Richard III burial2a
Church of England

Horrible Histories meets Monty Python – the reinterment of King Richard III

 

According to Leicester Cathedral, the cost of designing a space to accommodate the tomb of King Richard III has been £1.54million. The cost of the reinterment events, interpretation and learning, liturgy and the gardens is £500,000. The central costs, contingency and the preparatory works are covered by a £500,000 grant from the Diocese.

So quite why it looks like a Public Health Funeral with austerity obsequies is something of a mystery. We are burying the last Plantagenet king; the last monarch to die leading his troops into battle. Where is the majesty? Where is the deference? Where is the dignity, nobility and sublimity as befits the burial of a king of England?

Richard III burial

Is this Horrible Histories? A scene from Monty Python? A jousting rehearsal staged on Bosworth Field by the Lewisham Theatre Guild? It is as if we have mistaken the solemn funeral mass for a piece of theatre, and confounded dignity and honour with monkish robes, plastic crowns and postmodern emblems of spirituality. King Richard III may have been a war-mongering, crook-backed, villainous child-killer, but his mortal remains deserve better than this soulless spectacle. What is it to be dug up from beneath the tarmac of a municipal car park and then dumped back above the tarmac, suspended by a couple of sawhorses, to be gawped at by a bunch of archaeologists and academics ?

What ceremony else?

There is, of course, much more to come. But the remains of “our brother Richard” are dying all over again as we try to reconcile medieval theology with faded recollections of history. His was a Catholic era of Purgatory and prayers for the dead; of remedial discipline which the righteous might incur after death – petitions for cleansing, a purifying fire, forgiveness, sanctification and legalistic notions of merit. This, combined with the propitiatory ‘Sacrifice of the Mass’, gave an assurance of hope in the anguish of bereavement.

But we bury this Catholic King in the Reformed and Catholic Church of England, in which Purgatory is deemed unscriptural, and no number of multiplied masses for the dead may move a soul nearer to the light of eternal salvation. And yet..

The 1549 Book of Common Prayer draws on the Sarum Rite – the Latin liturgy developed in Salisbury in the 13th century – and includes:

Let us pray.

O LORDE, with whome dooe lyve the spirites of them that be dead: and in whome the soules of them that bee elected, after they be delivered from the burden of the fleshe, be in joy and felicitie: Graunte unto us thy servaunte, that the sinnes whiche he committed in this world be not imputed unto him, but that he, escaping the gates of hell and paynes of eternall derkenesse: may ever dwel in the region of highte, with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the place where is no wepyng, sorowe, nor heavinesse: and when that dredeful day of the generall resurreccion shall come, make him to ryse also with the just and righteous, and receive this bodie agayn to glory, then made pure and incorruptible, set him on the right hand of thy sonne Jesus Christ, emong thy holy and elect, that then he may heare with them these most swete and coumfortable wordes: Come to me ye blessed of my father, possesse the kingdome whiche hath bene prepared for you from the beginning of the worlde: Graunte thys we beseche thee, o mercifull father: through Jesus Christe our mediatour and redemer. Amen.

No doubt the Dean and Chapter of Leicester Cathedral have given much consideration to King Richard’s own traditions of faith, and how its essential catholicity is sustained in England by the Established Church. We must hope that the liturgical integrity of the service of reinterment might transcend all past and present indignities.

  • sarky

    The whole thing has nothing to do with faith, it’s about creating a tourist attraction.

    • bluedog

      Sadly true. One reads that the estimated additional tourist trade to Leicester may be as high as £150 million pa, or a return of 100 fold on the cost of the tomb, each and every year. Disneyworld has nothing to compare. The tomb should have been in the sublime York Minster, but Sentamu was caught napping.

      • sarky

        I agree york minster somehow seems more fitting.

        • Anton

          Plenty of prominent people there already. But I’ve no strong views; I’d just like to see a good discussion about where to inter him and under what rites.

          • bluedog

            Actually not. York Minster is stuffed full of dead archbishops, not much else. Richard and his Queen Anne, who lies in Westminster Abbey, should have both been reinterred in the Minster where they were married.

          • Anton

            You want to disturb another corpse? Leave her in peace, say some; let them be buried together, say others. History is complex.

          • CliveM

            What would they have wanted? I’m an old sentimentalist, I think they would have wanted to be together in York.

          • Anton

            You might be right. But then again you might not; you admit that your views are coloured by your own preferences. We can’t know. Which is why the debates about this subject are such good sport.

          • Hi Clive

            Googled and found out there was a court case about where he should be buried:

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-27537836

          • Roman Catholic rites in York Minster – returned to its rightful owners.

      • Return the Minster and its lands to Rome, with proper compensation for back rent and the damage and looting during the Reformation and Cromwell’s siege, and Jack agrees it would be a fitting final resting place.

        Richard III, a Roman Catholic King of Christendom, is to be buried in a Church of England Cathedral, only so designated in the 1920’s, in England’s most multi-cultural city. As a Catholic first Knight of Christendom, one wonders what he must be thinking about the Nation and the Tudor usurpers, some 500 years after his death. In historical terms, not so long. But what changes the world has seen.

        During his two year reign, Richard III brought in revolutionary legal principles i.e. the presumption of innocence, the concept of blind justice and the introduction of bail. He also insisted that all laws should be translated from Latin/French into English. And he was the first King to speak his Coronation oath in English.

        Today, Leicester where he died, in terms of ethnic composition sees 50% of the population is White and 37% Asian. In terms of elf identified faith, Christian is 32%, Muslims 18%, Hindus 15%, Sikhs 4%, Buddhists 0.4%, and Jews 0.1%. Some 23% identified with no religion and 6% did not respond to the 2011 census question. It is the most multi-cult city in the UK WITH 70 languages and/or dialects spoken. In primary schools, English is not the ‘preferred’ language of 45% of pupils and the proportion of children whose first language is other than English is significantly higher than other city in the UK.

        Richard III will be ‘turning in his grave’ at the course of history and this vulgar tourist driven spectacle being performed on the streets of Leicester. Let’s hope the services that matter, officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Westminster, will be fitting and give Richard III a fitting Christian burial.

    • CliveM

      True. This was a Plantagenet King who would have abhorred everything about this. Particularly the location. This was about tourist greed and not faith.

      He was slandered by the Tudors and turned into a lucrative tourist trap by the politicians. He deserved better.

    • Anton

      Charging to see relics has a long ecclesiastical history.

      • sarky

        Aren’t there enough pieces of the true cross to make about 100 crosses?

        • Anton

          Probably; ask Jack, as its his denomination that goes in for such practices. But by relics I meant bits of dead bodies.

          • sarky

            Nice!

          • CliveM

            I don’t know if it still exists, but I think some Church claimed the ownership of the foreskin.

          • sarky

            Thats just the ‘tip’ of the iceberg (recycled from a previous thread 🙂 )

          • CliveM

            Oh has this been mentioned before!!

            Missed that ;0)

          • Anton

            For more than you want to know about this subject, see

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Prepuce

            which includes the quote, “At various points in history, a number of churches in Europe have claimed to possess Jesus’ foreskin, sometimes at the same time.”

          • Uncle Brian

            A tourist in Ireland was visiting an old church when he spotted a glass case containing two skulls, side by side, one the usual size and the other very much smaller. The label read, “The skull of John the Baptist”. He found a verger and asked him who the smaller skull belonged to. The verger told him, “That’s
            John the Baptist’s skull as well, when he was a child.”

          • Jack notes you’re washing those hands again, Anton.

          • Anton

            The Roman Catholic church contains plenty of committed Christians; I know several and we are on good terms. But as an institution it is such that I make no apology for feeling the need to wash my hands after interacting with it.

          • Jack’s referring to our shared, collective history as Christians.

          • Anton

            I’ll take Communion with anybody who says he’s a Trinitarian Christian. Will you?

          • And Communion is what?

          • Anton

            Read 1 Corinthians 11 in conjunction with the synoptic gospel accounts of the Last Supper.

          • And your understanding of these passages is what?

          • Anton

            Probably different from yours, but I will take Communion with anybody else who accepts them in faith as describing it. Won’t you?

          • ” …. but I will take Communion with anybody else who accepts them in faith as describing it.”

            But describing the words as meaning what? What “communion” would there be without a shared agreement?

          • Anton

            Plenty of communion if we all believe in Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

            You are the one who was talking about “our shared, collective history as Christians”, remember?

          • Yes and then some broke from the Church and have kept this spirit of constant schism and separation since.

          • Anton

            Because what you call “the Church” had broken faith with Christ.

          • Would the “self-declared Trinitarian Christian” be required to have been baptised?

            And again, as Jack has said, it would depend what you meant by “Communion”. As you know, the Catholic Church doesn’t offer open communion. Given you are not a Catholic and worship in a church who either does not believe in the Real Presence, is in schism and/or has invalid ordination rites, Jack would be unable to feign “communion” with you.

          • Anton

            That is your choice. You remain welcome at our communion table.

          • So no Baptism into the Body of Christ? Is that scriptural? It certainly contradicts the practice of the early Church.

          • Anton

            I am presuming you have been baptised.

          • Jack’s enquiry was general and not specific to himself. Do you require Baptism before reception of communion in your congregation?

          • Anton

            Yes.

          • Water Baptism as an infant?

          • Anton

            The deviance from scripture of that procedure means that no advice is given therein about that, but if a man comes to faith and considers that his baby baptism counted then we take his word. If he considers that it didn’t court, we baptise him.

          • Anton

            Not every Catholic believer in Christ is so blinkered. When I stay with Christian friends I always go to their church. In Budapest once this was Catholic. I asked the priest if I might take Communion. He said “Of course, if you are a Christian; we learned under communism who our friends and our enemies are”. So I did. A more sensible man than his boss in Rome.

          • The Explorer

            The meal that divides. There’s a book with that title.

          • To be free of his lawfully wedded wife and Queen on grounds manufactured by his advisers who had a range of motives. And one hopes you’ve come up with a better ‘solution’ than Jesus was suggesting some form of polygamy in granting divorce but not adulterous relationships.

          • Anton

            I’ve no taste to go into that on this thread, but if you wish to attack my position without setting forth your reconciliation of Deut 24, wherein remarriage after divorce is freely spoken of, with Jesus’ statements that such remarriages are adulterous, you are going to be building a position on sand. And I’m not defending Henry’s actions as a glance at the previous thread will make clear.

          • Jack explained that yesterday. Jesus withdrew the OT concession, made because of hardness of heart, and reinstated the intention of His Father that marriage was undissolvable. What astonishes Jack is your claim Jesus recognised these relationships as ‘marriages’ even though He clearly stated they were adulterous. God’s metaphor for His relationship with His People is one of a faithful, permanent marriage despite repeated sin on the part of man.

          • Anton

            So why did God not legislate against remarriage after divorce in the Law of Moses?

          • Jack has said why – it was a concession because of the sinfulness of man. At the time, Israel as the chosen People of God committed adultery with false gods but He still stayed faithful to His promises even as they didn’t. Jesus fulfilled and perfected the Mosaic Law.

          • Anton

            I too consider it a concession, but this is not a trivial position to adopt – God making concessions to sin in a legal code designed specifically to show up sin. It takes some justifying, don’t you think? you also need to be careful with phrases like “Jesus accepted divorce [but not remarriage after]”. That verb “accept” often hides a failure to think the issues through. In those days a divorce was declared by (at least one member of) the couple, not by the authorities. That difference has consequences when making exegesis of the relevant scriptures.

          • Then explain the implication of a man declaring he has divorced his wife, choosing another spouse and having this accepted by the authorities. Remember too the metaphor of Bride and Groom for God’s relationship with His people.

            The Mosaic Law: “When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorce, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.”

            Surely this breaking of the vow of marriage reflects the history of the Jewish people under the Old Covenant as documented in Scripture – both in individual relationships and in their collective relationship with God? Look at the complexity of relationships of key figures in the bible and the moral and civic chaos resulting from infidelity and polygamous relationships. Compare and contrast this with God’s fidelity to the Covenants He made with Israel – the conditional (Mosaic) and the unconditional one (Abrahamic). A promise could be broken by the male spouse and render the duties and obligations of the marriage void. If a male could send his wife away for whatever reason he found her displeasing, then God too could send His people away and break His promise to them. Is marriage conditional or unconditional? God never chose another Bride. He stayed faithful to His people.

            We know God doesn’t break His promises. He doesn’t terminate unconditional promises (possession of the land) He has made and the conditional one (control and peace in the land) doesn’t result in divorce and remarriage. He waits – he doesn’t issue a divorce for transgressions. Jesus made a New Covenant with the People of God – one not tied to land or adherence to the Mosaic Law. He fulfilled both promises. This is reflected in His recovery of the true nature and intention of the marital vows because it reflects His relationship with us. We can walk away from the one valid, permanent relationship – He doesn’t send us away and He will wait for us to return.

            Jesus took us back to Genesis: with “have you not read” and “at the beginning”. He came to restore man’s proper collective relationship with God prior to the Fall and His individual relationship with us – the New and Everlasting Covenant – and this is reflected in the permanent bond of marriage between a man and a woman and in the very nature of marriage.

            That’s how Jack sees it all, anyway.

        • Uncle Brian

          Probably not. A nineteenth-century French savant, Charles Rohault de Fleury, surveyed the evidence and calculated that all the fragments for which that claim was made added up to a volume of 4 million cubic millimetres. That’s a bit less than the size of two standard packages of 500 sheets of A4 computer paper.

  • Graham Wood

    A few old bones hardly merits significant attention, except from a few historical purists.
    By sharp contrast this week will see the outcome of a real and truly significant spiritual battle which should engage the prayerful concern of all liberty loving Christians.
    The taxpayer-funded quango the Equalities Commission for N. Ireland is taking Ashers Bakery to court for declining to decorate a “Pro-gay” marriage campaign cake.
    Ashers declined as they objected to the ideological message proposed – “Support Gay Marriage”. It was the message they objected to not the customer.
    The implications of this test case are huge as is self-evident. By contrast to the inordinate attention to bones, here is one of the “weightier matters of the law” of greater priority for all Christians.

    • Wrong thread – or more properly a matter for the chat facility below. Please do not turn this into another conversation about gay marriage.

  • Uncle Brian

    Your Grace, I followed your link to the Leicester Cathedral website in the hope of seeing a breakdown of the £1.54 million cost of the reinterment. I couldn’t find it. Is it there?

    • IanCad

      UB. This ceremony involved no public finance.
      It was funded by donations; most notably by The Samworth Foundation which contributed a very generous half million – with no strings attached.

