Pope Francis communion Lutherans 2
Ecumenism

Is the Pope Anglican?

 

The American Spectator isn’t at all happy with the “liberal” Pope Francis and his “caricaturing of conservatives“. That’s Roman Catholic traditionalists, as opposed to the GOP-type conservative. “Under the lightweight leftism of Pope Francis, the question ‘Is the Pope Catholic?’ seems less and less rhetorical,” writes George Neumayr, as he showers this pope with negative invective: “heartless”, “nastiness”, “lack of charity”,

According to Pope Francis, the Synod on the Family, exposed “closed hearts which frequently hide even behind the Church’s teachings or good intentions, in order to sit in the chair of Moses and judge, sometimes with superiority and superficiality, difficult cases and wounded families”. He continued: “It was about trying to open up broader horizons, rising above conspiracy theories and blinkered viewpoints, so as to defend and spread the freedom of the children of God, and to transmit the beauty of Christian Newness, at times encrusted in a language which is archaic or simply incomprehensible.”

Of which Neumayr observes:

Previous popes, reading the remarks above, would conclude that the speaker held to the theology of liberal Protestantism. They would find the false contrasts between divine law and mercy, upon which Francis habitually relies, pitiful in their shallowness, and they would find his constant resort to straw-man fallacies and motive-mongering against traditionalists to be an unsightly blot upon the papacy. With a pope like this one, orthodox Catholics don’t need enemies.

..He is an open left-wing Catholic, perfectly comfortable with the de facto heretics within his own order and inside his special cabinet of cardinals. Cardinal Walter Kasper, whom Pope Francis has identified as one of his “favorite” theologians, and Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Germany, who is one of his closest advisers, stand to the left of Martin Luther.

To the left of Martin Luther? The implication is one of theological heresy. Following Luther’s nailing of his 95 Theses to the door of All Saints’ Church in Wittenberg in 1517, Pope Leo X condemned the ideas as “heretical, scandalous, false, offensive to pious ears and seductive of simple minds, and against Catholic truth”.

But it is to Luther that the current Pope turns for a further injection of “Christian Newness”. Not content with granting Communion to the divorced and remarried (ie, those living in a state of adultery), Pope Francis appears intent on admitting Protestants.

During a Q&A session during his visit to Rome’s Evangelical Lutheran church on Sunday, Pope Francis was asked directly whether a Lutheran and Roman Catholic married couple might “finally participate together in Communion”. The response, translated by Whispers on the Loggia, is a little rambling but quite revelatory:

The question on sharing the Lord’s Supper isn’t easy for me to respond to, above all in front of a theologian like Cardinal Kasper – I’m scared!

I think of how the Lord told us when he gave us this mandatum to “do this in memory of me,” and when we share the Lord’s Supper, we recall and we imitate the same as the Lord. And there will be the Lord’s Supper in the final banquet in the new Jerusalem – it’ll be there! But that will be the last one… in the meantime, I ask myself and don’t know how to respond – what you’re asking me, I ask myself the question. To share the Lord’s banquet: is it the goal of the path or is it the viaticum [etym. “to accompany you on the journey”] for walking together? I leave that question to the theologians and those who understand.

It’s true that in a certain sense, to share means that there aren’t differences between us, that we have the same doctrine – underscoring that word, a difficult word to understand. But I ask myself: but don’t we have the same Baptism? If we have the same Baptism, shouldn’t we be walking together? And you’re a witness of a likewise profound journey, a journey of marriage: itself a journey of family and human love and of a shared faith, no? We have the same Baptism.

When you feel yourself a sinner – and I’m much more of a sinner – when your husband feels he’s sinned, you go forward to the Lord and ask forgiveness; your husband does the same and also goes to the priest and asks absolution, [thus] I’m healed and kept alive in my Baptism. When you pray together, that Baptism grows, becomes stronger. When you teach your kids who is Jesus? Why did Jesus come? What did Jesus do for us?, you’re doing the same thing, whether in the Lutheran language or the Catholic one, but it’s the same.

The question [Pope draws question mark with his finger]…. The supper? There are questions that only if one is sincere with oneself and the little theological light one has, must be responded to on one’s own. See for yourself. This is my body. This is my blood. Do it in remembrance of me – this is a viaticum that helps us to journey on.

I once had a great friendship with a bishop who went a little wrong – 48 years old, he married [then had] two children. This made for great discomfort in him – a Catholic wife, Catholic children, him a bishop. He accompanied them on Sunday, his wife and children, to Mass, and then went to worship with his community…. It was a step toward his participation in the Lord’s Supper. Then he went forward, then the Lord called him [to realize] “I’m not right.”

I can only respond to your question with a question: what can I do with my husband that the Lord’s Supper might accompany me on my path? It’s a problem that each must answer [for themselves], but a pastor-friend once told me that “We believe that the Lord is present there, he is present” – you believe that the Lord is present. And what’s the difference? There are explanations, interpretations, but life is bigger than explanations and interpretations. Always refer back to your baptism – one faith, one baptism, one Lord: this Paul tells us; and then consequences come later.

I would never dare to give permission to do this, because it’s not my own competence. One baptism, one Lord, one faith. Talk to the Lord and then go forward. [Pauses] And I wouldn’t dare – I don’t dare say anything more.

Is the Pope Anglican?

The full context of this response is important: the denominational temptation is to excise a judicious quotation and hold it up, as Neumayr might, as proof of papal heresy and the need to bring back Benedict. And yet Pope Francis presented the Lutherans with a Communion chalice as a gift: he clearly inclines to the view that Lutheran participation in the Roman Eucharist is a matter for individual discernment rather than authoritative assertions of Canon Law: “It’s a problem that each must answer [for themselves].” And if Lutherans, why not Anglicans? As the Catholic Herald notes: “A proposal to allow Anglican spouses of Catholics to receive Holy Communion had been included in the Instrumentum Laboris of the synod.” If Anglican spouses, why not all Anglicans?

Of course, all Christians may participate in a Roman Catholic Mass (indeed, anyone may attend), but ordinarily only Roman Catholics may eat the flesh and drink the blood, and in many Roman Catholic churches the blood isn’t available at all. The Catechism of the Roman Catholic Church teaches:

Since Christ is sacramentally present under each of the species, communion under the species of bread alone makes it possible to receive all the fruit of Eucharistic grace. For pastoral reasons this manner of receiving communion has been legitimately established as the most common form in the Latin rite.

These “pastoral reasons” are basically ease of distribution and the protection of the wine-blood from profanation: you can easily pick up a dropped wafer, but getting red wine out of a carpet is like getting blood out of a stone. So, it’s wafers only. The Catechism goes on to note:

..the sign of communion is more complete when given under both kinds, since in that form the sign of the Eucharistic meal appears more clearly.

This is the usual form of receiving Holy Communion. There are diverse beliefs about the sacrament or mystery of the bread and wine, which are well known and need not be rehearsed again. Readers and Communicants are free to Google ‘Transubstantiation’, ‘Consubstantiation’, ‘Real Presence’, ‘Sacramental Union’, ‘Spiritual Presence’, ‘Receptionism’, ‘Memorialism’, ‘Symbolism’, etc., etc. And nor must one forget the Quaker/Salvation Army view that the Eucharist is not a necessary obligation at all.

It doesn’t help to hurl the term ‘blasphemy’ around, so we’ll move on from talk of the “Popish Mass”, the “abomination of Antichrist” and “the heinous errors of the papists”, and deal simply with the claim of the Roman Church to catholicity while enforcing exclusivity in Holy Communion – the very means by which all men and women may be stirred to friendship, love and concord. It is a symbol of brotherly and sisterly affection; of unfeigned love between members of the Body of Christ.

