Church of England

EU withdrawal Bill clears the Commons: will the Bishops vote for Brexit?

It is the stuff of which our Island history is made. The House of Commons has voted overwhelmingly to give the Prime Minister leave to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, and thereby trigger the UK’s departure from the European Union. The people’s Brexit has become the Commons’ Brexit, with most MPs acknowledging the ultimate source of their sovereignty. Belligerent Remain MPs were swept aside as every blocking amendment was skewered on Theresa May’s stilettos. Brexit still means Brexit.

And now the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill proceeds to the House of Lords. There is a Remain peer-plot afoot to disrupt its progress to Royal Assent, but, as Faisal Islam tweeted: ‘Gov source: “Lords will face overwhelming public call to be abolished if now..frustrate this bill – must deliver will of the British people”.’

If their Lordships are to survive, they must indeed pass this Bill cleanly; that is, without amendment. If they do not, revolution will be in the air.

And the Lord Bishops ought to reflect seriously on how they vote on this Bill (and any proposed amendments), for their affirmation, rejection, abstention or (convenient) absence may well determine their own future in the House of Lords – not least because the National Secular Society is sure to tweet indignation about how the “special religious privileges” of “Anglican peers” (what?) can be allowed to trump the will of the people…

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby – a devout ‘peace and reconciliation‘ Remainer – has already indicated that he will vote to pass the Bill. “I accept we voted leave and I will be supporting the Brexit Bill in the House of Lords,” he told LBC‘s Nick Ferrari. He added: “I weighed it up very carefully at the time. Maybe I got it wrong, you might well be right, and If I did, I apologise.” That’s the humble Christian calibre of the man. His change of mind, or heart, or pragmatic decision to vote for Brexit is symbolically (not to say politically and spiritually) very important. The senior bishop and principal leader of the Church of England is voting for the UK to leave the EU after decades of Church complicity and collusion in communion with the Treaty of Rome. Such schism goes against everything he sincerely believes about unity, mutuality, peace and reconciliation. It is a deeply personal reformation.

The Archbishop of York John Sentamu has not indicated how he will vote. Perhaps he remains convinced that he still has a “moral obligation” to vote against the Bill, if only in order that other nations would know that our word is our bond. Or does the referendum result and the will of the Commons constitute “a cogent argument for why we should be out”? He told the Times back in May that he didn’t know one. Surely the express will of the majority of voters and the resolution of their parliamentary representatives nudges towards political cogency and democratic force?

There is, of course, no episcopal whip: all are free agents, bound only by their consciences before God. But should the Lord Bishops vote to frustrate the Brexit Bill, it would have the effect of withdrawing, at a stroke, the justification for them being in the House of Lords. If they’re not prepared to vote for the most important piece of legislation for 50 years, some people might argue, what is the point in having them there at all?

Quite a few bishops will genuinely be unable to make some votes (overseas visits, pastoral priorities, unbreakable diocesan commitments, etc), which would be quite different from deliberate abstention. They will all now know the dates, and will be waiting to read what amendments are tabled or are pressed to a vote by Peers. It is worth remembering that highest modern turnout of bishops at a vote was in 2006, when 14 voted against Lord Joffe’s Assisted Dying Bill. That’s 14 out of 26. Of course, some might have wimped out, as they may do with the Brexit Bill (not to mention the forthcoming Great Repeal Bill). But the benefit of doubt must be given: absences are highly likely to be for genuine and legitimate reasons.

But all it will take is for one bishop to vote for an amendment, or to vote against the Bill altogether, for the whole church (hierarchy) to be castigated. And Philip North, now Bishop-Elect of Sheffield, would be affirmed in his perception that bishops generally (and perhaps Lord Bishops especially) are elitist, aloof and apparently quite indifferent to the priorities and concerns of ordinary people. He exhorts his fellow bishops to “pay proper attention to the voices of those whose votes have caused this revolution, whether or not we like what we hear”. Quite so: not to do so would be great folly.

Bishops play a unique role in the House of Lords. They are the channels of supernatural grace transfused from the Apostles to the first bishops and down through the centuries of the Church. They contribute undoubted words of wisdom, warning, insight and discernment. But their existence in Parliament is not dictated by revelation or some other supernatural necessity. They are there because their sound governance of English Christianity has been found to be helpful, if not necessary, for the sound government of the United Kingdom. And their presence as a civil power is with the consent of the people, whose judgment in a democratic vote must be respected, whether or not the Lord Bishops like it.

  • Dreadnaught

    The Bishops should look beyond the implications for the UK leaving the EU andconsider the implications of remaining. If the exapansionist aims of Brussels run true to form, it is not so outrageous to suggest that at sometime this century the Schengen Area or whatever it will be called in the future, will extend into Africa and anywhere with a Mediterrainian shoreline. Indeed why stop there?

    The Union for the Mediterranean (UfM) is an intergovernmental organisation bringing together the 28 European Union Member States and 15 countries from the Southern and Eastern shores of the Mediterranean. It provides a unique forum to enhance regional cooperation and dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean region.

    https://youtu.be/pT3C03YLBDU

    • Anton

      Indeed. I have recently read the novel “Submission” that Gavin Ashenden spoke of (on his blog or another) by Michel Houellenbecq about an electoral pact between an Islamic party and the Left to keep Marine Le Pen out of the power in French elections in the next decade. The Islamic party lets the Left have all the economic cabinet posts in return for education. Teachers have to convert to Islam or be sacked (with a full-pay pension paid for by Saudi Arabia, so that everybody is perfectly happy). Quite soon North Africa gets to join the EU. And so it goes…

      • Dreadnaught

        Its all part of the softening up process for the eradication of the concept of the Nation State; which of course and by pure coincidence, is the prinicple of the ultimate Islamic ambition.

        • Anton

          Not just Islamic but all totalitarian belief systems: communism also sought that.

          • Dreadnaught

            Why spin off down that route?

          • Anton

            I’m not reducing my reservations about Islam but I don’t think it should be singled out for the reason you have done so.

            NB The UfM really does look like a revived Roman empire…

          • Dreadnaught

            I doubt you have examined the links – I’m out.

        • bluedog

          The prospects of nation states being eliminated is zero, despite the ambitions of the globalists. By the end of this year there will be no doubt of their survival, and Brexit led the way.

          • Inspector General

            One does believe the nation state is ultimately doomed, as indeed is much else we have now but won’t have in the future. But it’s centuries away. Maybe a millennium even…

          • bluedog

            Impressive futurology, IG.

          • Little Black Censored

            “One does” – but what about you?

          • Dreadnaught

            The prospects of nation states being eliminated is zero, despite the ambitions of the globalists.
            By the end of this year there will be no doubt of their survival, and Brexit led the way.

            I agree with much of what you are saying, but that won’t stop the EU from trying.
            27 Countries are already embedded, many of whom are financially, net beneficiaries – tick;
            EU Passport – tick;
            take down borders – tick;
            free movement of anyone without regulation – tick;
            create a common currency – tick;
            rule by diktat from unaccountable committees-tick;
            legislate over and above national supremacy – tick
            build an EU military force – work in progress.
            What is left of the concept of an independent nation state for those who remain?
            Having said this, the fact is that the EU juggernaught is on auto-pilot to ever closer integration of whichever countries have signed up. It inevitably will affect us whether in or out.