      • Uncle Brian

        Thanks, Ian, but I wasn’t worried about who was paying the bill. I was curious to find out how anybody, however spendthrift, could manage to spend that amount of money on what looks like a pretty small-scale building job. The funeral ceremony itself doesn’t seem to have been over-elaborate, even if you add in the cost of chauffeur-driven limos for the visiting prelates.

        • Anton

          My kingdom for a hearse?

          • Uncle Brian

            That’s about it! I don’t know if anyone has ever attempted to calculate the GDP of England in 1485, but I imagine £1.54 million might get close to covering it.

          • He was pulled by four horses yesterday. In life, he wanted just the one.

          • Anton

            Loved the guys in armour on horseback.

  • Anton

    I can’t help thinking that the ceremony would have been far greater, with far more involvement of royalty, and certainly closer to something that would please His Grace, had Richard not been viewed as the likely mover of the murder of the Princes in the Tower. Perhaps this thread could discuss whodunnit rather than gay marriage?

    • Henry VII and/or his supporters had more motive to dispatch the Princes rather than Richard III.

      • Anton

        I’m not touching it Jack! They both had motive.

        • You asked the question, Anton. And given it was Richard III introduced the principle of presumption of innocence to English law, one owes him this too.

          • Anton

            Yes, I asked the question. Doing so does not put me under any moral obligation to say more; I know a certain amount about the subject but am still looking to learn from others.

  • bluedog

    ‘King Richard III may have been a war-mongering, crook-backed, villainous child-killer,’
    Come, come Your Grace, let’s have no more of this seditious talk. Men have been burnt at the stake for less. As any fule kno, Richard was Duke of Gloucester and uncle of the King, a famously dangerous combination in medieval England. Both his immediate predecessors as Duke of Gloucester had died in suspicious circumstances. Given the ambitious nature of Queen Mother Elizabeth Woodville, Richard would have been reckless to assume a lesser fate for himself and his family. Recall too that the princes disappeared when Richard was on his victory lap of England and out of the capital, a period which also saw the first plot against his reign orchestrated by Henry Tudor and his mother Margaret de Beaufort. If anyone had a motive and the opportunity to kill the sons of Edward IV it was the future Queen Mother Margaret.

    • Dominic Stockford

      The operative word in the quote you take from ABPC is “may”. This is there, I suspect, in order to avoid jumping into bed with Shakespeare’s necessarily biased offerings on the matter!

  • Nick

    Maybe it isn’t him?

    • Anton

      A skeleton having the right DNA and spinal curvature is uncovered in the place that painstaking research predicted (note: not retrodicted). That’s decisive.

      • Nick

        I won’t believe it until they dig up his crown and I put my fingers in his bones.

        • Anton

          I recognise the adapted quote, but the crown was plonked on Henry Tudor’s head by one of his knights after the battle, and this was presumably the crown that Cromwell melted down together with the other mediaeval crown jewels.

          • Nick

            I just have my doubts. We’re a funny country in which livelihoods and professional pride are more important than truth.

          • Anton

            I regard the code of chivalry as just as shot through with pride as most politics today.

          • Nick

            Crazy isn’t it? Maybe it is him though, I don’t know. I expect that come judgement day (and if the skeleton was next to me and it wasn’t King Richard) I would be too pre-occupied to pursue the issue with God.

            And who would care anyway? Everyone believes it’s him and some people will act like vultures over it, but others will feel aggrieved. There are more important things than tourism and money.

    • CliveM

      Balance of probability says it is. Can’t realistically get a greater level of certainty on this question then that.

      • Nick

        Sure. More people want to believe that this is the king than that Christ is the king. I’d like to maintain my eccentric doubts for the sake of the principle of the thing if that’s okay? People would make it illegal to doubt this if they could. It’s just not normal.

        • Anton

          Nick, for what reasons do you doubt that this skeleton is Richard III, please?

          • Nick

            For pedantic reasons of course – I’m a man – what other reasons could I have 😀

            I just thought maybe there were reasons why a lot of people would want to maintain that this really is King Richard III. For jobs. For pride. For tourism.

            I also don’t like the whole group-think of it all.

            And if you want the truth, I’ve been brow-beaten over it about three times already in conversations (And I’m just on the fence over the whole thing).

            I don’t know either way, but I think it would be okay to entertain the doubt?

          • Anton

            You are the final arbiter of your own beliefs (and you should be free to hold them), although not necessarily the final arbiter of their consistency with the evidence. Let’s leave it at that.

          • Nick

            Ah, but faith is a gift. So it’s God’s fault.

          • Jack El Cid

            Why concede?

          • Nick
        • CliveM

          Nothing wrong with challenging the new normal.

          • Nick

            Thank you Clive. I really don’t know either way. But thank you for being kind.

      • Beyond a reasonable doubt, more like. Unlike the ‘allegation’ he murdered the Prices in the Tower.

    • carl jacobs

      There is no reasonable doubt. To find a grave with the right DNA, the right deformity, and historically accurate wounds in exactly the place where you expected to find it? There is no other reasonable conclusion. The probability of finding another body with that combination in that location is too small to consider.

      • Nick

        It was only a question. You’ve persuaded me that I’m almost certainly wrong about this. I have nothing to gain from asking the question. It was simply an expressed doubt.

      • Pubcrawler

        Thing is, though, while all that is true and the mtDNA is right, the Y-chromosome is wrong and the carbon dating had to have a ‘fudge factor’ introduced to make the bones fit the right date. So the evidence may be very strongly persuasive and compelling, but it’s not conclusive beyond all doubt.

        • Anton

          We know a lot more accurately who our mothers are than our fathers, because of the possibility of adultery – which in this case seems likely to have taken place at some point. So the mitochondrial DNA (which passes down the female line) is far more significant than the discrepant Y-chromosome.

          • Lagos1

            Perhaps, but I wonder how many other people at the battle shared the same mitochondrial DNA?

            However, I must admit that the DNA + the deformity and wounds is quite complelling. There does seem to be a stack up of evidence here.

          • Anton

            Yes, they didn’t bother taking the other bodies 10 miles to the nearest town.

      • CliveM

        Carl

        There are no contemporary sources for his back being twisted. For many years it was believed the claim was yet another attempt by the Tudors to blacken his name. So the deformity would not be seen as proof.

  • Anton

    Long queues gathering to file past the coffin:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-32014296

    It is good to see the British people interested in their own history despite the best efforts of postwar lefties to regard Clement Attlee’s election as Year Zero.

  • “His was a Catholic era of Purgatory and prayers for the dead; of remedial discipline which the righteous might incur after death – petitions for cleansing, a purifying fire, forgiveness, sanctification and legalistic notions of merit. This, combined with the propitiatory ‘Sacrifice of the Mass’, gave an assurance of hope in the anguish of bereavement.”

    Ahem … some of us still adhere to this theology and as Richard was/is a Roman Catholic, his faith should be respected and it is fitting he receive a Catholic Mass and prayers for the repose of his soul prior to his re-interment.

    King Richard III was an English Roman Catholic King of Christendom and he upheld the Roman Catholic Church and Her teachings in the laws, practices and customs of this Country. And this included “extra ecclesium nulla salis” And he was a first Knight of Christendom, meaning that if the situation had ever arisen, invasion by the heathen, he would have been expected to be the first of his fellow countrymen to lay down his life for his Roman Catholic Faith.

    King Richard III lost his crown at the Battle of Bosworth Field to Henry Tudor
    who became King Henry VII and whose son, King Henry VIII broke with Rome. Even in these ecumenical times, a wholly protestant service and burial for King Richard would surely be wrong. King Richard may have lost his crown on that day but he has a right not to be robbed of his Catholic identity.

    • Nick

      I agree. And the proceeds from the resulting tourism should really go to the Catholic church.

      The thing is that the C of E is unlikely to see any of the proceeds either. It’s like people fighting over an inheritance.

      In the end, the meek shall inherit the earth (but having said this it is quite clear that both this skeleton and the crown jewels belong to me).

    • Anton

      You can’t really expect to have purgatory preached in Anglican church buildings. But I take your point and it might have been better to have two services in two buildings with the coffin present at each; one Anglican and one Roman Catholic.

      • Albert

        When I was an Anglican I used to hear purgatory preached. I remember also being at Benediction presided over by Rowan Williams as Archbishop of Canterbury. It was all there, along with the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. BTW, I cannot see any case for an Anglican funeral, even if there was also a Catholic one. If the Anglicans wanted something, they should have had a memorial service. I wonder what that would have looked like!

        • Anton

          “When I was an Anglican I used to hear purgatory preached… along with the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.”

          Really? Regularly; and when and where, please? I find this extraordinary.

          • Albert

            It’s all over the place, Anton. It’s called Anglo-catholicism. There are the really spikey types – who are called Anglo-papalists, then there are liberal catholics and so forth, and high churchmen with a love of the fathers and the Anglican Divines.

            Have a look at these places:

            http://www.allsaintsmargaretstreet.org.uk/

            http://www.stmarysbournest.com/

            http://www.walsinghamanglican.org.uk/intro.htm

            It’s all there. Of course, there’s less of this sort of thing in the CofE nowadays. Because of the rise of liberalism, the “catholic” wing of the CofE doesn’t much exist, most people have left or given in. But only a couple of decades ago, this was all flourishing!

          • Anton

            Maybe, but you made the claim and I request, hopefully politely, solid evidence that Purgatory, and the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Mary the Blessed mother of Jesus, is being – or has been – preached in the CoE without condemnation in the last 20 years. That means a bit more than a ‘high’ Anglican church website or two. If you can specify where and when you personally heard these things within the CoE on a regular basis from a clergyman not condemned for them then I’ll certainly (if regretfully) take your word.

          • Albert

            The request was perfectly polite, but given that it was the Archbishop of Canterbury doing Benediction that I mentioned, I’m surprised you think there would be some condemnation – who would condemn it? I’m not sure what sort of evidence would convince you of this – at least not on the internet. Keep in mind that Walsingham is a national shrine, attended by numerous bishops.

            Let’s put this into some kind of ecclesial context. In 1850 George Gorham denied the explicit teaching of the CofE on baptism. His bishop removed him. Gorham appealed to the secular courts and eventually won – the state over-ruling both the CofE’s teaching and the ruling of his bishop. The point being the CofE doesn’t have any authority. In the 19th Century, they prosecuted ritualists like Arthur Tooth. But this just brought the CofE into disrepute. So that kind of authority ceased to function. By the 1980s the CofE had a movement within it of clergy who were non-realists on the existence of God (i.e. they are atheists to you and me). So for example, Rev Anthony Freeman:

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/unbeliever-priest-defiant-to-the-end-the-anglican-churchman-sacked-for-saying-god-did-not-exist-says-farewell—-with-a-touch-of-humour-mary-braid-reports-1380634.html

            He was sacked, but I remember the sacking caused a scandal, and only occurred because his bishop (Eric Kemp) was the most conservative bishop in England (he was also an Anglo-catholic, attender at Walsingham with all those other things you abhor). It was also the first sacking of a clergyman in the 20th Century, despite all the liberal theology and morality. Anyway, my point is, with such unbelief around, the CofE was hardly in a position to stop people who believed “too much”.

            Have a look at the Wiki page on Anglo-catholicism (scroll down to “Theology”):

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Catholicism#Theology

            And here on Anglo-papalism:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglican_Papalism

            There was even an area in the Diocese of London where most of the parishes used the Roman Catholic rite, rather than the CofE services. It was presided over by Bishop Brian Masters who had a relic of the true cross in his pectoral cross. What I’m describing was widespread, and if it is more muted now, that is not because the CofE stopped it, but because, they left when the CofE became too liberal.

          • Anton

            For the avoidance of doubt I am not Anglican, but I find it a little frustrating that you are providing considerable amounts of related but peripheral material without answering my specific questions, which related to Purgatory and two Marian doctrines but not the Benediction.

          • What particular denomination are you?

          • Anton

            As I’ve said here before in detailed exegesis, the New Testament describes a structure in which there is a congregation in each place, governed by an internal council of episkopoi/presbyteroi (same guys – one word denotes their function of oversight and the other their seniority) but with no hierarchy above congregations. As the notion of denomination is attached to rival hierarchies, no hierarchy = no denominations, and my commitment is to that understanding.

          • What church community do you worship with, then? Come on, don’t be shy about it. There are so many variations on a theme within that given description.

          • Anton

            Why do you want to know?

            As I prefer to keep my full name private, so with this information.

          • Hmmm …. some fringe, fundamentalist group then.

          • Anton

            I’m not ashamed of the congregation I am part of but I am not going to give their name in a public forum to someone who won’t even say why he wants to know. Guess away.

          • Some clue would be useful as surely you’re a part of a network of churches? It will give Jack an insight into your faith system. All he knows so far it that your are a protestant of some description and there are thousands of such sects.

          • Anton

            You want to know my “faith system”? Read the New Testament.

            The Chinese house church movement is likewise based simply on the Bible but would never call itself “protestant” – it regards “protestant” and “Catholic” simply as terms from European church history.

          • You’re Chinese?

          • Anton

            I said “likewise”.

            By the way, where do you get the claim that there are thousands of sects?

            When global persecution lops off all of those unscriptural hierarchies there will once again be only Christians.

          • Jack El Cid

            Google it.
            Jack can’t get his around all the competing beliefs of protestants. Every time there’s a disagreement another church is formed.

          • Anton

            All that can be googled is not gold… most ill-informed Catholics claim that there are 25,000 protestant denominations on the basis of the numbers in the World Christian Encyclopedia compiled by David Barrett in 1982; or 33,000 if you use the second edition (Oxford University Press, 2001). But Barrett defines the word ‘denomination’ as an organised Christian group within a specific country. That is an eccentric use of the word, for denominations run across national borders; in that case the Roman Catholic church would count (absurdly) as several hundred denominations! As there are several hundred countries (and as smaller denominations are not represented in all of them) we should divide the figure of 25,000 by about 100. This gives a few hundred genuine denominations, consistent with the list recorded in Wikipedia:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations_by_number_of_members

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Christian_denominations

            Of course even that is far too many, and is clearly God saying that he hates church hierarchies which are, as I have already stated, unscriptural. One day the hierarchies will be lopped of in a global persecution and there will be only Christians again, as once there were. Meanwhile, let us have no more nonsense about thousands of denominations.

          • Hmmm …. and perhaps it’s Satan spreading rebellion against God’s Church.

            Of course there are thousands of protestant sects. In denying the authority of the leadership of a visible Church, through the Apostolic structure, each protestant claims for himself the authority of a pope.

          • Anton

            And each Pope claims an authority he does not have, namely infallibility whenever he says so.

