same sex marriage
Church of England

Justine vs Justin: the ‘not yet’ and ‘never’ of same-sex marriage in the Church of England

In an interview for Sky News last week on same-sex marriage and the Church, Justine Greening (the Education Secretary who also happens to hold the Equalities portfolio) told Sophy Ridge: “I think it’s quite important that we recognise that for many churches, including the Church of England actually, that was something that they were not yet willing to have in their own churches…”

In that ‘not yet willing’ lies a ton of teleological expectation: a sense of designed inevitability that it is simply a case of waiting for the jaundiced church to catch up with enlightened progress. “I think it is important that the church in a way keeps up and is part of a modern country,” she added, as though it were the Church’s vocation to conform to the prevailing culture rather than to transform it. She then made her appeal more religiously universal: “I think people do want to see our major faiths keep up with modern attitudes in our country.”

Some people, certainly. But she ignores the fact that for many more people of “our major faiths”, the very notion of same-sex marriage is a non-sequitur; a contradiction in terms; a category error. If the naturally fertile union of male and female is no longer to be distinguished from the naturally infertile union of man and man or woman and woman, then marriage becomes nothing more than a contract between consenting couples for companionship. Why limit that to couples? Isn’t comfort and love to be found even more abundantly in threesomes, foursomes, or in whole family communities who simply want to support and strengthen one another as they go through life for better or worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health?

Marriage is a gift of God in creation, we are told. It isn’t about personal autonomy, human rights or civil liberties: it is for a man and a woman to be united with one another in heart, body and mind, as Christ is united with his bride, the Church (Eph 5:32). This is what the Church of England believes, teaches and expresses in its marriage liturgy. The church’s apprehension of the profound mystery of marital procreation is distinct from the state’s contract of partnership. When Justine Greening talks of the church being “not yet willing” to solemnise same-sex unions, she appears to have no understanding that the male-female union is God’s pattern for creation: the two who come together to create a third reflect something of God’s own triune existence. This is the meaning of marriage.

And in a speech to the House of Lords during the passage of the Same-Sex Marriage Bill, Justin Welby made this perfectly clear, so much so that it isn’t clear at all why Justine Greening talks of ‘not yet’ rather than respectfully understanding that ‘never’ is the natural expression of the marriage covenant, and the Christian understanding of the spiritual institution.

“The result is confusion,” the Archbishop declares. “Marriage is abolished, redefined and recreated, being different and unequal for different categories.” And here is Justin’s nexus which Justine ignores:

The new marriage of the Bill is an awkward shape with same gender and different gender categories scrunched into it, neither fitting well.

Indeed: it ceases to be dimorphic and becomes essentially genderless.

The concept of marriage as a normative place for procreation is lost.

Indeed, it abolishes the only institution which sustains gender complementarity for the primary purpose of procreation (Mt 19:4f). Marriage begins with the attraction of two adults of the opposite-sex and of different parents, followed by the setting up of a home distinct from the parental home, and then the uniting of their lives in a shared life which forms a pattern of fulfilment which serves the wider end of enabling procreation to occur in a context of affection and loyalty.

The idea of marriage as covenant is diminished.

Quite so. God told Hosea (3:1): ‘Go, love a woman‘; not ‘Go, love a partner’. Faithlessness to the marriage covenant and faithlessness to the covenant with God are bracketed together by Malachi (2:10-12): one reflects and symbolises the other. Justine’s apprehension of marriage is that of a state contract of convenience. Justin’s apprehension is that of a sacrament; of holy matrimony in which two become one.

The family in its normal sense, predating the state and as our base community of society – as we’ve already heard – is weakened.

It was brave of the Archbishop to talk of normality in this context. So often now, to talk of ‘normal’ or ‘natural’ is to invite allegations of bigotry, prejudice and discrimination. This ‘normal’ is heterosexual and procreative: it predates any social contract for it seen to exist in nature. And this leads to the Archbishop of Canterbury’s unequivocal refutation:

For these and many other reasons, those of us in the churches and faith groups who are extremely hesitant about the Bill in many cases hold that view because we think that traditional marriage is a corner stone of society, and rather than adding a new and valued institution alongside it for same gender relationships, which I would personally strongly support to strengthen us all, this Bill weakens what exists and replaces it with a less good option that is neither equal nor effective.

Quite so. Marriage is a gift of creation, common to all humanity irrespective of belief.

This is not a faith issue, although we are grateful for the attention that government and the other place have paid to issues of religious freedom – deeply grateful. But it is not, at heart, a faith issue; it is about the general social good.

According to Scripture, faith is ‘the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen‘ (Heb 11:1). It is imagined and eschatological, while marriage is immanent, seen and known. It is natural law and present reality; not a future hope, but the Creator’s design for this world. Marriage is not at heart a faith issue, but about the realisation of the common good for the ordering of society.

And so with much regret but entire conviction, I cannot support the Bill as it stands.

Does Justine understand Justin’s conviction? Her ‘not yet’ suggests not. She may think the Archbishop deluded, misguided or mistaken, but in this speech he spoke clearly not only for the Church of England, but also for other Christian denominations and, indeed, for all of “our major faiths” who have no particular desire at all to “keep up with modern attitudes in our country”.

When the Church of England contributes to public debate on matters of concern to secular society, it should address society on terms common to all participants. To do otherwise is to set up stumbling blocks and preach foolishness (1Cor 1:23). The attempt to be distinctly Christian belongs only to the pursuit of internal discipline among the faithful. Christians must distinguish between those dictates of the law of nature which are apparent to all men of good will, and those which seem clear to themselves but not to others. The state’s definition of marriage has changed, but for Justin Welby it remains immutable natural law.

It is wholly appropriate for the ‘hard heart’ of Parliament to be sceptical of metaphysics, but it is not for Parliament to redefine the integrity of the created order. And it certainly not for the Education (and Equalities) Minister to transmit the expectation of the church’s inevitable destination, as if her personal political preference were somehow an eschatological expression of God’s will.

  • That’s more like it, Your Grace. You had us all worried for a bit with your last missive on the subject!

  • CliveM

    I think this also shows a problem if we were to look towards the State to improve Religious Literacy. They would try to shape people’s understanding to fit their own political needs.

  • SonoView

    Exactly the same arguments apply to the current campaign to regard transgenderism as merely a variant of normal!

  • Martin

    It would have been better if Welby and his fellow bishops had voted against the bill. That would have given a clearer message. It would also have been better if, instead of his wishy washy leadership at Synod, he had continually spoken out against ‘gay’ marriage and homosexuality. That he does not gives the impression that eventually the CoE will be won over. His cowardice in the face of the enemy does the Christian Church no good.

    • jsampson45

      I am confused here. According to the above, Dr Welby said he could not support the Bill (on “gay marriage”), but in that case did he vote against it or not?

      • Martin

        None of the bishops voted against the bill. They used the excuse that it was customary not to do so.

  • Brixton_Dave

    Personally (not that anyone cares on here) I would have rather they revived Adelphopoiesis – a form of Christian blood brotherhood. This would enable the scrupulous who cherish the 39 articles to side-step the whole issue!

    • Albert

      Depending on how it is interpreted, Adelphopoiesis would either be as unacceptable as same-sex marriage, or irrelevant to the issue, since it is not same-sex marriage.

  • Albert

    “I think it is important that the church in a way keeps up and is part of a modern country,”

    That would mean supporting Hitler when that looked modern in Germany, and Communism when that looked modern in the Soviet Union.

    Does anyone in power actually think about what they are saying, or do they just parrot what any adolescent tells them?

    • Martin

      Albert

      Perhaps they have never advanced beyond adolescence.

      • Albert

        Intellectually, that appears to be the problem! That comment of Greening is so banal, it beggars belief. She’s supposed to be in charge of education!

        • Martin

          Albert

          Like most Atheists, she doesn’t bother with thought.

          • Albert

            Is she actually an atheist? She seems just uninterested.

    • Little Black Censored

      The latter.
      The newspapers are also edited by teenagers.

  • Unfortunately I suspect Justine’s ‘not yet’ will be prophetically more accurate.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    According to Tim Stanley,

    Justine Greening is a libertine cross-dressing as a conservative.

    This shake-up in transgender rights overturns the foundational principles of our society

    If she is a libertine, then she is, either by some deficiency of thought or else perversion of will, clueless about the matter.

    • David

      Yes Tim Stanley is one of the better journalists of the Daily Telegraph.

  • John

    There’s a bit of a journey between ++Justin’s unequivocal defence of Christian morality in 2014 and his calls for a radically inclusive church in 2017.

    • David

      Indeed.
      An astute comment.

  • David

    His Grace’s article expresses the issues so well there is little to be said except, yes, that’s right.

    The problem with politicians like this rather intellectually immature woman Justine Greening is that they so seem to be unaware of just how shallow and meaningless words used by the advertisement industry as well as the left, like “new”, “modern” and even “progressive” truly are. They are little more than useful idiots willingly destroying the fundamentals of society, on behalf of cultural Marxism. For what is new, modern or progressive can only exist in a fleeting time frame, and a limited geographical/cultural area. Yet the reality is that male and female are fundamentally, biologically different, yet pro- creatively complementary, from birth, our sex being irreversibly assigned to each one of us by virtue of the combinations of chromosomes we receive. Such terms as new, modern or progressive have no currency against such physical reality, and indeed against the timeless and universal, the Truth that all people of faith, as well as all seekers of Truth itself, are called to pursue.

    As for Archbishop Welby, well he has demonstrated that he understands the basic and correct position of the Church regarding marriage, but it is so disappointing that he is also reluctant to express it forcibly on all relevant occasions. Of what is he so nervous ?

    • Little Black Censored

      A pity she’s so clueless. There is something rather sweet about her hamster cheeks.

      • You have a soft spot for her? Assuming you self identify as a male, and given she is same sex attracted, just decide you are a woman and go make a play for her. As a person of colour, a woman and a lesbian, you tick most of the boxes. To increase your chances of success, declare yourself disabled. Do keep Jack informed of your progress.

  • Lain Iwakura

    “… it isn’t clear at all why Justine Greening talks of ‘not yet’ rather than respectfully understanding that ‘never’ is the natural expression of the marriage covenant, and the Christian understanding of the spiritual institution.”

    Perhaps because, under an increasingly liberal leadership, ‘not yet’ has been the way that many of the CoE’s traditional theological stances have gone.

  • Every thing you say about the nature of marriage is correct Cranmer. However, Justine Greening is also correct in saying “not yet” about the CofE’s embracing of SSM. We all know that the CofE will one day be performing same-sex ‘marriages’, it’s just a matter of when. The primary role of the CofE seems to be to provide a 10-30 year buffer for adopting the world’s attitudes … living together, divorce, civil partnerships, IVF, abortion.

    • Lambeth Conference 1930.

      • Anton

        Enlightenment.

        • Albert

          ? Explanation, please!

          • Anton

            After Jack. Who should give natural law arguments for those who don’t accept the authority he quotes.

          • Albert

            I really have no idea…(how do you do a laughing emoji on a PC?)

  • Chefofsinners

    Justine may get what she desires.
    From its inception the CoE has only existed to serve the state, giving a veneer of sanctification to all that is secular. In the name of the Parent/Carer, the Gender-Fluid offspring and the Holy Zeitgeist. Amen.

    The tragedy is the damage done by the story which society has swallowed: the Justine Greening progressive narrative that you can do what you want and be what you want. Millions of children are murdered in the womb. Those who do grow up face the agony of broken families. As teenagers they suffer mental illness because they cannot establish a sense of identity or purpose. In adulthood they repeat the tragic mistakes of their parents and in old age they are a lonely, expensive inconvenience to our materialistic society.

    Thank God that the truth will always stand against the politicians’ lies. Redefine words, change laws all you please, but “Male and female created He them.” Thus shall it ever be.

  • IanCad

    “And so with much regret but entire conviction, I cannot support the Bill as it stands.”

    I’m sorry YG but this just dosen’t cut it.

    Regret?? Sounds as if he were sorry he couldn’t support it.

    “As it stands.” A little tweaking around the edges should fix that.

    No! No! No! This will not do. As the leader of a religious institution bound to instruct and advise all the faithful and none; why did he not warn of the health hazards of same sex relations? Why did he not alert parents to be vigilant in the face of perverts teaching our children to practise what is unnatural and unproductive?

    What he should have said was; he regrets that a prosetelyzing lesbian should be in charge of the instruction of our youth. Made quite clear it is with total conviction that he will lead the fight against any further inroads by the pervert tendency. And; if there is a Bill he would support it would be the reintroduction of Section 28.

    • Albert

      Regret?? Sounds as if he was sorry he couldn’t support it.

      I thought that. Imagine if he had said “And so with much regret but entire conviction, I cannot affirm the proposition that there is no God but Allah and that Mohammed is his prophet as it stands.”

  • carl jacobs

    Yes. Good speech (even if four years old). Good article. But it reads as an apologetic for Justin Welby. It’s as if to say “Hey, all you conservatives who are looking to jump ship. Justin Welby is really on your side! Look at this great speech he gave four years ago.” But of course they are instead looking at what he did during the recent synod. That seems rather more dispositive.

    Does it really matter what he said in a debate during a vote the end of which was never in doubt? Better to examine his behavior when his actions really matter. He leads a church that secretly concluded it was willing to lose 20% of its membership over normalizing homosexuality. Welby knows where he is leading the CoE. Pretty words can’t hide the direction he is steering.

  • len

    There is enormous pressure to conform to this present (corrupt) world system and the church is no different to the individual believer.
    If we/the church conform to this present corrupt world system we become an enemy of God.
    ‘And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God’ Romans 12:2)

    • Merchantman

      This is very true and it seems to me Justine Greening’s words are the groundwork for ‘persecution’.
      In my book which I have no urge to rewrite, Justine Greening is just one of a growing number who are unqualified to be in charge of education. Reeducating the nation into the ways of wickedness must be declared anathema.

  • Dreadnaught

    In recent times the act of marriage been diminished in status and is no longer a given prerequisite for starting a family. A generous welfare state supports unmarried singles and the number of absentee fathers seems to be the accepted norm these days in some ‘cultures’. Polygamous relationships are no longer considered to be bigamous and are also treated as unmarried mothers raising multiple offspring.
    If marriage is in decline it seems rather odd then to object to it’s increase among same sex relationships – just sayin’.

    • Sarky

      I find it interesting that teenage pregnancy rates have more than halved and are at their lowest since the 60’s.
      As for marriage declining, i think its because cohabitants are now afforded the same rights, so marriage isnt seen as a necessity.
      (Plus its bloody expensive and people just havent got the money)

      • len

        Never used to be that expensive.People just go right over the top.Sign of the times I suppose?.

        • Anton

          Yes, I can imagine couples running away again to get married – but fleeing from their friends who expect a beanfeast, rather than from their parents!

          • Sarky

            Thats what i did!!

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Something like this would cost an arm and a leg, I imagine.

      • Albert

        I find it interesting that teenage pregnancy rates have more than halved and are at their lowest since the 60’s.

        Good news, but that means they are higher than they were before the assault on traditional sexual morality began. Moreover, in the 1950s a substantial number of teenage pregnancies were planned and were within marriage. I wonder about the figures for unmarried teenage pregnancies in the 1960s and now.

      • Morning after Pill – simply another form of abortion. A better indicator is to look at STI rates.

      • Dreadnaught

        Its the reception and all the palava that’s expensive – a sign of the times of which is the priority, the ceremony or the Do.

    • Albert

      There’s definitely a good case for saying the horse has bolted on this one. However, the issue is whether Christians should be expected to conform. The trouble with that is that it is hard to conform to a secularism that is constantly changing!

  • dannybhoy

    “Essentially, her proposal appears to say that all that is required is to legally change one’s gender is

    – for an individual to assert that he/she is a particular gender (supposedly there are now more than two),
    – go through a simple administrative procedure.

    As is expected she does not go into details, but her proposal appears to mean that biological men who identify as women must be allowed into women’s changing facilities, women’s shelters, women’s toilets and must be permitted to participate in women’s sports.

    Any refusal by an institution or an individual to allow any of the above could potentially constitute an offence by discriminating against a trangendered person (a violation of the Equality Act 2010).”

    from.. http://www.citizengo.org/en-gb/fm/72832-changing-gender-recognition-act-restricts-everyones-freedom-and-does-not-improve-transgender-lives?dr=221018::4c98403a564e3f16f548863724e4208b&utm_source=email&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTkRJMU9XRXdZMkU0WkdJMSIsInQiOiJ2dU1jWWFwWUV0QVhOMGhcL0lzeXowWHl4SDIxVENrOFFZZkFZRGpVbXBVNkRPNWJMOUdoMTNDb3EyVjNacFUxb0lIU2gxZUlQaFErSFp4V25oaU5xcXpKTnlqck53TnBSWG1sUnFKRVwvRHZPM3AzTm1UbU1xVmZ2RStQbEtIVzdKIn0%3D

    I think it’s called making policy (cockups) on the hoof..

  • Anton

    Justine Greening knows exactly what she is doing. Your Grace assumes that this is an intellectual debate. It is not. It is a spiritual battle. And I would feel easier if the public Christian side were not led by Justin Welby.

    • len

      ‘Greening revealed she was in a same-sex relationship in June last year, making her the first openly gay woman to serve in a Conservative cabinet.’

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/31/theresa-may-under-fire-for-changing-her-mind-about-gay-rights

      • HedgehogFive

        According to Wikipedia, not that long ago, she was is a relationship with that man who was expelled from the Conservative Party for bullying.

        Humans such as her puzzle Hedgehog scientists. Does she find men attractive as men and women attractive as women, or is that particular discriminator not working in her brain?

    • Albert

      Do you think she knows what she is doing. Here’s her wiki entry for education:

      Greening was born in Rotherham, where she attended Oakwood Comprehensive School.[3] She studied Business Economics and Accounting at the University of Southampton, graduating with a first class honours degree in 1990.[4] She obtained an Executive MBA from the London Business School in 2000.[5] Before entering Parliament, she trained and qualified[6] as an accountant, before working as an accountant/finance manager for, amongst others, PricewaterhouseCoopers, GlaxoSmithKline and Centrica

      That could indicate that she knows how to count, and grasps the practical application of utilitarianism, but has very little understanding of history and philosophy (to say nothing of religion). I could be wrong of course. Given her own education, I don’t see why she is education secretary.

      • carl jacobs

        What is her religion?

        • Albert

          I can’t find any evidence of one!

        • Anton

          A category of self employment?

        • The worship of self and one’s desires.

      • Anton

        It is possible to be ignorant yet politically astute.

        • Albert

          True.

      • Merchantman

        Not much of an educator if she’s forgotten the laws of multiplication

  • len

    T May (the vicars daughter I believe?) just sold out to this present corrupt world system.
    ‘From gay rights opponent to ‘unsung hero’ of equal marriage: Theresa May’s surprising evolution on LGBT rights’

  • carl jacobs

    Progress should mean that we are always changing the world to fit the vision, instead we are always changing the vision. ~G K Chesterton

    • Albert

      That’s very good. The trouble is that if the vision is always changing what is the measure of progress (as opposed to regress)? Here we know what the measure is: “equality” undermining teleology.

      • carl jacobs

        Progress is measured by the liberation of the human will from moral restraint. But there is a hidden control mechanism that serves to dampen the response. It is a selfish interplay between what people are afraid they won’t be able to do, and what people are afraid will be done to them. But then all self-referential systems of morality are inherently selfish.

    • David

      To the liberal it is the journey they relish, as they have not a clue as to any destination, in fact they don’t seek one.

  • “Listen up people and listen good. This Conservative Party is as authoritarian and leftist as any communist outfit you would have seen in the old USSR. They care nothing, absolutely nothing, for tradition, Christian values or protecting the vulnerable. All they care about is power and looking ‘nice.’ Nothing short of a total clear out is going to change that.”
    http://www.conservativewoman.co.uk/laura-perrins-gay-marriage-opened-door-trans-madness/

    • David

      The Conservative Woman is an excellent and truly conservative website. I understand that most of its readers and supporters, which includes me, are men !

      • It is rather good.

      • Anton

        The Conservative Woman? There’s only one left?

    • Anton

      The same description applies to the CoE’s House of Bishops.

  • len

    The enemy has come in like a tide swamping all before it.Only by standing on the Rock, (which is Christ ) will any be able to withstand this.

    • Albert

      Interesting. I’m not so sure. I think we sometimes give secular mores more credit than they deserve.

      • len

        I am measuring the changes in society with regard to the past 70 yrs.
        I am aware that there have been many things going on unreported but now things that we once regarded as’ not normal’ are not only now regarded as ‘ normal’ but are positively encouraged through all levels of society.

        • Albert

          I suppose, I partly expect the present secular position to just collapse eventually, or more likely, morph into something else.

          • Merchantman

            They are stacking the Islamic world with ammunition but seem oblivious to this.

          • Albert

            Yes, this is true. And they are not helping Christians in the Islamic world.

          • Merchantman

            The Rainbow flag is a red flag in most of the world. However the ‘progressives’ twist words and the truth they are speeding our emnity with God and natural justice.

          • Albert

            If morality is not based on natural law, then it seems to be arbitrary.

  • Not a terribly robust response to the appalling developments since the decriminalisation of homosexuality 50 years ago to this day.

    “This day of anniversary of the 1967 Act is one when the Church in this land should be conscious of the need to turn away from condemnation of people as its first response. When we rightly celebrate what happened 50 years ago today, we do so best by turning to him and saying, “Yes, we take your yoke on our shoulders with you”.”
    (Joint Statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of York)

    50 years and look at the descent into sheer lunacy that has taken place!

    http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5883/joint-statement-by-the-archbishop-of-canterbury-and-the-archbishop-of-york

    • Hi

      So by implication you believe homosexuality should still be illegal?

      • Not at all. It should be tolerated as a private activity between consenting adults – over the age of 21 years – and decriminalised. Not celebrated and normalised.

        • Hi

          Well that’s a relief. Why 21 and not 18? That seems odd given 18 is the age of being an adult today with the right to vote, drink alcohol etc etc .

          • Dolphinfish

            Personally, I wouldn’t give an 18 year old any of those rights. They should all be withheld until 21.

          • Anton

            OK to fight for your country but not to get a drink in it?

          • carl jacobs

            Yes. That is exactly correct.

          • Anton

            Alcohol more dangerous than a bullet? You sound like a temperance preacher!

          • carl jacobs

            A soldier is in a very controlled paternalistic environment. That makes a difference.

          • Anton

            Nonsense. If it was a controlled environment then no army would ever lose.

          • carl jacobs

            Anton. When I was in the service, an enlisted man below a certain rank could not get married without his COs permission. You went to the wrong place in understanding what I meant by “controlled”.

          • Anton

            For what reason, please?

          • carl jacobs

            Because enlisted men below a certain rank tend to be below a certain age, and therefore haven’t lived long enough to make wise decisions. They do stupid things (like not considering that their income isn’t sufficient to support a family) and those bad decisions impact the ability of the unit to perform its mission. The military exerts a lot of control over an individual’s personal life. For a young soldier it acts very much in loco parentis.

          • Anton

            What if they got a girl pregnant?

          • Cat o nine tails?

          • Hannah !!! Please. What goes on in the bedroom, stays in the bedroom.

          • Hi

            I think your imagination is running wild happy Jack. I was referring to military discipline. Nothing else.

          • Apologies Hannah. Jack misunderstood. The longer these sub-threads get, the more difficult they are to follow. It just seemed an odd question to ask.

          • Tad sexist. What if the person was a woman who got pregnant?

          • carl jacobs

            I think you are missing the point here. The reason you can put an 18 year-old in the army and make him into an effective soldier is because you are placing him in a constrained controlled environment that limits his choices and applies real consequences for breaches of discipline. It’s not at all like moving into an apartment and living on your own.

          • Anton

            Interestingly, in Mosaic Law military service was voluntary (Deut 20:8) and a man who had recently married would be turned down (Deut 24:5).

          • TropicalAnglican

            Not just the military. Some private companies back in the 1960s required staff to inform them if they were getting married. The manager would then travel to whichever far-flung outpost you were at and meet both you and your fiancee. Why, I have no idea.

            Oh, and expats could not marry locals.

          • Hi

            The people I know who have been or are in the IDF are more mature than 18 year olds in the UK, because of the discipline.

          • carl jacobs

            The idea that an 18 year-old is a functioning adult is a pernicious lie.

          • CliveM

            The idea that most adults are functioning is also a lie.

          • Albert

            LOL!

          • Anton

            Especially politicians…

          • CliveM

            Can’t disagree.

          • Anton

            No, we keep our children infantile in the West today. How old was Mary likely to have been?

