filial correction - pope francis
Roman Catholic Church

Filial Correction: laity who are more Catholic than the Pope

The Pope of Rome hath erred. So, of course, hath the Pope of Alexandria, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, and we mustn’t forget the Pope of the Christian Palmarian Church of the Carmelites of the Holy Face. All of these popes err because their churches err, “not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith” (Art. XIX). It stands to reason that Anglicans might believe that these popes err, principally because their churches don’t believe or act as the Anglicans believe and act. But what happens when the Pope of Rome doesn’t believe or act as Roman Catholics believe he ought to believe and act?

That’s simple: you issue a Filial Correction. That is, you get together with sundry dozens of others of fellow laity and presume to write to His Holiness on behalf of 1.2 billion of your co-religionists, politely telling the Supreme Pontiff that his teaching isn’t really so supreme after all, and that he is, in fact, teaching heresy.

That doesn’t make him a heretic, of course. It is perfectly possible to propagate heresy and not be a heretic. This is a stasis of grace reserved for Roman Catholics: Anglicans and Protestants who preach heresy are, of course, full-blown heretics, totally beyond the pale, heading straight to Purgatory if not a worse place. But a pope who errs when he is not being infallible (when it would not, of course, be possible to err) is simply not being very diligent in guarding the Faith. Such carelessness demands a rebuke, and so 62 lay Roman Catholics have done what no bishops or cardinals have cared(/dared) to do (for that might move inexorably toward schism).

They nailed their Filial Correction to the door of St Peter’s in Rome. In summary:

It states that the pope (sic?) has, by his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, and by other, related, words, deeds and omissions, effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church.

Essentially, the Church of Rome never has erred and never can err, so when its Rector contradicts its dogmatic articles of faith, he must be in error. Pope Francis, the Rector of Rome, is of the view that the divorced and re-married (while the former spouse still lives) may participate fully in the Eucharist (ie consume the body and blood of Christ in a state of adultery). At least that’s what exhortation Amoris Laetitia appears to suggest (one says ‘appears’, for there are pending doubts or ‘dubia‘ still to be answered). This, of course, as we all know, is heresy. If it isn’t, then Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher died in vain.

Pope Francis didn’t decree Amoris Laetitia ex cathedra. He simply couldn’t, for to have done so would have made him a heretic, and thereby excommunicate. And you obviously can’t have a situation where the Pope isn’t in communion with his own church, can you? You can’t have a pope that errs to the point of being a heretic, for then he would cease to be pope. Except, of course, there have been popes in history who have excommunicated each other for their respective heresies, ergo popes may indeed err to the point of being heretics, or else they were falsely accused by popes who erred in the manner of their heresies without quite being heretics.

The 62 laity who protested to the Pope did not do so for schismatic, rebellious reasons, but for the cause of righteousness and faithfulness:

…the signatories explain why, as believing and practising Catholics, they have the right and duty to issue such a correction to the supreme pontiff. Church law itself requires that competent persons not remain silent when the pastors of the Church are misleading the flock.

This doesn’t make them Protestants, of course: it simply means they are being faithful to their church’s teachings; more faithful, in fact, than the Pope. It is only the anti-papal protestations of Protestants which are schismatic and rebellious: when faithful Roman Catholics are anti-papal, they are holy and virtuous, because:

…the pope (sic?) has directly or indirectly countenanced the beliefs that obedience to God’s Law can be impossible or undesirable, and that the Church should sometimes accept adultery as compatible with being a practising Catholic.

So if the Pope can’t keep God’s Law, and no cardinals or bishops are prepared to tread the path taken by a certain monk on 31st October 1517, it is for the laity to correct and rebuke the Vicar of Christ.

By what authority?

Can. 212 §1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.

So when the sacred pastors aren’t so much representing Christ as propagating heresy, the Christian faithful are no longer bound to follow with Christian obedience. Essentially, the appeal of the 62 is to the higher interpretations, faithful traditions and immutable dogma of their denomination. This Filial Correction is both a rubuke to the lower-case pope (presumably the upper-case Pope resides in the convent of Mater Ecclesiae) and a warning to the faithful against popolatry: don’t idolise Francis, because he’s patently in error. “The 62 have consulted the teaching of the Catholic Faith over 2,000 years, expressed & upheld by popes, saints & countless faithful”, tweets Deacon Nick Donnelly, a signatory to the letter.

What would Jesus say?

Well, he’d naturally agree with the Church of England on this matter: to obey is better than sacrifice, but there is no limit to God’s mercy, compassion and forgiveness. Marriage is the natural foundation of the family, the basic unit of human social life; it is the form of grace that protects and controls the sexual instinct, one of the strongest human drives. Christian marriage is the gateway through which the grace of holy being made present in the sacraments can penetrate the wider world of human relations. But because they are natural, and because nature is fallen, marriages can fail because men and women are corrupted by sin and manifestly fail. And when they do fail, why should the fallen parties be forever cast from the table of the Lord’s Supper? It is not good for man to be alone: divorce and remarriage is not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

  • Jesus said that remarriage after divorce for all but infidelity is adultery. How does that change because of grace and forgiveness? Grace isn’t licence to sin. Forgiveness is erasure of sins past not licence to continue in a sinful state. Sin doesn’t have to be blasphemy against the Holy Ghost to be sin and thus forbidden.

    • Will, I understand the force of what you are saying. But are you really sure that this new marriage, although wrong, must be forsaken if the individual repents? Is not the new marriage, however wrongly entered, a real marriage? Is abandoning it and the vows undertaken in it not simply compounding the wrong? Suppose the second marriage has taken place some years previously and there are now children in it, must the newly repentant partner forsake this marriage? Are there not obligations and responsibilities attached to this second marriage that equally binding and to be honoured? Is not the second marriage, although illegitimate, nevertheless real?

      I am not convinced that Jesus intends all such marriages to be dissolved? This would seem to merely compound sin.

      • But weren’t Jesus’ words clear on this? Remarriage constitutes adultery. The Catholic Church acknowledges the above concerns in the modern era but for 2000 years has held fast to the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. The one concession they have made is that a couple can remaining living together and fulfil their responsibilities to one another and their children, but as “brother and sister” for the sake of the Kingdom. Man does not live by sex alone.

        • Royinsouthwest

          Wasn’t remarriage adultery when Moses allowed it as a concession to human weakness? Is human nature different today from what it was in the time of Moses? Suggesting that a couple live like as “brother and sister” sounds hypocritical to me. Brothers and sisters do not have incestuous attitudes to each other. Is it OK if a couple living like “brother and sister” commit adultery in their hearts?

          Obviously the ideal is that people should get married once and once only, except in the case of widows or widowers but we all fall short of the ideal in every aspect of our lives. Even life-long monogamous couples don’t always treat each other exactly as they should every day of their lives.

          • Jesus corrected Moses. Christians do not live by simply following rules and laws but by inviting the Holy Spirit into our lives and cooperating with Him to transform and perfect our corrupt nature.

        • I think the RC Church has held the ground a lot better than Protestant churches in its restrictions on divorce and remarriage. I understand it’s attempt to marry (excuse the pun) the teaching of Christ with the practical difficulties widespread divorce and remarriage has created. I assume in the apostolic era the problems must have been similar. I recognise too that it is the teaching of the church that created a sea change in Christendom. Yet I doubt if the RC compromise is realistic; like asking an alcoholic to live in a brewery. While my solution (accepting the new marriage is a real marriage though occasioned by disobedience) is a compromise so too is the RC position. Both go beyond what Jesus taught though arguably Jesus did not teach how to deal with anomalous remarriages that existed.

          My solution rests on the biblical pattern of recognising the reality of remarriages even if they are adulterously founded. Perhaps the qualification for an elder ‘the husband of one wife’ implies that while leadership roles in the church demanded the most rigorous standards of blamelessness a lesser standard was tolerated for others. The adulterous remarriage however must be recognised as not God’s ideal and by way of concession.

          I accept there are weaknesses in my position. It is certainly complicated by SSM. If, in a SSM, there are children involved then do we allow this ‘marriage’ to continue if one or both become Christians? Clearly not. And so, I hear you say, why is it different for illegitimate heterosexual marriages?

          Incidentally, how are you HJ? I hope your treatment has been successful.

          • “My solution rests on the biblical pattern of recognising the reality of remarriages even if they are adulterously founded.”

            No true marriage can be adulterously founded! If a first marriage is for life then the second one is not a marriage.
            Adultery is adultery is adultery …..

            Even the disciples recognised Jesus’ teaching was difficult but He didn’t change or modify it in the face of this resistance. In some ways we are living in a situation similar to the non-Christian societies of the early Church. Yet, even there the “Pauline privilege” had limited applicability and certainly a marriage between two professing Christians could not be undone and any remarriage was forbidden.
            Jack’s health is on the mend, thank you. He’s at home after surgery and waiting for a second round.

          • No true marriage can be adulterously founded…. I feel the force of this. Yet, under law, some were. I am not sure that a wrongly founded marriage is not nevertheless a real marriage.

            This being said, I’m largely with you on this HJ. I do not believe as many Protestants teach that divorce on the ground of desertion by an unbeliever frees the believing partner to remarry. I even have some reservations that sexual unfaithfulness is definitely a ground for remarriage. The chaos remarriage has resulted in is clear.

          • The Catholic Church’s “solution” is to recognise these situations as objectively sinful but also to acknowledge there may be different degrees of subjective culpability involved. If a valid marriage exists, and annulment cannot be granted, she no longer insists on separation where harm might result to children or, indeed, to spouses. She does still insist that people in such irregular relationships refrain from the public reception of Holy Communion unless they own their sin, repent and commit to living together without sexual intimacy. They can, and should, continue attending Mass but may not be Godparents or hold other ministries in the Church.

            One understands why Pope Francis and others might see this as uncompassionate and in need of change, and why it means many such people might stop attending Church because they feel stigmatised and marginalised, and be concerned too that a generation of children are lost to the faith. However, the truth of the Gospel is the truth and Jesus’ words cannot be set aside. It’s not for man to change the revelation because it is difficult or appears to lack compassion. Whilst Jack feels for people in these situations, just as he does when women feel the need for an abortion, or a when person opts for euthanasia, he believes sentiment and/or private conscience does not justify an intrinsic evil – and adultery is wrong in and of itself.

          • Largely agree with RC church, save celibacy.

          • Do you mean celibacy or chastity? The adulterous relationship is adultery because there is sexual intimacy.

          • Celibacy.

      • Mike Stallard

        PS Henry VIII. PS Louis XIV and all his mistresses. PS Edward VII and Edward VIII. The Catholic Church was deeply involved in both of the first two: the Anglican Church in the second two. And, remember the second two were (almost) Head of the Church in England.

      • No denying it’s a mess. But how does what you’re saying not just lead to a licence to desert and break up, sin in haste repent at leisure? How do you prevent the huge moral hazard that widespread divorce has in fact created? Didn’t Jesus know what he was talking about?

        No easy answers. But no whitewashing either.

        • I understand and sympathise. On the other hand, how do you deal with the chaos and apparent inhumanity of breaking up remarriages, especially those with children?

          • I just don’t think we should sanction them in the first place or subsequently. I don’t think we need to withhold communion like the Catholics do (can you imagine the CofE doing that?) or asking them to abstain from sexual relations. But that doesn’t mean we should endorse or sanction anything. Technically if they want to avoid sin they should not have sex, but more realistic is to suggest that they just accept they’ve screwed up and throw themselves on the grace of God. But again, that doesn’t mean sanctioning it.

          • I’m with that. I do not think we should sanction remarriage but the issue is what to do with remarriages that exist, either through ignorance or disobedience. There, I would wish to make clear that the remarriage was wrong and a now a necessary evil rather than something to be celebrated. If this is unacceptable to the couple then it may be better for them to seek another church.

            Having said this, in our Protestant churches, virtually every conceivable view of remarriage exists. This confusion makes it virtually impossible to impose one’s own view. We must live with the less than desirable.

            One common view is conversion gives a new beginning, a clean slate therefore the divorced person is like someone single who is free to marry while for the remarried their marriage upon conversion is like a first marriage. This I consider completely wrongheaded but in many independent churches it has traction.

          • So will you apply the same criteria to same sex unions? To abortion? To euthanasia? If not, why not? Are these all evils that have to be accepted? Living with the “less than desirable” and seeing some situations as “necessary evils”, because they are widespread in our culture, ultimately means abandoning the Gospel.

          • I’m not sure I see much difference between my position and that of the RC church you outlined above. Simply the celibacy.

            In terms of church fellowship I make a judgement when a church tolerates what I consider clearly undermines the essence of the gospel. So, for example, biblically, heterosexual remarriage is not on the same scale as SSM. Homosexuality is clearly considered depraved and forbidden in a way that heterosexual divorce and remarriage is not. We must, I think, all apply measures.

          • Adultery is considered to be a grievous sin in scripture – leading to death of the soul – as is homosexuality.

  • All good fun.
    According to the Dictatus Papae of Grgory VII (Hildebrand), which was presumably issued ex cathedra and is therefore infallible:
    Only the Roman pope is rightly called Universal (Art. 2)
    The pope is the only one whose feet all princes must kiss (Art. 9)
    The pope may depose emperors (Art. 12)
    and best of all,
    The pope may be judged by no one (Art. 19) and
    The Roman pope, if properly ordained according to Church law, is sanctified by the merits of St. Peter (Art. 23)
    Where’s the Inquisition when you need it?

    • Brian

      Ah, I wasn’t expecting that.

    • Only the Roman pope is rightly called Universal – correct
      The pope may be judged by no one – correct (apart, i.e. from God)
      The Roman pope, if properly ordained according to Church law, is sanctified by the merits of St. Peter – correct

      The pope is the only one whose feet all princes must kiss – in a Catholic society, living according to Catholic precepts, this would be true
      The pope may depose emperors – again, this would be correct in a Catholic universe.

      The above doesn’t mean a Pope cannot err or sin and should not be rebuked – as Saint Paul’s rebuke of Saint Peter clearly illustrates.

      • It’s lovely to see you back again, Jack, and as ready as ever to defend the indefensible. May your health, both physical and spiritual, continue to improve.
        However, only Christ is universal Prophet, Priest and king. I wonder if you can tell me who wrote this:

        ‘What will you say at the last judgement to Him who is the Head of the universal Church, when by your title of “universal” you wish to bring all His members under your power. I ask you, whom are you imitating by this perverse title of yours? You are following Satan who…..tried to ascend to the highest place, that he might be subject to none and exalted alone above all others………(Isaiah 14:13-14), What are your brothers, the bishops of the universal Church but the stars of God?………..When you would exalt yourself above them by your ambitious title, and debase their title in comparison with your own, what do you say but these very words, “I will ascend into heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God.”‘

        A very famous chap wrote it. He is called by some ‘the Great,’ though not by me.

