carlile report george bell
Church of England

How has the Church of England failed to grasp the core finding of the Carlile Report, that a superficially ‘truthful’ complainant might be an unreliable historian of fact?

I don’t imagine there are many members of the House of Bishops who are aficionados of American sports, but some might relate to the words of ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky: “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be.” Jazz trumpeter Miles Davies had a similar word of advice for those who aspired to emulate his genius: “Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.” And if the point is still elusive, consider Michelangelo surveying a block of Carrara marble and thinking, “There’s a Pièta in there somewhere.”

These thoughts came to mind while considering how people have received the Carlile Report, and how they are reading this fascinating document. We will not often get insight how these things are managed at a national level. One can usefully look at how the expert reports of Dr Freedman and Professor Maden were received by the Core Group, which was set up to determine George Bell’s guilt or innocence. Suffice it to say there were no Michelangelos present.

We have previously looked at the major points from the report, but the real significance of Lord Carlile’s work was spectacularly missed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and other bishops as they responded to it, so let’s spell it out more plainly.

The expert reports were from highly competent psychiatrists. Dr Judith Freedman was commissioned on behalf of ‘Carol’, but a second independent opinion was sought from Professor Anthony Maden. I have every confidence that there was substantial agreement between the two, for if not, I am sure Lord Carlile would have told us. But let’s take a look at what is not there – let’s skate to where the action needs to be.

When you first begin working in the field of abuse and risk assessment, you tend to be deferential towards experts, and then familiarity, confidence, and competence grows. The handling of the reports by the Core Group and the Church of England displays none of the necessary hallmarks of expertise.

I always maintained a healthy respect for experts – I kept it on the shelf right next to my healthy disrespect for experts. You learn with experience to ask questions, not to be afraid to look foolish, to contrast reports and to challenge. When a report arrives you have to be aware of everything the expert feels able to say to say, and sometimes you move on to ask what the expert may not want to say. That is when you skate towards where a report may not yet be going – but needs to. It can be surprisingly productive.

The Core Group’s lawyer presented a number of direct questions of their expert. As previously noted, the Professor refused to answer whether he believed or disbelieved the complainant because that is simply not a proper question for an expert. But look what happened next. The summary of Professor Maden’s opinion begins with a blunt statement of unmistakable clarity: “The delays in reporting in this case are exceptional. Memory is not reliable over such long periods of time and the only way to establish that the allegations are true would be through corroborating evidence.”

Stop there. There is no corroborating evidence – not a shred. Everybody already knew that. His opinion could have closed there, for everything thereafter is is either merely explanatory, or protecting his professional reputation from any suggestion of incompleteness or bias in the fulfilment of his professional duties.

To cover his back, he opines: “I found the Claimant to be an apparently straightforward woman of good character. I have no reason to believe that the material allegations are a conscious fabrication.”

Yet the operative words here are ‘apparently’ and ‘conscious’. Both are words of qualification, not endorsement. The alternative – ‘unconscious fabrification’ – is not only still in play, but immediately afterwards it is both explained and evidenced. In fact, on p47 of the report, he devotes no fewer than 80 lines to setting out the academic context of false memory, answering and contextualising a question which he was not even asked to consider in his letter of instruction. Why do you think he might feel the need to do that?

More importantly, he does not simply set out the theoretical matrix; he looks at the facts of the case, applies the theory to those facts, and invites ‘The Court ‘ (ie the Core Group) to draw the only conclusion that his logic allows. Yet he leaves nothing to chance. Not content with bringing false memory to the table, he brings a second detonation to the complacency encapsulated in the lazy ‘victim must be believed‘ narrative beloved and defended by the Church of England’s National Safeguarding Team, right up until the week after Lord Carlile’s report hit their desks.

He explains the concept of ‘retrospective re-attribution’, and not content with talking the talk, he walks the walk and again applies the theory to the facts of this specific case:

Another problem with civil claims made so long after the material events is that they are an invitation to engage in a process of retrospective re-attribution. It is a natural tendency to look for meaning in one’s life and to impose meaning on events if necessary or helpful for one reason or another. One looks back at one’s life and re-interprets events, attaching to them a significance they did not have before and that they may not deserve. It is a particularly tempting prospect when things go wrong in one’s life. It can be even more tempting if the re-attribution leads to the responsibility for any problems being attached to others rather than to one’s own decisions. It is also a process in which anybody can engage.

So there was not one major cause for doubt within the psychiatric evidence, but two.

There is a superficially final puzzling sentence at the end of the section quoted by Lord Carlile: “In an attempt to assist the Court, for the purposes of diagnosis I assume the Court finds the Claimant was abused as she now alleges.” Where that idea goes we never know: Lord Carlile ends the quotation of Professor Maden there. That doesn’t worry me. To be comprehensive, experts routinely give the alternative possibility, but it’s never that hard to work out where the weight of the argument lies. Lord Carlile knows. He makes that plain by that which he chooses to place in the public domain.

It is worth noting here that Professor Maden does not ‘diagnose’ false memory, but there is an important reason for this: psychiatrists work within strict professional guidelines. In order to make a diagnosis, they have to identify a specifically permitted condition evidenced by pre-determined criteria internationally agreed. In the case of false memory, while doctors and lawyers alike agree that the phenomenon exists, there is as yet no agreed set of traits which, identified together in a variety of combinations, constitute a reliable diagnosis. So for now all that any psychiatrist can do is to flag up a warning to look at the facts with care, which is precisely what we see here. There is no ‘diagnosis’ because there are, as yet, no agreed criteria.

Both Professor Maden and Lord Carlile are experts in a field that needs high expertise. Both met the complainant. Both listened. Both were at pains to say that it is not within their terms of reference to pronounce whether they believe her or not. Both leave her with some dignity whilst handling with great sensitivity certain matters which she would inevitably find distressing. Yet both of their expert reports end in the same fashion. It’s almost as if they are hinting that a superficially ‘truthful’ complainant might be an unreliable historian of fact.

Like a highly-skilled football midfielder in action, they play a pass with slide-rule precision, in the plain expectation that the recipient has the basic skill to apply a tap in. On both occasions, the Church of England contrives to miss spectacularly.

Given the proper parameters within which they necessarily work professionally, there is only so much that any expert can do to help. Unfortunately for them, neither was dealing with a recipient with core competency in how these things are done. Professor Maden tried, and then Lord Carlile re-highlighted his views. This part of the Carlile Report is the only part of the evidence that he lifts from the otherwise confidential reports into Carol’s sad life history. In any other circumstances these heaviest of hints might have been appreciated and acted upon, but it wasn’t to be.

The prophet Jeremiah comes to mind: ‘Hear now this, O foolish people, and without understanding; which have eyes, and see not; which have ears, and hear not.’

Yet all this has a very real and practical implication for all clergy at this current time. Last February, against the advice of a number of professionals in the field, General Synod passed the new Clergy Risk Assessment regulations without waiting to see the full scheme which would tell us who would be asked to assess those under suspicion, or the terms under which the assessors would operate.

As one of the few people in the chamber who has actually commissioned such assessments, I warned that instructing experts, knowing who to ask, what to ask, and interpreting what comes back, is not as straightforward as is may seem. The Bell case illustrates those concerns perfectly. A group which included the Chair of the National Safeguarding Committee, the head of the National Safeguarding Team, two Safeguarding Officers, and a solicitor chosen by Church House, all received a report from an expert and failed to understand it or decode its core message. This, in the case of one of the most revered figures of the Church of the 20th century.

If I were a member of clergy I would be looking at this case and asking myself a simple question. Do I trust these people to get it right if I am unjustly accused? If you do not, you might care to lobby your General Synod representatives to revisit that Risk Assessment scheme.

  • dannybhoy

    “When you first begin working in the field of abuse and risk assessment, you tend to be deferential towards experts, and then familiarity, confidence, and competence grows. The handling of the reports by the Core Group and the Church of England displays none of the necessary hallmarks of expertise.

    I always maintained a healthy respect for experts – I kept it on the shelf right next to my healthy disrespect for experts. You learn with experience to ask questions, not to be afraid to look foolish, to contrast reports and to challenge. When a report arrives you have to be aware of everything the expert feels able to say to say, and sometimes you move on to ask what the expert may not want to say. That is when you skate towards where a report may not yet be going – but needs to. It can be surprisingly productive.”

    There’s a deal of wisdom in those sentences. Many experts -not all, learn their craft from study, exams, theory and controlled environments.
    One of the most useful skills they learn and practice is confidence. Projecting confidence and frame your opinion in a way that discourages questioning or disagreement.

    To be willing to look foolish, to ask the question that everyone else is thinking but not speaking! takes a form of courage inspired by a desire for the truth and a desire for a better system.
    It’s a form of courage that we Christians should seek to develop in our personal lives, and our lives as citizens. We need to stop ‘deferring to the experts’ and ask “How does this square up with the teachings of Christ?”

    • dannybhoy

      *amendment: I meant to add that “This training does not necessarily make them real life experts, sometimes only theoretical ones.”

    • The Snail @/”

      You are quite right. Asking the question that reveals inconvenient facts or opinions is not easy – far easier to go with the crowd and sweep doubts under the carpet. The inconvenient questions may reveal facts or ideas that will necessitate a complete rethink of one’s perceptions. This is the fundamental attribute of repentance (from repenser in French). Both the Hebrew and Greek words for repentance have the notion of rethinking and then setting off in another direction. Awkward facts or realisations will often need ‘repentance’. The idea of rethinking and setting off in a new direction is not peculiar to religion but is the very life blood of truth and knowledge. When we are not open to the new, progress is limited. Just think how long the Church persisted in the idea of the earth being flat and the sun going round the earth. The inconvenient question is not to be shunned but pursued, if we are to come to a better understanding of any subject.

      • dannybhoy

        Absolutely and you highlight one of humanity’s great weaknesses. We are tribal/social creatures, and our affirmation of value comes from other people. To a greater or lesser extent we seek approval from our immediate group, and that need stretches from Joe Bloggs the road sweeper to the most eminent of scientists. There are exceptions of course; the incredibly confident individual who cares not what others think, for example.
        But everyone craves that recognition and approval, and quite often we ‘go with the flow’ because a) it’s easy and b) we’re guaranteed plenty of company..
        And unfortunately that craving for recognition and acceptance causes us to reject what our heart tells us is true, and opt instead for the approval of our fellows.
        This principle holds true in the CofE as much as it does anywhere else.
        As I said a few days ago “priests are only men wearing robes.” As susceptible to group influence/intimidation as anyone else..

      • Coniston

        ‘Just think how long the Church persisted in the idea of the earth being flat and the sun going round the earth.’ Although true, this was the belief of most educated people of the time. But in fact it was largely Christian mathematicians and astronomers who proposed the heliocentric model of the solar system.
        Tycho Brahe 1546 – 1601) was a Protestant Danish nobleman, astronomer, and writer known for his accurate and comprehensive astronomical and planetary observations. In 1568 he was appointed a canon at the Cathedral of Roskilde, a largely honorary position that would allow him to focus on his studies. He built an observatory at Benátky nad Jizerou. There, from 1600 until his death in 1601, he was assisted by Johannes Kepler, who later used Tycho’s astronomical data to develop his three laws of planetary motion.
        Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) thought he had revealed God’s geometrical plan for the universe. Much of Kepler’s enthusiasm for the Copernican system stemmed from his theological convictions about the connection between the physical and the spiritual; the universe itself was an image of God, with the Sun corresponding to the Father, the stellar sphere to the Son, and the intervening space between to the Holy Spirit. His first manuscript of Mysterium contained an extensive chapter reconciling heliocentrism with biblical passages that seemed to support geocentrism.
        Nicolaus Copernicus ( 1473 – 1543) mathematician and astronomer who formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe. In 1497 Copernicus, by proxy, formally succeeded to the Warmia canonry which had been granted to him two years earlier. It is unclear whether he was ever ordained a priest. Copernicus did take minor orders, which sufficed for assuming a chapter canonry. In 1537 he was one of four candidates for the episcopal seat of Warmia, a position which required ordination.
        [Wikipedia]

        • The Snail @/”

          Thank you for that. I am not certain however when the official teaching of the Roman church endorsed the heliocentric model. Can you enlighten us? At one point Galileo was made to recant his belief in the Copernican model, was he not?

          • Coniston

            As far as I’m aware, the RCC was initially prepared to accept scientific beliefs as long as they did not openly contradict RC doctrine. Many famous scientists have been Christians (of different denominations).
            E.g.
            Georges Henri Joseph Édouard Lemaître (1894 – 1966) was a Belgian Catholic Priest, astronomer and professor of physics at the Catholic University of Leuven. He proposed the theory of the expansion of the universe, widely misattributed to Edwin Hubble. He was the first to derive what is now known as Hubble’s law and made the first estimation of what is now called the Hubble constant, which he published in 1927, two years before Hubble’s article. Lemaître also proposed what became known as the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe, which he called his “hypothesis of the primeval atom” or the “Cosmic Egg”.

