Despair CofE election prayer
Church of England

Despair at the Church of England’s General Election prayer

Who writes these things? Honestly, since when was it a sin to despair? Don’t the brokenhearted, poor and homeless despair? What about the starving and dying? Or the persecuted or suffering? What about those in a state of unbearable grief or mourning? Didn’t the ‘perfect and upright‘ Job despair?

Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.
Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.
Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it (Job 3:3ff).

Wishing you’d never been born and cursing the day you were sounds a bit like despair, doesn’t it? And what about Jesus?

Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death.. (Mt 26:38).
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground (Lk 22:44).
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Ps 22:1; Mt 27:46).

Sweating blood sounds a bit like despair, doesn’t it? Hanging on a cross and feeling abandoned by God is a defensible despair, isn’t it? Despairing about prayers which make us feel guilty about our despair is a just cause of despair, isn’t it?

Apparently there’s a deeper theological meaning: “The sin of despair refers to the abandonment of all hope of salvation”, notes Pétrus. “It doesn’t refer to anxiety about an election result.” That’s okay then. So why does the Church of England use the word in the context of the General Election? Despair has long been unforgivable, as the New York Times notes:

What mysterious cruelty in the human soul, to have invented despair as a sin! Like the seven deadly sins, despair is a mythical state. It has no quantifiable existence; it is merely part of an allegorical world view, yet no less lethal for that. Unlike other sins, however, despair is by tradition the sole sin that cannot be forgiven; it is the conviction that one is damned absolutely, thus a repudiation of the Christian Saviour and a challenge to God’s infinite capacity for forgiveness. The sins for which one may be forgiven — pride, anger, lust, sloth, avarice, gluttony, envy — are all firmly attached to the objects of this world, but despair seems to bleed out beyond the confines of the immediate ego-centered self and to relate to no desire, to no thing. The alleged sinner has detached himself even from the possibility of sin, and this the Catholic Church, as the self-appointed voice of God on earth, cannot allow.

This despair is a profound depression which empties the soul of hope and hardens the heart to God. This may lead to suicide, and that apparently leads to eternal damnation, and so is unforgivable.

“Not sure that can stand up to modern psychological understandings of depression, to be honest,” tweets the ever-thoughtful and compassionate Rev’d Marcus Walker.

Quite.

No feeling of democratic despair induced by Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn or Tim Farron could possibly be unforgivable. Is the whole Labour family supposed to feel guilt over their despair at the current poll ratings? Surely God understands the utter misery and despair induced by Liberal Democrats, doesn’t He? Or at least by the SNP? What kind of compassionate and loving God would damn someone to hell in perpetuity for despairing at the tedious antics and divisive hypocrisy of Nicola Sturgeon?

The Church of England is using the word ‘despair’ in a way which absolutely nobody (or virtually nobody) today understands. Sin against the Holy Spirit (Mk 3:28f), which is indeed blasphemous and unforgivable, is nothing to do with the dashed hopes and despondency of democracy. So the church has provided for the nation a prayer which is foolishness to the Greeks (1Cor 1:23). Or at least one word of it is. The despairing soul is not a sinning soul in the vernacular: it is a righteous soul, longing, anguishing, pleading for justice, deliverance, hope and peace.

But please, dear reader, forgive this terse, snappy post, for it is borne of more than a little cynicism, which may indeed be a sin. They’re right about that.

Surely God will forgive the sinner if His church publishes prayers which cause people to stumble?

  • IanCad

    A lovely prayer – or so I thought – until HG splashed a bucket of ice-cold water over it.
    Cynicism is an affliction learned from experience.

    • dexey

      ..and experience brings wisdom. So why is cynicism a sin?

      • IanCad

        Wouldn’t call it a sin exactly, more like scepticism gone permanent. It does make the possessor tend toward rejecting anything new or innovative as well as displaying a certain bleakness of character.

        • dexey

          Neither would I call it a sin, but this C of E prayer does and HG confirms: “forgive this terse, snappy post, for it is borne of more than a little cynicism, which may indeed be a sin. They’re right about that.” but neither explains why.
          Ntw, like much in the C of E it is best ignored as being ill thought out.

        • Skepticism is intellectual cynicism; cynicism is emotional skepticism. ??????

      • betteroffoutofit

        Good question! Again, the answer may depend on what meaning one chooses/happens to extract from the etymology. For example:
        If we are among those who “take a pessimistic view of human motives and actions” [Chambers], we may, as you suggest, have based that view on empirical evidence and even be logically justified . . . However . . . I suspect that we could sin in making judgements about what informs the motives and actions of humans.
        If we take the meaning from the Greek root: [“kynikos” –> dog-like, surly, snarling //Chambers], then we not only insult all dogs (including our own ‘bluedog’), but, in so behaving, we might be sinfully uncaring about our neighbour.
        If we follow the inclinations of the Cynics of Athens [5th century BC], and ” ‘ostentatiously’ express contempt for riches, arts, science, and amusements” [Chambers] – Well. I guess that depends on how well the users of those media reflect and relate to morality/God’s Law !?!
        As for whatever meanings the moderns/post-moderns impute to the word – Sigh.

        Personally, I believe it wise to bear in mind the lessons of experience, along with the lesson of Christ, Himself: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

  • CliveM

    Guard us against the idols of false Utopias? Actually I think a lot of this prayer is quite wise. You might want to quibble about the use and definition of despair here, but i don’t see it as fundamentally flawed.

    And I think I’m quite cynical!

    I wonder if a few of the Bishops will take the call against false Utopias to heart. One can hope.

    • Anton

      In a fallen world, cynicism might be the proper name for realism. If you’re cynical.

    • Hi

      Cynical? Farron verses the fish finger , LOL!

    • David

      I agree “the idols of false Utopias” is a wise phrase. I take it to be a warning against Socialism.

      • …. it could also serve as a warning against faith in unbridled, unrestrained Capitalism.

        • Or nationalism… or at least leaving the EU.

        • David

          Yes. All the ‘isms’ are dangerous if taken too far.

          • Except Catholicism ….. It takes us as far as Heaven ;0)

          • David

            Good point !
            So I’ll say, and Mainstream Protestantism….
            However I always refer to, “The Catholic Church”, and so on, as that has more, well, gravitas, sounding more respectful.

          • It’s interesting that faith in Christ has never been termed Christian-ism.