            We as a island nation find simplicity in self identification; not so if you are a Russian Latvian, Belgian Walloon, Belgian Fleming and what the hell is a Luxembourger or any of those millions who make up the old fuzzy borderlands of what was Jugoslavia, the Sudetenland or Austro-Hungarian Empre?

            We know that Human nature has and will never, fit snugly into the straight-jacket of one size fits all for very long.
            Stalin tried it, Mao tried it, Pol Pot and Castro tried it and indeed, got away with it for a time – yet still the EU continues pig-headdedly unstoppable, toward its goal of bringng the embrionic concept of it’s 1950s political alternative for peace in place of war, to full term.

            The demonstrated fact, that enforced conformity on disparate people and cultures is a deeply flawed, unworkable ambition,is yet to register with the Bureaucrats who see no further than their careers and pension pots.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Pol Pot and Castro ruled over nation states. Stalin and Mao ruled over states that contained quite a few different nationalities.

          • Dreadnaught

            The point was enforced conformity.

  • Dominic Stockford

    ‘our word is our bond’ – if Sentamu doesn’t vote for Brexit he proves that it ISN’T – as we, the people, were promised a referendum, and that the result would be acted on.

    You are right though ABC – if they vote against it, it will the end of them.

    • Anton

      It was astute of Theresa May to let it be known to the House of Lords that its own existence would be in jeopardy over this issue, then distance herself from the warning. Good Urquhart stuff.

      • bluedog

        Once she has successfully negotiated and executed Brexit, one suspects that Mrs May could have some surprisingly radical reforms up her sleeve. ‘Reset’ is a fashionable term, and Brexit creates an opportunity to conduct a wide-ranging taking of stock.

        • Anton

          What she should do is give half of the managers in the NHS a year’s notice (there are four times as many of them per doctor or nurse as there are in private medicine) and then redeploy the money saved to the frontline; reduce benefits; and increase the Army. She also seems to think that the government can identify business winners better than the free market, which is vain; hopefully somebody can explain to her the fallacy. Paying off government debt is not vital at such low interest rates but it must not increase.

          • bluedog

            The critical factor is the cost of debt service, not the quantum of debt, and the authorities have done a good job in locking in the low rates available on very long term borrowings.

    • dannybhoy

      Could help solve another problem… :0)

  • Inspector General

    An Inspector recalls mass abstention all round by the Lords Spiritual when it came to defending traditional marriage. They remain unforgiven for that. Thus, any sizeable support to remain would show that these representatives of Christianity are clearly in Caesars pocket. And an EU anti Christ of a Caesar at that!

    • Anton

      The Hereditaries would be Brexiteers. Forward into the past?

      • Inspector General

        Unfortunately, the place is lifting with political appointees of the worst sort. The hereditaries are few in number compared…

        • dannybhoy

          I was okay with the idea of hereditary peers. Preferable to placemen..

          • Inspector General

            So was the Inspector, but the place is rather a smelly bin these days thanks to unpleasant politicians who should have been sent home, not on to the Lords.

          • dannybhoy

            Wasn’t it Blair who half reformed the Lords?

          • Inspector General

            The wrong half, to be sure…

    • Having a manic episode, Inspector? Looking as you do, you should be in a state facility.

      • Inspector General

        Mr Turpin is occupying the lofty position of Inspector with immediate effect, as the present incumbent is busy redecorating ‘Towers’. And Turpin wants to meet Linus.

        • Lol …. then he should introduce himself and his writing style should reflect this change. Could be fun.

    • dannybhoy

      It’s that famous highwayman Ben Turpin !
      Doesn’t suit, Inspector. At least your other picture made you seem reasonable..

  • bluedog

    Challenging stuff, Your Grace, and one notes that the Lords Spiritual do not have a whip. This would appear to reduce their options to self-flagellation or a migraine, as the spirit moves them. One awaits with bated breath.

  • Richard B

    Hopefully the lords ‘spiritual’ have cleaned out their ‘inner ears’ and started learning about our Lord’s mind on the matter. I agree with Revd Dr Clifford Hill’s remark last June upon the Referendum, “We now need to recognise the outcome as an act of God – but so much of the future now depends upon the Church’s response”.

    So I blogged about the vote challenging churches, for I’d compiled nearly two dozen prophetic directives received by many folk in the last 12 years in which God indicated His plans to loose us from the modern tower of babel (http://wp.me/P1Y1yB-8Eu refers)

  • their sound governance of English Christianity

    While he was still a C of E bishop, Paul Richardson reflected on that sound governance and concluded that ‘Christian Britain is dead.’ He wrote:

    The coronation brought church and nation together in a way which will never be repeated. School assemblies had a definite Christian tone and children still sang familiar hymns. The church could function as chaplain to a nation that was nominally Christian and Anglican, even if many actually only attended for baptisms, weddings and funerals. That world has gone for good.

    While many may regret the passing of that world, one man glad to see the back of it is Justin Welby, who declares that he has no interest in living in a Christian country: ‘Archbishop Justin told his audience that diversity was a “gift not a threat” and he did not want to live in a “monocultural” society.’

    You would like to believe that the bishops give their blessing to Muslim immigration out of terrifying naïvety but when the only bishop to raise the alarm is forced to resign…

    • dannybhoy

      ” ‘Archbishop Justin told his audience that diversity was a “gift not a threat” and he did not want to live in a “monocultural” society.”
      Never! I am praying for this man and his sidekick John Sentamu (I won’t tell you what the terms and conditions are).
      Your link to ‘Justin Welby declares’, isn’t working John. Can you repost it?

      • @ dannybhoy—The link works on this page, on my Disqus home page and on my file copy of the comment.

        • dannybhoy

          Thanks, it’s working now.

    • Royinsouthwest

      Culture and religion overlap but they are not identical. The paragraph below shows one of the things the Archbishop did say.

      So this morning I’ve rejoiced in myself at seeing an example of the kind of country I am proud to be in. And it’s also a country, in this area, that is based in faith traditions. We celebrated Morning Prayer at St John’s, a passionate worshiping community in which followers of Jesus Christ from a wide variety of backgrounds come to worship in the power of the Spirit of God.

      Welby recognised that Britain today has large numbers of followers of other faiths. That is a fact, like it or not. There is nothing in the link you provided about not wanting Britain to be a Christian country. Do you think the way to make Britain Christian is to expel all the Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Jews like Edward I expelled the Jews in 1290?

      • @ Royinsouthwest—Britain today has large numbers of followers of other faiths. That is a fact, like it or not

        ‘almost one in 10 under 25s in Britain is now a Muslim…While almost half of British Muslims are under the age of 25, almost a quarter of Christians are over 65. The average age of a British Muslim is just 25, not far off half that of a British Christian.’ Those are facts, like them or not, and they signal the decline of Christianity and the rise of Islam.

        Welby can afford to rejoice in multi-faith Britain because Christianity is still the dominant faith. When demography has worked its magic and Christians become a minority in a Muslim Britain, Christian rejoicing will be a sick joke.

        the way to make Britain Christian

        I think it would have been better to keep Britain Christian by retaining the monocultural society we had had for a thousand years.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          ‘When demography has worked its magic’.