            Gregor Mendel was an Augustinian priest and scientist (1822 – 1884) in Austria-Hungary and is well known for discovering genetics. He went to the Abbey of St. Thomas in Brno. He is often called the father of genetics for his study of the inheritance of certain traits in pea plants.
            [Wikipedia ]
            As for Galileo, I believe that in 1615 a commission was set up by the Vatican to see if Copernicus’ theory was true, and decided it was not contrary to faith. In 1616 it decided that the theory was not yet certain, so Galileo was told to say it was only a hypothesis, not certain. If certain, then the Bible did not contradict it.

      • Anton

        The church never believed that the earth was flat. The ancient Greeks knew it was round and the church never contended it.

        Coniston is somewhat economical with the truth regarding Galileo but all he has said is correct.

        • The Snail @/”

          The following article is instructive:

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

          However perhaps I should have said:

          Just think how long the fundamentalists rejected the concept of evolution.

          I now await the onslaught.

  • ardenjm

    Injustice is a terrible thing.
    Especially on this issue…
    http://thesestonewalls.com/about/

    • IanCad

      Justice works slowly; against the utter vileness of false witness there is little deterrent. Until those who fabricate falsehoods and those who hide them (law enforcement) are punished accordingly wickedness will continue.

      Take heart though that Dorothy Rabinowitz is on the case; it took a few years, but largely through her efforts, the victims in the Wenatchee child abuse cases were eventually vindicated. Hopefully the same outcome will be visited upon Father Gordon MacRae before too long.
      In our own fair land we are given an immediate opportunity to redress past wrongs by sacking – and right now – Alison Saunders.

      • ardenjm

        Fr MacRea was hung out to dry by his diocese…and 24 years in prison is a LONG time.

        • gadjodilo

          I’m just reading about him now. It seems he is sentenced to 67 years, while could have been out in 1 if he’d taken a plea bargain, but then he’d have to pretend to be guilty, which he refuses to do. Appalling.

          • Urgleboo

            And that is why routine plea bargaining is utterly inimical to justice.

          • IanCad

            And there we have the greatest injustice in the American judicial system. The utter corruption of the legal process through the threat of more serious charges if the accused doesn’t cop a plea. That; and the election of prosecutors and judges along with a privatised prison system. Don’t get me started!!!!

      • Anton

        In the Law of Moses someone found to have made a false accusation faced the penalty that the accused would have faced had the accusation been true. How wise God is!

        • Urgleboo

          Personally, I don’t think that goes far enough. One could impose the same judicial penalty on the liar concerned, but in many cases there is a lot more to answer for, reputation/family/employment included. Hyperbole to suggest that we string them high, absent some serious mitigation? Perhaps … but perhaps not …

          • Anton

            May I say that I think your name is great?! How did you choose it?

        • magnolia

          False accusations are very horrible. All too often instead of being put through the sieve of means, motive, opportunity, and any kind of corroboration, these accusations get put on file, no matter whether they amount to anything more than idle malevolent gossip. Sadly the poison pen writers will always be with us, but they deserve the sort of chilling grilling Miss Marple (Joan Hickman) gave them, at least.

    • CliveM

      In Church circles today, it would appear that if accused, you are increasingly convicted because of the proven sins of others and not for your own.

  • vsscoles

    People are already being threatened with “risk assessments” as a form of bullying by local hierarchs. A Kafka-esque scenario from which there is no appeal, no escape. I hope someone on General Synod – perhaps even Martin Sewell – might set in train a challenge to the unfortunate current status quo.

    • Ray Sunshine

      The Church of England nowadays appears to be modelled on the security state which was the former East Germany.
      If the Church of England has adopted Communist East Germany as its role model, the current bishop of Chichester has acted in the Bell case as though he was the head of the Stasi. But who cast him in that role? Did he just volunteer for the job and nobody took the trouble to stop him?

      • Martin Sewell

        I would not be too harsh on Bp Martin. The Carlile report suggests that he was not convinced by the allegations. One has to acknowledge the difficult position in which he found himself; he held responsibility for a Diocese with historic deep seated problems in this area. The latest independent audit of Chichester safeguarding indicates that he has led them in the right direction.

        He has played as a team player which is unfortunate because his instincts were sound: it takes confidence to stand against supposed “experts” and I cannot blame him if he lacked the courage of his convictions. Of course, Bell did so – but that is precisely what made him exceptional.

        • Ray Sunshine

          Thank you, Martin. It is good news that Bishop Warner isn’t, in fact, as guilty as he seemed to be from the earlier accounts of the C of E’s handling of the “Carol” case. I withdraw any criticism or slur I have made in my comments.

      • vsscoles

        It’s a diocese with more skeletons in the cupboards than in the graveyards. Perhaps he thought he was demonstrating a resolve which was not manifested by his predecessors?

    • Chris Bell

      Soon, perhaps, we will necessarily find ourselves outside Lambeth Palace and 10 Downing St. demanding a complete tranche of resignations. This will probably occur sometime after the outcome of the Gender Recognition Act which if endorsed will be THE sign that our society has died in its own excrement.

  • Sybaseguru

    Diocese in England have more safeguarding staff than any others – more than finance, more than Mission. And all of them are dedicated to ensuring its almost impossible to do mission, by putting so many obstacles in your way.

    • Little Black Censored

      Does this preoccupation with “safeguarding” explain the otherwise unsuitable appointment of Ms Mullaly as Bishop of London?

      • Dominic Stockford

        Who safeguarded not one single unborn baby in her previous existence.

    • magnolia

      Remember safeguarding is not just about sexual abuse, where if all extramarital sex regained its necessary taboo much damage would cease to exist, and many working hours of those always going to be innocent -due to orthodox belief and practice- be regained.

      It also relates to domestic violence and abuse of the vulnerable and elderly, much of it financial, or physical, or verbal abuse; these things all do matter.

    • The Snail @/”

      Mission in the CofE seems to be variously defined. In our local diocese, on one Sunday of the year, there are no services at the Cathedral and worshippers at the cathedral are encouraged to go to other churches, of their choice, in the diocese. Whilst this is very welcome, as local congregations get to see some new faces, this activity is defined as mission by the clergy at the Cathedral.

      I had always thought of Mission as synonymous with “The great commission” i.e to go into all the world and preach the gospel, making disciples etc.

      Perhaps the Great Commission has become the Great Omission but perhaps because of my rather slow attributes I have missed something?

  • Chris Bell

    Would that the experts Madden, Carlile and Freedman could shout with gusto that the life and works of George Bell are simply untouched by some nasty woman’s 60 yrs old ‘memories’. The woman is 70yrs old for God’s sake…………..what manner of mind would want to dredge anything up after such a period? Only a mind that is confused, resentful and needing attention. And no, for you saccharine bleeding hearts, she doesn’t deserve the least sympathy. The family of Bishop George Bell require all your sympathy. The experts know this…………..but yet still have to abide by contemporary sensitivities. The stentorian order “set your own house in order Madam” and to the Church “set your house in order too, for your simpering weakness brings shame to the Institution” …………………..is missing.
    Oh, and money of approx. £17k, should be immediately returned and given to Martin Sewell so as to aid him in destroying the canker infesting Arch. Well-maybe-its-true Church of England.

    • Little Black Censored

      @Chris Bell: any relation?

      • Chris Bell

        None excepting Conscience, Truth and Courage.

  • Andy

    I think Bishop Bell has been treated disgracefully by the Church, his reputation destroyed without much thought on the say so of someone relating some stories from 60+ years ago, the validity of which must be seriously doubted. It seems reading the Carlisle report that the allegations were not really examined in great detail and a simple skeptical examination of the details weren’t made. And yet the Church were quite happy to cough up nearly £17000 plus another £15k in legal fees to this woman and join in her trashing of a dead mans reputation.

    I think the time has come when accusations like these are made in the light of common day. If you cannot accuse in the open instead of behind the heavy curtain of anonymity then you really do not deserve to receive a penny in ‘compensation’ nor to have any claim taken seriously.

  • len

    So you go before the judge who asks “wheres the evidence?
    And the prosecution replies” oh, there’s no evidence at all ”
    Any respectable judge would reply”Why are you wasting the courts time then?.

    • Anton

      The evidence is the statement by “Carol”. I think you mean that there is no *corroborative* evidence.

      • Andy

        Carol’s ‘statement’ isn’t evidence: it’s an allegation. Unproven and untested in anyway as far as I can tell.

        • Anton

          And in cases where the accused is alive and denies it, is that denial not evidence either?

          • Andy

            No it isn’t. It is a rebuttal. It is for ‘Carol’ to prove her allegation. Just saying “‘Bishop Bell abused me when I was 8. . . ‘ ……. And here is my claim for compensation” isn’t good enough. And nor should it have been.

            If you look at the case of ‘Operation Midland’ and the web of lies woven by ‘Nick’ one is given to wonder if the Police have a grain of common sense. It was drivel, carefully crafted maybe, but drivel none the less. And why hasn’t this liar been exposed and prosecuted ?? There is no excuse not to expose him – he was not the subject of child abuse so is not covered by the provisions of the Act.

          • Anton

            Plenty of people are in jail today purely on the testimony of others, but you seem to think that that dosn’t constitute evidence…

  • Dominic Stockford

    The report is excellent, the response of the Church of England to it is [insert suitable derogatory adjective here].

    The last two lines of the article highlight why one should expect a more heated response from within the CofE. One is in enough danger simply by being a white male clergyman these days – surely none of them want to add into that being in a denomination which will happily throw you to the wolves, even when they are clearly wrong.

  • gadjodilo

    What’s it going to take for Welby to admit he is wrong about the appalling way he and his colleagues have trashed the reputation of George Bell? An uncorroborated child abuse accusation against Welby himself?

    • The Snail @/”

      A petition for his removal?

      • gadjodilo

        Hmm, I dunno, I guess it’s an idea, if only to send a message. I’m not a member of the C of E, or a resident of a country where it is the established church, so I’m probably not the right person to start it. But who would we get in his place – Sarah Mullally, or somebody even more politically correct?

  • Anton

    I think that the church might have done best to say to Carol when she first complained: “Someone telling us the truth and someone lying in the hope of getting money from us would say the same thing, so will you cooperate with us in trying to get more information? This would include subjecting you to questioning. Our only aim is to get at the truth. If we become convinced of Bell’s guilt then we would pay you compensation; if we don’t, we shan’t. Will you do this?” Proceed according to the reply.

  • Anton

    I don’t trust these people with the gospel, let alone getting justice right if a bishop is accused.

  • magnolia

    Brilliant. Thank you very much indeed for this. It is very illuminating and explains a massive amount, and is beautifully and carefully phrased. I do so hope you are heard.

  • ichabod

    As one has cone to expect, the C of E neither knows nor obeys the scriptures it purports to preach. Deut 17:6; 19:15-19; Matt 18:16; 2 Cor 13:1. All indicate that 2 or 3 witnesses are required to determine any judgement against anyone. With only one witness, there was no case to answer. End of story.

    That requirement for multiple witnesses is not just because witnesses might be malicious. Then the accuser is to be punished to the same extent and degree as a person.guilty of the crime the accuser falsely accused the other person (Deut 19:19).

    It is also because as Martin Sewell rightly says, people can be completely honest but mistaken. Memory is very unreliable, often where there is subjectively great certainty and a lot of detail. Some personal anecdotes illustrate:

    I first became aware of this problem when I was 30, when talking with a friend about an event that had been a defining and life changing moment in our lives and that of others a few years earlier. We both remembered the event very differently – to the extent that they were not obviously descriptions of the same event. A contemporary brief written record told a still different story again. Yet we were both certain of the events we spoke of. It was a great shock, as both of us believed we had reliable memories. I have never trusted memory to be accurate since.

    My guess is (supported by published research on memory) that these events had been in our minds, thought of often, and recounted to others, so it
    is likely the stories diverged as a result of the repeated recall and
    retelling.

    More recently I have had similar experiences with memories that were not of such great significance from variously 50 to 6 years ago – again the reality (on returning to a place) or compared with a contemporary written account – was not wholly correct. Sometimes not even seeming plausible as a genuine memory rather than a dream constructed from possibly true fragments of events.

    The same for two traumatic memories from early childhood, over 65 years ago. Very vivid and much strong incidental detail, and the place of the events quite certain. One is, I believe, but only because of the lack of any longer term sign of the serious injury apparently incurred, was a nightmare (and indeed became a nightmare that subsequently recurred). The second I genuinely believe really did happen, but I cannot be utterly certain (particularly as that too became a recurrent nightmare).