          • carl jacobs

            Do we? The Romans said 30.

          • Anton

            Going over to Rome, Carl?

          • carl jacobs

            Gaah! The left flank collapses! Order a full retreat!

          • Albert

            Welcome home!

          • carl jacobs

            The field may be his at the moment. But Anton shall pay for that riposte!

          • Anton

            Sure. How much fiat currency would you like?

          • Albert

            He will get his reward in heaven for being the midwife to your new life.

          • That was in the context of a life long marriage approved by parents and celebrated by the wider community – not a sexually exploitative romp with a stranger.

          • Anton

            Indeed, but chosen by God himself.

          • It’s not a mark of maturity and adulthood to drink, smoke and fornicate.

          • Anton

            Another true comment that’s irrelevant! If you are mature enough physically emotionally and spiritually to be chosen by God himself to bear his Son then… need I finish this sentence?

          • An exceptional young woman, chosen before time in the mind of God, endowed with special qualities, who was “full of grace” and “the handmaiden of the Lord”. Hardly a precedent. Besides, as Jack has already said, marriage in Israel was not an individual’s decision.

          • Hi

            True . My grandmother was married at 17 and saw her first pogrom and murder at 18.

          • Albert

            Gosh. Where was that?

          • Hi Albert,

            Baghdad , Iraq, 1st June 1941 on Shavuot (Pentecost). It was called the Farhud , the beginning of the end of 2,600 years of Mesopotamian /Babylonian Jewry :

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-13610702

            https://www.thejc.com/lifestyle/features/the-farhud-pogrom-when-the-knives-came-out-1.57949

          • Albert

            How utterly horrible, Hannah. And terrible that the British Army stayed away.

          • Sarky

            12 or 13

          • Hi

            I’d suggest you’d have to start having responsibility for your actions and take the consequences at some point in life, unlike the current meme of generation snowflake , which incidentally passed me by as I had to take responsibility from an early age .

            But I digress.

            Being 18 doesn’t mean you are going to have the wisdom of a 50 year old because it is through life experience (making good and bad choices) whilst also receiving guidance of one’s elders that one matures in knowledge and wisdom. If you buy a good bottle of wine it may well say something like “this wine is ok to drink now, but will mature with age” .

          • Sarky

            Absolutely.

          • Anton

            If you want people to take responsibility for their lives, pare down the Welfare State!

          • Because same sex acts -indeed all sex acts – should be discouraged among the young. We know from research that most male homosexuals first sexual acts are the result of seduction by older males. Jack would settle for an age gap of no more than 5 years for all young people under 21 years of age.

        • IanCad

          I’m a bit wishy-washy about 21 years though. Eighteen would seem more like it although a substantial period between full time education and responsibility should be allowed for. Maybe in that case thirty would be about right.

        • Anton

          There does seem to be a spirit behind it, though (and I do not mean a volitional spirit), which isn’t content with being tolerated and demands ever more.

          • Most certainly. What is it that Satan most desires? The destruction of family life and morality.

          • CliveM

            The destruction of a soul, destroying family li Is simply a means.

          • Yes, this is very true. The family is where we first learn about God and begin to live out His values and commands.

          • CliveM

            If the devil hasn’t got there first.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          Just had a thought — it’s happening among Anglicans, but seems tnot to be happening to the same extent among Nonconformists.

          Is that because it’s not tolerated among Dissenting adults?

          • Depends on the specific nonconformist community. To Jack all non-Catholics are dissidents.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    There’s a good letter in today’s Telegraph Letters entitled “A Gay Shakespeare”.

    What it says about gay matters is only one particular: what it says about Shakespeare in all aspects is well worth reading.

    • Anton

      Gays claim Shakespeare is gay, Catholics claim he’s Catholic, some of us suspect he’s not even Shakespeare…

      • Sarky

        And some of us think hes crap.

        • Anton

          A statement that perhaps says more about you than him?

          I have found two men great enough to critique him with authority, but only two: Gilbert Highet, in The Classical Tradition, and Will Durant, in his History of Civilization. I humbly suggest that you have not reached their league at this point.

          • Sarky

            I don’t care how great they are, thats my personal opinion.

          • Anton

            To which you are fully entitled.

            Allow me a guess. Were you forced to study him at school?

          • magnolia

            That is no excuse at all for a really rubbish opinion! I don’t think he is “fully entitled” to that opinion. That is a dangerous post-modern myth which suggests all opinion is equally valid. It puts Sarky on a par with the Leavises for example.

            It suggests that the person who has never read a book or studied a subject has an equal right to an opinion. It is the crowning of the right to be ill-informed, as there are clearly validate-able criteria by which Shakespeare is a great craftsman of words and drama. To suggest otherwise is not a valid opinion but crass under-researched ignorance.

          • Anton

            O, I don’t respect his opinion of Shakespeare; I respect his freedom to hold it. Please let us not confuse the two things!

          • Hi

            There’s a difference between an opinion and an argument though.

          • CliveM

            I also think that people should understand the difference between ‘I don’t like’ and ‘someone is crap’.

            For example I don’t like Dickens, but I recognise his ability.

          • Hi Clive ,

            “I don’t like ” and “someone is crap” are two opinions – as they aren’t backed up with any kind of argument (using logic, reason and some form of evidence) -using different types of rhetorical style. One of them is just British politeness.

          • CliveM

            Yes but only the first recognises that it’s simply their opinion.

          • Hi Clive

            Self awareness is always a good thing. But anyways I don’t want to get into an argument with two of my favourite lads of this blog!

          • What a crap comment. Just an opinion. If you want to cause an argument about it, go ahead.

          • CliveM

            Hmmmm I should have known.

          • Don Benson

            We all have a right to hold any opinion we want however ignorant we may be. It’s the God-given right to think for ourselves which He knew might not turn out well. It didn’t, and it was he who had to sort out the consequences. But any attempt by humans to close off the right for others to think what they wish to think is a pretty arrogant seizure of a power that even God denied for himself. However, it’s true that no one who expresses an opinion has a universal right either to be heard or to be taken seriously if he / she is heard!

          • Little Black Censored

            He is just attention-seeking.

          • Sarky

            I think many people secretly think the same as me, they are just scared of being labelled ignorant by the bard nazis. I never was one for being a sheep though.

          • Anton

            It took me a long time. But I was prepared to accept that the deficiency was with me.

          • Jack finds it’s the same with Catholicism. People reject the Church without taking the necessary time and care to understand her.

          • Anton

            It isn’t easy to understand something so unnecessarily complicated.

          • It’s exposition has become complicated because there are so many heresies afoot and they have to be answered. The faith is no more nor less complicated.

          • Anton

            No, it’s because the Greek-philosophical mindset was let loose on a Hebraic book.

          • No, it’s because God’s ways are mysterious, and scripture is vast in scope and needs careful discernment and judgement before the Gospel is applied in changing temporal affairs and in sacred spiritual matters.

          • CliveM

            How many tattoos do you have?

          • Sarky

            Loads

          • CliveM

            Baaaaa

          • Sarky

            I had most of mine done nearly 30 years ago when it wasnt acceptable like it is now.
            So definately not baaa.

          • Little Black Censored

            Hardly worth sharing, though.

          • Sarky

            Its good to share.

        • carl jacobs

          How did you reach that conclusion?

          • Anton

            Carl, I’m willing to bet that (and have asked Sarky whether) he was forced to study Shakespeare at school. There is no surer way to ruin appreciation of great writers than to make them compulsory. In the 1970s there was a survey at one of our best private boarding schools (Winchester), of most disliked authors. The answers were of course the greats that the pupils had had to study, which in turn were the greats of English literature. This entirely unsurprising (and highly amusing) result caused considerable comment at the time. Dickens was far ahead as most boring author, with four books in the list, but Little Women scooped most boring book. Shakespeare featured prominently as well.

            I went through the school system at that time and it took years for me to enjoy Shakespeare afterwards, while I still have no wish to reopen Little Women.

            More seriously, how much damage did compulsory Christian services do at school for similar reasons? I reckon they significantly delayed my conversion.

          • donadrian

            When I was a boarding schoolmaster I always wanted to bar Chapel services to everyone below the Sixth Form. They would be desperate to get in.

          • Sarky

            By reading and not enjoying his works.

          • carl jacobs

            That would make your enjoyment the determining factor in greatness. So is Anton correct? Have you read Shakespeare since you left school? And (if so) do you think your age at the time might have influenced your opinion?

          • Sarky

            Greatness is subjective. Just because everyone else loves something should i follow the herd? It may be the christian way, but its not mine.

            P.s. i have read shakespeare on and off over the last 30 years. Macbeth is the only one that was ok.

          • Anton

            I’m sure you could have improved it significantly, like McGonagall did.

          • He hasn’t progressed past Pooh the Bear yet. Cut him some slack.

          • Manfarang

            The Tao of Pooh is a wonderful book.
            The Manicheans still have a temple in China.

          • IrishNeanderthal

            Dies illa, dies lunae,
            Semper venit opportune.
            Rogo vos, et quaero id:
            Quid est quod? Et quod est quid?

            (Winnie Ille Pu)

          • Manfarang

            Vini-der-Pu
            A Bear Mitzvah.

          • Sarky

            Actually, reading human universe by brian cox at the mo.

          • Anton

            He is very highly trained in physics but some of the questions he tackles involve more than physics, and there he knows no more than anybody else.

        • Chefofsinners

          You think God is crap.

          • Sarky

            I don’t believe in god.

          • Martin

            But you know He exists.

          • Sarky

            You know he doesnt.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            We both know He does, you just pretend.

          • Sarky

            Pretend he exists?

          • Well, then “pretend” that He did. What impact would this have on you?

          • Sarky

            Zero.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            No, you pretend He doesn’t exist.

          • Sarky

            No i dont. I know he doesn’t exist.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You’re lying again.

          • Sarky

            No, you are.

        • Albert

          There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.

          • Anton

            Cicero is even better than Shakespeare on that:

            Nihil tam absurde dici potest, quod non dicatur ab aliquo philosophorum (De Divinatione 2/58/119).

            https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Cicero#De_Divinatione_.E2.80.93_On_Divination_.2844_BC.29

          • Albert

            I’m glad to see that someone spotted my reference. I fear that Cicero was wrong. If you think of the stupid philosophers have said since his time. I wonder if he had heard the view that a man can be a woman if he wants to!

  • Hi

    Justine Greening is correct in so much as the church of England is the established church and is stacked full of the English elite. Ergo it is England’s ambassador to God and not God’s ambassador to England. So it can change itself to reflect the current societal trends. That in the past society was broadly and officially /outwardly Christian meant it reflected that culture. Now the culture is secular it will change with it. It may provoke bemusement to those of us looking in , that it can change 2,000 years of teaching overnight , but that’s the nature of the beast, so don’t wail and moan about it . If you have a system which can change the Christian Cannon law, by a democratic vote two thirds majority in that General Synod then anything can be changed. And it will.

    I would say in under ten years and maybe three you will see same sex marriages in church of England churches. They’ll probably compromise first as a sop to Evangelicals as they did with Anglo Catholics over women vicars,in order to keep the money flowing in . Maybe allow each parish to decide so evangelicals can refuse gay marriages like divorced couples is at the local discretion. But it will happen because that’s the church of England.

    There won’t be any spilt except for a few people leaving, because I think it’s easier to stay within a system and not loose the cache of a 4 bedroom house , salary, pensions , stability, comfort etc for vicars. And both they and the lay people love the officialdom of the legally established nature of the church. You say I’m wrong but this is what happened with women vicars and when push came to shove the organisation stayed together.

    Where Justine Greening is incorrect is this statement“I think people do want to see our major faiths keep up with modern attitudes in our country.” I cannot ever see Orthodox Judaism, Roman Catholics , Protestant Evangelism , Islam or even Hindus agreeing to same sex marriages as part of their religious rituals or law . Unless the state or the courts determine otherwise, but then they’d run foul of religious liberty.

    • “Ergo it is England’s ambassador to God and not God’s ambassador to England.”

      Good one ….

    • Albert

      Justine Greening is correct in so much as the church of England is the established church and is stacked full of the English elite.

      I don’ think that’s fair. The CofE is no longer stacked full of the English elite

      I would say in under ten years and maybe three you will see same sex marriages in church of England churches. They’ll probably compromise first as a sop to Evangelicals as they did with Anglo Catholics over women vicars

      That is surely true.

      • Hi

        But aren’t the overwhelming majority of the theological colleges at the elite universities of Oxford and Cambridge ? How many archbishop of Canterbury’s since ww2 didn’t go to one of those universities?

        • Albert

          But aren’t the overwhelming majority of the theological colleges at the elite universities of Oxford and Cambridge ?

          No. And even of those that are, it does not follow that all the students are Oxbridge material.

          The Archbishops are another matter. However, how representative are they of what the CofE is full of ?(!) Moreover, the CofE has changed massively of late. I glanced at a book recently which began “In 1986 the CofE was led by men who smoked pipes and worse horn rimmed spectacles.” The point being, that that does not speak of the present age.

          So if we just look at Archbishops who are still alive, 2/3 did go to Oxbridge, but Carey did not.

          • Anton

            I couldn’t possibly comment!

          • magnolia

            How did they smoke horn-rimmed spectacles? Quite a feat. apparel. If they do mind the vestments need scrapping pronto.

          • Albert

            Thank you – I have corrected my comment!

    • Manfarang

      I think you are right about other religions.

  • CliveM

    Why do we expect that a politician on the make should say anything different?

    We’ve got to stop expecting better or different. They don’t care either what the Church thinks or what Christians say. They don’t understand or care to understand why the church will take a position on any subject.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    I only remembered recently (maybe two weeks ago) where I had first come across Justine Greening.

    There was a debate around the 2005 Conservative leadership contest, where Liam Fox, David Davis, and Kenneth Clarke turned up, but Greening stood in for David Cameron.

    My first thought was “so that was Cameron putting his best face forward”. But then a few days later out she comes with this stuff.

    My opinion of her has nosedived like a Stuka.

    • David

      And like a Stuka she makes a hideous noise.

  • “I think it is important that the church in a way keeps up and is part of a modern country”
    I know that it is important that the Church sticks to it’s Christian beliefs based on the Bible and does not change according to current fashion. To me, the Church is a pillar of stability in an ever changing world.
    If the CofE does not continue to fill this role, I’m certain other Christian Churches will.
    Am I to assume that she will be having a similar discussion with Muslim leaders telling them that “it is important that Islam in a way keeps up and is part of a modern country”

    • Merchantman

      Similar discussions are a certainty because she’s the Minister of Equality. How couldn’t she just go round to Regents Park Mosque for prayers tomorrow and give it a go.

  • Anton

    An Education Secretary with these views will soon have Christians put in detention…

  • Anton

    Schism is not in itself a big deal. The battle is for the right to call yourself the Established church and hold on to its endowments and buildings.

    • David

      The state will keep the material treasure that in the hands of the malleable ones, that’s for sure. Those that leave will have true the spiritual wealth.

    • “Schism is not in itself a big deal. “

      Not a scriptural position, Anton. The number of churches Jesus founded? One.

      Saint Paul is resolute in his conviction that the Church of Christ must be one. Most of his epistles specifically speak against disunity within the Church. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians seems to have been written for the very purpose of encouraging church unity against the tendency of “church splits”:

      “I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment. For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarrelling among you, my brethren. What I mean is that each one of you says, “I belong to Paul,” or “I belong to Apollos,” or “I belong to Peter,” or “I belong to Christ.” Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?” (1 Cor 1:10-13)

      Saint Paul specifically instructed Christians in every case to “avoid those who cause schism” (Rom 16:17).

      • Anton

        We are using different meanings of ‘schism’. Every schism of one church hierarchy into two actually points toward the scriptural position, ie no hierarchy overseeing multiple congregations after the founding apostolos has passed on. Real unity consists in the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:2-6) and that is the sort of unity that must not be broken by schism, meaning simply Christians walking away from each other.

        • Lol …. neat sophistry, although you will see it a biblical and very reasoned position.

          Saint Paul is quite clear that the Church is a material expression of our spiritual unity with Christ and with one another. Jack honestly cannot figure just how you see the Church the way you do. Just as we are body and soul, being material and spiritual, so too is His Church.

          Not everybody within the material, visible Church will necessarily be members of His Mystical Body. Some will be progressing in this direction and some will not be. Rates of progress will differ and conflict will arise. There will also be enemies of the faith in the visible body.
          The true Church is referred to as the “household of God” (Ephesians 2:19-22), as a spiritual building that grows in number with Jesus being the “chief corner stone” and the Apostles and Prophets being the “foundation”. “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink unto one Spirit.” (1Corinthians 12:13) 1Corinthians teaches that members of the true Church all “speak the same things, joined together in the same mind.” There is only one Church.
          Paul nowhere implies that the spiritual Church is at odds with a visible, hierarchical organisation. A Church where we all play different parts. Nor does he suggest there will be different sects with different beliefs and practices. Quite the reverse.
          In dark times those in the visible Church need to trust in God’s guidance and believe Christ is with her until the end of this world, and have faith in His promises to her. He established an Apostolic Church with the guarantee of indefectible teachings for this very reason, with ultimate and final authority for resolving divisions resting with His Bishops in union with their leader. There is only one visible Church that gives full expression to this. It has been there from the beginning – and within her is the true Church.

          • Anton

            I concede to you in matters of sophistry.

      • Rhoda

        In Romans 16:17 dichostasias is dissension, not schism.

        • Perhaps but what he argues against in I Corinthians is splitting into competing sects with different leaders. That they should be united in the same mind and the same judgment. It’s dissentions and divisions that result in schism.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You mean like Rome did from the rest of the Christian world?

          • No Martin, that’s not what Jack meant. Paul goes on to counsel Church members:

            ” … but I would wish to see you circumspect where there is a good end to be served, innocent only of harmful intent. So God, who is the author of peace, will crush Satan under your feet before long.”

            The Church is both a physical body and a Mystical Body.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Why have you taken on board Albert’s lazy habit of not providing references? I fail to see what relevance that passage has anyway.

            As to the Church, it is a spiritual body. It may have a physical presence locally in a congregation but that is all.

          • It’s Paul urging people to trust in God and resolve their differences. And we know the method when matters become acute – the template is given in Acts.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Then why did Rome neglect to do so and separate from the rest of the Christian world?

          • She didn’t. How could she leave herself?

          • Martin

            HJ

            Rome never was the rest of the Christian world, just a part of it. Rome chose to leave the Church and go her own way of temporal power. Her leader became the pagan priest of Rome, Pontifex Maximus.

          • ardenjm

            LOL
            Hilarious.
            Like saying, “Fog in the Channel, the Continent cut off from England”

          • Martin

            Seeing the rest of the Christian world was a bit bigger than Rome ….

          • ardenjm

            That’s like saying, “the rest of the Kingdom of England is bigger than the King who wears the Crown.” One of the essential hallmarks of the Church being Catholic is unity with the successor of St Peter, the Bishop of Rome. Sunder that link and it’s not Rome that has split away from the rest of the Church but the rest of the Church that has split away from one of the essential anchorage points of the Church. As it was at the time of the Arian heresy when Athanasius and the Bishop of Rome were a minority of Catholic Bishops left in the known world. In this instance the moral authority of Athanasius is what has come echoing down the centuries. But the institutional authority was with the Bishop of Rome – as Athanasius recognised. It’s the office, not the man. Another reason for the name change by Our Lord: Simon was weak, inspite of his great faith, but his act of faith was real and was in The One who is solid: Christ the Lord. You reckon the successor of Peter doesn’t have to lean, him too, on the Faith of Peter? Our Lord, of course, didn’t have Faith. He SAW, being God, all that God sees. He didn’t need to Trust in God – He IS God.

          • Martin

            The bishop of Rome was never the successor of Peter. Not of course that Peter was the leader of the Church, the Church looks to Christ, not to mere men. Rome was never the leader of Christianity, although as capital it had a great deal of influence and was richer. It is quite clear that when Victor tried to excommunicate the Eastern churches over the date of Easter he was slapped down for exceeding his authority.

            Institutional authority in the Church, as Scripture tells us, lies in the council of elders/overseers in each place, not in any monarchical ruler.

          • ardenjm

            “not in any monarchical ruler.”
            Like: servus servorum Dei…?

            “The Church looks to Christ, not to mere men.”
            Christ, like the King in Isaiah 22 who gave the Keys of the Kingdom to Eliakim to exercise his authority as a kind of Prime Minister, gave the Keys of His Kingdom to Peter in Matthew 16. Peter’s role is therefore clear. Take it up with Christ.

            As for Pope Victor getting rebuked by the other Bishops two thoughts:
            1. It’s no different to Paul correcting Peter – and rightly so. The Bishop of Rome makes governmental mistakes all the time.
            2. By the fourth century the Roman option of celebrating Easter on a Sunday was universal. So in that sense, Pope Victor won the argument.
            The means he chose were poor. The sensus fidei, however, was sound enough.

          • Martin

            I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 16:19 [ESV])

            Doesn’t look like He’s giving the keys there, it’s a future event. So where does He give the keys. Maybe here:

            Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. (Matthew 18:18 [ESV])

            But then that’s to all the disciples, and hence to all Christians.

            Curiously if Victor’s position had been accepted you would claim it as proof of the supremacy of Rome. As it is, we see that the bishop of Rome has no special authority, nor did Peter.

          • ardenjm

            Not so.
            Here is the Greek text of Matthew 16vs19.
            I will give you (singular, masculine) the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.
            “δώσω σοι τὰς κλεῖδας τῆς βασιλείας τῶν οὐρανῶν”
            Not only that but the binding and loosening is ALSO in the second person masculine singular: you, Peter.
            The verses in ch18vs18 are in the plural and are to do with forgiving another – which all Christians are bound to do. But no mention of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven is made at that point.
            So your extrapolation is a rationalisation to avoid confronting the meaning of Matthew 16vs19 in the light of Isaiah 22. Here’s the text. I’m betting you haven’t even dared go and check it:
            Shebna – the Palace Administrator – is being warned by God that he risks being deposed. What does the Palace Administrator of the King get to do? Read on:

            “In that day I will summon my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21 I will clothe him with your robe and fasten your sash around him and hand your authority over to him. He will be a father to those who live in Jerusalem and to the people of Judah. 22I will place on his shoulder the key to the house of David; what he opens no one can shut, and what he shuts no one can open. 23 I will drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a seat of honor for the house of his father. 24 All the glory of his family will hang on him: its offspring and offshoots—all its lesser vessels, from the bowls to all the jars.

            This Key – the opening and shutting – being like a father to the people of Jerusalem: this is the role of the Palace Adminstrator. The King’s Prime Minister. The Church, the Heavenly Jerusalem has a Heavenly Father, and has a Heavenly King: the Lord Jesus. But it PLEASES them to appoint a steward, with authority to bind and loose, to be like a father (papa – pope) to the Church (the New Jerusalem).

            The meaning couldn’t be clearer.

            And lastly, no, it’s not about the “supremacy of Rome” (tho’ sinful Catholics and some sinful Popes have tried to make it so) it’s about accepting God’s will for His Church. The refusal to accept that God-appointed authority is the oldest sin of all. It’s pride. It’s the Devil’s non serviam.

          • Martin

            Matthew 16:19 is still in the future, clearly Peter is not given the keys here. If you deny they are given in Matthew 18 where are they given. Isaiah is irrelevant.

            The Church is the assembly of God’s people, not a local church however important the town may be. Rome usurped it’s authority, the only authority in the Church is Christ.

          • ardenjm

            Err. Except there is no mention of the keys in Mt 18.
            The future that Our Lord refers to is precisely that time when Peter’s stewardship of the Church will be necessary: when Our Risen Lord is no longer physically with the Church but is sent out on the Great Commission in Matthew 28.

            That you say Isaiah 22 is irrelevant is bad faith. (And secretly you know it.)
            It’s like hearing John the Baptist speak of Jesus as The Lamb of God and say that all the typology of The Lamb in the Old Testament is “irrelevant.”
            We hear of the Keys of the Kingdom in Matthew and you don’t ask, ‘what Old Testament’ passages are relevant to this? Weird, since Our Lord explicitly says He has come to fulfil the Law AND THE PROPHETS – and explains them to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, too.

            Rome, the town, isn’t significant – the Papacy was in Avignon for 75 years. Popes have been captive elsewhere, too, sometimes for years. ‘Rome’ just stands for the Petrine Office. The Pope could be in Dagenham for all it matters – he still exercises that ministry.

            And, clearly, any authority exercised in the Church is from Christ. He exercises that authority through His ministers but even Christ doesn’t deny that their agency co-operates with His divine authority: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” John 20 vs21.