          You mean: when abortion and the necessity of replacement by immigration.

          • Anton

            Why necessary? There’s a shortage of homes, let the population fall and the problem is solved without concreting the Home Counties. OK the economy falls a bit, but this is about culture which counts for more than economics.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            The population is becoming top-heavy. Germany, Britain and Spain require more worker-bees.

          • Not a demographer or an economist, are you?

          • Anton

            I’ll back myself against you, but my point is that we are obsessed with the economy to the exclusion of more important things. In the mid-14th century between 1/3 and 1/2 of the population vanished during one month at any given place, due to the Black Death, and the survivors carried on OK.

          • Yeah, you probably would, despite Jack having spent 30+ years studying medical and social care economics and demographics. You want a plague to carry-off the old, disabled, fragile, poor and weak?

          • Anton

            That wasn’t what I was advocating as I think you know.

            You said you were in charge of adoption policy.

            Do you understand the difference between fiscal and economic policy?

          • Jack said he was chair of a local authority adoption panel and, at another time, served as agency decision maker.
            Do you know your arse from your elbow?

          • Anton

            How about the Black-Scholes formula for derivative pricing? Markowitz’ portfolio theory? How short-term and long-term interest rates are related by the zero-arbitrage condition?

            Or the difference between Britain and the USA in the demographics of the baby boom generation?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Must you be such an insufferable crashing bore? There is something wrong with you.No one is impressed with this rattling off of irrelevant facts and figures to remind us of how clever you are. It is compensatory behaviour for social ineptitude.

            How about you just chill out.

          • Anton

            Jack challenged me (“Not a demographer or an economist, are you?”), not vice-versa.

            Luke 12:14.

          • And ….
            We still need the balance between the working population and the dependent population to produce a surplus to cover the cost of health and social care – and sufficient people to produce and provide that which is required.

          • Anton

            I agree with what you are saying although I’d never put it like that, because surplus implies that workers continue at their present standard of living and make more money on top of that to pay for the non-working elderly, whereas I think we should all tighten our belts. It’s complex because if there’s less money around then rents and housing prices are forced down so although we are all poorer we are “less poorer” than it seems. That is an example of the law of unexpected consequences which is economics’ biggest bugbear, as I expect you know. Economists who are dishonest or incompetent (perish the thought…) neglect it to make the point they want.

          • The welfare state and the social benefit system together inflate expectations and prices. If we’re to return to more self reliance, then individuals, families and local communities need to look out for another – do more for less. That why population replacement is critical. And we have to accept ingrown toe-nails do not a medical emergency constitute.

          • Anton

            Unhappily I believe that only hardship will cause more community spirit. Well, it’s coming; I can’t see the financial system lasting too long under present levels of debt, in which case 2008 was a tea party. But we are all in the same economic boat and that fact has little to do with numbers.

          • Not so sure. The welfare state is gobbling resources like a hungry shark that has to keep moving. It’s formed a symbiotic relationship with moral and family decline,and the ever rising dependency and unrealistic expectations it creates.
            It’s not just one variable, granted. However, one cannot underplay our declining population and the way the state is assuming responsibility for family and kin. Without a young, vibrant workforce, and families raising children, we get older and older and frailer and frailer and have to depend on fewer and fewer people. Something has to give, Jack agrees. If governments continue to fail to manage welfare, then there must be an eventual collapse.
            Jack has been saying these things for at least 20 years. The politicians have ignored the clear evidence since the 1970’s and the professionals clamour for more resources to do more and more.

          • Anton

            Agreed, and add to these things the fact that elections have become auctions of unsustainable promises.

          • Little Black Censored

            Still in the third person! Can’t you give up that irritating habit? (Apparently The Donald goes in for it too.)

          • Now see here, Little Black thingy, Jack posts as Jack sees fit.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            There’s a shortage of homes.

            True. Presumably also land?

          • @ ChaucerChronicle—Muslim immigration began soon after the last war, long before abortion was legalized.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I am aware of those facts. The question we have to face is what do we do now?

          • @ Royinsouthwest—what do we do now?
            Elect politicians who have a genuine love of Britain and can be trusted never to betray us, which rules out all the main parties currently at Westminster. To re-establish Christianity, I imagine a leader similar to President Putin would be required: ‘We want to continue our multifaceted and positive partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church and will do everything we can to help the Church as it rebuilds itself.’

        • Jon of GSG

          Hopefully that statistic actually shows that people convert to Christianity but are born into Islam, in the main. All we need (“all”!) is a proper revival which touches our minorities. Considering the number of conversions in the Middle East in recent years, I’m hopeful that something like that can happen here too. We do need to pray for it, of course.
          Spirit of -what is it?- not of fear. Hope? Err…

    • dannybhoy

      I had a look at your link, and I have to say that I am shocked by what Justin says. Totally unbiblical, and denies the social and scientific progress made in the West by the influence of Christianity.
      These great and sustained strides were made nowhere else in the world, no matter what the religion. Christianity changed the world not because it was all powerful, but because it is true.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Diversity is not a gift for those who will suffer eternally from being in the wrong diverse…

        But then I’m not surprised that he can’t see that, he doesn’t seem to think Christ/Christianity is that important.

        • dannybhoy

          It’s difficult Dommers.
          No Christian should hate or reject another man on account of skin or culture, but the Scriptures talk a lot about being set aside, being separate, being holy, light and darkness.
          Goodness, the Jewish people were called to be separate and a Holy Nation.
          We are so blessed to have been born into a country in which however imperfectly presented, Christianity has been “a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path.”
          We are so used to the freedoms it has brought us we longer value them and forget from whence they came.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I was referring to ‘religious diversity’. Which is what I think Welby was saying was so wonderful – because it simply isn’t wonderful.

          • dannybhoy

            Well yes, ethnic diversity usually brings religious diversity too, but I take your point. I have to say how disappointed I am by Welby’s stance. He says he doesn’t want to live in a mono-culture, so why not rent somewhere in Bradford, Rotherham or Birmingham. What about the diversity that brings FGM, honour killings etc. He should be holding up Christian values and British laws and insisting on compliance.

  • PessimisticPurple

    I wouldn’t worry overmuch about this. Like all protestant churches, the C of E is doomed whatever it does. It has been since Henry VIII created it. It’s what’s always eventually happens when humans create an engine to attempt to conform God to themselves instead of conforming themselves to God.

    • Anton

      Someday a persecution will come across the whole world that will cause *all* church hierarchies either to die or apostatise. Only small bands of believers with no hierarchy, ie the original apostolic structure, might survive to see Christ return in glory.

    • dannybhoy

      “It’s what’s always eventually happens when humans create an engine to attempt to conform God to themselves instead of conforming themselves to God.”
      Oy, so really the Church should have stayed within Judaism.
      A Goyish Splinter Group….?