The Roman Catholic Church considers certain Christian groups deficient in holy orders: Anglicans (for example) “have not retained the proper reality of the eucharistic mystery in its fullness”. We “commemorate His death and resurrection in the Lord’s Supper”; we “profess that it signifies life in communion with Christ”. But commemoration, signs and symbolism are inadequate. Therefore Anglicans are barred for our own sakes from taking bread and wine in Roman Catholic churches.

And yet many Anglicans discern for themselves that they may participate fully in the Mass, and, indeed, do so freely and completely, even at St Peter’s in Rome. It is perfectly possible to know and understand the plainest meaning of every word in the ‘extraordinary form’ (Tridentine), and still approach the altar to kneel and receive the Host, and thank God for feeding us.

Of course, were Anglicans to disclose their heresy, no doubt the elements would be denied. Therefore participation is contingent upon deception. Yet the heart knows Christ. With Tertullian, writing against Marcion, Anglicans believe: “Jesus taking bread, and distributing it amongst his disciples, made it his body, saying ‘This is my body’; that is to say, a figure of my body.” And St Cyprian, the holy martyr, said: “Christ’s blood is showed in the wine, and the people in the water that is mixed with the wine: so that the mixture of the water to the wine signifieth the spiritual commixtion and joining of us to Christ.” And St John Chrysostom talked of “bread and wine for a similitude of his body and blood”.

And, further, St Augustine expounded a Cranmerian belief more clearly: “Therefore, as after a certain manner of speech, the sacrament of Christ’s body is Christ’s body, the sacrament of Christ’s blood is Christ’s blood’, but later ‘..by baptism we be buried with him into death’. He did not say ‘we signify burial’, but plainly that ‘we be buried’. So the sacrament of so great a thing is not called but by the name of the thing itself.”

This is not a blog disputation on Transubstantiation: it is a plea for the church that calls itself Catholic to welcome Christians of all denominations to participate fully in the Lord’s Supper, should they themselves wish. Roman Catholics are most welcome to the Anglican Eucharist, but there is no reciprocity. We are excluded, deficient, outcast. Our theological beliefs about bread and wine excommunicate us along with adulterers, practising homosexuals and abortionists. Our rejection is the “medicinal penalty” intended to invite us to repent, change our beliefs and amend our ways, when we have no reason to repent, change or amend.

It is indeed kind of the robust Roman Catholic hierarchy to care for Anglican souls to the extent that we are excommunicated. But, as Pope Francis suggests, it is a matter for individual discernment; a wrestle for our own consciences. Every man and woman repenting of his or her offences may yield wholly to God, and often come to the Holy Supper which our Lord and Saviour Christ has prepared. You may believe that you eat literally the flesh and drink the blood, but some of us eat and drink spiritually, remembering the death, grateful for the salvation, and looking for no other sacrifice at no priest’s hands for remission of sins.

At the end of the joint prayer service, Pope Francis said: “Just think of the persecutions, among we who have the same baptism. Think of all the people who were burned alive… We have to ask each other forgiveness for this, for the scandal of division.”

So, paraphrasing the words of Ronald Reagan to Mikahil Gorbachev: “Your Holiness, if you seek peace; if you seek unity for the Catholic Church; if you desire that all Christians may be one, come here to this altar. Your Holiness, open up the Lord’s Supper to all believers for us to feed on Him by faith. Your Holiness, tear down this wall of transubstantiation dogmatism.”

It is time for Rome to open up the Lord’s Supper.

  • Anton

    When I find myself in a Roman Catholic service on my travels I like to ask the priest beforehand politely if I may partake, explaining that I am a committed Christian but not a Roman Catholic; I accept and obey the answer without rancour. I have had Yesses and Noes.

    • Malcolm Smith

      I don’t even ask. It was Christ who invited me to His supper, not the priest.

      • wyclif

        I think that’s a bad idea and sets a bad precedent, and not because I’m a Roman Catholic. I’m an Anglican, and I don’t agree at all with the RCC’s eucharistic theology. But even if I did (and was still not a member of the RCC), I wouldn’t want to violate their discipline. When you are a guest in a friend’s house, you obey their rules even if they seem illogical.

        • CliveM

          I tend to agree.

          However whose house is it? The Lords or the Churches?

          • wyclif

            Of course I would agree that there is a sense, spiritually, that it is the Lord’s service and His table. But that’s not the only sense—there’s also an earthly, legal and canonical element that should also be observed.

          • dannybhoy

            This is also true!

          • CliveM

            Yes again I agree. If I’m honest I think churches in general have made a mess of communion/mass/lords supper.

        • Little Black Censored

          Not agreeing with the eucharistic theology might itself be a good reason not to receive communion (depending on what exactly you disagree with). Cardinal Kasper (I think) said that if you can conscientiously say Amen to the Canon of the Mass, there is nothing to prevent your receiving communion.

          • dannybhoy

            If the whole point of any ceremonial Communion is to dwell on the wonder of God become man, and as a man living a blameless life; and allowing that life to be betrayed, mocked, inflicted and crucified for all men including those complicit in His death,
            then no one who bows the knee and cries tears of guilt should be excluded on any grounds.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I don’t think so !

        • Cressida de Nova

          I used to think yours was just civilised reasonable response to this kind of situation. Sadly you are now a dinosaur …but a nice one:)

      • William Lewis

        Sounds like you are following the Pope’s advice then.

      • Albert

        This implies a separation between Christ, the community and you. I don’t think it works. Communion is never a private relationship between just you and Jesus.

    • Albert

      The priest does not have the authority to say yes.

      • Anton

        Not my problem!

        • Albert

          Indeed not! But you might have a problem with a minister allowing you to do something which he is not allowed to allow you to do, especially in such a sacred moment. But why do you want to receive communion at the Mass?

          • Anton

            When I am in the countryside in a predominantly Catholic nation there is no evangelical church and I regard the Mass as a genuine Communion involving Jesus Christ and other Trinitarian believers even though I don’t go along with every word.

            No I don’t have a problem with a minister who breaks his own rules to give me Communion. He is breaking no rule of mine and he is free to say no – I ask, I don’t push. I think it is you rather than me having the problem here.

          • Albert

            I definitely have a problem with it! If you want unity have unity in the faith or not at all.

          • Anton

            Nicene Creed will do me for doctrinal unity.

          • Albert

            And you are the authority to decide because…you’re the Pope?

          • Anton

            Heaven forbid – that’s not a job I want! As I said, it’s your problem, not mine. I ask politely and abide by the reply.

          • Albert

            But why ask at all then? He doesn’t have authority to say yes and you ignore that. Thus you ignore his authority. Wouldn’t it make more sense to just get on with it?

          • Anton

            He has authority to say yes (or no) to me.

          • Albert

            No he doesn’t. He has the authority to say no.

          • Anton

            Some of them evidently disagreed with you.

          • Albert

            Then they are contradicting themselves.

          • Anton

            As I have said, that isn’t my problem.

          • Albert

            But as it’s communion, it can’t just be about you, it’s about them too. So it is your problem.

          • Anton

            When it happens, I am sharing it with Trinitarian Christians; that is enough for me, and for the local congregation leader. It’s not enough for you but that’s not my problem.

          • Albert

            But do you not care about the network of relationships of which he is a part? And how do you know that being trinitarian is all that is necessary?

          • Anton

            It seems to me that you care less about the network of relationships if you wish to exclude me.

          • Albert

            You exclude yourself, but then determine to include yourself. It’s contradictory to me.

          • Anton

            I can live with that.

          • Albert

            I see…!

          • carl jacobs

            This isn’t anything more than a question. Just seeking to understand. For the record, I agree that a Protestant should never take Communion in a Catholic church. I would never do so myself. And I agree that no Catholic Priest should allow it. That said …

            The fault is clearly the fault of the Priest. What then in your understanding of the fault of Anton? I have a couple of ideas.

