Justin Welby father
Marriage and Family

The revelation of Justin Welby's real father does not change nothing

 

“Justin Welby. What a bastard,” wrote a communicant of this blog, in a rapidly degenerating comment thread of the sort the Bishop of Buckingham insists ought to be censored: “..if you build a community on people who assume silly monnikers and sound off in a way they never would at work or at home, they reinforce the worst aspects of their characters, all you get is a seething mass of babyish sarcasm,” Alan Wilson wrote a few years ago, in a critique of this blog which was not entirely without reason. Should one leap to delete such crass attempts at humour – if only for the pain they might cause the Archbishop of Canterbury and his family – or permit them to stand in the hope and expectation of correction and rebuke from other communicants? The more mature among the fellowship did not disappoint.

Justin Welby has responded to the revelation that he is not the biological son of Gavin Welby with characteristic serenity, compassion and perspective:

This revelation has, of course, been a surprise, but in my life and in our marriage Caroline and I have had far worse. I know that I find who I am in Jesus Christ, not in genetics, and my identity in him never changes. Even more importantly my role as Archbishop makes me constantly aware of the real and genuine pain and suffering of many around the world, which should be the main focus of our prayers.

Although there are elements of sadness, and even tragedy in my father’s (Gavin Welby’s) case, this is a story of redemption and hope from a place of tumultuous difficulty and near despair in several lives. It is a testimony to the grace and power of Christ to liberate and redeem us, grace and power which is offered to every human being.

At the very outset of my inauguration service three years ago, Evangeline Kanagasooriam, a young member of the Canterbury Cathedral congregation, said: “We greet you in the name of Christ. Who are you, and why do you request entry?” To which I responded: “I am Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ, and I come as one seeking the grace of God to travel with you in His service together.” What has changed? Nothing!

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). Even in the confusion of paternal identity and the emotional-DNA morass of muddled feelings and conflicting thoughts, this Archbishop proclaims the joy of gospel and his absolute confidence in Jesus Christ.

But the revelation that Gavin Welby was not the biological father of the 105th Archbishop of Canterbury has not entirely changed nothing. To discover at the age of 60 that the father who nurtured you is not the father whose nature is within you is not immaterial. Certainly, the Archbishop is still Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ, but some in the media (and doubtless other detractors) will now constantly remind us that he is not actually Justin Welby, the impoverished son of a divorced drunkard and bullying whisky salesman from Ruislip, but is, in fact, the Eton-educated Justin Montague Browne; son of Sir Anthony Montague Browne; genetic Establishment and elite to the core; born to be great if not conceived in greatness.

The Archbishop has no intention of changing his name: fatherhood is more than DNA, and identity is more than a surname. For all his personal failings, afflictions and grim abuses, Gavin Welby was at least re-stocking the fridge with fish fingers while Anthony Montague Browne was feasting on Sole Champeaux with Sir Winston Churchill.

But the news that Justin Welby is not the biological son of Gavin means that he is not “The first ‘Jewish’ archbishop of Canterbury“. The secret genealogy which the Sunday Telegraph first pieced together has been superseded by a greater secret genealogy: the humble German-Jewish roots of immigrant Gavin Weiler, whose relations died in the Holocaust, have been supplanted by double-barrelled British aristocracy: Stowe, Magdalene, RAF, Churchill’s private secretary, OBE, CBE, KCMG.

Does it matter? Not for Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ: his commitment to peace, reconciliation, prayer, mission and fruitful Jewish-Anglican relations will continue exactly as before. God is his spiritual father: his born-again identity is firmly rooted in Christ. The providential design of his ordinary life continues in all its mundane interactions and irritations. But the revelation of his biological paternity undoubtedly changes conceptions of natural society and perceptions of sentiments of community. To have visited Yad Vashem as a Jew believing that he had relatives who perished in the Shoah has been revealed to have been a mistaken construction. He will now be coming to terms with a changing understanding not of who he is in Christ, but who he is in life. And so, of course, will his children, who have all suddenly acquired an unknowable grandfather.

“Who am I?” is never adequately answered by providing a name or genealogy. Identity is defined by moral and spiritual nurture as much as by biological nature. Questions of self-understanding and of what is good, worthwhile, admirable or of value are a product of nature-nurture fusion, and, for the Christian, these are seared, sealed and orientated by the Holy Spirit.”Who am I?” is the individual question which defines the whole of life and personal integrity. “Who am I in Christ?” is the universal question which answers everything.