  • David

    All very interesting and, as Martin says, all good fun.
    Does not the Orthodox Church permit remarriage up to two times ? And presumably if one is legally remarried in an Orthodox church participation in the Sacrament of Communion is also permitted ? Of course the Orthodox Church encourages faithful monogamy to the one wife or husband.
    Regardless of this “lower case” Pope’s theological errors, which I shall leave to my Catholic friends to debate, he is clearly an out and out, anti-western, globalist and Open Borders enthusiast. This being destructive of political and social stability, is a great evil.

    • The Orthodox Church has a different sacramental view of matrimony and this precludes the possibility of a non-valid marriage and thus an annulment process, i.e. in Orthodoxy the priest confects the sacrament whereas in Catholicism it is the spouses. Plus, their position is enmeshed in the past relationship between the Orthodox Church and the State.

      • David

        That is most explanatory and useful, so thank you Jack.
        I hadn’t realised that the two truly ancient Churches had such different understandings. But then apart from frowning upon remarriage Jesus gave us few instructions on the topic.

        • Jesus didn’t “frown on marriage”, David. On the contrary, He returned it to its unadulterated state by reasserting God’s purpose for it.

          • David

            The phrase was “frowning upon remarriage”.
            The difference is huge !
            Please read what I wrote.

          • Oooops …. apologies, David.

          • David

            Not a problem Jack, we’ve all done it.

    • Anna

      Divorce is not permitted. If a couple decides to get divorced (in secular courts), and one of them chooses to remarry, the children born as a result may be denied baptism. However, in very rare cases, an annulment is granted. One of my cousins had married a woman who turned out to have a serious mental illness (that her family kept secret). After 8 years of constant harassment from her, at his family’s insistence this cousin, a very quiet and forgiving man, requested and was granted an annulment. He subsequently re-married and now has 3 grandchildren. This is the only instance of ‘divorce’ in my extended family, although it is increasingly common among couples living in the West.

      • David

        Thank you Anna.

  • Dreadnaught

    Like two bald men fighting over a comb.

    • Mike Stallard

      As a bald person, I must object to that calvitic comment.

      • Brian

        Yes, it is a bit chauvinist.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I am bald. I have a comb. What do I use it for? (Clean answers only please).

          • Sarky

            Your big wizard beard?

          • Dominic Stockford

            Not sure about the wizard bit, but the beard is correct. Please come to my Sunday service (11am) next week after which I will give you your prize….

          • Chefofsinners

            Your wife has hairy feet. You become unconscious when you comb ‘er toes?

          • len

            Play a tune?

          • Brian

            1. Break off all its teeth but five and use it as a preaching aid to explain the five points of Calvin-ism (‘calvus’ > ‘chauve ‘ > ‘chauvin”).
            2. Grow a long Calvin-ist beard and comb it gently during sermons.
            3. Sell it and give the money to the poor. Well, some of it. And only to the deserving poor.
            4. Hold it under your nose to do hilarious Hitler impersonations.
            5. Wave it vigorously during a sermon on ‘Elisha and the Forty-Two Yobbos: Hope for the Follically Challenged’.

          • Dominic Stockford

            1. Good idea, but an expensive way to treat a useful object…
            2. Combing whilst preaching would mean doing two things at once, and apparently I cannot, because I am a man.
            3. Interesting. Though even the deserving poor wouldn’t get enough for a tin of cider…
            4. I don’t think I know anyone who would find them hilarious!
            5. Hah! There’s a winner. Except someone already won. 🙁

          • Martin

            Dom

            Do you not have a beard? If not you should grow one. Combing a beard is one of the joys of life.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I do have a beard, at the moment a shorter one. Not so good for combing.

    • Dolphinfish

      Dredders sounds like a man who thinks he knows what’s going to happen tomorrow.

  • “But because they are natural, and because nature is fallen, marriages can fail because men and women are corrupted by sin and manifestly fail. And when they do fail, why should the fallen parties be forever cast from the table of the Lord’s Supper.

    There’s the heresy, right there. That Jesus’ prohibition against divorce and remarriage (and Jesus was clear that to divorce and remarry is adultery) is some ideal which man cannot live up to. That God withholds His graces from His people and renders them incapable of conforming their lives to His commands. That through the sacraments and with His graces we cannot transform our lives by the power of the Holy Spirit. That, God forbid, He might actually call them to live sinful lives and endorse this because they can do no better.

    “It is not good for man to be alone: divorce and remarriage is not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”

    Who says it is the unforgivable sin? Who says there is no way back? Repentance and a commitment to live one’s life in conformity with God’s will, through the grace of God, is the gateway to forgiveness and Mercy …. isn’t it?

    The “principle” you’re advancing here might equally apply to homosexual relationships and all other manner of sin. Through Christ and His sacrifice and by the power of the Holy Spirit, man is called to transcend his fallen nature – to transform his corrupt nature and to perfect himself.

    • Mike Stallard

      PS. Henry VIII…

    • alternative_perspective

      I was reflecting on the texts for compline recently between the original Anglican prayer book and its contemporary versions.
      All references to amendment of life, fleeing sin and resisting the enemy have been removed. All the onus is now on God – as though he is now the supernatural psychoanalyst par excellence – and we need only transfer our issues on to him.

      • donadrian

        I was not aware that the BCP had an order for Compline – Cranmer linked it with Vespers to make Evening Prayer.

        • alternative_perspective

          My church house app does.

        • Pubcrawler

          He did, but it has slowly been coming back into the Anglican daily office.

          • Dominic Stockford

            But the ‘BCP’ has not.

          • Pubcrawler

            Indeed. I’m not the one claiming it did.

      • God does do everything – but we have to allow Him to do so. It’s not by our own efforts that we become holy. That’s the paradox. The ascent to holiness is not powered by our own will and wisdom. We just have to show up, raise our arms, and let ourselves be lifted up by the Father who loves us. Or we can hide behind excuses, keep our arms by our sides and resist.

  • Mike Stallard

    Fifty years ago, a friend of mine married a trophy wife. She was an old fashioned Catholic and she refused any sex at all unless it was to produce children. It ended in a divorce. She then – guess what – remarried!

    A friend of mine, much more recently, wanted to return to the Catholic Church and she went into the confessional (she told me this herself, by the way.) She told the priest that she was a divorcee of many years and that she lived alone and had done ever since. She had been denied the sacrament. Guess what? The Priest threw his arms round her neck and gave a huge hug!

    The Catholic church works like that…

    PS If you did coaching like I have done and seen the damage which open and free divorce does to the children, you would be astonished. They quite often see it as their fault and they are bewildered.

    (See, I have dodged the question – even though I have not got Jeremy Corbyn’s charisma.)

  • Dolphinfish

    Our genial host’s somewhat malicious sense of humour is well to the fore this morning. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church is indeed infallible; quite when something ENTERS the Magisterium, however, is much less certain. Since the instrument in question was not issued ex cathedra, and since encyclicals are relatively weak documents — certainly when compared with the unfortunately named papal bull — and not in themselves infallible, and since it is subject to a dubia by four senior cardinals, and since it appears on its face to run in flat contradiction of the established and traditional teaching of the Catholic Church, it is hugely questionable whether this document forms any part of the Magisterium.

    So sorry, folks. The battle may be balanced on the point of a pin, but the Protestant concept of cheap and easy grace — “God will sanction whatever you do” — has not yet quite captured the throne of Saint Peter.

    • Plus, it was an “Apostolic Exhortation” and thus even less authoritative than an Encyclical. Apostolic exhortations pertain to the pastoral governing power of the Church – not doctrine.

    • alternative_perspective

      I think you will find this is not a ubiquitous belief amongst protestants, although I fear it is gaining traction, may I refer you to Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book The Cost of Discipleship.

  • carl jacobs

    It’s only heresy until the Magisterium says the new doctrine is what the church has always taught.

    • Put the gun down, Hondo, and engage your brain for a moment.

      • carl jacobs

        Meanwhile the Pope is busy stuffing the Magisterium with his allies …

        • This is true and one is troubled by the current confusion and ambiguity being caused by the Pope. However, some good will eventually come from all this and the Church has the promise of Christ that the barque will not sink before His return.

          • carl jacobs

            So then all we need is for the Magisterium to work some more of its logical magic and Voila! Heresy is no longer heresy.

          • Ever heard of the law of non-contradiction?

          • carl jacobs

            Yes. I have. Ever heard of Vatican II? Maybe it’s time for Vatican III.

          • So what’s wrong with Vatican II, Carl? There’s also the Catholic principle of reading such documents in the light of an orthodox understanding whatever ambiguities they might contain.

            Even a Vatican III and the Pope who convened it, would be bound by existing infallible doctrine and teachings. Indefectibility is such a drag for the modernisers. Apostasy may well come to the Church at some point – it’s been long prophesised – but Jack doubts it’s about to happen and, if it does, we won’t be around for very long afterwards.

          • carl jacobs

            How fortunate then that the Magisterium gets to decide where the boundaries lay. How propitious that it can assert with absolute authority that its teaching is not in contradiction. Indefectability cuts both ways.

            You will make a good Protestant, Jack. You and your private Judgment against the corruption of the Magisterium. I’ll give you the nail to display your own 95 theses if you like.

          • Jack is not protestant at all, Carl. Get back to him when the Magisterium ever asserts infallibly a doctrine in contradiction with a past infallible teaching.

          • len

            The Magisterium is a bunch of guys trying to convince everyone the kIng really is wearing clothes.

          • Merchantman

            Always thought His Grace had shares in popcorn.

          • carl jacobs

            Well I will grant that the RCC is somewhat opaque about which doctrines are actually infallible doctrines. And that does help a bit.

            “Oh, you thought that teaching was infallible? Silly you. No that’s just historical context.”

            But the RCC by definition can’t contradict previous infallible teaching because it has the authority to say “This teaching doesn’t contradict previous infallible teaching even though you may think otherwise.”

            And what will you assert in opposition? Oh yeah. Private judgment.

          • The application of reason, Carl.

          • carl jacobs

            Umm, Jack. Applying reason is how you would exercise private judgment. You and Martin Luther – standing shoulder to shoulder against the corruptions of Rome.

            Unless I can be instructed and convinced with evidence from the Holy Scriptures or with open, clear and distinct grounds and reasoning—and my conscience is captive to the Word of. God—then I cannot and will not recant, because it is neither safe nor wise to act against conscience. Here I stand. I can do no other. So help me God.

          • No, Carl. The Church applies reason when it develops doctrine. Jack, as a Catholic, follows the formal teachings of the Church. He doesn’t believe an individual’s conscience trumps the authority invested in the Church. Luther was right about the corruptions of Rome in his day. Where he went off track was dissenting from doctrine.

          • carl jacobs

            Jack, you are standing against the authority of the Magisterium by arrogating to yourself the authority of the Magisterium on the assumption that you know the teaching of the Magisterium better than the Magisterium does. You are positively dripping in private judgment. It is literally impossible for you to do this without exercising private judgment. Ultimately you are the one asserting the claim. You. Not the church.

          • Give an example where Jack has claimed the Magisterium is in error. Jack has not asserted any such thing and, for that matter, neither have the authors of the “filial correction”. They have not claimed he is a heretic. One has to show respect for the Holy Father and his teachings, but one is not bound in conscience to accept all he says and writes, especially when his words are open to widely different interpretations.

          • carl jacobs

            Which Magisterium would that be, Jack? The living breathing one that is staring you right in the face and preparing to quickmarch you right down the same road to modernity that was previously traversed by TEC? Or the idealized Magisterium that exists somewhere in the Ether and can only be instantiated in the real world by the invocation of your private judgment? You want to appeal to the latter in order to oppose the former but you can’t hide the private judgment that allows it. It simply allows you to pretend that you aren’t doing what you are doing.

          • That only becomes relevant when and if the Magisterium ever contradicts itself. As Jack said, if it should happen it will signal the return of Christ. We’re a long way off from a contradiction based on this ambiguous and confused “pastoral” exhortation.

          • carl jacobs

            Dutton Happy Jack: No! No! No you don’t! No! I… I’m a Catholic, not a Protestant! No, Protestants are my meat – I build ’em up and I tear ’em down but I wouldn’t be one I couldn’t be one – it’d destroy me!”

          • Brian

            No, of course I have.

          • carl jacobs

            Not bad. Pretty soon you will be challenging Chef for the title of Official Cranmer’s Weblog Smart … Aleck.

          • len

            Its always worked before.

      • len

        Hi Jack, good to see you back , the Cyber Swiss Guard can reform again.

        • Thank you, Len.
          Btw, “reform” is not a word Jack is comfortable with.

          • len

            I did wonder about that Jack 😉

          • Regroup is better … but who to defend?

          • CliveM

            Not counter reform?

          • alternative_perspective

            Although almost all the demands of the reformation, except a few are now dogma. Though I couldn’t point you to a reference to prove this, it being an analysis I read previously, many years ago.

        • Dolphinfish

          We’re always looking for recruits, len. We’d certainly welcome somebody incapable of sinning.

          • len

            That’s me out then.

          • Cressida de Nova

            That is the only true thing you have ever said in all your years on this blog.
            Hallelujah !

      • Anna

        Welcome back, Jack. Hope you are well.

        Do you support the actions of these lay Catholics? I personally admire Christians who decide that silence is not an option when traditional teaching is compromised by church leadership and take the bull by the horns. It is a pity that traditional protestant churches seem to lack such courageous souls.

        What next? I wonder how far the 62 persons will go to help the pope see the error of his ways, and what avenues are open to them to achieve this end. Have such ‘filial corrections’ been issued to past popes, outside of the protestant reformation, and what were the outcomes (assuming this is not the first instance)?

        • Not since the early 14th century has such a move been made, so it’s really unchartered territory. Beyond sending the “filial correction” and asking for clarity, there’s not much more that can be done. One waits and watches to see what the bishops and cardinals might do. Pope Francis’ strategy seems to be to publically ignore these concerns whilst silencing his more open critics by other means.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Is it also uncharted territory?

  • len

    The Pope is a heretic, well whats new?

    • Dominic Stockford

      The bears have left the woods….

    • RobinHMasters

      I remember when “Is the pope Catholic?” was a rhetorical question.

      • len

        Not so any more,perhaps Francis is an anti pope?