            You disagree with my interpretation of Scripture. Fine. But quit pretending it’s because you have the Bible and us Catholics do not. You’ve just chosen to heretically interpret it incorrectly – and stubbornly – and I encourage you to get past your prejudices and come to the fulness of the beautiful Truth that Christ has entrusted to us.

          • Martin

            Matthew 18 uses much the same words, binding and loosing. The keys, after all, are purely figurative. And where is there anything that speaks of Peter’s stewardship? And Matthew 18 speaks of who is the greatest, is it not strange that no one says that Peter is?

            You’ve not given an adequate reason for me to accept the relevance of Isaiah 22.

            Rome was the centre of the empire, of course it was significant. It was the local church there that was the leader, not an imagined pope. Popes have no authority.

            Christ exercises His authority through His word, the apostles, of course, were a temporary office with no successors.

            Show from the Bible that I interpret it in a heretical manner. You have no arguments that do not stem from your tradition. Remember, it is Christians that are part of the Catholic Church, not those who claim Rome is the authority that must be obeyed.

          • ardenjm

            Three years ago Albert went through all of these issues with you in exactly the same way as I’ve been doing with you.
            I see no point rehearsing the arguments again: they are in the comments section of this blog post:
            http://archbishopcranmer.com/pope-francis-moves-rome-toward-reason-and-experience/
            You suffer from what the Church calls invincible ignorance. It would be an unkindness to you to try and force you to understand something you have wilfully blinded yourself to.

          • Martin

            Could be that what I suffer from is the teaching of the Holy Spirit.

          • ardenjm

            Yup.
            That’d be it.

          • Martin

            Then you ought to take note of what I say.

  • Chefofsinners

    Justine, Justine, Justine, Justine
    I’m begging of you please make me a woman
    Justine, Justine, Justine, Justine
    Change my gender just because you can

    Your duty is: give me a pair
    Of hamster cheeks and facial hair
    With ivory skin and piles of haemorrhoid cream

    Your guile is like the depths of sin
    The ladies’ toilets – let me in
    I can’t compete with men and win, Justine

    I’ll put my todger in the slicer
    Women’s prison seems so much nicer
    Than doing time in Wormwood Scrubs, Justine

    And I can’t easily understand
    How you could easily take my man-
    hood. But you don’t know what nature means, Justine

    Justine, Justine, Justine, Justine
    I’m begging of you please make me a woman
    Justine, Justine, Justine, Justine
    Change my gender just because you can

    • dannybhoy

      Needs a warbly backing group to really make it rock, but still very good/.

  • magnolia

    Nor does she understand that her “not yet willing” with all its premises which we understand all too well makes us think:
    a) golden calf
    b) tower of Babel
    and
    c) that she is therefore putting us all at risk.

    The modern version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” a la Justine has the boy who says “but he has no clothes” sent to a correctional facility in a concrete jungle where he is force fed the latest books with the approved statistics and taught new methods of observation which bypass the simplicity of what he thinks he can see clearly, and make him able to keep up with the diktats of PC modernity.

  • Shadrach Fire

    Justin was strong in what he said then, why is he now wavering?

    • Sir John Oldcastle

      Because he didn’t really believe it.

  • Inspector General

    If politicians like Justine Greening are doing a bit of thinking, then it’s only right that this Conservative (likely, but don’t depend on it) voter shares a bit of his.

    It’s this. Perhaps Putney Conservative Association might reflect on the wisdom of putting an annoyed lesbian up for election. That is, one is of the belief that the average Joe is sick and tired of damn ‘equalities’ and the prospect of men in dresses in the Ladies rest room, and almost naked homosexuals parading down the street, and rainbow crossings near schools and rainbow flag displays that would give the NAZIs a run for their money if they were still holding torchlight marches. And that is not mentioning the £5000 per head annual bill payable by the tax payer so the NHS can prescribe a drug that allows queer men to bugger each other without a condom!

    Quite frankly, Justine, you people are creepy. It’s never enough, is it? You always want more. You want total submission, and that even extends to our Christian churches. The Conservative Party would be well advised to show you people to the door, and concentrate on governing this country for the majority who just happen, My God, to be heterosexual. You know, where the next generation is coming from!!!

    There! Said it…

    {SNORT}

  • Inspector General

    More thought from an Inspector…

    Women should ‘do their bit for their country’ by finding a man, proper marrying and raising a family. Not lezzing around. That’s the Conservative way. A waste of two healthy uteri otherwise, one suggests. Those things aren’t getting any younger, you two!

    Come on, gals. Your country needs you!

    Babies, please!

    • Chefofsinners

      Stirring stuff, Inspector. I shall register myself as a female forthwith.

      • Inspector General

        And why not, Chief. Don’t worry. You can hang on to your familiar bits – the majority of trannys do. The important thing is that you IDENTIFY as a female. Our Conservative government will then shower you with…well, something.

        • But he wont be able to have babies until an artificial womb is available. Just tell him to man-up and think of England.

          • Chefofsinners

            I heard they were available. But it was just a wombour.

    • Sieg Heil.

  • Inspector General

    If you pander to one crowd of psychotics, you’ll soon end up with a long line of them wanting their bit…

    There are a number of individuals in the UK who identify as Adolf Hitler reborn. They are now entitled to have their birth certificate altered to read ‘Adolf Hitler’ and have the thing stamped with a swastika and the German eagle. These individuals MUST be addressed as ‘mein fuhrer’ and greeted with the NAZI salute. They are further entitled to wear a brown suit and peaked hat, display the Iron Cross (2nd class) about their person and prepare plans for an invasion of Poland. They may make impromptu speeches blaming the Jews. If they do, the speech should be listened to in silence, and at the end, a hearty shout of ‘sieg heil’ be given.

    • You’ve found freedom at last, Mein Fuhrer.

    • carl jacobs

      [Mutter, mutter]

      … German eagle ….

      Reichsadler! Get it right.

  • bobo

    I wonder if UK Muslims and their imams are gearing up to meet the challenge of non-cisgendered marital connubialism, or whatever this particular farrago is supposed to be called?

    I’m sure they are.

    • Chefofsinners

      Probably not gearing up. Tooling up, some of them.

  • Chefofsinners

    Meanwhile, far away in another land, Donald Trump is giving clear, common sense leadership on transgender persons serving in the military. If an idiot like him can do it, why not Justin Welby?

  • Justine as a lesbian is not interested in promoting and protecting the natural order of being, she is, wittingly or not, going along the path of complying to us becoming a genderless society. It seems to be a trend in Western civilised countries.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      I am reminded of a novel by the Marquis de Sade.

    • Lucius

      The left is seeking to eradicate not only gender, but also national distinction (globalism), religious distinction (secularism), moral distinction (relativism), wealth distinction (redistribution), and thought and speech distinction (militant political correctness). What’s left? A man with no god, no sex/gender (meaning no fathers, no brothers, no sons, etc.), no absolute morals or principles, no wealth, no independent thought, and no country. Such a man is ripe for subjugation and slavery. And therein is the left’s ultimate aim.

      • The disorder, chaos and social breakdown that precedes violent revolution can be met by fascist as well as socialist responses.

        • Lucius

          Fascism and socialism are, in reality, merely two sides of the same coin. Each seek dictatorial power. One usually under the pretext of misguided nationalism (fascism) and the other some absurd notion of “economic justice” and “classism” (socialism) The ultimate aim of both, however, is the same, that is, subjugation of the masses.

          • Agreed. Jack’s point is that one must watch the “right” as well as the “left”. Their rhetoric differs and the emotions they appeal to in order to gain power. Ultimately, they both want to curb human freedom.

      • Merchantman

        Great post thanks.

      • I tend to think you are right here, many arrows are pointing in these directions.

  • ardenjm

    I think it inevitable – and in relatively short order – that the Anglican Church will celebrate gay ‘marriages’.

    The Lambeth Conference of 1920 fulminated robustly against the use of artificial contraception – using all the Natural Law arguments that are common Catholic patrimony and which were re-used by Pope Paul VI in Humanae Vitae in 1968.

    Yet just 10 years later the 1930 Lambeth Conference allowed the use of artificial contraception and sundered, in what counts as ‘magisterial’ teaching in the CofE, the link between the unitive and procreative ends of the conjugal act.

    Thus introduced, the road to accepting gay sex was open – as Rowan Williams accurately pointed out a number of years ago – referencing the Anglican “teaching” since 1930.

    Thus, both the teaching AND the precedent of, first opposing and second acquiescing to the World has long been established within the Establishment Church.

    It will be the same for gay marriage. And will be spearheaded by all those young gay Anglican priests who are already civilly married.

    As for how this decadence will spell out in the Catholic Church?
    With the End of the World, I suspect. Or, if not, with mass apostasy.
    This is really all just the Endgame of the Modernist heresy. And it will probably continue for another 50 years or so.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      I say, you’re an ‘optimistic’ chap: ’50 years or so’.

      It’s already embedded within the security services’ agencies on both sides of the Atlantic.

      Within 36 months, all dissenting Christians within the public square will be in the private.

      Who’s in the closet now?

      • ardenjm

        Oh on this issue – here in the UK – perhaps so. But that’s just our local parish.
        The Church is bigger than that and there are more tentacles to the Modernist heresy than homosexuality. Which is why I tend to think that we’re still a little way off the Beginning of the End.
        Still, the words of Our Lady in Chesterton’s The Ballad of the White Horse are ever more apposite – see below. He gave expression to the very best of Merry England – when Our Lady wasn’t seen as some Popish Idol – but was seen as England’s Mother and Queen…
        England – (and whatever is true in Anglicanism) – won’t be restored until she returns to Our Lady of Walsingham. Here, then, the poem’s wise adage:

        “I tell you naught for your comfort,

        Yea, naught for your desire,

        Save that the sky grows darker yet

        And the sea rises higher.”

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Nay! ‘not perhaps so’.

          There is a remnant in England and Wales and Scotland who awakes every morn (at 4 AM) and pleads for people like you to lead this once great nation under God.

          • Then pray your prayers within the Catholic Church – the bulwark of Truth.

          • ardenjm

            “There is a remnant in England and Wales and Scotland who awakes every morn (at 4 AM)”
            Really? An organised group?
            Tell me more…

          • ChaucerChronicle

            “God sent me before you to preserve for you a remnant in the earth, and to keep you alive by a great deliverance.”

          • ardenjm

            Sure sure but I thought you were talking about a very worthy group of people who had made that commitment together and were supporting each other in a group.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            There are many in our country.

            Do you belive you were alone? You are not.

          • ardenjm

            You’ve misunderstood my very simple question: Is there an organised group who are doing this. With a name and a website and a newsletter and who know each other and communicate with each other.
            I don’t doubt that good Christians are watching and praying here in England.
            Why, the Carthusians at Parkminster have been getting up at midnight for the Night Office since the order was restored to England.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            ardenjm

            Be thou alone for the time being. It shall strengthen thee. When the time comes, He shall point His sceptre for you to write and influence the thought of many.

        • Anton

          As an Englishman I can tell you that Mary was never either England’s or my mother and queen. She is the mother of my lord and saviour Jesus Christ, neither more nor less.

          • “And Jesus, seeing his mother there, and the disciple, too, whom he loved, standing by, said to his mother, Woman, this is thy son. Then he said to the disciple, This is thy mother.”

          • Anton

            I’m not John.

          • Are you his brother?

          • Chefofsinners

            John repeatedly addresses believers as his children, rather than his brothers.

          • Because he’s their father in Christ. However, Jesus is our brother and, through union with Christ, we become the adopted children of His Father i.e. His brother.

          • Chefofsinners

            And from that day the disciple took her to his own home.
            Finish the quote and it looks very different. This was Jesus ensuring his mother would be cared for. It was not him telling the entire church to make her their mother.

          • ardenjm

            That’s because that had already happened:
            She is the Mother of the Head of the Church.
            First in Faith: because she believed the Angel Gabriel’s word about the Word and so – in Augustine’s stirring line, “she conceived the Word in her heart before conceiving Him in her womb”. Second in sharing that Faith: she goes to Elizabeth bearing the Word Incarnate, her greeting brings The Word to the unborn John and he leaps for joy. Third in contemplating that Faith: she “ponders these things in her heart” as St Luke tells us. Fourth in interceeding for “those who have no more wine” to her Beloved Son and telling us all what the obedience of Faith is like: “Do whatever He tells you.” Fifth in being faithful to Christ Crucified when He is deserted. Sixth in being with the Church on the day of its birth at Pentecost. And lastly being an image of the Triumphant Church in the vision of St John in the Apocalypse.
            Pretty much all Englishmen would have had that understanding of who Our Lady was until the Reformation.

          • And what a superb understanding too.

          • Chefofsinners

            What had already happened? John taking her to his home?
            “From that day” it says.

            Mary was indeed most highly favoured amongst women, but was one of the “all” who have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. She clearly had other children, but John was chosen to care for her; his reward for being present at the cross.

          • ardenjm

            No. What has already happened is that her role as Mother of all those who are in Christ has already happened by virtue of the fact that she is the Mother of Christ. Or don’t you believe that grace unites you in communion with Christ?

          • Chefofsinners

            By that logic we must equally venerate all of Mary’s ancestors.

          • ardenjm

            Not so. She received the grace at her own conception.
            It isn’t an atavism that is past down the generations like a DNA code. It’s the state her humanity is in – in an unfallen state – that she can offer to her Son in the Incarnation. The only reason she can offer it to her Son is because The Word graces her with the prevenient grace of salvation from Original Sin. It is fitting that the Incarnate Word should save at least one human being from the sin of Adam. Since He was Himself sinless, being Divine as well as human, it is theo-logically convincing that the person he save from Original Sin be the person from whom He takes that very human nature He will offer on the Cross. Hence the summit of the Redemption of humanity is indeed the grace of the Immaculate Conception.

          • Chefofsinners

            Laughable. You are simply piling human assertions one upon the other. You might as well write your own bible.

          • ardenjm

            This is the Tradition that the Church has received from God.
            Take it up with Him.

          • Don’t you contend she had other natural with the sons? They would have the duty to care and provide for her?
            Jesus gave Mary to John as His Mother and, in so doing, gave her to all other Christians as their spiritual Mother. Just as through Jesus we are all brothers and sisters with John, Mary is our spiritual Mother. John looked after her because the relationship Christ established between them was material as well as spiritual, just as the Church is a spiritual body and also a visible, material one.

          • Anton

            “Even his own brothers did not believe in him” (John 7:5). That is why Christ preferred to entrust his mother to John than to her other boys.

          • As we know Mary bore no other children. Even if she had, by redefining Mary’s relationship to John in the way He did, Jesus is giving the same message. She is John’s spiritual Mother and he is her spiritual son. Otherwise He would have simply asked John to look after her. Instead, He redefined their relationship.

            Is John your brother?

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, we don’t know that, quite the contrary actually. Indeed, following the birth Mary could not have been a virgin, unless Jesus somehow beamed out of her a la Star Trek.

          • ardenjm

            Not so. Her virginity before during and after birth is affirmed by the Church Fathers and is indeed de Fide: Catholics and Orthodox affirm dogmatically and have done since the first Councils that she was perpetually a Virgin at every moment.
            This was not controversial – except amongst heretics – until, yes, you’ve guessed it, The Reformation.

          • Anton

            You can’t get it from the Bible and the earliest source is a document whose very identity is based on a lie, the ‘Gospel of James’ which purports to have been written by a half-brother of Jesus yet speaks of consecrated virgins (a Greek concept) in the Temple in Jerusalem; this ‘gospel’ was first mentioned by Origen in the 3rd century. It includes a prurient passage in which a woman called Salome refuses to believe Mary’s midwife that a virgin has given birth, inserts her finger into Mary’s vagina to check, and loses her hand to fire until she touches the newly born Christ. If this miracle is true, how did it fail to reach Matthew, Mark, Luke and John yet reach another writer two centuries later?

          • ardenjm

            The Gospel of James is rightly not a canonical book. The Church does not recognise its divinely inspired authority.
            “If this miracle is true” It almost certainly isn’t. It was made up. The Church has no need of lies to support something which is most certainly present in the Gospels that are canonical.

            You can err in two ways:
            By deficiency – Protestants who think they honour Christ by scorning His Mother.
            By excess – the Collyridians who worshipped Mary as divine and offered sacrifices to her – in the 4th century. Condemned by the Church for obvious reaons.
            As were Protestants. But for different reasons. Obviously.

          • Anton

            Glad you agree that this book is rubbish. It is the earliest source for Mary’s perpetual virginity.

          • ardenjm

            Nope. It’s one of the written documents that distorts the Tradition that the Church has received in the Deposit of the Faith and dates from around 150AD. But Justin Martyr is already talking about the Virginal Conception of Jesus in his First Apology by then indicating that it was part of the beliefs of the Church from the very earliest period.

            Try again.

          • Anton

            No Christian disputes the virginal conception of Jesus.

            You wrote: “The Church has no need of lies to support something which is most certainly present in the Gospels that are canonical.” So go ahead, do what you claim you can and prove Mary’s perpetual virginity from scripture.

          • ardenjm

            It is present in them in germ. And the reading of the Church connects the dots correctly, consonant with the Tradition of the Deposit of the Faith. You are basically setting yourself up as your own Magisterium – with a degree of infallibility proportionate to your pride in your own rectitude.
            https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print-edition/the-case-for-marys-perpetual-virginity
            https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=9757

          • Anton

            The difference is that I don’t have the hubris to claim I am inerrant. Hubris led to nemesis in 1517.

          • ardenjm

            Take it up with Our Lord: He uses the parables of the germinating seed several times.
            And, having taken it up with Our Lord, take it up with the Holy Spirit, who, as St John informs us will be given to ‘remind you of all that I have said AND the “truths to come” and who will “lead you in to all truth”.
            The wise steward draws both new and old out of his storeroom.
            It’s why we say of The Word that He is homoousias with The Father – even though you won’t find that word anywhere in Scripture.
            If you’r a Trinitarian Christian you subscribe to the same method and approach – you’ve just chosen to ignore it because it wasn’t one of the manias of the Reformers.
            At the time of Arius, tho’, I wonder what side you would have been on…

          • Anton

            I ask where Mary’s perpetual virginity is found in scripture and you reply that it is there in germ and that seeds germinate. Now that you consider it has done so, in the doctrine at issue, you will therefore be able to explain how to get from scripture to Mary’s perpetual virginity. Please do so.

          • ardenjm

            Of course. Happy to do so.
            We all agree that Our Lady was a Virgin prior to the Incarnation.
            That she remained a Virgin after the Birth of Our Lord was affirmed, dogmatically, by the Church in the earliest centuries. This is because the Church, following Scripture, teaches that the Truths revealed to us come by mode of Tradition which is then, in part, written down in Scripture under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in order to guarantee the inerrancy of that scripture. Together we call these revealed truths in Tradition and Scripture: the Deposit of the Faith.

          • Anton

            I am happy for readers to compare my question and your answer; thank you.

          • ardenjm

            Especially since your question repeats pointlessly the same presuppositions that were already answered in multiple other places concerning the Catholic Church’s teaching on the Deposit of the Faith, Tradition and Scripture.
            That you then, in bad faith, repeat the question merely on your own protestant terms, is something that bears constant comparison also.
            Hence my answer – given for at least the fifth time.
            You don’t get to redefine the terms of my answer just because you don’t like them.

            You’re welcome.

          • Anton

            I am happy for readers to compare my question and your answer; thank you.

          • Chefofsinners

            The whole point of the reformation being that it dismantled centuries of false doctrine.

          • ardenjm

            Uh huh.
            Funny thing is: Luther and Zwingli both affirmed that Mary was a Perpeptual Virgin and called her the Mother of God.
            As did Calvin in a more qualified sense.
            In fact so did Karl Barth in the 20th century. But qualified it with 500 years of false doctrine from the protestant tradition to deplore the ‘excesses’ of devotion.
            But in fact when you look at the Faith and Revelation you can’t BUT make the theological conclusions that the Church makes (and that the Reformers agreed with.)
            What you don’t like is a question of sensibility, not theology or doctrine. Because you STILL haven’t understood how it pleases Almighty God to use instruments for our salvation. Odd, really, because the most perfect instrument of all is the God-Man Jesus Christ.

            But let’s leave the last word to John Wycliffe – hero of Protestants for so bravely and so prophetically – embracing Protestant ideas. LOL:

            “It seems to me impossible that we should obtain the reward of Heaven without the help of Mary. There is no sex or age, no rank or position, of anyone in the whole human race, which has no need to call for the help of the Holy Virgin.”

            The falseness of doctrine is entirely your own.

          • Chefofsinners

            You appeal to men rather than scripture. Barely worth reading.

          • ardenjm

            Given that these men invented Sola Scriptura which is nowhere found in Scripture itself. Given that these men invented Sola gratia which is not the fulness of the Scriptural teaching, I wonder at your blithe dismissal of them.

            You have no other legs to stand on. Scripture alone isn’t your foundation. Scripture itself tells us that the Church is the foundation of the truth.

            You are quite, quite mistaken.

          • Anton

            There is some distasteful stuff in Catholic tradition about the definition of a virgin being an unruptured hymen rather than never having had sex. Don’t adopt the Catholic definition! The secular feminist Marina Warner’s book on Mary, “Alone of all her sex”, talks about the discussions led by her teachers in a Catholic school about how she gave supposedly birth without rupture. I find the subject prurient.

          • …. it’s perhaps an unnecessary discussion because it is not a strictly defined doctrine of faith, either way.

          • ardenjm

            Yes it is. The Perpeptual Virginity of Mary is most certainly de fide.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_virginity_of_Mary

          • Yes, your correct. Thank you for pointing this out. The Catechism of the Council of Trent was clear on the constant tradition and teaching:

            For in a way wonderful beyond expression or conception, he is born of his Mother without any diminution of her maternal virginity. As he afterwards went forth from the sepulcher while it was closed and sealed, and entered the room in which his disciples were assembled, although “the doors were closed” (Jn. 20:19), or, not to depart from natural events which we witness every day, as the rays of the sun penetrate the substance of glass without breaking or injuring it in the least: so, but in a more incomprehensible manner, did Jesus Christ come forth from his mother’s womb without injury to her maternal virginity.

            Our Lady’s Virginity before, during , and after the birth of Jesus, has always included the traditional magisterial understanding that Mary gave “miraculous birth” to Jesus.

          • Anton

            Your new chum denies that such discussion is prurient.

          • ardenjm

            Only if conducted in purient fashion….
            You consider it distasteful because of the exacerbated puritanism of your protestantism.

          • Anton

            If the definition of virginity is taken to be the absence of past sexual encounter (as it obviously should be) then there is no need for any discussion of Mary’s hymen in relation to the birth to Jesus (as there obviously shouldn’t be). Why, then, do many Catholics take the definition to relate to the hymen?

          • ardenjm

            Presumably the physiological understanding of the time was that the only way the hymen could be ruptured was through sexual activity. Hence the concern to state that it never was so. In a sense it was easier to talk of the ‘intactness of the hymen’ than to evoke the sexual activity of the Mother of Jesus. (And of Jesus Himself now I come to think about it.) In other words – it’s not an exacerbated purience that makes them talk about the hymen but a sense of modesty and decency to not evoke the conjugal act itself. Probably something akin to, “uncovering your father’s nakedness” in the story of Noah… (This is my speculation.)

          • Anton

            Presumably the physiological understanding of the time was that the only way the hymen could be ruptured was through sexual activity.

            Nonsense. It is obvious that if intromission is liable to rupture it then the birth of a baby conceived miraculously would completely do so. That is what I expect happened. Tell me: Are Catholics required to believe that her hymen was still intact following the birth of Jesus? If so, what is the evidence for it?

          • ardenjm

            As I said, my line of reasoning is speculative: Catholics – like all Christians – are required, de fide, to believe that Mary is Ever Virgin. The physiological signifiers of that are of secondary importance – although not entirely redundant in so far as the body has its place in the economy of salvation. Nevertheless it isn’t the ‘intactness of the hymen’ that is the essential component of that Virginity, obviously. It is the fact that she is ‘overshadowed’ by the Holy Spirit and thus taken to belong to God and thus doesn’t have sexual relations with a man.

            However, the ‘intactness of the hymen’ does indeed express the miraculous nature of the birth of Christ and the nature of his hypostatically united body – which we see in the Transfiguration and then completely in the resurrection appearances of Our Lord: entering a locked room. Which the Church Fathers were particularly sensitive to.

          • Anton

            I’ll leave it at that. We agree that Mary knew not a man before Christ’s birth at least and the present subject is distasteful.