            1. Is he profaning something sacred?
            2. Is he tempting the Priest to do what the Priest should not?
            3. Something else?

          • Albert

            2.

          • Anton

            Who appointed you to speak for the people in those Catholic congregations in which their priest granted me Communion?

          • Albert

            No one. I’m just saying what I understand Catholic teaching and law to be.

          • Anton

            Fine. But I’m not a Catholic. And I ask the local Catholic representative.

          • Albert

            See my reply to Carl on this.

          • Anton

            See my reply to your reply to him.

          • Cressida de Nova

            The priest is a heretic.

          • Anton

            By Roman Catholic standards perhaps (Albert is fond of quoting minutiae of Catholic canon law so as to make black appear white and vice-versa, even though the idea of canon law is grotesque when the NT sets grace against law); but I’m not Roman Catholic.

          • Cressida de Nova

            By the teachings of the Catholic Church.They are not supposed to be based on individual decisions made by priest priests.Communion is for Catholics in the state of grace. Catholics not in a state of grace are not supposed to receive Communion.They must confess their sins first and must be resolved not to commit the same sins again.The Eucharist contains the Real Presence and one must be made worthy to accept it.

          • Anton

            But I’m not Catholic!

          • carl jacobs

            How does he offend them by his presence? I can think of far worse situations that I am sure occur every Sunday without comment. This whole argument vaguely reminds me of the Donatist controversy.

            Fill in the blank please.

            “What’s that Anton doing? He’s not Catholic. This makes me so angry because _____!”

          • Albert

            It’s not his presence – he’s very welcome. It’s the receiving of communion. It says on the one hand – I’m one with you, but I’m not. I respect you. But I don’t respect your rules.

          • CliveM

            In fairness if the Pope wavers, why shouldn’t Anton? Like so many big organisation there seems to be the formal policy, then their also seems to be an informal one.

          • Albert

            I’m not sure that he has wavered. But even if he has, he has no right to. He is bound by canon law. If he wants to change canon law he should do so.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Then you should convert to Catholicism..

          • Anton

            Why not Eastern Orthodoxy?

          • Cressida de Nova

            Eastern Orthodox priests are recognised by the Church as true priests whereas Anglican priests and Protestant vicars are not.
            E Orthodox priests can consecrate a host. The reason why they are present at the funerals of Popes and participate in the service. I cannot answer your question with certainty. Jack would know.

          • Anton

            God recognises all committed Christians as priests according to Rev 1:6 & 1 Peter 2:9. Christ said of Communion, “Do this each time you drinhk it in remembrance of me, ie each meal at a Christian table that includes (red) wine should be a Communion – something that almost no denomination heeds and utterly inconsistent, logistically speaking, with any requirement for an ordained priesthood to be involved.

          • Cressida de Nova

            There can be no unity with Protestants.

          • wyclif

            I think this is the correct attitude. The reason it’s proper to ask is out of courtesy, because you know it’s irregular. If it were regular, there would be no need to ask permission.

          • Little Black Censored

            This whole part of the discussion tends inevitably towards the Thought Police: people presuming to know what is in other people’s minds and telling them what they should do. For a rigid Roman Catholic everything is either forbidden or compulsory, so scared is he of “private judgement”.

          • Cressida de Nova

            A comment like this makes me feel so priviliged to be raised as a Catholic. There is a difference between being rigid and defined. There is a reasonable amount of flexibility in Catholicism never to be confused with a license to twist the truth for ones own ends.

      • Cressida de Nova

        Correct. There are too many priests alarmingly who have no understanding of the crux of Catholicism.

  • dannybhoy

    I think this is wonderful, I think it is a sign that God is pulling together the Church, the Bride of Christ, and perhaps God will pour out a fresh anointing of His Holy Spirit on the Church to draw more into salvation..
    So many Christians are now praying earnestly for themselves and for their churches and their nations.
    God’s holy love triumphs over our theological squabbles.

  • carl jacobs

    Newsvendor’s Voice: Read all about it! Read all about it! Archbishop turns into Episcopalian!

    (Mix through to Archbishop’s front gate. His fellow moderator is being interviewed by obvious plainclothes man.)

    Inspector: Mr Scott – you knew Archbishop Cranmer quite well I believe?

    Scott: Oh yes quite well.

    Inspector: Yes.

    Wife: He was my fellow weblog moderator.

    Inspector: Yes. And, er, he never showed any inclination towards being an Episcopalian before this happened?

    Which was precisely my first thought after reading this post. It is a classic Episcopalian argument. On the basis of a common baptism, we are supposed to share an external ritual where each man is free to discern for himself what that ritual means. It is an argument for relationship above truth based on the premise that truth is incidental to unity while relationship is essential. And it even goes so far as to dismiss the doctrinal disagreement with a back-handed gesture.

    It doesn’t help to hurl the term ‘blasphemy’ around, so we’ll move on from talk of the “Popish Mass”, the “abomination of Antichrist” and “the heinous errors of the papists” …

    Doesn’t help what? Unity through relationship? It certainly doesn’t. But those are the very questions that must be answered whether they help unity or not.

    • Anton

      Nice dialogue. Try this one, written (probably by Erasmus) a few years after the death of Pope Julius II, who continued to lead martial campaigns after his election:

      http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/lansing/classes/hist4b/materials/Week7.pdf

      It is a dialogue at the pearly gates between Julius and St Peter, who is declining to let Julius into heaven, and is presumably the origin of many subsequent “pearly gates” jokes. Might it be updateable for some more recent bishops of Rome?

      • carl jacobs

        Surely you recognize that dialogue. It was shameless plagiarism. Only the names were changed to implicate the guilty.

  • Martin

    Perhaps the question is, “what is a Christian”. The Bible says it is one who by God’s act is raised from death to life through no action of their own or any other on this Earth. Seems to me that Rome has a different idea.

    Likewise I’d say that Rome doesn’t celebrate the Lord’s Supper since their Mass is a pretence of real presence and sacrifice necessitating an altar.

    Nor is their baptism a baptism since it baptises those who have no say in the matter and have not confessed their faith.

  • Busy Mum

    No Protestant worth the name would grovel to be readmitted to the RC mass, refusal to submit to which led to the Reformers’ deaths.

    • CliveM

      Who said grovel?

      • Busy Mum

        Me! But that’s exactly what it sounds like….

  • Albert

    I don’t really get all this. When I was an Anglican, I didn’t want to receive Holy Communion in the Catholic Church.

    • Cressida de Nova

      You are sounding terribly normal Albert. I take it all back:)

      • Albert

        Wow! Thank you (I think.) But, I’m just where I always am!

        • Cressida de Nova

          Jack is very very ill at the moment. Please light a candle and pray to Our Lady for him and his family. You have very big shoes to fill here on this blog for a while Albert.

          • Albert

            Cressida, I’m really sorry to hear that. Where is this info to be found? Of course I will pray for him.

          • Cressida de Nova

            I just thought I should tell you being one of the few Catholics here… I decided to take this opportunity while we are having a dialogue. I’m not sure if he will be comfortable about my telling you this but I just thought someone kind should know.

          • Albert

            Thank you Cressida. A little surfing this morning has shown the odd comment indicating people know this. I’ll keep him in my prayers.

          • I would appreciate this a great deal Albert. Thank you and God Bless you.

          • Some people do know or suspect I am not too well at the present, Cresssie, but not the nature of my condition. You are a kind and generous woman and I thank you for this post to Albert.

            Carl is aware of my illness – he asked and I sent him a private message. He too is praying for me. God listens to all honest petitions, even those from invincibly ignorant heretics :o). Try to settle your differences with him.

          • CliveM

            Happy Jack

            FYI when you post a comment, if people (like me) have set up their discuss account in a certain way, they automatically get e-mailed a copy of the message (as I use a smart phone it’s saves me scrolling), so I (and probably others) are aware of your illness.

