Church of England

Those who attacked +Philip North have made same-sex blessing compromise impossible

Remember that “radical new Christian inclusion” Justin Welby spoke of in the wake of Synod’s decision not to ‘take note’ of the Bishops’ report on marriage and same-sex relations? Well, you can forget it. There can now be no radically inclusive formula of words, no guiding principles, no memorandum of agreement or synodical ‘fudge’ by which those Anglicans who oppose the creation of some sort of liturgical same-sex blessing (proto-marriage), and those who advocate it as a fundamental equality or Christian social justice, can coexist in the Church of England. The hounding of Philip North from the Bishopric of Sheffield has put paid to all carefully-crafted yarns of mutual flourishing and rose-tinted via-media tolerance: mob rule has supplanted synodical governance; bullying and hounding have usurped reason, vocation and love.

“If, as Christians, we cannot relate to each other within the bounds of love, how can we possibly presume to transform a nation in the name of Christ?” Bishop Philip pleaded in his statement of withdrawal. “The highly individualised nature of the attacks upon me have been extremely hard to bear,” he explained with great sorrow. Yes, indeed. The more one is called a ‘bigot’, ‘hater’ or ‘misogynist’, or accused of advocating “sacrilised sexism“, the more one might be inclined to curtain one’s head in the incense. To assail a flawed theology is one thing, but to attack a man for his deeply-held orthodox beliefs is not only ungracious, it is contemptible, wicked and fundamentally un-Christian.

“Philip North would have excelled among the diocesans in defending the poor & the parish, & promoting evangelism outside evangelical mould,” tweeted Cambridge theologian, the Rev’d Dr Andrew Davison. All that remains is the conditional perfect; a hypothetical event. Henceforth the intolerant inclusivist Test Act will be applied ‘robustly’ to candidates for episcopacy. Those who do not conform to the new inclusion dogma will be hounded out of office and hauled to the stake for incineration. The Church of England has hewn its sturdy catholic branch so that the ever-sprouting twigs of liberal reform might flourish. Mutuality has become a beatific pipe dream.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.’ (Rom 8:28).

Applying Martyn Percy’s impeccable theological logic to the much-heralded “radical new Christian inclusion” (which many inferred, not unreasonably, to signal moves toward the incorporation of a liturgy for same-sex blessing), how can a bishop who believes such a union to be contrary to natural law or the laws of God (or, indeed, simply sinful) possibly exercise plausible authority over priests who perform such public blessings with faithful conviction? We are concerned, as Professor Percy reasonably advances, with questions of ambiguity and integrity, and the imperatives of sincerity and truth. “There is a problem, then, for any church that wants to talk about ‘two integrities’ co-existing within its life – especially when they are opposed to one another,” he attests. To adopt and adapt his precise argument further:

A concern for order and unity in the church is undoubtedly what drives many opposing the blessing of same-sex unions. But a concern for order and unity in all creation – no less Godly – is as vital for our church and world. The church lives constantly in the tension between the glacial patience of catholicity, and that of proactive, faithful reform. On the one hand, it is bound to remain true to its given nature. On the other hand, it is bound to reform and change in each generation, as the Holy Spirit renews the church.

The question of integrity then, is this. Should anyone accept a nomination to be a diocesan bishop (or can anyone continue to be a diocesan bishop) when this same person cannot recognise and affirm the sacramental validity of a liturgy of same-sex blessing performed by (a significant percentage of) their own clergy who would be in their care, and with whom they will have to share in the ‘cure of souls’. I think the answer to this must be ‘no’, and unequivocally so. Any position of integrity would refuse such an invitation and nomination (or continuing).

Since we are concerned not only with nominated bishops but also with existing ones, they must either all conform to the “radical new Christian inclusion” or resign. It will basically come down to a bishop’s unwillingness or inability to recognise the sacramental validity of a union which Synod has decided to affirm. Applying Martyn Percy’s Lenten reflection to an imagined episcopal opposition to same-sex blessing:

He abstains from recognising and affirming their full and equal sacramental union, (NB: but not lawful, for no one doubts the state’s authority to legislate in this area). He abstains from clarifying his views on what happens when a priest celebrates a service of same-sex blessing in London or Manchester – or in any parish of any Diocese. He abstains from recognising the sacramental efficacy of couples married by inclusive priests. He abstains from full participation in any service of Holy Matrimony, unless they are heterosexual affairs, and the sacramental ‘integrity’ of the event is guaranteed.

We could go further, and acknowledge the anxiety and distress; the grief, shock and anger that would undoubtedly be felt by same-sex couples whose blessings of union were repudiated by the bishop who oversees the priest who performed it. What integrity of witness can the Church of England have when one integrity cannot recognise the other integrity that affirms same-sex unions?

In light of Philip North’s sad fate, there can now be no credible synodical guiding principles for mutual flourishing which will inspire confidence in those who oppose any move toward a liturgy of same-sex blessing. Any decision to a “maximum freedom” to become “fully and unequivocally committed” to making services of commitment open equally to all, without reference to gender, will founder on the rock of intolerant extremist inclusivism, which is already being bolstered by talk of “radical new Christian inclusion”. Conscience safeguards for theological conviction will be worthless; assurances of due respect will ring hollow; guarantees of sacramental provision have been rendered meaningless. For, as Professor Percy has identified, mutually exclusive integrities constitute no integrity at all. Pull the lever of “radical inclusion” too hard, the via media collapses, and schism will be unavoidable.

  • The intolerant face of progressive theology – and progressivism more generally – is once more laid bare for all to see. We didn’t want to compromise on same-sex marriage anyway. Now we know we can’t.

  • ‘No one doubts the state’s authority to legislate in this area.’

    I do. By redefining marriage to include same-sex couples the state clearly exceeded the bounds of its authority. The state cannot make right what is contrary to the natural law.

  • Sarky

    I think that when you look back in years to come, you will see this as the beginning of the end of the CofE.
    Oh well, so long and thanks for all the fish.

  • Droberts2010

    A sad affair. I may or may not agree with the bishop on the issue of female bishops/priests (it isn’t something I have a hard opinion on) but his hounding out was atrocious. I fear this is, indeed, the beginning of the end for the Church of England as its Catholic and Evangelical wings are driven further away by the nastiness coming from the so called liberals

    • Arden Forester

      “driven further away by the nastiness coming from the so called liberals”. Exactly right. In fact, there is nothing so illiberal as a “liberal”. They are not the same as libertarians, who believe in a live and let live way.

      I know I am not wanted by many in the Church of England. As an Anglican Papalist I appreciate I will be mocked, taunted and decried. But I believe my place is still in the CofE to work towards corporate reunion of the two sees set in a vast Universal sea.

      I do not consider myself a “conservative Anglo-Catholic” as this implies some sort of fossilisation. What I do see myself trying to do is adhere to the Catholic Faith and the Seven Sacraments of the Church within the tradition of Ecclesia Anglicana. Female ordination, a fundamental change to Holy Matrimony and a watering down of the Eucharist are not part of that. It is parochial as opposed to universal. St Vincent didn’t suggest we all do what we want, when we want but to follow “Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est” (That Faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all). That there are some who wish to take an alternative path is regrettable but it is not cause for hostility.

      Female clerics deserve to be treated with honour and respect. We are all united as Christians in our baptism. That’s a good starting point for unity. Those female clerics who have stood by Philip North have shown integrity. Those, of both sexes, who stoked ire have not.

      Two quotes I think are relevant. “Do to others as you would have them do to you” and “What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.”

      • ,,,, and yet, as an “Anglican Papalist” you hold that women can never be validly ordained, are incapable of celebrating the Eucharist or of absolving sin in Confession. These are sacerdotal functions reserved to men. We can speculate about God’s reasons and argue indefinitely about the real meaning of scripture and Saint Paul’s writings on women in the church. However, we have Jesus’ example in selecting only men as Apostles and the practice of first Apostles and the early Church.

        How can there be ever be unity and respect over such a fundamental division?

      • Cressida de Nova

        Women again are being targeted for the Protestant Church’s mistake. They ignored scripture and now are reviling women and blaming using them as scapegoats for everything that is wrong. It is easier for cowardly men who made the wrong decisions to do that. The sneering from the ‘Christian’ men on here is disgraceful . Women clerics are clerics through no fault of their own. They belong to a faux Christian Church which encouraged and permitted it. Everyone even women are entitled to some dignity.
        Anglican Papalist is a conflicting term. In reality there can be no such thing. The whole concept is very unhealthy and lacks integrity.

        • Agree with you up until your last sentence. One can understand and have some sympathy with Anglican Papalists.
          The end of the beginning of the end (love that expression of Churchill) was the Anglican Conference in 1930. A very male affair. Maybe women were secretly plotting in the background and manipulating their weak husbands by withholding sexual favours.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Being an Anglican Papist is like being a divorced person who does not actually completely break from the union. They live in separate houses but do not lead completely separate lives only when it suits them. It is a sort of having your cake and eating it situation.It is a display of religion rather than a real one.

            People who value integrity quickly become disillusioned and reject religion entirely.

            I was horrified when unintentionally visiting one of these new Catholic /Protestant Churches in an attempt by Pope Benedict to make swimmers feel comfortable with the transition…I thought I was in the wrong place and left . I checked … it was a Catholic Church.

            Mistakes have been made by them and this is one by us – a big mistake as well. It is sending a message to say….we are not that different. Not true…we are. Except may be in the future I will be saying ….we were.
            There will be negative consequences as there was in an attempt at ecumenism in V2.

  • Stephen Heard

    I’m not sure the analogy between a bishop who (1) doesn’t accept female ordination and (2) one who opposes same-sex marriage is a valid one. The second bishop may disapprove of what clergy in his care are (hypothetically) doing, but s/he doesn’t doubt their (hypothetical) right to do it. The first bishop, however, does not even accept that female clergy are ordained. That is a category difference. A better analogy for same-sex marriage might be with a bishop who does not believe that divorced people can remarry in church (and there are still some). Again, s/he may not approve of his clergy solemnising such marriages; but knows they are perfectly entitled to do it, and indeed cannot stop them. This was a *big* issue some decades ago, but is now all but forgotten.

    More generally, I sense that +Philip North’s withdrawal from Sheffield is a watershed. Conservative Anglo-Catholics have long suspected that they were no longer really wanted in the Church. His decision, brought about by something akin to mob-rule, removes any lingering vestige of doubt. I’m not one for dark prophecy: but I think we will live to regret that.

    • grutchyngfysch

      a bishop who does not believe that divorced people can remarry in church (and there are still some).

      There’s hope yet (for the remnant).

  • Anton

    Time for war, spiritually speaking. A tragedy that it has to be fought this time IN the church, but that is the cost of letting the world in.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Excellent!

      There is indeed a time for war and a time for peace.

    • alternative_perspective

      Better get it done with now than when all hell breaks loose in those end years before Christ’s return.

  • bluedog

    The CoE flock, the ordinary congregants who aren’t members of Synod, were never given a chance to vote on the ordination of women, just as in a political sense they were never given a chance to vote on SSM. These fundamental changes could well be the catalyst for massive revolt out in the parishes. People don’t like the sort of viciousness being seen, and if there is a boycott of services performed by women priests, it would come as no surprise to this writer. But will the CoE hierarchy listen, or will it just be Brexit redux, with a tiny, tiny elite ignoring their public?