          • Albert

            Actually, I think the NT shows a Church in which there are apostles over the episkopoi/presbyteroi and congregations. BTW, the Catholic Church does not use the word “denomination”, for she is the one and only.

          • Anton

            Take that up with the Eastern Orthodox, Albert! The founder of a congregation had unique authority over it until he passed on, but it is an eisegetical assumption that he could hand that unique authority on. After he was gone the congregation WAS the church is that city.

          • Albert

            Which point are you suggesting I take up with the East? Not the emphasis on the apostles, I’m sure, so I assume you mean the word “denomination”. I don’t think they’d be surprised – they think the same thing, only in reverse! A local church was only part of the Church if it was in communion with the apostles, and thereafter, with the local bishop. Of course, in the early period, the minister of the local parish probably was the local bishop, but that does not tell in favour of presbyterianism or congregationalism – rather the reverse.

          • Anton

            Take up with the Eastern Orthodox your claim that Rome is the one and only.

          • Albert

            They know – that’s why they broke away (on the grounds that we can’t be, because they are – but then, they only had the Emperor, we have Peter!).

          • Uncle Brian

            Albert and Anton

            We’ve been here before on this subject. Picking out isolated verses and examining them under the microscope to see what they say about priests won’t get us very far. What can we learn by doing that? That there’s nothing in the NT that mandates a Christian priesthood? But we knew that already. There’s such a thing as history. Two and a half centuries elapsed between the martyrdom of Paul and the Edict of Milan. Nobody really knows very much about the history of the Church in that period. Some records have survived, but by no means enough of them to enable historians to piece together the various currents and cross-currents that were shaping the organisation of the Church. In between the intermittent episodes of brutal repression there were times when the Church was not being actively
            persecuted but, even so, it struggled to survive as a widely hated sect, suffering constant harassment at the local level. It’s hardly surprising that the documentary evidence has almost entirely disappeared. No one knows precisely how,
            when or why, or in response to what needs, the hierarchy developed as it did, with its pattern of parishes and dioceses, priests and bishops. But it happened, and that is the Christianity that was built for us by those persecuted
            Christians then. If you want to turn round now and chuck those two and half centuries of history on the bonfire, you’ll have to chuck the Bible on the bonfire too, because if it hadn’t been for those Christians who tenaciously survived persecution and perseveringly copied the manuscripts over and over again, year after year, we wouldn’t have a Bible now.

          • Jack El Cid

            Well said, Sir.
            Btw, there is scriptural evidence supporting a visible, earthly ordained priesthood and the ecclesiastical structure of an Apostolic Church.

          • Anton

            Let’s be having it.

          • Jack El Cid

            Read the New Testament.

          • Anton

            In which all Christians are priests (Rev 1:6, 1 Peter 2:9). Yet your denomination’s service of ordination ordains the ordinand as a priest with the unambiguous implication that he was not one beforehand. That’s antiscriptural.

          • Jack El Cid

            To understand the Apostolic Priesthood you need a better understanding of the Mosaic Priesthood – Israel was a Holy Nation and yet had priests – and a better understanding of the nature of the Atonement and how Grace is infused in the soul through the Sacraments.

            And before you ask, Jack isn’t going into all this. No, not even for the benefit of the “silent reader”. Just visit a reputable Catholic website for the answers to any questions you might have.

          • Anton

            Translation: Jack is ducking out.

          • Says the man who refuses to declare which one of the protestant professions of faith he follows. Jack’s is fully available in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

          • Anton

            Why you want to know, Jack? You ducked that too last time.

          • Uncle Brian

            Not relevant, Anton. The word in Peter and Revelation is hiereus (priest) or hierateuma (priesthood). The Christian priesthood has its historical origin in the presbyteroi, conventionally translated as “elders” in English Bibles.

            The last time I posted this same comment, or words to the same effect, you answered, as I recall, “Yes, I know.” It was you, wasn’t it? If I’m getting you muddled up with somebody else, I apologise.

          • Anton

            The words presbyeros and episkopos have come to mean different things today from their usage in the New Testament. But don’t project modern usage back when making exegesis, or you will go astray.

          • Uncle Brian

            Anton

            Higher up on this thread you wrote, The tradition in which to read the New Testament is the Old Testament. Jesus was a Jew who lived in a monotheistic culture forged by and recorded in the Old Testament. … Before we go any further, I’d like to say that I agree with every word of that comment, and I think I have found a connection between that and the question we’ve been talking about here. But I’m not sure and I’d like to hear what you think.

            In the OT the terms “elder” and “priest”, zaken and kohen, have such different meanings that they could never be confused. I imagine you will agree with me on that. Two points worth noting: (1) Zaken can sometimes simply mean “old”, as for instance when Ruth says, “I am too old to have a husband,” or when the Psalmist says, “I have been young and now am old.” (2) Kohen is never used for priests of any other religion. A priest of Baal, for instance, is a komar, as in Zeph. 1.4.

            It looks to me as though the writers of the NT books who use presbyteros and hiereus are using these words, first of all, as translations of those two Hebrew terms. When somebody is appointed to an official capacity in the Church, he is made a zaken, which is rendered in Greek as presbyteros, whereas Peter and the author of Revelation are saying that in the Christian Church there is no special priestly caste descended from named ancestors. All of us are, as it were, kohanim.

          • Anton

            To cross-correlate the OT with the NT usage, the Septuagint translation of the OT from Hebrew into Greek, from a little before Jesus’ time, is helpful. You can even find episkopoi in it as the word simply means “overseer”.

          • Albert

            I completely agree about the Bible, the fact is, the canon as we have it is later than most of the things Protestants object to. If the Church was authoritative on the canon, I cannot see how she was so fallible in other matters. However, I don’t agree with you on the rest of this. The role of bishops is very early, but in any case, my claim is not that you find the exact threefold apostolic ministry in the NT, it is that you don’t have a congregationalist or presbyterian pattern with no hierarchy above congregations as Anton puts it. Of course you do. You have apostles, and much of the NT material is itself the apostles exercising that hierarchy. Now someone might make another claim, saying that, as we have the Bible, we don’t need apostles. But that is a different claim, a theological claim, one not found in scripture. Anton’s is a historical claim, and I think, purely historically, it is false.

          • Albert

            I don’t think the point I am making is remotely controversial. Just read the wiki pages on Anglo-catholicism and Anglo-papalism. They make it quite clear. But, as I say, I’m actually not sure what evidence would suffice. I could produce more parish websites, but you might still say that is marginal, or doesn’t on the website make the specific claims you are interested in. The point it this: Anglo-catholics, the bishops as well as anyone else, believe many or all of these things.

            Here’s an Anglican website:

            http://www.theanglocatholic.com/tag/purgatory/

            But what does that prove? You can still say it’s marginal. Here’s a BBC page:

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/4273377.stm

            But surely you should be far more worried by the evidence of Anglican clergy not believing basic teaching:

            http://trushare.com/87AUG02/AU02MIND.htm

            http://trushare.com/88SEP02/SE02SURV.htm

            I don’t quite understand why you can’t just take my word for it – especially as this stuff is so widespread.

          • Anton

            I’m not calling you a liar. But you wrote: “When I was an Anglican I used to hear purgatory preached… along with the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.” and I asked: “Regularly?… when and where, please?” Do please answer.

          • Albert

            I’ve given you two parishes. Remember, I’m going back years now, but other parishes which maintained this kind of thing (whether or not I personally heard them preached there) would include Holy Cross Cromer Street, St Matthew’s Willesden, St Mary Magdalene Munster Square, Holy Trinity Reading, St Clements Cambridge, Saint John the Baptist, Tuebrook, St Mary Magdalene, Oxford, St Silas Kentish Town, Pusey House Oxford, St Gabriel’s Warwick Square, St Albans Holborn. Whether each of these places teaches these things now, I don’t know, but they certainly have done in the last 30 years. And that’s without going into “South Bank Religion” which was famous for this sort of thing (as well as some other things too). Bishops would include, the Late Graham Leonard former Bishop of London and many others.

            Every Anglo-catholic parish that does Benediction, probably proclaims the Marian doctrines in that service, together with transubstantiation/real presence (which is entailed in the adoration of the host). Here’s the liturgy:

            http://www.locutor.net/Benediction.pdf

          • Anton

            Thank you!

          • Albert

            Sorry if it felt like getting blood out of a stone – I think I misunderstood your original question.

          • Anton

            No probs!

        • Royinsouthwest

          It sounds as if parts of the Anglican Church need a new Reformation.

          • Albert

            If the idea is that it isn’t Protestant enough, then, arguably, the Reformation of the CofE did not go far enough. But it was certainly undone in 19th Century, by the Oxford Movement.

    • Albert

      Even in these ecumenical times, a wholly protestant service and burial for King Richard would surely be wrong.

      Especially in these ecumenical times. But then, I was told by a Catholic hospital chaplain recently, that Anglican ministers, in hospitals, on hearing Catholics are in the hospital and asking for a priest, go themselves and give them Anglican communion, simply because the minister believes he is the Catholic priest and the CofE is the Church of these lands. There was I thinking the needs and beliefs of the person being ministered to were paramount. Obviously, I was wrong.

      • Dominic Stockford

        When I was mislead enough to be an RC chaplain in a hospital it was the CofE’s desperate for a someone, anyone, to come along and share some faith with them. However, today, I would put myself down as a nothing – all these fools wandering round hosptials as jumped up providers of spritual comfort when I find my peace in Jesus Christ – who alone can give us true peace.

        • Albert

          How it was explained to me was that, by virtue of their established position, there are always more Anglican clergy than anyone else. But the reality is that, when it comes to people asking for sacraments, it is the Catholics who are in the majority. Thus, for want of anyone to visit, the Anglican clergy take them on as well.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Richard III recently wrote to me and confirmed that in fact due to information he has come into since his demise he is now thoroughly and utterly in agreement with Protestant teaching.

      • Nick

        Hold on. He also appeared to me as a ghost last night and said that he was currently going through the aerial toll houses and wanted everyone to pray for him and return to the true Orthodox faith.

        • Dominic Stockford

          No, no, no. You must be confused. That’s Richard IInd.

        • Anton

          Is that Orthodox with a capital O or a small o?

          • Nick

            Capital O.

      • You are consorting with the spirits of the dead – is that allowed, Dominic?

        • Uncle Brian

          Saul got away with it … for a time.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I never cease to be amazed at what the Royal Mail manage to achieve…

          • Good answer …. Written in Latin one presumes.

    • carl jacobs

      You know, I’ve thought about this all day …on and off … and I have concluded that you are right. Your argument is persuasive. His re-burial should be performed by the RCC. The fact that he was a king plays against this, but there is something just wrong about usurping this man’s religious identity. How can Protestants credibly re-bury a RC? I can’t even imagine what the AoC would say that wouldn’t be disrespectful to the memory of the dead.

  • Albert

    The reality is that Richard III would not have recognized the CofE as a Church at all, and would be horrified at being buried in, and by, it. It’s time the CofE woke up to the reality that it isn’t automatically the Church of the English, with some auto-entitlement to minister to everyone here – it never was, but it isn’t now.

    BTW, surely the 1549 BCP was suppressed, and cannot be used as an authority in the CofE?

  • Athanasius

    The CofE could have saved itself a ton of money by turning Richard over to his own people for burial. King of England or not, he was still a Catholic, and that overrides everything else. As for the CofE’s “essential Catholicity”, that’s like being slightly pregnant or not quite dead. You either are or you’re not.

    • IanCad

      I’m sure, were he to be granted the light of history – and assuming he had a conscience, King Richard would be delighted to be reburied as a Protestant.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Perfectly put.

      • That’s bad. That’s very bad.

      • Jack El Cid

        You’re very wrong ….

      • William Lewis

        Who wouldn’t, given the glorious protestant heritage of his successors? 😉

    • Nick

      So did the C of E actually pay for the whole shebang?

  • Hi all

    I don’t get why he is being buried in an Anglican cathedral, given he would have been a Roman Catholic? From my memory of Leicester there’s a Catholic church combined with the thing where the monks go (priority I think they are called ) on Newalk, by the museum . It’s as big as the Anglican cathedral, so it’s not like there isn’t an alternative in Leicester itself.

    • Uncle Brian

      The powers that be must have decided to elevate him posthumously to the rank of Head of the Church of England, in line with post-Reformation practice. Archbishop Cranmer (the senior one of the two) had some rather odd ideas about that sort of thing, as Albert told us yesterday on the “459 years ago” thread.

      • Hi uncle Brian

        never heard of that one before ! I shall have to find that thread. That’s what I like about this blog, you find out all the stuff you need to win the the tie breaker in the pub quiz..

        • Uncle Brian

          Hannah,
          Courtesy of Albert, here’s the relevant excerpt from the trial. M is Dr Martin and C is Cranmer.

          C. – … Every king in his own realm and dominion is supreme head, and so was he [Henry] supreme head of the church of Christ in England.
          M. – Is this always true? and was it ever so in Christ’s church?
          C. – It was so.
          M. – Then what say you by Nero? He was the mightiest prince of earth, after Christ was ascended. Was he head of Christ’s church?
          C. – Nero was Peter’s head.
          M. – I ask, whether Nero was head of the church, or no? If he were not, it is false that you said before, that all princes be, and ever were, heads of the church within their realms.
          C. – Nay, it is true, for Nero was head of the church, that is, in worldly respect of the temporal bodies of men, of whom the church consisteth; for so he beheaded Peter and the apostles. And the Turk too is head of the church of Turkey.

      • Albert

        Correct. According to Anglicanism, Richard III was the Supreme Head (or Governor, depending on the period) of the Church of England.

        • Jack El Cid

          There is only one Vicar of Christ in the visible Church.

        • HI Albert

          Despite uncle Brian’s diligent postings on this I still don’t get it.

          • Albert

            You probably are getting, it’s just that, it is a very odd doctrine! The idea is this: the monarch (or secular ruler) has jurisdiction over everything in his realm – including the Church. This might not seem so shocking when it is a Christian monarch. But what if the monarch isn’t Christian? The logic holds – the monarch retains full jurisdiction of the Church. So as Henry VIII could remove bishops from their posts, so Nero could remove apostles from theirs. The fact that Nero would be undoing the express actions of the Lord Jesus, is the clue (if any were needed) that this is a deeply unChristian doctrine.

            If anyone doubts that this is what is entailed by the doctrine of royal supremacy, then Cranmer, at his trial removed all doubt (see the post from his trial).

          • Jack El Cid

            So if the Moslems capture the Realm, their leader will be Head of the Church of England?