            I decided not to say anything as I knew you wanted it private.

            Be assured of my inadequate, Protestant prayers!

          • Does this mean people also know my wife is of French origin on her father’s side? This would be waaay too much for Jack.

          • CliveM

            Yes, the truth is out.

            Another reason for prayer support. :0)

          • Sam

            Dude

            Rest assured, there’s nothing wrong with a “significant other”whose half French…

          • Jack knows this, Sam. But if Linus ever found out …..

  • David

    I am a conservative, protestant Anglican. Now if I found myself on an island without any Protestant churches then I would, having declared myself and politely sought permission from the priest in charge, happily sit through a Catholic service and mingle socially afterwards. But I would not consider it appropriate to partake of the Mass. Why ? For two reasons. Firstly because I would not want to give offence to those I respect, and they are my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ after all. Secondly I would not want to compromise my sincere beliefs concerning the nature of The Lord’s Supper.
    With The Kingdom opposed increasingly in the west, it is imperative that we must learn to cooperate, because of the huge amount that unites us, and not be forced to become artificially and unnecessarily distant, let alone antagonistic.

    • Coniston

      I believe that on the continent, if there is no Anglican church in the area, Anglicans can be given permission (by the local RC bishop?) to receive communion in a RC church. I have been to retreats in England, not in a RC venue, given by a RC priest (often very well known ones) and attended by Christians of several denominations. We were all usually invited to take communion by the priest.

      • dannybhoy

        Has to be what one feels most comfortable with, as long as the Lord Jesus is central to the proceedings.
        Personally I like simplicity. I could say “as it would have been in the upper room”, but I don’t know that for sure. The trappings that go with the Anglican communion and the Catholic mass does nothing for my sense of the Lord’s presence.
        I’m not saying either are wrong; some people like this formality. I don’t, and even more heretical, I don’t see the need to celebrate Communion every week.

        • Anton

          There are scriptural grounds for suggesting that every meal around a Christian table at which red wine is served should include a Communion. (“Do this every time you drink it, in remembrance of me.”) So more like several times per week, at home! And obviously that is incompatible with reserving its administration for an ordained priesthood.

          • dannybhoy

            Yes, from 1 Corinthians 11 it sounds as though the practice was for the church to come together with their own food and eat communally..
            ” 20 So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, 21 for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. 22 Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I praise you? Certainly not in this matter!”

            and then Paul goes into the need to eat the bread and wine worthily..
            I prefer to call it “the Lord’s Supper” rather than Communion.
            From my limited participation in Passover meals and other Jewish festivals I would think it is far more likely that these early Church ceremonies would have been far more relaxed than we have made them.

        • chiefofsinners

          The basis of communion every week is twofold:
          1) the first day of the week being known in the early church as the Lord’s day and
          2) Acts 20 verse 7
          As with most doctrines, you can either wriggle your way around it or obediently take it at face value.

      • David

        Oh that’s interesting, thank you, I hadn’t realised.
        If I was invited to partake, along with everyone else, then of course I’d accept, as otherwise it would be churlish and ungrateful.

      • Arden Forester

        This is correct. Pope Benedict re-iterated this. However, it is on the basis that the Anglican believes in the Real Presence and the nature of communion at the Mass. Pope Francis is currently highlighting the fact that ALL Christians are united in Baptism (assuming it has been done in the name of the Trinity). Unity is a Dominical desire.

        Unity is difficult but not impossible. Nothing is impossible for God. We must be moved by our consciences in a true manner. Impaired communion is far better than no communion between Christians.

        • Cressida de Nova

          Oh really. And what about being in the state of grace before receiving Communion. Believing in the real Presence is not enough. Anglicans do not believe in the Real Presence and sadly a lot of practising Catholics don’t either….not surprising considering the misinformed priests who are misguiding their flock.
          Impaired Communion is a grievous sin.

          • Arden Forester

            What people believe is what they believe (hopefully). It’s a bit un-Christian of you to cast aspersions about belief. Too much is going on now about traducing others’ consciences. Pope Francis is quite right to examine these elements of communion whether full, inter or impaired.

            Let he (or she) who is without sin cast the first stone. If you are a sinless person no doubt you have the correct quantity of stones.

          • Cressida de Nova

            It is not a question of being sinless. It is a matter of authenticity and integrity. The politically correct approach of not being judgemental about anything is dishonest and certainly not Catholic. The teachings on receiving Communion are very clear. They may not suit the current liberal secular approach to life and the subversive undermining forces in the Church but Catholicism is based on truth and an unchanging truth. It is disgraceful to think any Catholic would advocate the receiving of the Host unless the person was a Catholic and most importantly in a state of grace. Anyone advocating otherwise is an enemy of the Church.

  • steroflex

    I am a convert to Catholicism from Anglicanism.
    I lived in Africa for a time and since there was no Anglican presence then, I went to Mass. I never took Communion – out of good manners.
    When I was looking at the Catholic Church after Vatican II I never took Communion there either – out of good manners.
    If you want to be a Catholic, then be one. It is actually very much like being an Anglican in the 1950s. Indeed our own priest is a convert.
    To my mind, the Anglican Church is whatever you want it to be. There were, I seem to remember, people who thought that Morning Prayer and Communion were pretty much the same sort of thing. When I was ordained, one ordinand refused to wear a surplice because it was Papist.

  • Inspector General

    Bravo Cranmer!

    The Inspector is most keen that churches should be open to all who subscribe to the Judeo-Christian God (other gods are available, unfortunately, but not as good). No man should take it upon himself to deny entry or participation to another Christian. What would Jesus say. It wouldn’t be pleasant, would it?Different approaches to worship are understandable, but not insurmountable. In the Inspector’s case, he identifies as a Roman Catholic, but finds transubstantiation a ridiculous notion, and from the same bag of spookery as a universe created in six days, a literal Adam, forbidden apples and the first woman and her cunning snake pal. Indeed, such imaginative nonsense was all we had in an age before science. It lasted a long, long time. A thousand years later, they were still making speculative maps of the world with ‘here be monsters’ notated in the corners.

    We also had the four humours too then – black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. And the four elements – earth, fire, water and air. So we mustn’t be too hard on transubstantiation. It wasn’t alone in the mad house. And when compared to the medieval practice of draining blood from the seriously ill, it is positively benign an idea. Still, there is no longer a place for it, just as there is no longer a place for enforced celibacy in the RCC. Having said that, if any individual holds the opposite view on those two, well done them. Just don’t expect the rest of us to go along with you.

    We need a new understanding of what is. How much Frank will achieve towards that understanding is the question…

    • Anton

      Jesus believed in a literal Adam, according to the same sources that we get all other information about him from.

      • Inspector General

        Far too woolly a statement, that man…

        • Anton

          Then is “Dear Inspector, you are making it up as you go along” clear enough?

          • Inspector General

            Oh yes, that will do.

      • Albert

        How do you know this?

        • Anton

          Luke traces Jesus’ genealogy back to Adam, in chapter 3. But I might have done better to say St Paul, in view of Romans 5:12.

          • Inspector General

            Oh dear. You can’t do any better than that then, Anton?

            Hmmm, one has already used ‘woolly’ tonight…

          • Anton

            Luke traces Jesus’ genealogy to Adam. Luke is one of the four sources that tell us about Jesus. If you are going to start slicing and dicing Luke’s gospel, you had better tell us what your criteria are.

          • Inspector General

            Let’s just say the Inspector believes that Luke meant well by involving Adam. But that’s the extent of belief when it comes to Adam…

          • Anton

            So you get to decide which bits of Luke are true and which aren’t?

          • Inspector General

            Think of it more as accept or reject.

          • Martin

            IG

            Is your Bible somewhat shredded?