  • alternative_perspective

    I tend to agree with the Catholic church on this.
    Once married one becomes a new sacramental creation of three persons: two human one divine. Even death itself cannot overcome this, however the law is only binding whilst alive and in the resurrection the expression of this union will be radically transformed.
    If one re-marries then one is in a “committed” adulterous relationship. One cannot surely obtain forgiveness for this, or even ask, as one is committed to living in this union until death, presumably. So taking the Eucharist whilst not only, not-seeking forgiveness but actively shunning it, is drinking condemnation on one’s-self. One could possibly be accused of attempting to crucify Christ – repeatedly, of even blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
    For this reason I have come to the conclusion that we need to differentiate between what is going on when we celebrate. I think I would differentiate in a threefold way, with:
    a. the Lord’s Supper – a memorial only
    b. Holy Communion – as a. but also a sacramental re-submission, personal re-establishment and commitment to God’s covenant in His blood
    c. Holy Eucharist – as b. but also partaking in God’s divine nature
    Personally I would allow all people, even the unbaptized, to partake of the Lord’s Supper in this fashion. All penitent, baptised individuals could take part in b. including the divorced and re-married. In this case such an individual would be living in a constant state of penitence for the adultery and pleading on God’s unfathomable mercy for their predicament. Only those who are baptised, penitent and possibly have recently gone through a confession would be invited to partake in the Holy Eucharist – in this case the remarried would never be able to partake, nor those in sexual relationships outside heterosexual marriage.
    Clearly the frequency of celebration of these different rites would be different. I think in this way, those who are trapped by their situation and past decisions would still be able to take part in the normal life of the church but by differentiating between these different rites of celebration people would not be led in to the belief that embracing a life of sin is ever acceptable – so for this reason the CoE will never accept such a proposition.

    • Chefofsinners

      By what authority do you divide a single God-given sacrament into three?

      • alternative_perspective

        I don’t necessarily agree on the subdivision of God’s sacraments into a finite number of convenient categories. I tend to err towards seeing everything as sacramental to varying degrees.

  • Sir John Oldcastle

    The simpler article would say “Rome is still in a right theological mess.”

    • betteroffoutofit

      Surely that’s “. . . a left theological mess”? – though I realise most can’t tell their rights from their lefts these days 🙂

      • Sir John Oldcastle

        Obviously. Well done. Ahead of me on this one.

  • David

    Breitbart London reports that a million Polish Catholics, led by their bishops, are gathering at Poland’s borders to pray, say the Rosary, and gave thanks for the defeat of Islam on their borders five hundred years ago which saved the whole of Europe from Islamisation.
    The contrast with our “let ’em all in” globalist Pope, whose personal security is guaranteed by high walls and armed guards strikes me particularly strongly today.

    • Bernard from Bucks

      “high walls and armed guards” to keep at bay Mrs May’s ‘Religion of Peace’.
      Surely not?

      • David

        Surprising isn’t it ?
        He is very good at urging others to ignore reasonable security concerns whilst remaining very secure.

  • Chefofsinners

    What a splendid way for Cranmer to say:
    “Welcome back Jack”.

    • ;o)

    • David

      A bit below the belt surely ?

    • Lol …. Jack now wishes he’d left it a few more days before returning!

      • Albert

        Welcome back Jack. I hope you are feeling better.

        • Thank you, Albert. Jack was feeling better until he read the above article ….

          • Albert

            Glad to hear you are feeling better. Actually, the article just made me laugh, it was so bad.

          • Anton

            Not as bad as the tangle that this Pope has caused. Don’t you realise that you are just shooting the messenger? Jack does.

          • Now that’s just not true. There are a number of significant flaws in the article. The most obvious being that the Pope has not been called a heretic in the “filial correction”. And also one doubts Jesus would contradict Himself and agree that divorce and remarriage did not constitute grievous sin and such persons were being called by His Father into these relationships and could, in good conscience, consider themselves to be innocent because they were helpless to behave otherwise. It also misrepresents the Catholic understanding of the Pope’s responsibility and the obedience he is owed as the Vicar of Christ.

          • Albert

            I don’t think the Pope has handled this at all well. However, I don’t think that means that every article criticising his handling is necessarily, therefore, a good article.

      • Terry Mushroom

        Jack, good to see you back. Ad multos annos.

      • Chefofsinners

        While you were away you missed the rapture not happening. That’ll teach you.

        • How do you know Jack was not raptured and then sent back?

          • Chefofsinners

            …for arguing with St Peter over doctrine. I have to say, we all saw it coming.

          • No … just to have a quick look round before returning.

  • alternative_perspective

    I think perhaps we need a new formalised system of betrothement, without which a couple would not be considered wed by the church.
    Part of the contract would effectively require “due diligence”; clear teaching on the church’s understanding and requirements for marriage – including divorce and remarriage and the consequences thereof plus various other topics seen fit by the church to constitute a pre-requisite.

    • IanCad

      Exactly!! A contract that requires penalties from those who breach it.

  • I suppose we now have a different answer to the question, “Is the Pope a Catholic?” Apparently not.
    I wonder if the bears have stopped doing what they do in the woods.

    • David

      Fresh back from Canada and I can confirm that there is abundant evidence that the bears are fully functional in the woods. Black bear poo, like a small cow pats for the interested were visible.

      • betteroffoutofit

        Proof positive: Travel broadens the mind!!

        • IanCad

          I’m with Chesterton on this – travel narrows the mind.

      • Inspector General

        LGBTQS

  • Paul Correa

    Why not, Paul publicly corrected Peter, supposedly the first pope.

  • Lucius

    “And when they do fail, why should the fallen parties be forever cast from the table of the Lord’s Supper? It is not good for man to be alone: divorce and remarriage is not blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”

    If a person violates the Lord’s admonition against divorce in Matthew 19:9 and lives in a state of sin with another man/woman (i.e., adultery), but is still eligible to receive communion, how can you argue against a couple in a gay marriage, also a state of sin, from receiving communion? Both cases are not singular instances of sin per se, we all sin, but rather, both (whether living in a state adultery or homosexuality) appear to be modern efforts to elevate what was considered sin (without ambiguity by our Lord) to moral (or at least social) normalcy and acceptability. Am I off?

    • The Duke of Umberland, England

      The comparison is false. Homosexuals, from a biblical point-of-view, cannot marry. There is no consumation is such a (dis)union.

      • The “moral reasoning” (if one can call it that) leading to the approval of divorce and “remarriage” is exactly the same as that supporting homosexual unions.

        • The Duke of Umberland, England

          In some cases divorce and remarriage are bibilical.

          • Not in the New Testament – unless your referring to the Pauline privilege.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            The ‘Any Cause’ divorce was invented by some Pharisees who divided up the phrase “a cause of indecency” (Dt.24.1) into two grounds for divorce: “indecency” (porneia which they interpreted as ‘Adultery’) and “a cause” (ie ‘Any Cause’). Jesus said the phrase could not be split up and that it meant “nothing except porneia”. Although almost everyone was using this new type of divorce, Jesus told them that it was invalid, so remarriage was adulterous because they were still married.

            The Old Testament allowed divorce for the breaking of marriage vows, including neglect and abuse, based on Exod.21.10f. Jesus was not asked about these biblical grounds for divorce, though Paul alluded to them in 1Cor.7 as the basis of marriage obligations. God never repealed these biblical grounds for divorce based on broken marriage vows. They were exemplified by Christ (according to Eph.5.28f) and they became the basis of Christian marriage vows (love, honour, and keep).

            Dr Instone-Brewer

          • Well that’s interpretation is just not consistent with Jesus’ words or 2000 years of orthodox Christian understanding. Jesus was clear – to divorce and remarry is adultery.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly.

            Matt 1:19

          • There is an ongoing debate about Mary and Joseph’s marital state at the time of the Annunciation. Without getting into this, Jesus made it clear divorce was not God’s will and remarriage constituted adultery. He set aside the Jewish concessions.

            Here’s one rebuttal to Instone-Brewer. There are many:

            http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/tragically-widening-the-grounds-of-legitimate-divorce

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            20 But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, you son of David, fear not to take to you Mary your wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

            Matt 1:20

          • Read this:

            https://www.biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/biblical-topics/bible-interpretation/were-mary-and-joseph-married-or-engaged-at-jesus-birth/set

            Besides, how is it relevant given Jesus clearly set aside the concessions of Moses?

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            He set aside the concessions of Moses?

            That is unbibilical.

            Now we come to Jesus, when these two groups of Pharisees came to ask his opinion:

            – they asked him: Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause? (Mt.19.4)
            – now, if you were listening to their question as a 1st C Jew, what would you hear?
            – in other words are they asking: Is it lawful … to divorce for any cause?
            – or are they asking Jesus: Is it lawful… to divorce for ‘Any Cause’?
            – ie are they asking: Are there any grounds for which it is lawful to get divorced?
            – or are they asking: Does the new “Any Cause” divorce agree with the Law?

            Hillel and Shammai Schools:

            The big divorce debate of the day was not whether divorce was allowed or not:

            – everyone agreed that it was allowed – after all, the Law of Moses says so
            – the big debate was about the “Any Cause” divorce which everyone loved
            – except the Shammaites who said Dt.24.1 referred to nothing except indecency”
            – you might say the Shammaite slogan was: “nothing except indecency”
            – so when we look at the Pharisee’s debate with Jesus, we can hear it properly
            – they ask him: Is it lawful to divorce for “Any Cause” – the Hillelite phrase
            – and Jesus answers with the Shammaite slogan: “nothing except indecency”
            – (his Greek word porneia has the same vague meaning as the Hebrew ervah)

            Dr Instone-Brewer

          • Jesus is God. He can and did set aside the Mosaic concessions made by Moses.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            I suppose next you’ll be telling us God can tie a knot which He cannot untie.

          • No, but God can legitimately restore the permanency and indissolubility of marriage and withdraw the concessions due to the hardness of heart on the part of man. And He did.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Post second-coming. Yes.

          • No. Here and now.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            What a Pharisee you have become.

            Tell me, what is the status of the children of ‘divorced’ Roman Catholics?

          • Why? Because Jack takes Jesus at His word? The status of children? They are creatures made in the image of God and do not bear responsibility for their parent’s sin.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            You evade.

            After their marriages are anulled, they become bastards.

          • A bastard is an illegitimate child of two people who are not married to each other civilly. Legitimacy has to do with civil law, not Church law. Therefore, the children of a marriage that was celebrated civilly are legitimate and always remain so, even if their parents should later divorce or if the Church later declares the marriage to be invalid.

            When the Church finds and concludes that a marriage was not entered into validly, she is only speaking about the marriage itself, not the children that have come from the union. You are confusing civil law with Church law. A declaration of nullity or invalidity is a judgment about a particular “marriage.” It merely decides if marriage ever really came into existence. Marriage in the eyes of the Church is not the same as marriage in the eyes of the civil law. Therefore, when the tribunal conducts its investigation, it is the marriage that is judged, not the children.

            Legitimacy is a legal concept. It’s not a stain on a child one way or another. A child is either legitimate or not regardless of whether there is an annulment. An annulment has no effect whatsoever on this. Legitimacy is a legal category. It’s used for determining things like inheritance rights. It’s not a moral judgment on a child.

            Under Canon law a child is legitimate if he was born to a putative valid marriage. That’s the technical term for a marriage that was entered into good faith by at least one of the partners. Church law states that children are legitimate even if the marriage is annulled, provided it was entered into in good faith by at least one spouse (Canon 1061.3, 1137). For civil matters regarding children, the Church respects the civil marriage. Even if by some chance both husband and wife knew they were not entering a legitimate marriage a child could simply be legitimised through a Canonical procedure. In fact, the word “illegitimate” doesn’t appear in the 1982 Canon Law, only the word “legitimate” is in there.

          • IanCad

            Thus putting to bed the fallacy of Original Sin.

          • The whole human race is wounded by the Fall. Our souls are damaged. We bear the consequences, not personal culpability. The children of divorced parents are also wounded by them, as they are by domestic abuse, drug addiction etc., but they cannot be held accountable for the sin.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            You are telling us God can tie a knot which He cannot untie.

          • God can do as He wills – apart from contradicting Himself. It’s man’s autonomy we’re discussing. If God joins a couple in matrimony, it’s for life.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Does God ignore the effects of the Fall?

          • No, that’s why Christ died and when He rose sent the Holy Spirit to enable us to live according His commands – if we allow this.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Actually we’re dead in sin so we can’t live according to His commands. Once we receive new life we are given a new heart and we cannot be lost again. You paint the heretical picture that God is dependent upon us choosing to be good. But then you are a follower of Rome and not a Catholic.

          • Once saved always saved is hardly a universal Christian belief. It’s a man made invention.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I’d agree, but I rest on this:

            All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.
            (John 6:37-40 [ESV])

          • And you know who the Father has given to the Son – based on His foreknowledge?

          • Martin

            HJ

            His foreknowledge is an action, and I do not need to know.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Your argument is that He contradicts Moses – He contradicts His law – He ties a knot which He cannot untie.

          • Are you paying attention? God is perfectly entitled to withdraw a concession granted by Moses and to restore marriage to its unadulterated condition. You can take this up with Him, not Jack.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Then that raises the question which other elements He has already withdrawn or may withdraw. You make Him out to be inconsistent.

          • Such as?

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            It simply raises the question – you may well have sown the seeds of doubt in the minds of young readers.

          • Such as? Not at all. Jesus was quite specific about His Father’s will concerning marriage. He was also clear about our relationship with God and with one another.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            It is written: For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.

          • Jesus accomplished/fulfilled the Mosaic Law. Christians no longer ceremonially circumcise 8 day old male children either, or stone adulterers. Christ raised marriage from a legal relationship into a sacramental sign of His new relationship with His people under the New Covenant.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            ‘There is an ongoing debate about Mary and Joseph’s marital state at the time ‘.

            You’re getting worse by the minute. You are casting doubt on the instruction and clear assumption in the angel’s statement.

          • Jack has stated no opinion because it’s not relevant to whether Jesus did or did not restore marriage to its original state i.e. permanent and indissoluble.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Then would you say that God did not divorce Israel?

          • He never did whilst the Mosaic Covenant was in place. It was conditional. This was fulfilled in Christ – not set aside. The New Covenant is Everlasting.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            I observed that it was because unfaithful Israel had committed adultery that I had sent her away and had given her a certificate of divorce. Nevertheless, her treacherous sister Judah was not afraid but also went and prostituted herself.

          • And yet God, in His mercy, still loved Israel and brought her home from exile. And He never remarried.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Why do you assume “2000 years of orthodox Christian understanding” when what you are speaking of is the view of the schismatic Roman church?

          • So when did you’re sect accept divorce and remarriage?

          • Martin

            HJ

            The question is, as I’ve asked above, who is the one doing the separating? Since it is the one breaking the vows, the innocent party is entitled to remarry.

            Your sect always has a problem admitting it is not the Church and rarely is consistent in its view of Scripture.

          • Jesus taught something different – or doesn’t He count?

          • Martin

            HJ

            As has already been pointed out, He didn’t.

    • Sybaseguru

      There’s one difference that cannot be ignored. A person who remarries is not denying that marriage for life is right – just that in their weakness they have been unable to do it – and would like to repent and try again. A homosexual denies God’s ordinances and has no intention of repenting.