The dignity and distinction of this Archbishop of Canterbury is not contingent on his background uncertainties: he has been woven by God in three dimensions, and his moral judgments, intuitions and reactions are born of nature and nurture. But DNA is not nothing: it is our very human structure; the nature of our being. It creates physical limitations and imposes psychological horizons. We can try to escape the boundaries of our foibles and personality disorders or pretend they don’t exist, but the parents who made us are ultimately integral to our personhood, and that bond is inescapable, no matter how distant or detached, denying or denied those parents may be.

  • bluedog

    A very fine post, Your Grace, displaying an imaginative compassion for this unusual discovery. It almost seems right to offer ++ Justin Welby deepest sympathy and sincere condolences for a situation beyond his control, which sees the extinction of one idea of his Self and inevitably, a sense of mourning. To have lived the better part of your life believing that you had relatives who died in the Holocaust, only to discover that you did not, would be an extraordinary shock. And of course, it’s all so public. One can only imagine how Justin Welby feels and offer prayers.

  • Albert

    One thing that will change, I suspect, is the kind of letter he receives. People who are struggling with these kinds of issues in their own backgrounds will find it all the easier to turn to him. Because of the dignity and serenity with which he has responded to the news, people who otherwise would not have thought to write to an Archbishop, and who may well not be Christians themselves, will surely turn to him for inspiration and to pour out their hearts to him. To borrow from Hebrews, he will be all the more able to sympathize with them.

  • John Waller

    Did he need to know? Did any of us? There is no conceivable public interest that I can discern & I feel sure that a more restrained age than ours would have allowed the whole thing to have remained shrouded in dignified silence where it belongs. There was a time when the Sunday Telegraph of all papers would have known better.

    • James Bolivar DiGriz

      Valid questions and personally I have a lot of feeling for the reticence that in the past kept personal matters personal.

      However I am certain that, as Albert has pointed out, the the God who in all things works for the good of those who love him, will use this to enrich ++Justin’s ministry.

    • Martin

      John

      Absolutely, and I’d not have thought any worse of Welby if he’d just responded with “non of your business”, for it is none of our business.

  • IanCad

    A sensitive post YG. As it should be; and noted by Preacher below.
    The AoC preaches of Christ and Him crucified.
    An Israelite indeed!

  • dannybhoy

    “Does it matter? Not for Justin, a servant of Jesus Christ: his commitment to peace, reconciliation, prayer, mission and fruitful Jewish-Anglican relations will continue exactly as before. God is his spiritual father: his born-again identity is firmly rooted in Christ. The providential design of his ordinary life continues in all its mundane interactions and irritations.”

    Amen and again I say “Amen.”
    I offer psalm 27 in support of Justin..:

    “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
    The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?

    2 When evildoers assail me to eat up my flesh, my adversaries and foes, it is they who stumble and fall.

    3 Though an army encamp against me, my heart shall not fear; though war arise against me, yet[b] I will be confident.

    4 One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to enquire[c] in his temple.

    5 For he will hide me in his shelter in the day of trouble; he will conceal me under the cover of his tent; he will lift me high upon a rock.

    6 And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all round me and I will offer in his tent sacrifices with shouts of joy; I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

    7 Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud be gracious to me and answer me!

    8 You have said, “Seek[d] my face.” My heart says to you, “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”[e]

    9 Hide not your face from me Turn not your servant away in anger, O you who have been my help. Cast me not off; forsake me not, O God of my salvation!

    10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me but the Lord will take me in.

    11 Teach me your way, O Lord, and lead me on a level path because of my enemies.

    12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries; for false witnesses have risen against me, and they breathe out violence.

    13 I believe[f] that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living!

    14 Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!

  • len

    There are no ‘bastards’ in the kingdom of Heaven because all that have been redeemed by the Blood of Christ born from the Spirit of God have a Father in Heaven…

    • dannybhoy

      Amen.

    • Albert

      ++Justin made a comment about how fitting it is that it became apparent during Holy Week. He said that is what Easter is about – redemption. It remind me of 1 Peter – a beautiful Easter mediation, if ever there was one:

      Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you,

      • len

        It truly is an indication of the Mercy and the Grace of God that we can be redeemed . 1 Peter expresses this beautifully.