          • Inspector General

            Frankly, Martin, you are beyond help…

          • Martin

            IG

            I have sufficient help.

          • Anton

            OK. On what basis, please?

          • Inspector General

            Discernment. It’s either that or swallowing blind dogma. By the way, one has some magic beans if you are selling the family cow…

          • Anton

            And on what basis do you discern?

          • Inspector General

            Now, about your cow…

          • Albert

            “True” is a difficult word. If I ask “Did Richard III say ‘My kingdom for a horse?'” then whether that is true or not depends on the context. It’s not historically true, but a student of Shakespeare would rightly say that it is true.

            So, the question surely is “What is the truth that God is intending to speak to us through the scripture?”

          • Anton

            “True” is a difficult word.

            You have to be very highly educated indeed to find the notion of truth difficult.

          • Inspector General

            Black is a colour, it is true. Black is an absence of colour, it is true.

          • Albert

            And your answer to my Shakespeare example is…

          • Anton

            Irrelevant!

          • Albert

            Okay, so is it true that Richard III said that?

          • Anton

            True in the world of Shakespeare’s play. Almost certainly untrue in the real world. I recommend a trip to the real battlefield (some miles from the long-believed site) and the point where the tiny gold pig brooch almost certainly denoting where one of his bodyguard – and hence Richard, as they charged together – fell. I did this over the summer, inspired by his reburial.

          • Albert

            Exactly. True according to one kind of language, and not true according to another. Is it true psychologically? That is, is Shakespeare helping us to understanding something about human nature, and what happens in desperation?

          • Anton

            True psychologically? What on earth do you mean?

            Christ told stories too and nobody believes that the characters in his parables existed, but we know that they are parables.

          • Albert

            Quite. But when scripture doesn’t use the word “parable” we can surely recognise them as such?

          • Anton

            Please see my comment just written to you elsewhere on this thread about science and Genesis.

          • Anton

            Unlikely; I’ll play your game but do you consider that you are making any point?

          • Albert

            It’s true in one context, but not in another. This is what Wittgenstein called language games. You need to know which language game is being played (i.e. what type of language it is).

          • Anton

            Which is generally settled by considering how the words would have been understood by the people they were originally written for, rather than professional philosophers.

          • Albert

            Historical sources don’t have to fall into black and white like that. Ancient sources are particularly interesting because the weave symbolic and historical elements together.

          • Anton

            That seems arbitrary to me. Biblical examples? Also, which figures in Luke’s genealogy of Christ do you take to be symbolic and which flesh-and-blood, and why, please?

          • Albert

            No, it’s arbitrary to take one kind of language type and make all language fit that one. I don’t know the answers to your questions, but I can’t see why anything much hangs on them. As Newman wrote, while still an Evangelical: The New Testament is the record of Christianity, not Christianity itself.

          • Anton

            I think a great deal hangs on whether there is a transition from real to symbolic figures in Christ’s genealogy, raising questions of how to decide, and how the inability not to sin is transmitted down the generations. But thank you for a straightforward reply.

          • Albert

            But why do these points hang on the historicity of individuals?

          • Anton

            How do you think the inability not to sin is transmitted?

          • Albert

            The same way you do – passes through the generations.

          • Anton

            If it started with one man and it passes down the generations then Adam has to have been flesh and blood.

          • Albert

            But does that mean we need to know the names of everyone in the meantime?

          • Anton

            It means that we need to know that we all have Adam in our family lines. The Bible assures us of that elsewhere.

          • Albert

            But we could do that without knowing all those names. Those genealogies do not lead to me.

          • Anton

            I don’t see what you are driving at here; sorry.

          • Albert

            If I hold that the first man sinned and that through that, sin spread to the entire human race, then what does it matter if I know all the generations in between?

          • Anton

            It doesn’t; my point of concern is about a symbolic Adam.

          • Albert

            I think we’ve been at crossed purposes then. How about that? We seem to agree!

          • Anton

            Good show!

          • Inspector General

            The Inspector has copyrighted ‘Good show!’

            You will be billed shortly…

          • Anton

            I’m wiling to pay the estate of PG Wodehouse if you will do the same…

          • Albert

            I think my answer to Romans would be the same as what I have said to Carl. The genealogies, as we know, contain gaps, curiosities, differences and symbolic elements, as I recall. I don’t think they are intended to serve the purpose you are putting on them.

          • Anton

            Paul goes out of his way to say “one man” in reference to Adam and I regard it as twistery to deny from that that Adam is one man. But never mind about that; at what point in the genealogy of Christ in Luke 3 do you move from flesh-and-blood to symbolic figures, and why there?

          • Albert

            I’m not denying a first man (as I’ve said). I don’t know the answer to the second question. I guess I would compare it with the OT. But it’s a mistake to think a text like that is all either literally true or literally false. Language doesn’t work that way.

          • Anton

            We all know that God’s hand or arm as written in the OT are symbolic. But that is not the same as the Adam issue.

          • Albert

            What is the Adam issue? What actually do you think we need to believe about Adam? That he was called Adam? That he was in a garden? What?

          • Anton

            I suggest that you reread Genesis and ponder those things anew in your heart.

          • Albert

            I was asking your opinion.

          • Anton

            You ask me five questions in five short sentences and ask me to believe that you simply want my opinion? I find that hard to believe.

          • Albert

            Let me put it differently. I’m trying to work out what you mean when you say you believe X (Adam was real in this case). I believe it too, if you mean there was a first man who sinned and we all have original sin as a consequence. But when he was called Adam I doubt. Whether he did this in 4004 BC, whether he did this in a garden with a talking snake by eating some fruit, well that seems as literal to me as that God walked in the garden and they heard the sound of him.

          • Anton

            4004BC is based on the false assumption that YOM has to mean 24 hours rather than era; it cannot mean 24 hours in Job 15:23 & 18:20, for instance. I take as much of it as materially as I can and seek to reconcile it with the best contemporary science. More is gained by doing that than defaulting to other views that shower derision on each other.

          • Albert

            I wasn’t showering derision, I was genuinely trying to get you to say what you think it means and what a Christian ought to accept. I was doing this by saying what I didn’t think it meant.

          • Anton

            I wasn’t suggesting that you were showering derision; I had in mind the heated arguments between young-earthers and secular scientists.

          • Albert

            Okay, sorry. Do you see my question now then? I’m trying to work out what you think Genesis 2-3 means and what we should believe. At one level, I’m not clear that we are really disagreeing, that’s all.

          • Anton

            OK, cards on the table:

            Yom in Genesis – eras

            Adam and Eve – real flesh and blood

            Tree of the knowledge of good and evil – not sure

          • dannybhoy

            Are there separate words for ‘eras’ or ‘aeons’ or ‘ages’?
            I think not.

          • chiefofsinners

            Here’s a text that I find helpful:
            “Let God be true and every man a liar.”
            First amongst “every man” is me: my own perceptions, my temptation to be swayed by the secularist scientist and the weakness of my faith.

          • Anton

            There is scriptural warrant for YOM = ERA (Job 15:23), and also a greater proportion of scientists are Christians than in the general population – we see the beauty of the laws of physics and understand that the best explanation for that is an intelligent Creator. That isn’t the same as Christianity but is fully consistent with it in a way that as no-creator paganism isn’t.

          • chiefofsinners

            Eras do not have mornings and evenings.

          • Anton

            That’s an interpretive translation. The Hebrew often translated as “there was evening and there was morning – the second day” can equally well mean “there was a
            disorderly mixture and there was control – the second era.” (Ancient Hebrew
            writes only the consonants, so that different vowels produce words of different
            meaning.) The latter translation gels nicely with the move from chaos (in Genesis 1:2) to order. more likely is that this is an untranslatable Hebrew double meaning.