    “We do well to believe less than we are told” (Thomas a Kempis)

    • Anton

      The two-witness rule is when there is no other evidence. That applies here, of course, but you were allowed to make legal inference from material evidence in ancient Israel.

      • ichabod

        Given the way the legal system worked in Deut 19 where the witnesses were the sole accusers, such material evidence would have been brought forward as part of the evidence of an (accusing) witness as part of his evidence.

      • magnolia

        That makes far better sense. Otherwise anyone could be raped (male or female) in a solitary setting with impunity were it not to be the rule only “when there is no other evidence”.

    • Anne

      What you have said about faulty memory is very true – and its also interesting to note that the four Gospel writers all write about the same events with different eyes – one will give a vital fact which another will leave out altogether. Not to say that none of it is true – just a wondrous thing that the Word of God is a synergy of the divine and human – which is also, of course, what Jesus is in His nature.

      • The Snail @/”

        I think that what the Gospel writer’s record is based on the purpose they have. They abstract from the events those aspects are relevant to their purpose. For example not one tells us what Jesus looked like – that is irrelevant to what is their purpose.

        The Gospel writers are producing a Model i.e. an abstraction for a particular purpose.

        John is very upfront about his purpose he says in chapter 20

        “30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31 But these are written so that you may come to believe[ that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name”.

        John also admits it is an abstraction since he says Jesus did many more things than John records. The signs that John Records are those which appear to defy natural law.
        e.g. Turns water into wine, feeds 5000, cures a man born blind etc. If the reader accepts these miracles Jesus has power even over the Laws of Nature. There is no choice but belief.

      • pobjoy

        The gospellers wrote for different contemporary readerships, and each gospel was a ‘stand-alone’ record. So surely, no gospeller inspired by the Holy Spirit omitted a fact that is vital, that any reader, of any background, needs to know. It is more logical to say that events unrecorded in all four gospels are non-vital.

        • dannybhoy

          Ahem!
          There were twelve disciples chosen by Jesus but only two of them wrote gospel accounts, whilst Peter and James wrote pastoral letters..
          We have nothing recorded from Andrew, Bartholemew/Nathanael, James the lesser, Philip. Simon, Thomas, Judas of course,Jude/Thaddeuas…
          They may have written something even through scribes, but we don’t have any record..

          • pobjoy

            I referred to the four gospels attributed to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, described above as ‘gospellers’. Not as disciples. 🙂

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, I understood that, but I’m not sure the four gospelers were writing for specific readerships,. Rather they were writing from their own viewpoints and found audiences. It is interesting that all those other bona fide disciples seemed to fade into history with nothing written from their own experiences and anointings.

          • pobjoy

            Not many would agree with the writing from own viewpoints opinion, but you may be right. It surely makes little difference to the ‘vital vs non-vital’ discussion, though.

            Yes, we hear nothing more about most of the twelve. But they were a self-regulating reservoir of eye-witness accounts of the whole of Jesus’ ministry, and were no doubt used as such by the gospellers and many others.

          • Chefofsinners

            The opening of Luke’s gospel is instructive on this question:

            “Many have undertaken to draw up an account of the things that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed down to us by those who from the first were eyewitnesses and servants of the word. With this in mind, since I myself have carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I too decided to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, so that you may know the certainty of the things you have been taught.”

            The implication is that the memories of many people have been incorporated, and carefully cross-checked against one another.
            Shame the modern church isn’t so thorough.

          • dannybhoy

            Good points..

          • Brian

            Well, we do if Richard Bauckham’s thesis in ‘Jesus and the Eyewitnesses’ is correct. Their memories are found in the canonical gospels as well, along with the mother of Christ, Cleopas, Legion and well, legions of others. What Luke said in his preface.

          • dannybhoy

            Give me some references please Brian. I’ve never read anything outside of the books and letters of the Bible.

          • Brian

            The argument runs all the way thru his book ‘Jesus and the Eyewitnesses’ – a refutation of the liberal theory regnant in the 20th century that the Gospels were late compositions that reflect the churches in the last third of the first century rather than being a actual reminisces of what Jesus said and did. Bauckham examines all the characters in the Gospels as actual eyewitnesses – not fictional creations as Bultmann argued.

          • Brian

            You can find a brief summary here. The ‘naturalistic’ arguments for trusting the NT testimony had several foundations: an early dating for the gospels (none need be later than c. 62, the ending of Acts); the prevalence of bilingualism in Syria-Palestine; the teaching methods of Jesus (see Raisner); the catechetical method of instruction by the Jerusalem church which could easily be expanded into a proto-gospel; the presence in the Jeruslaem church of Mary, Cleopas, John Mark and many others who feature in the gospels. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Jesus-Eyewitnesses-Gospels-Eyewitness-Testimony/dp/0802874312/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1514926383&sr=8-1&keywords=jesus+and+the+eyewitnesses

          • Jilly

            I’ve read a synopsis of the book you quote. If I have understood correctly, it says that quite a bit written in the gospels was not from the writers’ memories but from other eyewitnesses, as you say, but not individually attributed. Makes me wonder about the Gnostic gospel of Thomas. Said to be heretical because it was different from the Synoptics and written a bit later but couldn’t there be stories handed down which came from eyewitnesses? There are some interesting snippets said to be sayings of Jesus.
            And there are followers of Mary Magdalene in the south of France who claim an oral tradition from her.

          • Brian

            Re The ‘Gospel of Thomas’ ;
            1. it isn’t a gospel but a collection of sayings.
            2. it isn’t by Thomas.
            3. it is pervaded by mystical Gnostic belief, not Jewish expectation of a Messiah.
            4. it is very misogynistic: ‘salvation’ for women consists of becoming as a man.
            Bizarrely, this anti-woman work has been promoted by modern feminists like Elaine Pagels as an ‘alternative Christianity’ – when everyone knows heresies have been present from the earliest days of Christianity.
            It is also central to revisionists like Burton Mack and Maurice Casey in their rewrite of Christian origins. I think Bart Ehrman is on that wagon as well. Simon Gathercole has responded.

          • Jilly

            I don’t dispute your 4 points at all as they are familiar to me though I dont know your ‘names’ apart from Elaine Pagels.
            The point I was making in a ‘conversation’ about what is left out of the four traditional gospels, about memories being handed down orally before being written down is that there could be memories recorded elsewhere. Thomas is an early Gnostic ‘gospel’, less ‘Gnostic’ than later ones and, while I don’t want to get involved in a political/academic argument, I can speculate that there is truth to be found in various early church writings without walking own the Gnostic path.

          • Sarky

            Erm, we do. We have the Gnostic gospels.

          • Anton

            Which were written several hundred years after the events they purport to describe and frequently conflict with the gospels written within living memory. You need only apply the same criteria of reliability that secular historians do in order to discount them.

          • Sarky

            Reading through this thread it would seem ‘within living memory’ isn’t reliable either!!

          • Anton

            Then take it up with the people saying that.

          • Chefofsinners

            Indeed not. That is why the early church put great effort into dividing truth from error. Read the opening verses of Luke’s gospel.

        • Ray Sunshine

          It is more logical to say that events unrecorded in all four gospels are non-vital.

          And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.
          ―Something I remember reading somewhere once.

          • pobjoy

            The final words of John’s gospel; though ‘Amen’ is not in most translations. So it was impossible to record everything. Gospel-writers used the vital chronology, and selected the rest as was suited to their purpose.

        • Non-vital? You now this how? The early Church spread by teaching and preaching.

          • pobjoy

            Someone reading Mark’s gospel could be convinced of the gospel message and been converted (as some in modern times have), even though it is the shortest of the four. It therefore follows that material extra to this gospel can be accounted non-vital.

          • Because the Holy Spirit did not include it.

          • Scripture does not say the Bible is all we need for salvation; nor does it say the Bible is even necessary to believe in Christ. The true “rule of faith” is expressed in the Bible itself – i.e. Scripture plus Apostolic tradition, the living teaching authority of the Catholic Church to which were entrusted the oral teachings of Jesus and the Apostles, along with the authority to interpret Scripture correctly.

          • Chefofsinners

            Scripture plus the Holy Spirit. That’s what Jesus said:

            “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth.” John 16:13

            No mention of apostolic tradition or the Catholic Church.

          • Christ was speaking to His Church – not to individuals. Jesus told his disciples: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me” (Luke 10:16). The Church, in the persons of the Apostles, was given the authority to teach by Christ; the Church would be his representative. He commissioned them, saying, “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19).

            The earliest Christians had no New Testament; they learned from oral instruction. Paul says that much Christian teaching is to be found in the tradition which is handed down by word of mouth (2 Tim. 2:2). He instructs us to “stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter” (2 Thess. 2:15). “So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes by the preaching of Christ” (Rom. 10:17). The Church is the living teacher. It is a mistake to limit “Christ’s word” to the written word only or to suggest that all his teachings were reduced to writing. The Bible nowhere supports either notion.

          • pobjoy

            ‘Jesus told his disciples: “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me” (Luke 10:16)’

            Why should anyone believe that those who rejected Jesus were not of the kind that formed the cult now headed by Jorge Bergoglio?

            ‘Paul says that much Christian teaching is to be found in the tradition which is handed down by word of mouth (2 Tim. 2:2).’

            That’s not what 2 Tim 2:2 says.

            ‘He instructs us to “stand firm’

            That’s not true, either. He instructed the Thessalonian church.

          • Anton

            The Holy Spirit, rather. I actually agree that the church is vital in learning, but disagree about how. I see the way as no-holds-barred discussions in scripture study among believers (who are the church), just as the rabbis and their pupils did; not in being told what to believer by a hierarchy.

          • “I see the way as no-holds-barred discussions in scripture study among believers …. “

            With no end to disagreement? It’s certainly the protestant model. Endless division and separation. It’s not about “being told what to believe by a hierarchy” but following the authority Christ instituted and, in doing so, following Him. Do you have an issue with authority?

          • Chefofsinners

            The only alternative to endless disagreement is to endlessly accept error.

          • Is it?
            Christ said too Peter: “Upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:18). By the “gates of Hell”, He meant the power of the devil – all kinds of attacks, physical violence as well as false teaching. Christ promised that the Church would be assailed, but never overcome.

            After telling His Apostles to teach all nations, Christ said: “Behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matthew 28:20). As the Apostles were not to live to the end of the world, Christ was addressing them as representatives of a perpetual Church.

            The Apostles themselves understood Christ to mean that His Church should endure. After organising Christian communities, they appointed successors in their place, to live after them and carry on the Church. The Apostles instructed these successors to ordain in turn other bishops and priests. All these acts were to assure the perpetuity of the Church.

            Christ intended the Church to remain as He founded it, to preserve the whole of what He taught. If the Church lost any of the qualities that God gave it, it could not be said to be indefectible, because it would not be the same institution. Indefectibility implies unchangeability. Our Lord promised to abide by the Church, to assist it, and to send the Holy Spirit to remain in it. God does not change: “Behold I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Matthew 28:20).

          • Chefofsinners

            Yes it is. Otherwise you would not be disagreeing with me.

          • Except it’s not what Christ intends:

            “It is not only for them that I pray; I pray for those who are to find faith in me; that they may all be one; that they too may be one in us, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; so that the world may come to believe that it is thou who hast sent me. And I have given them the privilege which thou gavest to me, that they should all be one, as we are one; that while thou art in me, I may be in them, and so they may be perfectly made one. So let the world know that it is thou who hast sent me, and that thou hast bestowed thy love upon them, as thou hast bestowed it upon me.”

          • Chefofsinners

            Exactly. Christ intends you to be set free from the errors and dominion of Catholicism, into the glorious liberty of the sons of God. This is why we persist in pointing out your misunderstandings.

          • len

            You are now telling us what Christs’ intends’ to say?.
            Perhaps Jesus couldn’t explain Himself properly and’ Jack’ knows better than Christ???.

          • It’s all in scripture.

          • pobjoy

            ‘By the “gates of Hell”, He meant the power of the devil’

            Not so. This phrase referred to death, and its power to condemn. This was restated as ‘there is no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus’. So the church *could* be overcome on earth, which in many places, it was. The cult of papacy did its best to overcome it, as did the Mohammedan following.

            The Rock referred to by Jesus was himself.

          • len

            I have given Jack ALL the scriptures which prove Christ is ‘the Rock’ in scripture, even Peter confessed Christ as ‘the Rock’ .But Jack cannot accept this simple truth.
            The reason that Jack and others cannot accept the truth regarding scripture is because if they admit the RCC has lied to them the who rotten edifice of Catholicism will come crashing down
            So its easy for those who have been indoctrinated into the lie to swallow the Lie, than face the Truth.

          • pobjoy

            Yes, these same verses are re-cycled despite repeated correct explanation of their meanings. I don’t think there’s much hope for most of those who recycle them; leopards don’t change their spots. But they hope to snare casual readers, who may take these falsehoods seriously, and be drawn into a dangerous organisation.