          • ardenjm

            Well I’m glad that you see the parallels between the appearance of Our Lord’s in the locked room after the Resurrection and the hymen of the Virgin at Our Lord’s birth have a certain theo-literary consonance.
            I agree.

          • Anton

            I am detaching because I find the subject distasteful. It is poor logic to suppose that I agree with what you said.

          • Well, we know the process of natural child birth is a consequence of sin entering the world. Mary was sinless, being full of grace. By an act of God, from the moment of her conception, she was without sin. It’s also why her body was assumed into Heaven and was not subject to decomposition.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No, Mary was not sinless, any more than any other believer is sinless. You speak superstitious nonsense.

          • ardenjm

            Oh Our Lady is most certainly more perfectly saved from sin than any other human creature. And the grace of her salvation comes from the Cross of Christ Crucified.
            That’s how come she is the Immaculate. She has been saved from Original Sin also. It is fitting that Our Lord save at least one fallen human from Original Sin. He chose to save the one who would be called The Full of Grace.
            Why did He do that?
            So that the Immaculate Lamb could present body (from the Virgin) soul (from God) and Himself The Eternal Word as a perfect unblemished offering to God for the salvation of poor sinners.

          • Yet she needed a Saviour, and she knew it (Luke 1:47).

          • ardenjm

            And indeed she was saved.
            From Original Sin.
            She is more saved than us. Not less saved. She is saved also from all personal sin – through that singular grace that God in His goodness gave to her.

          • Martin

            Don’t be silly, Mary was as sinful as the next woman, inherited original sin from Adam and fell many a time. Every Christian is full of grace for it is grace that saves them and enables them to live for Christ.

          • She was described by the Angel from God as “full of grace” and as having “found favour” with God.

            Mary was “saved.” Mary needed a saviour. However, Mary was “saved” from sin by being given the grace to be “saved” completely from sin so that she never committed even the slightest transgression. Mary was saved from sin by receiving the grace to be preserved from it.

            “Hail, full of grace.” Hardly a normal greeting. The angel hailed her and gave her a title from God. Luke uses the perfect passive participle, kekaritomene, as God’s name for Mary. This means “she who has been graced” in a completed sense. This verbal adjective, “graced,” is not just describing a simple past action. Greek has another tense for that. The perfect tense is used to indicate that an action has been completed in the past resulting in a present state of being. “Full of grace” is Mary’s name. It tells us Mary is in a completed state of grace, in a permanent sense. We sin, not because of grace but because of a lack of grace, or a lack of our cooperation with grace. This greeting of the angel is an insight into the unique character and calling of the Mother of God. Only Mary is given the name “full of grace” and in the perfect tense, indicating that this permanent state of Mary was completed.

          • Anton

            Equally well translated as “she who has been favoured”. From where in KEKARITOMENE do you get “full of”?

          • Anton

            “She who has been favoured” does not imply that the favouring was transient. Only if you artificially insist that favouring is transient can you insist on “grace” rather than “favour” as the English translation. But it is obvious that the mother of the Messiah is permanently favoured; Mary herself prophesied that all generations would call her blessed. And you haven’t answered where “full” comes from. The article you quote musters no stronger argument than that it is fitting. Sorry but you must start with the text, not the interpretation.

          • Take it up with the scholars.

          • Anton

            I’m taking it up with you. Can you not give a reply?

          • Not without a great deal of time and effort which, frankly, would be wasteful.

          • Anton

            What a circumloquitous way of saying No!

          • Martin

            HJ

            And what of Stephen?

            And Stephen, full of grace and power, was doing great wonders and signs among the people. (Acts 6:8 [ESV])

            Of course Mary was saved, every Christian is, but that doesn’t mean Mary never sinned. You hang an awful lot on that angel’s greeting, none of it justified.

          • Stephen was not hailed by God’s angel as “full of grace”, prior to Christ’s conception. He was full of grace after Christ’s death and resurrection, perfected by the Holy Spirit, as all Christians aspire to be.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Irrelevant, every Christian is so, as well as the saints of the Old Testament, for all are saved by grace and receive the grace of God.

            As to Mary, what the angel said was:

            And he came to her and said, Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you! (Luke 1:28 [ESV])

          • Chefofsinners

            Sometimes the word cobblers just isn’t big enough.

          • ardenjm

            I hope you consistently apply this sceptical scrutiny to the Feeding of the 5000, the Parting of the Red Sea and the Resurrection of Our Lord….
            The issue here is the belief that Tradition AND Scripture are what are revealed by God in the Deposit of the Faith.
            And also that the Church is guided infallibly by the Holy Spirit, “into all truth” as Our Lord promised at the Last Supper.

          • Chefofsinners

            The miracles you mention are, of course, described in scripture. You are obfuscating.
            At the last supper Jesus was speaking to many who would write our scriptures, of course. The Holy Spirit did indeed guide them into all truth, and they wrote it down.
            Now there are manifestly different interpretations of scripture, and Spiritual guidance is necessary to rightly understand the scriptures. This is not the same as God’s Spirit revealing ‘truths’ so-called which contradict scripture. The perpetual virginity of Mary being the case in point.

          • Anton

            The Catholic scholar Eamon Duffy has stated 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).

          • ardenjm

            But as an historian Duffy is obliged by the same token to say the same about a whole raft of central Christian dogmas. The past escapes us. The ‘records’ we make are limited. The Church, nevertheless has long articulated the idea of Mary’s bodily assumption:

            At the Council of Chalcedon in 451, when bishops from throughout the Mediterranean world gathered in Constantinople. Emperor Marcian requested that the Patriarch of Jerusalem bring the relics of Mary to Constantinople so that they could be enshrined in the capitol.

            But there were no relics.

            The patriarch explained to the emperor that there were no relics of Mary in Jerusalem, that “Mary had died in the presence of the apostles; but her tomb, when opened later . . . was found empty and so the apostles concluded that the body was taken up into heaven.”

          • Anton

            And what was the patriarch’s source?

          • ardenjm

            The Patriarch’s source is the Tradition of the Deposit of the Faith that the Church received.

          • Anton

            Received in what document or chain of transmission?

          • ardenjm

            “or chain of transmission”
            Ah! A chink! A recognition of the Oral Tradition. Good to see you mention it – since St Paul himself mentions the transmission of revelation through both forms.
            As for the transmission of the belief that the Vision of the Woman clothed with the Sun in Revelation is Israel, Our Lady (the one who gives birth to the Child who is clearly Jesus and not some typological “collective identity”) and the New Israel, the Church: let’s start with St John and go via his disciple St Polycarpe, to his disciple St Ireneaus of Lyon where we have for the doctrine of Mary, New Eve, set out in great detail.

          • Anton

            When Paul spoke of traditions it was before the gospels containing them were written, of course.

          • ardenjm

            Yeah, yeah. That’d be it.
            500 years of protestant heresy in that, “of course.”

          • Anton

            Your denomination accepts that timing, I believe.

          • You want historical evidence for a miracle which only became clear to the Church as her understanding of the Gospel deepened, led by the Holy Spirit into all Truth.

          • Anton

            I trust you have convinced yourself of that because your argument won’t convince anybody else. An unwitnessed miracle? You might as well believe in pink elephants.

          • Is this the liberal, modernist “Catholic scholar” that Protect the Pope commented:

            Prof Eamon Duffy uses his version of Cardinal Newman as a mirror in which to reflect his negative caricature of Pope Benedict. In this distorting mirror he’s concocted Pope Benedict is against restricting clericalism, an educated laity and theological freedom.

            Compared to Newman’s healthy vision of the Church Duffy obviously believes Pope Benedict is for trigger-happy dogmatists and ecclesiastical denunciations. Pope Benedict is too associated with structures of authority that don’t give life, and too keen to make denouncements and refutations instead of presenting the attractive truths of Christianity.

            The Pope Benedict that Duffy has created in his distorting mirror bears no relation to the real Pope Benedict who will be visiting in a week’s time. This caricature is so removed from the reality, Protect the Pope has to ask Prof Duffy, have you actually read anything written by Pope Benedict?

            http://protectthepope.com/?p=1092

            The “Catholic scholar” who wrote that the history of the Papacy and Peter are “stories …. accepted as sober history by some of the greatest minds of the early Church — Origen, Ambrose, Augustine. But they are pious romance, not history.” Duffy’s entire argument is built around the idea that the early churches were presbyterian in governance and that “there was no single bishop at Rome for almost a century after the deaths of the Apostles.” His proof? He provides no positive proof, at all. Instead, the argument rests entirely upon an argument from silence.

          • Anton

            All Catholics are required to believe the same thing and Duffy remains a member of that church. It’s your problem, not mine. If you think he is untrustworthy then why are you pleased to quote him about the English Reformation?

          • Not sure Jack ever has quoted him. He was right about the Reformation. However, he’s not an authority on the Blessed Virgin Mary.

          • Anton

            Who is and why?

          • Duffy – ad Jack has never quoted him.

          • Anton

            I meant: Who do you regard as an authority on the Blessed Virgin Mary and why? You seem to reserve the right of private judgement on which Catholics to believe about which subject. Not very Catholic!

          • The only final authority is the Magisterium of the Church.

          • Anton

            I am a member of the church.

          • No, you’re a baptised Christian outside of the visible Church who might or might not be a member of Christ’s Mystical Body.

          • Anton

            Not so, for the church I am in is visible.

          • It may have a meeting place but it’s not universal, nor Apostolic, nor in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

          • Anton

            I couldn’t care less.

          • Just so you know.

          • Anton

            Thank you.

          • ardenjm

            Well of course Our Lord did! None of this is controversial or new. It’s present in germ in the Gospel and germinates in the life of the Church as the Church ponders the Faith and is reminded of Christ’s full teaching by the Holy Spirit and “led in to all truth” by the Holy Spirit who “reveals the things to come” as John’s Gospel tells us. It’s the Nova et Vetera of the good steward in the parable who brings things new and old out of his storeroom.
            All of the Church Fathers developed this understanding of Our Lady’s identity and role and it’s entirely in keeping with the Gospel’s deepest meaning.

            It only starts getting questioned under iconoclastic protestants who think that to exalt Christ they have to tear down Mary. In point of fact, in failing to ponder the mystery of Mary’s humanity and what she gives to the Word: that very humanity, Protestantism loses purchase on the fullness of the mystery of the Incarnation. The liberalising tendency within Protestantism begins as soon as the Enlightenment gets underway – and it’s only thanks to the Fundamentalist reaction within Protestantism AGAINST liberalism that you have many Protestants who still subscribe to the orthodox Catholic understanding of both the Incarnation and the Trinity. The liberals have basically abandonned it on a doctrinal level.

            Hence what this blog is about: the clash in the CofE between its Liberal wing and its Christian wing.

          • Chefofsinners

            Mary quite obviously bore other children otherwise Jesus could not have had brothers.
            You might as well argue that black is white, male is female and Justine Greening is a prophet sent from God.

          • ardenjm

            Not so. The adelphos here could quite easily stand for cousins. It’s semitic usage to call extended family members brothers.
            And that’s the way the Church – and the first Reformers included – understood it.

            It’s only as the falling away from the Faith after the Reformation gathers steam that protestants lose even more of the Truth than they had initially rejected. Which, by the by, explains why in the 19th century all those weird non-Christian sects emerge from Protestantism: Universalism, Mormonism, Jehovah Witnesses and the like.

          • Chefofsinners

            Falling away from faith? You mean the growing understanding of the falsehoods perpetrated by Rome over the centuries.

            Cousins… my foot. “Your mother and cousins” Strange that they should be so closely associated. “Even his cousins did not yet believe in him” not terribly remarkable if they were just cousins. No, you are bending scripture to your preconceptions.

          • ardenjm

            Scripture is read correctly within Tradition and by the Magisterium of the Church.
            This is the Church’s reading and teaching.
            You set up your own instead:
            “Non serviam”

          • Chefofsinners

            There we go. Your doctrine will not stand without the support of a bunch of self-appointed Catholic ‘experts’. Protestants set up nothing. Sola scriptura.

          • ardenjm

            (Cough) except ‘sola scriptura’ itself (cough) – which is not scriptural.

            Oops.

            So whose doing the self-appointing?

          • Chefofsinners

            So shall we self-appoint a bunch of men or shall we self-appoint God?

            But sola scriptura is affirmed in scripture itself.
            2 Timothy 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
            That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

            ..and curiously no mention of a magisterium being established to cover the bits the scriptures have missed out.

            And the final words in scripture, Rev 22:18-21: For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
            And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen

          • ardenjm

            The Church has always venerated Sacred Scripture. But ‘sola scriptura’ isn’t in Scripture: those verses talk about 1. the usefulness of all scripture, not the usefulness of scripture ALONE and 2. the Book of Revelation not being added to.

            You’ll notice, also, ironically, that that verse of 2 Timothy speaks not of ‘sola gratia’ but of the perfecting of a man in good works…. so that’s one more idea that the protestants have misinterpreted.

            What IS in Scripture is also quite clear:
            1. the idea of an oral tradition received by the body of believers John 20vs25 and 2 Thess 2vs 15
            2. the idea of a Church being led by the Holy Spirit in to all truth John 16 vs12-15
            3. the Church as foundation of the Truth. 1 Tim 3vs15

          • Anton

            Re (1), John 20:30-1 (not v25) states that Jesus performed further signs (ie miracles) but that these do not add anything to the message that Jesus is saving Messiah as expounded in the rest of John’s gospel. You take this verse to imply an oral tradition. What miracles performed while Jesus was on earth do you take this passage to refer to? As for 2 Thess 2:15, Paul was writing before the gospels were written down when the tales of Jesus’ life were circulating orally.

          • ardenjm

            No, I take this verse of John’s Gospel to be linked to Our Lord’s very clear statement in John chapter 16:
            12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 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.”

            When does the Spirit come? He comes at Pentecost.
            What does He do once He has come? He, “will tell you what is yet to come” which is, “more than you can now bear.”

            So, no, it’s not just the Gospels that are the things to come, obviously, since the “the world cannot contain the books that can be written”. Your minimalist argument is not only circular (the Gospels speaks about the truths yet to come which are the Gospels themselves)… but is also forcing the Word of Scripture into the narrow understanding of protestant heresy.
            I’m sorry about that.
            For your sake.

          • Anton

            Thank you for your sympathy. My logic would be circular if I took the John 20 passage to refer to the John 16 passage. But I don’t, and never did.

          • ardenjm

            Uh huh.
            I’ll just leave you and any other reader to ponder the wisdom of refusing to read two parts of the same Gospel in the light of each other…and in the light of the whole: The Word made Flesh who dwelt amongst us and has shown us His Glory in order to save the world.

            And, once again: I insist: You must have the last word.
            You’re so much more rectidudinal and righteous.
            And Protestant.
            And this is a Protestant blog, after all.
            Over to you.

          • Anton

            Another distortion. I am not refusing to read those passages in the light of each other; rather I have considered them in the light of each other, and believe them distinct.

          • Anton

            In the 7th century Rome pronounced Mary’s perpetual virginity, which is nowhere deducible from scripture and is against the normal inference from it, in particular Matthew’s words about Mary in verses 1:18 and 1:25, that Joseph “had no [carnal] knowledge of her until she bore him a son” – which although stating nothing about what happened afterwards is not likely to be how Matthew would have written if the couple had remained celibate. If you hear that a woman broke her leg days before her wedding, and that she and her husband had no union until the plaster cast was removed, what do you suppose they did next? Did Mary and Joseph have separate beds? Separate bedrooms? Paul takes the view that it is mistaken for a married couple not to have sexual relations (1 Cor 7:5). Abundant children are viewed throughout the Old Testament as a blessing, and Mary was blessed (Luke 1:48). The gospels refer to Jesus’ adelphoi and adelphai – ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters,’ which in John 2:12 (‘his brothers and disciples’) & 7:5 (‘even his brothers did not believe in him’) & Matt 12:47 (“your mother and brothers are outside” – “who are my brothers; these [disciples] are”) cannot mean in the spiritual sense. Catholics take these references to refer to cousins of Jesus (although there is a Greek word for that, anepsioi), or they postulate that Joseph was a widower with children from an earlier marriage (a claim for which there is no evidence in the Bible or any other contemporary source ). The words adelphoi and adelphai commonly imply the same mother since delphys means ‘womb,’ and seven of the ten references to ‘his brothers’ in the gospels and Acts are in immediate connection to Mary. The exceptions are all in the passage John 7:2-10, which cannot refer to spiritual brothers as I shall explain in the next paragraph. This is as strong as the evidence can be that Mary had other children, given that there is no explicit statement which would have prevented the Catholic view ever arising.

            In the ‘Septuagint’ translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek from Christ’s era, adelphos may mean ‘kinsman’ where it cannot imply the same mother, eg uncle/nephew relations at Genesis 13:8, 14:14,16 and 29:12,15, first cousins in 1 Chr 23:22; but there is always an implication of closeness, of a bond due to the familial relation. That cannot be so at John 7:5, for instance.

            Why, if Mary’s perpetual virginity is true, did none of the gospel writers say so explicitly?

          • ardenjm

            “Why, if Mary’s perpetual virginity is true, did none of the gospel writers say so explicitly?”
            The Deposit of the Faith, Revelation, is made through Tradition. Some of that is written down in Scripture but as Scripture testifies: Jesus said and did many other things that the world could not contain all the books that would be written.
            It is the Church’s fidelity to the Tradition which allows all Christians (like the first Reformers) to affirm the Perpeptual Virginity.
            And before you tax me with making an unwarranted extrapolation from Scripture please point out to me where the New Testament EXPLICITLY affirm Sola Scriptura – whereas it DOES explicitly affirm that the Church is the foundation of the Truth.

          • Anton

            It does no such thing. The Holy Spirit fulfils that role.

            One would think it rather obvious that the book agreed to contain the word of God is uniquely authoritative. Feel free to make it up as you go along but don’t expect others to agree with the result.

          • ardenjm

            Like I said: that the Church is led by the Holy Spirit to teach what is found in the Deposit of the Faith is entirely consonant with both Scripture and Tradition.

            And, no, I don’t expect you to agree with the Catholic Church’s teaching because, much like the Dwarves at the end of C.S. Lewis’s The Last Battle you have convinced yourself that the Church is so corrupt and deviated from the truth that nothing true can come from it.
            Out of curiosity I wonder if you support abortion and gay “marriage”…

          • Anton

            I am a member of SPUC and my views of “gay marriage” are a matter of public record on this blog and agree with yours.

          • ardenjm

            Deo gratias.
            I’m delighted that you recognise that the Whore of Babylon has – weirdly for an institution that drinks the blood of the saints – been a rampart against child killing and marriage destruction.

          • Anton

            I have also gone on record here as saying I do not believe that the Roman Catholic church is the scarlet women of Revelation. The woman is either the endtime financial system or a New Age religious system; it is too soon to tell which. I can see why the Reformers reckoned Rome in the 16th century, though.

          • ardenjm

            So the Catholic Church (let’s call her that, you do a dishonour to the Maronites, Melkites and Greek-rite Catholics who are united to the Bishop of Rome in subsuming them as Roman Catholics. They share the same catechism and beliefs and doctrines – they are full members of the Catholic Church – but they do not use the Roman Rite, never have done, and have never been Roman Catholics) is a branch of ‘The Church’ (existing in some platonically formal way, presumably) and there are many other branches all getting some things right and other things wrong. Have I understood you?

          • Anton

            I don’t know; I’m rather reluctant to have words put in my mouth.

          • ardenjm

            Yes. I sympathise.

            But if you accept that the Catholic Church has got some things right perhaps you’d care to elucidate 1. what they are 2. how she has done so 3. what the implications are of this given the differences that exist amongst people who claim to follow Christ.

            In your own time, of course.

          • Anton

            Please define in this request what you mean by “the Catholic church”.

          • ardenjm

            The Church whose baptised members belong to parishes in dioceses where the Bishop is formally (if not personally since people, even Bishops, can be in apostasy in their own thinking) in ecclesiastical unity with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.
            Thus all those Latin-rite dioceses around the world, as well as those many other Churches now reunited or never separated (eg Maronites) from the Pope and yet who are not Latin rite.

            I do not consider the Orthodox Churches to be part of the Catholic Church. But they are Churches.
            I do not consider the Anglican Church to be part of the Catholic Church. And since it is not clear that it retains the essential nature of a Church I’d err on the side of caution and lump it in with all the other groups that emerged at the Reformation and call them ‘ecclesial communions’.

            This covers the bases reasonably well:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church

            Hope that helps clarify. If you need to parse this further, rather than sketch out a reply to my questions please know that I shall treat that as an evasion. Which is entirely within your purview, of course, but I see not reason why I should aliment it.
            Cheers!

          • Anton

            You seem to consider yourself my Inquisitor. Happily that era is past.

          • ardenjm

            I just asked you a question chap and you don’t want to answer it.
            Fine.
            End of.

          • Anton

            Nope. Your rhetoric attempted menace. Thanks to the sacrifice of brave men in the past I can just shrug.

          • ardenjm

            This is evasion. The questions were reasonable.
            You don’t want to answer them.
            That’s fine.
            I’ll let you have the last word. It’ll give you something to feel clever about there on your imagined moral high ground.
            “Attempted menace”
            Strewth!
            Get over yourself.

          • Anton

            We appear both to be happy for readers to decide for themselves at this point.

          • Anton

            Are you going to make any reasoned response to my analysis of the scriptures, which suggest as strongly as they can without explicitly saying so that Mary bore other children (and certainly do not rule it out)?

          • ardenjm

            Answer my questions, Anton and I may just get round to answering your subsequent ones.
            I’m feeling all “menaced” and “insulted” by your tone after all.

          • Anton

            You asked me (elsewhere on the thread) for a detailed essay on where I agreed with the Catholic church, throughout its history. That is not an intellectually demanding task but it is a very long one. For that reason I am going courteously to decline, but you may infer where I agree with Rome from this short list of where I most disagree with it: over Mary; over hierarchy and priestly ordination; and over politicisation and the lack of deep repentance for the bad consequences thereof. Also, I’ll gladly affirm that we have the Nicene Creed in common (provided that “descended into hell” is understood to refer to Hades not Gehenna).

            I am left wondering whether you are capable of an intellectual reply to my exegesis about Mary’s alleged perpetual virginity. Perhaps you are indifferent to what I think, but you will be aware that this is a public forum.

          • ardenjm

            Then I am happy to refer those readers to this very balanced article by Matthew Levering who sketches out all of the exegetical positions on the question and then gently but pertinently reminds non-Catholic readers that the Church does not read Scripture except within Tradition and as guided by the Holy Spirit into all truth.
            The starting premise is that the Deposit of the Faith is both Tradition and Scripture. Requiring explicit presence in Scripture would never have allowed the formulation of Trinitarian dogma, for example, which, for all Trinitarian Christians is uncontroversially true. It is puzzling to a Catholic: your scepticism about the Marian dogmas uses arguments akin to those who are not Trinitarian, like the Jehovah’s Witnesses who tax the Catholic Church of doing to Trinitarian passages of Scripture what you tax the Church of doing to Marian passages of Scripture: that we extrapolate beyond the text itself. Homoousias isn’t in the Biblical Text. The MEANING is there but it needs to be read-out (ex-egesis) by a competent authority. Likewise, the information on Our Lady’s Virginity is read-out by the Church which ponders Revelation – including the meaning of Scripture – and nevertheless concludes that Our Lady’s Perpetual Virginity (much like her Son’s – likewise unstated in Scripture) is dogmatically certain.
            And, all in all, given what Protestants have done to Scripture down the ages – with their ever-more-splintering interpretations that alone is enough for me to be sceptical that they are reading it in the way that God intends it to be read.
            https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2007/11/the-brothers-and-sisters-of-jesus

          • Anton

            It takes little understanding, little effort and little time to reply by posting somebody else’s words. But they do not constitute a reply to my specific points, of course. You blithely say that the author sketches out all exegetical positions before settling on his preferred one, but you have clearly not verified that mine is included. Have you the comprehension to respond to my specifics in your own words?

          • ardenjm

            Remind me EXACTLY what your specifics are again?
            I’m feeling all menaced by your inquisitorial tone.
            It must be the memory of the 600,000 Catholics killed under Oliver Cromwell in Ireland.

          • Anton

            We are talking about the relation between the proposition that Mary was perpetually virgin and the New Testament, and you bring in Cromwell’s Irish campaign!

            Feel free to bring in Cromwell’s campaigning in Ireland on another thread, and I shall be glad to discuss it; here I am not going to be diverted, which is clearly what you are trying to do.