          • chiefofsinners

            All highly improbable when the Genesis account begins with the creation of light, the separation of the light from the darkness, the light being called day and the darkness being called night, and the morning and the evening – the first day. Genesis 1 v 3-5.

          • Anton

            How come there was evening and morning before the sun and moon appear in Gen 1:24?

          • chiefofsinners

            Because light was created on the first day.

          • Anton

            But evening and morning involve the sun.

          • chiefofsinners

            The sun and moon were created to rule the day and night. The light which lit the earth for the first three days was already created and separated on day 1. Presumably it was like the heavenly Jerusalem “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” Rev 21 v 23.

          • Inspector General

            From the Haines manual ‘Genesis’?

          • chiefofsinners

            Jesus wants you for a Sunbeam, inspector.

          • Inspector General

            From the Haines manual ‘Chrysler Sunbeam’

          • chiefofsinners

            Oh that you might Dodge the works of Satan, share in the Triumph of Christ and gain a Seat in heaven.

          • Inspector General

            If you believe creation was managed in six days, you might want to know the Inspector has been gifted some magic beans. Now, does your family have a cow over which you have plenipotentiary powers over it’s ownership…

          • chiefofsinners

            What God worth believing in would be unable to create the universe in 6 days? He could have done it in 6 seconds if He chose.

          • Anton

            How about divine Fiat?

          • chiefofsinners

            I owned a Fiat once. ‘Divine’ is not the adjective that springs to mind.

          • Anton

            I learnt to drive when I was 11, in the playground of the school where my mother taught, with her instructing from the passenger seat of her Fiat, at weekends. Private property, entirely legal – and great fun.

          • Anton

            Why then was there evening as well as morning, ie why did this “other light” sometimes go dark, before the sun became manifest in Gen 1:24?

          • chiefofsinners

            You are really asking why God created day and night. We are not told why.

          • Anton

            I’m not asking why, I’m asking when.

          • chiefofsinners

            On the first day. When He created light and separated it from darkness.

          • Anton

            Let me clarify. how come it got lighter and darker several times before the sun manifest?

          • chiefofsinners

            Because God had created light and separated it from darkness and called the light day and the darkness night and ordained that there should be morning and evening. As described in Genesis 1 verses 3-5.

          • Anton

            But by what means, before the sun manifest? You have described a speculative explanation of light before the sun by making analogy with the New Jerusalem, but the analogy fails at this point because there is no night in the New Jerusalem NJ (Rev 22:5).

          • chiefofsinners

            I do not know by what means, but I know what the Bible says. It says that there was light and dark, night and day before the sun was created. It puts the kibosh on your theory of eons. The rest is speculation, as you say.

          • Anton

            Well, we both have problems in reconciling the inerrant text with other things we know, albeit different problems for each of us. Let it stand there and I gladly affirm unity in Christ.

          • chiefofsinners

            I have no problem reconciling God’s word with anything I know. God’s word is all I know.

          • Anton

            In 2 Sam 23:4 you find “the sun rose”. Does that verse imply that the sun moves round the earth?

          • chiefofsinners

            Good question. The Hebrew verb translated ‘rise’ means to come forth. It’s an example of everyday speech being figurative and God employing the term which would be widely understood – and still is.

          • Anton

            As some parts of Genesis 1 might be. You say that God’s word is all you know, but you also bring to it your knowledge of the meaning of words.

          • chiefofsinners

            I do indeed need to know about words in order to understand God’s word. That is a tautology. But I must interpret all things in the light of God’s word, rather than interpreting the word in light of the world. In the beginning was the Word.

          • Anton

            It is the world that taught you the meaning of words before you ever came to holy scripture, although let the latter take priority in meaning by all means.

          • chiefofsinners

            Words have no meaning of themselves. They carry meaning. Truths and untruths depending how they are combined.
            God’s words are truth. All other words are to be judged in the light of God’s word.

          • Albert

            That last line suggests we are not far from agreement!

          • Albert

            And how do you know those things are symbolic?

          • Anton

            What is the point of your question?

          • Albert

            To find out how you know those things are symbolic.

          • Martin

            Anton

            Jesus also says:

            And Pharisees came up to him and tested him by asking, Is it lawful to divorce one’s wife for any cause? He answered, Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate. They said to him, Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away? He said to them, Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.
            (Matthew 19:3-9 [ESV] (emphasis mine)

            One wonders what the phrase “he who created them from the beginning made them male and female” other than refer to the creation on the 6th day of Adam and his wife.

          • Albert

            I suspect it refers to the fact that from the beginning human beings were male and female.

          • Martin

            Albert

            You suspect?

          • Albert

            Okay, I’m sure that’s what it means! (Sorry, too much colloquialism!)

          • sarky

            I always thought ‘adam’ was a mistranslation and that the aramaic said ‘mankind’ ???

          • Albert

            Or at least “man”, yes. To be honest though sarky, I’m a bit puzzled as to why all this is so important to some of my co-religionists.

          • sarky

            It matters if you take the bible to be the actual word of god and not just a collection of allegories. To some if the latter is true their faith has no foundation.

          • dannybhoy

            One of your best and incisive comments Sarky!

          • Inspector General

            Didn’t know the blighter had it in him, you know!

          • Albert

            Yes, I agree. But it seems clear that no one take the entire Bible as literal truth. Everyone must accept that some of it is allegorical.

          • Anton

            “Literal”? I think you mean “material”. It’s a literary account.

          • Albert

            No, I think I mean literal – i.e. that the words literally, rather than figuratively express the truth.

          • carl jacobs

            Genesis presents as history.

          • Albert

            Always? God literally walked in the garden?

          • carl jacobs

            One anthropomorphization does not change the nature of the book. There is no obvious textual division between “allegory” and “history” in Genesis. If you start down this road, you will eventually take down all five books of Moses. Don’t tell me this isn’t true. I’ve seen it happen. But if Abraham (for example) didn’t exist, then there is no Abrahamic covenant and the whole of Christianity begins to unravel. You will end up with 19th century Liberalism trying to rescue Christianity from its own metaphysics.

          • Albert

            You may have seen it happen, but it does not mean it is inevitable. Texts just don’t have to work the way the modern mind requires.

          • carl jacobs

            You differentiation between history and allegory will come down to special pleading. And the only reason you are doing this is to accommodate the materialism inherent in evolution. You aren’t willing to challenge the high priests of modernity and their blatant assumptions of continuity.

          • Albert

            No I’m not. I would appeal to ancient fathers who, without knowing evolution by natural selection nevertheless don’t accept Genesis has to be 100% literally true. My position is ancient. Yours is motivated by modern anxieties.

          • carl jacobs

            Then tell me where in Genesis the narrative becomes accurate history. And do so on the basis of the text.

          • Albert

            I don’t know. What follows from not knowing?

          • carl jacobs

            Well, when people start talking to you about JEPD and how there was no encounter on My Sinai, then you will know what follows. I can point you to an Anglican priest in the US who considers himself orthodox but can’t identify a single event in the Old Testament that he thinks actually happened. He’s very enamored with “modern scholarship” doncha know. Yet he defends the resurrection because he knows that event must be historical. Don’t ask him what “modern scholarship” thinks about the resurrection. He doesn’t want to know.

          • Anton

            Hey Carl, the best answer to the JEPD documentary hypothesis liberal drivel is to point people to a constructive alternative for how the text got written, as proposed by the aptly named PJ Wiseman (d.
            1948).> Wiseman recognised that Genesis is a compiled sequence of ancient texts that
            had originally been written on stone tablets. Many stone tablets from
            Mesopotamia dated as old as Abraham and Noah have been found, and they have
            their own writing conventions, which Wiseman recognised within Genesis. The
            retaining of those conventions by the compiler – presumably Moses, who also
            wrote the last part set in Egypt – shows that he copied faithfully. Moses added
            the names in his own time of places which had changed name, but that is all. We
            even know who each tablet had been written by (or on behalf of), because the
            earlier, Mesopotamian parts of Genesis each end (not begin!) with the phrase
            “These are the toledoth of…” and toledoth means “historical origins”.
            (For example, “these are the toledoth
            of Jacob” in Genesis 37:2; our chapter divisions, which are mediaeval, do not
            match this insight.) Each section runs up close to the death of the man named
            but never reaches it, and each section gives information which only that man
            could have known or reliably found out.