    • Anton

      The latter, but their public might find a way of kicking them up the backside like Brexit did to Westminster.

    • Coniston

      But are the beliefs and doctrines of the CofE (or indeed of any Church) to be determined by a democratic vote in Synod, or anywhere else? Are the beliefs, and teachings, of the Church to be decided by what the majority of its members approve of at any one particular moment in time? I think not, otherwise the Church would have been changing its beliefs many times in every century for the last 2000 years.
      The CofE (and not only the CofE) is dividing between those who are determined to adhere to the traditional beliefs and teachings of the Church, and what is revealed to us in the Bible, and those (most of the hierarchy of the CofE), who wish to conform to the secular neo-paganism of the surrounding culture (and the State). Why they think the Gospel can be best proclaimed in this way beggars belief. They will be rightly despised by all genuine Christians and unbelievers alike.

      • Coniston

        A further consideration is whether, in a secular neo-pagan state and culture, there can be an established Christian Church. This is possible, perhaps desirable, in a Christian state and culture, even perhaps if their Christianity is little more than nominal. But in present circumstances it seems impossible. Surely a Christian Church cannot possibly allow its beliefs and structures to be determined, if only in part, by such a secular neo-pagan state. A genuine Church in such circumstances would have to become disestablished. Where that would leave the monarchy I don’t know.

        • grutchyngfysch

          Mannasseh didn’t destroy the Temple, he adulterated it. I wouldn’t underestimate how symbolically powerful a rump church is for progressives. They don’t want to destroy the CofE, they want to possess it. A monarch crowned by bishop, imam and witch is their aim.

      • Dominic Stockford

        The 39 Articles declare the Bible to be the source of teaching – however they have been unceremoniously dumped in order to avoid the challenge of having to not ordain people who disagreed with them.

      • bluedog

        When the Church changes its beliefs and the congregation do not, they will vote with their feet.

    • Hi

      I did suggest a while back a Dave Cameron type referendum by the c of e on these issues.

  • Jill

    Sigh. Some of us have been saying this for 25 years, and have been mocked and ridiculed ever since for our trouble. Well, the chickens have well and truly come home to roost now. Around 600 orthodox clergy left the Church of England in 1992/3 when it was eventually decided (by a mere 2 votes!) that women could be ordained, which left the door wide open for the revisionists.

    Let me quote from an article by a former Anglican (now Roman Catholic) priest, who says things much better than I can.

    ‘Those of us who left the Church of England after the 1992 vote did not do so because we are Freudian misfits or misogynists. We are not simply crusty old buffers who don’t want to let women into the gentlemen’s club. Many of us could acknowledge the strong sentimental, utilitarian and political arguments in favour of women’s ordination. We simply couldn’t allow that these were the only arguments. When we realised that these were the only arguments being acknowledged, we then
    realised that anything goes; because these three forms of argument (when used exclusively) can not only be used for women’s ordination and homosexuality. With a bit of ingenuity they can be used to support anything.

    No, we abandoned ship because we saw that the ship was not only headed for the rocks, she had struck hard. Those of us who left the Church of England did not leave because women were going to be ordained. We left because a church that claimed to be Catholic did not have the tools in
    her toolbox to make such a historic decision properly. In becoming Catholics we came to a church that looked wider and deeper than the sentimental, utilitarian and political arguments. We came to a church that looked to more ancient and venerable sources of authority. We wanted a church that had the ability to weigh not only the opinion of the living, but through her veneration of tradition, was able to value the opinion of that most neglected of majorities: the dead. Furthermore,this church not only considered the past, but she looked to the future.She listened to the vociferous demands of our sad, confused and ageing minority in the West, but she also considered the needs and the opinions
    our young brothers and sisters in Eastern Europe, Asia and the Southern Hemisphere.’

    http://holyspiritinteractive.net/columns/dwightlongenecker/currentevents/womensordination.asp

    • The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was established in 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI to allow Anglicans to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church whilst retaining much of their heritage and traditions. It now has the full support and blessing of Pope Francis.

      We exist to promote the unity of all Christians with the Apostolic See, and faithfully to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the rich treasures of our traditions.

      You are welcome – come and find out more.

      http://www.ordinariate.org.uk/

      • Et_Expecto

        I think that the ranks of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham could be significantly swelled in the coming months as a result of the Sheffield episode, especially coming so soon after the disaster of the synod vote on same sex marriage.

      • Jill

        Don’t think I haven’t thought about it, Jack.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Barry Shucksmith wrote a very good little book about why he left – he was a pastor in the CofE at the time. As with many others he saw the long-term writing on the wall.

      • Little Black Censored

        A pastor, eh? Is that like an “Anglican minister”?

  • len

    ‘Humanist theology’ has overtaken Gods Word in the C of E .This is now a fact no one can ignore.
    For Philip North to be bullied and intimidated because he follows scripture illustrates the depth of division within the Church.
    Liberals(who are anything but ‘liberal ‘when opposed) are turning the Church into ‘a vehicle’ for Humanist theology which goes right back to Babylon.

    This is a watershed moment, when suspicions about where the church is heading become fact .The spirit of Humanism is now seated on the throne within the C of E.

  • dannybhoy

    In my own devotions I have been praying for the Church of England bishops along the lines..
    For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
    1 Peter 4:17 (KJV)
    I have been asking God to move in the hearts of these Anglican leaders, especially Justin Welby and John Sentamu; that they will be true to teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ and the proclamation of the Gospel. That if they will not, may they then have the integrity to resign; or else be removed at their Lord’s discretion…
    There is no doubt in my mind that there is soon coming a division between those in the Anglican Church who love and serve our Lord and hold to the integrity of Scripture, and those who believe in and preach another ‘progressive’ gospel.
    God is not mocked.

  • worrywort

    No doubt the Perverts will be celebrating another victory. After all There’s little left to ruin within society. This situation is akin to Noah putting a flock of woodpeckers in the lower hold.

    In the meantime the drawbridge is at maximum capacity with the Moors rushing through. If the Wrath of God bears down on us now, It’s well deserved.

    • Merchantman

      Termites, Termites, worrywort; Woodpeckers are noble creatures; Termites destroy unseen from the inside.

      • Martin

        MM

        Does that make them less noble?

        • Merchantman

          Woodpeckers are by and large decent folk: they fly down, they announce their intention and hammer away in a workmanlike way. Termites on the hand creep in stealthily from underground and eat the heart out of the fabric giving no notice until suddenly the whole edifice collapses without warning, causing harm, injury or death.
          No contest, the woodpeckers are worthy nobles, unlike the other shower.

          • Martin

            MM

            Termites follow their God given nature, as do woodpeckers.

  • carl jacobs

    And so the illusions vanish. “Mutual flourishing” was always a mirage because the progressives always saw it as a means to an end – the end being the establishment of a coherent progressive church. It was never about coexistence because progressives have no intention of coexisting with that which they consider evil.

    This will precipitate trauma and pain for many but it is good that it happened and it is especially good that it happened this way. It is better to face reality than to hide from it behind a veil of imaginary hopes that can never come true.

    • Anton

      You want the fight NOW. I want it when the evangelicals have prepared their ground. We both know that faith guarantees victory. The question is: What does victory mean, in terms of the Established church and its structures?

      • carl jacobs

        Technically I wanted the fight ten years ago – ever since Rowan Williams submarined the Primates over TEC at the Primates meeting in 2007. RW did that to protect the CoE because he knew his own church would never follow in disciplining TEC for its revisionism. The direction of travel for the CoE has been obvious for years.

        Conservatives need to 1) stop giving money and 2) set up an alternative Anglican church. They have needed to do this for a very long time. Now they know they need to do it. It’s hard to overlook the body of “mutual flourishing” as it lays on the floor with an axe in its head.

        • Anton

          To some extent you and I are both spectators, as you are outside England and I am nonconformist. Let us pray and hope that the party of Bible-based faith wins. My question remains, in all seriousness, what victory would mean, in terms of the buildings, income and Establishment of the Church of England. If the evangelicals deprive the liberals of those things then it is certainly victory by the criteria of this world; but by the criteria of the kingdom? That is not so easy a question. This is no time to open another debate with the CoE’s evangelicals, but they should be aware that God’s ways are not always man’s.

          • carl jacobs

            I may be a spectator but I see clearly. These things must needs be. Establishment will be a casusalty, no doubt. But this should not be viewed through those temporal eyes. Rather the view should be “Come out from among them.” That is the proper metaphor. And stop giving money to the priests of Baal.

          • John

            There is no virtue or advantage in hanging on to Establishment. An argument can be made for it when you have a pastoral church in a Christian nation. It is an anomalous nonsense for a missional church in a post-Christian state.

          • alternative_perspective

            My heart says that also but I also wonder if it isn’t this hangover which provides the whole of Britain with a level of spiritual protection it would otherwise lose with dis-establishment.

          • Anton

            I agree but this is not the time for that debate. Let us simply back our brothers in faith inside the CoE against the liberal apostates, and see what emerges.

          • Martin

            Anton

            The problem is that there has rarely been a basis of biblically based faith in the CoE. And now there are insufficient believers to pull it back from the brink. I recommend those that remain jump and allow those fine old buildings, that are not fit for Christian worship, to become carpet showrooms and cafes.

  • Anton

    Your Grace, how can a compromise over same-sex blessing ever be possible in the light of scripture?

  • Anna

    ‘”There is a problem, then, for any church that wants to talk about ‘two integrities’ co-existing within its life – especially when they are opposed to one another,” he attests’

    How true – so the older one must be discarded. Those pushing for so-called reform rarely make this clear until they get their way.

    “In light of Philip North’s sad fate, there can now be no credible synodical guiding principles for mutual flourishing which will inspire confidence in those who oppose any move toward a liturgy of same-sex blessing.”

    Perhaps something good will come out of all this. As for Philip North, he should take courage from the fact that the same people who opposed his ordination, would have considered St Paul bigoted, sexist and misogynist; and totally unworthy to hold any leadership position over their dwindling congregations.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Superb!

      • Anna

        Thank you.

  • vsscoles

    The silence from Cranmer’s successor – who presided over the “deal” which included the Five Principles – is deafening. Can we ever trust anything he says in the future?

    • Anton

      Good point. How will Welby react, in public at least?

      • carl jacobs

        At the moment he is probably trying to pretty up the corpse of good disagreement.

        “It’s just stunned. It’s pining for the fiords.”

    • 1649again

      We already no the answer. The clerical equivalent of a chocolate teapot.

  • ChaucerChronicle

    Your Grace

    Brilliant!

    Absolutely briliant!

    Bravo!

  • It seems the supporters of SSM spend more time reading Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals than the Holy Bible. As advised by Alinsky, they kept up the pressure and they attacked the individual. The traditional C of E, bumbling along her via media, didn’t stand a chance.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Good show, Johnny.

    • 1649again

      I was about to make the exact same point until I read your post with which I agree absolutely.