          • David

            True. Because those who placed their trust in Christ became known as just, “Christians’, as mentioned in Acts 11:26, and at Antioch it tell us. The placing of “ism” at the end of a descriptive noun, is found in our language, but I have no idea about the others, except French.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            From http://etymonline.com

            -ism
            word-forming element making nouns implying a practice, system, doctrine, etc., from French -isme or directly from Latin -isma, -ismus (source also of Italian, Spanish -ismo, Dutch, German -ismus), from Greek -ismos, noun ending signifying the practice or teaching of a thing, from the stem of verbs in -izein, a verb-forming element denoting the doing of the noun or adjective to which it is attached. For distinction of use, see -ity. The related Greek suffix -isma(t)- affects some forms.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          Talking of -isms, and thinking of realism vs nominalism, I put a quote from Chesterton at the head of the Gove article article http://archbishopcranmer.com/michael-gove-fake-good-news/ .

          Has Chesterton got it right?

          • An excellent quote from Chesterton.
            It’s surely one of histories supreme ironies that Aristotle’s writings survived and were past to the West because of translations by Jews and Muslims.

      • CliveM

        I was surprised to see it.

    • Anton

      I think the CoE will limp on in its present impossible compromise during the lifetime of our Queen. Her passing will be a larger psychological trigger for change than is presently realised. When change comes, let us (regardless of denomination) pray that the evangelicals heave the liberals over the side.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I dread HMQs successor ordering a multi-faith element to Her Majesty’s funeral…

        • Anton

          Her funeral is already planned in detail, as signed off by her. you have a week to do it and you can’t make up a ceremony that elaborate on the hoof. Her successor’s coronation is of more concern, although some scales seem to have fallen from his eyes about Islam recently.

          • betteroffoutofit

            ” . . .although some scales seem to have fallen from his eyes about Islam recently.” Hope Springs Eternal!!!!

        • David

          Hhmm. I understand that you would dread such a thing. Most of us would. But the latest statements from that great philosopher Charles, post-Isis, is that Christianity needs defending, implying that he’s pulled back from the ‘all faiths are just lovely’ fashionable, shallow deceit. But one never gets consistency from that man.

      • CliveM

        I’m a bit wary of labels, let’s just agree that we hope and pray that the orthodox Christians come out on top.

        • Anton

          But what is ‘orthodox’ (small ‘o’) if not a label?

          • CliveM

            A description!

    • betteroffoutofit

      Hmmm. “False=Not True” + “Not a Place.” May one imagine that supposedly educated Bishops recognise the tautology? Or will the 2 negatives make a positive for them? Are they capable of fighting to re-establish the CoE as a Place of Truth to which the Populi may turn from the clutches of the Father of Lies? Oremus.

  • John

    We don’t really need written-down prayers dreamed up by a liturgical committee. What’s inadequate about the Lord’s Prayer, asking for God’s kingdom to come and for deliverance from evil? Or indeed praying in the Spirit on all occasions?

    • David

      I agree that the Lord’s Prayer is always appropriate.
      But both formal liturgy and informal Spirit led prayers, generated in the moment, have their place.

  • len

    How about the complaint to the lord from’ Habbakuk’ for this Nation?.

    O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?
    Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?
    Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.
    So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth. For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.

    • That’s distress, sorrow and pain at the world but also hopeful that eventually God will respond .

      • Aha. Now we are back to etymology and current usage. I squirm a little at referring to biblical laments as complaints. Probably wrongly. I tend to see injected in ‘complaint’ an element of sitting on judgement on God, an adversarial component that I don’t associate with, say ‘lament’. As I say, probably my grasp of English at fault.

        Anyway, to be clear, in biblical laments there is no conscious superior arrogance but rather uncomprehending trust. Confusion yes, criticism no.

        • len

          Its not a complaint about God, but a complaint to God;

          ‘In my distress I called to the LORD; I cried to my God for help. From
          his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears’.(Psalm 18:6)

          The call to God is a cry from the heart.
          God wants us to be honest with Him , to pour out our hearts to Him.God sees all that we are so there no point in ‘dressing things up’
          to make them sound good.

          • ‘O Lord, how long shall I cry for help, and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?’. Seems like a ‘complaint’ about God, to God, to me. Most of the laments are. They question God. What I am keen to make clear is the attitude of heart from which the questioning flows. A child may question his parents but the kind of questioning is all important. There is a question that arises from incomprehension and confusion but is always respectful and trusting and there is a questioning which is an accusation, a challenging of authority that is disgruntled and reveals discontent, even disapproval and defiance. The word ‘complaint’ seems to me to carry the latter connotations and so I shy from using it.

  • Mike Stallard

    The problem with this prayer is that it is trite. For the (ghastly) kiddies. The kind of thing that would be produced as a work of genius when some little brat wrote it in Messy Church.

    cp. Grace before meat (it works better when read out loud): “Give us thankful hearts, O Lord God, for the table which thou hast spread for us. Bless thy good creatures to our use, and us to thy service…”

  • chefofsinners

    Finagle’ law applies here: Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    The person who wrote this prayer has heard of the sin of despair but did not know what it means.

    It’s enough to make you despair…

    Looking on the bright side, until this was published the Labour Party didn’t have a prayer.

  • Dominic Stockford

    ‘Twas Faustus who despaired – and it is one of the saddest moments of Gounod’s opera when he refuses to accept that by repenting he might be saved from his terrible end.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Father,
    Thou raisest up over us kings and princes,
    Yet we desire to serve Thee, through Thy Son Jesus Christ.
    Strengthen and guide us in these times of decision that we may seek to imitate Thee in all we do.
    Make our first concern Thy Kingdom, and make Thy Word our guiding Truth.
    We beseech thee to answer our prayer in the name of our only Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

  • chefofsinners

    And what exactly is ‘the common good of all’? Politics exists because, in the affairs of men, there is no such thing. To suggest that there is would be to offer a false utopia.

    • The “common good” is a term high jacked by the Left.

      According to Aquinas, man finds within himself certain inclinations imprinted by God, and by which he is directed toward his final end: happiness. The primary inclination which man has, the first precept of the natural law, is that ‘good is to be done and pursued, and evil is to be avoided.’[3] This follows because according to Aquinas evil does not have the character of a being but is, rather, a lack of being,[4] and therefore ‘good has the nature of an end, and evil, the nature of a contrary,’[5] and so man, created to attain his end, naturally tends toward good.[6] Following this first precept of natural law, we discover others. He highlights three fundamental inclinations in man: 1) those inclinations which man shares in common with all beings, ‘the preservation of its own being, according to its nature’; 2) those ‘which he has in common with other animals . . . such as sexual intercourse, education of offspring and so forth’; and 3) those unique to man, ‘an inclination to good . . . to know the truth about God, and to live in society.’[7]

      What is relevant for our purposes is Aquinas’ affirmation that it is natural to man to live in society, the reason for this being that it is only in this way that man will be able to attain his end.[8] The aim of human society however, is not merely to ensure the private good of individual citizens.[9] Rather, its aim is to seek ‘the supreme human good . . . the common good . . . which is superior to . . . the good of an individual.’[10] ….