          • Albert

            I think pretty well all of it is based on real events and real people. But I think that it is expressed in a theological way so as to convey ideas about God.

          • dannybhoy

            ” I can point you to an Anglican priest in the US who considers himself orthodox but can’t identify a single event in the Old Testament that he thinks actually happened. ”
            We have Anglican clergy who have similar views..

          • Busy Mum

            So true – the vast majority of ‘Christians’ base their faith – and hope for eternal life – on the most incredible Biblical ‘story’, whilst doubting everything else recorded therein.

          • sarky

            If the foundation of your faith is so shaky that you think it will unravel If viewed through modern eyes, then shouldn’t you then question that faith?
            Or, prehaps, maybe you should accept that the bible can’t possibly know what modern science does, but that in itself does not matter. If the bible is like a map that guides you through life, then does the fact that a few of the landmarks have changed actually make a difference to the journey?

          • dannybhoy

            Another good one!
            You’re on fire tonight Sarky.

          • sarky

            Fish for dinner 😉

          • dannybhoy

            Me too but it hasn’t had the same effect as yours.
            Must have been something in the batter,,,

          • sarky

            Ha ha all that grease has dislodged something.

          • Inspector General

            Let’s make the bastard a priest, what!

          • sarky

            Good idea, I doubt one more atheist in the fold would make a difference.

          • Inspector General

            Your IQ has apparently exceeded 100 tonight. Are you copying and pasting again, you cheat…

          • sarky

            For once, no 😉

          • carl jacobs

            [Facepalm]

            This is an argument about the nature of Scripture, sarky. It has to do with authority. I would never have this argument with you.

          • sarky

            And while you bicker away with each other over ‘authority’, christianity falls off a cliff.
            Nobody outside the church gives a toss about authority, however, they do care about evolution and why the church, despite the evidence, denies it. (Cue what evidence?.denial, denial, denial)

          • carl jacobs

            If you don’t care about the argument, then why did you stick your nose into the middle of it – managing only to:

            1. Demonstrate you don’t understand what is going on.
            2. Insult me in the process.

          • sarky

            I care very much, especially when certain groups are pushing for creationism to be taught as truth to my kids.

          • Busy Mum

            Evolution IS taught as truth to my children. Biblical creation is taught as one of many religious myths….and this is in a CofE school that has to tick the boxes for OFSTED.
            There are probably groups who push for creation and evolution to be treated fairly and equally by the national curriculum…I wish there were a few round my way…but there is no way the government will allow that. Christian schools have been closed down for teaching creation as truth so you really do not need to worry about your children – the govt is totally on your side.

          • carl jacobs

            sarky

            That has not the first thing to do with the argument between Albert and me.

          • Phil R

            This may be helpful Sarky

            This is by William Craig Lane and outlines the areas of fact in the Theory of Evolution and the areas of doubt.

            I don’t agree with all of his interpretations, but it does give an interesting Christian perspective on the evidence so far.

            We are not in denial. Much of Evolution Theory is certainly not (yet you may say?) fact.

            Phil

            1) Why is the theory of evolution so widely accepted in mainstream science?
            I think the short answer is that it’s the best naturalistic theory
            we’ve got. If, as a result of methodological naturalism, the pool of
            live explanatory options is limited to naturalistic hypotheses, then, at
            least until recently, the neo-Darwinian theory of biological evolution
            driven by the mechanisms of genetic mutation and natural selection was,
            as Alvin Plantinga puts it, the only game in town. Rival naturalistic
            hypotheses could not equal its explanatory power, scope, and
            plausibility. No matter how improbable it seems, no matter how
            enormously far the explanatory power of its mechanisms must be
            extrapolated beyond the testable evidence, no matter the lack of
            evidence for many of its tenets, it has to be true because there isn’t
            any other naturalistic theory that comes close.

            It’s helpful to
            remind ourselves that the word “evolution” is an accordion-word that can
            be expanded or contracted to suit the occasion. The evolutionary
            biologist Francisco Ayala points out that the word “evolution” can be
            used to mean at least three different things:

            1.
            The process of change and diversification of living things over time.
            It is in this sense that biologists say that evolution is a fact. But
            obviously this fact, so stated, is innocuous and would not be disputed
            even by the most fundamentalist Young Earth Creationist.

            2.
            Reconstruction of evolutionary history, showing how various lineages
            branched off from one another on the universal tree of life.

            3.
            The mechanisms which account for evolutionary change. Darwin appealed to
            natural selection operating on random variations in living things in
            order to explain the adaptedness of organisms to their environment.
            With the development of modern genetics, genetic mutations came to
            supplement the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection by supplying an
            explanation for the variations on which natural selection works.
            Accordingly, we can call this hypothesis “neo-Darwinism.”

            Now
            evolution in the senses of (2) and (3) is not an established fact,
            despite what is said and believed in popular culture. According to
            Ayala, “The second and third issues—seeking to ascertain evolutionary
            history as well as to explain how and why evolution takes place—are
            matters of active scientific investigation. Some conclusions are
            well-established. Many matters are less certain, others are
            conjectural, and still others. . . remain largely unknown” (Darwin and Intelligent Design).
            With respect to (2) Ayala emphasizes, “Unfortunately, there is a lot,
            lot, lot to be discovered still. To reconstruct evolutionary history,
            we have to know how the mechanisms operate in detail, and we have only
            the vaguest idea of how they operate at the genetic level, how genetic
            change relates to development and to function. . . . I am implying that
            what would be discovered would be not only details, but some major
            principles” (Where Darwin Meets the Bible). As for (3), he cautions, “The mechanisms accounting for these changes are still undergoing investigation. . . . The evolution of organisms is universally accepted by biological scientists, while the mechanisms of
            evolution are still actively investigated and are the subject of debate
            among scientists”(“The Evolution of Life: An Overview”).

            Once
            you realize that the word “evolution” can be used to refer to any of
            these three aspects, you begin to understand how misleading it can be
            when it is asserted that evolution is an established, universally
            recognized fact.

            Indeed, there are very good grounds for
            scepticism about the neo-Darwinian mechanisms behind evolutionary
            change. The adequacy of these mechanisms is today being sharply
            challenged by some of the top evolutionary biologists. In fact, I was
            intrigued recently to learn that Ayala has apparently since given up on
            the adequacy of the neo-Darwinian mechanisms. Lyn Margulis, one of the
            so-called Altenburg 16, a group of evolutionary biologists who met in
            2008 at a conference in Altenburg, Austria, to explore the mechanisms
            behind evolutionary change, reported, “At that meeting [Francisco] Ayala
            agreed with me when I stated that this doctrinaire neo-Darwinism is
            dead. He was a practitioner of neo-Darwinism, but advances in molecular
            genetics, evolution, ecology, biochemistry, and other news had led him
            to agree that neo-Darwinism’s now dead” (Suzan Mazur, The Altenberg 16 [Berkeley: North Atlantic, 2010], p. 285).

            Now
            it needs to be clearly understood that Ayala is not about to embrace
            some sort of creationism. Rather additional natural mechanisms will be
            sought to supplement genetic mutation and natural selection. These are
            already being suggested in the scientific literature. I have every
            expectation that during the course of this century the neo-Darwinian
            mechanisms, which have been long challenged by creationists of various
            stripes, will come to be recognized as inadequate, and new mechanisms
            will be recognized. The irony will then be that the community of
            evolutionary biologists, rather than admitting that the criticisms of
            the creationists were justified, will say, “Oh, well, we knew
            all along that the neo-Darwinian mechanisms were inadequate!”–this,
            despite the public posturing that goes on now in the name of
            neo-Darwinism!