      It’s classic Alinsky tactics, play the man and not the argument, only dressed up in modern CoE academic pontification. The conservatives need to grow a pair and stand up to this stuff because for the ‘progressives’ it’s not about theology or getting closer to the message of Christ at all – they ain’t interested – for them it’s about power, the long march through the institutions, of which the CoE is merely one for them, to cut off and dig up the roots of western Christian civilisation. People like Percy are either true believers or Lenin’s useful fools. SSM is just the next goal after infecting the CoE with a dose of radical feminism. Next will be deism via a brief phase of Arianism in its modern form.

      Conservatives, whether evangelical or Anglo-catholic need to understand that it’s a fight for power, in which they are engaged and that running away when targeted is just what the liberals want them to do. The latter need to be thrown out – perhaps by examining their willingness to uphold the 39 Articles and whether their expressed opinions are at variance with them. If not we’ll have to start hoping and praying that they will start having lots of unfortunately accidents in the way that the Clinton’s associates do.

      • @ 1649again—Yes, Christianity in the West is under attack, from without by Islamization and from within by Marxists.

        A member of the Church Army was filmed as part of a television documentary some years back. She was in her uniform, visiting a council estate in the North East (I think it was), stopping to chat and doing whatever she could to help. To my mind, she embodied the very best of the Church of England. Her comment when asked about the prospect of women becoming bishops: ‘To get the church they want they’re destroying the church I love.’

      • Martin

        Christians need to remember it is a war, the battles are there to be fought, not merely to come to a common agreement.

  • Anton

    He’s borrowing the title of a moderately funny book and adapting it in view of Jesus’ miracle of multiplication of fishes and loaves to feed a crowd.

  • Mrs S wilson

    I am not an anglo-catholic, but I am heart sorry for Philip North and the treatment he has had to endure. Once again we see that the “progressive” agenda has no time for any dissenters from it. And in the light of the response from LGBTs to the Bishops’ report, we can be sure no less opprobrium would be poured on any conservative nomination to a bishopric also. Sad days indeed for the C of E. It will indeed be interesting to see what, if any, response there will be from Canterbury.

    • Dominic Stockford

      “You too can be included, as long as you agree with what we say…”

  • Jill

    It’s not even as if WATCH (Women and the Church) ever made any secret of their ambitions to ‘include’ openly gay ordination. They threw in their lot with ‘Inclusive Church’ years ago, and their proud boast was that they only lost two members over the decision. The Anglo Catholic version of Inclusive Church, Affirming Catholicism, (founded by Rowan Williams among others) ran the two issues alongside each other on their website until it dawned on them that the gay pressure groups were causing a fuss in conservative circles, when they prudently withdrew any reference to gay ordination and concentrated on women’s ordination (softly, softly catchee monkey). Now that they have had their way over that, they have become emboldened to include among their values ‘Models of love, friendship and community for all seeking to follow the gospel, irrespective of ethnicity, gender, disability or sexual orientation’.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Then WATCH will, eventually, be undermined by men through the instrument of transgendered males.

      • Jill

        Oh yes, the progressive left always eats itself in the end.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          Profound insight: witness the 12,000 signature petition to exclude Germaine Greer from International Women’s Day.

          The children of the ‘progressives to nowhere’ are eating their parents.

          Beautiful.

          • Anton

            O she deserves it for going easy on ‘tribal’ FGM.

    • Arden Forester

      I can’t see how “models of love” can be seen as being on an equal footing with Holy Matrimony. Put like that it makes no sense. How can one follow the Gospel and have a model of love? Is wife-swapping a model of love? How far does a model of love have to go before it creates wincing and “oh no, that’s too much”?

      • 1649again

        It’s a clerical euphemism for what people down the pub call bum-banditry or rug-munching.

        They practise to deceive and thereby do the bidding of the Father of Lies.

  • carl jacobs

    We should drop all this “bullying” nonsense. Progressives were working to build a progressive church. This really wasn’t personal. And conservatives would do exactly the same thing. Aren’t we looking to establish theological boundaries? We suddenly sound just like liberals when they mewl about women and homosexuals being excluded. It’s not about feelings. It’s about truth.

    This isn’t “bullying” when it happens to conservatives but “good theology” when it happens to liberals. There is only one set of consistent rules.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      ‘This really wasn’t personal.’

      Incorrect analysis.

      For them, my dear brother, the personal is the political.

      • carl jacobs

        When we say “Homosexuality is perversion” are we bullying homosexuals? Because that is exactly what liberals will say. In fact, if you go read the comments over at Thinking Anglicans you will see people saying “Well, now they know how women felt when they were excluded from ministry.”

        This is an incredibly self-serving argument. We can’t do what we criticize.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          If it is ‘incredible’ then it cannot be credible.

          Shut it.

          • carl jacobs

            The intellectual force of your argument is overwhelming.

            And who the hell are you to tell anyone to “shut it.”

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Shut it.

          • carl jacobs

            You are twelve, aren’t you. I had doubts before now.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Ad hominem.

            Grow up.

          • Maalaistollo

            Dear CC

            Is this your version of the soft answer that turneth away wrath, or should I simply ‘Shut it’?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Shut it.

          • Maalaistollo

            Before I ‘shut it’ may I ask whether you have considered that there may be other, more elegant rhetorical devices at your disposal?

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Yes, of course old chap. The correct calibre is required for the correct range.

          • alternative_perspective

            I do not get the violence of this debate here. This is why people like Sarky have excuses for dismissing Christianity.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Sarky’s god is himself. He is about to receive his boring self: Sarky deserves Sarky.

          • Sarky

            Yep, i deserve the best.

          • Royinsouthwest

            That is not what ChaucerChronicle said.

          • 1649again

            The odd thing Sarky is that when you’re not try to be clever or sarcastic you can make some profound points with which I find myself agreeing much of the time.

          • Sarky

            Sorry, its my hangover talking. I have a low idiot threshold.

          • Sarky

            Exactly, why would i want to be part of something that is destroying itself in front of my eyes.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            The ‘itself’ is not Jesus.

            It may be that He’ll ask you: ‘Then why didn’t you look to me?’

          • Sarky

            And I’ll say “because your church on earth is a bloody joke”

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Another one who cannot accept personal responsibility.

          • carl jacobs

            Actually you will say “Mountain, fall on me. Earth, cover me up.”

          • Sarky

            Would never of entered my mind.

          • carl jacobs

            No. Surprises usually don’t.

          • carl jacobs

            There are two churches inside the CoE. They have completely incompatible views of God, of man, of sin and of salvation. One church is working to displace the other. That church pretty much agrees with you on all things temporal. It’s also going to win the fight. So in the not too distant future the CoE will be a very hospitable place for you.

            And you still won’t go. Because it’s not about the fight. It’s about the unbelief.

          • dannybhoy

            Excellent Carl.

          • Sarky

            Seems like I’d be in good company then!!

          • Jack holds the “bible believing” Calvinists and Puritans responsible. The Church of England was intended to be Anglo-Catholic and Apostolic with an ordained priesthood. Whether this was ever compatible with the Five Solas is doubtful.

          • carl jacobs

            There you go trying to prove you have a sense of humor again.

          • 1649again

            With the usual result…

          • Address the points, Carl. But, of course, you can’t. The “bible believing” Christians have no more authority than the modernists to interpret scripture definitively according to their own predispositions. They worship scripture – not its author.

          • carl jacobs

            But, of course, you can’t.

            C’mon Jack. You know me better than that. This isn’t the thread for a RC/Protestant spat.

          • There’s an existing Anglo-Catholic v Calvinist/Puritan divide in the Church of England. It’s always been there.

          • carl jacobs

            Yes there is. At this very moment, so what?

          • It’s why the Church of England has always been theologically unstable, that’s what.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Also the fact that it was founded by a promiscuous serial murderer was not a good beginning.

          • True – aided and abetted by those in Church positions afraid of him and too cowardly to serve Christ.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Yes …it happens…as quite recently in V2 and and 2011

          • Martin

            Jack needs to remember that they were ejected from the CoE.

            It was the division between those who wanted a priesthood and those who wanted Christ.

          • Not so.

            The Catholic Church of England separated from the Roman Catholic Church during the sixteenth century. However, although a Protestant Reformation was taking place on the Continent the English Reformation was fundamentally different in nature and intention. Primarily the reasons for its formation were political. King Henry VIII, whilst wanting to be independent of Rome, was not a Protestant in intention, although his reasons for separation were not especially honourable.

            Of course there are Anglicans who have wanted to be Protestant (in the way that continental reformers meant), just as there are Anglicans who want complete union with Rome. However, the Church of England was not formed in the same way as the Continental Protestant Churches. The Continental Reformation was primarily German, under the leadership of Martin Luther; French, under John Calvin and Swiss, under Ulrich Zwingli. The Continental Reformers accepted the principle called Sola Scriptura, that is, Scripture alone as the basis for faith and practice. However, the English Reformers appealed to Scripture as interpreted by the ancient Church, especially through the Seven Ecumenical Councils of the Undivided Church. The Continental Reformers also almost unanimously rejected or dropped the principle of apostolic succession. That is, bishops, by virtue of their consecration, being successors of the apostles, tracing a straight link back to them through history. But the English Reformation retained apostolic succession.

            Since the Continental Reformers rejected the apostolic succession of bishops and indeed developed a different understanding of the priesthood, they lost a ‘valid’ ordained priesthood. But at the English Reformation, the Church of England deliberately retained the title ‘priest’, because it contained a real truth and intention. Christ is the perfect priest. The Church is His body. The organ of a priestly body cannot be less than priestly.

            The Church of England maintained its apostolic ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. Its form of worship, though translated into English and somewhat reformed, nonetheless stood in continuity with the Church’s historical worship. The goal of the English Reformation was to reform the practice of the Church and return to the ancient and Catholic faith of the Undivided Church

            http://www.anglicancatholic.org.uk/about-the-anglican-catholic-church/

          • Martin

            HJ

            The English Reformation didn’t start until after Henry’s death. What Henry did was challenge the claim of the pope to authority over nations. The Reformation was about returning to the Christian faith and abandoning the priestcraft.

            I was referring to the Great Ejection of godly ministers from the CoE in 1662 which deprived the church of sound ministry.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Henry V111 is in the same boat as Hitler and Stalin. Two did not invent Churches.

          • It is rumoured Henry VIII repented on his death bed. There’s always time to receive God’s mercy.

          • Cressida de Nova

            It is rumoured that Oscar Wild repented and made a joke about
            unattractive wall paper too.

          • Dominic Stockford

            Only two?

          • 1649again

            Perhaps because for some of us this is an existential struggle against evil. I don’t understand how someone cannot be passionate about it.

          • Sarky

            Think there’s another village missing someone.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            You.

          • Sarky

            And the award for comeback of the year goes to………….not you!

          • Martin

            Sarky

            The fool says in his heart, There is no God.
            They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds,
            there is none who does good.
            (Psalms 14:1 [ESV])

            As I said, you.

          • Sarky

            Yawn

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Please leave if we are boring you. We won’t miss you.

          • Sarky

            No Martin, its just you boring me as usual.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            Perhaps if you were to come up with something other than the tedious abuse you’d be worth listening to. as it is I doubt you can produce anything except knee jerks.