          • Albert

            Certainly. That is no more bizarre than Cranmer’s assertion that Nero was head of the Church. According to the doctrine, in Iran Ayatollah Khomeini was head of the Church, in Uganda, Idi Amin, in the USSR it was Stalin who headed the body of Christ, in Syria it is Assad, and insofar as ISIL has any legitimacy Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has jurisdiction over the Church, not the Pope. Bonkers isn’t it?

          • hi Albert

            I do see the logic ….

          • Jack El Cid

            You mean the argument – not the “logic” of it?

          • Albert

            Hannah can speak for herself, but my view is that Cranmer’s position is very logical. It’s the premise that’s at fault.

          • Jack El Cid

            ‘Unam Sanctam’ having the correct premise?

          • Albert

            Are we are crossed-purposes?

          • Ignore ‘him’, Albert.

            The Church operates in a separate sphere to the State and Christ is its Head and on earth its visible leader is His Vicar, the Pope.

            A Christian Monarch would recognise the authority of the Pope in matters of faith and morals and submit to the Church’s authority in these matters as a Catholic first and a King next. He would leave the Church to govern the Spiritual realm and he would govern the Temporal realm according to Christian principles.

            [In practice, of course, it all got a tad more complicated]

    • Royinsouthwest

      Wouldn’t it depend on exactly how far the Roman Catholic Church had departed from the Gospel in King Richard’s time?

      • Nick

        I’m not sure that Richard III could claim to be a practicing Catholic because he was clearly a violent man. All of the Catholics I’ve ever encountered have been lovely, peace-loving people. Perhaps he was very backslidden?

        • preacher

          They were all violent at that time, it’s all politics, just like today, but without the bloodshed. Perhaps someone could organise a boxing match for charity between Milliband & Cameron. -Sellout!.

          • Jack El Cid

            Violent? Thank God for such men who saved Europe from the Moslems and kept order.

          • preacher

            Would that be the same lot that sacked Constantinople?.

          • Jack El Cid

            Sinful men make sinful decisions.

          • Anton

            Or, on the superpower scale, Reagan and Chernenko:

        • Lol ….

          • Anton

            No need for the Grumpy blue icon there then! By the way, is “Grumpy Jack” a play on “Scrumpy Jack”, one of the better brands of canned cider (ie contains no artificial sweetener)?

          • Carl wants to pester the poor person and name him after one of the seven dwarfs. If he persists he may disturb Mad Jack’ – or worse.

          • Albert

            How about “Jack The Hat”?

          • Jack El Cid

            An enforcer for the wrong “firm”.

          • carl jacobs

            Re: Anton’s comment.

            Heh. I told you Grumpy was the right name.

          • Perhaps happy Jack hasn’t had his herring flavoured ice cream yet?

          • CliveM

            Yuck

          • Jack El Cid

            This difference can be resolved in the manly, traditional way.

        • carl jacobs

          Wait… That was irony, right? All of Jack’s bludgeoning is finally paying off.

          • Nick

            No irony. I’ve had good experiences with Catholic Christians and think they get too much flak.

        • CliveM

          An era of time, I’m glad I wasn’t born in.

        • Jack El Cid

          One doesn’t ‘practice’ at being a Catholic. One either is a member of the Church or one is not. As a King, Richard was obligated to wield the sword and ultimately he is answerable to God for his actions. It’s the same today for Heads of State when need arises.

      • Hi Roy

        I kinda meant that if the guy was a Catholic, shouldn’t he be best buried in a Catholic church?

        But here’s a thought: if they discovered some pagan king also killed in battle,say a Viking, and his remains, where would he be buried (or would they cremate him as per Viking tradtion? )

      • Albert

        There were sinners in the Catholic Church then, but it did not depart from the Gospel faith – to suggest such would be to imply that the Lord, like Henry VIII divorced his bride.

        • Anton

          So you think Jesus was happy to see his church burn those it regarded as heretics?

          • Albert

            No, but that was never part of the faith.

          • Anton

            But faith means obedience to Jesus, who said “”Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21).

          • Albert

            Surely that passage just shows it is possible to have faith but still be a sinner? That’s my point.

          • Anton

            Obviously, but doesn’t mean you can do whatever you like, such as burning people who disagree with you.

          • Albert

            I’m not saying that it does. I’m just saying someone can have the right faith and still behave very badly:

            apart from me you can do nothing. but “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

          • Anton

            Many will say to me on that day, “Lord, did we not burn heretics in your name; and I shall reply…”

          • Albert

            Yes, that’s my point! They cast out demons in the name of Jesus – this they can only do by faith. But they are rejected because they are sinners. Nothing in Christianity allows us to move from faith to impeccability. And no where is this more clear than in Protestantism: Simul Justus et Peccator

    • CliveM

      Thing is if we go down that line do we re-intare all the people who were buried as Catholics and are now in what have become Angican Cathedrals?

      • Hi Clive

        Good question and I shall leave this to Albert, happy Jack etc to answer, as I haven’t got an answer!

        • CliveM

          The answers/debate went on a bit!

          My question was more rhetorical the real!!

      • No, just give the Catholics their property and lands back …..

        • Anton

          Properties built by English hands with tithes from English men, to be given to a church system that is still set up as a foreign nation ie the Vatican?

          • The leader of the ‘People of God’, the Pope is the Bishop of Rome and lives in an independent state, the Vatican. The Mystical Body of Christ, the Church, is above nation states.

          • Anton

            I and millions of others do not agree with any claim that the mystical body of Christ which comprises the church is led by the Pope or that it is identical with the Roman Catholic church. Rome can assert it as often and as loud as it likes but that doesn’t prove it.

          • Linus

            Ah, the seamless robe of Christ, eh? Seamless because it’s made up of separate panels of cloth that flap about in the wind without a single stitch linking them together?

            Draughty!

          • Anton

            The congregation I am in has persecuted nobody of differing theology or none, Linus, and nor does it wish to.

          • Jack El Cid

            What “congregation” is this of which you speak? Was it in existence when the battles had to be fought?

          • Anton

            One reason for my choosing the congregation I did was precisely that it has no historic blood on its hands.

          • Jack El Cid

            You washed you hands of it all?

          • Anton

            When I preach to secular people like I was I want to be able to assure them that the congregation I am in and its leadership have never coerced anybody in the name of Christ. I know it makes a difference.

          • So you don’t believe all Baptised Christians are part of the One Mystical Body of Christ after all?

          • Anton

            That is a tautology. But “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven… I will declare to [the former], ‘I never knew you; depart from Me” (from Matt 7) and I need to be in a congregation untainted by the horror of political Christianity that told people what to believe on pain of death and has never deeply repented for what it still clearly regards as “the good old days”.

          • Grouchy Jack

            You’ve obviously missed all Catholic history prior to and since Vatican II to make such an ill-informed comment as that last side swipe. You really think you can disown our shared heritage? Shame on you. .

          • Anton

            You have said on another thread that the mediaeval era with its feudal system (and Inquisition) was the finest social system man has devised. Shame on you.

            If Catholic mediaeval Western Europe really was so Christian then how come so many wars within it? Isn’t Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace?

          • Grouchy Jack

            Be far better to just accept that human mistakes were made by sinful men in the Body of Christ, in the cultures and times in which they lived, and are all part of the history of the pilgrimage of the People of God on earth. Look at all the errors of the Jews documented in the Old Testament, reaching their peak in the New Testament.

          • Anton

            Clearly you don’t do apologetics with secular people.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Apart from disowning those parts of Christian history you don’t like by disassociating yourself from them, how do you explain the violent past?

          • Anton

            Nominal Christianity, whatever it called itself.

          • Grouchy Jack

            You label 1500 years of Roman Catholicism as “nominal Christianity”? Presumably you also include all other churches who’s history you disagree with. Oliver Cromwell, for example?

          • Linus

            That’s a big claim. Given the history of Christianity, the presumption of innocence is something that most non-Christians find difficult to ascribe to Christian claims of innocence and loving their neighbours. Your history argues against you and warns the rest of us to approach you with caution.

            Christians speak with forked tongue. And as the venerable Mahatma Gandhi may (or may not) have said, “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

            I should qualify that quote by saying that as far as I’m concerned, I’m relatively indifferent about your Christ insofar as he didn’t overtly condemn homosexuality and did have a lot of sensible things to say about the importance of love. I do think that if he really was God, failing to make a definitive statement about something that he must have known would cause a great deal of debate, discord and suffering shows a remarkable degree of je-m’en-foutisme for a people he was supposed to love. Which does not bode well for anybody’s eternal fate, let alone mine. But other than that, I don’t have a great many criticisms of your messiah, other than his stubborn refusal to provide any proof that he ever existed.

            His followers on the other hand … well, where do I start?

          • Anton

            Gandhi is also reputed to have said of Western civilisation that he thought it would be a good idea.

            Yes, Linus, I am not in a historic church system like Rome or Canterbury and it is deliberate, because I was once atheist like you and I know that it matters whether a church system has blood and power politics on its hands. I am indeed confident that the congregation I am in has persecuted nobody of differing theology or none, and nor does it wish to.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Time you changed that water and got a fresh towel, Anton.

          • Anton

            How many times have you used that metaphor now? It’s your water that’s running a bit thin, Jack. I take Linus’ arguments seriously enough to respond without personal insult.

          • Linus

            Ah yes, the Church of the Thousandth Iteration of Repeated Schism. God’s one true congregation.

            ROFL !!!

          • Anton

            I’ve already explained to Jack that schism is due to hierarchy and the apostolic church had no hierarchy above its congregations.

          • Linus

            I see. There’s no schism, you’re all one universal church even though you don’t even pretend to be united and spend all your time arguing over who’s allowed to say what and how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

            Seamless robe of Christ, mon œil !

          • Grouchy Jack

            He only went and rose from the dead …. what more “proof” do you need?

          • Linus

            There he goes again, Sad Jack the Dodo confusing his biblical fairy stories with reality.

            Of course, the handsome prince rose from the dead and took Excalibur from the damp hand of a watery bint and saved Mankind by slaying the Killer Rabbit of Caerbannog. Then he rode off in his fiery chariot to do battle with a pterodactyl and will come again in glory when Sad Jack tells him to – only nobody but Sad Jack will be able to see him, so we’ll just have to take his word for it, won’t we?

            Any more delusions to entertain us with today, Sad Jack? Has the Lamb opened the Seventh Seal yet and will you be giving us a running commentary on developments in your official position as God’s spokesman on earth? Or have you been raptured out of space and time and are you now sitting on Christ’s right hand, and enjoying it just a leeeetle bit too much?

          • Properties built for and on behalf of the Church under the authority of Catholic Kings and Knights.

        • CliveM

          Well all done to the Glory of God. All Gods houses and still Gods houses. So the owner hasn’t really changed, simply the administrator.

          • If it was good enough for Israel in 1948, it’s good enough for Roman Catholics today. We were robbed by usurpers.

        • Nick

          True. I don’t suppose there is any way of getting the denominational leaders to share the property and land? Just in case of an emergency?

          • Albert

            No. Error hath no rights. They should just give back all the stolen property with compensation for the damage, as Jack says.

          • Nick

            What kind of compensation would be appropriate?

          • Albert

            Given the scale and kind of the damage, nothing would suffice. We’ll have to just give them an indulgence!

          • Jack El Cid

            There needs to be proper retributive justice for the deprivation caused and harm done.

          • Hi Jack Sid

            Or more likely they’ll close and be given to the national trust. But how would you fill these empty churches and how would you upkeep them, given that they are listed and cost millions to run overall? Also would you rebuild the monasteries – I had thought about becoming a jewish monk, but we don’t have that sort of thing-and what about the land in private ownership now?

          • Jack El Cid

            Fair Maiden, the name is Jack El Cid.

            “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. “

            The Church can take advice from Bibi on how to handle false claims of entitlements.

          • Albert

            Obviously, we should get all our buildings back. We could accept as compensation, some of the buildings built by the Anglicans since they split from the Church. Obviously, we’d have the nice buildings, and leave them the ugly ones.

          • Jack El Cid

            Saint Paul’s would be a good start. It’s built on Church too.

          • They’d need a fair bit in order to compensate the descendants of those they burned at the stake for ‘heresy.’

          • Jack El Cid

            The Heads of State wield the temporal sword, not the Church. They were distinct under Catholicism.

          • Anton

            Yeah, sure. Technically the Inquisition executed nobody. After finding people guilty in a biased procedure it handed them over to the civil authorities for sentencing and punishment, having previously arranged the death penalty for much heresy; the law De Heretico Comburendo (1401) was, in its opening phrase, “on the advice of the prelates and clergy of… England”.

          • Grouchy Jack

            One can take or leave “advice”.

          • Anton

            But one can’t take or leave being burnt as an alleged heretic, can one?

          • Jack El Cid

            And back rents too. Is the age of honour gone?

          • Anton

            Who decides who is in error?

          • Albert

            Being in error isn’t something anyone decides. Error is a position relative to truth, and truth is not “decided”, truth simply is.

          • Anton

            Yes, but when two people differ about what is truth, what to do about it? Burn the other on the grounds that might is right?

          • Albert

            I think Jesus has promised that the Church will not err in what she teaches to be her faith. If that isn’t true, then I don’t know what all those promises in the NT are about, TBH.

          • Anton

            Well if you define “the church” as the collective of the faithful then this is simply a tautology. But if you have the hubris to define a particular church hierarchy as “the church” then you have no such guarantee, for at most only one hierarchy can be correct and there are many. At this point some hierarchies start to invoke the “apostolic succession” of episkopoi, but this argument is arbitrary and self-serving.

          • Albert

            But if you have the hubris to define a particular church hierarchy as “the church” then you have no such guarantee, for at most only one hierarchy can be correct and there are many.

            Careful, there are two things wrong here. Firstly, that isn’t the claim – at least not of the Catholic Church. But even if it were, it needn’t be hubris – it could just be that that is how the Lord created it. It is not hubris to receive humbly what the Lord has given.

            Certainly, there are many bishops, and many hierarchies. The Lord knew that, and that is why he left the office of Peter, handed down to the Pope. So the true Church is today, what it was in the time of the apostles – the Church gathered around the office of Peter.

            At this point some hierarchies start to invoke the “apostolic succession” of episkopoi, but this argument is arbitrary and self-serving.

            It could be self-serving, but that wouldn’t of itself make it false. What’s the basis of your claim that it is arbitrary?

          • Anton

            Because it isn’t in scripture, for a start.

          • Albert

            You may not find it in scripture, but that is not the same as it not being there. Where do you find in scripture the assurance that you, Anton, will find everything that is there?

          • Anton

            E=mc^2 is not there, for a start, but scripture is God’s uniquely authoritative word for man, is it not?