            Look about 9 comments up this thread to find one of mine that begins “In the 7th century Rome pronounced Mary’s perpetual virginity…”

            That is the one to which you failed to provide a bespoke answer, but instead put up a link that you claimed summed up all alternative positions and then dismissed all but one. Your claim was incorrect, though. A genuine scholar would provide a bespoke response and cite other work as backup, not as a primary response. Unless you do that it will be clear that you are unable to refute my exegesis.

          • ardenjm

            Sigh. If you refuse to accept that the Catholic Church has different – Biblically mandated – starting points that you do, you’ll not accept the process by which she enunciates doctrine and does her exegesis in the first place. And as I have said her on occasions to numerous to list, the Catholic Church reads Scripture within Tradition. This Tradition is PART of the Deposit of the Faith – it’s part of Revelation. It contains things not found in Scripture – but, obviously, not contradictory to Scripture either. And the interpretation of Scripture is done within Tradition by a Church Magisterium that has the Spirit-inspired authority to:
            1. Make a Canon of Scripture 2. Elucidate doctrine when called for 3. Proclaim dogma when necessary.
            This is uncontroversial to you when it comes to your fictitious Church-before-Rome common patrimony which saw the theologically technical (strictly non-explicit only implicit in the Bible) elucidation of what it MEANS to say God is Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
            You tax the Church of affirming the Perpeptual Virginity of Mary in the 7th Century and then, with bad faith, imply that it was an invention, one more deviation by the Roman Cult from the pre-Constantinian Church which is the ‘true’ Church.
            I suggest that this is simply because you disagree with the Catholic Church and the inventing is entirely your own: that of the pre-Constantinian Church.
            There is no difference between the Church elucidating Trinitarian doctrine in the 4th centuries, to elucidating Marian doctrine in the 5th century, Eucharistic doctrine at Trent, Ecclesiastical doctrine in the 19th century. In the 1st century the Church had to elucidate whether the rapport between being Jewish and being Christian. The Church Militant’s passage through the ages confronts her with different issues and challenges and questions. It is the growth of the tree, the vine, the harvest, the leaven in the dough: there is organic unity to that development.

            So the Perpeptual Virginity of Our Lady was quite uncontroversial for Protestant Heresiarchs: Luther, Zwingli and Calvin all accepted it. It has become more so only as protestantism has continued its trajectory away from the fulness of the Faith – liberal protestantism barely believes in the Divinity of Christ anymore, for example and is just as sceptical about the miracles of Christ as it is about the Perpetual Virginity of Mary.

            So the points of contention exegetically concern
            1. The verse about Joseph not knowing Mary (in a sexual sense) ‘until’ the birth of Our Lord.
            2. The brethren of Jesus mentioned in the Gospel.

            The Church has, obviously, long been aware of those two passages – just as the Reformers were. But they have only become really contentious in the last 100 years as heretics who do not share the Church’s exegetical starting point, and certainly not the same Faith, attack the Church’s ‘misreading’ and ‘falsification’ of Scripture.
            The Church, reading Scripture in the light of Tradition and Magisterially takes a two-fold approach to the question:

            1. Negatively: she supplies answers to the heretics as to why their reading of those two particulars is wrong.

            2. Positively: she gives her own reading of Scripture and Biblical passages which are in themselves allusive and implicit, but read within Tradition and by the Magisterium are consonant with the conclusion uncontroversially reached long ago that Mary was Ever Virgin.

            So to the negative aspect first:
            1. That ‘until’ there can be taken to mean that Joseph waited until Our Lord’s birth before having sex with Mary. The whole value of the passage as an argument against Mary’s virginity depends on some supposed “rule” that “until” means “the same before, but different afterward.” But if we try to apply this “rule,” we wind up with strange results. Thus, Deuteronomy 1:31 tells Israel, “The LORD your God bore you, as a man bears his son, in all the way that you went until you came to this place.” Does the author really mean to say that God would henceforth not be carrying Israel?

            Likewise, Deuteronomy 9:7 says, “From the day you came out of the land of Egypt, until you came to this place, you have been rebellious against the LORD.” Does the sacred author mean to imply that Israel magically stopped being rebellious after that? Or again, John the Baptist “was in the wilderness until the day of his manifestation to Israel” (Lk 1:80, emphasis added). Does Luke therefore mean to imply that once John appeared to Israel, he never lived in the desert again? No. Similarly, neither is Matthew saying anything beyond, “Mary conceived Jesus in virginity.” He is making no implications whatever about any sexual relations between Mary and Joseph.

            2. Concerning the ‘brethren’. In the same way, the texts concerning Jesus’ brothers and sisters were consistently read by the early Church with the understanding that the apostles had taught that Jesus was the only son of the Blessed Virgin. And once we get past our modern prejudice that “they simply can’t mean that,” we find to our surprise that they easily can.

            Take James. Paul describes him as the “brother of the Lord,” but James himself does not. Why not? And even more oddly, Jude describes himself as “a servant of Jesus Christ and brother of James” (Jude 1). If Jude is a sibling of Jesus, why does he talk in this weird way?

            The answer comes from a close reading of the Gospels. Matthew and Mark name the following as “brothers” of Jesus: James, Joseph (or “Joses,” depending on the manuscript), Simon, and Judas (i.e., “Jude”). But Matthew 27:56 says that at the cross were Mary Magdalene and “Mary the mother of James and Joseph,” whom he significantly calls “the other Mary” (Mt 27:61) (i.e., the Mary who was not Mary the Mother of Jesus). John concurs with this, telling us that “standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene” (Jn 19:25, emphasis added).

            In short, James, Jude, and their brothers are the children of “the other Mary,” the wife of Clopas, not Mary, the Mother of Jesus. This is further supported in an almost accidental way by the early Church historian Eusebius, who routinely records the succession of bishops in the major churches of antiquity. After recording his account of the martyrdom of James, the first bishop of Jerusalem (commonly referred to as “the brother of the Lord”), he tells us that James’s successor was none other than “Symeon, son of Clopas.” Why choose Symeon/Simon for the next bishop? Because James, the “brother of the Lord,” and Symeon/Simon were the sibling children of Clopas and the “other Mary,” and we are looking at a kind of dynastic succession.

            Interestingly, this “other Mary” is described as the Blessed Virgin’s “sister.” Is it really possible that two siblings were both named Mary? Probably not. Rather it’s far more likely they were “sisters” in the same sense Jesus and the other Mary’s son, James, were “brothers.” That is, they were cousins or some other extended relation. And, indeed, we find Jewish culture could play fast and loose with the terms “brother” and “sister.” For instance, Lot, who was the nephew of Abraham (cf. Gen 11:27-31), is called Abraham’s ‘âch (“brother”) in Genesis 14:14-16 (which is exactly how the translators of both the New International Version and the King James Version render it). And these English-speaking translators are simply following the example of the ancient Jewish translators of the Septuagint version of Genesis, who also rendered the Hebrew word as adelphos: the same Greek word that is also used to describe Jesus’ relatives.

            So the biblical evidence for siblings of Jesus slips steadily away until all that is left is the school of criticism that argues that, since Jesus is called the “firstborn” (Lk 2:7), this implied other children for Mary. But in fact the term “firstborn” was used mainly to express the privileged position of the that child, whether or not other children were born. That is why a Greek tomb at Tel el Yaoudieh bears this inscription for a mother who died in childbirth: “In the pain of delivering my firstborn child, destiny brought me to the end of life.”

            Beyond that, all the critic of perpetual virginity has left is just the gut sensation that “it’s weird for a normal married couple to practice celibacy.” And that might be an argument – if Joseph and Mary were a normal married couple and not the parents of the God of Israel.

            And now the positive aspect.
            What reading of Scripture within Tradition allows the Church to make her case for the Perpetual Virginity of Mary?

            Mary is depicted as the spouse of the Holy Spirit in Scripture. When Mary asked the angel how she was going to conceive a child in Luke 1:34, the angel responded:

            The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God.

            This is nuptial language hearkening back to Ruth 3:8, where Ruth said to Boaz “spread your skirt over me” when she revealed to him his duty to marry her according to the law of Deuteronomy 25. When Mary then came up pregnant, St. Joseph would have been required to divorce her, because she would then belong to another (see Deuteronomy 24:1-4, Jeremiah 3:1). When St. Joseph found out that “the other” was the Holy Spirit, the idea of St. Joseph having conjugal relations with Mary would not have been a consideration for a “just man” like St. Joseph.

            This special setting apart of Mary by God is reinforced in Scripture itself and is part of Tradition:
            Both Luke 1:35 and Revelation 11:19–12:1-2 make it clear that it didn’t take long for the Jewish-Christian first believers to see the connection between Mary and the Ark of the Covenant, since both were “overshadowed” by the Holy Spirit and both the dwelling place of the living God among His people. How easy would it have been for Joseph, knowing what he knew, to make the same connection – and to remember what happens to people who touch the ark without the Lord’s permission?

            And when they came to the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. And the anger of the LORD was kindled against Uzzah; and God smote him there because he put forth his hand to the ark; and he died there beside the ark of God. (2 Sam 6:6-7)

            But beyond such negative factors influencing Joseph’s thought, it is also worth noting that he was a devout Jew who not only feared but loved God. Thus Joseph might very well have recognized another parallel between his stewardship of Mary and Moses’ stewardship of the “Holy of Holies” wherein the Lord dwelt:

            Jewish tradition mentions that, although the people had to abstain from sexual relations with their wives for only three days prior to the revelation at Mount Sinai (Ex 19:15), Moses chose to remain continent the rest of his life with the full approval of God. The rabbis explained that this was so because Moses knew that he was appointed to personally commune with God, not only at Mount Sinai but in general throughout the forty years of sojourning in the wilderness. For this reason Moses kept himself “apart from woman,” remaining in the sanctity of separation to be at the beck and call of God at all times; they cited God’s command to Moses in Deuteronomy 5:28 (Midrash Exodus Rabbah 19:3 and 46:3).

            Not only this but the idea of celibacy as an act of consecration to God isn’t unheard of in the Jewish Tradition. Our Lord Himself was celibate. Of course, Scripture doesn’t mention this explicitly so I’m assuming you don’t agree with this. Could you clarify?

            But not only the example of The Lord Jesus but also St John the Baptist.
            And not only St John the Baptist but St Paul also. In addition we also have the example of the prophet Jeremiah (Jer 16:1-2), St. Paul (cf. 1 Cor 7), and St. Philip’s “four unmarried daughters, who prophesied” (Acts 21:9). Beyond the record of Scripture, we also find Jewish groups like the Essenes and the Therapeutae, who likewise consecrated themselves to virginity. Consecrated virginity was not unheard of in ancient Judaism: http://www.ewtn.com/library/ANSWERS/TALMUD.HTM

            Lastly, the Church sees the entrusting of Our Lady to St John at the foot of the Cross as non-sensical if there were other children of Mary’s and Joseph’s to take on that role. But, of course, Our Lord wasn’t (just) making care provision for His Mother in that moment. He was accomplishing his Work of Salvation. Which is why, immediately after, Scripture tells us: “after this, knowing that all things were accomplished Jesus said, I thirst”.

            That moment, then, is part of the accomplishment of our salvation. Not just an incidental detail in the life of Mary and John. I suggest to you that you have failed to fully contemplate your salvation and what Scripture tells us about our salvation in that gesture of Christ’s – the last one He accomplishes before offering up His spirit. This is because you read Scripture outside of the Church’s Tradition and teaching and do not see nor understand fully “what the Spirit is telling the Church” (cf Rev ch 2 etc).

            For my part I am satisfied with the way the Church reads and interprets Scripture on this dogma as on all others.

            You are not. Yet there is a literalist’s paucity in your reading which does not do honour to the full depth of God’s revelation. The Church’s reading is more whole. And indeed, how can it not be. The protestant is his own individual personal magisterium. Partial and incomplete, if sincere and personally devout. Pompously you demand a full exegesis – yet are at pains never to answer the questions I ask you. Yet a protestant need merely bring out one or two verses he interprets with his own personal interpretation, a Catholic is obliged to give the thinking of the Church and her tradition. It’s a long process, taking in many many elements. Which is why this response – which is the shortest I could make it – has taken more than an hour of my day. I do this for concern for the truth of the Church’s teaching which you rubbish with diabolical pride, and for concern for your salvation. So I am happy to ‘waste’ that time on you. But I shall not do it again. Since I know already that you will not humbly receive what is contained here, but will pridefully ‘rebut’ it (at least to your own satisfaction) with what you think are one or two killer sentences.

            You wanted the Catholic exegesis. I have given it to you – as I have given you replies to all your questions. And you have signally failed to answer the specifics of any of my own. You are, in short, mired in your own rectitude. And on this issue there is little purpose to us continuing the conversation under your spiritually blinkered constraints. At which point I must wipe the dust off my feet and turn my eyes to the Ever Virgin:

          • Anton

            If you are a Catholic and you are convinced that the Catholic church has the right understanding of scripture then you will be able to draw on that understanding to knock over my assertions regarding the verses in question. Instead you complain simply that I must be wrong because I am not a Catholic. This suggests that you do not properly understand your own exegetical tradition, let alone mine.

            Regarding Matthew 1:25 and your analogies with ancient Israel in Deuteronomy, these miss the point that sexual relations are the norm between husband and wife. That is why Matthew felt it necessary to state that Joseph and Mary abstained during her pregnancy. Sexual relations between husband and wife are entirely normal in the early stages of pregnancy at least. So why, if Joseph and Mary never had sexual relations after her pregnancy – which would be equally noteworthy – did Matthew not say so?

            Regarding the gospel references to Jesus’ adelphoi and adelphai – ‘brothers’ and ‘sisters’, I shall partly repeat myself but clarify my argument, which I do not believe you have yet fully engaged with. In John 2:12 (‘his brothers and disciples’) & 7:5 (‘even his brothers did not believe in him’) & Matt 12:47 (“your mother and brothers are outside” – “who are my brothers; these [disciples] are”) obviously cannot mean in the spiritual sense. Catholics take these references to refer to cousins of Jesus (although there is a Greek word for that, anepsioi), or they postulate that Joseph was a widower with children from an earlier marriage (a claim for which there is no evidence in the Bible or any other contemporary source ). The words adelphoi and adelphai commonly but not invariably imply the same mother, since delphys means ‘womb.’ But seven of the ten references to ‘his brothers’ in the gospels and Acts are in immediate connection to Mary, and the three exceptions (occurring in John 7:2-10) cannot refer to spiritual brothers. Why is that? In the ancient Greek version of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, adelphos may mean ‘kinsman’ where it cannot imply the same mother (eg uncle/nephew relations at Genesis 13:8, 14:14,16 and 29:12,15, first cousins in 1 Chr 23:22), but there is always an implication of closeness, of a bond due to the familial relation. That cannot be so at John 7:5, for instance.

            The evidence is as strong as it can be, without explicit statement, that Mary had other children. All your rhetoric cannot escape the fact that there is no statement of Mary’s perpetual virginity in the New Testament, which we have in common, nor in any tradition for more than a century later.

          • ardenjm

            “The evidence is as strong as it can be, without explicit statement, that Mary had other children.”
            There is no explicit statement. Mary’s sister, Mary at the end of John’s Gospel was “evidently” not her sister. Two sisters with the same name? Really?
            No, like you admit, there is no explicit statement in Scripture that Our Lord had half brothers and sisters.
            And let me correct your subsequent statement:
            “All your rhetoric cannot escape the fact that there is no EXPLICIT statement of Mary’s perpetual virginity in the New Testament”
            But of course it isn’t rhetoric: it’s a way of reading typologically the Old Testament in the light of the New and understanding the truths that have been revealed to us.

            You disagree with the Church’s Tradition and teaching.
            I don’t.
            You ceaselessly have to justify why your personal magisterium is correct and the Catholic Church’s magisterium is wrong. This explains your animus against the Catholic Church – but, in fact, it’d be directed against anyone who disagrees with you. It’s neat of you to try and dismiss my arguments as ad hominem attacks against you but, alas, wrong. I attack the Magisterium of Anton. Not Anton himself. It just so happens that these two minds are identical. So I understand why you take it personally.

          • Anton

            You mistake discussion of the scriptures for my “justify[ing] why your personal magisterium is correct and the Catholic Church’s magisterium is wrong.” You don’t seem very keen to do Bible study, if I may say so.

            What you call “the magisterium of Anton” is your rhetorical phrase for my opinion. I can change it when I make a mistake. Rome can’t.

          • ardenjm

            “I can change it when I make a mistake.”
            Not so. You move from infallibility to infallibility.
            As evidenced by your refusal and inability to recognise the truths that the Catholic Church might have taught that didn’t come from her shared (according to you) patrimony taken from the pre-Roman cult constantinian Church.
            So let me help again: Did the Catholic Church understand the anti-Christian teachings of Islam correctly down the centuries? Did the Catholic Church understand the anti-Christian teachings of Communism right these last 200 years?

            And the Catholic Church’s infallible teaching is something you share in – and are committed to – you just try to erase the fact that it’s Catholic by inventing this pre-Constantinian reality that is somehow ontologically? spiritually? pre-Catholic… and you’ve carefully guarded yourself from committing to the (for you troubling) recognition that even a part of that pre-Constantinian Church perdures in the Catholic Church of today. Because that would require you to answer the question which I see you evade in another reply so am reproducing it here, too:

            “I gave you my answer to that elsewhere on this thread where I responded by outlining my view of church history. In particular, we have the Nicene Creed in common. Your faith and mine were both received from people who got it from people who got it from people who… back to the 12 disciples.
            If you don’t like my answer, that’s a separate discussion. Your ducking any discussion of what happened at the Council of Ephesus isn’t a problem for me but it will be clear to anybody reading this thread.”

            Oh believe me, Anton, i am more than happy for you to make your rhetorical appeals to the judgement of “anybody reading this thread”.

            I am serenely happy with their judgement – not only on the incidental issue of the Council of Ephesus but on every other answer I’ve given you. And the paucity and evasions you’ve given in response.

            If you need the last word on this area of our discussion I’m more than happy for you to take it. Otherwise, let’s leave it here. With me unanswered and you convinced of your own rectitude.
            Again.

          • Anton

            You say I “move from infallibility to infallibility”. Not so! When convinced that I am wrong I change my mind, and of course I believe that any opinion I hold at any one time is correct. But that is true of every opinion ever held by anybody. Never have I claimed to be infallible. To do so is just hubris. And nemesis followed it in 1517.

            The matter of Islam is not about understanding. When people who deny that Jesus is divine turn up on your doorstep with swords it is fairly obvious what should be done.

          • Jonathan

            “Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.” Mark 6:3

          • ardenjm

            Sigh. So we have some verses in Scripture which can be read in a particular way and others that are read in another. And Tradition which says something differently.

            Whose interpretation is right? Yours or the Catholic Church’s?

            I’ll stick with the Church’s.

            And here’s another reason why I do so: it is more FITTING that there be no ‘clan’ Jesus – that He have no children of His own, that He have no-one who claims special blood-links with Him. It would have been a nightmare in the Church – much as ‘being of the lineage of Mohammed’ was a nightmare in Islam (and still is today.)
            No: it is fitting that the Saviour of the World – as He Himself says – has disciples of faith, not disciples of flesh.

          • Jesus didn’t have any other natural brothers.

          • On a point of mild interest, are you aware that John was first cousin to our Lord?
            Compare Matthew 27:55-56 with Mark 15:40 and John 19:25 and all will become clear.

          • Chefofsinners

            An argument holed by two logical inconsistencies. i)If Jesus’ brothers were capable of caring for her then she would not have gone to live with John. ii) If John had a special relationship with her then Jesus was not inviting all disciples into the same relationship.

          • Point 1): John was the only Apostle at the foot of the Cross. This wasn’t about the care of Mary. As Jack said, Jesus redefined the relationship between Mary and John.

            Point 2): as members of the Church all our relationships with one another are radically redefined. We are “brothers”and “sisters”. Mary was given to us as our Mother.

          • Chefofsinners

            Answer to point (i): The absence of Jesus’ brothers from the foot of the cross would not prevent them caring for their mother.

            To point ii): Your assertion that Mary was given to us as our mother is unfounded. This is circular reasoning. She is our sister.

          • ardenjm

            Here you go.
            Six biblically grounded reasons why Mary is described by the Church as the New Eve:
            https://stpeterslist.com/6-biblical-reasons-mary-is-the-new-eve

          • Chefofsinners

            And not once is she described thus in scripture. You’re just inventing names.

          • ardenjm

            This is because you want Scripture to mention things EXPLICITLY – not just implicitly.
            You know, like, “Unless you eat my flesh and drink me blood you have no life in you” – right?
            Or maybe you DO accept things that are implicit: like the Doctrine of the Most Holy Trinity.

            So, no, not inventing. Just reading Scripture and understanding it in the way God wants us to: within Tradition, within the Magisterium.

          • Point 1): Of course. imagining she had other sons, there being absent from the foot of the Cross didn’t prevent them from caring for Mary. That’s the point. Christ redefined the relationship because of the faith and fidelity of Mary and John.

            Point 2): If Mary were our sister, she would be ours too. Jesus defined the relationship as Mother and son – not as spiritual brother and sister. The Church lived as a community and shared responsibility for all their members.

          • Chefofsinners

            I think that on point i) we have crossed wires. I am not sure what you meant by “Don’t you contend she had other natural with the sons?”

            On point ii) It is the fact that Jesus defined the relationship with John as mother-son which shows that it was not spiritual but practical. The relationship between Christians is, as you say, brother-sister. You are taking Jesus’ command to John to look after Mary as the basis of some kind of spiritual maternity to the whole church. It was obviously not intended thus. John’s response was to take her to his own home. We cannot each take Mary to our homes, so the relationship was evidently peculiar to John.

          • But did John didn’t take Mary “home”? Weren’t they staying in the Upper Room? Christians lived as a community and shared their possessions. And after Pentecost, John was a travelling Apostle.

          • Chefofsinners

            Yes, John did take Mary to his own home, because the scriptures say so. That you should doubt the clear words of scripture?
            The upper room was prepared for the Passover, nothing more. The early believers had all things in common. This does not mean none of them retained their homes, but that they were shared.
            And we know almost nothing of John’s travels but that he arrived late in life on Patmos, presumably long after Mary had died.

          • The word “home” has a lot of meanings. The Apostles and disciples were staying in Jerusalem.

          • ardenjm

            This is exactly the suspicion introduced into the English mindset with the Protestant Reformation. It’s so far removed from all that was finest in England’s 1000 year Catholic history. And it’s turned Englishness from Merry England into Little England.
            It’s missing a Mother’s warmth.
            Long live Friar Tuck.

          • Anton

            I’ll leave the goddess worship to you.

          • ardenjm

            If that’s what it is, if that’s what I do, you’d be right to.
            Perhaps if you define what you think worship is then we could clear up your misunderstanding.

            Here’s a clue: latria, even hyperlatria isn’t dulia.
            I think I know exactly what I’m doing when I adore and worship my Divine Creator, Redeemer and Sanctifier.
            And likewise I know exactly what venerating His Angels and His Saints and above all His Mother looks like. And it aint worship.

          • Anton

            Good for you.

          • Martin

            Pretty certain that under the law of Israel they’d stone you for latria as much as the would for dulia.

          • ardenjm

            Which is why Our Lord comes to accomplish and fulfil the Law.

            I believe they tried to stone Him, too, for breaking the Law.
            They certainly stoned Paul and Stephen.
            Why? Because they claimed a man was God.

            You’re in great company.
            Just not a very Christian one.

          • Martin

            That under the Church dispensation you would not be stoned does not mean that latria is not idolatry, indeed it appears to me that latria is at the root of idolatry.

            idolatry (n.) “worship of idols and images,” mid-13c., from Old French idolatrie (12c.), from Vulgar Latin idolatria, contraction of Late Latin idololatria (Tertullian), from Ecclesiastical Greek eidololatria “worship of idols,” from eidolon “image” (see idol) + latreia “worship, service” (see -latry).

          • ardenjm

            Good grief. Talk about grasping the wrong end of the stick.

            The latria qualifies the object being worshipped. It’s not the object that gives the meaning to the word latria! You’ve literally just done something like this:
            The word “carwash” tells you that what cars really are, are not machines from getting from one place to the next but in fact are big machines with water soap and big brushes for cleaning with.
            Strewth.

            Also – you’ll find that your protestant iconoclasm is merely a repeat of the earlier iconoclastic controversy in eastern Christianity when, under the influence of Islam, half of the church decided it had to destroy all icons and images – and kill those who supported them.

            There is nothing new under the sun.
            The old alliance between Protestantism and Islam has a perverse history:
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestantism_and_Islam

          • Martin

            So because the word comes last it doesn’t mean what it clearly does mean? Oh come on. The fact remains, latria is as sinful and as forbidden dulia.