  • James Bolivar DiGriz

    Of course this matters in some ways and not in others.

    One thing I think it is important to note is that this sort of thing is far more common than is often thought. Researchers working in, say, hereditary conditions (malign or otherwise), regularly include paternity testing as a very early step, as a figure of 10% of children not be the biological child of their putative father are not uncommon.

    I heard of one study maybe 20 years ago in the East End where the terraces had been replaced by tower blocks, housing lots of related families. So with very little travelling the researchers could interview & take samples from three, sometimes four, generations plus aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.

    However the easy travelling inside the tower blocks had also made it easy for a lot of infidelity to take place. When they saw that the non-biological fatherhood rate was 20% they had to abandon the study as the results would not have been that good.

    • dannybhoy

      Some folks will never raise their eyes to the skies in wonder. Their gaze remains on what they see around them, and the pleasures afforded thereby.
      Why this is, I do not know.
      Why are some content to accept life the way it is, and others treasure an ideal of how life should be.
      I don’t know.
      I firmly believe that God loves all men and that faith in Christ Jesus ennobles us and draws us closer to what God always wanted for us. Yet some seek that and many are indifferent.

  • carl jacobs

    In a very real sense, this is an echo from a bygone age. There was a time when women guarded their chastity for exactly this reason – to protect the paternity of their offspring. It’s a view that inherently preferences the needs of the Other at the expense of the Self. It presumes that children need a father, and a stable home, and a certain knowledge of their ancestry. How long ago was it that the idea of fornication was actually scandalous? How quaint and obsolete this all seems today.

    We have made peace with illegitimacy, and with fatherhood born of a Petrie dish and a pornographic magazine. Homosexual couples adopt children for much the same reason that a mortician puts rouge on the lips of a corpse – to give the illusion of life where there is none. Women routinely despise the whole concept of fatherhood, and we are now supposed to honor their decision to have a child without a father in the child’s life. Illegitimacy has become de rigueur among women who seek to fulfill themselves with motherhood – acquiring the child as if it was an accessory to a fulfilled life. But who stops today and thinks of the immense cost we are imposing on the children we conceive?

    At the very heart of modernity is a desire to separate sex from children, for children impose obligations that demand thought of tomorrow. The modern world gives primacy to now; to the desire for self-indulgence at the expense of tomorrow. It intentionally privileges the drunker desire of an Etonian to find a willing sperm receptacle for the night – a desire that neither thinks about nor cares what happens if “precautions” fails. What of the child conceived? What of the life he is to live? People used to ask those questions, but they don’t anymore. Children ask them though, Many years after the fact.

    Archbishop Welby’s mother likely felt guilt over what she did. And that is the true difference to be measured in this story. The current generation feels no guilt about its dissipation because it feels no obligation to its offspring. It feels obligation to itself, and its desire for self-gratification. Children are simply one optional aspect of what is fundamentally a narcissistic view of life.

    • Anton

      I’d add that the importance of female chastity was so that one man did not slog his guts out in the field merely to bring up another man’s baby. Today, however, the Welfare State in all its wonderful bounty does the job.

      • carl jacobs

        Which begs the question. What happens when the welfare state collapses?

        • Anton

          I look forward to it. I believe it is the only thing which could prevent an eventual Islamic revolution here, as I believe Islam represents impending divine judgement for the sins underlying family breakdown – of which the Welfare State is the biggest subsidiser, and hence promoter.

          • bluedog

            Islam as Divine Intervention? On this blog? Bring me a clove of garlic and a crucifix.

          • Anton

            Judgement by God as He is spoken of in the Bible, not the Quran.

          • bluedog

            Ah, thank you.

        • bluedog

          It won’t. Western liberal democracies have evolved into Ponzi schemes where a combination of debt and the antidote to debt – inflation, keep the wheels oiled. The politicians will continue to make promises, the masses will believe because they want to and everyone will be happy, for a while.

          • Anton

            The point about Ponzi schemes is that they DO eventually collapse.

    • Albert

      this is an echo from a bygone age

      An Anglican elected to a bishopric had to go through a rather bizarre ceremony in which he was declared to be “N, freeborn and no bastard.” Happily, that was removed in the 1960s. Otherwise, there might have been a possible problem of ++Justin being Archbishop of Canterbury.