          • Sarky

            My knees aren’t the only jerks round here.

          • Martin

            Sarky

            As you amply demonstrate.

          • carl jacobs

            I’d miss him.

          • Martin

            Carl

            There are plenty like him on Twitter, empty vessels making noise.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Idiota.

          • Sarky

            Pretentious.

  • alternative_perspective

    Ok, I am an Anglican in its most traditional mould – the via media embodied.
    I adhere to a somewhat Catholic, sacramental theology and the absolute conviction of justification by faith. I am orthodox in most ways and confirm to the RC church’s teachings on family planning.
    I rejoice in tub thumping modern worship blasted out with all one’s heart and in quiet meditation over the Eucharist.
    I am Catholic and Evangelical and I feel spiritually homeless. I am hurt by Conservative Evangelicals’ condemnation and bigotry towards Catholicism, I am dismayed by Catholicism’s sense of superiority and entitlement and I feel alienated and disconnected by liberal churches’ reductionist and vacuous, hug-a -hoodie based faith.
    I have spent much time in Pentecostal churches; RC Catholic churches; Open Evangelical churches and Conservative Evangelical churches: I do no not condemn different approaches to orthodoxy. How can I say that either a Conservative Evangelical with a fierce passion for Christ or a Catholic radically devoted to his or her Lord are wrong? Do they not share in one baptism? Do they not both labour for God? Do they not confess the resurrected Christ and declare His Lordship? Do they both not long to bring others to the Lord? Do they not both persevere in the faith trusting in God’s salvation? They do – the both of them.
    So where is the Orthodox Anglican Church of the United Kingdom – a home for Evangelicals and Catholics alike? We have more in common than that which divides us. We do not need to agree on all aspects of theology just the orthodox tenets of the faith.
    So please – someone out there, would you show the courage of your convictions and get this thing started. I will join you.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      You my brother, are likley to sit with Prof. CS Lewis upstairs.

      I am sure you’ll both have a ‘bloody good laugh’ when all this rotten business is over and done with.

    • dannybhoy

      ” How can I say that either a Conservative Evangelical with a fierce passion for Christ or a Catholic radically devoted to his or her Lord are wrong? Do they not share in one baptism? Do they not both labour for God? Do they not confess the resurrected Christ and declare His Lordship? Do they both not long to bring others to the Lord? Do they not both persevere in the faith trusting in God’s salvation? They do – the both of them.
      So where is the Orthodox Anglican Church of the United Kingdom – a home for Evangelicals and Catholics alike? We have more in common than that which divides us. We do not need to agree on all aspects of theology just the orthodox tenets of the faith.”

      Unity.
      The Christian concept of Unity rests upon…
      Relationship, rather than theological/doctrinal posturing.
      Relationship to the only Creator God, who has revealed Himself through the Jewish Scriptures and then through His Son, in the New Testament gospel accounts and the epistles.
      No one has all the truth. I think the Scriptures support both Calvinism and Arminianism, and I don’t care which you follow, as long as you worship God and rely on our Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour.

    • Gareth Parry

      It is already here: the Anglican Catholic Church (Diocese of the United Kingdom) please see its website. I recently came out of the Church in Wales after a lifetime in it. I am a Catholic evangelical. The Diocese of the Uk is quite high Catholic but in other dioceses around the world it is more central. We base our worship on the 1928 American Prayer Book and the Authorised Version of the Bible. I was recently commissioned to be a mission priest in North Wales where I live. So, please do join us and make yourself known.
      Revd. J.Gareth Parry

      • alternative_perspective

        Wow – I didn’t know you existed.
        Unfortunately you don’t have any missions in Scotland, where I’m presently residing, nor in Yorkshire to where I’d like to return. Perhaps more will follow.

        • The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was established in 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI to allow Anglicans to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church whilst retaining much of their heritage and traditions. It now has the full support and blessing of Pope Francis.

          We exist to promote the unity of all Christians with the Apostolic See, and faithfully to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ through the rich treasures of our traditions. You are welcome – come and find out more.

          http://www.ordinariate.org.uk/

          • vsscoles

            The Ordinariate is composed of people who spent a lifetime pretending to be Catholics, who are now pretending to be Anglicans.

          • 1649again

            LOL. Otherwise known as a bait-and-swtich.

          • And you? What are you pretending to be?

          • Terry Mushroom

            Not so. As a cradle Roman Catholic, I welcome the Ordinariate. Its Missal is as orthodox as any Latin rite parish celebrating the Ordinary or Extraordinary Form. Any Roman Catholic can meet their Sunday obligation in the Ordinariate’s parishes and communities.

            Theirs is not an Anglican liturgy separate and distinct from the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. This is not an Anglican Use Rite. It does not reflect Anglican Eucharistic theology. It is not a Protestant service dressed up as a Catholic Mass. It is the Catholic Mass of the Western Rite, filtered through the Anglican experience, corrected and expressed in an Anglican voice.

          • Little Black Censored

            I am his Highness’ dog at Kew;
            Pray tell me Sir, whose dog are you?

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Oh beware Pope Francis, all is not what it seems there…

          • Who knows? There have been dodgy Popes before. Thankfully, the Catholic Church accepts she has indefectibility and infallibility in her teachings which means the harm of those seeking to introduce novelty and breaks with the past is curtailed.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Except that it hasn’t & Rome is entirely divorced from the Church of the New Testament.

          • Terry Mushroom

            As HJ says, there have been dodgy Popes before. My wife and I are celebrating Easter in Peniscola, the home of the now largely forgotten schismatic Avignon Pope, Benedict XIII.

            I agree with Belloc that “no mere human institution run with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.”

          • Little Black Censored

            Yes, out of the frying-pan.

        • Gareth Parry

          Yes, if you look up the website ‘Anglican Catholic Church’ under parishes, missions and housegroups, there is a housegroup in County Durham (St Cuthbert) and one which is just starting in North Yorkshire (Oxford Movement). Do have a look and make contact.

    • Dr Gavin Ashenden

      We are working on it. I endorse and identify with all of the above.

    • David

      Dear friend.
      Fear NOT !
      I am a conservative evangelical Anglican Lay Minister. I have always found much in common with the genuinely conservative Anglo-Catholic branch of our national Church. Our shared problem is rampant Liberalism which arrogantly assumes that it can advance over us and our beliefs endlessly. My sense is that this cruel campaign against + Phillip North has lanced the boil, exposing the shallow, perfidy lying within the feeble attempt of the two primates to hold together the incompatible. I welcome the truth that is being now revealed. The true Church of God will never be defeated. Change is coming, in which we can both share. But the route to it may be bumpy so buckle up, pray and walk by faith and simple trust in God. The Holy Spirit is leading us.

    • 1649again

      It’s in us a-p. We carry it with us. The question is – will we fight for it?

  • Arden Forester

    Using the word abstain muddies the waters. Those of us maintaining the Catholic Faith as we understand Ecclesia Anglicana to have received it do not abstain but promote. Female ordination, a fundamental change to Holy Matrimony and describing the Eucharist as no more than a fellowship meal are not things we abstain from. The Rock is solid but a house built on sand? Surely that can never last. The World is demanding that the CofE alters doctrine to suit the modern age but do many of those in the World bother when it happens? The change is parochial as opposed to universal. St Vincent didn’t suggest we all do what we want, when we want but to follow “Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est” (That Faith which has been believed everywhere, always, by all). That there are some who wish to take an alternative path is regrettable but it is not cause for hostility. We must try to work with integrity.

    With regard to Holy Matrimony. Not even the ultra-liberal PECUSA and Canadian church could bring themselves just to swap words. A new “liturgy” was concocted. The truth is Holy Matrimony is one thing. Blessing a same-sex union is completely different. It requires abandoning Scripture and Tradition and reasoning in favour of something based on love and acclamation. All people, regardless of their condition, are expected to be loved. It is not the same as liking, either the action or the words.

  • Paul Greenwood

    I see how the Moscow Trials functioned and how people like Karl Radek were complicit in their own demise. The tortuous formulations in the Church are paralleled in the secular religion of Communist ideological gyrations and the compromising of values until it is no longer clear what anyone believed in other than whatever whim the persecutor in chief was projecting at the time.

    There is a famous German play – Biederman und die Brandstifter – sometimes translated as The Firebugs – it is a classic case of the Bourgeois negotiating with Arsonists who have ensconced themselves in his attic convinced kindness and reason will save the day……until they burn down the house.

    There is also a film – Funny Games – by Michael Haneke, originally in German but re-made in American – it too illustrates the illusion that is preventing people facing up to reality in The Church and in Western Society in general…..

    http://preview.tinyurl.com/zf9a37h

  • wisestreligion

    Liberals have been used to getting their own way, in the church and in Western culture generally, for the last couple of generations. They just keep bashing away with fervent self-righteousness – Progressiveness, not Christianity, is their real Religion. Recent experience shows them they always win. They know they are on the right side of history after all. History, however, has a habit of mocking those who predict its path over-confidently and I suspect the slide towards liberal incontinence will prove to be a short term trend in history.

    So far our leaders in the C of E appear to be managing retreat rather than advancing against ungodliness. May God raise up the leaders He needs to advance His Kingdom in England. What a wonderful example to us is Poland, once Marxist, now officially enthroning Christ.

    • alternative_perspective

      It was always the faith which stood against communism in Poland.
      One of the greatest acts of defiance was the public celebration of the Eucharist by hundreds of thousands at the Gdansk ship yards.
      Poland has a habit of defending Europe in the face of encroaching evil most often to its own detriment.

    • David

      Absolutely !
      The push-back has started – politically with Brexit and soon, I sense, in England’s ancient Church.
      Once more unto the breach dear friends !

  • John

    Does schism mean I no longer feel a moral obligation to pay hand over fist in parish share to prop up failing churches with no leadership and no future? If so, when can we start?

    • ChaucerChronicle

      There is a man called 1642again. He may write once more.

      • Anton

        He just aged 7 years.

        • ChaucerChronicle

          So have I.

          Fury.

          • betteroffoutofit

            That’s an awful lot of aging! I hope your day improved, and that you have a better year to come.

          • ChaucerChronicle

            Sir

            I have just calmed down.

            It is so unfair: North was legitimately appointed; the Doctrine of Mutual Flourishing was assented to by all parties – then tested and immediately collapsed.

            What are we to do?

            Even His Grace mentioned the ‘S’ word.

          • betteroffoutofit

            Not very sound times, indeed. I think he may have been wise to leave the stage, though — they’d have stalked him to the end.

        • I’m from Barcelona

          Significantly, to a year the HoL was abolished.

    • David

      Very soon one hopes !
      Let the liberals, whose churches are emptying in front of our very eyes, pay for their chosen heresies. I want my money to pay for preaching the gospel and baptising in the name of Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

  • Anton

    Would you be offended if I upticked that?

  • Royinsouthwest

    When did Martyn Percy become Pope? I am sure that most Christians in Britain haven’t a clue who he is. Are they any the worse off for that?

  • Martin

    Honesty has come to the CoE. No longer will there be a pretence that “we can all get along together” for it has been made plain that those opposing God’s Word will no longer allow Christians to rule the church, they must henceforth rule in the name of their master.