            As for the alliance with Islam? Why should Christians not form an alliance with those who do not kill them against the pagans that do?

          • Martin

            Why should we need a mere human when we can go to God Himself, our Saviour?

          • ardenjm

            Our Saviour is the Word Incarnate who was pleased to assume a human nature from the Virgin Mary in order to save us.

            God uses instruments. The most perfect instrument is the hypostatically united Word Incarnate, the God-Man Jesus. This Divine instrument is the one who associates merely human instruments with His Divine saving will:
            Hence the image of the Church as a Body with Him as its Head. Hence the image of the branches with Him as the Vine. Hence the image of the Shepherd with his Sheep. Hence the image of the workers with Him the Vineyard owner who pays them.
            Our Lord uses instruments.
            It pleases Him to do so.
            He gives His grace through those instruments. He receives our thanks through those instruments: which is why we pray for one another and help one another and, ‘Love one another as I have loved you’.
            The Church Militant is helped in this by the Church Triumphant: Angels and Saints and above all the Mother of the Lord. Thus we see Peter mistaken for his own Angel in Acts – so natural was it to the Early Church to see the Church Triumphant as interacting with the Church Militant.

            In short: God has no need at all of ANY instruments. God didn’t even need to Incarnate, absolutely speaking, in order to save us. He could have just willed it. He is all powerful. But he CHOSE to save humanity with the Incarnation of the Word precisely because it says something about God’s Trinitarian generosity: that God WANTS to have us share in His Divine Life.
            Accordingly, we go to God through the Mediator Christ, who came to us through the mediation of the womb of the Virgin. God doesn’t take back His gifts. God doesn’t make use of another person and then jettison them. God crowns His works with Glory. It is thus an EXTENSION of God’s Glory alone that we make use of ALL that He has given us. We take nothing away from God’s glory by celebrating His glorification of the Saints. And it pleases Him that he be addressed BOTH directly AND via His creatures.
            Thus is the mysterious passage where David seats the Queen Mother next to him on a throne to receive her petitions is fully accomplished at Calvary when Our Divine Lord Beholds His Mother….

          • Martin

            Again, why would I not go to my Brother, my Saviour rather than a mere human. Mary’s only task was to bear and bring up the Christ. After the crucifixion she disappears from view. Indeed, she has little enough to do in the gospels, although she does display sinful doubt.

          • ardenjm

            “although she does display sinful doubt.”
            I’m not sure where.
            Unlike Zacharaiah who doubts God’s ability to make Elizabeth conceive and so questions – in sinful doubt – the Archangel Gabriel, quite clearly the Virgin’s question is not motivated by sinful doubt since she suffers no censure from the angel. And indeed how could it be he greets her as ‘Full of Grace’. If you are ‘full of grace’ how much room is there for sinful doubt?
            Perhaps you are referring to the question she asks the Child Jesus after He left them. Here, too, Our Lord does not rebuke her in the way He does often in the Gospel, “O you of little faith”. Asking questions need not be from sinful doubt but from a desire to understand and co-operate.

            “Mary’s only task was to bear and bring up the Christ. After the crucifixion she disappears from view.”
            No she doesn’t: She is, very significantly, in the Upper Room praying with the Disciples. She is there for the Pentecost of the Church and fittingly so.

            “Mary’s only task was to bear and bring up the Christ” spoken like a try English functionalist and pragmatist. As if God will ask you, “What was your job” rather than, “who are you?” What’s her IDENTITY, not what’s her FUNCTION. And in this she is the Mother of the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity. You reckon she stopped being that at any point after giving birth? For sure, it wasn’t her physical maternity that was her privilege it was the fact that she believed. As her Magnificat testifies.

            “why would I not go to my Brother, my Saviour rather than a mere human.”
            The major part of my post dealt with this issue. You clearly didn’t understand it. You place an opposition where God does not place one. Our Lord is the sole mediator we have in respect to forgiveness of our sins since He is the one who pays the sacrifice for our sins. But, as Cana demonstrated, Our Lady has an intercessory role and it pleases Christ and God that it be so. Since that is the deepest sense of the ‘communion of the saints’ and praying for one another. God is God of the living, remember. The saints are with God. Their prayers rise like incense before his throne.
            You opt out of making use of the means God puts at our disposal and thus wilfully limit the glory you give to Him. That’s not just a shame, it’s also pride-filled.

          • Can Jack ask where you studied Catholic theology or is it that you are well read in Church teaching?

          • ardenjm

            You could… but it would give too much away!

          • Jack is impressed with your understanding and grasp of Catholicism. But he will stop being nosey.

          • Sarky

            His real name is francis.

          • ardenjm

            Not Francis.
            “Hello. My name is Inigo Montaya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.”

          • Martin

            In Matthew 12:46ff, and the passages in Mark and Luke, it is clear that Mary is trying to influence her son away from the ministry He must perform. This is the reason for the rebuke they receive.

            Mary is not the mother of the second person of the Trinity, she is the mother of His incarnation. She has no role other than that. The Lord Jesus Christ is our sole mediator in our relationship with God, Mary has no intercessory role. The saints in Heaven, Mary among them, are worshipping God, not concerning themselves with those on Earth, that is their function. Cana demonstrates that she was a sinful woman who could not wate for her Lord to act.

            It is you who opts out of the means God places at our disposal, sinfully failing to put your trust in God.

          • ardenjm

            “Mary is not the mother of the second person of the Trinity, she is the mother of His incarnation.”
            As if the Councils of Ephesus and Chalcedon had never happened…
            And what a rubbish grasp of the mystery of the Incarnation!
            But understandable given the rest of your post: bad understanding of scripture, I’m afraid. Skewed by all kinds of prior ideological commitments.

          • Anton

            The Council of Ephesus was a disgrace. Hundreds of thousands of persons east of the ancient Roman empire’s borders who believed that Jesus was wholly divine and wholly man, and who believed in the Trinity, were labelled as non-Christians, ie heretics, because they held a different view of HOW he was wholly divine and wholly man from the Christians within those borders. (Mary entered the discussions simply as Jesus’ mother but her cult grew massively from Ephesus onwards.) It should be enough to believe in the Trinity and believe that Christ is both. Worse still, this did not happen as a result of debate in good faith. At one point Cyril and Nestorius were both condemned, but Cyril bribed his way back into favour.

            That you are actually proud of Ephesus is telling.

          • ardenjm

            And that you are so ready to dismiss a Church Council because it does not agree with your ideology tells me all that I need to know.
            You are your own Pope. Your own infallible Magisterium. Your own arbiter of what Scripture is telling us. In short you echo the old lie:
            “Non serviam.”

          • Anton

            No, I am fallible. So is your Magisterium. I too could make the absurd claim that I am infallible, but I have more sense.

          • ardenjm

            The Holy Spirit is the One who “leads the Church into all truth”.
            You doubt the promises of Christ who is True.

            Fine.
            Your call.

          • Anton

            Christ did not say that the leading of the church into all truth is complete or without error, and by “the church” he meant the corporate body of those who put their faith in Him, which includes me.

          • ardenjm

            On matters of Saving Truth it is most certainly without error.
            For the question of completion: well, obviously, the Church’s understanding of the Truth continues to grow and develop – in harmony with what has been understood before. “We never stop going from beginning to beginning” as St Gregory of Nyssa says. And why should we: God is infinite. The Beatific Vision is eternal.
            “and by “the church” he meant the corporate body of those who put their faith in Him, which includes me.” Hmm, not so fast, in the light of Matthew 7 vs 21-23. Whilst I don’t doubt that the individual christian’s journey through life also includes this growth in the truth it also, quite clearly and principally means the Church as a whole, as an institution since that farewell discourse in St John’s Gospel concludes with this:

            20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

            The unity of the Church isn’t just a hidden and invisible unity – the ‘spiritual’ Church so favoured by Protestants since they so successfully tore down the unity of the Church and have splintered, ever splintered, ever since. No, Our Lord is clear: It is a visible unity SO THAT the world will SEE that Christians are witnesses to the Triune God.

            Spiritualise away if that rationalisation consoles you – but you are lacking the full realism of the Incarnation and what the kind of Church that the Incarnate Word leaves behind – as you do so.

          • Anton

            Protestants tore down the unity of the church? Do you knot know your own church history? 1054 And All That.

            There is, in China, a burgeoning house church movement that grew during Mao’s persecution when the Christians there had no contact with the different denominations found in the West and had only the Bible. They regard “protestant” and “Catholic” as terms relating to European church history and they manifestly have the Holy Spirit. When you have God’s anointing, who else’s do you need?

          • ardenjm

            I think Acts 15 shows you exactly what else is needed.

            And then the rest of the Church’s history.

            Et incarnatus est.

            Why do protestants have such a hard time with the full consequences of that?

          • Anton

            Go tell it to the Chinese Christians who have never heard the word “protestant” and have the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

          • ardenjm

            Which version of the Bible are they reading?
            And then come back and tell me that they’ve never heard of Protestant…

          • Anton

            Same gospels as you.

          • ardenjm

            In a translation approved by which Church? Since, of course, every Tom Dick and Harry has a Gospel translation. Look at the Jehovah Witnesses. And the Mormons! And the Seventh Day Adventists and, and, and all the other weird groups that have emerged from the ironcially ever-more-fragmenting Re-Formation. (If ever a moment was misnamed the Re-Formation is precisely it. Nothing has been formed anew at all.)

          • Anton

            Do stop thinking in hierarchies. It is a grave error.

            These translations seem enough for the Holy Spirit to bless the movement they triggered. You have higher standards, of course.

          • ardenjm

            Ronald Knox wrote Enthusiasm especially for you.
            http://www.ronaldknoxsociety.com/enthus.html

            Blessed by the Holy Spirit, indeed!
            The catastrophe of Münster comes to mind.
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Münster_Rebellion

          • Anton

            That you aim your shafts on this subject at me matters little. That you aim them at the Chinese house church movement is a sad disgrace.

            you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked

          • ardenjm

            Oh get over yourself, already. I’ve said nothing about the Chinese house church movement I’ve just asked you questions that you don’t care to answer.
            You’re the one presenting the house church movement as some kind of unique charismatic marvel. And so it might be. But likewise, without any magisterial authority at least part of it will inevitably go the way of all the anabaptist/enthusiastic movements of the Reformation – as Luther understood. You, however, refuse to understand that, even as a possibility because, inspite of your rhetorical posturing as not infallible you have a very heightened sense of your own rectitude.
            So, I’d be more impressed by your crocodile tears if you’d situated the story of Christianity in China from the Nestorians in the 7th century, through the Franciscans and the Jesuits in the 17th and the heroic witness of Catholic martyrs in the 20th century. All of which you blithely ignore in order to avoid answering the very reasonable questions I asked of you on some pearl-clutching Lady Bracknell pretext that you find them “menacing”.
            What piffle.
            The Christians of China are one of the phenomenon of the last 50 years – without any doubt. But just because you hold them in particular affection doesn’t make you their unofficial spokesman nor, in someway, their proto-martyr on a blog’s comments section. You speak for yourself. You represent no-one. They are not your Christians.
            The sheer vanity of it!

          • Anton

            You need to learn the difference between arguments and insults.

            The Chinese house church movement has been tempered in persecution and that is why I respect it. It bears very little resemblance to happy-clappy Western charismatic Christians, as you could easily find out if you cared. I’ll take your predictions of their future seriously if they come true. Despite your pretensions you can’t know.

            If we are revisiting our differences then you wrote that I was “ready to dismiss a Church Council because it does not agree with your ideology”. What I actually did was call Ephesus a disgrace because it anathematised an entire church movement that consisted of Trinitarian believers who accepted that Christ was fully divine and fully human but took a different view of HOW he was those things. Would you care to comment on the issue rather than on my exposition of it?

          • ardenjm

            Answer my questions, Anton and I may just get round to yours.

          • Anton

            I have done so elsewhere on the thread. Your turn (if you can).

          • ardenjm

            No you haven’t. I asked you to point out what the Catholic Church had got right – and why. And you replied, asking me to define what I meant by the Catholic Church – which I did – and then you started clutching your pearls like a maiden aunt, finding my questions inquisitorial and menacing – and since then you’ve refused to answer, parrying with questions of your own and grandstanding as unofficial spokesman for charismatic renewal in China, or somesuch.

            And I’d love to check your previous posts – but you block access to your profile (I don’t) which means I’d have to go scrolling through 600 posts to find them. Come off it!

            Just answer the questions.

            Here they are.

            Again.

            But if you accept that the Catholic Church has got some things right perhaps you’d care to elucidate 1. what they are 2. how she has done so 3. what the implications are of this given the differences that exist amongst people who claim to follow Christ.

          • Anton

            All Christians have the pre-Constantinian era in common and regard it as exemplary in courage and in theology (I am using the word “theology” in the narrow sense of doctrine of God, not the broad sense which includes ecclesiology). The meaning of “episkopos” had diverged from the NT meaning by then, without authority, as there were many episkopoi per congregation.

            From 312AD Constantine took the church political, although it could have refused the deal – for that I blame the bishop of Rome at the time, Sylvester, not Constantine who knew no better. It became fashionable and filled with nominal believers seeking social advantage who diluted it. Within a lifetime it was the only religion approved in the Empire (Theodosius’ decree of 381AD) and it began to put people to death for heresy (the first in 385AD). I regard this as the birth of Roman Catholicism – correct theology on paper but regarding itself as having the right to tell people what to do backed by force if necessary, rather than being a voluntary society of love centred on Christ and his word with expulsion being the supreme sanction.

            You have my other post here saying what my specific objections to Catholicism are (Rome’s Mary; politicisation and lack of deep repentance for it; hierarchy and priestly ordination).

            I have enthused about the Chinese house churches but have never claimed to be any kind of spokesman for them, as you disingenuously imply. You would do well to make sure your scorn does not spill over into your attitude to them, for they are brothers and sisters in Christ.

            You predicted that they would not last if they did not hitch themselves to Rome. My turn to make a prediction. All church hierarchies, yours included, will be cut off by a widespread persecution, leaving only the congregational structure and leaving only Christians with undivided loyalty to Christ.

          • ardenjm

            So: To answer the questions which you didn’t answer directly – because you were too busy addressing me du haut en bas with a Lady Bracknell tone, “a CATH-OLIC?”

            The Catholic Church hasn’t gotten anything right save for that which it still possesss from the Church prior to the existence of the Catholic Church which is a (purely) political invention with religious trappings which gets diluted by crummy nominal Christians and starts bullying almost immediately by putting to death those perceived as heretics. (Getting terribly close to the whore of babylon you’ve already denied is the Catholic Church.) Thus you subscribe to a form of the Anglican Branch Theory condemned for leading to Indifferentism, as you know, in 1864.
            So the Trinitarian beliefs are, so to speak, merely accidentally those of the Catholic Church because prior to its existence. In and of itself, you’ve taken care to not commit yourself to saying that ANYTHING true has been enunciated by the Catholic Church as she is “now” constituted (post 312AD). Still less has she taught any truth that wasn’t given to her in the common patrimony of the Church prior to her deviation into the cult of Rome, still less have her saints born witness for those truths in diverse persecutions under pagans and Muslims in the centuries after the 4th up to the present day.
            As for your stuff on the Chinese Christians – I don’t doubt that many of them are heroic. So are many of the Underground Catholic Church who never once compromised with the Communists, didn’t join the Patriotic Association and were firm and constant in the Faith. Do YOU recognise their heroism, I wonder – because it’s been going on since the 1940s, long before the House Church phenomenon began.
            “All church hierarchies, yours included, will be cut off by a widespread persecution, leaving only the congregational structure and leaving only Christians with undivided loyalty to Christ.” This happened under the Japanese of course for 250 years. And the Hidden Christians faced incredibly difficult odds for their survival. Syncretism crept in and the oral transmission of the Faith was difficult. Nevertheless, when Fr Petitjean opened his Church in Nagasaki the day came when the fisherwomen came to him and asked:
            1. Are you married?
            2. Are you united to the Papa in Rome?
            3. Do you have devotion to Maria?
            Under the Protestant Penal persecutions the Irish (and Recusant English) faced similar challenges – except that was to do with the Mass and the Real Presence. Which was, of course, against the Law under penalty of death.
            I don’t doubt that in the coming persecution of the Anti-Christ many members of the hierarchy will apostasise. Along with many of the faithful. This is Church doctrine; it is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church quite explicitly stated. NEVERTHELESS, the Church Militant is, by Christ’s intention thus structured and composed.

            Needless to say, I believe your invented, Dan Brownesque, Jehovah-Witness, Seventh Day Adventist, Jack Chick version of early Church history erroneous in the extreme.
            Tertullian and Ireneaeus had already formulated the doctrine of Mary, the New Eve long before the first ecumenical councils, the latter had already articulated an understanding of the authority of the Petrine Office entirely consonant with subsequent Church theology, and the idea of caeseropapist appropriation of the Church by the Empire – given its Fall in the West within 100 years of that Theodosian Decree and the complex negotiations between barbarian tribes and the ecclesiastical authorities of the subsequent centuries was, in fact, providential: it permitted the Catholic Church to insist on its independence from political authority – unlike in the Eastern Empire – a state of affairs that perdures to this day. And lastly, it’s a bit RICH for an Anglican to preach against the Catholic Church for being hand-in-glove with 100 years worth of Western Imperial power when Anglicanism’s very DNA is precisely the caeseropapist annexation of the Church and the establishment of the episcopate as state functionaries. A state of affairs battled against with greater and less fervor, with greater and lesser extent, in the Catholic Church down the centuries – from the Investiture Controversy, to Thomas Becket, to the return from the Avignon Papacy…
            Augustine – faced with societal fracture in North Africa on unprecedented scale, was the first to articulate forcing the Donatists to conform, was the first to theorise explicitly on the role between secular arm and Church. It is ironic that a Protestant – so indebted to a Lutheranised Augustinian theology – should tax the Church with being too Augustinian in her dealings with political power. It is a criticism I accept, as it happens. But within the storeroom of the Church’s God-given wisdom, an alternative to that Augustinian vision, can be found and articulated. Since the French Revolution I’d suggest she has been finding her way towards it.

          • Anton

            I am as against politicised forms of protestantism as I am against Roman Catholicism (which is intrinsically political). I’m not Anglican. Given that I said I was against political forms of Christianity, why on earth did you suppose I was?

          • ardenjm

            I shall take this reply to mean that you concur with the rest of what I have written – as St Thomas More admirably noted at his trial: the legal principle is that silence means consent.

            Until I hear otherwise (and you’ve successfully avoided saying so on several occasions, whereas your pontificate better than any Borgia elsewhere) I shall take it that your views chime with what I sketched out above in relation to the Church, her teaching and her martyrs.

            I’m glad I know.

            I’m not a Coptic Christian – and disagree with the Copts on certain key issues. As, I’m sure, do you. They’re basically the Egyptian National Church, after all.
            Were those Copts dressed in orange, decapitated on the beach by Isis, martyrs in your view? What about the Catholics killed in the Ukraine by the Communists? What about those killed in China? What about those killed in Ireland by the Puritans? All killed out of ‘hatred for the Faith’.

          • Anton

            You are not free in logic to suppose that my choice not to engage you on any subject you have raised implies that I agree with your views.

            But as *you* seem to believe in that principle, you therefore agree with my views on the Council of Ephesus, which you are presently ducking discussion of?

          • ardenjm

            Spend over an hour on your replies to my questions, sunshine and I shall take your snide commentary more seriously.

            Not ducking any discussion. Just have a life.

            Oh, and of course, having given you far, far more words in reply to your iconoclastic remarks (so much easier to tear down than to build up!) you’ll understand why I think to myself: Ah, watch out, you’re starting to feed a troll.

            You dismiss the Council of Ephesus.
            On your own grounds.
            Again.
            So we circle, like water gurgling down a drain, the futility of arguing with a man who has set himself up as his own magisterium and, by monomaniac diktat can simply dismiss whatever he disagrees with on a whim. Whether you know it or not, you are a child of William of Ockham in that regard.

            Answer my question: has the Catholic Church said anything doctrinally true – other than what she accidentally inherited from your invented pre-Constantinian ‘true’ Church. Here, let me help: Has the Catholic Church got the true stance on abortion?

          • Anton

            People resort to insults when they run out of arguments. You got banned for trolling here once before, didn’t you?

            I gave reasons why Ephesus was disgraceful, which you or anybody else can read on this thread, and again you are ducking them. Cyril and Nestorius were both condemned at one stage but Cyril bribed his way back to favour and the Nestorians got de-listed by Rome as Christian despite believing in the Trinity and believing that Christ was fully human and fully divine, merely because they took a different view of HOW. You call that the work of the Holy Spirit?

          • ardenjm

            Answer the question I asked you many days ago, Anton.
            What has the Catholic Church got RIGHT?

          • Anton

            I gave you my answer to that elsewhere on this thread where I responded by outlining my view of church history. In particular, we have the Nicene Creed in common. Your faith and mine were both received from people who got it from people who got it from people who… back to the 12 disciples.

            If you don’t like my answer, that’s a separate discussion. Your ducking any discussion of what happened at the Council of Ephesus isn’t a problem for me but it will be clear to anybody reading this thread.

          • Martin

            You must remember, councils are not the final word, the Bible holds that role. It seems that you do not have a good grasp of the incarnation or of Scripture.

          • ardenjm

            “You must remember, councils are not the final word, the Bible holds that role.”
            The Bible can only be read and understood by a competent – Holy Spirit inspired – authority – which is the Church’s Magisterium. The Church’s Magisterium is what established the Canon of Scripture in the first place. Thereby proving what St Paul meant when he described the Church as the foundation of the truth in 1 Timothy 3 vs15.
            The meeting of St Philip and the Ethiopian in Acts shows that reading scripture by yourself is difficult to understand correctly (as St Peter says of St Paul’s letters, likewise) unless, “there be someone to explain it to me” as the Ethiopian says. That teaching role, as scripture makes clear time and time again, is part of the Church’s mission. Distinguishing between false and true teaching is, likewise, part of the Church’s mission. It’s why there is the first Church Council in Acts 15.
            In short, the Bible makes it abundantly clear, that the Church’s authority is needed for the correct understanding of Scripture. Which is why, if you open your Bible, you’ll find that its translation will have been approved by a particular Church with that Church’s authority. Which is why you don’t read the Jehovah Witness Bible, for example. In short, whilst men are indeed fallible, the Holy Spirit is not and as scripture testifies, in John 16, the Holy Spirit will be given to the Church to “reveal the things to come…and lead you in to all truth.” Sacred Scripture can no sooner be taken out of the Church’s Tradition than the straw in ancient bricks. That Protestantism did so explains why it is Protestantism has laboured in vain to build churches that hold together: they splinter from each other all the time. There are thousands of protesant denominations and hundreds of different theological differences which prevent institutional unity. In the Catholic Church, the differences (some legitimate, some because of sin) are nevertheless held together – not because of sinful man – but because the Church is Christ’s and it contains the elements He established and gives His grace to, to hold it together. “And the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

          • Martin

            Every Christian is indwelt by the Holy Spirit and entitled to read their Father’s word to them, their is no magisterium, that is the invention of men. The Church is the assembly of all believers, hence to become a member of the Church a person must be saved. The Canon of Scripture was established by God and recognised by the believers.

            The Ethiopian had not been saved at the point Philip joined him, hence needed a guide to lead him to Christ. Equally Peter says of those who do not understand Scripture as it leading to their destruction, hence they cannot be the saved, who are never lost.

            I have no Church Authority, I read translations that are generally accepted by those who know the original languages as accurate. Equally the Holy Spirit testifies to me of the truth of Scripture.

            I am part of the Catholic Church, that worldwide assembly of God’s people, you are not, you are part of Romanism, rejecting God’s word in favour of your traditions as did the Judaizers. A fractured group that papers over the cracks with pretence, The true Church can never be truly divided.

          • ardenjm

            Jehovah’s Witnesses say exactly the same thing.
            As do Mormons.

            Well done.
            Any other tricks up your sleeve for emptying the Gospel of most of its saving power?

          • Martin

            Curiously both JWs and Mormons, like Rome, have an authority, other han the Bible, that tells the faithful what to believe. You are more like them than I.

          • ardenjm

            Yeah. Unfortunately you’ve missed something here. YOU’RE the one reading the Bible and interpreting it in YOUR particular way. There’s no such thing as Biblical Teaching WITHOUT an interpretation.
            So, in fact, the question is: who has the right interpretation?
            The Bible tells us that authority lies with the apostles. I believe Our Lord intended for that authority to extend through time and space: it’s the great commission at the end of Matthew’s Gospel. So I look for those who have been made successors to the apostles. And, what’s this? I find that there are unbroken links back down the generations of bishops all the way to the Apostles! Wow. And where are those unbroken links found? Why, they’re found in the Orthodox Churches and in the Catholic Church. It’s more confusing with Old Catholics, Anglicans and other movements emerging after the Reformation so I understand why the Church has been wary recognising the validity of that succession. So then my question is: Am I Orthodox or Catholic? And I remain Catholic because unity with St Peter and his successors ALSO seems to be clearly a part of Scripture and Tradition.