      • petej

        That covers the divorce, but not the remarriage. If marrying a person of the same sex is denying God’s ordinances then so is remarrying after divorce. It’s a denial that God joined you to your first spouse and a perpetual one too.

    • petej

      Exactly

  • Inspector General

    How on earth (or heaven for that matter) did John XXIII escape one of these???

    First rate dissertation from you, Cranmer! You have a marvellous way of the explanatory. Well done, Sir!

    On the subject in hand, the receiving of the Eucharist, the Higher Understand has this to say: “Whomever prevents a man or woman from being in communion with God, let them know what they be about and be sure of themselves”

    And now we have the rules for Roman Catholics. There’s quite a bit to do and be. Ideally, you should be without ANY sin (including Original), divine and immortal. If you’re not, you’re an abomination probably and you’ve your work cut out…
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    http://rcdow.org.uk/att/files/faith/catechesis/eucharist/receivingcommuniondocument.pdf
    Here’s nice: “Out of habit and out of fear of what those around them will think if they do not receive Communion, some Catholics, in a state of mortal sin, choose to go forward and offend God rather than stay in the pew while others receive the Eucharist”

    Yes ‘offend God’! Christ didn’t say that. Someone in 70AD did.

    You won’t find this though…
    “Those hopeful of being in communion should role two dice at home before setting off. If the dice come up as 2 ones. ‘Snake Eyes’ in popular parlance, you have been unlucky that week. Try again next”
    But it wouldn’t be that out of place, would it not?

  • len

    Look, the Pope is doing his best he’s only an ordinary bloke doing his best.

    • betteroffoutofit

      Yeah, I know – just like any other commie leader.
      He makes it so obvious, too: That’s why he wears all those fancy clothes, and has crowns and thrones and guards and things!

      • len

        Well, got to put a good show on, the public love it.

  • Albert

    What a funny post.

    This, of course, as we all know, is heresy. If it isn’t, then Sir Thomas More and Bishop John Fisher died in vain.

    Can someone clarify this for me? I was under the impression that St Thomas More was executed for refusing to accept the obvious absurdity to be abhorred of all faithful Christians that Henry VIII was head of the Church of England. The issue of whether Anne and Henry could legitimately receive Holy Communion was not the issue. Obviously, they couldn’t, since they erred “not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith” (Art. XIX), by holding the view that Nero would have had authority over the Church in his jurisdiction. Accordingly, they were necessarily excommunicated. Indeed, as such, not only could they not receive communion, but, there’s an article for people like them:

    XXXIII. OF EXCOMMUNICATE PERSONS, HOW THEY ARE TO BE AVOIDED

    THAT person which by open denunciation of the Church is rightly cut off from the unity of the Church, and excommunicated, ought to be taken of the whole multitude of the faithful, as an Heathen and Publican, until he be openly reconciled by penance, and received into the Church by a Judge that hath authority thereunto.

    Did I miss the moment of Henry’s repentance in school History lessons?

    • chiaramonti

      Thomas More and John Fisher were executed for High Treason, not for refusing to acknowledge Henry VIII as supreme Head but because (it was adjudicated) they had denied the title. A subtle legal difference but of immense importance. Refusing the oath could only result in life imprisonment. Hence More’s tactical refusal to say anything on the subject, until tricked by Richard Rich (or the subject of perjury by Rich.) Fisher was deceived by Rich into saying what he believed upon Rich undertaking he had Henry’s promise that it would not be held against him, a promise which the judges ruled had no legal validity given the plain words of the statute. I suspect Francis’ silence on the subject of this blog is much less sinister. He is very keen on forgiveness and is trying to work something out in respect of subsequent marriages that does not lead to what we see in the C of E and other churches. A very difficult process which may well prove impossible. It is a matter of some interest that this issue should arise with the first Jesuit to be elected to the Papacy. It took over 400 years for one to make it to the chair of Peter. I suspect there may not be another one!
      Incidentally, of Henry VIII’s several marriages, only the marriage to Ann Boleyn offends the orthodox doctrine and that could have been rectified after the death of Catherine of Aragon. Both his previous wives were dead when he married Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves was probably never consummated and Catherine Howard was dead, of course, when he married Catherine Parr. I doubt that Francis is considering a similar system to that employed by Henry to solve the problem!

      • Albert

        Excellent post. I agree with everything you say – my point was to say it was the Supreme Headship of Henry, not the communion for the divorced that caused their martyrdom (though Cranmer surely knows this – he’s just being provocative).

        I have sometimes argued that Elizabeth I was a bastard both by Catholic and Anglican standards (since the Anglicans also annulled the marriage, when it suited Henry). Therefore, Elizabeth I was not the legitimate heir to the throne. She certainly deserves the title “Bloody Bess” for committing the greatest act of religious violence ever perpetrated on these shores.

        I also agree about Francis’ silence. I think he may be motivated by two things: firstly, he doesn’t think it was appropriate for Cardinals to call him out publicly, and secondly, he doesn’t have an answer and he knows it. His purpose was to try to see if there was an answer – a perfectly legitimate thing to do. Unfortunately, things have spiralled beyond that, with the result that he will surely be the last Jesuit pope. He looks holed beneath the waterline as far as the Church is concerned, because there are far too many people who think he has gone beyond his authority (I’m not sure I agree).

        • chiaramonti

          You are spot on about the status of Elizabeth – and she knew it. Cranmer annulled her mother’s marriage to Henry just before she was executed, making Elizabeth illegitimate both in Catholic Canon law and by the law of England. Hence her obsession with Mary Queen of Scots who, despite her sometimes silly behaviour, was undoubtedly legitimate. But Henry restored both his daughters to the succession before he died and the succession, at the end of the day, is a matter for parliament (or in those days, the King, as parliament generally did what he said.) Thomas More was prepared to accept Henry’s requirements on the succession but as he said ‘there is more in the Act than that.’ Very perceptive of Henry to mix the succession with the supremacy.To be fair to Elizabeth (and many Catholic historians are not) she was not as bloodthirsty as her father. None of the Bishops who resigned or were deprived when she succeeded were executed, although one or two may have died in prison. Some, like Nicholas Heath, Archbishop of York had a fairly comfortable retirement. He was even visited by Elizabeth a couple of times. Interesting that only Fisher stood out as opposing Henry but all the bishops, with one exception, opposed Elizabeth’s religious settlement, so they had to go.

          • Albert

            Excellent post again.

            Interesting that only Fisher stood out as opposing Henry but all the bishops, with one exception, opposed Elizabeth’s religious settlement, so they had to go.

            Yes, and that gives the lie to the idea that the CofE was the continuation of the Catholic Church in England. Elizabeth was certainly not as blood thirsty as her father (but then he was a psychopath), but in the end her violence against her own people was undoubtedly worse. This was caught up with the problem of Elizabeth’s illegitimacy of course.

            It’s vital of course, in the context of the OP to note that St Thomas More would accept Anne as Queen, but not Henry as Head of the Church. Truth to tell, hardly anyone, even in the CofE is really going to defend Henry against More on that point.

            And that raises a final point: the removal of all but one of the bishops under Elizabeth, means the only grounds for the CofE as the Church of England rests on the monarchy. However, as (almost) no one accepts that now, and as the idea of the monarchy being Surpreme was obviously removed in the so called Glorious Revolution, one has to ask, what continuing legitimacy, on its own historical grounds, the CofE still has.

          • Linus

            The CofE has as much legitimacy as any other church of a discredited deity in whom few still believe.

            Their legal legitimacy rests on their status as church recognised by parliament.

            Any other legitimacy they purport to enjoy is based on a series of claims they cannot prove, but which are essentially little different from those of other churches.

            Just like the Roman Church, they claim to act on behalf of Sky Pixie, but they provide no proof either of his existence or of his delegation of power to them beyond what they themselves have written down and called “scripture”.

            This is the great weakness of the claims of all churches to legitimacy. They all rest on a series of writings made by men about events for which no corroborating evidence exists and ideas that cannot be proven by any appeal to scientifically verifiable fact. There is therefore no such thing as a legitimate church, so the various churches that claim legitimacy based on unverifiable tradition and legend are all illegitimate. If one is more illegitimate than another according to the provisions of an illegitimate creed, the illegitimacy of that creed renders all claims of superiority null and void.

            At the end of the day, the Roman Sky Pixie is just as imaginary as the Anglican Sky Pixie. So both churches are equally illegitimate and watching them fight over who’s the best is quite amusing. It’s a bit like two children screaming “daddy loves me more than he loves you!” at each other.

          • Martin

            Linus

            And the legitimacy of your views lies in the fact that you are your god.

          • Linus

            No, the legitimacy of my view lies in nature of reality.

            Fact: Pixtians shriek at each other about how their church is the best church and all others are defective.

            Fact: all Pixtian churches base their legitimacy on writings made by men.

            Fact: the rejection of Pixtianity in the rational West is in large part due to the incredulity of Western man when faced with ancient and unverifiable stories that require him to believe in highly implausible claims for which no solid evidence exists.

          • Martin

            Linus

            You have no concept of reality or rationality, you are obsessed with the worship of your god of self. You shout abuse at all others who do not bow before the altar of your will.

            But you know God exists.

          • Linus

            You are the one who has no understanding of reality and rationality. The perfect image of yourself that you worship makes you impervious to anything except your own propaganda.

            Stand there and shout whatever you like. Just because you shout it, doesn’t mean it’s true.

            You know you worship a phantom image of yourself. But you really do think it’s omnipotent, don’t you? That’s what makes you truly insane, unlike most here who are perfectly aware their Sky Pixie doesn’t exist and this whole Pixtian thing is just a conventional framework for an ultra-conservative political stance. But you’re a true zealot. As such, you belong in an asylum, and given your periodic absences, I wonder if that is in fact where you do live.

            Out on day release today, are you? What time is curfew? Lights out at 9pm or do they leave them on 24 hours a day in the padded cell you retire to?

          • Martin

            Linus

            Oh dear, you seem to be mistaking myself for yourself. Remember, you are the one who worships self, while pretending there is no God. Tell me, how often during the day do you have to tell yourself there is no God to silence the voice that tells you there is?

          • Albert

            I wonder if you are able to provide for me
            1. An epistemology of what constitutes proof and the conditions for it.
            2. A working definition of God – as understood by the Western Philosophical tradition.

          • Linus

            Proof is a fact, argument, or piece of evidence which shows that something is definitely true or definitely exists. Evidence is anything that you see, experience, read, or are told, AND which can be verified, that causes you to believe that something is true or has really happened.

            As for a working definition of Sky Pixie, how long is a piece of string? You may think you can define a concept that means different things to different people precisely because it can never be verified. I have better things to do with my life than waste time on such pointless pursuits.

          • Albert

            Proof is a fact, argument, or piece of evidence which shows that something is definitely true or definitely exists. Evidence is anything that you see, experience, read, or are told, AND which can be verified, that causes you to believe that something is true or has really happened.

            Thank you. And am I to assume that one can only reasonably believe something on that basis?

            Now as for your unwillingness to provide a definition of God, if you cannot do so, how can you know that your derivative idea of Sky Pixie is a suitable term for God?

            I have better things to do with my life than waste time on such pointless pursuits.</i.

            Now we both know that's not true.

          • Linus

            Sky Pixie is not a definitive name. It’s a catch-all term that refers to any and all concepts of deity, more specifically the Pixtian deity, whose characteristics are generally agreed to have much in common with the mythical pixie (magical, mercurial, jealous, unpredictable and above all, completely invisible) and who is said to live in or beyond the sky.

            As for what you imagine Sky Pixie to be, that’s your affair, not mine. You provide the definition. It’s your concept after all. I merely use the term Sky Pixie to refer to it.

          • Albert

            So you’ve got some kind of idea of deity, what is it that makes you think that Sky Pixie is a good name for it.

            It’s your concept after all.

            Except it is not. The God I believe in is not remotely like a pixie. You’re more like a pixie than God is. So I’m trying to understand why you would use the term of God rather than other things more pixie-like, like yourself.

          • Linus

            Pixies are invisible. So is your Sky Pixie.
            Pixies have magical powers. So does your Sky Pixie.
            Pixies are jealous. So is your Sky Pixie.
            Pixies are imaginary. So is your Sky Pixie.

            I am neither invisble, magical, jealous (well, no more than anyone else) nor imaginary. I am nothing like a pixie. Sky Pixie most certainly is.

          • Albert

            Pixies are invisible.

            I don’t think so.

            Pixies have magical powers. So does your Sky Pixie.

            God does not have magical powers.

            Pixies are jealous. So is your Sky Pixie.

            God is obviously not jealous, since he does not have human feelings.

            Pixies are imaginary. So is your Sky Pixie.

            God is certainly not imaginary, since imagination has to do with images, and God, as you have pointed out is invisible, and thus cannot be thought of in images. Therefore, God is not imaginary.

            So I cannot really see any reason to think “Sky Pixie” makes sense to speak of God.

            In contrast:

            Pixies are inhabitants of the universe. So is Linus.
            Pixies are childish. So is Linus.
            Pixies are irritating. So is Linus.
            Pixies are opposed to Christianity. So is Linus.

            See what I mean? We really should be calling Pixie-Linus.

          • Linus

            If pixies are visible, please produce one for inspection.

            If Sky Pixie does not have magical powers, how could he change water into wine? That requires an imaginary ability commonly called magic. If it’s possible without magic, please demonstrate how.

            The Pixiebook states (and I quote) « I, the LORD Sky Pixie, am a jealous sky pixie… »

            The imagination is defined as the power of forming mental images OR concepts of what is not actually present to the senses. So an invisible Sky Pixie can indeed be imaginary, just as any concept can be.

            So you see, Sky Pixie is exactly the right term for your deity. It fits him in every respect.

            The word « pixie » does not apply to me however, because as you rightly point out, I am an inhabitant of the universe and pixies are not. If I am wrong on this point, please produce one for inspection.

            Pixies are supposed to be child-like rather than childish, whereas I am in my 50s and nobody who sees me thinks I look pre-pubescent.

            Pixies are not irritating because they don’t exist and only that which exists can irritate.

            So you see, you are entirely wrong, however as being wrong never stops you from gibbering nonsense all over this blog at any other time, I hardly think it will now. If you want to call me a pixie, go ahead. I’ll return the favour by calling you a wee little fairy and then we’ll be even. How does that sound?

          • Albert

            I can’t help noticing that you have evaded the epistemological question I asked you earlier:

            And am I to assume that one can only reasonably believe something on that basis?

            I wonder why that is.

            If pixies are visible, please produce one for inspection.

            Pixies are not real, Pixie-Linus.

            If Sky Pixie does not have magical powers, how could he change water into wine?

            That’s not a magical power, since it isn’t magic.