          • dannybhoy

            Sorry guys, but had any of us been brought up in the Catholic understanding of the faith we would to the best of our ability defend that understanding,
            So whilst I agree wih what is being said, I still find myself wondering what the Lord Himself values most – our love and devotion, or our theological accuracy?
            I disagree with some of Jack’s Catholic doctrine, but should I reject him because we cannot agree, or respect his position and accept that I can learn from him?
            At the end of the day we will each give an account of ourselves to Him.
            None of us are perfect or will be this side of Heaven, so as St Paul said,
            “And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
            1st Corinthians 13.
            Let us seek to love one another.

          • pobjoy

            ‘had any of us been brought up in the Catholic understanding of the
            faith we would to the best of our ability defend that understanding’

            Which distinctive Catholic teaching is not heresy, and destructive of souls?

          • CliveM

            I endorse your sentiments DB.

          • len

            I see where you are going with this Danny, But;
            Let us speak the truth in love.
            It is the truth that sets us free .Deception will hold us in bondage to the lie.

          • Anton

            Exactly. To parahprase Upton sinclair, It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his ecclesiology depends upon his not understanding it.

          • len

            Ok Jack, continue with the discussion between Jesus and Peter ; “get behind me satan” (addressed to Peter)..
            I suppose you will be claiming that too?. The RCC is the church of Satan.

          • Christ’s Church was established at Pentecost with Peter established and confirmed as her earthly leader until His return.
            It’s all in scripture.

          • len

            This is ‘the Broad Road ‘to destruction, the same one which is on the C of E seems to be following the R C C down?.

          • Chefofsinners

            Yes. Or the via media, as they call it.
            Jude’s exhortation to “earnestly contend for the faith once delivered” is replaced with ‘good disagreement’.

          • pobjoy

            ‘With no end to disagreement?’

            Catholicism remains a tolerated, catholic mélange of views because all of them are wrong.

            ‘It’s certainly the protestant model.’

            It should be remembered that many Catholics have protested against Catholic practice and teaching, and gone their own way, while still calling themselves Catholics. No organisation in history has the range of syncretisms of the RCC.

            It’s not the Protestant model. The word Protestant is derived from the Scripture that papalism claims to have defined. Protestantism is based on the final authority of the Bible, hermenuetically interpreted, and most ‘Protestant’ deviations are due to interpretation that is not hermeneutical, i.e. due to making Scripture disagree with Scripture, the quintessence of papalism. Other disagreements have been over issues that need not divide.

          • len

            Do you have an issue with authority?
            Only when its corrupt.
            Satan has authority over all who are in rebellion against God.

          • Chefofsinners

            The Church is composed of individual believers.

          • “Abide in me and I in you. I am the vine, you are the branches.” (Jn 15:4-5). He announced a real communion between his body and ours. “He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me and I in him.” (Jn 6:56).
            The Church is the Body of Christ – One Body – the society of those who have been baptised, and who profess the faith of Christ, and who are governed by their bishops under the visible head, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome.

          • len

            There is no ‘Church’ in the Bible its an invention of men.

          • dannybhoy

            Or perhaps He was talking figuratively Jack..
            The command of our Lord to “pluck out thine eye if it offend thee” has not (as far as this dodo knows), been taken up by many saints down through the years.
            Much more likely our Lord was speaking idiomatically; God incarnate born as a son of Israel, living and preaching as a Jewish rabbi to His contemporaries, and emphasising a point in the language of the day..
            That’s what this little old Prod with two intact eyes and two rather gnar-led hands thinks anyway…

          • Chefofsinners

            Hogwash.
            1Cor 6:19:

            Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

          • pobjoy

            So how do Anglicans and others claiming faith in Christ figure in the HJ scheme of things?

          • dannybhoy

            “The Church is the Body of Christ – One Body – the society of those who have been baptised, and who profess the faith of Christ, and who are governed by their bishops under the visible head, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome.”
            I happily go along with your first statement, but,
            “and who are governed by their bishops under the visible head, the Pope, the Bishop of Rome.”
            No.
            There is no Biblical justification for this, Just think, if Hebrews describes Christ as our High Priest, and James tells us to confess our sins to each other, what need do we have of a (human) priest?

          • Chefofsinners

            The scriptures are the writings of the apostles, as accepted by the early church. There were many other writings by many other church leaders, but none were accorded the same status. Now you and your apostate church attempt to accord yourself equal authority in order to propagate multiple errors which directly contradict those scriptures. No, no, no.

          • dannybhoy

            Wow!!
            Way off the mark there, Jacko..!

          • Anton

            Translation: We the Catholic church wrote the scriptures so we have the authority to mess them around by distorting and adding to them.

          • The Truth was given to the Church by Christ – orally. It has been spread in both written and oral form by His chosen Apostles and their successors who have the guidance of the Holy Spirit to develop and apply this Truth.

          • pobjoy

            ‘The Truth was given to the Church by Christ – orally.’

            And faithfully recorded, according to the Vatican, in the gospels. Unfortunately, the Truth that supports the distinctive teachings of the Vatican was not recorded. Which is a difficulty, because there is not one teaching of Christ that the Vatican’s experts can say, “Protestants don’t observe this.”

          • The Snail @/”

            The Word of God and the Holy Spirit – when you limit the Word of God to the Bible – I would ask you which version . For the Hebrew Bible The Septaguint? which most NT writers quote? which is different from the Masoretic text of the OT. e.g. Jeremiah is 12% shorter than the Masoretic text. The septaguint talks about the “red Sea” the Masoretic Text says Sea of reeds. etc.

          • Chefofsinners

            If, in a bizarre set of circumstances, it became necessary to determine the exact name of the sea in question, I would wait on the Holy Spirit for guidance.

            Broadly, where NT writers quote from the Septuagint, I would take that reading. Otherwise I would give greater weight to the Masoretic text. However, the instances where there is a significant practical difference are few.

          • len

            No mention of the Catholic Church? .Does that mean someone made the whole thing up?.

          • pobjoy

            ‘No mention of the Catholic Church?’

            ‘There were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them — bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their shameful ways and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.’ 2 Pe 2:1-3

            Smack dab, Peter Barjona.

          • Chefofsinners

            Hmm… now that you mention it…

          • pobjoy

            ‘Scripture does not say the Bible is all we need for salvation; nor does it say the Bible is even necessary to believe in Christ.’

            That’s because all that is needed for salvation is acceptance of the gospel. The gospel can be explained by Christians, even children, in just a few minutes.

            ‘Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.’ 1 Pe 3:15 NIV

            There were people in the USSR who died for their biblical faith without having read one word of a Bible.

            ‘The true “rule of faith” is expressed in the Bible itself – i.e. Scripture plus Apostolic tradition’

            1 Pe 3:15 seems to apply to perfection. Bible reference, please, if thought otherwise.

          • The Snail @/”

            In and before the 18th century, many of the ordinary people could not read or write. Could they not follow Christ because they were illiterate?

            I don’t recall any text in the Bible saying – “To enter the Kingdom of Heaven you must be able to read”. Even if there was the illiterate could not read it anyway!!

          • pobjoy

            Quite so. The people in the USSR who died for their biblical faith without having read one word of a Bible did so simply because import of Bibles was illegal. The gospel can be explained by Christians, even children, in their own words. And better for it.

            The bone of contention here is one of attribution. The notion of oral tradition that has no written origin necessarily has no known originator, who could be one’s adversary. It is therefore on the same level as rumour, or ‘old-wives’ tale’, with humble apologies to all and every old wife, so cruelly libelled by this phrase. Mother is always right, of course.

          • The Snail @/”

            I can see how dear Mrs Proudie might be upset by your remarks about ‘Old Wives’ . She has a few tales to tell about the Cathedral Clergy no doubt.

          • pobjoy

            🙂

          • len

            IF you have Christ you have everything ,if you do not have Christ you don’t have anything that’s going to save you.

            Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers! ‘(Matthew 7:23)

  • carl jacobs

    Well reasoned. Well argued. But one has to consider the practicalities.

    This was the CoEs potential line of defense. They could have attacked the victim’s story as non-credible and “false memory” would have been the way to do it without directly accusing her of lying. But then Carol would start doing emotional interviews with sympathetic Guardianistas. And the CoE is not going to effectively counter that campaign with some Psychiatrist talking in the abstract about false memory. That’s called leading with your chin. People won’t buy the whole “She is just remembering things that didn’t happen” line. They might conclude however that she was abused by someone in the CoE not named George Bell and misidentified her abuser. And that would likewise be a PR disaster. Now the face of the accuser is unknowable and the CoE has no way to expiate the guilt. George Bell put a convenient face to the crime. He was a sufficient scapegoat for the moment. It didn’t matter if he was guilty. What mattered was that he could be made to carry the sin.

    The problem was not an unwillingness to receive the report but an unwillingness to bear the reputational damage. Protecting the institution was the overriding imperative. When viewed through this lens, the decision makes perfect sense.

    • Ray Sunshine

      They might conclude however that she was abused by someone in the CoE not named George Bell and misidentified her abuser. And that would likewise be a PR disaster. Now the face of the accuser is unknowable and the CoE has no way to expiate the guilt. George Bell put a convenient face to the crime. He was a sufficient scapegoat for the moment.

      Very cogently stated. Thank you, Carl.

    • magnolia

      ah… sin-eating…..an interesting tradition from some outlying area of England. The sin eater would live on the outskirts of society and ritually “eat” the sin of those who might end up in the wrong place….However it was not some poor unwilling person now residing in Heaven ho did it. Perhaps we are becoming less civilised?

      • Coniston

        Yes – visit Ratlinghope church in Shropshire.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      Reasoning worthy of Sir Humphrey Appleby, GCB, KBE, MVO, MA (Oxon).

      • Brian

        You omitted his other postnominals: CYA, BSE, NTDWM etc

    • Brian

      It’s good to know that the Church of England DOES believe in Penal Substitutionary Atonement after all!

    • Boxfordblogger2012

      It may appear to make sense, Carl, viewed through that lens (and one bears in mind the background of an appalling record of responses to proven clerical abuse in the diocese of Chichester (vide Colin Pritchard, Roy Cotton, Bishop Peter Ball), but it was an indefensibly immoral and unjust decision, which Lord Carlile has exposed as such. Now the Church has to meet the reputational fallout from its fundamentally flawed investigation and decision – and so far it is not meeting it very well.

      • carl jacobs

        You are absolutely right. It was morally indefensible. But it could have worked. What the CoE didn’t consider was the possibility of losing control of the narrative. George Bell was supposed to be tried, shot, buried in an unmarked grave, and forgotten. His defenders weren’t supposed to be able to get any traction. But amazingly enough they managed to do just that.

        So now the CoE gets the worst of both worlds. It still looks guilty but it also looks venal and incompetent.

        • Anton

          Only “looks”?

      • Dominic Stockford

        Chichester Theological College had a large proportion of gay students when I was sent on an ‘exchange’ from the RC seminary I was in at the time – more than the RC seminary, and far more overt. About 1984-5.

  • carl jacobs

    Mr Sewell

    “Slide-rule precision?”

    • Martin

      I go for a calculator every time, or failing that, log tables.

      • carl jacobs

        Well, it was actually a good choice of phrasing since soccer is inherently an imprecise game. But I don’t think he meant it that way, and slides rules disappeared almost 50 years ago.

        I still remember my first calculator. It was an SR50 from Texas Instruments. Not as cool as the SR51 however.

        • Martin

          I collected slide rules for a while, until they went up in price. I was never good at using one tho’. I had a couple of programmable calculators, one a TI 58 I think and a Sinclair Cambridge.

          • Ray Sunshine

            I only ever owned one slide rule, which I went on using until the cursor snapped. By that time not only were there no more slide rules available in the shops, I couldn’t even get a replacement part for the cursor. So from then on it was calculators. My first one was also, I think, like Carl’s, from Texas Instruments. It was described as a “pocket” calculator but none of my jackets had a pocket that big.

    • Chefofsinners

      In defence of the phrase ‘slide rule pass’, it eloquently describes the carefully calculated precision of the angle, timing and weight of a pass which slides through a narrow gap between defenders to arrive at the feet of a teammate on the run.
      There is also the delightfully contrasting phrase ‘hospital pass’, which so fittingly describes the work of the CoE in this case.

  • Ray Sunshine

    Off topic, with apologies to His Grace and Martin Sewell.—The protests in Iran have spread to even more cities today (Tuesday) and there have apparently been nine deaths today alone, bringing the total to over 20 since the current wave of protests began last Thursday.
    Are there any communicants with a specialist knowledge of Iran and the Middle East? The way things are going, my (uninformed and nonspecialist) hunch is that we’re about to witness a significant shift in the political mechanics of the Islamic Republic. More power to the ayatollahs, would be my guess, and less to the elected politicians. Will Rouhani still be president this time next week?
    https://tinyurl.com/washpost20180102

    • Brian

      Obama’s narrative coming apart here? War with the Saudis perhaps? Personally I blame the Jooos.