      • Old Nick

        The Independent made a big deal out of this provision of the Canons of 1604, and claimed it was to do with s-x. It seems to me, looking at it through the lens of 1604, that it was a great deal more likely to do with preventing nepotism.

        • Albert

          Yes, I think that’s true. Not knowing what you are talking about seems to be a prerequisite to work for a newspaper!

    • bluedog

      ‘ It intentionally privileges the drunken desire of an Etonian…’ Close readers of the matter will note that Welby’s biological father was educated at Stowe, not Eton. A Stovian? With a pipe? Welby is an Etonian though.

      • Old Nick

        I think they call themselves (pretentiously) Stoics. Sounds more like Epicureanism to me.

  • Parents are such an integral part of one’s identity and self-image; so discovering that they were not exactly what you believed them to be can be life-shattering.

    Justin Welby has responded to this shocking news with humility and greatness – which could only come from one whose life is closely melded with the Jesus’. He denied nothing and chose neither to blame nor to criticise. He acknowledges that while there has been pain and sadness, his suffering is still less than what many others face.

    Thank God, that through Jesus Christ, Welby – like many of us – has experienced the new birth, which gives one a new and eternal identity. In the end this is what truly matters. And through Jesus the worst things in our lives can be redeemed.

    The Church of England is fortunate to have such a godly man at the helm

  • Inspector General

    Perhaps a few minutes reflection on the unfortunate souls who never knew their father or mother. Most especially, those born through the grotesque route of anonymous sperm or egg donation. Surely those who display the height of evil human selfishness are the adults that procure a living breathing child this way. And, most of all, feel empathy with the tragics who are growing up with ‘two daddies’…

    • Anton

      So Helen and Rob deserve each other?

      • Inspector General

        Who the hell are Helen and Rob!

        • Anton

          If you don’t know, Inspector, then may you be educated in the finding out.

          • Inspector General

            If you expect the Inspector to go charging off into the world wide whatever like some circus dog to make sense of your postings, you are going to be disappointed….

          • Anton

            By no means. Just drop the couple into conversation at that fine English institution, your regular pub.

          • Pubcrawler

            Maybe in your part of the country…

          • Anton

            The Inspector is open about living in Gloucester. Does your encyclopaedic knowledge of pubs extend there?

          • Pubcrawler

            I am passably familiar with a couple of them, though it’s been a few years now. Whether any of those is the Inspector’s haunt I do not know. Can’t say I’ve ever heard mention of the programme in question in any pub I’ve been in, though.

          • William Lewis

            The Inspectorate isn’t what it used to be. No doubt it has been affected by the new austerity but it does, occasionally, give the impression of just being one man and his laptop!

          • carl jacobs

            So do I have this right? These are characters in some ridiculous BBC Radio soap opera?

            [Google uber alles! Apologies for the missing umlaut]

          • Anton

            It is not ridiculous, but 10/10 !

          • carl jacobs

            Anton. It’s a soap opera. It’s ridiculous by definition.

          • Anton

            It is a form of drama. Not a high form, but I never claimed it was and “ridiculous by definition” is untrue.

          • carl jacobs

            You tacitly admitted it was a soap opera. Is that not an accurate description?

          • Anton

            Yes it is a soap opera. That is an art form, albeit not a high one. Plenty of what are now recognised as great novels of the 19th century were published in instalments by writers who did not know the end when they began.

            Calm down, Carl. Nobody is claiming The Archers is great art. I am merely disputing that it is “ridiculous by definition”.

    • IanCad

      Is this the sort of thing you are referring to Inspector:?

      http://www.popsugar.com/home/Nate-Berkus-Jeremiah-Brent-Introduce-Daughter-Poppy-38338689?stream_view=1#photo-38340407

      The bill will come due some day.

      • Inspector General

        All too typical, Ian. It’s a form of child abuse, as you know, but the authorities don’t want to know in the West. Desperately sad for that baby girl – homosexual men are not known for introducing a woman into one of ‘their’ children’s growing to give them a feminine roll model. What will become of her, one wonders….

        • Findaráto

          Growing up without a feminine “roll” model?

          One can only wonder. Her fathers will have to teach her to roll. And as everybody knows, men just don’t roll the same way as women.