            If it’s possible without magic, please demonstrate how.

            Very simply. A magician appears to make things happen by illusion. God however, makes such changes occur because, as the cause of the universe he is the cause of the water being water. Thus he can easily change that cause to make it something else.

            The Bible says God is jealous, but it also says he has hands and feet. But it’s pretty obvious that this kind of stuff is metaphor – after all, you said God was invisible, so how come he has hands and feet?

            The word « pixie » does not apply to me however, because as you rightly point out, I am an inhabitant of the universe and pixies are not. If I am wrong on this point, please produce one for inspection.

            I don’t think you quite get how philosophical discussion works. We’re talking here about the concept of a pixie. We can have the concept of a pixie even if there aren’t any. And you introduced this discussion when you attributed a range of attributes to pixies. I could of course have just replied that pixies don’t have such attributes because they aren’t real. If I had done so, you would have rightly been able to accuse me of being a bit slow…and not understanding that we are talking about concepts, not realities.

            Pixies are supposed to be child-like rather than childish, whereas I am in my 50s and nobody who sees me thinks I look pre-pubescent.

            No, no. Pixies are childish.

            Pixies are not irritating because they don’t exist and only that which exists can irritate.

            Again, I don’t think you’ve understood the nature of the conversation you’ve started. After all you’ve just attributed the attribute of being child-like to pixies. Whereas, if your present point made any sense at all, you would reply “Pixies are not childish because they are not real.”

            So it seems to me that when you can try to say Pixies are not X you do so. But when you can’t say that (i.e. when I have shown a similarity between you an pixies), you then go ahead and say “Pixies aren’t Y because pixies aren’t real.” And that’s inconsistent.

            If you want to call me a wee little fairy, you can do that, but it would less fitting than calling you pixie-Linus, since I am neither wee, nor little (obviously), nor a fairy.

          • Simon Platt

            It’s a mildly interesting exercise to try to work out what might be behind “This user is blocked” from the still-visible responses.

            Only mildly, mind you.

          • Albert

            Has Linus been blocked?

          • Simon Platt

            By me, yes.

          • Albert

            That makes your previous comment all the more amusing!

        • Linus

          Elizabeth I had the only legitimate claim to sovereignty there is: the consent of the people.

          Her succession was provided for by Act of Parliament, which is the only way of legitimating a reign. Whether you think her parents’ marriage was legitimate or not makes no difference to the legality of her reign.

          The governed consented to be governed by her. No English statute that I’m aware of gave popes the right to dictate to the people who their sovereign should be.

          • Albert

            Elizabeth I had the only legitimate claim to sovereignty there is: the consent of the people.

            In view of the fact that she butchered a large portion of the people, I’m just wondering what you mean by that. Anyway, I don’t think that anyone at the time thought the view of the people was relevant.

          • Martin

            Albert

            “she butchered a large portion of the people”

            I think you’re thinking of Mary and her master the popes.

          • Albert

            No no, I’m thinking Bloody Bess.

          • Martin

            Albert

            It was Mary who was bloody, and the popes before her. She carried on the grand tradition.

          • Albert

            I know school boy English history as written by the victors. But in the aftermath of 1569 Northern Rising, 600 people were hanged, 90 castles burnt and 300 villages were also burnt. But that’s okay, because they were Catholics.

            Notice, that’s just one event. To be fair, Elizabeth wasn’t as bad as her sibling. 5 500 people died in the Prayer Book Rebellion, so Edward VI was nastier. Similarly, Henry VIII may have killed as many as 72 000 people, granted, that’s probably an exaggeration. But the fact that a probably exaggeration gets anything like as high as that number puts it into perspective.

            In contrast, Mary killed about 284 Protestants.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The 1569 Northern Rising was a rebellion, fomented by a foreign sovereign power seeking to overthrow the rule of Elizabeth. It had little to do with religious belief. Mary, on the other hand, killed people for their religious belief.

          • Albert

            Elizabeth was a bastard and therefore not the legitimate monarch. Moreover, she was imposing beliefs foreign to this realm of England.

          • Martin

            Albert

            The only way that any English monarch ever gained the throne was power, none of them were legitimate.

            And Christianity has always been a foreign belief in any realm.

          • Albert

            The only way that any English monarch ever gained the throne was power, none of them were legitimate.

            In which case it is hard to see (i) how you can criticise the Catholics of the North for rising to defend their faith and (ii) how you can justify Elizabeth’s response.

            And Christianity has always been a foreign belief in any realm.

            No. Catholicism, being universal, belongs everywhere, since all authority in heaven and earth has been given to Christ.

          • Martin

            Albert

            They can be criticised on the basis of the Bible clear teaching that all rulers are appointed by God, something the Pope should have remembered.

            Christianity belongs everywhere and is Catholic, unlike the religion of Rome.

          • Albert

            Can a monarch legitimately impose religion?

          • Martin

            Albert

            No one can be forced to be a Christian. It was the demand that all sacrifice to Caesar that was used to persecute the early Christians. Somewhat ironic that thos calling themselves the Church should take it up later and for so long.

          • Albert

            Quite. Which is why it makes sense that Catholics rebelled against Elizabeth I. (i) She was illegitimate and only had the throne because of raw power, not right. (ii) She misused the power that wasn’t her’s.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Power is what all the heads of state in Europe relied on to keep their thrones, including the pope. And the popes consistently misused their power in the abuse of the people of God who challenged their authority in even the mildest of manner. Therefore the rebellion should have been directed at Rome, which is not Catholic at all.

          • Albert

            Those who were rebelling were rebelling against the imposition of Protestantism. They obviously weren’t in favour of rebelling against Catholicism.

          • Martin

            Albert

            They were rebelling against their ruler on behalf of a foreign power. That’s called treason. They weren’t rebelling against Catholicism, since Rome left the Catholic faith long ago.

          • Albert

            No they weren’t. They were rebelling on behalf of their faith – namely the faith that had been English for about 1000 years. Secondly, they were rebelling on behalf of a woman who had a better claim to the throne than Bloody Bess.

          • Martin

            Albert

            They were rebelling at the behest of a foreign unfriendly power that had already unlawfully killed Christians throughout Europe.

          • Albert

            Had Mary Queen of Scots already unlawfully killed Christians throughout Europe? I don’t know the period well enough.

          • Martin

            Albert

            No mention of Mary QoS in my post, I was referring to one of the antichrists.

          • Albert

            I think you are completely confused. They were rebelling against Bloody Bess.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Incited by a foreign power, hence treason.

          • Albert

            As far as I can see, the only incitement, if there was any, was from Mary Queen of Scots, though I could be wrong. But as Elizabeth was only the monarch by force and not by right, the language of treason is just rhetoric.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Yeah, Rome sat back and said nothing. And I’m afraid your concept of how monarchs become such are very strange. How do you think the Scottish Mary gained her ‘right’?

          • Albert

            Sorry, are you saying that there is evidence that the Pope incited the rebellion? Also are you saying that monarchies don’t work by legitimate descent?

          • Martin

            Albert

            There is evidence that the pope incited the people of England to rebel, and perhaps you should consider whether any king of England had a legitimate claim to the throne.

          • Albert

            I was asking for the evidence. Now saying there is evidence is not the same as giving the evidence. Perhaps there is evidence, but if you are telling the truth, you will be able to provide some.

            Now as to your second question, the fact that there are inevitably problems with claims to the throne does not mean that just anyone could be monarch. Some had better claims than others. Elizabeth had a poor claim. Mary Stuart had a better one.

          • Martin

            Albert

            Are you saying the pope did not incite the people of England to rebel? I think you’re just equivocating.

            Let’s face facts shall we, the English had just experienced the oppression of Rome in the person of Bloody Mary and were simply unwilling to accept another such puppet. The foreign power that is Rome had long sought power over other nations, claiming falsely to be Christ’s Church. It’s time had passed, it was no longer held in the awe it once had. Men were now reading the Bible for themselves and seeing the falsity of it’s claims. Thank God that the gospel was now going out to overthrow the tyranny of Rome and its heresies.

          • Albert

            No. Your claim is that the Pope incited the Northern Rebellion. I’m asking for you to defend that claim. Changing the subject to the time when a Catholic was in power is the equivocation. The issue is about whether the Pope incited rebellion against the powers that be. Obviously, he didn’t when the powers that be were Catholic.

            As for your other claims. The doctrines of the Protestant Reformation are not the doctrine of the Bible.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You don’t think bloody Mary’s murderous behaviour caused the people to support Elizabeth? The pope, so called Pius, called Elizabeth a heretic and excommunicated her, that is sufficient alone to cause any follower of Rome to be deemed a traitor and is clearly an incitement to rebellion.

            As for the Reformation, the Bible is quite clear on the nature of salvation, it is God’s work alone, we are the objects of it and have no other part:

            For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
            (Ephesians 2:8-10 [ESV])

            Nothing there about baptism, going to mass, confession. It is God alone who saves, His grace saves the sinner, requiring nothing from the sinner. All these things are works and specifically excluded. God’s grace alone is sufficient to save and God gives faith that the soul may be saved.

          • Hitler? Stalin? Castro?

          • Martin

            HJ

            Does the Bible make exceptions?

          • The key is in the words ‘rising’ and ‘rebellion.’ If one attempts to start a civil war, one is liable for the consequences. The woes of Roman Catholics in Elizabeth’s reign are largely the responsibility of the Jesuits and the pope; the latter having urged Romanists to rise up against Elizabeth thereby turning every one of them into a potential terrorist.
            To the best of my knowledge, no Roman Catholic has ever been burned for heresy in England

          • Albert

            Elizabeth was illegitimate and was imposing foreign beliefs on the realm. If you do that, you get these kinds of consequences. As to whether Catholics were burnt in England, I don’t know whether that happened. I don’t really see what difference it makes. The last burning for heresy was apparently in 1612 – Protestants burning Protestants you see. Other kinds of burnings continued into the 18th Century.

          • Foreign beliefs? Ha! The clue is in the name- Church of Rome
            Article XXXVII of the Church of England. ‘The Bishop of Rome hath no jurisdiction in this Realm of England.

            And I think you know very well whether Roman Catholics were burned in England– they weren’t.
            .
            As for the rest, it just shows the unhappy nature of all kinds of episcopalianism and forced religion, and reinforces me in my Free Church belief. Am I not right in thinking that the Inquisition was only abolished in the 19th Century?

          • Albert

            The clue is in the name- Church of Rome

            That really is the clue, isn’t it? “The Church of Rome” throughout the last 2000 years has referred, in Catholicism to the Church at Rome. The Church itself is simply the Catholic Church. You can’t misrepresent the language and then claim, anything on the basis of the misrepresentation.

            And I think you know very well whether Roman Catholics were burned in England– they weren’t.

            I don’t know that. I suspect it is true, because Elizabeth learnt to the killing quietly.

            I don’t approve of religious violence, but there is an English myth that makes it out to be a Catholic practice. As Augustine said, they are too ashamed to confess the sins they are not too ashamed to commit.

          • chiaramonti

            Actually, a few were, by Henry VIII, but very few.

          • Are you able to give me details?

          • Anton

            I think he means men like the Amersham martyrs, who were Lollards.

          • Simon Platt

            So far as I know there were no Jesuits in England before 1580.

            And there’s a good reason for Catholics not being condemned for heresy.

          • Linus

            All accounts of the accession of Elizabeth’s sister Mary tell of the public acclamation that accompanied her arrival in London to take up her sceptre. Her legitimacy was justified by the consent of the people. And Elizabeth’s after her.

            The coronation ceremony involves the presentation of tbe sovereign to the people. The sovereign is presented to the 4 points of the compass and the people asked to confirm that he/she is their “undoubted king/queen”. Obtaining the consent of the people has always formed a key part of the sovereign’s legitimacy.

            Look at Matilda, who never reigned specifically because she was incapable of obtaining the people’s consent. When she presented herself at Westminster to be crowned, she was chased away by an angry mob. Her right to be queen was unarguable according to English succession law, the will of her father and even the oaths of fealty sworn by the English peers. But none of that mattered when the people refused her their support.

            The consent of the people is precisely what confers legitimacy on a ruler. In former times this was obtained not by democratic means such as we know them today, but rather by consensus and acclamation. Elizabeth Tudor was queen of England because the English wanted her to be queen. Had they not wanted her, she could have been replaced easily enough. The fact that Mary Stuart never succeeded in taking her throne was entirely down to the fact that the people – both the English and her own Scots – just didn’t want her.

          • Albert

            No. Mary was the legitimate monarch because she was the legitimate daughter. The crowd simply acknowledged this fact. This is obvious from the fact that many in power did not want Mary. Could they have done, they would have imposed Elizabeth, for example. But no one would believe that because hereditary monarchy is not democracy, but, well hereditary monarchy.

          • Linus

            And many in power at Elizabeth’s succession did not want Elizabeth. Had they been able to, they would have imposed Mary Stuart. But nobody did it because Elizabeth was the popular choice.

            Nobody but a few obsessive sticklers cared about Elizabeth’s debatable hereditary right. Just as in 15th century Castile they didn’t care about Isabella’s right, or in 18th century Russia they didn’t care about Catherine I’s or Catherine the Great’s rights. What counted was the consent of the governed.

          • Albert

            I don’t think this is true. Everyone believe Elizabeth was the legitimate monarch because no one cared that the CofE had annulled the marriage of her parents.

          • Linus

            So you’re saying that everyone believed the marriage of her parents to be valid? Even her Catholic subjects?

            No, they did not. They believed she was a bastard, but apart from a few doctrinaire obsessives, supported her as queen because the alternative would have been annexation by France.

            Mary Stuart was dauphine of France at the time of Elizabeth’s accession. English Catholics who respected a strict hereditary right of succession were bound to accept her as their queen. But to do so, they would have had to acquiesce to French government.

            When confronted by the choice of a legitimate French Catholic or an illegitimate English Protestant, English Catholics massively supported the latter. They gave their consent to her sovereignty. That’s how she could rule.

          • Albert

            No, they did not. They believed she was a bastard, but apart from a few doctrinaire obsessives, supported her as queen because the alternative would have been annexation by France.

            It sounds like you know more about this than me. But if that’s the answer, it’s hardly about popular sovereignty, it’s about the least worst option. But that doesn’t avoid the fact that she wasn’t by the standards of legitimacy, the legitimate monarch.

          • Linus

            What is popular sovereignty if not support of the «least worst» option?

            There are several hundred people alive today with a better hereditary right to the British throne than your current queen. The fact that none of them reigns is testament to the power of the principle that the sovereign rules not by the grace of Sky Pixie, but rather by the consent of the people.

          • Albert

            It was the least worst option for some of the people. They happened to have power. But that’s not how monarchy is supposed to work.

          • Linus

            That’s the core of the matter as far as you’re concerned, isn’t it? Those two words: supposed to.