      Thomas tells us that ‘the common good of the realm and the particular good of the individual differ not only in respect of the “many” and the “few,” but also under a formal aspect.’[12] Paulhus notes that on this basis we can distinguish between an ‘internal order,’ or organisation of a community, and an ‘external order,’ or purpose of a community: ‘Since the end or purpose gives direction to the internal relationship among the members, it is necessarily of greater importance than the internal order.’[13] But what is the specific end or purpose which Thomas has in mind for society and which confers order upon it? Crucially here, the fact that the common good is qualitatively different from the individual good, should not be confused with the idea that the end which gives order to the community is per se different. In fact, Thomas states that ‘society must have the same end as the individual man,’[14] which is ‘to live virtuously, [and] through virtuous living to attain to the possession of God.’[15] The good of the community is the same as the good of one its members: the possession of God in beatitude. Scheler notes the incompatibility between this idea and recent political philosophy: ‘the final goal of all human restlessness is calm meditation of the divine majesty, instead of a kind of unending improvement- as it was for nearly every modern thinker.’[16]

      http://catholicsocialteaching.yolasite.com/st-thomas-aquinas-and-the-idea-of-the-common-good.php

      Put more simply !!!

      The common good is the complete development of all the people of the world. John XXIII described it as “the sum total of conditions of social living, whereby persons are enabled more fully and readily to achieve their own perfection.” (Mater et Magistra)

      The pursuit of the common good entrusts to the government and the Church care for the greatest good of all persons. No individual is excluded from the common good. The Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales describe the notion in terms of interdependency: ‘Because we are interdependent, the common good is more like a multiplication sum, where if any one number is zero then the total is always zero. If anyone is left out and deprived of what is essential, then the common good has been betrayed.’ The common good provides a balance against too strong an individualism by emphasising the social aspect of the human person. Authentic development is possible only if an individual interacts with and grows within a society. Thus each of us is required to work for the common good which includes all within society.

      • Anton

        Hi Jack!

        • No, Jack isn’t.

          • Anton

            You’re a high church man.

          • No man, Jack is a Catholic.

          • len

            Exactly.

      • That the common good trumps the individual good is t least one reason why divorce etc is an evil; society egins to disintegrate as personal happiness and rampant individualism are the greatest good.

        • In truth, properly understood, both the common and individual good are in harmony. People are as much harmed by sin as is society.

          • Agreed.

          • chefofsinners

            But the purpose of politics is to decide what to do when actions are good for one group and bad for another.

          • The purpose of statecraft is to balance interests and achieve the best possible outcome for all parties.

          • chefofsinners

            This does not amount to a common good. Wealth redistribution for instance. Good for the poor, bad for the rich. NHS cuts: Good for the healthy, bad for the sick. The act of settlement: bad for Catholics, good for everyone else.
            In most situations there is not a common good. If there were, then Utopia would be achieved.

          • Remember, in natural law, the “common good” aims to achieve a specific purpose for society. It’s not the greatest happiness of the greatest number. The end is to live virtuously, according to God’s law, and through virtuous living to achieve salvation. The secular concepts of “good” and “bad” have no meaning unless they are set in the context of establishing the necessary conditions for this.

  • David

    “The Church of England is using the word “despair” in a way which absolutely nobody (or virtually nobody) today understands”
    Or has it failed to remember the deeper theological meaning of the word, as understood and explained by Petrus ?
    Both Occam’s Razor, and my personal experiences of a C of E that has largely lost interest in solid and traditional theology, suggests to me that this is probably not an example of inappropriately using excessive scholarship for popular prayers, but simply ignorance of how the word “despair” has changed meaning.

  • len

    The Cof E is now(officially, so it seems?) indulging in the cult practice known to one and all as ‘Churchianity’
    This practice has become very popular in the US, and like all things US has now arrived on this shore and many are climbing on board this badwagon (forgive all the metaphors)
    Roll up, Roll up the show is about to begin;

    http://www.nowtheendbegins.com/beware-of-the-rising-cult-of-end-times-churchianity/

    The above is only one version of ‘Churchianity’ I think Pope Francis is going for ‘this new christianity’ too.

  • carl jacobs

    Despair isn’t an emotion. It’s a metaphysical conviction. It’s the denial of hope, and as hope is at the center of faith, a rejection of faith. Despair denies the goodness of the sovereign purpose of God. It is the temptation of Job from the lips of Job’s wife – “Curse God and die.”

    The creature has no standing to judge his Creator in such a manner. Neither has he the vision or the knowledge. God remains God and man remains dust. As it is written: “Would you condemn Me to justify yourself?”

    • chefofsinners

      Indeed. Condemning Himself to justify us was God’s prerogative. Without that, despair is an entirely accurate response to God’s holiness. As Isaiah said ‘Woe is me for I am undone; for I am a man of unclean lips and I dwell in the midst of an unclean people.’

      But what has that to do with a general election?

      • carl jacobs

        I don’t know what it has to do with a general election. But this entire post seems built upon a false understanding of despair. It’s not sufficient to say “No one understands it that way anymore.” So then, teach them properly. There is no incorrect usage of ‘despair’ in that prayer.

        • Or of the term “cynical”.

          Webster’s dictionary defines cynicism as “believing that people are generally selfish and dishonest.”

          Satan was the first cynic that made Adam and Eve question God’s intentions. Eve did not want to have the wool pulled over her eyes so in a moment of pride, she ate of the fruit. Satan seductively gave Adam and Eve the inside track – here is what is really going. Cynicism is spiritual poison.

          • Anton

            Careful, Jack! If you go with Webster then you must regard God as a cynic in view of the prophetic words in Jeremiah 17:9 stating that the heart is deceitful above all things.

          • True. Cynicism is toxic and spiritual sickness. Jeremiah was a realist, not a cynic. More accurately, perhaps, to be cynical is to be contemptuously distrustful of human nature and motives. It’s an embittered disposition of distrust – a painful disillusionment – and is rampant in secular culture.

            That said, in it’s original Greek philosophical meaning, it wasn’t so bad. For the pure Cynic, the purpose of life was to live in virtue, in agreement with nature. As reasoning creatures, people gain happiness by rigorous training and by living in a way which is natural, rejecting all conventional desires for wealth, power, sex, and fame. Instead, one leads a simple life free from all possessions. However, living in a tub on the streets of Athens, as Diogenes of Sinope did, is probably a tad extreme.