  • David

    We do not need to have a House of Lords. Blair’s grotesque “reforms” have sucked out its one redeeming feature, namely the occasional wisdom of those whose ancestors have held large slices of England since 1066; and who, because they were landed and still believed in noblesse oblige, to some extent, gave advice decidedly less self-interested than the current sickening slew of media-luvvies and washed up party politicos who wear the ermine.
    New Zealand manages well without an Upper House. Committees can reflect on Bills and give advice back to the Commons. This is a test for the Upper House. It’s fate hangs on its good behaviour. The People are the only legitimate and ultimate source of Authority. The Civil War established that principle and there can be no retreat from it.
    As for the Lords Spiritual, well I see more understanding of God’s ways in those few local vicars who still remain true to the Word, than I do in the vast majority of the cringing Liberal bishops, the sowers of doubt, schooled in compromise. However like most conservative Bible following C of E Anglicans I hope that liberalism, with its “leaders”, can be replaced by more godly men. Because of this hope, and an inbuilt respect for even the mangled vestiges of our proud constitutional heritage, I would not cheer if the Bishops arrange for their own demise. However a courageous stand is not their style. So given their characteristic unprincipled malleability, anything other than grudging acceptance would surprise me.
    Brexit will soon be underway.
    Freedom beckons.
    Well done Mr Farage.
    Praise be to God !

    • dannybhoy

      “As for the Lords Spiritual, well I see more understanding of God’s ways in those few local vicars who still remain true to the Word, than I do in the vast majority of the cringing Liberal bishops, the sowers of doubt, schooled in compromise.”
      Amen.

    • Anton

      Let us add to Farage those who toiled in the shadows to bring the Conservative Party to its present Eurosceptical position. Not without effort were the likes of Ken Clarke marginalised.

      • dannybhoy

        Bill Cash you mean?
        (September 2014)
        “The news (that his son William was thinking of standing for UKIP), comes after two MPs Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless quit the party to join Ukip.
        Asked by The Telegraph if he would have “strong words” with his son, Mr Cash replied: “Definitely, most emphatically.”
        “It is completely absurd to imagine that Ukip can change anything. I completely disassociate myself from what every it is that he is supposed to have done.
        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/ukip/11131789/Veteran-MP-Bill-Cash-completely-disassociates-himself-from-his-Ukip-supporting-son-William.html

      • David

        Yes indeed. And the thousands of humble stall manners on market days, and leaflet pushers, including your ‘umble servant.

        • Dominic Stockford

          And, as well as the stall manning and leaflet sharing, taking abuse (in London) for seeking to present a viewpoint that opposed the left.

          The PTS also got threats from the Charity Commission for daring to publicly support Brexit, even though it is in our official list of ‘things we do’.

          • Martin

            Used to love the bookshop when I worked round the corner.

  • Martin

    Excuse me, but do I not remember that the bishops in the House of Lords did not oppose the fake marriage bill because it was the will of parliament? Why then is it thought that these ecclesiastical cowards would stand against what the people and the Commons have decreed?

    • Dominic Stockford

      Your point is valid – but they are so much more frightened of appearing not to be ‘right on’ with the ‘in crowd’ that the thought occurs that they may vote against, in order to pacify the screaming leftist mobs that (don’t) inhabit their churches.

  • dannybhoy

    “Bishops play a unique role in the House of Lords. They are the channels of supernatural grace transfused from the Apostles to the first bishops and down through the centuries of the Church. They contribute undoubted words of wisdom, warning, insight and discernment.”
    Surely you mean ‘they could be’ the channels of supernatural grace….
    It depends very much on their relationship with God and His Son Jesus Christ. Holding an ecclesiastical position means nothing if the holder does not adhere to the teachings of Scripture.
    Socialism is well represented amongst the Bishops, even if it gets scant support from the Bible. That is why during Mr. Thatcher’s time and even since, Bishops have shown far more passion in support of the Welfare State than they ever would over the demands of the Gospel…

    • Martin

      Danny

      If they do not have such a relationship they become channels of ecclesiastical poison.

      • dannybhoy

        You’re such an extremist Martin. A right Eeyore… ;0)
        (mark me up please..)

        • Martin
          • dannybhoy

            You’re not Scots/half Scots are you Martin? It would explain a certain melancholic and dour tendency you display in your otherwise insightful comments… You always go that bit further than I feel comfortable with..
            I think it must be your theology.

          • Anton

            I appreciate the economy and scriptural basis of Martin’s comments.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s nice.

          • Martin

            Oh dear.

          • Martin

            Danny, me old lad

            I’m as Engerlish as they come, donchano.

          • dannybhoy

            Well that’s something to your credit Sir.
            I had an elder brother who was a bit of an Eeyore.. Boy, he could be hard work sometimes, bless him.

          • Martin

            Danny

            You know, I wish I were depressed, at least then there’d be a chance of being wrong.

          • dannybhoy

            :0)
            You wag you…

          • That’s almost Jewish.

          • That’s the influence of Calvin and John Knox. A faith without joy breeds a dark outlook.

          • dannybhoy

            Is it theology that shapes us, our environment, or our family background and personality that draws us to a particular theological viewpoint? Or a combination thereof perhaps.

          • It’s always multifaceted Danny. Plus, God gives us all different temperaments, traits and personalities and places us in different times, contexts and situations.

            The Potter shapes the clay ….

            What a particular faith system provides is a cognitive sub-text for reading life and understanding God, man, nature and history. This interacts with the other factors mentioned We may not be aware of all this but it is reflected in our outlook, turn of phrases and how we perceive the world.

          • dannybhoy

            That’s very good Jack. I am still not convinced that God was/is so involved in shaping us as individuals. I think it’s biological/genetic/environmental and nurture, but I like your basic statement.

          • Of course God’s intimately involved Danny. We have to cooperate with God by responding to His graces which are available to all. But God knows who will and who won’t cooperate. We just do our best with what we’ve been and are being given.

          • dannybhoy

            He’s not intimately involved in our birth and being. He designed the reproductive system and it works very well…

          • And our soul’s Danny? Never heard of teleology?

          • dannybhoy

            Our soul’s what, Jack?
            Delight?
            Destiny?
            Sickness?
            And what’s the study of tv got to do with anything?

          • Dominic Stockford

            God defines all of those things…

          • dannybhoy

            I don’t believe that.

          • Martin

            Dominic

            Go to Gaol?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Sorry, don’t get that one.
            I know he saved me from that possibility.

          • Martin

            Dominic

            Sorry, I was in a facetious mood & thinking of Monopoly.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I vaguely thought in that direction, but didn’t finalise the contacts. Got it now!

          • Royinsouthwest

            Perhaps the Scots were predestined to be Calvinists!

          • Very good. However, remember, it was once a proud, Catholic nation.

          • dannybhoy

            Ahh
            Those were the days…. sighed Captain Catholic..
            https://larryfire.files.wordpress.com/2015/08/img_4016.jpg
            Fortunately Scotland stopped being a proud Catholic country and became a more Protestant progressive country,,

          • Now run by a bunch of socialist loons, with all the Parties led by women and homosexualists and the churches, bar the Catholic Church, having abandoned the faith. That sure is progress.

          • dannybhoy

            Organise an outreach spearheaded by the Catholic Church, and ask the Evangelicals to join you..