      • Anton

        If there’s a big Sunni-Shia war coming up then let us hope that the USA understands how the West might do well from it.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Arab World Ministries may have information, though whether or not they are able to share it is another matter.

      • Ray Sunshine

        Chronicle of a death foretold, in today’s Haaretz, quoting a Kuwaiti newspaper called Al Jarida, about which Haaretz says, “It is generally assumed in the Arab world that the paper is used as an Israeli platform for conveying messages to other countries in the Middle East.”

        Washington has given Israel a green light to assassinate Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, accoprding to Al-Jareida, which adds that “there is an American-Israeli agreement” that Soleimani is a “threat to the two countries’ interests in the region.”
        https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.832387

        • Dominic Stockford

          It seems unlikely, though the fools in the US might consider such an action. I don’t think that Israel is so naive as to think one assassination would actually do anything positive.

          • Ray Sunshine

            It wouldn’t be the first time that the Mossad has undertaken a mission of that kind. It has worked for them previously.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Mossad have a reputation for doing things to STOP war, doing this would indubitably start one. Not their style.

          • Ray Sunshine

            If it’s true that the Kuwaiti newspaper really does act as an unofficial Israeli mouthpiece, there’s something a bit odd about announcing in advance that a named Iranian army officer has been added to the Mossad’s hit list. Maintaining deniability and all that … On the other hand, though, if it’s just a smokescreen of some kind, what can it be intended to hide?

  • So why didn’t the psychiatrists simply say:

    “It is not possible to conclude to a reasonable degree of psychiatric or psychological certainty that “Ms X” was sexually abused by Archbishop Bell.”?

    It’s the question Jack would have asked. All the rest is flannel.

    • Brian

      Bell wasn’t an Archbishop. If he had been, I suspect the Establishment wouldn’t have thrown him under the bus.

  • Brian

    Following on from Carl Jacobs’ reference to possible interviews with ‘sympathetic Guardianistas’, it should be apparent now that Justin Welby does take his moral and social bearings from the left-liberal outlook we call ‘Guardianista’ and is out of step with most of his church. This is evident from at least five things he has said: 1. He is on record as saying he is “gobsmacked” by the devotion he has seen in homosexual couples to each other – a bizarre utilitarian comment. 2. He had described “homophobia” as a great “evil” (when Scripture knows no such thing and instead condemns homosexual acts). 3. He expressed his complete inability in a radio interview to understand why American evangelicals supported Trump when the answer is rather obvious to anybody who thinks about it (‘lesser of two evils, agreed with policies, not the man, more Christians in Supreme Court, couldn’t stand Hillary and Bill etc etc’ – see, that wasn’t difficult? – only a Guardianista would think it strange and immoral not to vote for Clinton).4. His Christmas Day sermon (on the Feast of the Incarnation!) attacking ‘populist politicians’ was evidently an attack on Trump. 5. He is plainly opposed to Brexit as is just about everyone shaped by multinational corporations like Total and struggles with the fact of the popular vote. He was and is a Company Man to his core. He is also the least theologically equipped Archbishop of Canterbury in memory. Williams, Carey, Runcie, Coggan and Ramsay were all trained academic theologians and would never have succumbed to Welby’s management-speak – soon to be joined by Mullally. Not good.

    • David Nicholls

      A fair commentary. Welby is indeed a ‘company man’ and Mullally is a ‘company woman’, both of whom strive not to offend and make asses of themselves. It augurs ill for the future of the Church of England which is in dire trouble and facing the prospect of extinction in about 20 to 25 years.

    • Martin

      Has he ever sat in the pew and listened to sound, Bible based, verse by verse, preaching? He seems to have no concept of what should be second nature to pew fodder like myself.

      • Dominic Stockford

        I doubt it, he came through HTB after all…..

        • John

          …from whom you can download for free The Bible in One Year app with thought-provoking comments and practical exhortations on the whole counsel of God by Rev Gumbel. They plant churches, they have a 24/7 prayer tent, they have an amazing prisons ministry which is seeing some of Britain’s hardest criminals come to faith, they strengthen marriage with an excellent 7-week course and so on and so on. They may not be everyone’s flavour of the month but they are not the enemy Dominic; aim your fire in the direction of liberals who are spreading their cancer of cynical unbelief into the church of God.

          • Brian

            I agree. I wouldn’t blame HTB for Welby’s theological thinness. HTB is disinclined to tackle controversial issues but it has tried to say on the correct side of orthodoxy. Even so, it is also open to the temptations of popularity.

          • Anton

            It is a gnostic error to regard theology as a university subject. Christian teachers need to know their Bibles well and be men of deep faith. The latter is the entire trouble in the upper reaches of the CoE, which is populated largely by liberal theologians who are, frankly, parasites on the body of Christ.

          • Sir John Oldcastle

            Subtle error is dangerous. Their transformation of the Holy Spirit into a divine juju man, their downplaying of sin, and their adulation of man are subtle errors.

      • bluedog

        Actually, yes. Welby would have had his grounding in Christianity as a boarder at his prep school. The chaplain there was one Canon Felix Farebrother who preached a sound middle-of-the-road CoE evangelism. It seems that Welby picked up his progressive indoctrination at a latter date, in circumstances that may have made Farebrother’s ministry seem stuffy and boring. One can only guess where and when the seduction of Welby occurred; suffice to say Farebrother’s teaching seems to have been erased from the memory.

  • Sarky

    Just a thought, but would any of this have happened if the cofe had not been so secretive and complicit in covering up allegations in the past?
    You reap what you sow.

    • Anton

      It is more the Roman Catholic church which has the reputation for that.

      • carl jacobs

        Oh no. The RCC may be the principle offender, but the guilt for their offense has been attributed far and wide. It is a convenient club with which religion may be delegitimized. The meme of the abusing religious priest/minister is well-embedded in our culture by now.

        And you can see why. The power of human sexuality makes it a useful lever by which religious authority can be undermined. All you have to do to use that lever is grant permission for sexual license. People want to receive that license. They also want to believe that sexual boundaries originate in the minds of sexually repressed hypocrites who seek to control others but not themselves.

        The “Religious leader equals sexual predator” theme is how individual crimes have been weaponized for service in the Culture Wars.

        • Anton

          Actually I think the real reason is that the church (I am not making any denominational point here) is called to preach spiritual cleanliness, yet it seems to be dirtier than the world in this particular regard. Sometimes we need to listen to what the world says about us.

          • Satan is your friend …..

          • Anton

            What are you on about? We have to evangelise the world, so we need to know what it says about us. I am not making any denominational point. If the church is dirtier than the world by God’s criteria then we need to hang our heads in shame.

          • “If the church is dirtier than the world by God’s criteria …. “
            You’re assuming it is.

          • Anton

            I recall paedophilia stats per 1000 priests and 1000 per head of the general population, to that effect (although I did say “If”). Arden has been prepared to say here that it is correlated with homosexuality and that homosexuality is rife in Catholic seminaries. I wish Catholics well in spiritually cleansing their church.

          • carl jacobs

            Not “correlated with”. It’s better to say “caused by”. The abuse crisis it RCC was a crisis of homosexual priests seeking out and seducing teenaged boys.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Mostly, yes, but not entirely. One RC priest, for instance, from one specific UK Diocese was ‘sent abroad’ after his relationship with a 14 year old girl came out. Another from the same diocese chose to show me highly irregular and discomforting photos he had taken of another 14 year old girl. That’s two out of not many over 100 – which I grant was apparently lower than the number of those homosexuals in that diocese ‘acting out’.

          • carl jacobs

            Between 80 and 90%. The homosexual component formed the critical mass that triggered the necessity of widespread cover-up. Otherwise the remaining individual crimes would have been buried in the noise. That’s also why the crisis was portrayed as pedophilia. People were intended to visualize adults raping small prepubescent children. They weren’t supposed to visualize homosexual men abusing vulnerable teenaged boys.

          • Sir John Oldcastle

            Understood.

          • Brian

            I didn’t see this comment when I commented above but I think it is a correct summary of the situation.

          • Most of the abusing priests were ephebophiles who abused post-pubertal boys.

            Actually, the statistics that are available (and all are problematic) indicate the Roman Catholic Church is no better or worse than any other church or organisation.

          • Anton

            I was trying not to make denominational points. But none of my Elders is in question.

          • Guess you just couldn’t resist.

          • Anton

            I went after you did, and because you did.

          • Jack simply corrected your factual misrepresentation. Chid abuse is no higher or lower in the Catholic Church than in other churches and organisations.

          • Anton

            Stats for the proportion of Catholic priests in a country (eg, Ireland) known to have abused children and the proportion of men in its general population known to have done the same?

          • So cite these statistics if you have them.

          • Anton

            I recall reading them. Getting hold of them would be significant work and you have often said “Jack isn’t going to do your work for you” after I’ve requested backup for something you’ve said. Feel free not to believe them if you prefer.

          • There are no statistics backing your assertion.

          • Anton

            I’m not trying to convince you; if I were then I’d have taken the trouble to hunt down what I read.

          • Translation: there are no statistics backing your assertions.

          • Anton

            Can you prove that?

            Believe me, I’d be glad to be wrong on this occasion.

          • carl jacobs

            Is it? Certainly that is the perception. But who is shaping that perception? Those who matter are those who get displayed for public view.

          • Anton

            I am trying not to point denominational fingers in this subthread. But friends in Ireland who are essentially secular say that it is the episcopal cover-up rather than the priestly paedophilia that Irish society has not forgiven.

          • carl jacobs

            Sure. But that doesn’t address my point. There is now in our culture an easy and casual association between Ministry and Child Abuse that exists nowhere else. Why does this crass generalization exist? Because there are so many people who have a vested interest in making the connection. It fits their presupposed stereotypes about what Religion is and how it influences people.

            You can’t fix this by being transparent and clean. You can only “fix it” by admitting that your religion is wrong and shutting it down.

          • Homosexual predation – not “priestly paedophilia” – is real. The Church got things badly wrong. Facts harnessed by those who hate Christ and His Church to fuel a moral panic and use this as a weapon in a full out assault on the “gay-bashing, women-hating, contraceptive-battling” Catholic Church.

          • Anton

            I wish the Catholic church well in rooting out all evil within itself.

          • Brian

            There was little paedophilia in the RCC as that word is clinically used: sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children. It was journalistic misuse of the word to conceal the actual problem which HJ has correctly called homosexual predation: homosexual men abusing teenage boys. Because homosexuality now has protected status, it was necessary for journalists to obfuscate the issue, hence the reference to paedophilia – which is actually a rare condition.

          • Ray Sunshine

            From time to time on Catholic websites you see commenters whining that the “correct” term is “ephebophilia” because the boys were adolescents, not children. But they don’t do their cause any good, in my view. The point is that the boys were minors, they were under the age of consent, and making a fuss about terminology makes it look as though they’re arguing that the priests didn’t really do anything wrong, after all. But they did. That’s the trouble, and playing with words won’t make it go away. The old adage says, “When you’re in a hole, stop digging.” Bitchy whining about “ephebophilia” is just digging the hole even deeper.

          • No one is arguing this is not child sexual abuse. However, facts are important and words shape perceptions. When the term “paedophilia” is incorrectly used to mask a homosexual scandal it is important to point this out.

          • Ray Sunshine

            When the term “paedophilia” is incorrectly used to mask a homosexual scandal it is important to point this out.

            How many people other than professional psychologists and psychiatrists would have been able to correctly define “paedophilia” before the Archbishop Law scandal in Boston put it in the headlines around the world? It’s too late now to complain that the term is technically incorrect. That’s just shouting at the television.

          • No, it’s not. When the scandal first broke in Boston it was acceptable to use terms like “homosexual abuse”.

            The terms “predators” and “paedophiles” were very effectively used by anti-Catholic organisations in America and fuelled a witch hunt.

            In the later 1980s and 1990s, SNAP had the terminology right. The scandal in the priesthood was first and foremost a story of homosexual predation and blackmail. But to maintain the moral panic, the language had to change to suit political correctness. The terminology did not sit well with the gay rights movement, so SNAP had to change its tactics and its language. Even the bishops went along with the new script, and to this day many Catholic commentators still stick to the “pedophile priest” story.

            http://thesestonewalls.com/gordon-macrae/how-snap-brought-mccarthyism-to-american-catholics/

            If you fail to identify the nature of a problem you’ll never address its root causes.