          • Anton

            And Simon Stylites, who lived 37 years atop a pillar?

          • Simon, as you know, is a Christian Saint and wasn’t a Cynic. His asceticism was rooted in his faith in Christ.

          • Anton

            I didn’t notice Christ living like that!

          • No, He had a different more active mission.

        • So, all Christians are paedophiles – especially those whose vocation it is to teach, educate and inspire the young? At what point does one give up trying to “teach them properly” the strict and correct etymology, and just go with the vernacular usage?

          • With respect, Your Grace, but doesn’t the New Times article misrepresent the theological understanding of the term “despair”, turning this into an attack on the Church: “What mysterious cruelty in the human soul, to have invented despair as a sin!” Then the Rev’d Marcus Walker compounds this: “Not sure that can stand up to modern psychological understandings of depression, to be honest.”

          • carl jacobs

            Despair isn’t grief or frustration or disappointment. Despair is the abandonment of hope. The seriousness of the state of despair is determined by the loss in view. You can say “He despaired of life.” You can say “He despaired of Man U winning the Title.” Those are equally correct usages but neither changes the meaning of the word. It simply scales from significant (life) to insignificant (Man U).

            In a religious context, despair unqualified is typically going to relate to loss of hope in God. There isn’t anything more serious. This understanding of the usage in the prayer fits nicely with the follow-on request to avoid utopia. You have a request to avoid no hope (despair) and a request to avoid false hope (utopia with all its alternate eschatology). Both despair and utopia amount to a rejection of God. One says God is powerless. The other says God is pointless. It’s a very natural reading.

            You can assert that this understanding is obsolete. You will still have to supply me with a word for the sin to which Job was tempted. I don’t know another word for it besides despair. Either way, I would wonder if this loss of the meaning of despair is attached to the secularization of the culture, and its narcotized focus on the present. If this is true, should we not be wary of submitting to the change of usage?

            I don’t have any idea why you made the reference to paedophiles. I missed the point entirely.

          • Paedophile – a love of children, Carl.
            From pedo- +‎ -phile, after Ancient Greek παιδοφῐ́λης ‎(paidophílēs‎) (from παῖς ‎(paîs, “boy, child”‎) and φιλέω ‎(philéō, “I love”‎)).

            As for Man U. being insignificant ….

          • carl jacobs

            Yes, but I still don’t get the connection. How does it challenge what I wrote?

            As for Man U. being insignificant ….

            I was just reaching for a convenient example, Jack. I had no ulterior motive. Surely you believe that.

          • Because you commented: “It’s not sufficient to say “No one understands it that way anymore.” So then, teach them properly. There is no incorrect usage of ‘despair’ in that prayer.”

            The point being that the common and popular meaning of language changes over time and we go with the prevalent and customary understanding. Surely as an American you understand how the meaning of words can become corrupted and misspelt?

            Jack’s objection was slightly different, in that the New York Times was obscuring this change in meaning and turning it into an attack on the Church.

          • carl jacobs

            So “paedophile” once did not have the pejorative meaning it does today? In the English language?

            Surely as an American you understand how the meaning of words can become corrupted and misspelt?

            Yes, we’ve spent a long time fixing all that. We’ve made good progress since the early 19th Century.

          • “Pederasty” in ancient Greece was a socially acknowledged and accepted erotic relationship between an adult male (the erastes) and a younger male (the eromenos).

            “Paedophilia” (the Americans cannot master the correct spelling) is a relatively modern term (late 19th century) denoting a psychiatric disorder in which an adult or older adolescent experiences a primary or exclusive sexual attraction to prepubescent children.

            You’re both correct … and wrong … probably.

          • Was the Word originally neutral or even positive?

          • No. It was coined in the 19th century as a term for a psychiatric disorder – as was homosexuality.

          • Inspector General

            Can’t understand why Cranmer would take the lash to you on this occasion. You’ve posted far worse, usually to do with your idolatry of football. And there’s the site’s ‘bugger in residence’ posting with impunity, of which he takes full advantage of.

            Some mysteries will always remain unanswered…

          • carl jacobs

            That was no lash. He just disagreed with me.

          • Inspector General

            Defiant, and impudent let it be said, to the end!

            That’s the spirit!

          • It was “good disagreement”.

          • chefofsinners

            The point of the article and the reference to paedophiles is this:
            There is a doctrine of a despair which is sinful.
            Then there is a common usage of the term ‘despair’ which is not sinful.
            The two are confused in the CoE prayer, giving the impression that every day depression is a sin.
            It is about correctly understanding the meaning of words before you use them. A ‘paedophile’ can mean simply a lover of children and if understood that way could include teachers. However, in common usage it has an entirely different meaning.

          • carl jacobs

            Fair enough. But the prayer doesn’t qualify despair with an object. That establishes by default the concept of despair that is in view. I see no ambiguity. In any case, the post almost immediately makes reference to Job who was very much dealing with the concept of sinful despair. It seems to me the post rejects the idea that any despair is sinful whereas the prayer is clear regarding its intent. The confusion is in the post.

            Now if that is a concession deliberately made because secular culture has chosen to put the idea of metaphysical despair or hopeless circumstance out of its mind (because it doesn’t know how to deal with it) then perhaps we should rethink our acquiescence to that desire.

          • chefofsinners

            The prayer qualifies despair by its context: a general election. The doctrine of sinful despair has no relevance in this context. That is the point of the post.

          • carl jacobs

            To accept that argument, I have to accept the men never make idols out of politics. But men manifestly do make idols out of politics.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Of course, Your Grace, if we could only restore Grammar Schools for them – and reform the rest of our education to respectable standards – they might begin to see the vernacular differently! As it is, I meet many who think they’re improving the language and empowering themselves by their ‘creative’ changes. It doesn’t matter if ‘Chaos is King’!

            As for the classics and the canon . . . well “Who can, like, understand, like, any of that, like, out of date, like, garbage?”(or so they ask me).

    • Well said, Carl. Depression and despair are two distinct states.

    • I totally agree. Which is why suicide is normally very wrong. It stems from despair. It is a catastrophic failure of faith. Depression itself I suspect rarely kills it is the despair it can generate that leads to this. Paul was crushed but did not despair. Jesus is greatly distressed in the garden and on the cross but not despairing. Psalm 22 is a cry of uncomprehending distress but not despair… it is at all times a cry of faith. It is a cry, not to God, but to ‘my God’.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Many years ago it was God who intervened and prevented me heading off to finish myself off – making me remember utterly incorrectly that there was no carpark by Tamar Bridge (must have been God, I had used the car park many times as a team meet up point for sports activities in Cornwall). Why was I heading there? “Despair”? No. Emphatically not. Had someone asked me at the time I could not have explained the desire to end it all.