    Welby and Sentamu have simply lost control, which is probably all for the good, not necessarily for the CoE.

    • carl jacobs

      No reason for the “wimp” comment. You don’t know why he did what he did. It spoiled an otherwise insightful statement.

      • A Bishop is supposed to be a visible source of unity in the Church and not division. There’s a lot of bad mouthing of Percy but all he really did was point out the logical incompatibility of Bishops having responsibility for and authority over priests he did not recognise as valid and incapable of performing priestly functions.

        • carl jacobs

          That problem has existed for a long time. Percy didn’t bring it up at this moment because he suddenly became all concerned about ecclesiastical order. He had an ideological agenda and that was his lever.

          • The problem has existed since the beginning of the Church of England when it tried to balance continental Protestantism with a separation from the political influence of Rome whilst also wanting to retain a sacerdotal and Apostolic Church. Henry VIII had an agenda too.

          • Martin

            HJ

            It’s error was to regards religion as the business of the state.

        • Martin

          HJ

          Since the only ruling role in the local church is the elder/overseer and that role is clearly to guide rather than provide unity, you’re wrong.

        • Mike Stallard

          Imagine a Catholic Bishop in the Methodist Church! He wouldn’t last a week. That is the present position as I see it. I simply do not see how you can pretend to believe in the Catholic side of things and still be in the CoE. Especially as a Bishop or a Priest.

          • Agreed – it’s tantamount to fancy dress.

          • Martin

            HJ

            Isn’t that what it is anyway?

          • Cressida de Nova

            A very thied rate play !

      • Martin

        Carl

        I’m afraid backing down in the face of the opposition is a good justification.

  • len

    When did’ the Ekklesia’ become ‘the Church?’
    The Ekklesia is the congregation,’ the Church’ has become the institution.
    ‘The Church’ I suppose as an organisation was doomed to failure because it had the stamp of humanity on it.
    The Ekklesia cannot fail because it has Christ at its Head.
    The Church can fail, and has often done so through the centuries.
    But when the majority fail (as they have done so many times in the past) God will carry on fulfilling His Plans through the remnant.
    The Christian evangelist has never had as many tools at hand to promote the Gospel of Jesus Christ as at this present time.

    • David

      Absolutely !

  • Sarky

    Meatloaf?? Now that is one scary looking dude!!

  • donadrian

    How, if the opposition to Bp North’s enthronement in Sheffield is truly as great as has been made out, did the Vacancy in See Committee get it so wrong? There is a serious mis-match between what the careful soundings and discussions among those entrusted with making the appointment arrived at and what we are given to understand the diocese actually wants. Or is it in fact the case that the opposition to Bp North’s appointment does not represent the majority view in the diocese? This business brings the whole process (designed, as far as one can make out, largely to ensure the continued mediocrity of the Bench of Bishops) into serious question.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Mr Percy is not, as far as I am aware, anything to do with the Diocese of Sheffield, yet appears to have been a coat carrier* in this defenestration.

      *Saul, before he became Paul.

  • Don Benson

    No, Bishop Philip North was not “bullied” out of accepting his appointment as Bishop of Sheffield; he simply chose to be “bullied” by not facing up to a group of shrill women (and their male supporters) who thought the ranting of the mob was the correct way to proclaim their alleged distress. Bullying is an agreement between both parties as to the outcome; if the potentially bullied party refuses to play that game there can be no bullying. It may be tough but it’s true. So was Philip North wrong to back down?

    Two things strike me about this situation. Firstly, as we have now come to expect, our two Archbishops failed utterly to stand up in public for what was right. A bit of masculine leadership could have made all the difference; instead they left the man to hang out to dry – a complete abdication of leadership (neither radical nor inclusive, to coin a phrase). The subsequent hand wringing can hardly be much consolation to Philip North.

    Secondly, our church is facing a power grab from a vociferous unorthodox group which has steadily infiltrated the hierarchy over a considerable period of years. I am infuriated and disgusted that this has been allowed to happen. But my reaction avails nothing. Only a hard-headed and determined fight back will reverse this and it means that orthodox and faithful individuals within that hierarchy, and among the clergy more generally, must take stands which are personally stressful, sacrificial even. Only as that example is set will the current remorseless slide to apostasy start to be reversed; heads will arise from behind parapets and the whimpering of the faithful will grow to a roar as those who think they can grab our church from under our noses are repelled. The faithful must fight, and they must organise themselves. This is cleansing of the temple time.

    I don’t blame Philip North one bit for his decision, he could only have acted differently if he had received impregnable public support from the whole church hierarchy. He could only hang on for so long and that support never came. It tells us everything about where we are, how we are being led, and the immense battle we now face.

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Outstanding!

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      Bravo sir, I agree with every word!

    • David

      “It tells us everything about where we are, how we are being led, and the immense battle we now face”.
      I totally agree, Sir !
      We have been led badly since at least the start of the previous A of C time.
      Moreover we face an immense battle which I for one do not shirk from, being totally ready to give my full support to my two Biblically led parish vicars.

      • Dominic Stockford

        We do have to give thanks that there some faithful CofE ministers – Rev Alasdair Paine was a friend to me in Exeter when he was there and is one such. However, I forsee another great ejection coming the way of such men – the cause this time not liturgy, but Bible teaching.

        • Merchantman

          Absolutely.

  • Once the wolf has charmed its way into your house, it can take off its sheep’s wool jumper and make itself at home. What you gonna do? Politely ask it to leave??

    • ChaucerChronicle

      Defenestrate.

    • 1649again

      Expel it by blade and bullet, and fire for the corpse.

    • Sarky

      Except they’re more like wolves in wolves clothing!

      • Every time it is washed, the jumper shrinks a little.

  • David

    The shallow, theologically incoherent perfidy of the two primates attempts to hold together the incompatible has now been rent asunder. I welcome the new honesty that will flow from this.

    Across the whole of the west liberals have been indulged by weak leaders of politics, culture and the Church. Over the years their sense of entitlement and invincibility has grown. In the political sphere we saw the rage at the Brexit referendum result and the election of Trump. Here we see a similar mindset mounting a harmful campaign against +Phillip North.

    But I do believe that we have just lived through a turning point. Led by the Holy Spirit and instructed by Scripture, Tradition and Reason conservative Anglo-Catholics and the larger numbers of conservative Evangelicals will go forward, together. We walk by faith, not sight. The Church of Christ cannot be defeated. Liberalism is heading for a fall.

    • Dominic Stockford

      Is it not human reason, and a reliance on it, that has led to this state that the CofE finds itself in? The three legged stool of the CofE has always presaged such a disaster, and now it is clearly happening. Scripture alone, either that or accept that human ‘reason’ (sin) will lead all astray.

      • David

        That suggests you don’t understand the way that Hooker’s formula of Scripture, Tradition and Reason is meant to be used. His advice was that if there is any conflict between the conclusions reached using the three “legs”, Scripture is always uppermost. So really it is a Biblical approach, but reinforced by Tradition and Reason, unless either of those two conflict with the primary source of authority, Scripture.

        • Dominic Stockford

          Scripture should be the “sole rule of faith and practice”, not merely the final court of judgement on something.

    • Mike Stallard

      The Labour Party is just the same: split. That is why nobody in their senses is putting money on its winning the next election. Everyone loves a row: nobody loves a divided organisation and the more bitter the row, the less support it gets.

  • IanCad

    I most sincerely hope I’m wrong, but I hope this sorry chapter doesn’t result in a desperate mass swimming across the Tiber by those on the middle/conservative wing of the CofE.

    • It’s now patently clear there is no room for Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England. As is evident on this blog, they are as marginalised by “bible believing” fundamentalists as modernists.

      • 1649again

        To the left of us predatory liberal deists, to the right predatory revanchist RCs, knowing our opponents helps us know ourselves.

        • Terry Mushroom

          As a Roman Catholic, I take no pleasure in the suffering and soul searching all this business must be entailing. I am bewildered and saddened by it. Nor do I see it as some kind of opportunity.

          • 1649again

            I know and most RCs are the same and I respect them/you for that as it displays Christian love for brothers and sisters in Christ. But alas there are some who purport to follow your denomination on here who spend all their time bad mouthing Protestants and Anglicans, telling us we are in error, even call us heretics, and seek to offer no support, but merely to divide and sow defeatism among such as we.

          • Terry Mushroom

            This is sad. However, is HJ wrong in saying that there is no room for Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England? That was what you responded to.

            I didn’t read it as meant unkindly. Just as what he thinks is a statement of fact.

            The Roman Catholic Church is always debating within itself. It can be very unedifying at times. It’s also a teaching church. The Catholic Catechism which HJ is fond of quoting is one of its teaching tools, agree with what it says or not. For Roman Catholics, it’s a touchstone.

            I’ve met many fine Anglicans whose spirituality, lives and search for truth I find personally challenging. Their insights and scholarships are impressive. And yet, Anglo Catholics baffle me.

            i can work with some-one who upholds the 39 articles and believes in sola scriptura, even though I think they’re wrong. I don’t know where to start with some one who ignores the Articles and the Prayerbook.

          • 1649again

            HJ is wrong because he misunderstands the decentralised nature of the CoE and the fact traditions which seem to lack hierarchical influence can thrive at the grass roots level. I have huge respect for the CoE’s tradition which is why I am not in a free church, I love the BCP etc, but I also look to the primacy of Scripture over all. The CoE needs its Anglo-catholic and Evangelical wings to be in balance and to fly. What it doesn’t need is the liberal parasite feeding on it.

          • Terry Mushroom

            I share HJ’s lack of understanding.

          • 1649again

            It’s not my problem I’m afraid.

          • That’s what I’m Alright Jack might say.

          • 1649again

            It at least has the merit of not trying to exacerbate other peoples’ troubles. You should try it some time.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Nor mine.

          • Try understanding all this:

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anglo-Catholicism

            It’s an interesting overview.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I knew one CofE pastor who had a papal blessing proudly displayed on his hall wall. I was as confused as you as to what he was actually up to.

            I agree with your last paragraph.

          • You are in error – you’re a Puritan masquerading as Anglican.

          • Merchantman

            Spare us.

          • Mike Stallard

            Seconded.

        • You view Anglo-Catholics in the Church of England as “predatory revanchist RCs”? Then again, the history of your sect very clearly demonstrates the Puritan mind-set.

          • 1649again

            Hardly. My wife is Anglo-Catholic in leaning. I don’t even mean 95% of normal RCs, just RC propagandists such as you who spending all their time on here chipping away at fellow Christians.

          • Inspector General

            Surely you don’t mean Inquisition Jack?

            : – >

          • 1649again

            Goebbels Jack?

          • Inspector General

            One will pray for you, 1649…

          • 1649again

            And I for you IG. I suspect my effigy is being placed on the faggots as I write.

          • To who? The “archangel Jesus”? Or the “god” who created us for his amusement and doesn’t care about us?

          • Inspector Haw Haw’s latest broadcast.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Why do you think he fantasises about being a General. …because he is basically a coward..He is too scared to say he is not a Catholic and he is too scared to be one !