          • Jack is Catholic-Irish from Belfast on one side and Jewish on the other, raised in Essex. He thinks he’ll give that one a pass and leave the natives to themselves.

          • dannybhoy

            Pity. We could have given out leaflets and engaged homosexuals in conversation with the old ‘good cop – bad cop routine. I’d be the nice guy of course.
            You’re Catholic Irish you say? So how come you’re such a miserable so an so?
            Most Catholic Irish I’ve worked with have been great fun..
            On the run perhaps..?

          • It’s Jack’s Jewish genes.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Once again, pride is the problem.

          • Martin

            HJ

            And pride is the problem.

          • More nit-picking, Martin?

            It’s not a problem if being Catholic is seen as highly honourable and this is attributed to Christ and regarded as a blessing from God.

          • Martin

            HJ

            It’s not the problem that the Church is worldwide, but that one small church lays claim to authority based on claims that history cannot accept.

          • David

            Cheer up, old chap !
            The gospel is essentially a joyous message.

          • dannybhoy

            Shush! Martin has discovered humour. Don’t spoil the moment..

          • Martin

            David

            The gospel is, but who will hear it from their lordships?

          • David

            A tiny few, of the remnant do, but most I agree do not preach God’s Word.
            God bless.

    • Correctly celebrated and administered sacraments by validly ordained priests are the channels of God’s supernatural grace – not the priests themselves. Having the charism of the priesthood doesn’t mean men do not sin and or make mistakes.

      • William Lewis

        Popish pish posh.

        • The Faith of Our Fathers for nigh on 1500 years.

          • William Lewis

            “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

          • Indeed, but it was the Apostles who were commissioned by Christ to teach the faith to the world, baptising, forgiving sin and celebrating the Eucharist in His name.

          • Faith of our fathers, living still
            In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
            O how our hearts beat high with joy
            Whene’er we hear that glorious word!
            Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
            We will be true to thee till death!

            Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
            Were still in heart and conscience free;
            And blest would be their children’s fate,
            If they, like them should die for thee:
            Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
            We will be true to thee till death!

            Faith of our fathers, we will strive
            To win all nations unto thee;
            And through the truth that comes from God
            Mankind shall then indeed be free.
            Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
            We will be true to thee till death!

            Faith of our fathers, we will love
            Both friend and foe in all our strife,
            And preach thee, too, as love knows how
            By kindly words and virtuous life.
            Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
            We will be true to thee till death!

          • William Lewis

            So what? It doesn’t follow that “Correctly celebrated and administered sacraments by validly ordained priests are the channels of God’s supernatural grace”

      • Martin

        HJ

        No priests, and God causes His grace to be applied according to His will.

        • “God causes His grace to be applied according to His will.”

          That’s a truism and has no theological meaning in itself.

          • Martin

            HJ

            If you prefer, there is no channel. The Father gives to the Son who saves that none will be lost.

          • Again a truism. By definition, those “given” to Christ cannot be lost.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Since they are those that God has chosen in eternity. We’ll make a Calvinist/Augustinian/Paulian of you yet.

            But, of course, you will redefine.

          • Please claim the foundations of Calvinism rest in Augustinian or Paulinian soil. God wills us all to be saved, but permits us to resist His grace and refuse the offer.

          • Martin

            HJ

            So you imagine that those the Father gives to the Son may say no, or that sheep can choose their shepherd, or rather become goats?

          • Not what Jack said. Your theological appreciation is rather simplistic on this subject. One that that has occupied great saints and theologians since Christ walked the earth – and one not settled within the Catholic Church. We’ve have covered it too many times. Suffice it to say that God’s sovereignty is not diminished by man’s freely responding to, or declining to cooperate with, the grace that enables one’s relationship with Christ to begin.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Except that the Bible certainly indicates that God makes a choice rather than Man.

          • It also says man cooperates with God too.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Of what are you thinking?

          • The fruit of 2000 years of prayerful contemplation and study by towering theologians and saints, inspired by scripture, sacred tradition and the Holy Spirit, and faithfully passed down the ages by the Church.
            Compared to what? Individual men with personal, spiritual and economic axes to grind, developing their own “interpretations” of Holy Writ through this damaged prism?

          • Martin

            HJ

            That’s just a silly claim that demonstrates you don’t know what you’re talking about. Show me an ante-nicene father who said that man cooperates with God in salvation.

          • Read Saint Paul.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Show me where Paul says that man cooperates with God in salvation.

          • chefofsinners

            Man exercises faith. As Jack says, your explanation is simplistic. Geek logic applied to Jewish thinking. Try to tolerate the possibility of two contradictory things being true.

          • Martin

            CoS

            Faith is the gift of God.

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, (Ephesians 2:8 [ESV])

          • Martin

            HJ

            That you regard it as simplistic may indicate you don’t like the simplicity. Grace is not what God hands out but what his act is. Did Pharaoh have the choice to release God’s people, or was that choice removed from him?

          • The hardening of Pharaoh’s heart describes a process whereby God permitted him to follow his own path and ignore God’s commands. He was given opportunities and warning and

          • Martin

            HJ

            In just the same way, those who are not predestined, who are not given by the Father to the Son, are not caused by God to turn to Him for salvation.

            Man only has free will insofar as his sin will allow him. The Bible gives us the answer to that mystery.

          • It’s the difference between God’s foreknowledge of what man will do (and might do) and the placing of individuals in time, and God predetermining man’s actions. As Jack said, the paradox of God’s sovereignty and our free will to accept or reject grace, has been the meat of theology for millennia and remains a mystery. Both come into play.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Why do you think we have free will? And why do you think that God doesn’t know everything that will happen?

            We are, by nature, dead in out sins, we’ve given away our free will.

            Grace is not something to be accepted or rejected, God saves, we have no say in it, that is grace.

        • Anton

          Martin

          All priests.

          • Martin

            Anton

            True, but no office save the One.

      • dannybhoy

        I was about to disagree with you-
        and I – I’m not sure I can .
        There is Scripture that would back that view up, more especially in the Old Testament, less so in the New. In fact the New Testament emphasises purity before God, the putting off of the old man, walking in the Spirit. But Paul also reminds us that “we have this treasure in earthen vessels so that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.”
        Thus we will always struggle with sin in this mortal body, but the person who seeks to abide in the vine will bear more fruit if the Holy Spirit. And we may be fit to be used for God’s wonderful purposes. And there again there is the verse which says “To whom much has been given, much will be required…!
        There is it seems to me a relationship between our sanctification and our anointing..

  • Sybaseguru

    There is actually a very good biblical case for Brexit, but I wonder how much attention the Right Reverends will pay to that. In the OT the 12 tribes were kept as 12 not as 1. It was only after some time that Judges gave way to Kings, and even they didn’t amalgamate the tribes. Overheads were kept low – no big bureaucracy here as rar as we can see. As for the Tower of Babel – I guess its self-explanatory – Gods plan is clearly to keep small units as he knows man has a tendency to self-aggrandisement.

    • dannybhoy

      “Gods plan is clearly to keep small units as he knows man has a tendency to self-aggrandisement.”
      Lovely sentence!