          She’ll probably end up rolling like a man and the kids in her class will make fun of her in the playground, so she’ll stop rolling altogether.

          Imagine the trauma! Suppressing the urge to roll and internalizing all that anger and bitterness against the men who so wantonly deprived her of a feminine roll model during her formative years.

          In a couple of decades, don’t be surprised to hear about a serial killer on the loose in New York City targeting young girls rolling down grassy slopes in Central Park. Just one of the evil consequences of equal marriage.

          • Pubcrawler

            William Faulkner’s adage springs to mind (again).

          • Inspector General

            What’s this!

            And as everybody knows, men just don’t roll the same way as women.

            You dare go against Big Gay who has decided that the present binary arrangement of men and women and families deriving from same is so out of date in ‘this day and age’ and needs ‘re-assessing’ (that is, changed to their way of thinking)?

            Do you know, there’s hope for you yet…

      • William Lewis

        The perverted pride of two men “accessorising” their designer apartment with a designer baby is surely iconic of the modern, callous obsession with the self. Who are the real bastards here?

        • bluedog

          They should be restricted to one cocker spaniel in the view of this communicant.

          • William Lewis

            Well, we defer to you on all things canine, bluedog.

          • bluedog

            Prudent, William.

          • Cressida de Nova

            Giggles ! Bad dog !

      • Pubcrawler

        So many shoes and not a pair of socks between them.

      • Findaráto

        Aw, sweet looking family.

        Personally I’d rather adopt a psychotic wolverine than a human child as it would do considerably less damage to the soft furnishings and there would be no risk of finding oneself saddled with a Tamara Ecclestone or a Tara Palmer-Tomkinson and having to bear the stigma of foisting another whining trust-fund parasite on the world.

        But who knows, perhaps these two men adhere to the Bill Gates school of “I’ll fund you as far as Harvard and then you’re on your own”.

        Let’s hope so for the little girl’s sake.

        And all you Christians take note: she’s the face of tomorrow. The new normal, in fact. And when she grows up into an ordinary young woman and doesn’t sprout horns and start to eat people alive, won’t you be disappointed?

        • Anna055

          You’re quite right of course …she probably will grow up perfectly normal …. and they will probably be good fathers ….. but ….. but…. having grown up minus a parent I know that you do miss out when you are only parented by one of the sexes. I don’t think I was aware of it as a child – after all you tend to accept whatever you experience as normal when you are a child – but I look at children with their parents now and know that, yes I did miss out in some ways (in spite of the very good parenting that I got from the remaining parent).

    • Albert

      Or those who were aborted.

      • Dreadnaught

        And those from miscarriage also I would assume.

        • Albert

          A little difficult to see the logical sequence here.

          • Dreadnaught

            Not really , unless you want to.

          • Albert

            Okay, well let me spell out the logical gap. Here’s the Inspector’s comment:

            Perhaps a few minutes reflection on the unfortunate souls who never knew their father or mother. Most especially, those born through the grotesque route of anonymous sperm or egg donation. Surely those who display the height of evil human selfishness are the adults that procure a living breathing child this way.

            He’s talking about children who never “knew their father or mother” because of the “evil human selfishness” of “the adults.” That is to say, because of the actions of the adults. It’s easy to apply that logic to unborn children killed through abortion – they don’t know their father or mother. But it’s hard to see how it applies to miscarriage or genetic mutations, and incapacitating abnormalities, since these (and in the case of the first by definition) exclude the selfish actions of adults.

            Saying that surely does not make me wilfully blind. But if you think there is a logical sequence that I am missing, spell it out.

          • Dreadnaught

            You’re the one who brought in your hobbyhorse.

          • Albert

            Well it was relevant. You’ve had two chances now to show how your own comment was relevant, and you’ve blown them both.

        • Inspector General

          A bizarre comment from you, Dredders. You’ve let yourself down this time….

          • Dreadnaught

            Not really Iggy – its that Albert cant keep on topic and always seeks to divert to his own interest.

          • Albert

            Logical sequence Dreadnaught. I’ve shown that for my comment. Where’s the logical sequence for yours?

          • Dreadnaught

            see the above.

          • Albert

            I have. That’s how I know you haven’t shown how your comment was relevant.