            Supposed to is the refrain of the obsessive doctrinaire. It’s not supposed to work like that, you’re not supposed to do it like that, you’re supposed to do what I say…

            Your entire world functions off the back of a series of supposed tos, doesn’t it?

            How unutterably, contemptibly small.

          • Albert

            What a funny comment coming from someone who glorifies the state.

          • Linus

            I glorify nothing. I see the state for what it is: an embodiment of the compromises and agreements that characterise our social settlement. As such it is worthy of respect because it is what enables the disparate groups that make up our society to live together in relative peace and harmony. That is its purpose. It has no other.

            There is no supposed to in my attitude towards the state. It is much simpler than that. I support the state insofar as the state guarantees me the right to live my life unmolested by people like you who want to tell me how to behave and what I can and can’t do. Or what I’m supposed to do. The state allows me to tell you to take your supposed tos and piss off. That’s why you hate it so much. It prevents you from imposing your supposed tos on those who want nothing to do with them.

          • Albert

            Yes that’s right. In the modern state, there are no oughts, not supposed to be, no regulations etc.

          • Linus

            There are plenty of obligations, which we undertake to respect in exchange for the guarantee to live our lives unmolested by others. That’s all the state is and should be.

          • Albert

            Good to hear you’ll be leading the campaign for Frexit.

          • Linus

            That’s an unwarranted assumption. The state I live in is slowly merging with 26 other states to make a new state, whose role will be to ensure that we can all live together and protect ourselves from those who want to do us harm. Like the UK.

          • Albert

            This is the paradox of your position. One of the differences between the British culture and the European is regulation. We assume things shouldn’t be regulated unless they have to be. The European culture appears to be that everything should be regulated.

          • Linus

            Diversity requires a clear set of rules about what can and can’t be tolerated. Whether we’re 27 nations together or 1 alone, regulation is necessary, although there’s a balance to be achieved between personal freedom and public safety.

            Britain will have to find that balance just like the rest of us. Regulation – and lots of it – is where you’re heading just as we all are, only now you won’t be able to blame it all on a bogeyman « superstate ».

            There’ll be no scapegoats in post-Brexit Britain. The rules will be your rules made up by you and you’ll have to bitch at yourselves when you chafe up against them, rather than bitching at Brussels or whoever else you hold to be responsible for all your ills.

            There’s no pot of « freedom from bureaucracy » over the Brexit rainbow. Just the same conundrum the rest of Europe faces about how to reconcile disparate philosophies so that they can live together in peace. The Pixtian solution of a monoculture so uniform that it hardly needed regulating is a thing of the past. If you try to turn back time to that idea of paradise (for you, if nobody else) then you’re in for a very rude awakening.

          • Albert

            As usual I’m only reading paragraph 1. I would say that the European model (I don’t just mean the EU model – I’m talking more culturally than that) is regulate everything. It’s the opposite of what you say you stand for.

          • Linus

            If you’re not going to read my entire post (or at least pretend not to) then I see no point in replying to you.

            You’re a typical Catholic: you acknowledge only that which you wish to acknowledge and claim ignorance of the rest. Such a selective approach to debate is not worthy of further response.

          • Albert

            The reason I don’t read your entire posts is because you are generally ignorant and rude. You mistake derivative titles for your cleverness, and masquerade your own intolerance as liberty.

          • Linus

            If that’s your opinion of me then why respond to anything I write? Why read even the beginning of my posts? If you really thought I was ignorant and rude, you wouldn’t respond to me at all.

            No, your problem is you know that what I say is largely true, but you have no way of answering me that doesn’t expose your belief system as inadequate and bigoted. So you pretend to ignore most of what I say and respond only to the specific parts of my posts where you think your religion has an answer. Whenever it doesn’t – which is most of the time – miraculously you just don’t see those parts of my posts, do you.

            Pixtianity endows its believers with selective blindness of a kind that always plays in its favour. Funny that, isn’t it?

          • Albert

            If that’s your opinion of me then why respond to anything I write? Why read even the beginning of my posts? If you really thought I was ignorant and rude, you wouldn’t respond to me at all.

            That doesn’t follow at all. I respond because you are usually attacking something important to me.

          • Linus

            I see, so rather than defend what’s important to you against my entire attack, you prefer to limit yourself to reading the first paragraph.

            How do you know my second paragraph doesn’t attack something even more important to you? And the third an attack on your holiest of holies?

            The only way you can know is to read them. Which then gives lie to your claim that you never do. You defend your faith with a lie on your lips, thus sinning against your Sky Pixie every bit as much as you think I do. Your Pixtian apology is rooted in hypocrisy and dishonesty.

            See you in the Pixcinerator, o unrepentant Pharisee. Or not, as is more likely. But if you live in fear of the punishment that must inevitably await you if your Sky Pixie exists, that’s enough for me.

          • Albert

            Experience shows that after the first paragraph, you tend to descend into rant. Of course, that may not always happen, but it has happened often enough for me to give up reading your (often) very long posts, after I have read the opening paragraph.

          • Linus

            Then continue in ignorance.

            As I said before, it’s nothing new for you. Acknowledging what it suits you to acknowledge and ignoring the rest is what you’re best at.

            The problem with your approach is that when painted into a corner by irrefutable logic, you just walk over the fresh paint and pretend it isn’t there. Only we can all see that it is. You leave indelible footprints behind you and your shoes are covered in paint. And so you render yourself completely ridiculous and do exactly what I want you to do: provide ample proof of the willful manner in which you ignore or twist fact and make up stories that show just how little reason means to you.

            You’re one of the most effective proselytisers for the secular cause to post here. After one of your “the Pixiebook constitutes hard evidenceand must be the word of Sky Pixie because I say so” posts, even the most doubting secularist will be confirmed in the knowledge that religion is narcissism on steroids.

          • Albert

            I’m really happy to be ignorant of your opinions. If you think that that is a problem, then you have a very inflated view of yourself.

          • Linus

            Please do disabuse yourself of the notion that anything you do can possibly have any kind of effect on me. You’re just a random Internet bigot whose words I can use to highlight the hatefulness of the religion you peddle.

          • Albert

            I never for one moment thought it would have an effect on you. The reality is, you are the person who is abusive, misrepresents other people and who wishes to curtail other people’s freedom. Any reader of this blog can see that.
            You’re just a random Internet bigot whose words I can use to highlight the hatefulness of the irreligion you peddle.

          • Linus

            The lies you are willing to tell in defence of your position bring new meaning to the Pixtian sin of bearing false witness.

            You say that I wish to curtail other people’s freedom, yet my position is that all are free to believe what they will as long as they don’t try to impose their beliefs on others.

            In my world Pixtians are free to preach their nonsense up until the point at which that nonsense starts to impinge on the freedoms of others. In your world, Pixtians get to make the rules and everyone else has to live by them whether they believe in them or not.

            Thankfully we live in my world, not yours. And how you hate that! And how you hate me for pointing it out. Your loathing of anyone who contradicts you is palpable. You are the archetypal Pixtian revealed here for all to see: a belligerent narcissist for whom religion merely serves as a vehicle for self-aggrandisement.

          • Albert

            I’m not telling lies. You wish to be able to decide how other behave. No doubt you will use the language of law and so forth, but how else do secularist coerce people?

          • Linus

            The limits of my wish to control other people’s behaviour are drawn at the point at which that behaviour impinges on my ability to live my life as I see fit. If you keep out of my face, you can do what you like.

            In general not much coercion is needed because common sense tells us not to interfere in other people’s lives if what they do does no harm to anyone else. But when coercion is needed, the law provides it.

            How? Well, the law is a set of agreements we may or may not believe in, at least not in their entirety, but by which we agree to live in order that disparate groups may coexist peacefully. It draws its legitimacy from its status as a consensus. We contribute a percentage of our incomes to an organisation created by the law known as the state, and the state provides a judiciary and police to enforce the law.

            As individuals who experience a desire for personal sovereignty, we have determined that being deprived of sovereignty is undesirable, therefore our laws are based around the principle that justice requires each individual to be given free exercise of his right to live as he chooses. One man therefore must not impose his own beliefs on another because to do so would be to restrain the other man’s personal sovereignty. This is a basic principle of our law and this is what the state enforces. Much to the chagrin of Pixtians.

            Pixtians hate the law because it prevents them from imposing their beliefs on others. Living by their own rules isn’t enough for them: they want the power to make all of us live by them. But the law doesn’t give them this power. So they bitch and moan and carp on and on about what a terrible ‘injustice’ it is to expect them not to interfere in other people’s lives, or in other words, how horrible it is not be king of the universe.

            Poor Pixtians. A powerless autocrat can’t be a fun thing to be.

          • Albert

            The limits of my wish to control other people’s behaviour are drawn at the point at which that behaviour impinges on my ability to live my life as I see fit. If you keep out of my face, you can do what you like.

            Thank you. Where’s the bit where I’m in your face?

          • Linus

            ‘Gays are objectively disordered.’
            ‘Gays must live all their lives in abject celibacy.’
            ‘Gay marriages are invalid and evil and sinful and I HATE them.’

            So far, so far in my face, don’t you think?

          • Albert

            That’s not how I would express myself, but insofar as you make a material point, I would say, yes, exactly. You want to deny my freedom to say what I think – even though what I think about this subject is perfectly reasonable, even if unfashionable.

          • Linus

            Read only part of my argument and your understanding of it will be incorrect.

            Which doesn’t bother me because who cares what you understand or don’t? You’re an irrelevant member of an irrelevant minority whose opinion counts for nothing, so whatever erroneous ideas you come away with make no difference to how the world works.

            Whatever you don’t read (or pretend not to) others will. As my words are meant for them rather than you, it makes no difference to me if you acknowledge them or not.

          • Albert

            Read only part of my argument and your understanding of it will be incorrect.

            My understanding of your argument may well be incorrect. I can live with that.

          • Anton

            You would do well to read Daniel Hannan’s book How We Invented Freedom. The English uniquely have always understood that the people are sovereign.

          • Albert

            Thank you for telling me what I would do well to do.

            The English uniquely have always understood that the people are sovereign.

            You would do well to think a little harder. The English uniquely have always understood that the people are sovereign. “Uniquely”, “always”? No exceptions?

          • Anton

            Read the book.

          • Albert

            Actually, I think I’ll decide what I read.

          • Simon Platt

            I haven’t read that book, so I don’t know whether it’s you or Hannan talking rot with that “uniquely”.

          • Anton

            In this exchange you are entirely right. You would do well to read Daniel Hannan’s book How We Invented Freedom. The English uniquely have always understood that the people are sovereign.

          • Linus

            More English chauvinism, I see. Yawn! But then I suppose the fact that nobody else ever praises you means you have to praise yourselves.

            The principle of popular acclamation was part of just about every European coronation or inauguration ceremony. The early Frankish kings were acclaimed, which is probably how the practice arrived in England given the Anglo-Saxon propensity to ape Frankish customs slavishly.

            Other cultures also incorporated ideas of popular support into their concept of sovereignty. The Chinese Mandate of Heaven, for example, evolved from the need to validate the revolts that led to the passage of power from one dynasty to another.

            You’re not as unique as you think except in one respect: the insular geographical situation of your country protected you from significant external assault for most of your history, meaning your institutions were hardly ever subject to the absolutist pressures occasioned by the threat of invasion and annexation. Add to that a royal power focused on fighting wars in France that saw England as nothing more than a source of money to be spent elsewhere, and you had the perfect conditions for a power shift away from he who taxed, ie. the king, to those who paid taxes, ie. the nobility and burgesses.

            That’s the origin of your parliamentary democracy: the fact that your rulers wanted to be French rather than English. And who can blame them?

        • “He looks holed beneath the waterline as far as the Church is concerned, because there are far too many people who think he has gone beyond his authority (I’m not sure I agree).”

          Well, no one is entirely sure at the moment whether he has gone beyond Papal authority because he refuses to clarify his teachings. Some say he has contradicted previous Popes and settled teachings and others claim his teachings are consistent with the faith he is charged with protecting and confirming.

          Here’s what some claim is his latest response to the Dubia:

          Fr. Vicente Durán Casas stands to ask another question: “Holy Father, again thank you for your visit. I teach philosophy and I would like to know, and I speak for my teaching colleagues in theology too, what do you expect from philosophical and theological reflection in a country such as ours and in the Church generally?”

          To start, I’d say let’s not have laboratory reflection. We’ve seen what damage occurred when the great and brilliant Thomist scholastics deteriorated, falling down, down, down to a manualistic scholasticism without life, mere ideas that transformed into a casuistic pastoral approach. At least, in our day we were formed that way… I’d say it was quite ridiculous how, to explain metaphysical continuity, the philosopher Losada spoke of puncta inflata… To demonstrate some ideas, things got ridiculous. He was a good philosopher, but decadent, he didn’t become famous…

          So, philosophy not in a laboratory, but in life, in dialogue with reality. In dialogue with reality, philosophers will find the three transcendentals that constitute unity, but they will have a real name. Recall the words of our great writer Dostoyevsky. Like him we must reflect on which beauty will save us, on goodness, on truth. Benedict XVI spoke of truth as an encounter, that is to say no longer a classification, but a road. Always in dialogue with reality, for you cannot do philosophy with a logarithmic table. Besides, nobody uses them anymore.

          The same is true for theology, but this does not mean to corrupt theology, depriving it of its purity. Quite the opposite. The theology of Jesus was the most real thing of all; it began with reality and rose up to the Father. It began with a seed, a parable, a fact… and explained them. Jesus wanted to make a deep theology and the great reality is the Lord. I like to repeat that to be a good theologian, together with study you have to be dedicated, awake and seize hold of reality; and you need to reflect on all of this on your knees.

          A man who does not pray, a woman who does not pray, cannot be a theologian. They might be a living form of Denzinger, they might know every possible existing doctrine, but they’ll not be doing theology. They’ll be a compendium or a manual containing everything. But today it is a matter of how you express God, how you tell who God is, how you show the Spirit, the wounds of Christ, the mystery of Christ, starting with the Letter to the Philippians 2:7… How you explain these mysteries and keep explaining them, and how you are teaching the encounter that is grace. As when you read Paul in the Letter to the Romans where there’s the entire mystery of grace and you want to explain it.

          I’ll use this question to say something else that I believe should be said out of justice, and also out of charity. In fact I hear many comments – they are respectable for they come from children of God, but wrong – concerning the post-synod apostolic exhortation. To understand Amoris Laetitia you need to read it from the start to the end. Beginning with the first chapter, and to continue to the second and then on … and reflect. And read what was said in the Synod.

          A second thing: some maintain that there is no Catholic morality underlying Amoris Laetitia, or at least, no sure morality. I want to repeat clearly that the morality of Amoris Laetitia is Thomist, the morality of the great Thomas. You can speak of it with a great theologian, one of the best today and one of the most mature, Cardinal Schönborn.