          • Anton

            His theology is arian though; he has said so here and keeps it from his parish priest.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Ignore him. He is a silly old attention seeking piss pot ! He is not serious about religion. He does not know anything about Catholicism.

          • You mean Catholics who take their faith seriously and challenge the myths and prejudices of those who attack the Church. Catholics who stay quiet are okay.

            [It would be a tad awkward attending a congregational church whilst your wife attended an Anglican Church?]

          • 1649again

            No, just Catholics who attack fellow Christians of other denominations. I am an Anglican by choice and am on here one of its most consistent defenders.

          • Cressida de Nova

            There is no excuse for Catholics to stay quiet , The anonymity of a blog prevents discrimination suffered by Catholics in the work place (still)

          • Liberallondoner

            I am intrigued by what sort of discrimination catholics suffer, you feel, in the workplace. Could you give us some examples of what you have seen.

    • Dominic Stockford

      It certainly won’t do anything to stop them. Sadly.

    • Inspector General

      Ian, dear fellow. Give it a few more months and the sentiment of “couldn’t possibly join THEM” will apply first and foremost to those considering membership of the Church of England. How on earth are the sincere traditional Anglicans in there now going to cope, and stay!

      • 1649again

        By finally realising we need to fight back and that this isn’t some nice theological college debate, but a battle for the very heart and soul of part of God’s church. Times may be tough, people will have to take knocks, abuse and fight back by temporal means. Who knows it may even lead to reawakening? The current leadership are soft and apologetic, but I pray that new tough leaders of action will emerge.

        • Inspector General

          Well, it’s a possibility, but wait. Germaine Greer is a loathsome woman who possess leadership qualities, but is now marked down as to be shot on sight. The mob is unpredictable these days. Will the same happen to any churchman who dares come out to lead…

          • 1649again

            That’s why they need courage. It may come from the laity rather than clergy.

          • Inspector General

            In that case, our very own. His Eminence, Archbishop Cranmer. To provide leadership during the civil war when there is none other to be found…

          • 1649again

            I do believe this website could become the rallying point for the True, Inspector, if His Grace is so minded.

          • Inspector General

            Good point. He has to be willing. But we all know he can deliver…

          • 1649again

            He is a great man in his way.

          • ‘If there is any hope, it lies with the Proles.’

          • 1649again

            Well we delivered Brexit and Trump s why not?

        • I’m from Barcelona

          Interesting parallels with our current government.

        • Merchantman

          I am hoping for some fairly forceful rebuttals of this lurch towards paganism.

    • Mike Stallard

      I swam. It was the second best thing I ever did in my whole life.
      (I have been married for a very long time and it is an enormous blessing.)

    • Martin

      Ian

      Are they not paddling in the middle already?

    • len

      Just jump into the Tiber , listen to’ the Sirens ‘singing so beautifully, float down straight through the Jaws.Never to be heard of again.
      Sounds so attractive..

  • Terry Mushroom

    Am intrigued by the kissing of the Bishop’s hand in the header photo. What does it signify?

    • chefofsinners

      Something akin to the kiss of Judas.

      • Cressida de Nova

        Only when your lot do it in your inferior attempt at theatre.

        • Anton

          You think Catholicism is theatre of a superior sort, then. Maybe so.

    • Anglican confusion?

      It is a symbolic sign of respect and fidelity to the Apostles, whom each bishop represents through episcopal succession.

      • Terry Mushroom

        Many years ago, as a young newspaper reporter, I covered Archbishop Michael Ramsey visiting Anglican Nashdom Abbey. The car door opened and the monks surged forward to kiss his hand. It was wonderfully medieval.

        The then Bishop of Northampton in whose diocese Nashdom lay was very fond of wearing the full monty. “The people love it,” he told my PP. He probably wasn’t wrong.

        • Kissing a Bishops ring is now actively discouraged in the West. It remains common practice in the East.

        • Mike Stallard

          Have you noticed how an awful lot of Catholic clergy now never are seen in a dog collar?

          • Terry Mushroom

            Depends where you are I think. Was fascinated last year twice to see young French clergy in a cassock and biretta. They didn’t look intense or as if vestment catalogues were light reading. Plus nuns in obvious nuns’ dress and veil.

            Ditto my new young PP. Laughs easily, wears his scary ecclesiastical and science qualifications lightly, clerical dress when abroad and cassock in church. Altar boys recently started to wear traditional cassock & cotta. The older boys are encouraged and, indeed, use missals. He invited my wife & I to pray the Angelus with him when he was round for coffee. Post Vat II yet very aware of the hermeneutic of continuity. Again not intense or “holy”.

            If this a typical example of the new breed, then I’m delighted.

          • Dominic Stockford

            He doesn’t sound like he is playing at it – sincere (even if I think he is sincerely wrong) which is good, and a nice change in major denominations today.

          • Terry Mushroom

            As you know, the Roman Catholic Church does not accept that it is a “denomination”.

          • Cressida de Nova

            The original Christian Church (RC) is the only true apostolical Church. All Protestant Churches are denominations. It is repugnant for a Catholic to witness this display of sham. It is tantamount to males dressed up as brides getting married. All third rate theatricals !

          • Dominic Stockford

            Another one of its failings.

          • len

            THE denomination.No false pride there.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Not THE denomination. Rather THE Church. Whether you accept that claim or not, pride is not the issue.

          • Anton

            All denominations say that, Rome and Eastern Orthodoxy included.

          • Mike Stallard

            We had a super Vatican II Sikh priest a few years ago in the backwoods where I live. He made a fantastic difference. I do very much hope that your man has the same kind of impact. I am sure that, God willing, he will!

          • Terry Mushroom

            Sikh?!

            Yes, he, along with Bishop Mark, are slowly, quietly stirring us up!

          • Mike Stallard

            (He joined the Scouts in East Africa and was converted!) I am so glad it is working for you at the moment – make the most of it!

    • David

      I believe it is something to do with the Bishop’s ring signifying the succession from Peter. I’ve seen the kissing thing practiced in the ME a lot, back when it was safe to frequent that region of the world. Being of the plain conservative Evangelical end of the spectrum it’s not a practice that appeals to me, but each to their own !

      • Terry Mushroom

        It doesn’t appeal to me much either and I’m Roman Catholic! It’s a sign that the Bishop is wedded to his diocese, the local church. If I want to be pedantic, I should say that I’m a Catholic of the Church of Plymouth, in union with the Church of Rome.

        • Mike Stallard

          One of the main differences I notice between the Catholic and CoE is the men of high standing. The CoE are all very dignified, rather distant and rather condescending. They are certainly the centres of attantion wherever they happen to be.
          Catholic ones – and I have met some – are much more thoughtful and, yes, unsure of themselves. They look concerned. When there is a gathering, the ones I have seen sort of disappear into the crowd.
          Maybe I haven’t met that many yet…

          • Terry Mushroom

            I’ve always been very fond of Chesterton’s Father Brown. The little man with the rolled umbrella and pudding face who looked so bland that people ignored him. Yet he solved crimes because he knew evil.

          • len

            Me too.Mark Williams plays the part well.

          • Dominic Stockford

            I knew many RC bishops in my time. You’re right.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I’m surprised that Jack hasn’t come along to say ‘you’re wrong’ – but of course you are right.

          • Terry Mushroom

            I’m unsure what prompts that comment. HJ has always been a model of courtesy to me in the few times we’ve had direct contact. But no matter.

  • Dominic Stockford

    Who will be foolish enough to accept the soiled seat of Sheffield, smothered as it is in the blood and tears of orthodox Christian faith?

    • Mike Stallard

      I can think of several people…

      • Dominic Stockford

        …which is sad.

  • Inspector General

    Somebody order Diet Anglicanism? No? Well that’s what’s solely on offer these days. Anglicanism Lite. New improved formula. 8 out 10 prefer it, as the advertisers will beg you to believe. It’s always 8 out of 10 isn’t it when it comes to ‘improvements’. Even with cats and their tinned food, bizarrely…

    One thinks it fair to say that the Progressive’s startling success has taken everyone by surprise. The Progressive’s included. Now, let’s scrape around for a suitable epitaph for traditionalism that Welby can utter to the astonished. Ah, here we are…

    “Brothers and sisters in Christ. We must now undergo a period of reconciliation and consolidation , blah, blah, and seek guidance, blah, Holy Spirit”

    Meaning…

    “Sisters and esteemed gay types, the men of Christianity flee’eth before you. Leaving a vacuum of sorts which you cannot fill immediately because you didn’t expect to get this far so soon. But the Humano-Christian future of the Church of England is now without doubt.”
    ——————–
    We must wait for the (soon to arrive on the scene) Anglican Female Bishops Conclave to meet and plan ahead and give Welby something to work with. Give the junta time, chaps, and you too Welby, impatient as you are as you await your orders. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither will the second reformation happen as swiftly. But happen it will…

  • Inspector General

    Historians of the future will thank the otherwise deserves to be forgotten also-ran Percy for Thursday 9th March 2017. Historians just love to nail down dates for momentous happenings. We don’t actually know right now what this momentous thing will pan out as. Not in clarity. But whatever it will become, Thursday 9th March 2017 was the date it started.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The Inspector wonders what the 9th March was the beginning of. The answer seems clear. It was the first day of the “Second Great Ejection”. It’s what the end will be that interests me.

    • Inspector General

      A very apt word you have there, Dominic, ‘Ejection’. To be the fate of any traditionalist who does not accept the new order and causes trouble. One is quite sure the ‘liberals’ will employ security guards if need be at services.

      • Mike Stallard

        You don’t have to. All you need is a suspension. I got that from Bishop Peter of Norwich when I stood out against women priests. (1989)

  • chefofsinners

    The harrying of the North is complete. The Church will now head South rapidly.

    “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” 2 Thess 2:7

  • Little Black Censored

    This is a Gareth Bennett moment. His Crockford preface deserves to be read every year during Lent.

  • Jill

    Good discussion with Gavin Ashenden. (His Grace gets a mention!)

    • David

      Yes a good discussion, as you said. Thank you for posting it.

    • len

      Good discussion, thanks for posting.

  • jsampson45

    A via media collapsing? But a via media has no integrity of its own. It depends on the entities it comes between. Today one of these is about same-sex unions etc. Tomorrow it might be interspecies unions or whatever is socially influential then.

    • Mike Stallard

      It went decades ago and nobody noticed.

  • Mike Stallard

    Nothing new here.
    In the olden days, there were Methodists within the CoE, Catholics in the CoE and even Atheists in the CoE – some of them Bishops, some of them clergy. Baptism was a problem. Confirmation was another. Marriage of divorcees was a problem too. And burial of folk who never came to church was a problem for some evangelicals as well.The place seethed with differences. Evangelical Bishops ordained Catholic Priests…(and vice versa).

    What is new is that the Parish Priest no longer is free to hold his/her own beliefs within their Parish. The Bishop is in charge and so what he/she thinks goes for the whole diocese. And if you do not like it, he/she can sack you as Priest in Charge. Gone is the Parson’s freehold.

    PS I am a very happy Catholic and we do not have these problems – but there is a lot of variation within the parishes.

  • Merchantman

    Someone should simply lock the ‘pagans’ out that’s what is needed. Not the other way round. The Anglican Catholic and Evangelical wings should go to Lambeth and state their view and demand a return to Orthodox Faith.