        Although things weren’t perfect I had recently heard the Gospel preached effectively and accurately, and was well into my personal journey into true trust/faith in Jesus Christ alone. One thing might explain why I ended up thinking why I did, or maybe better put, as ‘one being….’

        May I suggest that it is the work of Satan that holds a far greater hand in the committing of suicide than ‘human despair’?

        • Dominic, I don’t say despair is the only reason for suicide but it is a major reason. When one believes there is no way out and hope is gone suicide becomes compelling.

          I agree the evil one plays a part but Is not despair a ploy and product of Satan?

          • Dominic Stockford

            But that is why I must agree and disagree with you all at once. In the Book of Job, seen especially in chapter 14 and 15, we are told by Eliphaz and Job about the lot of the unbelieving person. Simply summed up as ‘they have no hope’.

            The NLT translation of verse 1 of chapter 14 is a perfect illustration of this:

            “How frail is humanity! How short is life, how full of trouble!”

            The ESV of Eliphaz (chapter 15) says, rather longer:

            “The wicked man writhes in pain all his days,
            through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless.
            Dreadful sounds are in his ears;
            in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him.
            He does not believe that he will return out of darkness,
            and he is marked for the sword.
            He wanders abroad for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’
            He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand;
            distress and anguish terrify him;
            they prevail against him, like a king ready for battle.”

            This is a fact – there is nothing in which they can have a sure and certain hope beyond this world, or even IN this world. So, if lack of hope is a major reason for suicide, and as we live in a world where the vast majority of people have no sure and certain hope, why aren’t there even more suicides?

          • Despair is commensurate with how unbearable the present reality is coupled with how probable the prospect of deliverance from it seems. Eliphaz’s words contain not a little hyperbole based on his mistaken theology that in this life we get exactly what we deserve. Ps 73 is a more perceptive text; there the wicked are perceived to flourish.

            Most do not find this life so intolerable, and hope tomorrow will be better. Fear of death is an angst with which they have learned to live; eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

            However, where the present is intolerable, and tomorrow promises only more of the same, the temptation to suicide is great.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Dear John, I do not believe they have earned to live with the ‘angst’ of death. Their refusal to mention it, the government’s determination to increase life expectancy, the use of any word other than ‘death’ or ‘died’ to describe the end of someone’s life, the clinging on by any medical means to people in hospitals who should really be ‘let go’, etcetera, all tends to indicate to me that they live in a constant state of attempted denial. It used to be said of teenagers that they thought themselves to be immortal, whereas in fact they simply closed off the possibility that ‘death’ could happen to them and didn’t think about it. ‘Too scary’.

            When it does, as we have seen with two families in our road where a parent of young children has been left alone because the other has died of cancer, they still try to deny what has happened in front of them. And they still reject the possibility that there is any hope even whilst living in anguish and despair because they have discovered that there is no lasting hope in this life either.

            That said, over 50% of funerals in South West London are now taken by ‘celebrants’ – effectively secular therefore. They know that they have no sure and certain hope for the future.

          • In a sense, I think we are both correct. The denial of death and the euphemisms are part of how people ‘live’ with death. On the other hand these very things are signals of the fear of death.

            Existentially many approach death with different emotions prevailing. The young normally with a determination to live in such a way that squashes out all thought of it. Older people develop a resignation that washes much of the colour out of life. Suffering people may even welcome death having convinced themselves it is the end (denial of judgement). And, no doubt,many other perspectives too. All ways that hold them in bondage to Satan.

  • Sarky

    Its meaningless isn’t it??
    To anyone outside the church, the flowery christian language will just induce a catatonic state. The masses probably think the ‘idol of false utopia’ is a foreign talent show.
    This kind of thing just proves the cofe is unfit for purpose.

    • carl jacobs

      It’s not meaningless – well, except to the dead. It strikes me as an attempt to be ruthlessly neutral. That’s why it appears bland. And if the “masses probably think the ‘idol of false utopia’ is a foreign talent show” then perhaps someone should correct the problem with mass education. That is not a uniquely religious concept and it wouldn’t take much effort to show the rivers of blood that have resulted from worshipping that idol.

    • chefofsinners

      Not sure it’s intended for anyone outside the church, or that the purpose of the CoE is to produce prayers which appeal to atheists.

      • Sarky

        Thought that was its whole point??
        Or is it no longer doing the great commission??

  • len

    It is time for all true believers to rise up against false religion (especially false, corrupt versions of Christianity).
    Get into Gods Word, examine everything as the Bereans did.Be ruthless with lies and deception, cast them out.
    Now is the time that God is cleaning out the Temple, with a whip if necessary and overturning the money lenders tables.Driving out the false prophets.
    ‘Break down their altars, smash their sacred stones and burn their
    Asherah poles in the fire; cut down the idols of their gods and wipe out
    their names from those places’.
    (Exodus 34:13)

    • Sarky

      How you gonna do that Len??
      Thats just the usual christian ‘all talk no action’. Hiding behind a keyboard will change nothing (unless you’re a russian hacker)

      • len

        ‘Hiding behind a keyboard’…How dare you sir.
        I might not be a hacker, …but I certainly get’ hacked off’ sometimes…..

  • Holger

    Priceless!

    Christians can’t even pray together without bitching about the wording and using it as an excuse to attack and belittle each other.

    Honestly, you people are your own worst enemies.

    • IanCad

      Not while you’re around we ain’t.

    • There’s no better example of the twin sins of despair and cynicism than you, Linus.

    • Anton

      What price a run-off between le Pen and Melenchon? One of these elections there won’t be an EU to Brexit from, as I’ve suggested.

      • Holger

        Let’s wait and see, shall we?

        Or are you claiming you can predict the future?

        Careful, your fake god doesn’t like that. He can’t stand the competition.

    • Lucius

      As if on cue, Holger reminds we good faith Christians on this board that there is more that unites us then divides us. Thank you, Holger.

      • Holger

        You’re most welcome, but it won’t do you any good. Your hatred for each other exceeds any vague desire you may have for unity. You’ll continue to bitch and squabble and fight and score points off each other no matter what. I mean, you don’t even listen to your own messiah. Why would you pay any attention to anyone else?

        • Lucius

          Holger, you seem like a rather unhappy fellow. While it is fun rhetorically jousting with you from time-to-time. I am beginning to pity you somewhat.

          • Holger

            If you were a real Christian, you wouldn’t use pop psychology as a weapon to attack your opponents and besmirch their character. You wouldn’t judge. You’d turn the other cheek.

            This leads me to conclude that, like just about everyone here, your Christianity is a front.