            When the John Jay College of Criminal Justice was commissioned to study the causes and contexts, both the researchers and the bishops were left with a conundrum. The results were clear that this was not a crisis involving pedophilia as it is clinically defined – though that did exist on a much smaller scale. The problem was predominantly, and clearly, claims of homosexual predation of adolescent and young adult males during the sexual revolution of the 1960s to 1980s. There is no greater evidence of the power of reaction formation than when an entire institution would prefer the term “pedophile scandal” to “homosexual scandal” even when the facts say otherwise.

            http://thesestonewalls.com/gordon-macrae/be-wary-of-crusaders-the-devil-sigmund-freud-knew-only-too-well/

          • Brian

            That’s right. ‘Paedophilia’ is a boo-word and to be tarred with that word is a killer blow. About 80% of the cases concerned homosexual predation on teenage boys. That is *not what ‘paedophilia’ means – sexual attraction to pre-pubescent children, which is quite rare. Many heterosexual men left the Catholic priesthood to marry in the 1970s and I think this is what made the proportion of homosexuals that much higher.

          • carl jacobs

            It’s not about terminology. Its about asking the right questions. The most important question that so many people did not want asked let alone answered was this: “Why were homosexuals so over-represented in the cohort of priestly abusers?” And of course the follow on question: “What should we do about it?”

            Do you see how completely the narrative would turn? The description shifts from one of repressed sexuality unleashed to one of sexual boundaries destroyed.

          • If most of the damage was done by gay priests, it raises the question whether there would have been a scandal at all had homosexuals been barred from the priesthood. While the conclusion—no gays, no scandal—is simplistic, it nonetheless reveals more than it conceals. It is too simplistic because it does not take into account the fact that in the 1970s (at the height of the scandal), America was in the throes of a sexual revolution, one which touched every institution in society, including the Catholic Church; no matter what the composition of the priesthood, some problems were on the horizon given the cultural turbulence of this period.

            Having said as much, it should be obvious that if eight in ten of the molesters had never been allowed to become priests, the scandal as we know it would have been avoided.

            https://www.catholicleague.org/homosexuality-and-sexual-abuse/

          • Ray Sunshine

            “Why were homosexuals so over-represented in the cohort of priestly abusers?” And of course the obvious follow on question: “What should we do about it?”

            Exactly, Carl! That’s the job the Church needs to give its undivided attention to, instead of pathetically waffling on about which of two technical terms, ephebophilia or pedophilia, is the correct name of the sexual perversion that it turned a blind eye to.

          • Brian

            Actually the correct terms is pederasty – a practice very well known, in fact, institutionalised, in ancient Greece between older men and younger male lovers, often pupils of teachers.

          • And likely to be acceptable, even celebrated, at some point in our culture. Just a matter of time.

          • gadjodilo

            It’s not dirtier than the world in this regard. Here in Eastern Europe sexual abuse of children was rife in the (atheist) communist orphanages, sadly. And how many of the lone wolf abusers who have been discovered were church-going Christians? None spring to mind.

        • bluedog

          Excellent summary of the techniques being used by the Left to neutralise and destroy the opposition of the established churches to the Left’s social agenda. Sadly it seems that the CoE has allowed itself to be the willing accomplice of these tactics, and has completely submitted to the Left’s agenda, as witnessed by its treatment of Bell.

        • Anton

          I was being careful in my words as I was making a point of information rather than a denominational point.

      • dannybhoy

        Why throw stones Anton?
        Wny not accept our own failings and pray for others rather than point fingers at them?

        • Anton

          I wrote below, before you posted, that “I was being careful in my words as I was making a point of information rather than a denominational point” and that “I wish the Catholic church well in rooting out all evil within itself.”

          • dannybhoy

            Ah,
            You weren’t being somewhat caustic then?

          • Anton

            No: I was replying to Sarky, who probably views differences between denominations with bemusement. (Well might he!)

          • dannybhoy

            I think Sarky knows more about things Christian than some of us. The bemusement is ours methinks.

          • carl jacobs

            No, he doesn’t.

          • dannybhoy

            Oh yes he does!

        • len

          The RCC wouldnt know a ‘True Rock’ if it hit them on the head

    • CliveM

      There is truth in that.

    • Chefofsinners

      Good to see you’re not averse to quoting scripture when it suits you, Sarky.

  • Father David

    An apt quotation from the prophet Jeremiah but maybe even more appropriate in the light of the above and the condemnation meted out by Lord Carlile in his devastating report towards those responsible for the original judgement which ruined Bishop Bell’s posthumous reputation would perhaps be a verse from Edward Lear

    They went to sea in a sieve, they did
    In a Sieve they went to sea.
    In spite of all their family could say
    On a winter’s morn, on a stormy day,
    In a Sieve they went to sea!
    And when the Sieve turned round and round
    And everyone cried, “You’ll all be drowned!”
    They called aloud, “Our Sieve, ain’t big”
    But we don’t care a button, we don’t care a fig!
    In a Sieve we’ll go to sea”

    And now they all find themselves to be stranded in the “Torrible Zone”

  • Chris Bell

    No. No, there is no justification to the spending of hundreds of thousands of pounds on an enquiry into any story of a 70yr old woman and what happened to her when she was 4yrs old!! None. No ‘evidence’ could be reliably adduced. No trust can be put on 70 year old memories.
    Yet again we discussing ‘imagination’ and phantasy and paying for the privilege.
    What we should be discussing is Roger Scruton’s idea of ‘Oikophobia’ or as maybe translated as “how to shoot yourself in the foot” by the incessantly obsessing on the evils of our culture and mistrusting everything that our culture ever stood for. A sort of maniacal iconoclasm. Actually a societal insanity. Which is growing apace.
    An insanity soon to be legalised if the Gender recognition Act is passed. And then it will be institutionalised insanity where ‘sanity’ if expressed will be considered a hate crime. Thus even these pages will become vaguely criminal. Take note. (there will come a time when those writing here will find themselves at the doors Lambeth palace and of No. 10 Downing street either in protest or in manacles.) Somehow I hear a strange sound………….can it be cosmic laughter??

  • len

    The C of E has chosen a dead man because he cannot defend himself (Bishop Bell)to be the scapegoat

  • Chefofsinners

    I think we’re all wondering what the puck the Church of England is playing at. But maybe George Bell wasn’t falsely accused. Maybe we’ve all just made it up, or it was someone else?

    • It was Puck wot did it.

      • Chefofsinners

        Are you feeling lucky, Puck?

        • carl jacobs

          The correct quote would be:

          Uh uh. I know what you’re thinking. “Did he fire six shots or only five?” Well to tell you the truth in all this excitement I kinda lost track myself. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and would blow your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, puck?

          I post this with some trepidation – knowing it might not sit well with more sensitive readers like Jack who think killers should be comforted with security blankets and teddy bears.

          • Chefofsinners

            Jack will agree with you wholeheartedly. In England a Magnum is a chocice on a stick.

          • bluedog

            A Magnum a day keeps the doctor away.

          • Chefofsinners

            Don’t suppose you could stretch to a Jeroboam?

          • bluedog

            We’re talking ice lollies, not champagne. But if the latter, mine’s a Melchizedek, served lightly chilled and with a paper straw, for convenience.

          • carl jacobs

            chocice

            You wouldn’t be referring to an ice cream bar by any chance, would you?

          • Chefofsinners

            I am aware that the American has a tendency to substitute blunt descriptions for proper nouns, but as your language matures you too will experience increasing abstraction. Who knows, in another 200 years you may have come up with actual names for the Great Plains, Rocky Mountains, Grand Canyon, children called Sonny and the endless towns named either Clearwater or Muddy Creek.

          • bluedog

            You’ve got this badly wrong. British names you assume are abstract are frequently literal descriptions derived from earlier languages, including Olde Englishe, now displaced by modern English. Ever been to Scotland? If so and if you know any Gaelic you will recognise that just about every name is literal, in Gaelic. It may look abstract to a sassenach however. It’s the same in Wales.

          • Chefofsinners

            Of course they had their origins in the literal, but the journey to abstraction is a passage through time and tongue. I was not implying that Pablo Picasso had repainted every English placename.

          • carl jacobs

            You should be impressed that I was able to read through your British mania for nicknames, and your chronic inability to properly handle syllables. Otherwise, I should have thought the (non)word ‘chocice’ was a typographical error.

          • Chefofsinners

            I am impressed. You’re American. Any two words strung together surpasses expectations.

          • Well, do ya, punk?

          • Anton

            This is from the San Francisco remake of A Midsummer Night’s Dream?

  • carl jacobs

    aficionados of American sports, but some might relate to the words of ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky

    A great American who played the great American sport of ice hockey. In America. This American sport finds its American origins in the undeveloped northern territories of the United States. Of America.

    • Brian

      Yes – the part where they didn’t develop slavery.

      • carl jacobs

        Wasn’t that a British import? Pretty sure slavery predates the revolution. By decades.

        I suppose by that time Britain had decided to fund its budget with the Opium trade anyways.

        • dannybhoy

          A low blow Carl.
          A low, low blow..

          • carl jacobs

            I don’t makes the rules. I just plays by ’em. I he can throw a punch like that, he can take a punch like that.

          • Brian

            The Opium Wars were shameful. We should have stuck to promoting products where it’s impossible to exploit natives – things like coffee and bananas. And cocaine.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Regarding slavery, I would recommend to all parties the following book: http://www.mirandakaufmann.com/black-tudors.html

            “Who started all these fisticuffs?
            Speak up! now tell me, Jack.”
            “Well Sir, you see, it all began
            When Henry hit me back!”

          • Brian

            The question is not who started it but who ended it.
            And yes, I am glad that America showed up for World War II – eventually. 🙂

          • Royinsouthwest

            Let us hope they are not early for World War III.

          • Anton

            America entered the war late in 1941.

          • carl jacobs

            December is late in the year, that’s true.

          • Ray Sunshine

            Fifty years before Miranda Kaufmann wrote Black Tudors, black Tudors featured prominently in one of Anthony Burgess’s best novels, Nothing Like the Sun.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nothing_Like_the_Sun:_A_Story_of_Shakespeare%27s_Love_Life

          • carl jacobs

            It figures there would be a Jack at the root of all this.

        • Brian

          Yes – a British import, as most Americans were. And of course, Britain was first to abolish the slave trade and slavery itself – and prevented its spread to Canada. Many black Canadians are descendants of escaped slaves.

          • betteroffoutofit

            And they all turn livid with fury if we mention the name “Wilberforce” — that’s the ones who’ve heard of him . . .

        • IrishNeanderthal

          At this point I would like to come in like Aunt Eller and fire a gun to stop the brawl between the farmers and the cowmen.

          But beware! Three strikes and it might be shoot to kill.

        • Chefofsinners

          Good news, Carl. This great nation, with its proud history of world-wide enterprise, will soon be leaving the EU and coming to a trading station near you.

        • bluedog

          Umm, flagging a problem. Please see below a link to an oil-painting dated 1841 and entitled ‘British Opium Ships’ by wikipedia:

          https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/William_John_Huggins_-_The_opium_ships_at_Lintin%2C_China%2C_1824.jpg

          Now to the right of the British flagged ship in the centre of the painting is another sailing ship with what appears to be a non-British ensign bravely fluttering on its stern. Are you able to identify the flag in question? I can.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s the maiden voyage of ‘The Love Boat’…

          • bluedog

            If Carl’s smart he’ll tell us its a ship from one of the southern states that later became a Confederate privateer. The US is thus absolved of the stain of drug running. Let’s wait and see!

          • dannybhoy

            Carl’s too much of a gentleman to try and deceive us so.
            Ain’tcha Carl?

          • carl jacobs

            Who? Me? I would never.

          • carl jacobs

            https://2001-2009.state.gov/r/pa/ho/time/dwe/82011.htm

            Unlike Great Britain, the United States agreed that anyone involved in the opium trade or the smuggling of contraband would be prosecuted under Chinese law, but, with that exception, the treaty allowed for other Americans in China to be afforded the benefits of extraterritoriality.

          • bluedog

            Your post does not deny that the right hand Western sailing ship in the painting flies the US ensign of the day.

            US State Dept: ‘…the First Opium War between Great Britain and China, from 1839 to 1942.’

            Intriguing. Makes you wonder what else they’ve got wrong.

            However, the timeline is of the essence:

            Start of US trade with China, 1784.

            Start of First Opium War, 1839.

            Date of painting is 1841, during the First Opium War; a US merchant ship trading under British protection was something that might well have been a common sight.

            End of FOW, 1842.

            US Treaty with China, 1844.

            There’s a long window of opportunity there for Yankee traders before Congress passed legislation inhibiting US participation in the opium trade. Indeed, the terms of the US treaty with China implicitly concede that the US was an active participant in the opium trade. Wiki reports that US merchants sourced their opium from the Ottoman Empire, as you may have read.

            ‘‘Unlike Great Britain, the United States agreed that anyone involved in the opium trade or the smuggling of contraband would be prosecuted under Chinese law, but, with that exception, the treaty allowed for other Americans in China to be afforded the benefits of extraterritoriality.’