    • Dominic Stockford

      They need to shout ‘bigot’ first, or they won’t win.

  • chefofsinners

    “Those who attacked +Phillip North have made same-sex blessing compromise impossible.”

    In which case they deserve our undying gratitude.

  • len

    The Cof E needs to be re-branded. ‘ The Compromising Church of England.’
    Is there a path back to Rome for disgruntled Anglicans?.The Church of Rome compromised the faith centuries ago so this would be a retrograde step for a Christian to take.How could anyone who has experienced freedom go back into servitude?.
    Let us remember those martyrs who fought and died in the most cruel ways to carve a path for freedom and truth and not dishonour their sacrifice.
    John Wycliffe,John Huss,Jerome Savonarola, Desiderius Erasmus,Martin Luther,Ulrich Zwingli,Our Own Thomas Cranmer, William Tyndale,Patrick Hamilton,John Knox,William Hunter,John Calvin,John Foxe and many, many more.

    It is regrettable that Philip North didn’t have the courage to stand and fight for the truth but allowed himself to be intimidated by a mob who have little regard for the integrity or the truth of the Word of God and put their own ambitions above all else.

    • bluedog

      The problem is len, Philip North’s persecution would not have ended with his enthronement. That is not the liberal way. It is not outside the realms of possibility that the enlightened forces of anti-fascism would have invaded his cathedral and disrupted his ministry indefinitely, as only they are entitled to do.

      • len

        We will never know now.
        But look what all who have stood for the faith have endured.

  • Darter Noster

    “The hounding of Philip North from the Bishopric of Sheffield has put paid to all carefully-crafted yarns of mutual flourishing and rose-tinted via-media tolerance: mob rule has supplanted synodical governance; bullying and hounding have usurped reason, vocation and love.”

    Shocking! Who could possibly have predicted a few years back that the ordination and consecration of women would actually mean traditional Anglo-Catholics being gradually forced out of the Church of England….? *cough*Ordinariate*cough*

    • William Lewis

      Something caught in your throat?

  • len

    Early Christians suffered and died for the Faith. Many Christians in recent times have been martyred rather than deny their faith in Christ.Were these a different breed of Christians, super Christians,or were they just people like us?.

    ‘ And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson and Jephthah, about David and Samuel and the prophets, 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. 35 Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. 36 Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were put to death by stoning;[e] they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— 38 the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground.

    39 These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, 40 since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.(Hebrews 11)

    We have suffered little in the West and persecution should strengthen the church not cause it to go weak at the knees.
    Christians are in a war, against the devil, the world and the flesh.
    We must fight for what we believe!.

    • betteroffoutofit

      Yes – we must call on the courage of our convictions.

    • chefofsinners

      I was surprised to read that 35 women received back their dead.

      • len

        Probably more Chef?.

        • chefofsinners

          Two so far as we are aware, possibly three.

      • magnolia

        Not half as surprised as they were!

  • betteroffoutofit

    Thank you for this, Your Grace – you are so right: “To assail a flawed theology is one thing, but to attack a man for his deeply-held orthodox beliefs is not only ungracious, it is contemptible, wicked and fundamentally un-Christian.”

    It is awful to watch the tragedy of continued degeneration near my natal turf (only 14 miles from Sheffield) – and the continued growth of the Marxism so long established there: for Marxist it is, this strategy of attack on persons who differ from socialist dogma. However, the reality must be recognised, so thank you for publishing.

    Observing a lack of comment from Sheffield’s larger Diocesan neighbour, I searched and found a sympathetic Tweet from even the europhiliac, Meissen-Commission co-Chair who supervises that area. That much was good. One feared that euro-influence had been at work..

  • Damian

    Forgive me, but I am really angry about all this…because it was the women who, having won the debates, finished it all off by making sure Phili[p North’s face was in the mud. It is women in the larger society who are responsible for the destruction of the family, for the debasement of men and boys, and who are bringing into our culture all that is contrary to the good of the whole.

    • carl jacobs

      Umm … There might be some male culpability in there somewhere.

      Wait. Is this some kind of British irony?

      • chefofsinners

        No, no, Carl. Sin has nothing to do with men. You must understand that women give birth to men, so everything is their fault. Likewise the homosexualists. Everything is their fault too. And minorities. And Americans. Everyone except me, really. Rant rant.

        • Holger

          If you need a guilty party to blame for the decline of your churches, personally I’m quite happy for you to accuse the LGBT community.

          All victims of their own stupidity need a scapegoat to blame for their self-inflicted woes. It helps them deal with the pain off loss. If blaming us lets you retain a modicum of self-respect while you slink off to lick your wounds and agonise over your defeat, go right ahead.

          I mean, it’s not as if you can hate us any more than you already do, so we don’t lose anything by being your scapegoats.

          • chefofsinners

            Yes, the pain of floss is excruciating.

          • Holger

            Typo corrected. And so glad to have provided an excuse for yet another of your banal quips.

          • chefofsinners

            Your joy shines through, as ever.

    • Cressida de Nova

      You forgot to mention them being responsible for the refugee crisis, the rise of Islamic terrorism , the increase in the cost of housing and services plus bad weather conditions as well.

      • Cressida de Nova

        There is an excellent video clip made by Rev. Ashenden which explains how all this has happened. An no it is not because of the women …it is because The Anglican Church in its attempt to fit in with the modern day mores and make everyone happy voted to have women priests which was a vote against scripture.
        I urge you to watch it. Scroll down !

        • In Jack’s opinion, homosexualists are behind this. It’s also happening in the Catholic Church too.

          • Cressida de Nova

            This is scape goating again, Jack. Homosexuals and women… The whole essence of Catholicism is authenticity and integrity . In an attempt to make it ‘user friendly’for Protestants it has been seriously endangered. It should never have happened and the virulence of the Protestant infection has compromised the ethos and sanctity of the valid tenets of the Catholic faith and its traditions of worship. I was wondering why Pope Benedict retired.
            Of course it was ill health. I am surprised he is still with us after making a error in judgement like that. Who knows what pressures were put on this frail old man.

            Rev Ashden admits it in his statement. Protestants are liberal …their philosophy is a ‘user friendly’ one…feel good and keep everyone happy. Now he admits it was and is a mistake. He is a great spokesman for Catholicism ( unintentional of course:)
            A very brave man who has a lot of cabbages coming his way.
            Fear not…the Papal guard will defend you …only a quick paddle up the Tiber and you be will home and safe.

          • William Lewis

            Methinks the Rev Ashenden is more concerned with truth and scriptural integrity than protection from cabbages.

          • Dominic Stockford

            As for thinking Protestants to be liberal…

          • len

            ‘The whole essence of Catholicism is authenticity and integrity ‘

            To what though?.Certainly not scripture. OK, just like the C of E then.

          • Damian

            Doctor, Canon or Father please, not ‘Rev’ that is incorrect gramatically.

          • It’s not scapegoating, Cressie. There is considerable evidence that seminaries were infected by homosexual s in the 1960’s and that key positions were controlled by them. Same too with the Vatican and the Curia.

        • Dominic Stockford

          I think he misses the bus if he says it is about “women priests” – the CofE lost its way when it agreed to women lay-readers. From there, there was no return.

        • len

          Correct. A good message from Rev Ashenden.

      • You forget the Fall. Nothing to do with poor Adam. Many protestants seem to forget it was his sin that caused all human suffering. Women now have to be controlled and kept in their place.

        • len

          That’s rubbish.And you know it!.

          • chiaramonti

            I think Jack is being provocative and more than a little ironic.

          • len

            No change there then?.

          • Read the recent post by Anton and take note of who upvoted it.

    • 1649again

      You’re conflating modern feminism (3rd wave is the pathology) with women. It’s a terrible generalisation which undermines your point. Militant modern feminism is having destructive consequences, but so are many other modern marxist and capitalist based ideologies.

    • len

      This is a matter of authority.
      We have discussed this on the blog before.
      When men will not use their God given authority other will take it up and use it.
      The first man Adam should have taken authority and refused the Apple.But Eve had already eaten of the apple so Adam chose rebellion (out of his love for the woman ) rather than using his authority.

      Weak leaders in the church have not used their God given authority to defend scripture, so women have taken up that authority and used it to push forward their own agenda.

      So as in the original fall, both men and women are responsible for the situation the Church now finds itself in. Blaming each other will get us nowhere.

      The ONLY solution is to repent and to go back to a scriptural basis for the church.
      But will that happen?.

    • magnolia

      “Gynocological (sic) equipment to control men” Oh dear!

      Do you know how odd that sounds? “Amazon women” (sic). Where are they? I very rarely see heavily muscled tall women who can pick up little men by the scruff of the head and whirl them around their shoulders… Sounds like a potentially entertaining circus act….but not real life.

      And as an ironical aside just how would you caption that photo at the top? Maybe not in core traditional terms.

  • maigemu

    ‘Sacramental union’? Only two sacraments. Marriage is a covenant not sacrament.

  • 1649again
    • bluedog

      A raid on the CoE clergy is the quickest and easiest way for the Roman Church to replenish its dwindling European priesthood. They must be rubbing their hands in glee at the treatment of Philip North; another draft of high quality and well-educated young priests may shortly knock on their doors.

      • len

        Certainly .Is not just’ Holger’ who want to’ dance on the grave ‘of the Anglican church

        • Holger

          “Dance on the grave”?
          You overestimate my level of pleasure at witnessing the decline and fall of Christianity.

          Yes, I’m happy about it. But I can see no occasion for dancing. That would be disrespectul to the memory of the Church’s victims.

          Quiet satisfaction would be a better way to describe what I feel. With a measure of Schadenfreude perhaps. You people are finally getting your come uppance for all those centuries of abuse, discrimination and obscurantism. Who wouldn’t be pleased about that?

          • len

            The Church may be in decline, but Christianity is on the rise In China and other places.

          • Holger

            I don’t live in China so what happens there is of little concern to me. I live in France and here the Church isn’t so much in decline as in post-decline. In other words further decline is virtually impossible and you’re just bumping along the bottom waiting for what’s left of your membership to die off.

            The Chinese will deal with the growth of Christianity as they always deal with unwanted foreign incursions. It will be suppressed. If it continues to hang on underground, it will adapt to Chinese cultural norms like every philosophy has.

          • len

            Christianity has grown best under persecution.The West has that coming through liberals who have opened the door to Islam.
            It can be no accident that liberal France seem to be top of the hit list for radical Islam?.

          • James M

            Comfort is bad for Churches – persecution refines them like gold. It does not help when the Church allows itself to love being applauded by the world, and is guided by its applause. The atrocious state of the CC and the C of E may be blessings in disguise. An increasingly secular UK is not going to support either, and it will object to both, because the darkness objects to the light.

          • Perhaps for the very reason that Christianity is growing rapidly in France, not least amongst immigrant communities.

            http://www.churchplanting.com/church-planting-in-secular-france/#.WMUSlDqmme8

          • Holger

            A couple of attacks by religious freaks don’t have us cowering under the bed. Terrorism is what it is, but life goes on and, just like Britain in the 70s during the IRA bombing campaigns, it goes on here in France. We shrug our shoulders and get on with it. What else would you have us do?