            People who truly believe in the precepts of Christ do not lash out like you do on this comment board. You clearly don’t believe in Christ, but merely use his name as a front for your own ego and as permission to visit “divine” judgment on everyone who disagrees with you.

            If he really exists, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes when judgment day comes. You may cry “Lord! Lord!” but given the way you behave, he cannot know you.

            In other words, if I’m toast, so are you.

          • Lucius

            There’s no “pop psychology” here Holger. You wear your grievance and spite on your sleeve for all to see. It does not take a Ph.D. to recognize it. And I am not “attacking” you per se, but identifying a clear trend in your behavior, as a matter-of-fact, based on your comment history, which is filled with terse and oftentimes unsubstantiated condemnations of the Christian Faith, which have a clear undercurrent of vitriol. I am not saying “Holger is a bad, awful person,” but I am saying “Holger, based on his own behavior, clearly holds Christianity in contempt and this contempt appears driven be some yet to be identified anger or resentment.” In my experience, when folks hold onto that type of anger or resenment there is something more there then mere theological or philosophical differences of opinion. So what is it? The ball is in your court.

    • chefofsinners

      Are you suggesting that the wording of a prayer should not matter to us?

  • Dodgy Geezer

    Thanks for the best laugh I have had today!

    Even better than CND suggesting that we should disarm all our nuclear weapons as an example to North Korea….

  • Let’s clear up some misunderstandings the New York Times is peddling. Jack’s premise is that science and religion, reason and faith are in harmony. The task is to integrate insights from all these sources – medicine, psychology, scripture and theology in order to understand and distinguish between sinful despair and mental illness. All truth is symphonic: there is a harmony between faith and reason, theology and science, if only we discover it.

    In Catholic theology, despair is ethically regarded as the voluntary and complete abandonment of all hope of saving one’s soul and of having the means required for that end. It is a positive act of the will by which a person deliberately gives over any expectation of ever reaching eternal life. The intellect decides definitely that salvation is impossible. This is motived by the belief either that an individual’s sins are too great to be forgiven, or that it is too hard for human nature to cooperate with the grace of God, or that Almighty God is unwilling to aid our weakness or pardon our offenses.

    Anxiety or depression about this life or the next life is not despair. The sin of despair is a sin against faith – that God has no mind to supply us with what is needed for salvation. It directly denies God’s goodness, mercy, and faithfulness. It is not the worst sin conceivable: that evil is held to be a direct and explicit hatred of God. Nevertheless, its power for harming our soul is greater than other sins as it cuts us off from God and those who fall into despair will often surrender to all sorts of other sinful indulgences.

    How does despair differ from “depression”? First and foremost, depression is not a voluntary and positive rejection of God and His goodness. In its more serious forms, depression can be a sort of madness that drives people to despair – leading to a profound and painful sense of hopelessness and delusional thinking about oneself, the world and the future. Depression is a complex illness that profoundly impairs a person’s mental and physical functioning. Jack prefers the older term “melancholia,” which conjures images of a thick, black fog that descends on the mind and saps the body of vitality. “darkness visible” – from Milton’s description of hell in Paradise Lost – captures the image.

    In a 2003 address on the theme of depression Saint Pope John Paul II said that depression is always a spiritual trial: “This disease is often accompanied by an existential and spiritual crisis that leads to an inability to perceive the meaning of life.” He went on to stress how non-professionals, motivated by Christian charity and compassion, can help those with depression: “The role of those who care for depressed persons and who do not have a specifically therapeutic task consists above all in helping them to rediscover their self-esteem, confidence in their own abilities, interest in the future, the desire to live. It is therefore important to stretch out a hand to the sick, to make them perceive the tenderness of God, to integrate them into a community of faith and life in which they can feel accepted, understood, supported, respected; in a word, in which they can love and be loved.” In 1993, Saint Pope John Paul II pointed out to a group of psychiatrists:“By its very nature your work often brings you to the threshold of human mystery. It involves sensitivity to the tangled workings of the human mind and heart, and openness to the ultimate concerns that give meaning to people’s lives. These areas are of the utmost importance to the Church, and they call to mind the urgent need for a constructive dialogue between science and religion for the sake of shedding greater light on the mystery of man in his fullness.”

    Tragically, some cases of depression lead to suicide. The Catholic Church has a morally clear but pastorally sensitive teaching on suicide. She teaches that suicide is a sin against love of God, love of oneself and love of neighbour. On the other hand, the Church also recognises that an individual’s moral culpability for the act of suicide can be diminished by mental illness: “Grave psychological disturbances, anguish or grave fear of hardship, suffering or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.” The Catechism goes on to say: “We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.”

    • Cressida de Nova

      Thank you for this informative and excellent post Jack

      I think with genuine support kindness and caring, most people can get through everything. The problem lies in the fact there is very little of it around and this causes most of the societal problems we have. The medical profession is a business without altruism in most circumstances.Also the large numbers of people who have been raised secularly without the benefit of religious belief and role models are at risk as well.There is nothing to sustain them in those bad times when you can find yourself completely alone. They do not have the comfort of prayer

      Depression is quite a common disorder now and it really is not surprising considering the spiritually and morally bereft self centred society in which we live. I have noticed that any slight kindness extended to a stranger is received with surprise and disproportionate gratitude. I find this a depressing revelation of how indifferent we are to each other.

      • David

        Well said, and all very true.
        I find that people are also shocked by any very open honesty, especially if this impacts adversely, from just the narrow financial viewpoint, on you. Looking the other way and pocketing the money is the norm, sadly I’d say.

      • Coniston

        There is a deeper question to be posed. Why is there more depression and more mental illness among children and young people today? What has gone wrong with our society? There are many different answers, but David Goodhart has, to my mind, pinpointed the cause more accurately than anyone else, though many others have referred to it. See:
        http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/issues/april-21st-2017/the-political-elite-have-undermined-the-family-its-time-to-change-course/

        • Their lives are chaotic from the start and the tools to cope are not inculcated. It is tragic. It is all the product of our brave progressive enlightened liberal society.

        • David

          It is a good article, amongst many such good articles, all of which explain how the cultural and political elite turned against the family in the name of ‘progress’. They ‘progressed’ us towards mental disease and the destruction of family life. We must change course.

    • I agree with virtually all of this. It is well said. My only quibble would be that both theologically and pastorally I think it is wrong to provide too much hope for the salvation of those who have taken their own life. Theologically, suicide is a catestrophic failure of faith and only those who persevere in faith can be sure of salvation. Pastorally, for the depressed person at least, it is not a good idea to feed the notion that suicide will be forgiven and provide a solution to his troubles. The more suicide is made acceptable/forgiveable the more likely it is that a Christian may resort to it.