      • Dominic Stockford

        Acts 17:24ff – see above

    • Anton

      The Babel episode is decisive. Giving the reason why, God divided us into nations by language. What God hath put asunder, let no man join together.

      • *Tsk, tsk*
        Adding to scripture, Anton? Babel was not primarily about nations it speaks of man’s pride.

        • Anton

          Because of man’s pride God divided mankind by language. The principal determinant of nations/tribes is by language, of course.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Was there something more specific than the heading ‘pride’?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Determinant of division it was. The question remains: why division on the basis of language?

      • David

        I agree Anton. The Bible teaches us that God wants us to live in our separate language and cultural groups. Empires are of this world.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Acts 17:24ff

          The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. AND HE MADE FROM ONE MAN EVERY NATION OF MANKIND to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods

          -and the boundaries of their dwelling place,-

          that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him.

          • Better dismantle, Russia, China, India, and the USA for a start. Then make a start on the UK, Germany, France and most of the other “nations”.

            Watch this amazing film:

          • Anton

            There are others for the ancient Middle East, the British Isles, Europe and the British Empire.

          • They’re great, aren’t they?

          • Anton

            If accurate, Yes. Checking that lot would be a tough task and there are typically an alarming number of errors in this sort of thing.

          • Broad brush will do for illustrative purposes.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Afraid not. It teaches that separation is a result of sin.

          • Anton

            But sin exists in the world and separation into nations is God’s provisional way of dealing with it.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Man’s way of dealing with it.

          • dannybhoy

            God’s way: He separated us into nations Genesis 11/ Exodus 23:31 Deuteronomy 32:8/ Acts 17:26

          • David

            Exactly.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            That appears not to be an orthodox doctrine. Addressing sin by separation?

          • David

            Sin separates us from God, yes.
            God wisely sees that given our fallen nature separate groups, by culture group, works better. All together simply maximises conflict. Of course he hopes the distinct groups co-exist peacefully.

      • chefofsinners

        God’s new creation is the church, called out of every nation. This was His ultimate purpose.

        • Anton

          Hear, hear! *That* is where unity should be found, among committed believers.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        ‘What God hath’, where’s that quote from?

    • Royinsouthwest

      Israel wasn’t twelve nations it was one until it split into two.

      • dannybhoy

        Tribes, it was twelve tribes or clans if you prefer, named after Jacob’s sons apart from Joseph. His two sons Mannasseh and Ephraim were included.

        • Royinsouthwest

          I know that. It sounds like what the EU is aiming to be; a confederation.

          • dannybhoy

            I think the idea is to become essentially another European (Roman) Empire.

          • Then think again ….

            The drive for political and monetary union is to serve the interests of global business and the German economy – plus the apparatchiks and political elite.

          • dannybhoy

            Well isn’t that what happened in the Christianised Roman Empire?

          • Why read the EU through medieval lens? It’s really not a Roman Catholic plot to run the world and establish a seat for the Man of Perdition.

          • dannybhoy

            Oh no I don’t think it is. We all know that Catholicism is doomed anyway, but my mentioning Empire was misleading; but all groups of countries are headed up by either an individual or a group.

          • Catholicism is the Church. How can it be doomed given the promise of Christ? ? Should it go down, Christian civilisation will go down.

          • David

            I agree, although I’d broaden it out to say, if orthodox Christianity, in all its forms goes down, the west will fail.

          • Anton

            Gentlemen all, the church is called out of the world, out of cultures, out of nations…

          • Agreed.

          • dannybhoy

            That phrase was not so craftily slipped in to see how you would respond.
            Catholicism is but a part of the Christian Church. In any case western Christian civilisation is currently going down under the assault of evolutionary thought and humanism.
            Yet regardless of denominations and the claims thereof, it will be the men and women redeemed and sanctified and filled with the Holy Spirit who will carry the light of the Gospel.

          • Anton

            Danny, if you are concerned about evolution, might I suggest you have a look at the exchange that grew between Martin and me at

            http://www.premierchristianity.com/content/view/full/732536

            I’d ad that social Darwinism has essentially nothing to do with evolutionary science; that view was supportable only in the ignorance of the 19th century.

          • dannybhoy

            Too scholarly for me Anton. I would agree more with what Martin is saying..
            “There is no evidence for Evolution. Evolution doesn’t explain anything. Please don’t try to persuade me with ‘it could have originally had a different function’. It’s the method Evolutionists try to use to persuade us of the truth of vestigial organs – ‘it’s original function was different from the one it now has’. It’s a concept that assumes Evolution to prove Evolution.

            If you want to persuade me, you’ll need to demonstrate the descent of all life from an original form.”
            I prefer adaptation to evolution. because it fits in better with a directed intelligence, a Creator. A Creator who designed adaptation into life forms that may or may not survive the vagaries of our environment.
            Evolution cannot explain design or direction, being based on the premise that life is the result of impersonal forces; time + chance + matter.

            Scientists are discovering things all the time, and as a Christian I am quite happy to echo Johannes Kepler’s “O God, I am thinking Thy thoughts after Thee.”
            and leave it at that.

          • Anton

            To God there is no such thing as chance. What happens, he directs; we call it chance when we cannot see his hand at work.

          • “Directs” – as in orchestrates or as in determines?

          • Anton

            That difference is certainly a valid one, but isn’t relevant to the point I am making.

          • It’s the difference between Catholics and Calvinists.

          • dannybhoy

            I would also add on to my comment above your own words..
            “Good science is done by listening to the creation (‘nature’) on its own terms, and trusting God that all things can be reconciled in Him even if we do not immediately understand how.
            In light of what I have already written above, I can’t see why you thought it necessary to add on your last comment.
            I already believe that.

          • Anton

            I added it because you said that “Evolution cannot explain design or direction, being based on the premise that life is the result of impersonal forces; time + chance + matter”.

          • dannybhoy

            So?

          • Anton

            Sorry, I’m confused, Please ask me a question.

          • dannybhoy

            I said, “Evolution cannot explain design or direction, being based on the premise that life is the result of impersonal forces; time + chance + matter.”
            You then said,
            “To God there is no such thing as chance. What happens, he directs; we call it chance when we cannot see his hand at work.”
            You appeared to be supporting the idea of evolution….

          • Anton

            Yes! Please read my comments at the other blog. If you don’t want to engage with those, we can’t go any further – but please don’t presume anything about what I believe, either.

          • William Lewis

            Popish pish posh

          • Hay fever, William?

          • Anton

            That’s what pot pourri does.

          • Given that in English, “potpourri” is often used to refer to any collection of miscellaneous or diverse items, this term is more applicable to Protestantism.

            “Popepourri”, on the other hand, is a splendid, spiritual mix that strengthens body, mind and soul.

          • Anton

            It smells!

          • William Lewis

            The pharisaic stench makes my eyes water.

          • David

            Quite right. It is a secularist political tool for control, eschewing, ignoring the all very obvious Christian heritage of the continent.

          • Dominic Stockford

            To which the RC attached their bandwagon, very publicly. Though some of them are now having doubts.

          • Catholic politicians inspired the initial formation of the Common Market and the Catholic Church most certainly supported a common trading partnership and close relationships between Christian states, based Christian values and on her social teachings – subsidiarity and solidarity being key principles.