          • Albert

            Not uniquely, no and that is a doctrine not found in scripture (and therefore fails its own test). Jesus is the Word of God. What he has revealed is handed on to us in scripture and in tradition, as scripture says. It is made present to us by the Holy Spirit, as Jesus says. Scripture is thus only a part of God’s uniquely authoritative word for man. In any case, the issue here is how and where revelation is authentically received, not how and where it is authentically given.

          • Anton

            I suggested that scripture constitutes “God’s uniquely authoritative word for man” and you said “Not uniquely, no”. So please give me at least one specific example of words that you consider to be God’s word to man and equally authoritative with scripture. Feel free to discuss scripture, tradition, reason as much as you wish but please include at least one concrete example.

          • Albert

            I think you are verging on Islamic when you reduce God’s Word to words, like that. The Word of God is a person – you cannot deny this, the Bible says so. Persons are not uniquely revealed in their words – what are all those statistics about the majority of communication between persons is wordless? Persons, beyond their words make an impression, by how they act, the tone of voice, their wider explanations of what they have said. The Bible says this as well: But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one of them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.

            The point is that sense of who he was – revealed in a million tiny actions no one explicitly remembers, shaped the way the Church understood Jesus and his message – just as a husband knows his wife by a million tiny actions, he cannot describe to anyone. Those who cut themselves off from this tradition, cut themselves off from this shape. These are the things Jesus told the apostles to pass on: Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. Does anyone seriously believe, especially in the light of the last chapter of John, that every command Jesus gave is in the Bible?

            I’ll give you a couple of examples, one of tradition, one of the Holy Spirit. Of tradition, what does it say in the Bible about the Eucharist? Very little. How is it to be celebrated? It says almost nothing, probably because, people had so clear an example. The early Church did not get the Eucharist from a book, but from an apostle. What happens to the bread and the wine? Perhaps this is unclear (actually, I don’t think it is, given John 6, but there are those who will not listen to that scripture). What is the relationship between the Eucharist and the Passover, or the Eucharist and the Cross? These things are clearly there, but how do they shape our understanding, if we cut ourselves off from the most ancient tradition?

            The second example would be of the Holy Spirit, is of the doctrine of the Trinity. Is Jesus shown to be consubstantial with the Father, in the Bible? The word is never used. There are passages that imply it, there are passages that would seem to deny it. The truth is, the precise question (being rather Greek) was never really asked. Is it so clear that a normal person, faithfully reading the Bible would come up with the Trinity with sufficient accuracy and certitude that it would merit the response of faith? I don’t think so, even though I think it is taught there.

            How would I defend it then? Obviously, I would appeal to the tradition between scripture and Nicea, but that tends to turn the question into one of historical archaeology and philosophy – which would be just as open to historical questioning as a biblical judgement (see Maurice Wiles on this). So how then does the Holy Trinity merit the response of faith? I believe, that, as Jesus promised, the Holy Spirit makes the realities revealed in scripture present to the Church for all time: But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine.That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you….I am with you always, even to the end of time. This is why St Paul says:

            For this reason I bow my knees before the Father,
            [15] from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,
            [16] that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with might through his Spirit in the inner man,
            [17] and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love,
            [18] may have power to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth,
            [19] and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fulness of God.

            The idea that all this can simply be reduced to words, makes no sense at all.

            Thus, the only way faithfully to receive the whole revelation is through the Church, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. But where is the Church? Protestants say the Church is the body of people who teach what the Bible teaches. But that is no answer here. For it is the meaning of the Bible (and its relationship to the whole revelation) that is under discussion. Thus the Church must simply be given and preserved by Christ, ans received by the faithful, and it must be clear that it is the Church by its ministry – that it retains the same shape as the college of the apostles. Now there is only one Church that can claim that, and it is Roman.

          • Anton

            I obviously am not denying that Jesus is the Logos of God. And He obviously spoke more than is in the Bible but those other words will not be part of what men need to know about Him.

            The point is that the Bible is the written word of God and I asked for other examples of the same, consequently carrying equal authority. I said I didn’t mind how much explanation you gave provided that you included at least one specific example. This you have failed to give. Let readers of this blog decide for themselves.

          • Albert

            but those other words will not be part of what men need to know about Him.

            I’m asking for your evidence for that – I asked yesterday in similar words: You may not find it in scripture, but that is not the same as it not being there. Where do you find in scripture the assurance that you, Anton, will find everything that is there?

            You continue:

            The point is that the Bible is the written word of God and I asked for other examples of the same, consequently carrying equal authority. I said I didn’t mind how much explanation you gave provided that you included at least one specific example. This you have failed to give. Let readers of this blog decide for themselves.

            Not so fast! I’m questioning whether your question and the assumptions it rests on are the right ones. You have narrowed the scope so much that Protestantism is true pretty well tautologically. But I don’t accept your narrowing of such matters. I have argued that it isn’t biblical. Given that, I have no need to reply to your question – until such time as you answer it, and this, you haven’t done.

          • Anton

            Because I’ve answered this before here: the tradition in which to read the New Testament is the Old Testament. Jesus was a Jew who lived in a monotheistic culture forged by and recorded in the Old Testament. No church tradition is needed to make sense of the Old Testament, as it is not about the church. The Old Testament builds upon itself from the Creation onward, an event for which there is obviously no context. So neither Old nor New Testament requires an extra-biblical tradition to interpret it.

            I notice that you are not willing to suggest Pius XII’s “infallible” declaration of Mary’s assumption as equally authoritative with scripture…

          • Albert

            I notice that you are not willing to suggest Pius XII’s “infallible” declaration of Mary’s assumption as equally authoritative with scripture…

            Obviously, no Catholic would. That just shows you don’t understand the point you are arguing against.

            the tradition in which to read the New Testament is the Old Testament.

            Yes, but then the tradition in which to read the OT is the NT. So this becomes circular. Moreover, we are, in the end, just talking about the scriptures. So what is the tradition in which to read the scriptures? Moreover, your answer does not really address the points I raised before. Revelation is about a person revealed to the Church in the power of the Holy Spirit. This much scripture makes abundantly clear. But as for your claims, those other words will not be part of what men need to know about Him and scripture is God’s uniquely authoritative word for man, is it not? and your implicit claim that the complete revelation is sufficiently clear and present in the Bible that an individual can just work it out for himself, I cannot see where these things are found in scripture. And despite my repeated requests for evidence, you have provided none. And yet you try to beat Catholicism with the stick of sola scriptura!

          • Grouchy Jack

            Most excellent.
            One point. Jack has always taken the position that the Truth is the Truth and cannot be divided and given different degrees of status. Whilst different levels of assent are required to some Catholic teachings, an infallible dogma of the Church is God’s Truth revealed by the Holy Spirit.

          • Albert

            I agree Jack of course. I was simply setting out that the definition in Munificentissimus Deus was guided by the Holy Spirit, but not inspired. That is to say, it faithfully taught what had been revealed once for all to the saints, and so was not a piece of new revelation.

          • Grouchy Jack

            Yep … got it. Not a new Truth but a fuller understanding of a Truth already revealed in Scripture or by Apostolic teaching.

          • Anton

            The assumption of Blessed Mary, Mother of Jesus, is not in Scripture or Apostolic teaching. The earliest traces of it are several centuries later, at exactly the time that the church rightly rejected a load of tosh that was being written in the apocryphal gospels about Jesus. Tosh about Mary got through in some places, though.

            For a scholarly survey of the earliest sources about this doctrine (and how late they are), see Stephen Shoemaker’s book Ancient traditions of the Virgin Mary’s Dormition and Assumption. Eamon Duffy, by the way, has written that “there is, clearly, no historical evidence whatever for” Mary’s Assumption (What Catholics Believe About Mary, published by the Catholic Truth Society, 1989, p.17), and the Jesuit W.J. Burghardt wrote that “The account of pseudo-Melito, like the rest of the Transitus [Assumption] literature, is… valueless… as an historical report of Mary’s death and corporeal assumption” (Mariology, ed. Juniper Carol 1957, vol. 1 p.150).

          • Grouchy Jack

            Eh? You are worshiping the bible then and not the Word of God if you restrict Him like this. You can’t have a relationship with a love letter.

          • Anton

            Non sequitur.

          • Grouchy Jack

            A most excellent summary, Albert.

          • “Yes, but when two people differ about what is truth, what to do about it?”

            Well you should know or you could ask Dominic for advice. There must be plenty of experience between the two of you.

          • Anton

            Perhaps we might agree to disagree in Christ without burning each other?

          • Nowadays heresy is tantamount to treason, is it? Under the feudal system it was.

          • bluedog

            Compensation for damage? You jest. What about the repairs and maintenance undertaken over five centuries in keeping the temporal fabric of the church together? Think in terms of

          • Albert

            If a man steals my car and pillages priceless fixings and other contents of it, then, when he gives it back, he cannot say “I don’t have to repay you for the other things I stole when stealing the car, because I have kept it road-worthy.”

          • bluedog

            Apologies for the late reply, Albert, business priorities intervene.

            I don’t accept your analogy on two grounds. In the first instance the actions of states cannot sensibly be compared to the actions of individuals. States act under different constraints to individuals, who are constrained by the governance of the state. Secondly, and specifically, the CofE took over and continued the work of the Roman Church and has been a diligent trustee of the tangible assets of the Church in England. It cannot credibly be accused of theft and pillage.

            Two further observations. The Roman Church is estimated at one point to have been responsible for up to one third of English GDP. As previously noted by this communicant, disaffection with the Roman Church stemmed in part from its actions during the Black death and also as a result of a rising English national identity. This combination of factors laid the ground over a long period of time under which it was politically feasible for Henry VIII to nationalise the Church. The other point to note is that the Roman Church in England always seems to have been locally constituted in so far as the Archbishop of Canterbury was usually English rather than a foreign cardinal sent by Rome to head the Church in England. It follows that the English Church does not seem to have been a subsidiary of Rome but more of a semi-autonomous branch. The break with Rome was therefore administratively simple, the ABC simply ignored Roman orders, and the rest of the administration continued virtually unchanged, although doctrinally there were and are, differences.

          • Albert

            You make two points in your first paragraph. The first says that state operate under different constraints. The second that the CofE is not guilty of theft and pillage. The first point is true, but only relevant if something like the second point can be demonstrated:

            the CofE took over and continued the work of the Roman Church

            The trouble there is that, only an Anglican would think that. The people who built the churches and who owned them at the time of the Protestant Reformation, would have disagreed. Therefore, you must either say that the state owns everything (which is unChristian) or you must admit that the state/CofE was guilty of theft and pillage (which is unChristian). Moreover, the claim itself is wrong, since, in order to make the CofE it was necessary to suppress Catholic bishops to replace them with the crown’s appointees. But the CofE and your point claims to be in succession to the earlier Church. This is not consistent with secular suppression. Therefore the CofE did not take over from the Catholic Church.

            has been a diligent trustee of the tangible assets of the Church in England

            Only if you disregard all the things it destroyed – in which case, your statement is effectively a tautology. Unfortunately, the Protestant Reformation included the greatest acts of vandalism this country has every experienced. You guys even burned music libraries. So let’s not have all this guff about being a trustee.

            This combination of factors laid the ground over a long period of time under which it was politically feasible for Henry VIII to nationalise the Church.

            You don’t think the fact that the first Head of the CofE was psychopath had anything to do with it?

            The other point to note is that the Roman Church in England always seems to have been locally constituted in so far as the Archbishop of Canterbury was usually English rather than a foreign cardinal sent by Rome to head the Church in England

            The key word is “usually”. Not always. It’s not difficult to point out those that were directly appointed by Rome: the first Archbishop for a start. Moreover, even Thomas Cranmer had to get Rome’s permission to be Archbishop of Canterbury. Thus to pretend that somehow the English Church was independent of Rome is entirely false.

            For these reasons, the CofE and the state did not have the right to deprive the rightful owners of Church property and destroy what was not to their taste. That they did so was clearly a result of the encroachment of secular point. It has no justification, whatsoever, from a Christian perspective. Thus, it is reasonable to claim that the CofE should return such properties as we want back, and make restitution for the damage. Matter of justice as I take that to be, I would add that I make the claim tongue in cheek, because, well a lot of water has passed the bridge since then. But no one surely is going to defend the property arrangements of the Protestant Reformation in England.

          • bluedog

            ‘the CofE took over and continued the work of the Roman
            Church’

            ‘The trouble there i s that, only an Anglican would think
            that’. Not necessarily, but what else did you expect? Other Protestant denominations may well concur, also pejoratively but from the opposite end of the spectrum. In a practical sense it’s the truth.

            ‘The people who built the churches and who owned them at the time of the Protestant Reformation, would have disagreed.’ An unsubstantiated assertion. ‘The people’ were not one and the same, but even if they were, the late
            Medieval excesses of the Roman Church and its prelates were unlikely to win sympathy for its plight during the Reformation and did not. Hence the popular embrace
            of the Reformation.

            ‘Therefore, you must either say that the state owns
            everything (which is unChristian)’

            Well if the Roman Church, as embodied today in the statelet of the Vatican, owns everything how does that reconcile with the above? During the period of the Reformation, the Papal States were even more extensive at various times, and according to you, wholly owned the CofE without apparently being unChristian.

            Disclaimer: this writer recoils from making value judgements on what is and is not ‘Christian’, being at best a humble and unworthy communicant and therefore unqualified to pontificate in the matter.

            ‘…it was necessary to suppress Catholic bishops to replace
            them with the crown’s appointees’.

            Understandably so. If a bishop or priest were to
            conscientiously reject the changed circumstances of the CiE, they could hardly
            expect to retain the privileges of office.

            ‘Therefore the CofE did not take over from the Catholic
            Church.’ The trouble there is that, only a Catholic would think that.

            ‘Unfortunately, the Protestant Reformation included the
            greatest acts of vandalism this country has every experienced’. Probably an
            exaggeration when one considers the long history of the British Isles.

            ‘You guys even burned music libraries.’ If so, the
            everlasting guilt is shared without prospect of forgiveness or redemption by all those baptised and confirmed as Anglicans.

            ‘You don’t think the fact that the first Head of the CofE
            was psychopath had anything to do with it?’

            Evidence of Henry’s psychopathic leanings was only confirmed by the martyrdom of St Anne Boleyn in May 1536. The Break with Rome and the order mandating the Dissolution of the Monasteries came before her murder. One may presume that despite misgivings, these acts would have been seen as those of an enlightened monarch.

            ‘Thus to pretend that somehow the English Church was
            independent of Rome is entirely false.’

            Hence my careful use of the term ‘semi-autonomous’. However, there is no suggestion that you would deliberately seek to misrepresent my
            position.