      Softening its seriousness may provide comfort to the family but the very softening is likely to mean more families need comforting.

      I say this as someone who struggles with depression from time to time and has seen the attractiveness of suicide. Had I been sure of heaven perhaps I would have found the attractiveness irresistible.

      • “In the final analysis only God knows how morally culpable the depressed person was. Only he can determine how undermined the responsibility was. We cannot judge, nor should we.”
        Absolutely … This is the essence of Catholic teaching on all grievous sin. No responsible man of God would minimise the (objective) gravity of suicide and its affront to God, although some in the Church are now claiming euthanasia is no longer an offence before God.

      • Royinsouthwest

        What sort of person would want a “heaven” from which their loved ones were missing?

        • One who loves God and Christ and glory more than family and sin and Satan and eternal judgement.

          Self interest is not wrong. Even in this life we often have to come to terms with a straying family and live our own lives. If we are wise we do not allow their decisions to rob us of all joy and contentment.

        • When we arrive in heaven, our perspective will change. Our limited, earthly understanding will be replaced by a holy, heavenly perspective.

          Speaking of the eternal state, Revelation 21:4 says that God “will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”

          • David

            Yes. Whilst on earth we care for our families and friends both, in practical ways, and also spiritually, as we try to encourage them to turn to Christ. But ultimately each human being makes their own choices, to follow Christ of not, and therefore to submit to God and enter heaven or not. As you say, in heaven we will see everything differently.

      • “Pastorally, for the depressed person at least, it is not a good idea to feed the notion that suicide will be forgiven and provide a solution to his troubles. The more suicide is made acceptable/forgiveable the more likely it is that a Christian may resort to it.”

        I think I understand where you’re coming from but, having lost friends to suicide, the idea that you can talk or encourage someone into suicide isn’t helpful. The taboo is one of the biggest barriers to people talking about it and getting help. The Samaritans have a good explanation on their “myths about suicide page”.

        • I agree totally it’s important to talk. I’m guarding against talk that may (unintentionally) remove restraints that are helpful. If we give the (unwarranted) impression that suicide is self-evidently forgiven by a gracious God we make it a more attractive option to the depressed Christian.

          I think a strange parallel lies in those whose faith fails when faced with martyrdom. We naturally want to say such failure of faith in the face of great pressure is excusable but the bible doesn’t support that view. To shrink back is an act of faithlessness that at the very least placed a question mark over the reality of their faith. No salvation assurances are given to those whose faith collapses under the threat of martyrdom, rather the opposite.

          Of course they may repent and reaffirm their faith. I am just making the point that a faith that fails is a serious thing and should not be lightly overlooked by a misdirected compassion.

          • chefofsinners

            When the mind fails, the capacity to exert faith is lost. This is a medical condition, often treatable with drugs.
            A faith which comes and goes with drugs is not one which would affect an eternal destiny. It is decisions taken by a sound mind which matter.

          • I discussed this point earlier. I agree, if the mind fails. But this is not binary. There are levels of failure, levels of depression etc. In the final analysis only God can decide when illness voids responsibility.

          • chefofsinners

            Failure in the face of martyrdom is eminently forgivable, if the disciples are anything to go by.
            Add in the failure of the mind and suicide looks more so.
            But yes, ultimately God is the only judge of anything.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Yes, Chef … and suicide can also re-present martyrdom, as some medieval people claimed.
            For: If the Enemy leave a person nowhere to go, and no route for survival without corruption (in God’s sight, not that of lying, slandering men) – then it must be better to die than to compromise one’s self or one’s standards in relation to God’s Law.

            In a sense, is that not what Christ Himself did? He could have struck all his persecutors and crucifiers dead if He’d chosen . . . but He stayed true to His own Truth, and He let them seem to win.

          • I’m thinking of verses like

            (NIV) 10 Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you life as your victor’s crown.

            (NIV) Now have come the salvation and the power
            and the kingdom of our God,
            and the authority of his Messiah.
            For the accuser of our brothers and sisters,
            who accuses them before our God day and night,
            has been hurled down.
            11 They triumphed over him
            by the blood of the Lamb
            and by the word of their testimony;
            they did not love their lives so much
            as to shrink from death.
            12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens
            and you who dwell in them!
            But woe to the earth and the sea,
            because the devil has gone down to you!
            He is filled with fury,
            because he knows that his time is short.”

            (NIV) 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”

            And Jesus answered them [his disciples], See that no one leads you astray. . . . They will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. . . . But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (ESV)

            38But My righteous one will live by faith; and if he shrinks back, I will take no pleasure in him.” 39But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.

            The Bible never assures those who for whatever reason abandon faith that all is well eternally. It is the overcomer, the faithful, the enduring (to the end) who are promised life.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, true faith will bring us safely to the end. But Peter’s denial of Christ was not the end.

            I don’t think the analogy between martyrdom and suicide is helpful.

            For those with a sound mind, turning from a martyr’s death and choosing death by suicide are both failures of faith but they are very different in terms of their physical outcomes, and in the way that faith is tested and exercised. While a person feeling suicidal might welcome a martyr’s death, a person facing martyrdom might long for the life of the suicidal person.
            A person already feeling suicidal might welcome a martyr’s death.

            Once mental illness intervenes, all bets are off.

          • My main reason for the mention of martyrdom was to point out the high level of commitment the gospel demands. We are too indulgent and too easily excuse serious failure.

            Again, I say, that mental illness involves levels of dimished responsibility and we must, in my view, avoid giving the view it completely absolves of all responsibility making suicide more attractive. Here we must, it seems, disagree.

          • chefofsinners

            I agree with you, John. But I think a greater emphasis should be placed on how the Christian lives his life than on how he dies. It’s the deathbed conversions that I struggle with.

          • Agreed.

          • betteroffoutofit

            But when martyrdom IS a form of suicide, because the martyr CHOOSES,

          • I agree that we shouldn’t downplay the severity of suicide, but I think what you’re saying here is more relevant to the debate around assisted suicide, and particularly the desire to industrialise it.

            There is a definite need for Christians to be more emphatic about the sanctity of life and to instil that into their communities (I’m staggered by Christians who support selective abortion and euthanasia) and there is a proper place for theological discussion there. But, when someone is so deeply in despair that they are honestly at the point of suicide, I doubt they’d be in a place to have that discussion. If someone feels that their life is worthless, I don’t think condemnation helps and, if they are despairing enough that they’ve lost their faith, God and an afterlife probably no longer holds any meaning for them.