            You though have The Bible. A Bible written by Catholics. A Canon of Scripture set by Catholics and translations approved by Catholics – except for the protestants who by that stage are doing their own thing.

            I’ll leave you do your own thing.

          • Martin

            Oh dear, you’ve made a mistake. You think the Bible is written by men, when it tells us itself it is written by God. What is more you imagine your church had some involvement. Sadly your church came along long after the Bible was written, long after God set the canon and isn’t even Catholic in the sense that the Church is Catholic.

            Yes, the Apostles had authority, but they are now dead and their authority is vested in Scripture. The structure instituted for the Church was that every local congregation of the saints was to have multiple elders/overseers and that every local church would be responsible directly to Christ. When the church at Corinth ejected its elders, what did the church at Rome do? Did they demand Corinth reinstate it’s elders, curiously they didn’t. What they did do was send a letter to Corinth arguing that what they had done was wrong and that they should remedy the situation. Clearly they didn’t believe they had the authority to tell Corinth what to do.

            And what of this supposedly unbroken line? We have popes who were clearly evil and two popes ruling at the same time.How can you possibly say there was a succession, even if you are right that Peter was an elder at Rome?

          • ardenjm

            “You think the Bible is written by men, when it tells us itself it is written by God.”
            You read it in Greek and Hebrew then, do you?
            Or were the translators as inspired as the original authors?
            And are you a Biblical literalist? Or do you have to think about what the Bible MEANS? St Peter wasn’t always sure of what St Paul meant, after all: says that Paul is sometimes difficult to understand.

            “God set the canon” – where? in Scripture? Does Scripture contain the list of the canon of scripture? Sola scriptura don’t forget!
            Your argument is completely circular.

            Second: you confuse authority with power. The Bishop of Rome has authority but he can’t force people to obey. Whenever the Church has gone down this route it has always failed to be faithful to the Gospel.

            Third: But evil popes no sooner break apostolic succession than evil parents prevent them being able to procreate. Apostolic succession is just a part of the Church’s DNA – it’s how Christ intended it. Both good and bad successors of the apostles have a part in His Providence. This is why He still chose Judas, even though He knew Judas would betray Him. There have been good popes and bad popes: the Church and the message of the Gospel’s truth do not depend on our holiness but on God’s grace. Thank God!

          • Martin

            The translators don’t need to be as inspired as the original authors, all they need is a good understanding of the language to translate accurately.

            I’m pretty sure that Peter wasn’t saying that he had problems understanding Paul, rather that some who got it wrong did. And why would you imagine that Peter, the one you claim is the leader, didn’t understand.

            The canon isn’t a list, it is the books themselves.

            The bishop of Rome has power, but not authority. People obey him, but he has no right to that obedience. The authority of the Church is based on the Bible, the power is God’s.

            The fact that there are evil popes indicate that the lampstand has been removed, Rome is no longer part of the Church, and the Church doesn’t have DNA. There is no Apostolic Succession, it isn’t needed.

    • Inspector General

      What we need is an Anglican version of the Passover.

      Prayers please, chaps.

      • Very good.

        • Inspector General

          …and here we are at Lambeth palace. Look, it’s the Archbishop of Canterbury wailing. We’ll interview him.

          “Sir, what distresses you so”

          {SOBS} “Some of my best clergy around me have been smote. Why, God, Why! They were wonderfully progressive. It’s what you wanted, we decided…”

          • At least he survived the Divine cull.

          • Inspector General

            “Angels One Five. Angels One Five. Inspector here. Can you check your lists. Jack says you seem to have missed one. Over”

            “Angels One Five here, Inspector. We’re going in again”

          • Not at all. God and His angels do not make mistakes.

          • Merchantman

            ..we decided, we told You. Not listening?

          • Manfarang

            Another Great Ejectment?

      • I think that would be “smitten.” But the thought is pleasing.

    • Accurate and disturbing.

  • Martin

    The joint statement by Canterbury and York is appalling for what it does not say http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/articles.php/5883/joint-statement-by-the-archbishop-of-canterbury-and-the-archbishop-of-york

    They admit that homosexual acts are sinful but cannot, it seems, come to accept that such acts are to be condemned.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      What treachery by York and Canterbury is this?

      • Today we’re “celebrating” the Golden Anniversary of the first step towards the full emancipation of homosexuals on their journey from violent oppression to full acceptance and equality.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          I say. Does that mean you British are celebrating the Golden Anniversary of rear entry?

          • The decriminalising of what, since time immemorial and across nature, is a safe and normal way to express love for another or to just have a good time. It is the right of those so inclined and society has to change to promote and protect this right.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            HJ

            Satire.

            The question marks: are absent.

          • Ask Carl. Jack has been tutoring him.

        • Inspector General

          A ‘Golden Shower’ is what the deviants appreciate, Jack, so one is informed. Whatever it is…

          • P*ss orf, Inspector.

          • Inspector General

            Now Now Jack. We must embrace the Golden Shower of Sexual Diversity. It’s what our Conservative government would want, though not the Conservative voters. Still, that’s 5 years away…

          • carl jacobs

            I should beat you with a stick for that. And to think you got upvotes.

          • True story:

            A while back when Jack was a senior manager in Lambeth, he had cause to severely rebuke and formally discipline a woman member of staff. She happened to be a “right on sister” of the black, left-wing caucus controlling the Council at the time. It was a nightmare being a Christian, a manager and a white, married male with a mortgage.

            Anyway, long story short. After exhaustive interviews and being subjected to accusations of being racist, sexist, elitist, an oppressing workers etc. etc., Jack was cleared of all charges and the disciplinary sanction he had imposed on the grieving worker for unprofessional practice was upheld.

            So, soon after, the worker submitted a sick-note from her GP. She was suffering from acute cystitis – an inflammation of the bladder, usually caused by an infection. It’s a common type of urinary tract infection, particularly in women. Jack surmised she was telling him she was pissed off.
            Jack laughed at her cheek. He still chuckles about it now and wonders whatever became of her. She had shown real potential.

          • Inspector General

            “yous nothing but white trash, honky”

        • wisestreligion

          Their journey has been from justly oppressed (in their interests and ours) to unjust oppressors.

    • They refer to people not being condemned and are silent on the actual acts of homosexuality. That’s the flaw in the letter. Toleration of sinful men has become acceptance of their sin.

      • ChaucerChronicle

        You, tolerate homosexuality by failing to support its re-criminalisation.

        Hypocrite.

        • Martin

          You don’t require state aid to call something sin.

          • And as leaders of a Christian Church, you don’t “celebrate” its decriminalisation knowing full well where this inevitably leads.

          • Martin

            HJ

            You do not make people holy by means of the law. That is, after all, the whole point of the gospel.

          • ardenjm

            Hmm. Spoken like a true anti-nomian.

            And thus condemned by St Paul himself…

          • Martin

            On the contrary:

            And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.
            (Acts 15:7-11 [ESV])

            What was the yoke of which Peter speaks if not the law?

          • ardenjm

            “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.” Romans 3:31
            “Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.” Romans 8:7–8
            “Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. Honour thy father and mother; (which is the first commandment with promise.” Ephesians 6:1–2

            “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” Matthew 5:17

          • Martin

            What was the yoke of which Peter speaks if not the law?

            You will note that Romans 8:7-8 supports my position. Those that are in the flesh cannot please God, and without a doubt, turning to God would please Him.

          • This doesn’t mean you don’t teach them correctly about what a living relationship with Christ consists of, how one builds and nourishes grace and what it means to follow His commands.

          • Martin

            HJ

            A Christian seeks to please God and keep His law, they are not saved by keeping the law.

          • Jack never said they were. However, they can certainly loose grace and favour with God through not keeping the moral law.

          • Martin

            HJ

            No one can lose the grace of God, for when God saves He changes their nature. That is the new birth, no longer do they love sin, rather they love God’s word.

      • David

        Yes. Please see my comment to Martin above. We should simply emulate Jesus’ behaviour. It is quite simple and our guide is clear.

      • Martin

        HJ

        Indeed.

    • David

      Yes they fail to distinguish between the sin and the sinner. I stick with the “love the sinner but reject the sin”, approach. This is exactly what Jesus did with the adulteress, when he did not condemn her but in parting said, “sin no more”. We don’t need to invent new ways of behaving as we can simply apply what Jesus did to our present situation.

  • Sir John Oldcastle

    Justine cannot understand the reality of marriage and the futility of ‘same sex’ partnerships because she would have to deny her own ‘coming out’ and ‘happy partnership’ were she to do so.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Superb, insight.

    • HedgehogFive

      I don’t think she could even when she was dating that Tory rogue (male) a few years ago.

      • Sir John Oldcastle

        Which makes me wonder whether her current sexuality is merely part of a political game.

        !(Please visit me in prison).

        • No sh*t, Sherlock.

        • Chefofsinners

          When you arrive, be sure to self-define as female. The prisons are much nicer.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Sound Advice. Thank you.

    • IrishNeanderthal

      Neither can Michael Portillo. Some years ago I wrote to Theresa May while she was still home secretary, saying that that man boasting about his “gay experience” was more offensive than what a gathering of gay men might do within the boundaries of their own company.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Would you dare do the same today? That is, would you be prepared to take the repercussions that would come from such comment today? It seems we are in a different world from even two years ago.

        • IrishNeanderthal

          Here is an article:

          Difficult one. Would I even bother? On such matters, May seems as clueless as Cameron.

          In the Daily Mail there was an article DOMINIC LAWSON: The architects of Project Fear must pay for their shameful lies.

          Half way down, there is a section Gay marriage and a bitter Brexit divorce. Lawson writes:

          . . . if it were not for David Cameron’s decision to legalise marriage between people of the same sex — a measure I supported — Britain would not now be on her way out of the EU.
          . . .
          . . . how gleeful [Nigel Farage] was at the way the gay marriage row was sending shire Tories in droves to switch to Ukip membership.

          Though Farage himself is a libertarian, and definitely no moralist, he exploited this to the full.

          I showed this to a particularly gay-friendly academic, who replied:

          I think Cameron was a fool over gay marriage. He should have let a private member do it and then made sure it was given plenty of time and not be talked out. Same ending but better route.

          I also remember how,in an interview with The Big Issue, Lord Tebbit told us that Cameron had simply brought the matter up before the Cabinet, only twenty minutes discussion, and then it all went ahead.

          Æthelred the Unready (meaning ill-advised), Cameron the Clueless? We still do not know how Brexit will work out.

          • Anton

            Yes, there’s a lot more wrong with the Tory party than Cameron, May and Greening.

  • IrishNeanderthal

    I am beginning to see this as part of something deeper and wider.

    Broadening this discussion beyond sexuality, here are two recent articles from the Telegraph:

    ‘Humane milk is a myth’ ad relaunched after ASA rejects farmers’ complaints

    Vegan zealots won’t engage with dairy farmers on animal welfare because they want us wiped out

    This all appears to be heading towards making us hate our own humanity. Jack might well see the hand of the Lizards here. But then the next step will be making us hate our own animality. So is it the Krynoids, predatory plants whose aim is to eliminate animal life from the universe, as related in The Seeds of Doom, at work?

    • The Krynoids are in an alliance with the Lizards.

      • Chefofsinners

        I believe you can buy a cream to relieve your krynoids, Jack.

        • Ask Linus for advice on this but, until you know more, Jack would advise extreme caution where one rubs krynoid ointment. It is known to attract Lizards.

      • David

        The Lizards are in Buckingham Palace and masquerading as the Queen and other Royals.

    • Manfarang

      Now there drink up your soya milk. I bought some nice sugar free almond milk yesterday.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        You mean 維他奶?

        • Manfarang

          豆浆

          • IrishNeanderthal

            “Eastern Lightning”, I presume.

          • Anton

            Matches the description!

    • David

      Today’s useless information for you.
      Crinoids are marine animals belonging to the phylum, Echinodermata. Because they can produce flowers that wave about above the water level, they are sometimes called marine lilies. They have a long existence in the geological record, and are therefore very useful to geologists for dating. Please do not malign these innocent little beasties by misspelling their names.
      How do I know all this information of questionable value ? Because a friend that I met, whilst studying Geology in support of my Geography degree, became a Phd researcher on the little crinoids.

      • IrishNeanderthal

        I am referring to a series of episodes of Doctor Who; I am not maligning these delightful deuterostomes.

        I am well aware of the divisions within the Echinodermata. Also, regarding the larval development of starfish:

        The final stages of metamorphosis are completed rather rapidly. A new mouth breaks through on the larval left side through the middle of the ring canal, while a new anus opens on the larval right side, thus producing an adult axis at right angles to the larval axis. The 5 radial canals grow out and develop tube feet, the body takes on the adult shape, and the young sea star crawls away to a new life.

        On this site, one sometimes wonder out of which orifice some commentators are speaking, and I have often wanted to quote this passage to the Inspector when he keeps going on about anuses.

    • bluedog

      If you don’t follow the blog of Matt Ridley it may be worth your while doing so. Ridley predicts that enforced vegetarianism is the next project of the progressives.

  • John

    What is the point of voting Conservative when you basically get Diane Abbott as Education (and Equalities) Secretary? I can’t put a fag paper between them. The current government is unquestionably to the left of Blair’s 3 Labour governments. I hope the DUP bring them down.

    • ardenjm

      To put what in their place?

      I agree but be careful what you wish for…

      • Manfarang

        JC as PM

        • ardenjm

          I’m not sure Our Lord would accept the job…

          • Manfarang

            I knew you would say that.

          • ardenjm

            It’s the way I tell ’em.

          • Chefofsinners

            As Piers Morgan? Probably not.

          • ardenjm

            I didn’t know you would say that.

            It’s the way you tell ’em. ; )

        • Jeremy Clarkson? Surely not!

          • Manfarang

            “How hard can it be?”

      • John

        Yes, Corbin would be very slightly worse – though with zero difference on social policy – but it might shock the Conservatives into some soul searching and lead to a return to its roots. At the moment it seems all parties try to outdo each other to get the gold medal for perversity. If there was an election today I would have no choice but to spoil my ballot paper. I live in a Con/Lab marginal.

    • petej

      This is just hot air. The government are embarrassed on the anniversary or partial decriminalisation that they can’t do anything to improve treatment of LGB people even if they wanted to, because they are a government with no power to legislate.

      Look at what’s happening to our hospitals, our police and our schools – this is no liberal government!

      • Royinsouthwest

        What is a “liberal” government? One that spends money regardless of the consequences like Venezuela?

  • Murti Bing

    The fact that this idiotic woman is SoS for Education is both telling and baffling at the same time.

    • Chefofsinners

      Could be worse. Was worse. Gove.

      • Murti Bing

        Seriously?

      • Royinsouthwest

        Unlike Greening Gove was not responsible for “equalities” and therefore had no chance of assisting criminals by contributing to a climate of opinion in which people are allowed to get away with female genital mutilation, and the people who turned a blind eye to the rapists of Rotherham etc all keep their jobs

        • Merchantman

          Interestingly Greening is a Rotherham girl no less.

  • Chefofsinners

    Justine Greening’s “I think it is important that the church in a way keeps up and is part of a modern country,” will surely be remembered as one of the most idiotic statements ever made by a British politician.
    And that includes John Prescott’s “The green belt is a Labour achievement; and we intend to build upon it”
    And John Major’s “When your back’s against the wall, it’s time to turn around and start fighting.”

  • petej

    Same tired old arguments, which are ultimately about trying to pretend gay people don’t exist, because God doesn’t make mistakes.

    Heterosexuality is God’s pattern for creation – so what about those of us who aren’t attracted to the opposite sex? God made us too!

    Marriage is about procreation – funny how this standard only applies against gay couples and not against infertile or elderly straight couples.

    • Nathan

      Marriage, ‘in principle’ is for procreation. Just because infertile couples don’t fulfil that principle does not change the principle.

      • petej

        If fertility is not a requirement for marriage then it isn’t a justification for banning gay couples from marrying (who may well have their own biological children anyway or who may well have adopted).

        • Nathan

          Fertility is not a requirement, you are correct. The remotest possibility of procreation however, is.

        • Nathan

          That’s why I said, ‘in principle’. It cannot possibly be a principle if you lack the apparatus to begin with.

          • petej

            But no straight couple has been denied marriage even if they are physically lacking.

            It cannot be a principle if you apply it only against the 1% and never against the 99%

    • Mike Stallard

      Most people are constantly attracted to people of both sexes. David and Jonathan, Achilles and Patroclus etc etc. And married men are constantly attracted by other people too. (Well, I admit that I am anyway.)
      But, do you know what? We keep it in our trousers!

      • petej

        According to the last census 0.5% of people are bisexual and 1% gay. I think those numbers are probably way off reality, but they suggest only a minority of people are as you claim. just because bisexuals exist does not mean gay people don’t exist. Saying that most bi people form opposite sex relationships is no justification for banning gay people from marrying.

        • Dominic Stockford

          No indeed. But there should not be same-sex so-called ‘marriage’ because God says so. What is more, what is currently in existence for ‘same-sexers’ is NOT marriage as it does not conform to the marriage laws laid out for marriages between one man and one woman. It is some invention wrongly given the name ‘marriage’, both from a legal and a spiritual point of view.

          • petej

            ‘because God said so’ is not one of the two arguments that I’m complaining about.

            I think – if you genuinely believe it – there’s not much to say against ‘because God said so’ as long as you are applying the same high standard to your own life and the church.

    • bluedog

      Men and women marry on the assumption of fertility, homosexuals do not – that’s the difference. Similarly elderly straight couples are frequently parents and grand-parents. In other words they were fertile and used their fertility when younger. It is patently absurd to hold them up as infertile couples that therefore validate homosexual infertility.

      • petej

        No they do not. Lots of straight couples marry when they know they are infertile. As far as I’m aware no church has ever refused a straight couple on grounds of fertility.

        If fertility is the new standard for marriage then it has to be applied equally else it is just an excuse and not a genuine objection.

        If fertility is the new standard then what are you going to do with all the unwanted children discarded by straight couples?

        • bluedog

          ‘No they do not. Lots of straight couples marry when they know they are infertile.’

          Evidence? the definitive study by a reputable research agency? Or should we just believe your unsubstantiated assertion? ‘cos those of us who married and raised families know better than you do.

          ‘…what are you going to do with all the unwanted children discarded by straight couples?’ There’s always a chance they will be adopted by infertile straight couples who want children. What should not be allowed is their adoption by homosexual couples.

          • Royinsouthwest

            In fairness to petej all couples who marry when the woman, if not both partners, is over the age of 50 say, know that they are infertile.

          • bluedog

            Not denied. But please see the point made above that many couples marrying when the woman is over fifty are already parents.

          • petej

            Infertile straight couples won’t be allowed to marry under your regime. What are you going to do with children needing adoption?

            I know several couples who were married in church even though the church knew they were infertile. I’m confident that you do too. I notice that you are not rushing forward with all these couples who had been refused marriage on grounds of infertility. In fact cofe priests are not allowed to deny marriage on those grounds.

          • bluedog

            ‘Infertile straight couples won’t be allowed to marry under your regime.’ Rubbish. Marriage is the union of a man and a woman. ‘

            What are you going to do with children needing adoption?’ Find adoptive parents for them. Parents being a man and a woman.

          • petej

            The argument against same sex marriage is that marriage is for procreation.

            I’m saying that you either apply that standard to both gay and straight couples or it is not a genuine justification for refusing to marry gay couples.

            There aren’t enough straight fertile couples willing to adopt.

          • bluedog

            The argument against same sex marriage is that it represents a false equivalence with marriage in the sense that marriage is a fertile union and SSM is an infertile union. There is no equality between these opposing states and it is a profound misrepresentation, or lie, to suggest that there is. Not a few people share this view. Once the electorate understand the extent to which they have been conned by the imposition of SSM, and worse, the homosexual grooming of minors through ‘sex education’ programmes, expect a reaction.

          • petej

            Teaching about lgbti and other minorities being treated equally under UK law has resulted in zero cases of paedophilia. Priests are responsible for a large number of cases of child abuse.

            I don’t mind you saying only fertile people can marry if you apply it to straight couples as well as gay couples. However – as far as I’m aware – no straight couple has been denied marriage by a church on grounds of infertility. If you don’t personally know any such couples then you can look to the PM as an example.

            Either this rule should be applied consistently or it is not a rule and is not justification for denying marriage to gay couples

          • bluedog

            ‘Teaching about lgbti and other minorities being treated equally under UK law has resulted in zero cases of paedophilia.’ So you admit that paedophilia is an entirely undesirable practice? Your assertion is unproven, no evidence is offered and it is fanciful to assume that children informed about homosexual practices will not be persuaded to experiment with them, thinking them normal. You must understand that this institutionalised grooming is every parent’s nightmare, equalities legislation notwithstanding.

            ‘If you don’t personally know any such couples then you can look to the PM as an example.’ One can reasonably assume Mrs May married in the expectation that she and her husband would become parents. Her comments about their childlessness indicate this was the case.

            ‘Either this rule should be applied consistently or it is not a rule and is not justification for denying marriage to gay couples.’

            No. You seem completely unable to understand that not all situations are equal. Homosexual relationships can never be compared to the institution of marriage, despite the state’s misguided legislation to the contrary. Ultimately the legislation will prove completely ineffective in changing community attitudes, indeed, it will have the reverse effect. Coercive tolerance is an assault on our basic freedoms.

          • petej

            There’s no “admit” about it. Sexual abuse of children *is* a heinous crime. I would hope no school was encouraging children to have sex, regardless of whether it was heterosexual or homosexual. If teachers are unable to talk about the existence of gay people, trans people and intersex people without encouraging children to have sex then they need to be properly trained how to teach!

            I’m I’m specifically talking about the argument in the article that gay couples cannot be permitted to marry because they are infertile. Clearly this is not a genuine argument since this same standard has never been held against a straight couple.

        • Men and women’s bodies are naturally designed to sexually complement one another with the ultimate natural purpose of procreation. That’s why men and women have the “bits and pieces” they do and why, in the vast majority of cases, they are sexually attracted to and aroused by one another. Provided they use their bodies in accordance with this design and intention, whether they are actually able to procreate is, morally speaking, neither here nor there.

        • Merchantman

          In fact many infertile man and woman couples can now of course become fertile.

    • IanCad

      In an ordered and liberal society provision must be made within the law for the enforcement of contracts. This is what, essentially, marriage is, and is recognized as such by the state.
      The religious dimension of the union should be of import only to the churches and the believers therein. The state should have little control without the constraints of just civil law.
      Where serious problems rise is in the seemingly insatiable desire of the progressive and deviant (probably too harsh a term) elements of society to wring from the majority, approval and embrace of their particular lifestyles. It won’t happen – or, I don’t think it will – I hope.

      • petej

        I agree that the church must be allowed to manage its own affairs. I just think it should be more honest, more consistent and actually think things through.

        I don’t agree that either Anglicans or lgb people are demanding approval or embrace of their “lifestyles”. If polls are correct more British people approve of allowing gay people to marry than approve of Anglican opposition to gay people.

        • Shadrach Fire

          Which Polls?

          • petej

            Every poll on same sex marriage in the uk in the last five years has found a majority in favour.

          • What is the purpose of marriage?

          • CliveM

            You see I think we’ve stumbled across the CofE’s problems. Let’s have all Church doctrine put to a poll and let the outcome of that determine what the Church should preach.

            Simples.

        • Merchantman

          What Most orthodox Christians will oppose is the assuming the title of marriage for SS partnerships. Its clear from all aspects of the Bible and of genuine Christian theology and tradition including Jesus Christ’s own words that marriage is between a man and a woman.
          The Epistles furthermore expand on this and clearly rate Homosexual sex as sin.
          We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s intention. Life is not some easy passing through but rather a spiritual battleground where we are assailed by temptations of one kind or another by virtue of man’s fallen nature.
          However by Faith in becoming an adopted son and brother in Christ we share in overcoming our sinful nature through his example and battle won.

          • petej

            Those are rather different than the arguments presented here

            There’s no argument against ‘I believe God says no’

            But the arguments presented here are tired and illogical

            Claims that God’s pattern is (only) heterosexual marriage when clearly lots of people cannot conform to that.