            No Western country has ever been brought to its knees by a small group of terrorist extremists. Wounded certainly. But only superficially.

            I’m no more afraid of Islamist terrorists than you were of the IRA. Their campaign can only fail. Only 5-7% percent of our population is Muslim, so whatever they do, they can’t dominate us or impose their will on us. And only a small percentage of that 5-7% supports the actions of the terrorists, so we’re looking at a tiny group of madmen who can and will change nothing.

            “Yes, but they breed like rabbits” is the standard Christian response to that. Only no, they don’t. Birth rates in the immigrant community attain the national average by the second generation. It’s unlikely the Muslim population will grow much more and virtually impossible that it will ever reach 10%, let alone surpass it.

            And all the while, the same secular influences that have seen Christianity virtually disappear in France are operating in the Muslim community. Children from immigrant families are less and less likely to profess any religion, so Islam is under exactly the same pressure as Christianity and will cease to be a significant force in society soon enough.

            In the meantime, anyone breaking the law, be he Muslim, Christian or atheist, will be pursued regardless of his religious beliefs. That’s how secular justice works.

      • Terry Mushroom

        “Rubbing their hands with glee.” Not so for this Roman Catholic. And I’ve not seen or heard reports of any others doing this. More saddened about people’s pain, hurt and sense of loss. And the very practical worries about losing a home and income.

        What is happening may prompt some to realise that their home has always been with us. They’ll be welcomed but without any sense of triumph or punching the air. This is not a sales figures competition.

        Any prospective vocation must be discerned by a Bishop, aided by prudent advisors and the people of God. The Bishop will then, if appropriate, issue his call.

        • bluedog

          Talking of bishops, it would be interesting to know how many Anglican converts ever reach episcopal rank in the Roman Church. One suspects the answer may be none. The sight of a married bishop, or worse, a cardinal would be too much for the system. No, better to leave them at the parish level where the threat of ideological contamination can be more easily contained. Keep the top jobs for the cradle Catholics.

          • James M

            Convert clergy =////= married convert clergy. Cardinals Manning, Newman, and Heard were all former Protestants; two of them Anglicans. And that is since 1875, when Manning was created cardinal.

            The question pays too much attention to gaining rank in the Church. How can that possibly be important ? It gets Christian priorities back to front and topsy-turvy. it is far better to be pleasing to God and a child of God, than to be an archdeacon, bishop, primate, patriarch or Pope. Crowns and honours, diadems, tiaras, mitres and all earthly glories will pass away: the Blessedness of God and His Saints does not pass away.

          • bluedog

            ‘The question pays too much attention to gaining rank in the Church. How can that possibly be important ?’

            One of the reasons for the break from Rome was the influence of foreign prelates on the Church in England. As the Roman Church is hierarchical, it follows that its success is dependent on leadership that understands and is respected by the local congregation. The Church in Ireland would seem to have a problem in that regard.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Cardinal Manning, second Archbishop of Westminster, immediately springs to mind. When he died, a locket of his late wife’s picture was found round his neck. He was a man of great ability who had great influence on Catholic education and social teaching. A number of Westminster diocesan Catholic schools are named for him.

            He bought the site for Westminster Cathedral. He was known as the “dockers’ priest”, playing a pivotal part in settling the 1889 London dock strike.

            And, of course, the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman, who still has an incalculable influence in many spheres: schools and training colleges are named for him worldwide.

          • bluedog

            Thank you!. But that was then, this is now. In the 19th century Catholicism in England was just recovering from its long purdah and there would not have been a large body of English priests.

          • Terry Mushroom

            I’m a cradle Catholic. Frankly, I’d be astonished if any such would feel “ideologically contaminated” if a former Anglican became a Bishop or Cardinal.

            It’s long been the discipline of both western and eastern churches in union with Rome to have celibate bishops. I understand this is also the Orthodox discipline.

            I have no idea what prompts your comments.

          • bluedog

            ‘I have no idea what prompts your comments.’

            Perceptions of Roman aggression, exemplified by B16’s decision to make a hostile takeover of the CoE using the Ordinariate. This at time when the usual touchy-feely reconciliation talks were continuing inconclusively, as usual. At least Frank the First has manners and is trying charm.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Your perceptions are mistaken.

            And a hostile take-over of what exactly? Manning became a Catholic because the Privy Council ordered the Church of England to institute an Evangelical cleric who denied that sacramental baptism had an objective effect of baptismal regeneration.

            To Manning, this was clear heresy contradicting the Church’s tradition. That a civil and secular court had the power to force the Church of England to accept someone with such an unorthodox opinion proved to him that, far from being a divinely created institution, the Church of England was merely a man-made creation of the English Parliament.

            As I understand it, although different subjects, similar basic divisions are in the Church of England today. Roman Catholics do but sit on the side lines, puzzled and saddened at the hurt, bewilderment and suffering endured by Anglicans at the kind of events prompting Cranmer’s piece.

            Benedict was no corporate asset stripper. The Anglo-Catholic who wants to join us merely because he can no longer do “smells & bells” in his own parish doesn’t have a vocation to the Roman Catholic priesthood. Give me a Bible-thumping Evangelical any day because we have something solid to debate!

          • bluedog

            One observes situations from a point of view based on known facts and experience, one assesses the intent of the actors and one draws conclusions. Important in the process of assessment and subsequent judgement is the capacity to detach oneself from one’s own position and view the entire situation from the perspective of what one deems to be the other side. Playing the other man’s hand, as it were.

            So, consider the position of the RCC in England, a lost province. Catholic Emancipation in 1830 did not increase the numbers of RCs significantly outside the traditional strongholds of north-west Scotland and north-west England. Of course, within the British Isles, Ireland remains true, but only notionally, and NI is split. Time is on the side of the RC population there.

            Based on observed actions, the conclusion has to be that the Roman Church in the British Isles is an expansionary Christian faction that seeks to restore its historic supremacy. Hints pointing to this objective come from a multitude of sources, largely from within the RCC itself and from its members too. The weakness in the RCC expansion plan is the low quality and general shortage of its priesthood vis-a-vis the quality and numbers of the CoE priesthood. Importing priests from Kerala to make up the low-level of RC native vocations in England is not a convincing or a winning strategy. The obvious solution is to use every opportunity to encourage priestly defections from the Anglican church.

            In this regard, Rowan Williams was a particular gift to the RCC; one suspects they could hardly believe their luck. Anything but a muscular Christian, Williams epitomised the Christian Socialist view of Christianity and one can hardly understand what he was doing in the CoE. Mrs Proudie occasionally refers to the mythical parish of St Marx and all Engels. One can imagine ++ Rowan as the incumbent.

            Was it a complete coincidence that during Rowan’s reign the Ordinariate was devised and deployed? Or was it a hard-nosed calculation that here was a weak leader of an important Christian denomination whose weakness could be exploited to the benefit of the RCC? The headline in the RC owned and biased Daily Telegraph on the day the Ordinariate was announced said it all, ‘Pope parks his tanks on the Archbishop’s lawn’.

            This metaphor scarcely points to a friendly approach made on a collegiate basis. It reeks of aggressive intent, blitzkrieg and assumed collapse. None of which happened of course because the CoE is backed by the British state. For a micro-state, The Vatican, to try and acquire the human capital, intellectual property and fixed assets of an state-owned entity like the CoE is a joke, but destabilising nonetheless. However Damian Thompson’s headline is memorable and clearly well-informed. One trusts that the point Thompson made has not been forgotten, not least by the vicar’s daughter.

          • Terry Mushroom

            You shouldn’t always believe what you read in newspapers.

            I found Rowan Williams largely incomprehensible and regretted his weak leadership. It is immensely sad that the Church of England is so divided.

            The suggestion that Roman Catholics have plotted in the way you describe is just ridiculous. You must find much better evidence than Damien Thompson who only represents himself. I find his churchy, sacristy gossip boring and sometimes distasteful.

            We declared in the 19th century that we will not claim the pre-reformation buildings that our forefathers built. Lovely though they are, we don’t want the expense!

            Strictly speaking, I am a Catholic of the Church of Plymouth whose Bishop is in union with the Bishop of Rome. Our fixed assets are owned by the diocese and religious orders and congregations. We are a registered charity. Ditto for all the other English & Welsh dioceses who will have their own charity numbers and trustees. Other countries vest property according to local law.

            The Bishop of Rome lives in the Vatican State. No-one outside it owes it any allegiance.

        • James M

          Nor for this ‘RC’. The weakness of the C of E wounds the CC, and conversely. Any blessing to either, strengthens the other. That is why the fidelity of the Free Church of Scotland to the Gospel, and their refusal to avoid saying things it is uncomfortable to say, is so encouraging.

          • Terry Mushroom

            Agreed, although I know little of the Free Church, living by the English Channel.

  • James M

    The headline is mistaken. Hounding the bishop-elect out of his diocese leaves ample room for gay totalitarianism. Equality may once have been the goal – but no longer: the goal is the utter destruction of those heretics who do not whole-heartedly bow down to this anti-Gospel. Sodomy and feminism and suchlike trash are the new orthodoxy. The C of E has brought this woe on itself, by pandering to the pagan appetites of those who want the Church to be, in effect, an echo of the world. The crucial flaw – and ‘crucial’ is the word – with all attempts to bless and approve homosexuality is, that it is totally incompatible with the vocation to holiness. One cannot sanctify what is opposed to the Gospel. Making the Gospel purely this-worldly mutilates it.

    The C of E needs to make unmistakeably clear that certain behaviours – including some highly ‘respectable’ ones – cannot be reconciled with the Gospel. It could make a start by repenting of its part in assisting the adulterous pseudo-marriage of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales to his partner in sin. Gay totalitarianism may be a result of the C of E’s past betrayal of Christian doctrine and morals -the Divorce Act of 1857 may have led, very gradually, to the present dis-graceful pickle that the C of E finds itself in.

    Toleration of adultery, contraception, abortion, and sodomy is a false kindness that makes the same blunder as the CC made at Vatican 2 – one does not strengthen Christians by getting rid of inconvenient ‘taboos’; one softens them, and leaves them undefended against the assaults of the tempter. Thanks to John XXIII’s refusal to condemn errors, the Church he presided over is now awash with error, blasphemy, sacrilege, profanation, syncretism, Tashlanism, heresy, pan-religionism, scandals, and schisms. Why should the C of E fare any better, if she does not stop pandering to lustful and avaricious sinners, and continues to fail to preach the Gospel, including its ‘hard sayings’ ? Better a Church of a few dozen faithful Catholics or Anglicans, than a C of E or a CC brimful of baptised unbelievers.

    • scotrhodie

      While it is certainly the case that the Prince of Wales and Mrs Parker-Bowles had been partners in sin, their subsequent marriage was allowable even by the strictest of constructions. Prince Charles was at that point a widower and Mrs Parker-Bowles’ marriage had been both ecclesiastically annulled and civilly dissolved. The union may still have presented an ethical scandal, but there was no canonical or civil legal impediment.

  • Merchantman

    I can’t remember when a Bishop was previously warned off like this.