            Eventually.

          • carl jacobs

            You are spending a lot of energy arguing a point that is not contested and is otherwise irrelevant. You are attempting to implicate the US Gov’t in the Opium trade through the actions of private traders.

            1. Where was the Opium grown? India.
            2. Where was the Opium sold? China.
            3. Why did China resist the sale of Opium? Because of balance of trade and the debilitating effects of Opium addition.
            4. What did Britain do in response? If fought two wars to enforce its right to sell opium in China.
            5. Why? Because 25% of the British budget was funded from Opium sales.

            The US Gov’t didn’t earn any money from Opium sales between China and the English colony of India. When it finally negotiated its own treaty, it allowed its own nationals to by punished by the Chinese for selling opium. That is a huge concession – especially in 1844.

          • bluedog

            ‘You are spending a lot of energy arguing a point that is not contested…’ Progress. Your initial posts gave the impression that the US at all levels had never been involved in the opium trade with China. Perhaps we can work towards agreed facts.

            ‘You are attempting to implicate the US Gov’t in the Opium trade through the actions of private traders.’ For a number of years the US govt. appears to have turned a blind eye to the activities of its traders in the opium trade with China.

            Opium sold by British traders to Chinese buyers was sourced in India. According to wikipedia, opium sold by US traders was sourced from the Ottoman Empire. Agreed that the principal destination in the opium trade was China.

            Point 3. It seems unlikely that China would have protested about sale of opium in terms of its effect on the Chinese balance of payments. One can make the point that the British balance of payments problem arose from the British enthusiasm (addiction?) to China’s tea. Witness Mrs Proudie’s obsession with Earl Grey. There can be no denying that opium addiction was debilitating to the Chinese and it is shocking to read that up to 25% of the male population were opium users.

            Point 4. Agreed.

            Point 5. Evidence? Very little of India was a British possession until after the Indian Mutiny of 1857. Prior to that parts of India were administered by the East India Company, a private corporation. Bombay had become a British possession in the 1660’s following the marriage of Charles II to Catherine of Braganza, of Portugal. To substantiate the point you make, you will need to present a disaggregated set of accounts for the East India Company showing remittances to the UK government.

            ‘The US Gov’t didn’t earn any money from Opium sales between China and the British colony of India.’ Agreed. There is no suggestion that it did. Private US traders earned money selling opium derived from other sources to China. To the extent that these traders paid US taxes on their profits, the US govt. was a beneficiary of the trade.

            ‘When the US finally negotiated its own treaty, it allowed its own nationals to be punished by the Chinese for selling opium. That is a huge concession – especially in 1844.’ Agreed. One can imagine the US negotiator seeking points of differentiation vis-a-vis the British in return for other concessions. Sorta, we’re the good guys.

        • Merchantman

          Somerset case 1772 shook the founding fathers to the core. Those slave owners and lawyers could certainly see the writing on the wall.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Wayne Gretzky is a Canadian. The game itself is also said to have been invented in Canada; in Windsor, Nova Scotia to be more precise.

      The Birthplace of Hockey
      http://www.birthplaceofhockey.com/origin/overview/

      • Ray Sunshine

        Carl’s expression “the undeveloped northern territories of the United States. Of America” is intended, I suspect, as a veiled allusion to the country lying on the other side of the 49th parallel.

        • Merchantman

          Delusional clause in Constitution.

        • Brian

          The parts they invaded unsuccessfully in 1812, after interfering with British shipping.

  • Chefofsinners

    This George Bell stuff is getting completely out of hand. Now the residents of a street named after him are trying to get it changed.
    https://news.sky.com/story/bell-end-residents-launch-petition-to-change-rude-street-name-11193060

    • David

      “Why would anyone not want to live in Bell End ?
      Or Mincing Lane ?

      • Linus’ last known address: Old Sodom Lane, Wiltshire and before that he frequented: Back Passage, City of London.

        • Pubcrawler

          There are some rather ‘picturesque’ mediaeval street names which I will refrain from sullying HG’s blog with.

          • Anton

            Houndsditch, in The City, is simply where dead dogs were thrown. Graphic, those Anglo-Saxons.

        • David

          I bow to your superior knowledge of his movements.

          • Last seen: Cock Green, Braintree, Essex.

          • David

            Yet more proof of your impressive intelligence network.

  • Dominic Stockford

    I remember clearly SOME of the detail involved when I was abused by another pupil at school. That was back in the 70s. I remember the individual, and the place where he perpetrated it. When I finally realised what he was doing, and fought back, I remember his shock, and terror that I might tell someone. So it is perfectly possible to remember some things clearly – though I was not an infant but 14.

    However, I have no desire for either revenge, nor for money, nor to go round telling people who exactly it was. I saw no sign he tried it on with anyone else, and you can be sure I was watching with the intention of stepping in. I even physically stopped him jumping out of a third floor window (a year later) when he was under the influence of cannabis and thought he could fly.

    It is the apparent desire for retribution in the Bell case that causes me concern, and makes me wonder about both motive and memory. The apparent very young age of the accuser, when they allege the events took place, gives me even more concern. My memories of that age are almost certainly jumbled and not entirely accurate – for instance I still like to believe that I met Harold Solomon, the pianist, at his house, even though I almost certainly didn’t.

    Do clergy (and laity too) in the CofE really not understand the difficulty of these allegations and this case to have enough concern to do something, do stand up and shout, to demand a proper debate at Synod, and so on? Can they not remember what it was like being an infant, and how jumbled their memory of that time is? Can they not see that any one of them could be the next to be accused?

    • Boxfordblogger2012

      Be assured, Dominic, that I am one of those lay members who will be pressing for a proper debate in General Synod in February. At present, what we have (according to the timetable issued on 14 December 2017) is a “Presentation under SO 107 – with Q&A” on ‘Safeguarding’ on the Saturday morning, 10 February 2018, with 1½ hours allowed. Plainly, in the light of the Carlile report, that is not satisfactory.

      • Sir John Oldcastle

        Thank you. And, plainly not.

    • Michael Kemp

      I still remember how I was abused by my piano teacher, who was also the church organist and choirmaster, in the 1950’s. And neither was I the only one he treated in this way. But none of us has, to my knowledge, ever taken action against him out of respect for his reputation. Could not the CofE do the same for its erring bishops? After all, we are all sinners in the Lord’s sight and have “erred and strayed …. like lost sheep”.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    G.K.Chesterton wrote some words (not very politely expressed, alas) that when people laughed at a black man in a top hat, they would major on his ethnicity, rather than the fact that the top hat is an intrinsically ridiculous piece of headgear.

    Similarly, one is finding people blaming the CoE, rather than the management men who have accreted in its higher ranks.

    • David

      A very good point. This happens incessantly on this website and everywhere else. The organisation, and all within it, are dismissed as “doomed” because of the obvious shortcomings of the top management layer, the archbishops and the majority of the bishops. In fact, as I have to say here, ad nauseam, the C of E still contains a minority of hard working vicars who are orthodox and believe in God and the gospel in the conventional sense. But human nature finds it easier to fail to differentiate and dismiss the lot.

      • IanCad

        David; Let me suggest that the “minority” be upgraded to “small majority.” I may be dead wrong and do not realize quite how bad things really are.

        • David

          You are right. It is a small minority. They are the ones with sizeable, and often, slowly growing congregations.

          • Dominic Stockford

            He’s wrong – he said ‘small majority’, which in my view is wishful thinking. Either a ‘small minority’, or probably closer, a ‘tiny minority’, And they aren’t necessarily growing congregations, but they are preaching the truth.

          • David

            I disagree. There are no definite percentages of figures, so it is a matter of observation and judgement. But based on my not inconsiderable knowledge of the C of E’s congregations, and the theology of their vicar, in East Anglia I’d say “small minority” is a fair description. But in your neck of the woods it may be different of course.

          • Dominic Stockford

            London. Almost nothing worth having.
            Which is why, overall, I’d drop it to a tiny minority.

          • David

            “Almost nothing worth having”.
            Every soul saved for Christ is worth having !

          • Sir John Oldcastle

            I was clearly talking about the ministry of CofE churches, not people’s souls.

  • Anton

    Your Grace,

    Ichabod’s comment below is stuck in Moderation.

    Happy New Year
    Anton

    • dannybhoy

      Right by the Slough of Despond..

      • Anton

        Or the Despond of Slough?

        • dannybhoy

          Golly!
          You made a real joke Anton!

          • Chefofsinners

            A Sunday school teacher once asked my class what we thought he meant by ‘the land of darkness’.
            When I replied ‘Slough’ I received a hard stare.

          • dannybhoy

            Hah!
            but you have been blessed with wit and humour.
            Not qualities easily associated with brother (earnest) Anton.
            I am encouraged…

          • Anton

            Seen my comment about 1941 below?

          • dannybhoy

            Nope.
            But don’t let’s go overboard here Anton.
            Let’s not force it.
            One step at a time..

          • Anton

            I never joke about the Christian faith. About the church and about the world is another matter. See my 1941 comment!

          • dannybhoy

            You always do this!
            “See my comment below!”
            So we scroll up and down.
            Up and down.,
            and up.
            and down..
            This is NOT humour Anton.
            This is manipulation.

          • Anton

            There’s some misunderstanding here. If you are going to say that I am short on humour, that’s up to you but please at least look at a comment which I posted before this present exchange and which I intended to be humorous. To repost it here out of its context simply would not work. Pax.

          • dannybhoy

            Well in my opinion you are a bit of a sobersides, but that’s beside the point.

            I can’t find it your comment!
            You wrote it, the least you can do is give directions..

          • Anton

            “America entered the war late in 1941.”

            It’s still there, a few comments below. Don’t ask me to explain it to you as well !

          • dannybhoy

            Flip.
            Flip flip flippp
            Fli- ah!
            Found it.
            “America entered the war in 1941”.
            ..?
            This is true.
            ??
            How is it humorous?

          • Ray Sunshine

            You missed out a word.

          • Pubcrawler

            “late” is the word you’re missing.

          • carl jacobs

            How is it humorous?

            Yes, that’s a question Americans ask all the time about British humor.

          • Brian

            ‘humour’ – FIFY.

          • Chefofsinners

            America entered the war late. In 1941.
            OR
            America entered the war late in 1941. (i.e. on 7th December)
            Geddit?

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, but I fail to see how it is in any way humorous. The Americans really didn’t want to be part of another European war, having lost about 117,000 first time around..

          • Brian

            We must be grateful for the hubris and stupidity of the Japanese in attacking Pearl Harbor (sic) and the Germans for declaring war on the US while invading the USSR. Without Pearl Harbor (and Barbarossa), the world would have been very different. Germany would have ended up dominating Europe, Britain would stand alone and Poland would still be wanting its freedom. Oh hang on …

          • Brian

            Victor Davis Hanson’s new book on ‘The Second World Wars’ look into these issues persuasively – as well as pointing out that German technology wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be. British aircraft did outperform the Luftwaffe. And then there was the bombing of the German cities …. Bombing German cities, you say? Ah, Bishop Bell, we’d forgotten about you. Well, SOMEBODY “remembered”!

          • dannybhoy

            Very good!

          • len

            I believe that Hitler was not assassinated by the allies because Hitler was doing more harm to his own side than the allies were.

          • Anton

            Neither did we want to! But with superpower capability goes responsibility.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes and our island nation was running out of imperial steam; we were getting tired of the superpower role, and we had lost a great many men, traumatised our national soul and lost a whole generation.
            I love my country.
            we have a long and interesting history and invented a great many things and given a lot to the world in various ways. We remain tolerant, good natured, brave and loyal, but we desperately need leaders who feel the same way…

          • dannybhoy

            Yes we were the most powerful nation in 1914, but we most certainly weren’t in 1939. We and Europe were exhausted. The war originated again in Europe, and the Yanks wanted nothing to do with it. Why do you think Winston Churchill was so anxious to win American support and consequent involvement?
            He knew that we could not win the war without American economic and military might.
            I find no shame in admitting that we owe a great debt to that generation of Americans for the sacrifice they made of their young men and their resources.
            They may not have always been the best fighters, they did make mistakes, but listen! It wasn’t their war! They didn’t start it, they didn’t want it, and they didn’t get involved until Japan attacked them.
            Contrast that with those GB second world war politicians who were all for appeasement with Herr Hitler and would have eventually turned us into a vassal state of Nazi Europe…

          • Terry Mushroom

            “In 1966 upon being told that President Charles DeGaulle had taken France out of NATO and that all U.S. troops must be evacuated from French soil President Lyndon Johnson mentioned to Secretary of State Dean Rusk that he should ask DeGaulle about the Americans buried in France. Dean implied in his answer that that DeGaulle should not really be asked that in the meeting at which point President Johnson then told Secretary of State Dean Rusk:

            “Ask him about the cemeteries Dean!”