            Claims that marriage is only for reproduction when that standard is never held against straight couples

        • John

          There is no Anglican opposition to gay people. There is Anglican refusal to bless homosexual behaviour. Big difference.

          • petej

            Actually a lot of Anglicans have a problem with the people themselves (cite the recent furore over synods decision to condemn conversion therapy)

    • Dominic Stockford

      What about those who aren’t attracted by not killing you, why can they not fulfil their desires?

      • petej

        The argument was that heterosexual marriage is God’s pattern for creation. No argument has been made whether killing or not killing me is God’s pattern.

    • carl jacobs

      Do you think that because you possess a desire you are therefore justified in acting on that desire?

      • petej

        No

        • carl jacobs

          Then your argument … “What about those of us who aren’t attracted to the opposite sex”?” … cannot stand on its own. It must first be qualified by determining the morality of the sexual behavior in view. And how do we determine the morality of the sexual behavior that would proceed from the desire?

          • petej

            No – you’re still not getting what I’m asking.

            If heterosexual marriage is Gods pattern for creation then why are there parts of his creation who cannot enter into that?

          • carl jacobs

            OK. Fair enough. Let me reset and try again.

            You say that you do not fit the pattern. The evidence that you offer in support of this contention is that your desires are misaligned with the pattern. But that evidence only matters if the desires in view are in fact morally licit. If the desires are morally illicit, then the behaviors that proceed from those desires are likewise illicit. We are not required to honor illicit behaviors,

            So what you need to do is establish the moral rightness of the desires that you contend remove you from the pattern of procreation in marriage. Because only then are you relieved of the obligation to order your behavior according to right desire. It is not sufficient to say “I have them. Therefore they are good.” You have already admitted this is not a valid argument.

            So once again I will ask you. How do we determine the moral rightness of sexual desire?

          • petej

            Creation doesn’t follow moral laws like that. It doesn’t depend on man’s intervention. We are not talking about morality here but the pattern of creation.

          • What you call the “pattern of creation” suggests there is intent and purpose in the natural world. It is ordered – not random. And this order, or pattern, serves a purpose – the propagation of our species. One can refer to this as Natural Law. Unlike animals, man can rationally discern this order and choose to live in accord with it or not. Same sex attraction is an aberration in that it deviates from the “pattern of creation”. It is a disorder, in the same sense, because it is not in tune with this “pattern of creation”.

          • dannybhoy

            And Creation is fallen (blame Adam and Eve; I do)
            The fact is that things go wrong biologically, mentally emotionally. Why do some people suffer horribly from depression or bipolar conditions or physical defects?
            Because the world is imperfect.
            What we do know for example is that there are only two sexes, as there are only two sexes in the mammalian world. People may be born with or develop a love for someone of the same sex.
            Why we don’t know, but it’s certainly not because God commanded it so. We know that because all through Scriptures from the time of Moses ’til the Apostles homosexuality is condemned.
            St Paul says in 1st Corinthians 6..
            “9 Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral,[b] nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals,[c][d] 10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God.”

          • petej

            What you seem to be saying is that God punishes people if they have a defective characteristic? Doesn’t sound like a God of love to me.

          • dannybhoy

            No not at all. I’m saying we live in a dysfunctional world and that we are dysfunctional and biologically, emotionally and mentally imperfect people.
            I’m saying that the Eternal God makes it clear through the Scriptures that He loves each and every one of us and wants us to take hold of the free gift of salvation and eternal life!
            And the way to receive these gifts is by acknowledging our sinfulness and our rebellion against God the Creator who knows how best to make us happy and fulfilled.
            So looking at that Scripture I quoted..
            The immoral,
            The idolaters,
            The adulterers,
            The homosexuals,
            The thieves,
            The greedy,
            The drunkards,
            The revilers,
            and the robbers
            ALL had to repent, be washed and sanctified in order to inherit the kingdom of God.
            Please show me the discrimination.
            The real issue is that you do not wish to repent because you want to do your own thing without God..
            And that’s why God gives us all free will; so that we can make real choices with real consequences….

          • petej

            But all the other categories that require repentance are a behaviour, not an aspect of the person’s creation (however fallen). Could you repent of being heterosexual if that was required? How would you do it. In practical terms you are suggesting that gay people are created imperfectly and God necessarily punishes them for their creation (that they had no say in) because they are unable to make themselves “perfect”. Does he also punish the visually impaired because they can’t see perfectly?

          • dannybhoy

            I’m looking at what St. Paul said to the Church at Corinthians petej.
            As I said before I do not accept the idea that every human being is born exactly as God designed them; blind or lame or whatever.

            So with that in mind let’s for example look at the immoral and the adulterers. One could argue that they were merely following the impulses concomitant with being heterosexual. Young men full of testosterone want to bed as many females as they can. Men whose wives no longer ‘understand them’ or wives who feel unloved seek solace in the company of someone else not their spouse..
            All perfectly understandable and all of us have been tempted and some have given in.
            Yet God says it is wrong, and if we commit adultery or sexual immorality we are under his condemnation until we genuinely come to repentance. But even then, the harm or fallout of our sin may spread way beyond the people involved to the children, to parents and even the community. That is why God warns us against these things because not only do we break His Law, we affect the life of others..
            Finally to homosexuality.
            I have worked alongside enough homosexuals to know that some feel they were born this way, and I don’t doubt them, but so far scientists have found no gene that determines a person’s sexual orientation..
            They might do, but so far the evidence points to some psychological rather than biological influence.
            But in any case, it is the practice of homosexuality that God condemns rather than the person, and therefore it is as a sinner rather than as simply an adulterer or a thief or idolater or a homosexual that we approach God with sincere and repentant hearts to receive forgiveness and newness of life.
            And by the power of His indwelling Holy Spirit we begin the process of sanctification.

          • petej

            But heterosexuals can choose not to commit adultery and adultery usually harms at least three individuals, whereas monogamous faithful loving marriage is an overwhelmingly positive thing.

            Even if a homosexual is celibate all their lives then they are still a homosexual and God will condemn them according to the translation of the passage that you quoted.

            The current scientific consensus on the cause of homosexuality is that there are likely multiple components and inheritance is the only component that there is any evidence for.

            Jesus spent a significant part of his teaching ministry arguing that the blind, lame etc were not the sinners that the religious elite claimed they were.

          • dannybhoy

            Romans 5 (Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)
            “Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we[a] have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have obtained access[b] to this grace in which we stand, and we[c] rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. 3 More than that, we[d] rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

            6 While we were yet helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Why, one will hardly die for a righteous man—though perhaps for a good man one will dare even to die. 8 But God shows his love for us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we are now justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God.”
            As a young Christian I often -and still do- have to remind myself that God knew what He was getting when He adopted me as a son with the right to call Him the Creator God, “Abba” or Daddy!
            You don’t know who I am, or the things I have done or the shame I feel for having done them.. But God does and sometimes I have been led to make restitution and sometimes God through the Holy Spirit has led me to simple heartfelt confession of my sin.
            Dare I say that God is less concerned with the sin than He is with our tearful heartfelt awareness and abhorrence of our sin.
            Psalm 103 a psalm of David..(Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition)
            The Lord is merciful and gracious,
            slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
            9 He will not always accuse,
            nor will he keep his anger for ever.
            10 He does not deal with us according to our sins,
            nor repay us according to our iniquities.
            11 For as the heavens are high above the earth,
            so great is his steadfast love towards those who fear him;
            12 as far as the east is from the west,
            so far he removes our transgressions from us.
            13 As a father has compassion for his children,
            so the Lord has compassion for those who fear him.
            14 For he knows how we were made;
            he remembers that we are dust.”

            As far as I am concerned and totally believe, God did not determine your biological being, but He made you a spiritual being in His image and with the gift of free will. So I think you are wrong to believe you are condemned because you may have or have homosexual tendencies.
            God LOVES you as much as He loves any human being. Our Lord died on the cross for you as much as He did for the Apostles, the Patriarchs and us ‘also rans’
            He knows what goes on in your secret being, and if you give it all up to Him and ask Him to be the King and Lord of your life, it is then up to Him what He will do with you.
            I would happily fellowship and pray with a homosexual who is struggling, because so do many heterosexuals with their thought life and weaknesses.
            Don’t do yourself down. God loves you and who knows the plans He has for you if only you will trust Him!
            Ezekiel 33New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition
            10 Now you, mortal, say to the house of Israel, Thus you have said: ‘Our transgressions and our sins weigh upon us, and we waste away because of them; how then can we live?’ 11 Say to them, As I live, says the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from their ways and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways; for why will you die, O house of Israel?

          • petej

            I do not believe that God condemns me because I am gay.

            I’m saying that the translation you chose from 1 corinthians condemns people like me regardless of my behaviour.

          • dannybhoy

            Ahhhhhhh!
            So it’s the translation I used that bothers you!
            So which translation suits you?

          • petej

            No.

            My point was that neither of the justifications given in the article for banning gay people from marrying are worth any cop.

            You seem to be saying that it isn’t a sin to be gay, but gay relationships are sinful. You have picked a translation that is inconsistent with this view.

          • dannybhoy

            I think you’re equivocating, and I have no time for that.

          • petej

            I didn’t ask for you to comment on my post.

            I’m not trying to justify anything. I’m saying that the two reasons given for banning gay people from marrying are actually unjustified and archaic.

            I don’t know if God made me homosexual, but it certainly is not a choice. It is not credible any more to claim that it is.

          • dannybhoy

            You’re still equivocating. I know without a shadow of doubt that God loves you, but until you start being really honest we personally will get nowhere.

          • petej

            I have been honest with you.

            Please explain where you feel I haven’t been honest.

          • dannybhoy

            We were looking at the different categories of people St Paul lists as being condemned by God, but he also says ‘and such were some of you’ verse 11.
            So there were sinners who also happened to be homosexuals who had been saved by the grace of God and were members of that church in Corinth.
            And then you switched to…
            ” I’m saying that the translation you chose from 1 Corinthians condemns people like me regardless of my behaviour.”
            Which seemed to me you started finding fault with the translation….
            So which translation suits you?

          • Why don’t you like the female body? What have women – mother, sisters, classmates, cousins, friends done during your life to turn you against women and the female form?

          • petej

            Nothing. I’m attracted to men for the same reasons you are attracted to men.

          • Why though are you attracted to men? I’m attracted to men because they are the opposite sex and are needed to procreate. We are programmed to find the opposite sex desirable. Something must have gone awry in your programming then or you’ve had bad outside female influences.

          • petej

            You’re attracted to men because your body or brain tells you to be. Gay people are just like straight people. Everything you feel towards men I do too.

            I can assure you that I’ve had no bad female influences. It’s just a small proportion of people are like this.

          • dannybhoy

            I agree with that, but the fact remains that we are either born male or female. As I said to you earlier there is no proof of a gene which makes us sexually attracted to our own sex.
            So it’s psychological rather than physical. Some homosexuals have successfully changed to a heterosexual orientation (because they wanted to I hasten to add) through counselling and prayer.
            Some heterosexual men are more in touch with their feminine qualities than others too.
            But let’s remember that God includes both male and female qualities even though He portrays Himself as Father rather than Mother.

          • petej

            We certainly are not born male or female. The Bible says ‘and’ not ‘or’, but we are discussing orientation, not gender.

            Just because no single gay gene has been found doesn’t mean that being gay is purely a mental state. Indeed every study into causes has found inheritance to be a significant factor.

            Unless you are claiming that gay people (lifelong exclusive attraction to the same sex) don’t exist, then the argument that same sex marriage is against God’s pattern is meaningless.

          • dannybhoy

            You are either born as a male or a female. Or more recently owing to the effects of hormones in the drinking water you may have genital confusion/deformities
            .http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/birth-control-in-drinking-water-a-fertility-catastrophe-in-the-making
            I accept that gay people with a lifelong exclusive attraction to the same sex exist, as do homosexuals with a weird exhibitionist and hyper sex drive exist; but it isn’t what God ordained because there is no possibility of procreation.

          • petej

            I was born male, but not everyone is born distinctly male or female – any midwife will tell you that!

            You seem, once again, to be arguing that gay people exist as a kind of failure of creation or of a fallen creation. This is not the argument that I was criticising, but I find it equally perplexing because then the argument is that God is punishing his creations for not being perfect enough

          • dannybhoy

            “This is not the argument that I was criticising, but I find it equally perplexing because then the argument is that God is punishing his creations for not being perfect enough”.
            Okay, but I also made clear to you (I thought) that I do not believe Creation is perfect- the Bible says it is fallen through Adam’s disobedience.
            I therefore feel confident in saying we live in a cause and effect world where things go wrong , people make wrong choices and accidents happen.
            Sometimes God intervenes and sometimes He doesn’t.
            I then went on to say that we are all sinners, regardless of how that manifests.
            (I thought I’d made that clear too!)
            So whatever our status and whatever our sin, we each one have the choice of repentance so that we might enjoy God’s love, plus eternal life.
            Where you get that idea from that God is punishing His creation for not being perfect enough, I don’t know..

          • petej

            But you are saying that God denies relationship and family (along with the myriad problems that causes) to people who, through no fault of their own, are not attracted to the ‘right’ sex.

            To me this does seem to be punishing people for their disability and is inconsistent with a God of love.

            Your views are also inconsistent with the ones stated in the article above.

          • dannybhoy

            Life isn’t always fair petej!
            There’s all kinds of injustices, disabilities, early deaths, cancer etc.
            I do sympathise about the lifelong monogamous same sex relationship thing, but equally I also believe that because God is a God of love, we can’t know how he will resolve our own dilemmas. Obviously there are many homosexuals who have found peace in their Christian faith, it might be celibacy, it might be an inner change of orientation, it might be through a ministry..

          • petej

            Churches provide disabled ramps for the lame and large print for the visually impaired, yet they merely make accusations at gay people and slam the door.

          • dannybhoy

            There is some truth in that petej but no Christian congregation should reject a homosexual just because they’re homosexual. Usually though I suspect they don’t know how to relate,
            Not a great excuse but….

          • Why does your brain tell you to be? Looking at sensory input through the eyes which have 80% of it, what is it about a male that makes your body react in a way as to desire him and not a female? Surely you can be re-programmed to feel desire for the opposite sex. If it’s epigenetic then you can have gene editing to switch you over to heterosexual mode.

            You wouldn’t necessarily know if you’d had bad female influences if you had a loving but controlling manipulative mother insidiously undermining your masculinity.

          • petej

            I don’t know. Are you able to answer these questions?

            Who is going to pay for my gene – editing? Even if it were possible I imagine it would cost far more than I could afford!

            Please don’t insult my mother.

          • carl jacobs

            Question: why are there parts of his creation who cannot enter into that?

            Basis for the question: so what about those of us who aren’t attracted to the opposite sex? God made us too.

            Answer: Your initial premise is wrong. You could enter into that pattern if you would so choose. Your desires don’t justify your demand for an alternate pattern. Why? Because those desires are contrary to the created order and are therefore unnatural. The problem is not with the pattern. The problem is with the desire. You are therefore morally obligated to align your behavior to the created order regardless of any desire you might experience. If you reject the idea of marriage with a woman then your only moral option is celibacy.

            To break this argument you must demonstrate that your desire is natural (by which I mean “intended to exist within the created order”) and is therefore not immoral. You can’t achieve that goal by merely pointing to the existence of the desire. You must justify it.

            So homosexual desire is justified because …

            Fill in the blank.

          • petej

            So you don’t believe there are people who experience lifelong exclusive attraction to the same sex?

          • carl jacobs

            I am saying that the answer to that question is irrelevant to the morality of the desire itself. We are all of us full of many different kinds of illicit desires. It doesn’t matter where those desires come from, or whether they are lifelong or not. We are all of us expected to overcome those illicit desires and act in accordance with what is right. You must therefore give some justification for acting upon these desires and that justification must not depend upon the mere existence of the desire itself. You must establish that acting upon homosexual desire is acting in accordance with what is right. Too much of the homosexual apologetic is either tacitly or explicitly rooted in the assertion that “I am of legal age and I can do what I want with a consenting partner.” That is what the world thinks. That is not and never has been a view consistent with Christian morality.

            This is why I asked you “Do you think that you are justified in acting on a desire simply because you possess that desire? You quickly and categorically and correctly answered “No.” So you have already agreed to the premise underneath my entire argument – that sexual desire is not self-justifying. I am just asking you to follow that road all the way to the end.

          • petej

            The argument was not that gay people are immoral or gay sex is immoral. The argument was that heterosexual marriage is God’s pattern for creation.

            I don’t see how it is possible to believe that gay (i.e. People with lifelong exclusively same sex attraction) people exist and believe that heterosexual marriage is God’s pattern for creation.

        • danjstar

          Perhaps you should question whether (and if so, why) morality automatically follows from their god’s general pattern for creation instead. Is there scope in an imperfect world to go off plan in any way? If one is homosexual then is it better to be celibate for life, with all that means for the individual, or have all the other benefits of a pair bond like any other infertile couple? That is, is it all about the sex?

          • petej

            I believe that God blesses gay relationships and that the church’s opposition to these has more to do with inherited (secular ) views from the Victorian era and views imported from the religious right in the US than they do with scripture or the teaching of Jesus. I believe all love is good in and of itself and that God is love.

        • Linus

          It’s pointless trying to reason with Christians.

          Their holy book tells them we must live in celibate misery because this is what their imaginary sky pixie demands.

          What we want counts for nothing for these people. Only the demands of the sky pixie are important to them. So it serves no purpose trying to have a rational discussion with them. Either we obey their demands to live our lives according to their beliefs or we are condemned as evil sinners. It really is as simple as that.

          In my experience it’s best not to waste your energy trying to convince a Christian that you too have a right to seek happiness and fulfillment in marriage. Equal marriage exists so you can exercise that right whether they like it or not. At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

    • “God doesn’t make mistakes.”
      No, He doesn’t but the natural world, and man within it, does act in ways contrary to His will.

  • Mike Stallard

    Wow! If only the CoE (and yes the rest of the population including all the other religious affiliations) loved theology as much as sex, then we would suddenly return to common sense!
    Buggery sanctified as marriage! I ask you!

  • IrishNeanderthal

    We have now had days of the media celebrating the decriminalization of homosexuality. I am concerned about the way they are, in their ignorance, turning history on its head.

    Too often, they are making a “martyr” of Oscar Wilde. The attitude of the Victorians was, as G.K.Chesterton wrote in Heretics, inconsistent:

    In the fifteenth century men cross-examined and tormented a man because he preached some immoral attitude; in the nineteenth century we feted and flattered Oscar Wilde because he preached such an attitude, and then broke his heart in penal servitude because he carried it out. It may be a question which of the two methods was the more cruel; there can be no kind of question which was the more ludicrous. The age of the Inquisition has not at least the disgrace of having produced a society which made an idol of the very same man for preaching the very same things which it made him a convict for practising.

    Today, we overlook the fact that Wilde brought about his own downfall by initiating a Libel action against Lord Queensberry (who was widely believed to be an atheist.)

    • Anton

      And by showing off and getting caught out during his cross-examination.

  • Broadwood

    It takes a mother and father to make a child, and both contribute to its development. Marriage is a legal institution designed to protect the rights and responsibilities of those relationships, and provide a way to keep that unit together. It exists in almost all cultures and times. Consequently it has nothing whatever to do with same sex relationships. Thats why we had civil partnerships, and that’s where we should have stayed.

  • Chefofsinners

    What happened to Good News Friday then?
    I have been saving up my good news all week in anticipation. Here it is: I am off on holiday for three weeks to a land where there is no signal, so will not be polluting the threads with my customary inanities.

    • Apologies. Skubalon happened.

    • Well that is good news! Enjoy your break and keep out of mischef.

    • dannybhoy

      That is good news! Is the three week term dependent on good behaviour, or might you erm, be ‘away’ for longer?

      • Chefofsinners

        When I spoke of my cell, I was referring to my brain cell.

        • dannybhoy

          You don’t have to explain yourself to me Chef. It’s becoming quite fashionable for Christians to be sent ‘on vacation’ at Her Majesty’s good pleasure..

    • carl jacobs

      You are going to Scotland?

      • Chefofsinners

        No such luck. The Rocky Mountains.

        • Anton

          They’re called the Rocky Mountains
          Coz they’re rocky
          And they’re mountains…

          • IanCad

            Foreigners, including Canadians, call them The Rocky Mountains. Americans call them The Rockies.
            This is a general rule and may explain Carl’s seemingly strange post.

          • Chefofsinners

            How do you explain all his other posts?

        • carl jacobs

          Ah. So you are going to Canada. That makes sense then.

          • Chefofsinners

            Yes, with its world-renowned attractions such as Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon.

          • carl jacobs

            Hrmmm. So your travel agent sold you a trip to Canada to see Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon. Was there by any chance a Nigerian Prince involved in this transaction?

          • Chefofsinners

            No worries, Carl. I know all about Nigerian Royalty. I read it in CS Lewis. “Once a king or queen in Nigeria, always a king or queen in Nigeria.”

        • Any little chefs going with you?

          • Chefofsinners

            Indeed. The Sioux chef is thrilled to be returning to his native land.

      • It’ll be Trasmoz, a village in Aragon, Spain. You should accompany him.

        • carl jacobs

          From Wiki:

          It is the only Spanish town officially cursed and excommunicated by the Catholic Church

          Um … So … Um … I guess this becomes Reason Number 15643 for “Why I am not a Roman Catholic”.

          • You’ll enjoy the break.
            (Finished your homework?)

          • carl jacobs

            Yes. Paper written and submitted.

            You do realize that a 500 year-old curse against an entire village is ridiculous, correct?

          • Of course. Just surprised it hasn’t been lifted. Perhaps when you’re there you can do something about it.

    • CliveM

      Have fun.

  • len

    It is the Creator who lays down Moral Law.
    We can decide we don’t like that Law and decide to change it.But do we change the Mind of the Creator by rebelling.?
    No, Gods Moral Law is unchanged. We continue under the illusion that we have made our own ‘moral Law.’

  • IrishNeanderthal

    This same-sex marriage business is one I am reluctant to get into. However, from a mathematical angle, one can draw an anology with the developments in number theory over the millennia.

    When our thinking was dominated by the Greeks, the only numbers recognized were integers. What we call fractions were envisaged as a different thing entirely, namely ratios. By expanding the concept of number to include fractions, we gained a lot of mathematical fluidity, but we lost the ability to say that number N is the next number after number M.

    Similarly, after imaginary and complex numbers came along, numbers were no longer ordered on a striaght line, and one now found that one could have an infinity of numbers all of the same magnitude.

    By extended the meaning of marriage to include same-sex couples, the concept of sex has actually been removed from the basis of marriage. This current bit of Justine Greenery is going much further along the same road.

    Coming back to same-sex couples, I was sitting on a bus, and behind me were two men with two boys of about eight to ten. As the bus passed the local hospital, one of the men pointed to it and said to one or both of the boys “that was where we had you.” Registering two men both as fathers of a child is, I feel, tinkering with the child’s identity. Even if one can train their schoolfellows not to tease or bully them on that account, I feel that this is something much deeper that Cameron and co. have the capacity to grasp.

    On BBC3, I think it was, there was a programme in the series The World’s Strictest Parents where a rather troublesome British boy and a similar British girl were sent to stay with a couple of men in New England who were fostering some disturbed boys in their tens and were to all appearances doing a very good job. They ran their house on strict military lines, and gave me the slightly scary impression that one or both might have been former US Marines. (Even in Blighty, one does not pick a quarrel with the Jollies.) And they certainly seemed to help both the boy and the girl with getting their lives in order.

    However, it was told that they had adopted two of the boys in their care. The matter of adoption does still give me reservations. The programme in question did not provoke in me anything other than an activist would regard as homophobia, but with Gene Robinson in mind, the matter of adoption did add to my Nova-Angliophobia.

    • Terry Mushroom

      “…the concept of sex has actually been removed from the nature of marriage.” This is the very odd thing. It’s now exclusively about Romantic Love.

      And has Happy Jack has reminded us a number of times, the Church of England lost the link between sex and procreation in 1930.

      Part of the essence of heterosexual marriage is complementarity. And children need that complementary love from their parents. For all sorts of understandable reasons, a child may not be able to have both a father and mother. But to deny the child both – or to say both are unnecessary – is of another order all together. And wrong.

  • prompteetsincere

    Generous unorthodoxy vs. Generous orthodoxy = “radical inclusion”.

  • Martin

    OK, the picture is getting to me, am I the only one who thinks it looks as if she is offering him a pringle?

  • Richard B

    One good thing about this and Sin-nod’s shenanigans: they fit Jesus’ and Paul’s End-time prophecies! (http://wp.me/p1Y1yB-a60 refers)