          • Anton

            Mid-20th-century France was a Christian State?

            Immediate-post-Nazi Germany was a Christian State?

          • Never heard of the anti-clericalism of the deeply anti-Catholic Third Republic and their systematic repression of the Church? Post-war France was a country with deeply rooted and widespread Catholic values and beliefs but France was not a Christian state. As for Germany, even the Catholics there were and remain protestant.

          • Anton

            Bosh Jack, both were essentially secular with a Christian minority (and I make no distinction between Catholic and protestant).

          • This sub topic developed because your co-religionist stated the temporal aims of the EU were ones: “To which the RC attached their bandwagon, very publicly. Though some of them are now having doubts.”

            Take it up with him. He’s blocked Jack.

          • Anton

            I was querying the clear implication in your comment that these were Christian nations a lifetime ago; the Vatican vis-a-vis the EU is a subject of little interest to me.

          • That was projection on your part then. Jack’s point being the Catholic Church saw closer union as an opportunity to revive Christianity rather continue the trend towards secular humanism.

          • Anton

            That was your point (and perhaps Dominic’s), but it wasn’t my point! If you don’t want to reply to my point then I won’t take it amiss.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ‘a federation’.

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Your Grace

    You publish a ‘merry message’: a crystal clear warning that should a single bishop vote against the Bill they will receive withering criticism from Secularist, Christian and Heathen alike. That criticism will conclude (how could it not?) into calls for the House of Lords to be abolished and replaced by an elected body. Should that materialise, I, for one, would be saddened: every nation needs a chamber that carefully deliberates on the great issues of the day (speeches in the House of Lords are a rich gold mine of insight on many topics).

    I can see the attraction of a single bishop tempted by the idea of voting against the Bill (or proposing an amendment) as I recall my own attraction to the ‘Project’ in my ‘greener days’; security based upon strength in numbers against the Soviet threat: fear. My profound ignorance that it was the ‘tramp, tramp, tramp’ of NATO boots, the roar of fighter jets, the reconnaissance of long-range planes, the patrol of warship and submarine: that maintained peace and security. I recall attending a lecture where it was taught that Lord Denning said (surveying the penetration of EU law (Bulmer v. Bollinger (?)): “it flows into the estuaries and up the rivers. It cannot be held back, Parliament has decreed that the Treaty is henceforward to be part of our law. It is equal in force to any statute”. I recall the bewildered silence of the students: pig ignorance.

    I observe now in this temporary place of residence, presided over by a Christian Socialist MP who has consistently voted against the Bill, the inner-city urban scene. Most of the natives have left; leaving their decaying and dying grandparents – who no longer walk the borough’s streets for fear, on a hot summer’s night and natter with neighbour about ‘what’s going on’: for there are no neighbours only a new type of ‘hood’ in the neighbourhood. His presence is justified by EU law under the pillar of ‘free movement’ and the EU ‘Marxist’ under the doctrine of ‘Surplus Labour’.

    I observe. The new-Hood drinks copious amounts (a symptom of living under the soul-destroying Soviet regimes); urinates when the weakened and unashamed will and bladder surrenders, at the base of the lamp-post and tree; he discards cans and bottles with abandon (British taxpayer responsibility); sleeps in all weathers under the shelter of Socialist Council tower-blocks housing domestic strife in densely populated units: ‘shoe-boxes’.

    I observe the blacks and Asians carefully stepping over these huddled masses – yet they continue to vote Socialist and yet they too become victims of the EU’s ‘free movement of surplus labour’, and wail when their wages are cut and the market offers ‘zero-hour’ contracts: pig ignorance.

    Mind you, the new-Hood does give way on the pavement to me and says, ‘Excuse, me.’

    Yesterday, I observed, in Tescos’ how the new-Hood has learnt to play on the trust of the British in order to exploit it. There were two shaven-headed East Europeans (strength in numbers and fellowship and mutual support). They paid for most of their goods – except for the alcohol. The young strapping, bucking, ‘negro’ security guard confronted them. The scalps were meticulously honest. They informed him, supported by flexing muscles, that they had spent a lot of money and therefore they were entitled to the alcohol (as a discount). The security guard retreated.

    I wondered why Tesco had conceded. The answer was obvious: the Police no longer have the resources to police ‘free movement of surplus labour’ and, in consequence as a matter of policy, advised Tesco. Tesco, in turn, have made a cost-benefit calculation that to prosecute under civil law: costs would outweigh cost of the alcohol.

    The result is that the Socialist MP, Defender of the Continental Empire, urinates on his poverty stricken constituents who voted Remain (and pay for the alcohol in increased prices). There is no room for knowledge, objectively applied compassion, nor conscience. It’s not that his conscience has been seared by a hot iron. It is: pig ignorance.

    Your Grace; yours, is a merry message.

    • Dominic Stockford

      He misses the obvious – that if they vote for Brexit the same alliance will assault them for ‘dragging our country into the dark ages’.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        Mr Stockford

        You seem to suggest that they are caught between a rock and a hard place.

        They are not. As Happy Jack suggests: bishops! Obey God!

        My history school teacher, Mrs Redhead, often quoted, I forget which prime minister: if you do what is morally right you are politically right.

        No doubt, the posters below will soon point out who the prime minister was.

        • dannybhoy

          Gladstone William. He said a lot of wise things..
          Catholic wasn’t he?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            That name rings a bell. Probably not Roman.

          • Catholic? With a name like William? He was raised an evangelical and dedicated his life to Christ before entering politics.

            William Gladstone saw service in political life as a “most blessed calling.” He once said to Queen Victoria, “My political or public life is the best part of my life: it is that part in which I am conscious of the greatest effort to do and avoid as the Lord Christ would have me do and avoid.”

          • ChaucerChronicle

            I knew it! No Roman, he!

          • dannybhoy

            Jack you fall for it every time…

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Catholic? You mean Roman?

            Explain yourself.

          • dannybhoy

            See below..

        • Dominic Stockford

          If they are worried about the ‘people’ then they are indeed caught between a rock and hard place, if they follow God in all they do (Philippians 2 ‘seeking his interests in all things’) they have no problem. However, their previous recent actions have been to pacify people – and whatever they do this time they won;t be able to manage that.

  • “But should the Lord Bishops vote to frustrate the Brexit Bill, it would have the effect of withdrawing, at a stroke, the justification for them being in the House of Lords.”

    So what is the justification for them being in the House of Lords? Surely not to just follow the will of the British people? Why should the Lord’s spiritual share the politically expressed priorities and concerns of people? If that is their role, then there is no need for them.

    “Give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.”

    If they genuinely believe the common good is promoted by remaining with the EU, then that’s how they should vote. They’re not there as democratic representatives.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      True.

      Then let them, for we are all watching: ‘Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar and to God what belongs to God.’

      As the General wrote (below): ‘An Inspector recalls mass abstention all round by the Lords Spiritual when it came to defending traditional marriage.’

      • Moral cowardice.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Whadaya want, Jack?

          A twenty-one gun salute?