            That made it into a Presidential Order so he had to ask President DeGaulle.

            So at end of the meeting Dean did ask DeGaulle if his order to remove all U.S. troops from French soil also included the 60,000+ soldiers buried in France from World War I and World War II.

            DeGaulle, embarrassed, got up and left and never answered.”

          • dannybhoy

            Great anecdote. Never heard it before.

          • Anton

            My preceding comment was meant to be about the USA.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Of course you’re right, Anton, the Americans had (as far as we know) nothing to do with the onset of WWII. Indeed, many of them were opposed to joining us, partly because of their own strong German (even Italian) faction.

            And yes, Pearl Harbor was the flame that lit their fuse. However, I’d argue that their reaction to the European aspect of it all was predicated on awareness that dear old Adolph would work to find his way to them in three ways: over the North Pole (via Russia); across the Atlantic; and up through South America. In short, they stood to be surrounded.

            Given that scenario, they didn’t join us out of pity or love! Rather, they realised that Britain could serve as a bridge and launchpad for them, and they didn’t want it to serve as Germany’s launchpad.

            That Churchill was also part American may well have worked in our favour.

          • bluedog

            If you read the works of the military historian Anthony Beevor, himself formerly a British army officer, he regards the US Army’s performance in France after D-Day as far superior to that of the British army.

          • dannybhoy

            Well then, we rests our cases Precious..
            (Gollum, gollum!)

          • bluedog

            Weird. Have you got it in for me in the same way you’re always picking a fight with Anton?

          • dannybhoy

            Me – pick fights?
            Not so. I don’t do that, but my sense of humour is at times weird or obscure..

            My comment above,
            “Well then, we rests our cases Precious..
            (Gollum, gollum!)”
            was a pathetic attempt to wrap up a thread on a note of agreement. It was running out of legs anyway and was heading towards re-hash mode.
            So no offence intended towards you or Anton. More often than not I support his pov.

          • carl jacobs

            The critical difference being proximity. How exactly do you think the US could have been brought into the war before December 1941?

          • Anton

            Proximity? USA and USSR aren’t close except for the Bering Strait which was not a Cold War centre.

          • carl jacobs

            Which has what to do with anything in 1939? Please answer my question. How could the US have been brought into the war before December 1941?

          • Anton

            By protecting the Allies at sea regardless of the threats of the Axis, plausibly.

            There was no land threat to the USA, but the sea is above all how it was gradually pulled into WWI.

          • bluedog

            Correct. The US nightmare would have been a combined fleet in the Atlantic of the Kriegsmarine, RN and French navy, from say, late 1940.

          • IanCad

            Poor old Slough always seems to get picked upon.
            “….Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough
            To get it ready for the plough.
            The cabbages are coming now;
            The earth exhales.”
            – John Betjeman

          • Chefofsinners

            Things have changed since that was written, and not for the better. Slough is the epitome of the failure of multiculturalism. Different cultures live side by side but have nothing to do with one another. All are decent people, who quite naturally want to keep their identities, but this prevents them being a community.

          • IanCad

            Have they got rid of those dreadful linked traffic lights on the A4 yet? Reason enough for avoiding the place.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Yes they have. Not only could you get down the Bath Road unimpeded at 30 mph if you got them right, you could also get through them at 60 mph.

          • Terry Mushroom

            The people of Slough have long been patronised and s**t on. Visiting nearby Cliveden before Christmas, I was amused by the National Trust competition to find modern, inspiring modern women in the Nancy Astor mould. (She of the “Cliveden set”.)

            Her home gives a magnificent view of Slough in the distance. In her time, women walked or cycled with their men up the A4 from the Welsh valleys, looking for work. In shoddy, nasty housing, these poverty-stricken women then cooked, scrubbed and worked for their families. They believed strongly in education as the way out for their children.

            After the war, the women came from the bombed-out slums of London to start again. On “the Britwell”, the buses stopped running at 3.00pm because of the violence. Then came the right to buy and Britwell was transformed by these same women and their daughters.

            And the National Trust asks us to see Nancy Astor as “inspirational”.

            People mock and laugh at Slough. But it’s given many waves of people a chance to succeed and better themselves. The Slough Grammar that I went to has rebranded itself. But it’s still there along with three other Grammar schools. They’re part of the reason for Slough’s success.

            Slough is ugly, no doubt about it. But there’s a grit and honesty about many of its very diverse inhabitants that makes me proud to have lived there. (Edited)

          • dannybhoy

            “In shoddy, nasty housing, these poverty-stricken women then cooked, scrubbed and worked for their families. They believed strongly in education as the way out for their children.”
            Danny believes that women are the civilisers and women are the most willing to sacrifice for those they love..
            My paternal grandmother had ten children and a hardworking autocratic husband with a fondness for the beer.. He would often drink away his earnings and in order to cope she would take in washing.
            Imagine the sheer grinding poverty and anxiety she and thousands like her would go through..

          • Terry Mushroom

            I agree completely. I knew a Tyneside lady who, aged 17, when her mother died, left her drunken father to cycle to the first place where she could find work. She found it in High Wycombe, about 15 miles from Slough.

            Some of these men were just plain nasty, of course. But I wonder if they were also brutalised by their very, very hard lives?

            The contempt shown by some Remainers for Leavers certainly has its origins – uneducated, low information and so on.

          • dannybhoy

            Undoubtedly brutalised by their conditions. My grandfather ended his days in a mental hospital as an incurable alcoholic. He wasn’t a bad man, he just couldn’t cope.
            That’s why I laugh when immigrants or haters of our Imperial past say how our nation benefitted from the rape and pillaging of their nations.
            Tell that to the millworkers, mine workers, ship builders and other tradesmen. Tell it to the weak, the uneducated, the hungry and the hopeless.
            The ordinary folk in our country weren’t that much better off than the people of the nations they conquered.

          • betteroffoutofit

            That’s where the old Christian and Grammar School heritage came in. It provided a pathway (upward and onward) for otherwise disadvantaged people.
            Oh – and I grew up in Barnsley – and I’m here to let you know that it’s one of the most intelligent communities I ever lived in. Good Christian people too.

            I don’t believe that most of those men were “brutalised,” but they had very difficult lives. That’s why, and how, the Marxist/Commie unions were able to get their foot in our door.

            Incidentally, the ‘Marxists’ etc. are very keen on categorizing people into “classes.” I tend to think that’s misleading or, at best, ignorance on the part of our presen-day Franco-German masters. Surely British “class” derives from the fact that the people (Britons and Anglo-Saxons) who were conquered by Normans lost all their land and had to take menial or physical labour – that is, those of them who escaped slaughter.

            It didn’t happen because they were stupid. Indeed, their Christian background always encouraged education. I think we generally accept, also, that in the Middle Ages our society viewed itself in terms of Lords/warrior leaders, Churchmen, and Serfs/Workers. However, in that hierarchy, each stratum tend valued the skills applied, and the work done, by the others … which they could not do themselves..

            Of course, you’re right about the Industrial Revolution types, and how that affected the less fortunate – even as some of their number climbed on the backs of their own people.

          • dannybhoy

            “Oh – and I grew up in Barnsley – and I’m here to let you know that it’s one of the most intelligent communities I ever lived in. Good Christian people too.”

            “That’s why, and how, the Marxist/Commie unions were able to get their foot in our door.”
            ??
            I think they were brutalised by the pay and conditions and lack of education/ opportunity.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Hmmm. I’m surprised the Tyneside women weren’t as strong as their Yorkshire (Barnsley) counterparts! Them lasses used go to the pit-head/pay station on payday; their miner husbands would promptly turn over the paychecks to their wives, and receive a drinking allowance in return. That way, the whole family didn’t have to suffer the consequences of bingeing.

            Not that I, or those women, would criticise the men for their drinking/relaxation. That was a stressful, hard, and rough occupation, and many miners ended up with dire injuries from malfunctioning machinery, or simply from being in the mine’s environment (bronchiectasis; pneumosilicosis, etc.).

          • dannybhoy

            The practice of patriarchy was perhaps much stronger on Tyneside? Certainly not a one of us brothers was expected to cook or do housework..

          • Brian

            Fair comment. Sneering at the poor for being poor is unworthy.

          • Brian

            I don’t think the town has ever forgiven him for that. Presumably written before WW2?

          • IanCad

            Yes Brian; 1937 to be precise.

          • Brian

            I see his daughter Candida apologised a few years ago on presenting a book to the town. But for the reference to bombs (he really should have known better in 1937, after Guernica), the poem does make some good points.

          • IanCad

            How could any parent christen their daughter Candida? I always supposed it was some kind of vaginal infection.

          • Brian

            ‘darkness’ in Greek (e.g. John 1) is ‘skotia’ which of course gives us ‘Scotia’ in Latin. Makes sense.

          • dannybhoy

            It certainly does make sense, as in Scotia /Nova Scotia/Acidus Scotia…

          • Brian

            It would be ‘Acida Scotia’ – is this a phrase somewhere? Full disclosure: I am a son of Alba.

          • dannybhoy

            Let’s not quibble over my pidgin Latin:
            ” I am a son of Alba.”
            You obviously have enough woes of your own..

          • Brian

            Boswell: “Mr. Johnson, I do indeed come from Scotland, but I cannot help it.” Johnson: “That, Sir, I find, is what a very great many of your countrymen cannot help.”

          • dannybhoy

            Lol!

          • IanCad

            We poor Scots are getting it again. Blame the Irish, after all, the word “Scotland” really translates as “Land of the Irish.”

          • dannybhoy

          • IrishNeanderthal

            A few years ago, when a man told me his name was Brian, I mentioned Brian Boru. He thought I was referring to a racehorse of that name, until I told that I was speaking of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland. (From 1002 to 1014).

          • Brian

            After whom I was named by my Irish father. Cue Dave Allen joke: An Irish American arriving at Shannon Airport was approached by a little man with a bag who said, ‘Would you like to buy the skull of Brian Boru, High King of Ireland?’ He snapped up the bargain. Five years later he was again at Shannon and was approached by the same man with the same offer. ‘Now wait a minute, buddy – last time I was here you sold me the skull of Brian Boru!’ ‘Ah, to be sure, sorr’ he replied,’ – but that was when he was a boy!’

        • Brian

          But I hear they have a good (if slightly expensive) comprehensive.

  • len

    If The C of E cannot even get the Gospel right what hope is for them getting anything else right?

    • The Snail @/”

      So you get everything right? Well done. Please be a little more understanding of those who do not have your erudition and perfection. Our equality lies in the fact that we are all sinners. All of us get things wrong one way or another. Through ignorance because we are not omniscient, through weakness because we are not Almighty, through our own deliberate fault because we are imperfect morally i.e. not Holy. In short because we are humans and not God.

      Pray for us please. Do not condemn us.

  • Chefofsinners

    Apparently there’s been a fire in a multi-storey car park. It’s a tragedy on so many levels.

    • Anton

      A shuttle bus caught fire too – many passengers alight.

    • Gutted over it.

      Imagine the owner of the Land Rover that started the car park fire completing his next insurance application:

      “Have you had any recent claims?”
      “Yes. £20 million for 1400 cars destroyed and £30 million to rebuild the car park.”

      • Anton

        Brilliant!

        I was once passenger in a car that overturned and was totalled, and we went to tne nearest hire car outfit to coontinue what was an urgent journey. The man behind the desk asked if we had had any accidents recently and it was difficult to keep a straight face. He went slightly pale and said “I’ll just have a word with my boss.”

    • Brian

      Not a joke people made about Grenfell. OK, that was po-faced. I understand there were dogs in the posh cars at the top level in Liverpool that survived. I am surprised that 1. there were apparently no dogs in the many, many cars on the lower levels; 2. that it was permissible to leave dogs in cars there.

    • not a machine

      Diesel has a number of emissions not just nox? particulates also I think diesel car will be rare thing??? So resolves itself put price of diesel up for cars in a couple of years???

      • Ray Sunshine

        You mean one price for cars and a different (lower) price for lorries and buses? How are you going to enforce that? Ration books?

        • Anton

          There’s already a different price for heating oil and vehicle diesel, which is an identical product. The difference is enforced by putting red dye into the former and fining anybody found with red dye in their engine fuel injection components. It wouldn’t be too hard to introduce a different dye for another category. (Unfortunately.)

        • not a machine

          Make a diesel car really expensive to tax and insure should do it

  • prompteetsincere

    “Do I trust these people to get it right if I am unjustly accused?”
    In the growing Prophesied ecclesiastical climate of +II Thessalonians 2 apostasy induced by Clerical activist Cultural Marxism within the Church (now of almost all branches of the Vine), no.
    On point of fact of ecclesiastical ‘jurisprudence’, such anti-Scriptural activists position themselves on various committees, commissions, etc., to purge the Vine.
    #meClericalPCCtoo