scriptures exhort us to draw near to God?

      • William Lewis

        Your theology seems a bit sketchy, Chef.

        • chefofsinners

          I draw scriptural portraits in the cubist style: one Isaiah than the other.

          • William Lewis

            Are you here all night?

          • chefofsinners

            Finalising tomorrow’s sermon and being interrupted.

      • carl jacobs

        Do you lace your sermons with these chef-isms? Are we perchance your test environment?

        • chefofsinners

          A little levity lighteneth the whole liturgy, I find.
          You are not the proving ground. More the source of inspiration and the victims of plagiarism.

  • chefofsinners

    Rowan Williams used to sign his name ‘Centaur’ on account of being half man, half bullshit.

    • The Explorer


      • chefofsinners


        • You could’ve just changed horseshit to bullshit.

          • chefofsinners

            I changed bullshit to horseshit. Join me in the mythology revision class.

          • dannybhoy

            My wife and I met Rowan when he visited our place of work some years ago.
            Everybody else met him too, I hasten to add.
            I have always found it difficult to reconcile that man with the man that others write about..

          • Pubcrawler

            Likewise. I encounter him fairly regularly. I disagree with him profoundly in many areas, but I have great respect for him.

          • dannybhoy

            Acts 23:5
            “Paul replied, “Brothers, I did not realize that he was the high priest; for it is written: ‘Do not speak evil about the ruler of your people.”
            I admit to being no respecter of persons. It is a failing of mine but I always look for integrity and humour in a man. That earns my respect. The man bestows dignity and honour on the position, not the other way around..

          • Pubcrawler

            I will readily concede that his Primacy proved to be something of a disappointment to me. But while there are grounds for the caricature, and he is an unconscionable leftie, there is more to the man himself and I have found things of value in his writings and his preaching.

            He can’t tell a joke for toffee, though.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re an interesting and learned chap..

          • Pubcrawler

            soli Deo gloria

          • Anton

            It’s because he’s a decent chap personally but a liberal theologian and not a leader type. The Academy is the right place for him, where no leadership qualities are required and where liberal theology can’t do too much harm.

          • dannybhoy

            Check Psephizo.
            I succumbed..

          • Anton

            To see what, please? I’m confused.

          • dannybhoy

            I responded to our Oisin.

          • Anton

            A search for “danny” on the “pragmatics of the sexuality debate” thread at Psephizo, to which thread Oisin has made two contributions, didn’t locate you. Still confused!

          • dannybhoy

            Might be awaiting moderation still.

          • Pubcrawler

            ‘Tis there now.

  • bluedog

    Next: Cartoons of Mahommed over the centuries.

  • Anton

    “Give great praise to the Lord, and little Laud to the devil.”

  • ChaucerChronicle

    ‘Laud is portrayed as the worst of three degrees in the first image, where his attempt to assure a uniformity of liturgy was met by accusations of devilry from Puritanical fanatics.’

    Mr Butler-Gallie

    ‘Puritans’ not ‘fanatics’ in future, if you please.

    • dannybhoy

      It’s not as though other Christian denominations haven’t killed and tortured other Christians for refusing the authority and orthodoxy of another. Or even inflicted regular flagellation on themselves in their zeal -or should that be ‘fanaticism?’ for their faith..
      The Puritans were no more fanatics than other more devout and resolute followers of Christ.

      • ChaucerChronicle


        I understand their manuals on sex were raunchy.

        • Anton

          Manuals? The trouble with sex is not that it is too difficult but that it is too easy.

          The Puritans drank, but not to excess.

          • carl jacobs

            It is Mead and right so to do.

          • Anton

            No vegetarian nonsense either: it is meat and right so to do.

          • Mead – good Catholic drink, that.

          • Anton

            Like Buckfast tonic wine?

          • Another fine drink.

          • Anton

            I agree, actually. But it comes in for some abuse north of the borrrder.

          • CliveM

            It’s horrible, sickly stuff.

            A Curry house in Glasgow uses it as a base for a sauce. Yuk.

          • Pubcrawler

            Now why am I not surprised…

          • Pubcrawler

            Very popular among pagans, too.

  • chefofsinners

    And also with you.

  • Merchantman

    Is there not an opportunity to tone down the C of E’s panto style garb? Thinking maybe it’s a hinderance to outreach.

    • David

      I couldn’t agree more. But it is the bishops who need to hear that good advice.

      • Merchantman

        Many of the Bishops seem out of step with Jesus commandment about going out travelling light.

  • For Carl:

    • Blue moon
      You saw me standing crying alone
      Without a goal from my team
      Without a win all year.

      Blue moon
      You knew just what I was there for
      You saw me singing a song for
      A team I really could show support for

      And then Everton appeared before me
      And I could do nothing but watch the flood
      I saw them score not one but four
      And when I looked to the moon it turned to blood

      • dannybhoy

        Good song up to the third verse. The Marcels version was better..

    • carl jacobs

      Unoriginal. Derivative.

  • Pubcrawler

    For those who missed it, Radio 4 Extra broadcast the omnibus edition of Diarmaid MacCulloch’s musings on the Reformation on Sunday evening. Available on iPlayer here:

    Something there to upset everyone, I think.

    • Anton

      I expected great things from his book on the Reformation and was sadly disappointed. It seemed to me to be not upsetting enough of any party.

    • IanCad

      I’ve been listening to the series AAWTP. You’re right. Something for everyone. Who else would produce such a well-presented program but the BBC?
      We’re lucky to have the organisation. It may need serious reform but the bones are still there to rebuild upon.

    • Martin


      I do wish the BBC iPlayer could be speeded up, like YouTube.

  • maigemu

    ‘Puritanical fanatics.’? No. Laud was the fanatic for his version of conformity and so he lost his head But did the likes of Hogarth not do Cantuar?

  • David

    The thing that I find most extraordinary about the Puritans was that they held they we can only do those things that The Bible positively states that we are permitted to do, as opposed to understanding that we must avoid doing those things that are proscribed in the Bible. Their position is the opposite of English Common Law what regards all things as legal unless they are prohibited by that law.

    • Anton

      I suspect that you are inadvertently repeating another slander on the Puritans, rather than checking original courses. Please can you verify this claim from mainstream Puritan writings (ie, not just a lone nutter who was ignored), or from contemporary reports of their deeds?

      • David

        Well if you or Chaucer above are better read Church historians than I, then I will accept your word. But I am merely repeating what the histories I read state.

        • Anton

          Yes, and they are merely repeating what…

          If you aren’t willing to do the work of going back to contemporary references, please at least cite the sources that you used.

          • David

            Let’s be realistic. Few non-historians will have the time to research to that exacting degree.

          • Anton

            I’ve already relaxed my request that you cite contemporary sources for your claim, down to the request that you cite your own sources no matter how good or bad they be. Then, if you don’t want to go back to the 17th century, others are free to begin the paper chase. I am sceptical of the claim you made and would like the issue settled, whatever be the truth of it.

          • Anton

            If you don’t want to cite your own sources then please would you cite an example of the Puritans doing only “those things that The Bible positively states that we are permitted to do, as opposed to… avoid[ing] doing those things that are proscribed in the Bible”? A particular part of life in which that was their custom?

    • ChaucerChronicle

      References? Citations?

      • David

        Please see below in answer to Anton.

  • Anton

    Why did Welby welcome John Kerry to Lambeth Palace this morning? The sooner Kerry is gone the better – obsessed with lies about climate change and Israel.