          • Albert

            Not necessarily, but what else did you expect? Other Protestant denominations may well concur, also pejoratively but from the opposite end of the spectrum. In a practical sense it’s the truth.

            No, because the people whose opinions counts are those who own the property.

            An unsubstantiated assertion.

            They were Catholics were they not? Are you seriously saying there were not examples of local opposition? If there were, then, clearly the state was depriving people of their property.

            Medieval excesses of the Roman Church and its prelates were unlikely to win sympathy for its plight during the Reformation and did not. Hence the popular embrace
            of the Reformation.

            Sorry, that simply isn’t true. The English Protestant Reformation was actively opposed by huge portions of the population. Certainly, there were areas of popularity for the innovation, but overwhelmingly, people were against. But they expected it to pass and they therefore many did not wish to risk their lives. You can see this simply by looking at the policy of the English bishops on the one hand through to things like the pilgrimage of grace and the records of parishes like Morebath on the other.

            Well if the Roman Church, as embodied today in the statelet of the Vatican, owns everything how does that reconcile with the above? During the period of the Reformation, the Papal States were even more extensive at various times, and according to you, wholly owned the CofE without apparently being unChristian.

            You have confused jurisdiction and ownership here. You can have one without the other, and you can have both.

            Disclaimer: this writer recoils from making value judgements on what is and is not ‘Christian’, being at best a humble and unworthy communicant and therefore unqualified to pontificate in the matter.

            Really? You think that suicide bombing could count as Christian – or being a Buddhist, or theft and murder of one’s opponents?

            Understandably so. If a bishop or priest were to
            conscientiously reject the changed circumstances of the CiE, they could hardly
            expect to retain the privileges of office.

            Changes which were imposed by the state, not the Church. Remember: under the statist doctrine of the CofE, Cranmer admitted Nero was the Head of the Church in his territories. But that position can hardly be reasonably maintained. The rule of the King makes no difference to the jurisdiction of the Church and thus, there was no right to deprive such bishops.

            Probably an
            exaggeration when one considers the long history of the British Isles.

            If you admit is was an exaggeration, you admit it was nevertheless, an act of vandalism.

            If so, the
            everlasting guilt is shared without prospect of forgiveness or redemption by all those baptised and confirmed as Anglicans.

            I was answering your claim that the CofE had been a diligent trustee of the tangible assets of the Church in England. That claim is not consistent with the mass of vandalism perpetrated by the CofE – that is all.

            Evidence of Henry’s psychopathic leanings was only confirmed by the martyrdom of St Anne Boleyn in May 1536. The Break with Rome and the order mandating the Dissolution of the Monasteries came before her murder. One may presume that despite misgivings, these acts would have been seen as those of an enlightened monarch

            The Dissolution of the Monasteries started at the same time as the execution of Anne Boleyn, and therefore your point fails. Even if one concedes the Break with Rome (and given the biblical case for it, in terms of the need to annul Henry’s marriage, this would be unreasonable), it is hard to see how the Dissolution of the Monasteries was enlightened. It was an act of tyranny against private property, for the purposes of enriching the crown and its cronies, with the result of depriving the country of its main source of poor relief, without compensation. Which part of this was enlightened?

            Hence my careful use of the term ‘semi-autonomous’. However, there is no suggestion that you would deliberately seek to misrepresent my
            position.

            Indeed not, after all, I used the expression somehow the English Church was independent of Rome. “Somehow” there, covers the same ground as “semi”. It is in the details of the appointments that the issue is addressed, and there we see that there was no precedent for the CofE to be independent of Rome.

          • bluedog

            ‘The Dissolution of the Monasteries started at the same time as the execution of Anne Boleyn,’

            Not so.

            ‘…and therefore your point fails.’

            No, it doesn’t.but yours does. So there.

            The Act of Supremacy 1534 enabled The Suppression of Religious Houses Act of February1535 by which the dissolution of the monasteries was mandated and commenced. Boleyn was killed in 1536, as previously advised and had in fact opposed the second Act.

            Perhaps you should reconsider your position in the light of more thorough research.

          • Albert

            Not his is just wrong. The Dissolution of the Monasteries took place between 1536 and 1541.

            There seems to be some ambiguity of the date of the Suppression of the Religious Houses Act. Wiki pages have it down as 1536, 1535 and 1535/6. But serious authorities, like Chadwick give 1536. Perhaps this confusion is owing to the fact that, at that time, the year began on the Feast of the Annunciation, so dates between 1st January and 25th March are, in the time a year earlier than we now count them.

            Whatever the dating of that Act, what is clear is that the Visitation of the Monasteries took place between 1535 and 1536. Thus, if the Dissolution began in 1535, it would have begun before the Visitations were completed, thereby exposing as bogus, the rationale for suppressing them (not that anyone has any doubt about all that). The Visitation finishes in 1536, and the Act is then put into practice. But even this only provided for the suppression of smaller monasteries. A further act was required to deal with the larger ones in 1539, with the major Abbeys therefore being suppressed after that. Consequently, only a minority of Abbeys were suppressed even by the end of 1536 and then only the smaller ones.

            Here was my original claim:

            The Dissolution of the Monasteries started at the same time as the execution of Anne Boleyn, and therefore your point fails.

            And that seems to me to be correct. Now if you wish to stick to the point that the Act itself was passed before Anne’s execution, then nothing I have said here or before contradicts that. The point is irrelevant to my claim. I have said three things:

            1. The Protestant Reformation was largely not a popular movement, but one opposed by large parts of the population.
            2. Opposition was nevertheless more muted than it would have been because people thought the phase would pass.
            3. Opposition was more muted than it would have been because Henry VIII was a psychopath who treated opponents with savagery.

            You want to claim that Henry’s psychopathic tendencies are evident only from the execution of Anne Bolyen. But Henry was clearly executing religious opponents before. Ss. Thomas More and John Fisher were beheaded in 1535, and only a small number of monks had been turfed out of their monasteries before the death of Anne Boleyn. Thus each of my points stands. And this is without having touched all the other points I made which you have not addressed, for example, that the CofE was guilty of gross vandalism, of depriving the poor of their poor relief, of a statist theft of private property, that the CofE had never been independent of Rome in any sense comparable to that claimed by Henry, and that the claim that Henry was Head of the CofE (or Supreme Governor) is itself absurd, as shown in the absurdity of what is entailed by the claim.

            Even the soldiers who crucified Jesus said of his seamless garment, “Let us not rend it”. The contrast with the origins of the CofE could hardly be greater. But then, with Henry VIII being a psychopath is it any wonder?

          • bluedog

            ‘The Dissolution of the Monasteries started at the same time as the execution of Anne Boleyn, and therefore your point fails.’

            However much you wriggle, this statement is wrong. Like your co-religionist HJ when pressed you assume a position of infallibility, or is it just a desire to win at all costs?

            Let’s review this carefully baited hook, offered to you;

            ‘You guys even burned music libraries.’ If so, the
            everlasting guilt is shared without prospect of forgiveness or redemption by all those baptised and confirmed as Anglicans.’

            Your reply, ‘I was answering your claim that the CofE had been a diligent trustee of the tangible assets of the Church in England. That claim is not consistent with the mass of vandalism perpetrated by the CofE – that is all.’

            Completely off the point. What seems remarkable is that despite having apparently been baptised and raised as an Anglican, thus benefitting from the institution of the CofE, you can deny this heritage and your own involvement in Anglicanism by saying, ”You guys even burned music libraries.’

            ‘You guys’ was you!
            Now I concede that terrible things were done to the temporal fabric of the Church during the Reformation and subsequently. It is possible that the period of the English Civil War was even worse in areas occupied by Parliamentary forces, and in Scotland by the Covenanters. But shocking things happened all across Europe, and Catholics massacred Protestants and destroyed Protestant churches, there was no monopoly on barbarity.
            Importantly it seems to me that the situation in which the Roman Church could control up to 30% of English GDP through its massive estate and commercial interests was inevitably going to be challenged. As it happened it was HVIII who struck, but it could have been his daughter Elizabeth, or Cromwell, or Charles II who was perpetually in hock to his first cousin Louis XIV, or William and Mary. It was never going to last, and today, the very thought of the Roman Church controlling 30% of UK GDP is patently absurd. In the rest of Europe it is no different.
            Perhaps you can find a way to agree with the paragraph above.

          • Albert

            However much you wriggle, this statement is wrong.

            No it isn’t. The Dissolution of the Monasteries started in 1536, the same year as the execution of Anne Boleyn. I have given evidence for that, I have even explained why some of the evidence indicates an earlier date for the Dissolution of the Monasteries. But you have given no evidence to say that Anne’s death came later. Moreover, the issue in the argument is whether people were afraid of Henry by the time he was destroying monasteries – that much is evident. The Abbots of the great monasteries of England, who might be expected to resist all found their monasteries dissolved after Anne’s death.

            Completely off the point. No it was completely to the point. The point was to tackle your claim that the CofE has been a good trustee of property. The evidence is rather that the CofE was so destructive that it makes the Taliban and ISIL look like English Heritage. That is the point, and that is the point I was defending.

            What seems remarkable is that despite having apparently been baptised and raised as an Anglican, thus benefitting from the institution of the CofE, you can deny this heritage and your own involvement in Anglicanism by saying, ”You guys even burned music libraries.’

            You miss the point to pick up on the rhetoric. Obviously, I don’t think you personally burned the music libraries. But as you are claiming some kind of institutional continuity with that period, certain things follow. Renounce that continuity and it is unclear on what grounds you can claim these buildings as your own. I do not claim that institutional continuity and therefore those things don’t apply to me, as once they did. Yes, in that sense, I have to claim the violence of my own Church.

            Now as for all this upbringing, doesn’t it apply to the CofE itself? The whole shape of Anglicanism is derived from Rome – Canterbury as the chief see, the arrangement of ministers in apostolic succession, the buildings and so forth. And yet, your forebears were prepared to trash anything they didn’t like. You cannot attack me on these lines therefore without condemning the English Protestant Reformation.

            Now I concede that terrible things were done to the temporal fabric of the Church during the Reformation and subsequently.

            By people who did not build and did not own the buildings and whose only claim to do so was the avarice of Henry VIII and the absurdity of his claims over the Church. That’s my point.

            Importantly it seems to me that the situation in which the Roman Church could control up to 30% of English GDP through its massive estate and commercial interests was inevitably going to be challenged.

            But was it right, Bluedog? That’s the question. If you answer yes, then on what grounds? If no, then you concede my point.

          • bluedog

            ‘The Dissolution of the Monasteries started in 1536, the same year as the
            execution of Anne Boleyn. I have given evidence for that, I have even explained
            why some of the evidence indicates an earlier date for the Dissolution of the
            Monasteries. But you have given no evidence to say that Anne’s death came later.’

            Well I have given evidence to this effect but your reaction is to declare the one date, and one date alone, being the date of the Act of The Suppression etc in February 1535 is wrong and must be corrected for changes to the calendar. So why do you not demand similar correction to all other dates? I can answer the question: it would defeat your own argument to do so.

            ‘ You can’t pick at me, when your own claim is a full 12 months out.’

            A criticism that collapses once your selective approach to the calendar is normalised.

            ‘Yes, in that sense, I have to claim the violence of my own Church.’

            Refreshing.

            ‘Now as for all this upbringing, doesn’t it apply to the CofE itself? The whole shape of Anglicanism is derived from Rome – Canterbury as the chief see, the arrangement of ministers in apostolic succession, the buildings and so forth.’

            Of course. The CofE is a Catholic Church in the tradition of the Western Latin Rite. It was specifically designed as such so that Roman Catholics could feel at home, thus easing the transfer from Roman dominion to English control.

            ‘And yet, your forebears were prepared to trash anything they didn’t like.’

            If retaining a degree of doctrinal, liturgical and structural familiarity with Rome was a priority, and it was, this criticism may be over-wrought. Which is not to deny that local Protestant extremists may not have taken matters into their own hands in purging English churches of the idolatry so beloved by Rome.

            ‘By people who did not build and did not own the buildings and whose only claim to do so was the avarice of Henry VIII and the absurdity of his claims over the Church. That’s my point.’
            Of course a Saxon or Norman parish church, or even a late Gothic cathedral like Salisbury was not built by the people who took control in 1536 and retain control to day. But if the Taliban analogy is correct, these buildings would have been demolished so that no stone stood upon another. This is not the case. These buildings were and are lovingly maintained by both the English state and local congregations. If Henry’s avarice was the point, the Royal Family or the English state would be the beneficiaries of taxes, Christian jizya, on church goers. They are not, and the English state has spent the equivalent of billions on its ecclesiastical inheritance, including the construction of many new churches and cathedrals.
            ‘Was it right?’ In the context of the survival of the English state, unquestionably yes. On what grounds? Financially it returned a very large body of the economy to national rather than foreign control. No state or its subjects/citizens/electorate would argue with the potential benefits of that. Without going into detail, metaphysically, the English benefitted from Protestant ideology with its emphasis on self-help, individualism and the resulting work ethic. On the other hand, the Roman Church was highly successful in developing a sense of international community and fellowship, call it Christendom if you will. By breaking away from this corpus, the English developed their own identity and way of life that has transplanted to the great English speaking nations of the world. It cannot be denied that the new settlements by RC nations have been less successful. So we see in this extraordinary redefinition of so much of the globe on lines recognisably descended from English practice the final validation of the Reformation.

          • Albert

            So why do you not demand similar correction to all other dates? I can answer the question: it would defeat your own argument to do so.

            No, there are two reasons. Firstly, dates which occur after 25th March are the same as ours (hence the execution of Anne is unaffected) and secondly, confusion over dates only occurs when the contemporaneous 16th C dating is used. This only really occurs when official documents are used, such as in the Suppression of the Monasteries Act. So no, you can’t answer the question.

            A criticism that collapses once your selective approach to the calendar is normalised.

            I’ve now answered that, so there is no selective approach and my point stands.

            Of course. The CofE is a Catholic Church in the tradition of the Western Latin Rite. It was specifically designed as such so that Roman Catholics could feel at home, thus easing the transfer from Roman dominion to English control.

            I don’t know whether this is ironic or not. But I cannot see its relevance. The argument you had chosen was effectively that I should be a little more grateful to the CofE since I was baptized and raised an Anglican. My point is simply to apply that principle to the Protestant Reformation and to observe that, if your point stands, it undermines that event.

            Which is not to deny that local Protestant extremists may not have taken matters into their own hands in purging English churches of the idolatry so beloved by Rome.