            So while evolution in an innocuous sense is
            well-established, belief in evolution in senses (2) and (3) is not
            universal among scientists, and the dominance of neo-Darwinism
            heretofore is due to the constraints of methodological naturalism and
            the want of a better naturalistic alternative.

            If evolution is true, then why didn’t God write Genesis differently? It
            seems to me that the answer to this question must be that the purpose
            of Genesis is not to teach science. Rather its purpose is theological;
            it demythologizes the pagan creation myths of Israel’s neighbors, so
            that the sun, moon, and stars are no longer deities but just things God
            made, like the plants and animals. It is the demythologization of nature
            and an assertion of God’s sovereignty.

            Read more: http://www.reasonablefaith.org/why-is-evolution-so-widely-believed#ixzz3rsRIX1kx

          • Little Black Censored

            Hijack alert!

          • Inspector General

            Camp fire stories passed down the ages through word of mouth and memory is all Genesis is…

          • Anton

            Please read, below, my comment (to Carl) about the work of PJ Wiseman regarding how Genesis got written. It raises questions that I think you would have trouble answering.

          • dannybhoy

            There are some bits one accepts ‘by faith’. At least that’s how I see it. The New Testament to me is true, but in some ways one can see it as the Early Church ‘thinking out loud’ as they come to terms with what they were taught as Jews and what they heard and experienced with our Lord.

          • Albert

            I think that’s a lovely way of putting it.

          • Anton

            Suits me, but that just shows that Jesus knew Genesis; it doesn’t tell us whether he accepts Adam and Eve as real-flesh individual humans. (I believe he did, but that wasn’t his point in Matt 19.)

          • Martin

            Anton

            I think the point is that He wouldn’t have mentioned them in that way if He didn’t know they were as real as Abraham.

          • Anton

            That satisfies me.

        • carl jacobs

          In Adam all men died. In Christ all men are made alive. He must be real. Otherwise you have Christ acting as the new Federated head in the place of a fictitious Federated head. And then whence cometh original sin?

          • Inspector General

            At last, you are asking the right questions. Good man!

          • Albert

            I don’t deny the existence of a first man who literally sinned and mucked the rest of us up as a result. But literal Adam, sounds like a stronger claim – Eden, trees etc.

          • dannybhoy

            I think Adam was the first man and between himself and his wife he made a very bad choice which resulted in them and their descendants being separated from God. I don’t think men are born compulsively evil though.

            Estranged from God, in rebellion against God, and given up by God to our passions and desires, yes.
            In need of the salvation that only Christ our Lord provides, yes.
            Romans 5
            “12 Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— 13 for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. 14 Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come.”

          • Albert

            I wonder why this isn’t enough!

          • dannybhoy

            In what sense Albert?

          • Albert

            I’m agreeing with you dannybhoy. Why can’t what you’ve said just be enough?

          • dannybhoy

            Sorry, just been watching the England -France friendly…
            Incredibly boring…
            I tend towards the Jewish understanding of Adam’s disobedience. Not only that though, in life we see that non Christian people are capable of great acts of kindness and sacrifice; so our sinfulness must have more to do with our broken relationship with the Creator.

  • Inspector General

    When the Inspector, as a boy, was visiting Ireland in the 1960s, he remembers being dragged to various municipal cemeteries for a bit of ancestor worshipping, and remembers there being separate catholic and protestant plots. Doesn’t happen like that anymore, one is pleased to inform. Small progress, but a start, what!

  • Inspector General

    Whatever God thinks of us, and there are enough wails of guilt for being alive in the comments tonight, let’s hope we don’t end up like the Neanderthals. What!

    • dannybhoy

      Wails of guilt??
      Where?

      • Inspector General

        The usual disgust at not being dead…

  • Inspector General

    Can the Inspector remind you all that if you tick the ‘Recommend’ flag above this post, this debate will surely be hurled into the disqus fore…

  • Ivan M

    Pragmatically President Bill Clinton started the ball rolling by lining up for Communion during his visit to South Africa. For some reasons, having to do with his VP’s arrogance, and his general indifference to abortion, this was picked up by the South African Church and the Vatican. From there issued the guidance that the announcement, that henceforth only baptised Catholics were to receive Communion was made. As it applied to the situation in the West, this was in addition a backhand way of reminding Catholic politicians of their duty in regards abortion.

    Parallel to that there were numerous attempts at black and white magic by those engaged in witchcraft to abuse the Consecrated Host in the East. The situation was sufficiently serious, to warrant that those lining up for Communion at popular pilgrimage churches had to receive Communion on their tongues, and not on their hands as presumably, the motivated would squirrel away the Host for the purpose of sorcery.

  • len

    A Christian Pope ?. How revolutionary….

  • LukeC

    With respect, this is complete nonsense and totally misses the point of closed communion. The Eucharist is not about ‘me and God’. It is about the whole church gathered together. If you don’t believe in Transubstantiation, why would you partake of something that requires you to believe in Transubstantiation and publicly affirms a belief in Transubstantiation (amongst other things). The entire point of closed communion is not to fence people off who are ‘unworthy’ and have to pass a creedal test, but to PROTECT US. Many Protestant churches talk the talk on St Paul’s words on partaking with due preparation and the risks of those falling ill (and dying!) from taking the Eucharist not in the right way, and yet in reality it is opened up to everyone regardless. Ironically Lutherans practise closed communion for much the same reasons, and I doubt the most ‘orthodox’ of them would want to take up The Pope’s potential offer here. If we do all share the same Baptism and therefore it’s not a problem, why must for example Anglican converts to Catholicism be re-confirmed or priests be re-ordained? You can’t have it both ways. The whole thing falls completely flat. And with good reason.

    We will never be united as Christians by pretending that we’re all one when we’re not and having one big liberal ‘doctrine isn’t important’ party. We will be united by confronting those differences head on and working them out.

  • Once again Mr M. has the measure of it.

    “The words above are the concluding part of
    the long waffle triggered by Francis inability to simply say to the woman that
    she must convert to the Catholic Church.

    Francis here is clearly talking out of his whim, as he
    always does. This, at the same time, guarantees that these improvised
    observations reflect, in a way, the way he thinks.

    The words of the man are confused, because he is confused.
    They sound hollow and stupid …”

    https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/11/19/che-without-the-guts/

    And as he says in an earlier post, the only possible answer
    is: “You must convert to the Catholic Church”. If you want
    to participate worthily in the Sacrifice of the Holy Mass (on the Altar, not a
    table) and receive the Body and Blood of Christ, then: “The only
    way is conversion.”

    https://mundabor.wordpress.com/2015/11/17/easy-words-that-were-too-difficult-for-francis

    • Sam

      Dude

      I’ve got to admit I’m warming to this M guy. Okay i haven’t a clue if he’s correct on Catholicism as he’s different to inspector and yourself . Plus his views on Judaism are utter nonsensical balls, ” a breach in the wall of Torah ” to quote a phrase . But the obvious aside , in many ways and in a different context , it could be an OJ writing. Direct, no nonsense , fierce polemical debater (s).

      • He speaks as he finds Sam. It’s a rare quality nowadays. So he is offensive and provocative and, in Jack’s opinion, sometimes crosses a line. Some of his comments about Pope Francis go too far. It’s his weblog and he’s entitled to say what he chooses. For all that, he is a source of Catholic sanity in the Church facing grave challenges.
        Ps – what’s an OJ?

        • Sam

          Dude

          Well quite I see it as Cuius blogger, eius religio …..

          OJ : orthodox Jew!