    • Ivan M

      One of my old homosexual classmates, was in California some years ago to select a surrogate mother, to rent a womb for a donated egg fertilised with his sperm. It is a three-way split; egg, sperm and womb belonging to different entities. In a world where there are millions of orphans who could do with a good home, it is the height of selfishness to go around the business in this contrived way.

  • DanJ0

    The media seems to be a bit bewildered that he doesn’t seem to be ashamed or horrified to find himself the product of sex outside of marriage. It’s a curious thing.

    • The Explorer

      Being the product of sex outside marriage shouldn’t bother the average person because it’s becoming the norm. It’s being the product of married parents that’s the shocking thing you keep quiet about; until we reach ‘Brave New World’, and the child squirming with embarrassment at the mere mention of parents.

      But I suppose the media feel the clergy ought to have different views about these things: if the clergy don’t have entertainment value, what is the point of them?

      • Dreadnaught

        Being the product of sex outside marriage shouldn’t bother the average person because it’s becoming the norm.

        It may come as a bit of a shock to you but Procreation is older than marriage. As for becoming the norm; are you deliberately ignoring the dozens of monarchs throughout British history who had mistresses and proliferations of progeny by their ‘illicit’ liaisons? Its nothing new old chap.

        • Inspector General

          Or monarchs in waiting, come to that…

          • Dreadnaught

            Quite!

          • Inspector General

            Still, it is suggested that someone else “got in under the fence” in that relationship, as the English upper class prosaically would have it…

          • Dreadnaught

            Rumour dear boy, rumour and conjecture to be sure.

        • The Explorer

          William IV had ten kids by Mrs Jordan; but I’m not talking about monarchs, l’m talking about normal people. If you think kids outside marriage was the norm, what do you make of the plots of ‘Esther Waters’ or ‘Tess of the Durbevilles’?

          I’m not saying there haven’t always been kids outside marriage. I’m saying they weren’t approved of. Now they are. If we manage to replicate ‘Brave New World’ it’ll be the kids within marriage who are the pariahs; until we reach the Rousseaun ideal where adults may generate kids, but the kids are the propriety of the State.

          • James60498 .

            Property of the State?

            Isn’t that what they are going for in Scotland now with their State Guardian proposal?

          • The Explorer

            Yes. It’s an old idea, going back at least as far as Plato’s ‘Republic’. Rousseau, as you probably know, left each of his five children on the steps of the local orphanage as soon as they were born: and, in ‘Emile’, produced a treatise on how to bring up young people. When queried about it, he cited the State as parent.

            The Soviets tried it when they set the industrial wage at a level that forced both parents out to work in order to survive. Young children could then be inculcated with the values of the State, without the interference of parents.

            The most determined attempt was by Georg Lukacs under Bela Kun: probably the most systematic attempt ever made at the eradication of the nuclear family. But Kun didn’t last long, and Lukacs lost his post.

            Scotland doubtless knows of these antecedents, and applauds them.

    • carl jacobs

      Facts are what they are. He had no control over it. The guilt attaches to his mother, and at this point what does it matter. But what if the man who raised him had discovered his true paternity at the time? Life would have been very different for Archbishop Welby. His mother hid the truth for a reason.

      It’s an unfortunate truth that children suffer bitterly for the sins of their parents. Which is why human sexuality needs to be so definitively bounded. But that implies “Deny yourself” – a concept DOA in the modern world.

    • Dreadnaught

      Yes he came to accept that by not making a song and dance about it he denied them the endless saga that goes on giving extended sales and advertising revenue/ sad isnt it. Pity Camoron didnt do the same.

  • IanCad

    Remarkable harmony on the blog today. Pretty much all have declared their empathy, understanding and encouragement.

    The AoC has handled it all with dignity and without criticism. Perhaps now would be the time to interject a little gentle humour into the discussion.

    • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

      I try, dear Ian, I try…

  • dannybhoy

    A Jewish angle was mentioned somewhere, and being a great admirer of Jewish humour and vitality, I offer this clip, “Talk Yiddish to me..”

  • Lienus

    S – A – T – I – R – E
    Find out what it means to me.
    On this blog the parenthood of Jesus Christ can be impugned with impunity. His word can be rubbished. His people can be reviled.
    But cursed are those who insult an Archbishop, for they shall be censored.

    • Dreadnaught

      Censored? Where?

      • William Lewis

        Almost Dredders but not quite. Lienus did actually say censured.