          I want to say this so that you can help those who believe that morality is purely casuistic. Help them understand that the great Thomas possesses the greatest richness, which is still able to inspire us today. But on your knees, always on your knees…

          https://laciviltacattolica.com/september-2017-vol-1-no-8/grace-is-not-an-ideology-a-private-conversation-with-some-colombian-jesuits/

          Clear?!

          After assertions, platitudes and straw men, he passes the buck to Cardinal Schönborn. He had this to say about the Dubia:

          “That cardinals, who should be the closest collaborators of the pope, try to force him and put pressure on him to give a public response to their publicised letter is absolutely inconvenient behaviour.

          “I fear those who have rapid, clear answers in politics and economy and also in religion. Rigorists and laxists have clear and rapid answers, but they fail to look at life. The rigorist avoids the effort of discernment, of looking closely at reality. The laxist lets everything possible go, and there is no discernment. They are the same but opposite.

          “Most often the topic is reduced to one question – ‘May they [remarried divorcees who did not receive an annulment] receive Communion? Yes or no!’ Pope Francis has said, ‘This is a trap!’ By narrowing this to one question the main purpose of Amoris Laetitia is forgotten: Look closely and discern.”

          He also offered that the “process of reception is a long process” and needs “negotiation and discussion.”

          http://catholicherald.co.uk/news/2017/07/14/cardinal-schonborn-accuses-dubia-cardinals-of-trying-to-force-public-response-from-pope-francis/

          So where is the discussion and clarification?

          • Albert

            That is hilarious. Firstly, we get this:

            We’ve seen what damage occurred when the great and brilliant Thomist scholastics deteriorated, falling down, down, down to a manualistic scholasticism without life, mere ideas that transformed into a casuistic pastoral approach.

            Then we get this:

            I want to repeat clearly that the morality of Amoris Laetitia is Thomist, the morality of the great Thomas. You can speak of it with a great theologian, one of the best today and one of the most mature, Cardinal Schönborn.

            Followed by this:

            I fear those who have rapid, clear answers in politics and economy and also in religion.

            Are we to assume that Amoris Laetitia is Thomism, but not brilliant Thomism?! It is the morality of Thomas, only without clear answers? What would all that even mean?
            Obviously, theology has to go beyond scholastic answers, but it goes beyond that point, it cannot really avoid that level of theological clarity. At least that’s how it seems to me.

          • You must learn to discern, Albert.

        • Anton

          If you want to play the legitimate heir game, then you can arguably say that England had no legitimate king after the Battle of Hastings, since Edgar Aetheling should have acceded; and no subsequent monarch was legitimate either. Or when Edward V vanished while in the care of Richard II’s men and Richard gave no explanation and became king; or when Henry VII usurped Richard; and so on. The only consistent position is that power politics stinks – then and now – and that divine right is a pious fiction. Apply that understanding impartially to Catholic and protestant, please!

          • Albert

            I think you make a good point. In the end, legitimacy has just been confused with having power. But if having power is the only basis of legitimacy, then there is no obvious moral legitimacy for putting down a rising. In the end, the North saw that Elizabeth wasn’t really the Queen by the standards of legitimacy, and they saw her imposing a foreign faith on them. Unsurprisingly, they rose. The unprecedented violence Bloody Bess imposed on them cannot be justified on the grounds that it was a rebellion. Their “rebellion” was not more lacking in moral legitimacy than she was.

      • B flat

        Your first sentence explains the distinction but I see no practical difference. Subscription to the Act was required, and if refused, was adjudicated as treason, and punished according to Law. There was no standing for anyone in silence. Why else did the monks of the London Charterhouse die in the Tower?

        Your last paragraph is a give-away. The law generally denies any transgressor, the benefit of his transgression. Thus, a thief cannot be allowed to keep what he has stolen, or a murderer to his victim’s estate. This filial correction is only justified by its appeal to the principle of consistency and internal agreement of the Church’s teaching as recorded from the beginning. That means the whole teaching, which is part of its claim to being Catholic.

        • chiaramonti

          The monks of the Charterhouse who starved to death (incidentally, not in the Tower) were not executed (save for one survivor who just didn’t die in prison) for the simple reason that the earlier executions of their brethren had such a damaging effect on the King’s reputation in Europe that Cromwell’s advice not to try them was accepted and they were simply left to die. Those who were tried earlier, such as the Prior, John Houghton, openly stated that the King could not be supreme head of the Church and relied on the defence that they weren’t speaking “maliciously” but merely speaking what had been accepted for more than a thousand years by the King’s father and all his predecessors . Their plea was echoed by Thomas More after he was convicted. “For every bishop of yours I have above one thousand …who think as I think on this matter.” The court that tried Houghton and four others (almost to a man the same judges who tried More) ruled that the word ‘maliciously’ added nothing of substance to the statute and was irrelevant to the issue of guilt.

          There was, in law, a very real difference between silence and denying the King’s title. Only if the latter could be proved was it lawful for the awful sentence for treason to be imposed. Henry, like others after him, was careful to ensure that everything he did was in accordance with the law.

      • Anton

        Ann Boleyn was indeed dead when Henry married Jane Seymour eleven days later, but only because he abused his position as king to have Ann murdered by legal manipulation of the law.

  • Back in 1930, the Lambeth Conference made several resolutions, one of which, Resolution 11, allowed the innocent parties of divorce who had remarried to approach Holy Communion, while at the same time upholding the principle of the indissolubility of marriage. The same resolution also forbids the remarriage of divorced people in Church. Indeed, reading those resolutions from so long ago, most of them strike me as admirable, and they serve as a sad reminder of the way things have changed since then, not only in the Anglican Communion, but in the Catholic Church too, and also in the wider world.

    The pressure to marry divorced persons (with their spouse still living) in Church (which any Catholic will hold to be impossible), rejected at Lambeth in 1930, did not go away. Various compromises were made along the way, but today a couple who wish to marry in and Anglican church “second time around” will usually not find it hard to do so. When doctrine crumbles, practice usually catches up in a few decades. Lambeth 1930 is a deeply conservative document, but it contains within itself the seeds of its own destruction.

    http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/commentandblogs/2017/05/19/the-questions-that-show-why-the-maltese-guidelines-on-amoris-laetitia-are-so-flawed/

    (This was also the Conference that approved artificial contraception “in those cases where there is such a clearly felt moral obligation to limit or avoid parenthood, and where there is a morally sound reason for avoiding complete abstinence, the Conference agrees that other methods may be used, provided that this is done in the light of the same Christian principles.” Whatever happened to “morally sound reasons”?)

    • Anton

      Yeah yeah, Jack ranting against marital contraception again. Canterbury had the sense to look more closely at the Bible when contraception had reached the point that it was no longer the unreliable and physically obnoxious recourse of whores, and was being used by respectable married Christian couples. Canterbury recognised that they were doing nothing wrong, for there is no legislation in the written Law of Moses against it. Rome, run by a succession of theoretically celibate elderly megalomaniacs, stuck with tradition rather than the word of God.

      Do you argue against guns, too, because as with contraceptives people can misuse them?

      • The use of guns is not intrinsically wrong; contraception is.

        We’ve already covered the arguments underpinning the Catholic teaching concerning artificial contraception. You should research the Lambeth Conference and the reaction of more conservative, bible believing, Christians to the resolution permitting its use in limited circumstances – where there was (an undefined) “morally sound reason”. Hardly anything to do with nice, middle-class Christian couples or the “physically obnoxious recourse of whores”. Besides, why would its use be “physically obnoxious”, let alone morally wrong, for one group and not another? The liberal argument for condom use by prostitutes is based on avoiding disease and pregnancy. As you know, subsequent Lambeth Conferences then went on to make similar resolutions concerning abortion and the Anglican churches will soon approve homosexual unions.

  • The Duke of Umberland, England

    That man in the photograph; take a good look at him. He is the False Prophet predicted in the Book of Revelations.

    Orthodox Roman Catholic scholars have become suspicious – and rightly so.

    • Nah … he hasn’t got the guile or charisma. Besides, where are his horns like a lamb and his speech like a dragon?

      • The Duke of Umberland, England

        I assume you know the voice of a dragon and are therefore competent to make that judgement.

        • The Duke of Umberland, England

          Or should I say, serpent?

        • No more nor less than yourself. Jack’s not in the habit of going about accusing people of being the False Prophet.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            The accusation stands.

          • So who is the Antichrist waiting in the wings? Do tell.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Even if the Antichrist appears, what greater evil can he do than what you have done and do daily?

            Martin Luther (1483 – 1546)

          • Go on. Who is he?

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            ‘You are the ultimate scourges of the world, the Antichrist together with your sophists and bishops.’

            Martin Luther (1483-1546)

          • Come on. Cough it up.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            ‘Your words are so foolishly and ignorantly composed that I cannot believe you understand them.’

            Luther (1483-1546)

          • Name him. You know you want to.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            ‘I am tired of the pestilent voice of your sirens.’

            Luther (1483-1546)

      • He claims to be the vicar of Christ, the Lamb and he speaks like that old dragon: “Did God really say…..?”

  • not a machine

    mmm yes this is quite difficult , your grace is certainly using his touch stone in test for this question.
    It simplifies for me into what is best and what is fallen and that other individual thing called repentance.
    Jesus talked with Samarian woman at the well , unfortunately we do not have the same conversation with a man who has strayed ,so we associate the story with not only a Samarian but a woman “and she returned to her village telling others to come and meet this man who had told her life” , the fallen nature has long record in history ,the spirit to make two one flesh is the same spirit with consequences in other matters of what we have to deal with in the fallen nature , in as much as we can comprehend it .
    Pope Francis in his year of mercy , has been looking (and asking us to look at forgiveness) and this in itself poses a very difficult question at where gods mercy may reside and what process may be involved ,he may the pope that makes sandwiches ,but his simple questions , are not garnished with elaborate explanation of the church cannon , hence some may be looking in one rule book and not considering , why Jesus didn’t just leave some sort of weighty systems and health and safety manual ,but then this thought in itself perhaps considers if our minds are meant to receive god .
    I don’t think Pope Francis is doing anything heretical and your grace is kind enough to point out church matters can get into very obscure thought , not easy to translate to any laity , even though that is preferable to not communicating deliberations at all .
    if your grace thinks the RC church is somewhat delayed in coming round to protestant reformation and sees this question of heresy as the beginning of some larger common area , I might consider that true , however whilst a few bishops and cardinals have gone through the veils of understanding , his holiness (as he did when Bishop) ponders perhaps ,the laity have to meet God and that is what matters , Gods mercy , Gods forgiveness and that is communed personally I think .

  • So the Pope is condoning divorce, trivialising the status of marriage and supporting our loose living society. It says in the marriage vows ” till death us do part”. It’s the slippery slope, next stop homosexual ‘marriage’. I would have thought the Catholic Church would have been the rock we so desperately need in western society since the Anglicans are in such a mess.

    • petej

      Every denomination is struggling to deal with current secular values around relationships. The RCC is in one of the strongest positions to deal with it because it stil teaches against divorce and remarriage. The CofE capitulated to that one a generation ago so that even blogs like this one, which claim to be conservative and orthodox, now believe it is ok.

      • Martin

        Pete

        The only one’s struggling are those infected with liberalism

    • Dominic Stockford

      I wouldn’t have thought…

      The RCC has its ‘annulments’, many of which are pure legalistic fiction designed to allow crowned heads of Europe to remarry without being chucked out of the RCC. They then spilled over to ordinary people, who get one if they can tell a believable lie to the assessor.

      • If this is so, then those responsible will be answerable to God and their marriage will have been falsely judged as invalid. The annulment process, like every human system, is open to abuse and misuse. However, Jack would be circumspect about judging the souls of others in this generalised, haughty and dismissive way. How do you know whether an account given to a tribunal is a lie or the truth? Didn’t Jesus have something to say about this?

        • The Duke of Umberland, England

          There shouldn’t be an annulment process. You support the conversion of Roman Catholic children into bastards.

          • Except, as explained below, illegitimacy is a civil construct and not a canonical one.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Wasn’t illegitimacy a bar to becoming a priest in Rome’s sect?

          • Don’t worry Martin, it was Canon Law in 1917, removed in 1983. Mind you, insanity would debar you but a bishop can dispense with irregularities.

            Do you know the reason for this? Here’s the link to Canon Law made easy:

            http://canonlawmadeeasy.com/2016/07/21/illegitimate-man-barred-priesthood/

          • Martin

            HJ

            So, in other words, illegitimacy is a canon matter.

          • Read the document. Illegitimacy is not a Canonical matter but a civil matter that had ramifications for the Church.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Clearly if it was once a matter for the canons it is a canonical matter.

          • You are rather challenged in the reasoning department, Martin.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You have not shown how.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Once again you jump to criticise me as your first response. The facts as I know them, from inside, clearly hurt.

          I was directly involved in the process as an RC priest, and was horrified by what went on.

          • Yeah, yeah. Unusual for a junior parish priest in those days to be on an annulment tribunal. Nevertheless, Jack believes you and trusts your objective, non-biased judgement.

        • The Duke of Umberland, England

          Pray the exorcism prayer, 1890, (do you see the prophecy in one of the verses below?)

          This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.

          These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions (Lam 3:15).

          In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be scattered.

          • You have an interest in Pope Leo XIII and his prophetic vision?

  • Paolo Pagliaro

    “What would Jesus say?” What he actually said: “What God has joined together, let no one separate”.

    • Martin

      Paolo

      Who actually does the separation, the judge who issues the decree or the one who left the marital home, either to make a union with another or simply to abandon?

      • Paolo Pagliaro

        Why are you asking that? Whoever does that is disobeying Christ’s command.

        • Martin

          Paolo

          If it is the one who departed then the judge is recognising the fact and the wronged party is at liberty to remarry.

          • Not_what_Jesus_commanded.

          • Martin

            HJ

            As has been pointed out elsewhere, it was not addressed.

          • Oh, Jack is pretty sure Jesus meant what He said. An argument from silence carries no weight.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Jack also believes Peter is the rock on which the Church is founded. So much for Jack’s belief!

          • Changing the subject, Martin? Why is that?

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, the subject is still Jacks opinion.

          • It’s protestants who have “opinions” about the Gospel ….. and so, so many too.

          • Martin

            HJ

            We’re still talking about your opinion, the opinions of Protestants have no standing.

          • Jack accepts the Faith as passed on from Christ to His Apostles and protected and defended by the Church, expressed in Scripture and preserved and developed in Tradition.
            And you?

          • Martin

            HJ

            No you don’t. You believe the heresy you have been taught by your sect.

          • Lol …..
            Go pester Linus. One notes you’re having great success there with your rather unique evangelising methods.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Must evangelise both those groups.