            It was not local Protestant extremists that destroyed priceless art, it was the CofE under it’s effective ruler Thomas Cromwell, in his role as Royal Vicegerent and Vicar-General. Now as for it being idolatry, I would observe that everything that might be classed as such is now back, and in many ways common in the CofE churches. But the issue remains: by what right was private property so destroyed? And what about the music libraries? How was that idolatrous?

            But if the Taliban analogy is correct, these buildings would have been demolished so that no stone stood upon another.

            No. The Taliban and ISIL do not destroy all the Mosques – just the religious traditions, Muslim and non-Muslim which are not part of their own tradition. The analogy therefore holds.

            These buildings were and are lovingly maintained by both the English state and local congregations.

            Those that were not of course destroyed – such as many of the monasteries. How can you live in England and not notice?

            the English state has spent the equivalent of billions on its ecclesiastical inheritance, including the construction of many new churches and cathedrals.

            Only the Catholic built churches are relevant. Of course you can keep your own build.

            If Henry’s avarice was the point, the Royal Family or the English state would be the beneficiaries of taxes, Christian jizya, on church goers

            That is to assume only taxes as a way of raising funds. Actually Henry lined his own pockets by selling church lands.

            In the context of the survival of the English state, unquestionably it was right. On what grounds? Financially it returned a very large body of the economy to national rather than foreign control. No state or its subjects/citizens/electorate would argue with the potential benefits of that.

            Private property which was the only source of poor relief was destroyed and handed over to Henry’s cronies.

            Financially it returned a very large body of the economy to national rather than foreign control.

            You mean statist control rather than local control.

            Without going into detail, metaphysically the English benefitted from Protestant ideology with its emphasis on self-help, individualism and the resulting work ethic.

            I’m not sure how strongly the idea of the Protestant work-ethic is held to stand up to scrutiny today.

            It cannot be denied that the new settlements by RC nations have been less successful.

            How are you measuring that? In any case, aren’t you missing the point that, the success of a power stems from the era in which they were most powerful. The English were most powerful at the time of industrialisation and empire. Had a Catholic country peaked at such a time, then the situation would be reversed. Moreover, you are missing the contribution of Catholics – e.g. the Irish to the establishment of the British Empire, and the US, and the rather uncomfortable fact that in the US, the Catholic Church is much stronger than the Anglican, and that Spanish-speakers are rapidly making up the gap.

            So we see in this extraordinary redefinition of so much of the globe on lines recognisably descended from English practice the final validation of the Reformation

            Even if I accept the point, I wonder if the colossal amount of money you are talking about here really the validation of a faithful following of a humble carpenter who entered his city on a donkey and died on a cross.

          • bluedog

            Albert

            It’s the start of another week and I just don’t have as much time as you seem to have to indulge in a perpetual to-and-fro. I understand, somewhat belatedly, your point about dates and look forward to your edits in Wikipedia.

            When I read, ‘Only the Catholic built churches are relevant. Of course you can keep your own build.’, it all became clear. You are developing arguments that will lead to the overturning of a 500 year settlement with 2036 as the target date for completion. The fact that most ‘Catholic built’ churches have possibly spent longer in the care of the CofE than in the service of Rome seems immaterial.

            If so, not even nearly Christian, and apparently with the deliberate intent of causing the maximum sectarian division. Given the sheer stupidity, venality and fecklessness of the current political elite you will almost certainly succeed, although one imagines that, ‘a humble carpenter who entered his city on a donkey and died on a cross’ might be dismayed.

          • Albert

            Bluedog,

            You are developing arguments that will lead to the overturning of a 500 year settlement with 2036 as the target date for completion. The fact that most ‘Catholic built’ churches have possibly spent longer in the care of the CofE than in the service of Rome seems immaterial.

            Well not quite. Here’s what I said 3 days ago:
            I make the claim tongue in cheek, because, well, a lot of water has passed the bridge since then. But no one surely is going to defend the property arrangements of the Protestant Reformation in England.

            That is really the only thing I am seriously defending here: that the pillaging of churches, and the destruction of their fixings and property, at the time of the Protestant Reformation, by the state is indefensible. I don’t need to be a Catholic to make that point. I think it is widely accepted.

            Have a holy Holy Week.

          • The doors will be open to one and all. And as there’s a ‘Holy Year of Mercy’ ahead, this would be a most fitting time for the Church to welcome back its lost sheep.

      • Albert

        My objection is not so much that they are buried there – they were buried according to Catholic rites. It’s the burial of Catholics by Protestant rites that is surely just wrong.

    • Jack thinks Hannah’s being ever so slightly naughty …. in her very ‘innocent’ way.

      • Hi happy Jack

        I was being serious about where Richard should be buried.

        • Apologies then, Hannah. And you are quite correct. He should be received and reburied by the Catholic Church, according to her rites. He is one of her sons.

          • HI happy Jack

            Cool .

          • Grouchy Jack

            Grrrr …….

          • Eh? What’s the great for ? You must need a hug

          • Grouchy Jack

            Grrrr ….. Grrrr ….. Grrrrr …..
            Grouchy accepts hugs from no one.

          • Apologies for ‘him’, Hannah. Just attention seeking behaviour. He got loose when Happy Jack wasn’t looking. He’s been put away for the night.

          • Aww hi happy Jack

            Okay ….

        • Albert

          The naughtiness probably referred to the apparent innocence, not the opinion (which every reasonable person will accept).

    • Sigfridiii

      He is being buried in a Leicester Church which stood in Leicester on the day when he met his end, according to the rites of the Church of England which was reformed by his successor, Henry VIII. If he had won the battle of Bosworth Field, things might have turned out differently.

      • Grouchy Jack

        ” …. his successor, Henry VIII”?
        Usurper, more like.

    • bluedog

      Richard III had a copy of the Wycliff bible and was clearly a proto-protestant.

  • carl jacobs

    I would have thought the burial of a king was a state affair to be handled by the Crown.

    • Nick

      Exactly.

    • Hi Carl

      I’m not sure, because on the bbc news yesterday, they said that Richard iii’s relatives were there. Presumably they would or could claim to be the real guys who should be on the throne or so I don’t locked in the tower, pretenders to the throne (I think there is also a group of Germans who claim the throne as descendents of the Stuart kings, Bonnie Prince charlie and all that)? So it would be awkward if a current royal were to show up and take an official part in this occasion.

      • Pubcrawler

        “Presumably they would or could claim to be the real guys who should be on the throne”

        Not really. The lines of succession from Edward III are incredibly knotted, but if their ancestors had had any sort of claim to rival that of the united lines of Beaufort and Mortimer represented by the descendents of Henry Tudor (i.e. Henry VII) and Elizabeth of York, rest assured they would have been bumped off at some point during the Tudor period, as so many others were. (The claim of the House of Windsor also derives from this union, via a somewhat winding road.)

        The current leading Stuart/Jacobite pretender is Franz, Duke of Bavaria. But the Stuart claim to the throne of England itself derives ultimately from the loins of Henry and Elizabeth, via Margaret Tudor, younger sister of Henry VIII.

        (It is, of course, a lot more complicated than that . . .)

        • Wow, all so complicated….

          • Pubcrawler

            Brief summary: Edward III lived too long and had too many sons, and his grandsons, great-grandsons and great-great-grandsons had a habit of bumping each other off, culminating in the events at Bosworth. This left only the female lines of succession, distilled into the persons of Elizabeth of York and (tenuously) Henry Tudor.

            OK, not very brief 🙂

          • Grouchy Jack

            “The current leading Stuart/Jacobite pretender is Franz, Duke of Bavaria.”

            Pretender? Mary Tudor was the rightful Queen of England before being brutally murdered at the executioners block. Such a dignified death with not a word of bitterness or recrimination. Her last words: “In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum.”

            Elizabeth’s claim to the throne was as bogus as Henry VIII’s adulterous marriage to her mother Anne Boleyn. Mary was the lawful descendant and heir via Henry’s sister Margaret Tudor.

          • carl jacobs

            You remind me of Confederates arguing the the Southern states really did have a right to secede – irrespective of the 600,000 dead whose sacrifice had just settled the issue. There are always struggles for power. The winners rule. The losers die. Legitimacy is conveyed by victory.

            In short, it doesn’t matter if Mary Tudor was the rightful Queen of England. What matters is that she didn’t have the power to keep her crown.

        • Jack El Cid

          In Christendom, the Pope would settle it – if asked.

    • Jack El Cid

      Indeed.

  • Stig

    They are doing their bit Hannah. http://holycrosschoirleicester.co.uk/ I walked into town this morning with the idea to pay my respects, until I saw the queue! But St Martins (now the cathedral) was certainly there in Richard’s time, although no doubt in those days it was Catholic. It is the nearest church to where his remains were found.

  • preacher

    I thought that Richard’s body was draped over a horse & paraded through the city, but after the victors had enjoyed abusing the body, the monks of the monastery which formerly stood on the site of the car park, buried him with the necessary R.C rites. At the dissolution, the monastery was demolished & the site of the tomb was lost.

    Of course Richard’s final resting place was probably left unmarked to prevent him being venerated & a rallying point for a revival of the Yorkist cause, as was the case
    with King Harold’s body after his defeat at Hastings.
    It’s surely possible that Henry VIII was also aware of this danger & saw a way of finally ending the story.

    Either way, if Richard was buried with the rites of the Church of his faith there is no reason, except the commercial interest for all the show boating.
    One wonders who they will ‘find’ next?.

    • Nick

      That will be King Arthur. To fulfill the prophecy.

      • preacher

        If you see a hand holding a sword pop up from the local duckpond, you’ve got it made.

        • Nick

          There is a guy who calls himself the head of the druids who claims to be the reincarnation of King Arthur (Pendragon). He is campaigning for the re-burial of some bones at Stonehenge. It’s a bit of a climbdown from saving Britian. But he actually has a lot of followers.

          • preacher

            Nice try by Mr Pendragon, but we Christians don’t believe in reincarnation & now Stonehenge is so enclosed, he’ll more than likely get arrested for fly tipping, unless he secures a rich sponsor. LOL.

          • Anton

            Glad I saw the place as a child when you could wander among the stones.

          • Royinsouthwest

            Me too!

          • Lol …. do you mean “you too”?

          • Royinsouthwest

            Well, I could echo the “gasp” but I was actually thinking of wandering around the Stones – and no, I did not help to transport them there from Pembrokeshire!

          • Anton
          • sarky

            Hadn’t been up long had they? 🙂

          • Anton

            Up yours!

          • *gasp*

          • Anton

            I trust Sarky to grasp that I am not taking entirely seriously his suggestion that I am several thousand years old…

          • Hi preacher

            But wasn’t the previous archbishop a druid?

          • Anton

            Nope. This is stated by some about his involvement with the “Gorsedd Order of Bards” at the Eisteddfod in Wales when he was Archbishop there. I checked and it did not involve any pagan vows or attendance at any pagan ceremonies. His liberal theology has been far more compromising!

          • Hi Anton

            The BBC headline must have been misleading. It says that conservative evangelicals didn’t approve:

            http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/2172918.stm

          • Anton

            Then they didn’t do their homework. As Rowan Williams is quoted as saying in that item, “If people had actually looked at the words of the hymns and text used they would have seen a very Christian service.” And on this occasion he was right – I checked.

          • Hi Anton

            You know best,I’m sure…

          • Pubcrawler

            “BBC headline must have been misleading”

            Not for the first time. Nor the last.

          • preacher

            Hi Hannah.
            So he claimed, but lot’s of people claim to be Christian, until you find out what they believe. More, Confused .Com than CofE.

          • DanJ0

            And how they behave. (Though I understand the salvation thing is primarily about belief, of course)

          • Nick

            Yes, but he is taken very seriously by a lot of people. You may find this interesting. http://www.warband.org.uk/

          • preacher

            I know Nick, but a lot of people need something to believe in to break the monotony of life, UFO’s, lost treasure of captain Kidd etc. Pity they don’t find the King of Kings, the living Lord eh?.

          • Nick

            Well exactly. I still think Christ can make things better for people. I’m not convinced he will break the monotony of life with all of its inane suffering, ugliness and arbitrary cruelty though. The monotony of the battles which many Christians face is in itself a kind of drudgery. It is not the adventure which we were promised. I would like people to have a relationship with the King of Kings but, in a way, what he is offering is not necessarily as exciting as the offerings made by other ‘kings’. It would be misleading to say that that is the case.

          • preacher

            That depends on how you view it Brother. You only get heroes & medals in warfare & Jesus fought & won through great adversity. The challenges are still out there if we want to pick up the gauntlet & accept the challenges, it’s dangerous & ugly but victory is assured.

          • Nick

            If it is all working well for you then may God bless you. I’m not going to lie and say that Christianity is working in any meaningful way for me, I’m sorry. I still believe in Christ and think he’s great, but the whole religion is making things worse for me. I’m sorry. Am I supposed to lie?

          • preacher

            No Nick. be truthful. I’ve just been through the mill myself in the last few months. but the old saying that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger is true.
            in the days of bare knuckle fighting when a match would last until one contestant was comatose , a reporter is reputed to have asked Gentleman Jim for the secret of his being the longest heavyweight champion of the time, his answer? ” I get up “.
            Bless you for your integrity & humour Brother.

          • Nick

            Thank you – I hope things improve and that you enter a wonderful new season too. I agree with you – get up one more time than knocked down – like Christ did. I haven’t given up yet.

          • preacher

            Keep going Nick, face the challenges, I expect many more, but it gives life a bit of seasoning & opportunity & at least if one can see the funny side of it one can have a laugh & not be bored.

          • Anton

            Never give up Nick. Since becoming a Christian I have had many time when I felt that God was far from me – although it has to be the other way round – but never doubted the truth of the New Testament.

          • DanJ0

            That’ll be Chief Druid Arthur Pendragon, or John to his mates down at the Green Man on darts night.

    • Anton

      That last sentence really is unfair to the academics of the University of Leicester.

      • preacher

        Not really Anton, but it’s a pity they did all the research & will probably see very little of the cash.

  • Skidger

    Did the King receive a Requim Mass as befitting the rites of his church?

    • Cardinal Nichols is celebrating Mass for the repose of King Richard’s soul (a ‘Requiem Mass’) in Holy Cross Church, the Catholic parish church and Dominican priory in Leicester city centre.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Yes, back in 1485.

      • A Requiem Mass would have been celebrated by the Franciscans when Richard was buried in a position of honour near the High Altar in the now demolished Greyfriar’s Church. After he was killed, his naked body was put on display for three days. The roughly dug grave was seemingly too short for his frame. Hardly fitting for King of Christendom who fought and died bravely in battle.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Let the dead bury the dead.
    That is my short Missel on the theology of re-internment.