        • Dreadnaught

          Obliged I am. New specs on order.

          • William Lewis

            🙂

          • IrishNeanderthal

            So is it you who landed that Space Shuttle at Luton Airport?

  • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

    Hello boys….what fun, eh?

    • bluedog

      Heavens. Time to feed those hungry tongues in Barchester with more than a hobnob and a cup of Earl Grey?

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Well, I am all of a flutter since my Lord the Bishop revealed that his biological father was the ex-king of Paphlagonia, which I’m sure you will agree out-trumps a mere knight with a double-barrelled surname…the Cloisters are all agog and their are rumblings in the Mother’s Union – but a good emetic will sort that out!

        • bluedog

          Indeed, Mrs P. One foresees a desperate scramble for inherited notoriety. It could be all the rage this summer. But do spare us the grisly details of your plumbing.

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            Most certainly, dear Bluedog…I’ve had Mr Bunce on the go all night with his plunger, so I’m expecting things to have gone off the boil by the morn. One feels sympathy for the Archbishop of course and hope that when he receives my tract, “Should we pick up fallen women? A manual for modern times…’ he will feel better. I will of course enclose a hobnob for extra fortification.

          • bluedog

            Most sporting, Mrs P. No doubt ++ Welby will accept your generosity in the spirit in which it is intended.

    • Inspector General

      My dear lady, welcome back…

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Why thank you dear Inspector…I couldn’t resist taking a peek at what you have all been up to.

        • Inspector General

          Ghastly goings on in the see of Gloucester, while you have been away, dear heart. The bishop is a…no! One cannot even bring himself to say it….

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            You don’t mean…a Methodist! Oh, the horror!!!

          • Inspector General

            Not as bad as that, but equally unpleasant. Indeed, the Inspector is now finding that the pain emanating from the enthronement is coming back, and he may have to cease communicating on Cranmer until it subsides – if it ever does…

          • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

            I do believe there is a move afoot to replace Transubstantiation with the 21st century doctrine of Transgenderisation…do you think it will catch on?

          • Inspector General

            It’s all too much for a simple Inspector, Mrs Proudie. One has visited the lavatory just now, and afterwards stared into the mirror. Sunken eyes and hollow cheeks tells the Inspector he is not long for this world…

            But on a more happier note, 2016 does look like being the Year of the Tranny….

          • Royinsouthwest

            I had a “tranny” when I was a teenager, Inspector and it was marvellous! In my childhood there were none of these Sonny Walkmans or iPods or whatever they are called nowadays. If you wanted to listen to music you had to use the wireless and it was a big bulky thing that you could not carry with you when you left the house.

            All that changed when I acquired a “tranny”. I could take it with me anywhere (or almost anywhere since I could not take it to school) and instead of having to listen to whatever my parents listened to on the wireless, I could listen to Radio Luxembourg or one of the “pirate radio stations” such as Radio Caroline that were stationed on small ships safely out of cannonball range of the British coast. Marvellous days!

            I am getting increasingly fed up with what is on TV. (I nearly typed “TB”). Do you think I should invest in a new tranny?

          • Inspector General

            Ah yes Roy, the tinny sound of Radio Luxembourg on the tranny, the tinny sounding adverts for Peter Stuyvesant cigarettes and the tinny sound of pop music occasionally. One recalls that previous to the likes of Peter Powell broadcasting, Lord Haw Haw himself was in the chair…

    • David

      Welcome back Mrs Proudie.
      Although but nowadays only an occasional commentator on this esteemed site, I still say, that it is a very good thing to see you back again. You have been missed. Also I see that you have lost none of your sharp wit.
      Please convey my regards to His Lordship the Bishop.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I will indeed, dear David. His Lordship is having his post-prandial at the moment and I’m hovering in the kitchen with my baking trays…this afternoon I’m back at Hiram’s Hospital, which we’ve opened as a safe haven for those fleeing the tax man. One has to do one’s bit.

    • Uncle Brian

      It’s been a long time, Mrs P., but your words of comfort and solace were well worth waiting for! I trust the Jupiter is being its usual discreet self in its coverage of Anglican affairs?