          • Translation: Must impose my opinions on homosexuals, atheists and Catholics regardless of the impact of my words.

          • Anton

            Imposing one’s opinion is what the papacy did for a thousand years. Expressing one’s opinion is what Martin is doing.

          • With respect, I think it’s more accurate to say Jack carries around in his mind a Platonic ideal of the One True Church (TM), and fondly imagines that the Church of Rome is the same thing as it. Cognitive dissonance allows him to identify problems among Protestants, and define them as “obvious proofs that Protestants are wrong/crazy/evil”…. but to also view, in broad daylight, the same and worse in the Church of Rome, and to say “but it doesn’t matter, because (insert some abstract, other-worldly theory here)”.

            In reality, the Church of Rome has a history full of schism, error and sin, as yet unrepented of. But that doesn’t matter, because Jack doesn’t see any of that: he sees past the earthly form, to see the heavenly reality, and he fondly imagines that they are the same thing. (No such charitable re-intepretation is to be extended to any Protestants – they are heretics and schismatics). But, the church that Jack sees himself belonging to is a figment of his imagination. It does not exist on earth, space or time; but only in his mind. Crusades, bloodshed, blasphemy, child abuse, false doctrine, heretical popes – these are all real and serious facts, but in Jack’s mind, they don’t count (only Protestant sins count). The perfection of the ideal gobbles them all up and renders them null and void, in the case of the One True Church.

            “By their fruits you shall know them” – ??? “Judge righteous judgment” – ??? “Beware of hypocrisy” – ????

          • With respect ……….. oh, never mind.

            Jack has neither the inclination or the energy to trawl through this nonsense.

            “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.”

          • And… that’s exactly what I was saying. Protestants who point out the errors and contradictions of Rome can be swiftly and readily dismissed as pigs and dogs, because Protestantism is evil. And therefore nothing more needs saying.

            But the actual errors and contradictions of Rome… these can just be wished away, because of convenient theories and fond imaginations about the “one-true-church, always-guarded-from-corruption-by-God’s-infallible-Spirit” which exists off somewhere in the clouds.

          • But you haven’t pointed out any serious doctrinal errors or contradictions, apart from asserting they exist and then pointing to the historical record of the human actions of the Church.

          • Paolo Pagliaro

            If marriage is not to be rescinded, even if one is abandoned the sacrament remains intact and the abandoned one has therefore no right to remarry.

            Jesus didn’t say that, if one separates what God joined, then the marriage is over (but the fault is only with the separator): he’s saying that the bond cannot be broken and if one does that, he remains in his sin. The reason is that sacramental marriage is rooted in the relation between Christ and His Church, which is not rescinded when Christians sin; but if Christians do not atone, then the sin remains and the bond becomes one of condemnation.

          • Martin

            As has been pointed out, Jesus was speaking to a specific matter. In any case, marriage isn’t a sacrament.

          • Jesus raised the status of marriage from that of a Judaic legal contract, that a man could end, to that of a permanent and indissoluble relationship sealed by His Father.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, He restored what the Bible said.

          • And yet you approve of divorce and “remarriage”. Odd.

          • Martin

            HJ

            I don’t approve of divorce, I just define it diferently.

          • Lol …..

  • petej

    The trouble with arguing against Jesus teaching on divorce by saying “it’s not good for man to be alone” is that you can use exactly the same argument to justify gay relationships. If you accept that Christianity should teach conservative or traditional social values then you must also accept that a great many people will have to live alone.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      It is not good for man to be alone seemed quite reasonable in the civil sphere, when Tony Blair brought in civil partnerships in 2007. However, looking at it with a strictly mathematical mind, calling same sex partnerships marriages could be compared to widening the concept of number from integers to rational numbers to complex numbers (or even to quaternions, if one wants to go Tomb Raiding with Lara Croft.) However, each time one does so, one loses something: for example, from integers to rationals removes the possibilty of simple ordering, saying “number n is the next one after number m.”

      Doing so in the spiritual sphere, indeed, can only be done by “abrogating” the concept of sex in its most fundamental sense of “male and female”.

      Back to the civil sphere, halfway down this article http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3661413/DOMINIC-LAWSON-architects-Project-Fear-pay-shameful-lies.html Nigel Lawson argued that David Cameron’s percipitate introduction of same-sex marriage gave a temporary boost to UKIP which forced Cameron’s hand in calling the Referendum, and without it there would have been no Brexit. However, as the song goes:

      It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it
      That’s what gets results.

      A particularly politically astute and gay-friendly academic whom I contacted said that if he had allowed it to be introduced as a private member’s bill and allowed it to be properly talked through, that would have achieved his desired result without the fallout.

      However, it seems to have been Cameron’s preoccupation: just today I saw a Telegraph news item to the effect that Donald Trump is more concerned with fighting the culture war that governing the country. True or not, that does seem to apply to Cameron here. It seems to have been the shibboleth by which Cameron selected (or not) members of his cabinet, and many good and more competent people may have been sidelined. Mrs May seems to have done little to rectify the situation.

      • petej

        If you are going to oppose irrational numbers then you have to impose that restriction on any complex numbers you have else the restriction is meaningless.

        What is called the conservative or traditional view of marriage necessarily requires that a great many people must live alone.

        Those who apply the restrictions only against one subtype betrays that they never really believed in them in the first place

        • Martin

          Pete

          It isn’t the “conservative or traditional view of marriage” but the definitional view of marriage. Marriage other than between male and female is a nonsense.

          • Linus

            Marriage is a legal reality. You may not like it, but that doesn’t change the reality of its legal status. Your opinion is not “definitional”, by which I take it you mean definitive. It’s just one man’s opinion.

            The law tells us what marriage is. End of story.

          • Chefofsinners

            This is a discussion about church doctrine. The law is irrelevant. End of factual statement.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Homosexual ‘marriage’ is indeed a legal fiction.

          • Linus

            Equal marriage is a legal reality.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Of course, based upon a legal fiction.

          • Linus

            No, based on a legal reality. Marriage is a civil contract between two people. The legal fiction was that it could only be contracted between a man and a woman. But two people of the same sex are just as capable as a man and a woman of drawing up an agreement to regulate their common life.

            Equal marriage ends the legal fiction that marriage is some kind of mystical union instituted by Sky Pixie. It establishes marriage as a civil contract open to all.

            That’s the legal reality. The legal fiction has been ended.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            Rear entry does not a marriage make.

          • Linus

            Front entry does not a marriage make either. Two signatures in a marriage register, duly witnessed, are what give reality to a marriage. Any other considerations have nothing to do with the law.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            It has done, will continue to do so and produce children.

          • Linus

            You’re conflating marriage and reproduction. The first is a legal contract. The second is a physical process. You can have one without the other, just as you can have both together. A marriage without children is no less of a marriage than one with children, just as children born to unmarried parents are no less children than those born to parents who are married.

          • The Duke of Umberland, England

            For the homosexual the first is a legal fiction (applied by law). Heterosexual marriage is for procreation; homosexual marriage is self-annahilating.

          • Linus

            Heterosexual marriage was for the regulation of property rights and the subjugation of women. Copulation is for procreation. No couple can reproduce if they don’t copulate (with the exception of IVF), but neither copulation nor procreation require marriage.

            Same-sex marriage is in no way self-annihilating. It has the same chance of ending in divorce as opposite-sex marriage.

          • Chris Bell

            oh for goodness sake linus…. any legal definition is usurped by the simple fact that the organ of procreation is not the organ of excretion. If you don’t know this now you most certainly will in a later life. But only if that organ of procreation is fitted to its complement.

          • Linus

            Oh for goodness sake Chris Bell … stop conflating procreation and marriage. They are two distinctly different things. You don’t need to be married to procreate and you don’t need to procreate to be married.

          • Martin

            Linus

            No, marriage isn’t a civil contract. It is the joining of a man and a woman. Clearly two men or two women cannot be so joined.

            And don’t forget, you know God exists, however much you mock Him, and one day you will stand before Him.

          • Linus

            Yes, marriage is a civil contract. Anything else is merely a figment of that sick imagination of yours.

            And no, Sky Pixie does not exist. Or rather he only exists in your fevered imagination, and even then is really only a made-up looking glass in which you imagine you see your own reflection, perfected.

            Magic mirror on the wall, who’s the loopiest one of all? It wouldn’t be Martin, would it?

          • Martin

            Linus

            You can deny that God exist all you like, but we both know you know He does. As for marriage, it’s not a civil contract since it existed long before such concepts.

          • Linus

            You can claim Sky Pixie exists all you like, but we both know he doesn’t. Or at least I’m convinced of that fact based on the absence of all evidence to the contrary, and you think you are Sky Pixie, so your opinions can be dismissed as those of a madman.

            As for marriage, it has always been a social contract. Not necessarily formed by the signing of documents, which is a relatively recent innovation, but undertaken with a variety of ceremonies and formalities depending on the culture involved. Be it sealed with an oath, or a wax impression, or a signature or even the exchange of rings, it’s still a contract. And that’s all it is.

          • Martin

            Linus

            I have no information about sky pixies, I think they may be a result of your injudicious imbibing of the ‘pleasures’ of life. Such is the deterioration of your mental faculties.

            However we both know that God exists and that marriage existed long before civil contracts, indeed you seem to have admitted that.

          • Martin

            Linus

            What’s equal about it?

          • Martin

            Linus

            The law doesn’t have that authority. And God’s opinion kinda matters.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          It seems you have not understood the point of my argument. Leopold Kronecker (1823–1981) is quoted as saying

          Die ganzen Zahlen hat der liebe Gott gemacht, alles andere ist Menschenwerk
          (God made the integers, all else is the work of man.)

          Does anyone here think that gayfolks or divorcees should, in civil society, be required to live alone?

          My gay-friendly academic contact used to wonder why, if the CofE did not bless same-sex relationships, so many of them stayed in. The simple answer seems to me to be that it offered a “safe space” for them in a hostile outside world. Indeed, as Diarmaid MacCulloch said in his series on Sex and the Church, it was C of E bishops in the Lords who provided much of the weight in arguing for the decriminalization of homosexual behaviour following the Wolfenden report.

          However, we are living “under the sun”

          qua giù dove l’affetto nostro langue,

          and to try to force through a doctrine that “under heaven” same-sex unions are equivalent to male-female ones is asking for trouble. I will leave the theology to people wiser than myself, but Cameron’s behaviour is an example of what may happen when someone makes the issue their priority (with an eye across the Pond, for them it Trumps other considerations) and is prepared to undermine all else for its sake.

          Enough for now, but if you continue on this tack, I may explain, at greater length, my hypothesis as to why homosexuality survives in evolution, something which mystified Darwin. Put simply for now, males who didn’t mind exercising dominance over younger males through “Greek sex” (as I have heard it called) may have, in traditional macho societies, greater success with females than those who were homo-averse in regard to their own behaviour.

          • petej

            I understood your point. I’m saying that ethical arguments governing relationships must be applied equally to gay people and straight people. What is happening in most churches these days is that sexual ethics only apply to gay people. You don’t want to expand marriage to include gay people, but it has been already expanded beyond gay people to include divorcees.

            Yes. The RCC teaches that all divorcees and all gay people must remain single and celibate (that’s kind of the whole point of this news story), most other denominations teach that divorcees may remarry, but gay people must remain single and celibate. Most denominations seek to impose this in secular society as well as amongst their own adherents as can be seen most obviously currently in Australia.

            Evolution can only occur if diversity occurs within a species. If survival of the fittest takes place then the species will over a very long period “choose” the best variant within the diverse range. You cannot have evolution without diversity because the species would never change. I’m pretty sure Darwin understood this fine.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            I see we have some differences of perspective.

            Regarding what is or is not a sin, C.S.Lewis in Surpised by Joy refused to come down heavily on the “Greek sex” that went on at Malvern College. One reason is that he was not tempted by it, and refused to criticize another man’s experience from the sidelines.

            But the main reason was that the college was, as its brochure boasted, an “excellent preparation for public life”: in other words a training ground in jockeying for position, with all the attendant cheating, lying, betrayal etc. These were, in his view, much more serious than the sexual encounters: moreover, those were the only occasions when barriers between boys came down in that dog-eat-dog world, and genuine affection might arise.

            But I have not been talking about sin. Divorce is a disastrous breakdown of marriage, but including same-sex unions under the umbrella of marriage rather than giving them a category of their own is about as massive a re-definition as one can get. Your linking together of the issues of divorce and same-sex unions comes across as tendentious.

            I don’t think you really know your Darwin, either his theory or the man himself. Regarding evolution and diversity, strictly within the two grounds of ethnicity and faith, we have been learning that “some diversities are more equal than others.”

          • petej

            I link them because most churches justify rejecting gay people or same sex marriage based on Jesus teaching on divorce.

            I think they are also linked because most Christians who label themselves conservative or orthodox are happy to go along with it when it is hurting someone else, but do not apply the same rigour to their own relationships.

            If you are going to follow orthodox Christianity it necessarily means that most divorcees will have to live out their days alone.

  • Martin

    If the pope had accepted correction ~500 years ago Rome might not be in the mess it is in today.

  • Dominic Stockford

    When I look at that picture all that comes to my mind is “Hard Up For Friends” – and I’m not surprised.

    • Martin

      Billy no mates.

  • “The 62 have consulted the teaching of the Catholic Faith over 2,000
    years, expressed & upheld by popes, saints & countless faithful”

    So, apparently knowing the truth isn’t a simple matter of believing what you’re told by the hierarchy, but involves a complex process of review and weighing their pronouncements, comparing them with each other over time.

    There goes the Internet Roman Catholic Apologist’s argument that with Catholicism you just have to believe “The Church”. Which bits of the church? Which factions? Today’s Pope and supporting cardinals, yesterday’s or tomorrow’s? Apparently, true doctrine is not simple enough for Popes and Cardinals to get right (or alternatively, they can be too morally perverse to want to get it right). The argument that the Roman Church is a glorious unity, such that it’s much better to be guided by her than simply by God’s word in the Bible, falls apart again. It seems that if you decide to follow “the Church” because “the Bible isn’t clear enough and you’ll be left in chaos”, you then have the third-level problem. You need special guidance to interpret the Church, and which bits of it trump the others and when.

    • Ultimately Catholics rely on the Magisterium to clarify the Gospel and God’s will. It’s in the nature of things that there will be disagreements and debates, especially when doctrines develop. The Church is composed of different individuals with diverse strengths and weaknesses. She is not the Borg collective. That’s exactly why there is a Magisterium – to finally settle and resolve issues when it becomes necessary. The Council of Jerusalem shows this process in action. If anything, disagreements and their resolution demonstrate the health of the Church.

  • prompteetsincere

    ‘Amoris Laetitia’ = the Papal Pilling Report.