    • ‘Let the dead bury the dead.’
      Just so. And that’s exactly what is going on.
      Where he’s buried is likely to be the least of Richard’s concerns.

      • Now you pass God’s judgement on men? Didn’t Jesus have something to teach about that?

        • On the contrary, whether his soul is in heaven or the other place, he won’t be worrying about where his body is. As Ned Flanders said, he won’t be buried so deep the Lord can’t find him……and judge him (Rom. 14:10).

          • Grouchy Jack

            Ned Flanders wrote Romans?!

          • Homer Simpson thinks he did.

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Goodness! One has only one word for these arrangements and that is ‘shoddy’. Speaking as a direct descendant of Richard III’s sister, Anne Duchess of Exeter, one is disgusted. Piss poor for a country which prides itself on pageantry and ceremony. One would think the whole thing designed by that bloke who did the NHS tribute-fest at the Olympics…

    • Anton

      O Danny Boyle! Olympic opening and closing ceremonies are secular humanist religious ceremonies par excellence.

  • DanJ0

    Actually, this is all just down the road from me. As it happens, and through the back door, I’ve got 20 of his fingers if anyone wants to buy one. They do miraculous healing type stuff, and everything.

    • William Lewis

      Can you do a discount for bulk orders?

      • DanJ0

        You’re seeking an indulgence there.

        • Grouchy Jack

          But not through the back door ….

        • Anton

          Canterbury Cathedral sells chocolate coins with “Indulgence of Thomas a Beckett” on them. Tasteful or what…

          https://www.cathedral-enterprises.co.uk/kolist/1/5/250900107.htm

          • DanJ0

            When I was last in Prague, or was it Budapest, I went to a church where they had a saint’s finger. You stand in a queue to enter a room with a guard and when you get there you put a Euro in a slot to turn on a light for a few seconds and look through a small glass window at it. When I was last in France, I wandered into a Roman Catholic church and instead of candles to light they had a matrix of those LED candles and a money slot. On inserting money, the next fake candle lights up for (say) half an hour. Enterprising bunch, in both cases. I’ve not yet seen anywhere where for a small payment a cd quietly plays a mass for someone’s soul but, hey, why not in principle.

    • Hmmm … you could think about setting up a bed and breakfast business, aimed at a niche market.

  • Linus

    Does it make you deeply embarrassed to be English? History reduced to a tawdry Disney spectacle. That’s all monarchy is good for now.

    I wonder what plans have been laid for burying Mrs Mountbatten when her time comes. Will Rouge Dragon Poursuivant wear a white rabbit costume and Camilla be dressed as the Red Queen? And of course Waity Katy (she finally got her man, eh?) will appear as Alice and Charles will certainly be trying to stuff a dormouse into a teapot.

    Twinkle twinkle little bat
    I wonder what the English are at
    Tawdry tinsel for their king
    Bury him with Disney bling
    Twinkle twinkle the French do cry
    Les pauvres Rosbifs must be high!

    • William Lewis

      Your doggerel cuts to the quick, Linus. We humbly defer to France for all things Disney.

      • CliveM

        Absolutely devestated.

        Ho hum however, you just have to dust yourself down and get on with it.

    • Jack El Cid

      So says the representative of a nation who’s greatest hero was a 19 year old young woman whose bravery paved the way for Charles VII’s eventual victory and his Coronation. No wonder you’re embarrassed by reminders of true Kingship, bravery and loyalty after the treatment she received at the hands of her own people.

      • Linus

        The English tried and burned her. They would have done better to put the poor woman in an asylum, had such a thing existed in those days.

        Jeanne d’Arc was a religious obsessive who heard voices and was used by a cynical monarch for propaganda purposes. She wasn’t the only victim of political and religious tyranny.

        • She was captured and killed by the French – the supporters of the Duke of Burgundy and the Bishop of Beauvais.

          • sarky

            I heard she didn’t die. Apparently there is correspondence between her (and I believe) her brother long after her supposed death.

          • Linus

            She was captured and tried by traitors in the pay of England. There was no great notion of nationality at the time and loyalties would shift according to political expediency. But the dukes of Burgundy were vassals of the French crown, so their alliance with the English was technically a breach of the oath of allegiance they owed to the king of France. Same with the bishop of Beauvais. He had sold himself to the English, whose royal family was basically French at the time anyway.

            And before Sad Jack starts to fling accusations of French perfidy around, let me remind everyone that the English have always been famed throughout Europe for exactly that. Perfide Albion is an axiomatic concept everywhere on the Continent and has been for hundreds of years. We know how you treated the Irish and the Highlanders and still you have the brass neck to portray yourselves as honourable and honest.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Oh for goodness sake…I thought you lot took chocolate and croissants for breakfast, not froth and bile! England’s policy towards Europe has always been to maintain a balance of powers…that’s why we threw in our lot with France in 1914 and again in 1939…Saved your bacon in 1944 in Normandy too. Perfidious Albion was one of the insults thrown at us by Napoleon or his club-footed friend, a duo that waged war across Europe in the bah-humbug name of Liberty…not much liberty under the Napoleonic system I might add. To be frank, we don’t much care what you Johnny Foreigners think of us: we gave the world Common Law, Shakespeare, John Locke, the railways, Charles Darwin, Byron, Shelley and Keats, Elgar,
            Dickens, Oscar Wilde (Anglo-Irish before you quibble), and Alan Turing. We also gave the world a lingua franca that must be (and is) an irritation the French. You gave us Edith Piaf, Marcel Marceau and Charles Aznovoice… More froth with your bile, mon brave?

          • Linus

            What an impressive litany of self-justification. The scale of it is almost on a par with the inferiority complex it’s trying to cover.

            Every nature has some natural weakness it tries to rise above. With the Italians it’s disorganisation, with the Spaniards a general unwillingness to deal with the task at hand, with the Swedes a certain coldness and reserve that makes them so hard to know, and with the Americans a superficiality that does essentially the same thing. But the unfortunate inhabitants of that septic isle that lurks in the mist off the coast of the Pas de Calais, being a mongrel race, are burdened with the national failings of not one, but two of Europe’s most difficult races. The stubbornness of the Celt meets the general dismalness, misery and bullying tendencies of the German and gives us the English. Nature’s most challenging piece of work. The Marmite of nationalities. Poisonous to most but liked by a few courageous souls who don’t mind risking life or limb in the pursuit of extreme sensation. One imagines the sort of Japanese individual who frequents puffer fish restaurants would probably be counted among their fans. And extreme sports junkies too. Masochists rate them highly.

            But few others do.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            ‘Every nature has some natural weakness it tries to rise above…’ So Monsieur Superiere, what natural weakness would you ascribe to the French?

          • Linus

            That’s for others to say, not me. And I have no doubt they will.

            When criticism
            comes from other Europeans, I generally take note as more often than not it’s a constructive opinion. When it comes from the English or the Americans, I blank it out because it’s almost always just a tirade of mindless abuse and jingoistic insults.

            “We won the war! We won the war!” seems to be the English response to everything, as though one victory 70 years ago somehow makes you right about everything else for the rest of time. It really does not…

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Well, Monsieur the Surrender Monkey, if we hadn’t helped you out in 44 you would be speaking German…but it seems you prefer the Germans, who invaded you and carted off your Jews for extermination, to your English and American liberators…well, your choice Monsieur…but it says more about you than us.

          • Linus

            See my last reply to Sad Jack. Replace his name with yours and alter whatever pronouns may be necessary and there you have your answer.

            And if you’re hoping to see surrender monkeys next time you go to the zoo, may I suggest you plan on a visit to Gerald Durrell’s establishment on Jersey? There you’ll be able to spit as much venom as you like at fellow subjects of the British crown who surrendered so ignominiously to the Germans and suffered years of brutal occupation. Of course they deserved it. It was their own stupid fault for settling on islands that didn’t have a wide enough stretch of salt water between them and the Nazis, wasn’t it? It certainly justifies the use of abusive epithets and permits you to wander about with your nose in the air treating others with contempt and disdain, just as that messiah of yours taught you to do. No, hold on … did he really say that, or is there some kind of fault in the English translation?

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            You really are a funny fellow…

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I have greatly enjoyed our robust exchanges, and confess I am more than a little fond of you dear Linus (it’s true, though you may not believe it), but the time has come to draw a line under the faux-insults. I apologise for any hurt feelings and look forward to reading your comments on here, which are entertaining to say the least.

          • Linus

            Ho ho, touched a nerve with my reference to those roast beef eating Jersiais surrender monkeys, eh? The pot suddenly beats a retreat from the kettle and comes over all conciliatory when reminded of its own griminess.

            Voilà English diplomacy in a nutshell. Hurl as much excrement as you can at your enemy, but when some of it splashes back on you, start whining about how fond you are of them really, and can we please stop playing now because it’s no fun when you get one in the eye.

            So much for British fair play. And you wonder why you have no friends in Europe, and precious few elsewhere.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Not at all…I just got bored and thought I’d retreat gracefully. Shame you can’t.

          • Linus

            Funny how the English always feign boredom when they can’t think of an adequate response.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Why give an adequate response to an inadequate, pray?

          • Linus

            An inadequate pray? Or an inadequate prayer? Aren’t all prayers inadequate in the sense that you’re asking a non-existent being for favours it can’t grant you?

            Everything about the religious response is inadequate. Invisible gods, make believe messiahs … how much more inadequate can it get?

          • Grouchy Jack

            Good moaning, Fronchie.
            We did win the wars …..

          • Linus

            You won the war! You won the war!

            Do you think there’s still someone out there who doesn’t know?

            Sad Jack won the war! Single-handedly, all on his own!

            Well no, not really. Others won the war. Sad Jack is just riding on their coat-tails and taking credit for something he had no part in. He’s like those football fans who base a large part of their inflated self-image on the exploits of others. Sad Jack has won no wars. Gasbags never do. But you can be sure they’ll seize every opportunity to associate themselves with other people’s victories.

            So let’s get this straight (sic), shall we? Sad Jack won no war but wants everyone to think he did.

            Ah the lengths these basket case narcissists will go to in order to feel superior to the rest of the world.

  • Inspector General

    Perhaps King Richard would appreciate ‘diversity’, so in the procession may we have a breast feeding peasant, an unfortunate wretch with today’s version of leprosy, a crypple with the attytude, a blackamoor from far off who believeth England owes him a home, a man who lyeth with other men as the beast in the fyeld, a fellow who has sold his soule to the mandrake, a few dozen alms cases, a lazy student, a woman who ranteth and raveth because she is not content to be a wife and mother, a craftee butcher, a worker who is in a social party but does no work, a half formed child plucked from the womb, a priest who believeth not in God, a bishop who wears women’s cloths and does haft breasts, an archbishop who doeth wish to smite the old, a man who liveth as a woman with badly fitting wygg and standing in a pool of hys own pyss, a scimitar wielding Saracen red with the blood of Christians, a morderer with rights aplenty and certainly more than thee and me…

    No wonder the fellow needs to be buried well away from it all…

    • Pubcrawler

      I imagine most if not all of these can be found in Leicester.

      • Inspector General

        …as of course can DanJ0 be.

      • DanJ0

        “a man who liveth as a woman with badly fitting wygg and standing in a pool of hys own pyss”

        There’s a spare one of those in Gloucester, I’m told.

        • Inspector General

          Good grief! Really? One is forever impressed by your knowledge garnered from your club. You do realise that man-to-woman is the ultimate in homosexuality and all you fellows are at risk. What better way to grab a real man than to offer them an artificial quim, albeit in a boot ugly body, but then, what do expect when you are born male…

          • The ‘brothers of sisters of the Queer religion can muster a local representative, Inspector.
            Today Leicester is the most ethnically ‘diverse’ city in the UK. 50% of the population is White and 37% Asian. Christians total 32%, Muslims 18%, Hindus 15%, Sikhs 4%, Buddhists 0.4%, and Jews 0.1%. Some 23% identified with no religion and 6% did not respond to the 2011 census question. Over 70 languages and/or dialects are spoken.
            It shouldn’t be difficult to identify a candidate amongst all this variety.

          • DanJ0

            Don’t worry, your secret is safe with me. 😉

  • Inspector General

    One wonderſ if the long ſ has ſtood the teſt of time…

    • Inspector General

      It haſ !

    • Pubcrawler

      “wonderſ”

      Tsk! One never uses the long s at the end of a word.

      • Inspector General

        In earlier timeſ they really did ſo!

        • Pubcrawler

          If their schooling was of an inferior sort, perhaps.

          • If its anything like the religious instruction the good Inspector received, it will have been woefully deficient. Alternatively, he may have slept through the lessons.

          • Inspector General

            …and you can pyſſ off…

          • You should have those dentures refitted, Inspector.

  • How on earth can “designing a space to accommodate the tomb of King Richard III” cost £1.54million.
    Meanwhile the country’s smaller churches are being closed because their congregations are too small and the maintenance costs are too high.

    • Anton

      Health and Safety?

      • He was quite safe under the car park!

        • William Lewis

          He was hoping for a park and ride but couldn’t find a horse.

          • As a former King of England, he needed to be laid to rest in consecrated ground. When they built this car park didn’t they consider it was a burial site?

          • Anton

            At a guess they were simply unaware of it.

          • Unaware. Good term to describe Society. I add to that, Unconscious. Unconscious & Unaware of Reality, rather they exist within Perception. This is why they think Two Pineals and Two Fibonacci Spirals makes a Fleur de Lys. Instead much knowledge is enshrined.

    • Inspector General

      It’s a damn good investment EP. The returns on it should astonish…

  • Anton

    5000 people file past in a 4-hour queue on day 1:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-leicestershire-32014296

    • preacher

      Either there’s mass unemployment in Leicester, or there were an awful lot of ‘sickies’ about.

  • Peter Wood

    Your reminder that we once had vivid language that went as deep as the grave and reached also to the heights was very welcome. Post-modernism opposes necessary informality to formality but in not seeing the difference between formality and dignity rejects dignity.

  • len

    The final indignity for Richard III is to become ‘a tourist attraction’ ?.

    To entomb a Catholic within the reformed Church of England is not perhaps so surprising as we already have ensconced within the foundations of the Church of England the one person(besides Satan ) who has done the most harm to the Church namely the father of heresies’ Charles Darwin’.

    One could never accuse the C of E of being selective?.

  • vsscoles

    Too right, Your Grace, the ceremonies devised by the Diocese of Leicester are of pantomime quality compared to a state funeral, which the late King Richard might have received if he was to be interred in Westminster Abbey. But doing it this way means that the two Princes do not have to endure the indignity of having their wicked uncle close by for the rest of eternity.