    • IanCad

      Exactly Jack. The Hereditaries, the Divines, Senior statesmen and top military men; add a few well-vetted corporate leaders and worthy diplomats, a sprinkling of civil servants. Perhaps a couple of honest charity/institutional heads and a representative or two from the medical/scientific/education industry. That should do the trick.
      No more bra tycoons, shady businessmen, low-life MPs, political shysters, dopey actors; and definitely no sports stars.

  • chefofsinners

    Hmm…
    This government has used the ‘abolition’ threat before. Last time it was George Osborne over tax credits, when everyone knew he was wrong except him. The threats that time came to nothing and the same will happen this time.
    The Lords Spiritual in particular are there to represent the truth as they see it. Suppose the whole country was in favour of an assisted dying bill. Would they then be obliged to vote for it? No, they would not. Ultimately, if the Lords try to amend this bill they are just doing their job under the constitution as it stands. Perhaps that constitution should be changed, which would be fine. What is not fine is the government issuing threats to the Lords; we might as well not have a second chamber.

    • Martin

      CoS

      Seeing they didn’t oppose fake marriage I doubt they’d oppose euthanasia.

      • Inspector General

        Can see them not objecting, but having ‘reservations’…blighters…

      • chefofsinners

        Last time Charlie Falconer tried it on, Sentamu spoke against in the debate and Welby made clear public statements along the same lines. (2014).

        • Inspector General

          What went wrong with gay marriage then. It irks that those reprobates sit there supposingly representing Christianity…

          • chefofsinners

            What went wrong is the selection process for bishops.

          • Inevitable when the Supreme Governor of the Church is also the Head of State with no role, other than ceremonial, in decision making for either the Church or the State. The Church has thus been there for the taking.

          • chefofsinners

            Not really. The head of state has been head of the CoE for 500 years. Over most of that period the bishops have not been noticeably less faithful than Catholic appointees.

          • Yes, but once universal suffrage came along and politics became more about buying votes and less about leadership and virtuous governance, the liberal-secular agenda became paramount and the Church was exposed and led by cultural trends.

          • chefofsinners

            Sorry but the logic escapes me. Bishops and Queens are not appointed by the electorate, or by politicians.

          • No, but now they are subject to the influence of the public given the Queen has no real power to appoint them and is subject to the will of her political masters. .

    • Jon of GSG

      That’s the point though, isn’t it – perhaps that constitution should be changed, if they block what the country has voted for. I would think the threat is more substantial this time because there is that referendum mandate behind the bill, which there wasn’t behind George O’s tax credits. At least I can imagine it happening this time. If it’s blocked, or even significantly watered down, I really can’t see the government taking that on the chin.
      George O is master of the unconvincing threat.

      • chefofsinners

        Lords reform is long overdue anyway. It hasn’t happened because no-one can agree on what to do.

        • bluedog

          Just as David Cameron never intended Brexit to become reality and just as he quietly undermined Clegg’s half-baked Lord’s reform plan, it may yet transpire that a radically restructured HoL is Cameron’s final gift to the United Kingdom. A completely unintended consequence, and Brexit has the potential to be the catalyst, once again.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    Now folks,

    All this Catholic/Protestant stuff is getting to sound too much like the attempts of Catholic and Orthodox to get together in the 15th century as the Turks were closing in on Constantinople.

    However, here are two articles you should read:

    In Rejecting Priority, Middle Eastern Christians Act Like Abuse Victims

    Perhaps a slightly misleading title, what it means is like battered wives who won’t speak out because it will only makes their husbands more violent.

    With maybe a parallel in this one:

    Barnabas Fund Editorial: Why are Christian organisations campaigning against helping Christians flee the Middle East genocide?

    • It’s as much Episcopalian v’s Congregationalism, as it is Catholic v’s Protestantism – possibly more so.

      • Anton

        Don’t forget Carl! Presbyterians are neither episcopalian nor congregational.

  • Politically__Incorrect

    The EU referendum, and the clear intention to let the people decide our future relationship with the EU, was a manifesto commitment. Can it therefore be blocked by the House of Lords? Whatever the details of Parliamentary protocol, the Lords should remember that the British people just voted to unshackle themselves from an unelected and unaccountable group of politicians. In the spirit of that vote they should not try to frustrate the democratic process.

    • chefofsinners

      The Lords are unaccountable to the electorate. That is meant to be their strength. They therefore have greater freedom to go against the referendum than the commons. That’s the system, folks. If you don’t like it, change it.

    • Merchantman

      And we need to unshackle ourselves from unrepresentative bishops who occupy those benches/ woolsacks in the Lords.

  • David

    Looks as if that burk Bercow may get his comeuppance, and not before time.

    • Hmm … he’s survived before and has support from enough luvvies to do so again.

      • David

        Chin up !
        Winters getting to you !

    • Inspector General

      That’s rather good news. Perhaps he can be offered to President Trump somewhat still and naked on a silver platter with an apple in his mouth…

      • David

        Amusing, but gross !
        But what the Manuell (?) character ?

        • Inspector General

          Ben Turpin. Silent screen star and a damn sight funnier than Saturday night TV entertainment including Blind Date.

          • Sarky

            Wrong turpin. You’re more of a dick

          • Inspector General

            As Stan Laurel would say “with Sarky around, life just isn’t short enough”

          • Sarky

            As Oliver Hardy said, “you’re actually using your brain. Thats what comes of associating with me”

          • David

            Ahhh, all is revealed ! TV is a waste of time, and so biased as to be unbelievable. I hardly ever watch any of it, keeping myself busy with hobbies, reading, church work and emailing friends.

          • Pubcrawler

            I gave up on telly when mine broke a few years ago and I never quite got round to replacing it. Suddenly there are so many more hours in a day, and I’m not being forced to contribute to the BBC’s poisonous indoctrination to boot. Yay!

          • David

            Wise !

      • chefofsinners

        Golf ball in his mouth, and a 3 wood to hand.
        Who knows, perhaps some squirty cream on his nipples.

  • chefofsinners

    David Beckham has the solution: make him a bishop. Emails show he was offered London but replied “Unless it’s Canterbury f*** off.”

  • Merchantman

    An underlying question of this debate is…… who selects the Bishops. As a baptised and communicant Anglican; I need to know why the present appointees for the most part don’t represent the Gospel as is understood. It seems as many communicants of His Grace here believe; that there is a bias towards a social gospel appointee in the majority of cases. We need transparency on appointments, all appointments. We need change.

    • Anton

      You need a vote!

  • IanCad

    “I weighed it up very carefully at the time. Maybe I got it wrong, you might well be right, and If I did, I apologise.”
    Rather than a resentful and reluctant admission of remorse to my wife at the end of our frequent squabbles, I will, I think, try Welby’s conciliatory statement (above.)
    Perhaps love will return to the loving cup a little sooner.

  • “will the Bishops vote for Brexit?”

    Hi

    My understanding was Corbyn has imposed the three whips on Labour members to vote Brexit. So yes.

  • Little Black Censored

    I bet the Secular Society are remainers, so on this occasion would not complain about the europhile instincts of the bishops.

  • Sigfridiii

    The Bishops in the Lords are one of the reasons why people voted Leave – to put behind them the largely public school cadre of toffs masquerading there – unelected as peers and unelected as bishops.