            As Jack’s post says, there are all sorts of psychological disturbances that drive people to suicide and (along with the martyrs you mentioned) it’s impossible to know what is really going on in people’s spirits when they’re in the darkest depths of despair. I think that ultimately we can only trust that God is compassionate, loving and just and pray for a world where nobody feels that ending their own life is the better option.

  • Despair and cynicism seem perfectly valid responses to the choices available at this election. Anyway, I didn’t think the C of E believed in sin these days…

    • Inspector General

      The best way to view the CoE is as an organisation in partnership with Christ, rather than being Christ’s representative on earth. Which explains much…

      • Sometimes I wish I could give it that much credit…

      • Would that be a “partnership” of equals, Inspector? Or is the Church there to implement the will of Christ? You know, as His faithful servant.

        Btw, how’s the study of your newly discovered John Thomas developing?

    • Mike Stallard

      Of course it believes in sin! Look at the Bishop of Sheffield (fail). He sinned really badly did he not?

      • Ah yes, you’re right. He committed the greatest sin of all. “He who blasphemes against the Spirit of Diversity never has forgiveness but is subject to eternal condemnation.”

  • Inspector General

    Horrible feeling those mawkish words were the result not of an individual, but of some committee. (With joy in their hearts, of course, so pass the sick bucket)

    Who says hours of mutual navel gazing are a waste of time.

    We shouldn’t bother God so much. Take a risk every now and then, says the Inspector. It’s not exactly running across a road with your eyes closed, is it!

  • len

    There are many forms of depression ranging from reactive to clinical depression.Despair is seeing no solution to whatever problem is confronting you.But facts change, situations change, given time.And if facts or situations do not change we can perhaps change our response to them.

    The Bible describes’ a Spirit of Heaviness’ Which can and does afflict people.

    To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for
    ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit
    of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the
    planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified(.Isaiah 61:3)

  • len

    The idols of false utopias?
    That must refer to Corbyn.
    How about tagging on at the bottom .’And save us from the divisive policies of the SNP, and the folly of the Liberals’
    Just asking.

  • Inspector General

    Just a thought, but we are only weeks away from real despair for those of a Labour persuasion. Do they think Corbyn is going to resign after the beating he’s going to get, or will he stay put…

    • Anton

      Or will be be replaced by Tony Blair?

      • 1649again

        No, he’s finished, no way back for him after his past.

        • Mike Stallard

          Labour people said that when he stood for election in the first place. And he won a resounding victory. did you hear the fragrant Emily Thorndyke on radio? She is fighting for people whose income (poor dears) is only £25,000 p.a.

          • 1649again

            A team of grievance fuelled morons.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Listen to the interview again. She doesn’t know whether the average wage is £23k or £27k. It can’t be both, or either. Why do people vote for such fools.

          • Paul Greenwood

            Do you mean Lady Nugee, Emily Thornberry ? Barrister married to Barrister and formerly an associate of Mike Mansfield ? I doubt she would recognise a brief below £25,000 and that would keep her in court for a week.

      • betteroffoutofit

        Oh my. Is he really daft enough to dare !!!!?!!!!

      • Inspector General

        T Blair is the kind of fellow that a headmaster would say on his departure into the world “you’ll either end up a very rich man or standing, hands tied behind your back, wearing a hood, with a rope around your neck”…

        • Anton

          Why one or the other?

      • Redrose82

        More likely he will be replaced by another of his ilk. The Labour membership will see to that.

    • chefofsinners

      Corbyn and his ideology will have failed. The few Labour MPs left will not repeat the mistake of nominating a left wing candidate. They will give the party a choice of Umunna or Angela Eagle. After that it will be a return to fighting over the tiniest strip of middle ground, if you can even tell which party the MPs belong to.

      • David

        The middle ground is over populated, as you know. In reality what is now referred to as the middle ground is not in the middle at all, but assumes left-liberal social policies for everything. The so called Conservative Party has in fact become a tool of liberal- socialism.

    • He may not get a beating, his people versus the establishment mantra will gather momentum especially amongst the younger voters.

      • Mike Stallard

        …and those who long to get onto the government payroll either as employees or clients.

  • chefofsinners

    In order to remove any doubt about the depth of its doctrinal understanding, the CoE has issued a revised version of this prayer:
    Lord, grant that the General may make the calling of his election sure and that the sovereign will dissolve parliament.
    As we see the immanent Labour pains and know that the end is nigh we pray that the prophet Jeremy may bask in the five solas and that he will move ontological argument.
    Knowing that the CoE is holed below the water line, we thank you for our sanktification.
    We pray to You, gov. Sorry for any typologies, but we wrote this in a hurry.
    In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Goat. Amen.

    • “Knowing that the CoE is holed below the water line, we thank you for our sanktification.”

      That’s bad …

  • Hi

    Well I’ve already made my mind up and I will vote Conservative. We can’t risk the coalition of chaos that a Lab-Lib- SNP- Green government would entail. Ukip is a busted flush without Farage . There’s only one real realistic choice.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I think you are right. Small parties have now put all their money into local elections, so such as the Christian Party are unlikely to have many candidates – I won’t be standing for instance. Sadly, given their record on moral issues, Conservative seems to be the only chance for stability.

  • Skidger

    Some of us despair about the Church of England.

  • You do know humility is a virtue?

    • carl jacobs

      It would be prideful for me to claim that my natural American humbleness is a virtue. And anyways … I was just agreeing with what you wrote. How can I get in trouble for agreeing with you?

      • Did the cat ever get your homework?

        • carl jacobs

          By any chance, do you mean “Did the dog ever eat your homework?”

          • Lol …. there’s no rules about the of analogy.
            Resist the urge to disagree, Carl.

          • Update …

            Yes, Grasshopper. As a good Catholic once wrote:

            “Hope springs eternal in the human breast;
            Man U. never Is, but always To be blest.
            The goals, uneasy, and confin’d at home,
            Rests and expatiates in the Titles to come.”

          • carl jacobs

            Hrmmm. Something doesn’t appear exactly right in that poem. One detects some subtle altering …

  • Ian G

    On the bright side, we are to avoid the idols of a false eutopia… and possibly the idylls as well.

  • michaelkx

    who will win? hhhmm good question I know who will lose, the old the sick, and the disabled.

  • Paul Greenwood

    How is living in a “democracy” such a “good”? Given a choice the Mob “ochlos” chose bar Abbas over Jesus in a vote.

  • Dominic Stockford

    ‘Twas Faustus who despaired – and it is one of the saddest moments of Gounod’s opera when he refuses to accept that by repenting he might be saved from his terrible end.

  • Judas was Paid

    Another vacuous piece of liturgical nonsense. Maybe just add it to all the rest.