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Well now, Uncle Brian, the Jupiter go wind of the Welby revelations and the gossip has been flying around Barchester like Mr. Cameron’s “Why we should stay in the EU” leaflet…

    • carl jacobs

      Hooray! Mrs Proudie is back! So … Where are the whaddayacallits … the Hobnobs. Chocolate ones, of course.

      😉

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I am busy baking a batch of hobnobs even as we speak…but thank you dear Carl for the hoorays!

    • Welcome back Mrs P. Happy Jack is thrilled to see you.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Ah Happy Jack, how good it is to hear from you.

    • IanCad

      How very good to see you back within the fold again Mrs. P
      Your unique slant – or should it be Slope? – on things was sorely missed.

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        Why how kind of you, dear Ian…yes, I thought I’d pop along to see what has been going on…I must say, you have all been busy…

    • Mrs Proudie, what a delight to have you back! Would you mind dropping His Grace a communication via his ‘Contact’ form? He has a matter he’d like to discuss with you. Bless you.

    • Ha!

      • Mrs Proudie of Barchester

        I take it ‘Ha!’ is Yiddish for ‘Hello Mrs Proudie how nice it is to hear from you again…’ But how lovely to see you lurking on here, dear Avi…did those long johns ever reach the frozen wastes of Canada?

        • Indeed they did, Madam, thank you ever so kindly! Wise of you to use itchy wool yarn too, made a sort of a hair shirt for my lower half, fixing me on the straight and narrow with periodic eruptions of various rashes while traversing the ice and snow roads. The “ha” was a spontaneous a-cultural exclamation signifying my great delight at your return. Welcome back!

  • David

    Even if one applies the strictest Christian sexual morality, that sex outside marriage is wrong, be it fornication or adultery, it matters not regarding how we Christians think of Welby, as he himself, is innocent. But did the media expect him to wear a hair short for the rest of his life ?
    I must contrast the open, forthright, honest, composed and gentle reaction of the Archbishop with that dodger and diver, that stranger to the straight, unspun truth, our esteemed Prime Minister – hah, what a difference !

    • Anton

      Today’s ethos is not hair shirt but share hurt. Not necessarily a bad thing.

  • Nightblogger

    OK, so what is it that “The revelation of Justin Welby’s real father does” change if it “does not change nothing”? Sorry, but I always get terribly lost in double negatives….

  • Tim S

    “Does not change anything” I believe is more correct. And yes, that’s true despite this Anglican orders are still invalid.

    • Pubcrawler

      Correct only if that is what HG meant. His fourth paragraph indicates otherwise.

      • IanCad

        Thanks Pubcrawler; I didn’t pick up on that.
        It is wise, in a blog environment, to resist the temptation to correct (perceived) bad grammar. It invariably comes back to bite you.

        • Pubcrawler

          Commenting on (perceived) bad grammar (not to mention spelling) is unwise, as you say. It is also petty-minded. I only do so if (a) I’m being paid to; and/or (b) it would be funny.

          • CliveM

            Yes hoow wese of yoo.

          • Pubcrawler

            Steady, Findus’ll be onto you.

    • Royinsouthwest

      I am not an Anglican but your argument about Anglican orders is both irrelevant and ridiculous. Do you think God is only capable of working through one ecclesiastical bureaucracy? How do you explain what Jesus said in Matthew 3:9?

      And do not think you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham.

      • Tim S

        That was said for humorous intent as I am more amazed that Justin Welby was dim enough to publicize this. With respect to Anglican orders I am quite sure the Anglicans would not like being referred to as an “ecclesiastical bureaucracy”. Sure God can do anything but man can invalidate orders too. I suggest you read Leo XIII .

        • Uncle Brian

          How do you explain what Jesus said in Matthew 3:9?

          That was said for humorous intent …

          There are two things to be said about that. First, Matthew isn’t quoting Jesus here but John the Baptist. Second, it’s true that John is making a Hebrew pun or alliteration (banim = sons, abanim = stones) but I don’t think there’s any indication that his intention was to give his listeners something to giggle about. John the Baptist, as far as we know, was not in the habit of entertaining his audience with a string of humorous one-liners. .

          • Tim S

            You missed it. What I was saying was that my comment about Anglican orders was thrown in for humorous intent. I don’t make fun of Scripture ever. Had you read the statement carefully I don’t think you could have missed that.

  • steroflex

    I’ll tell you what. If I found out at the age of 60 that my Dad was not my Dad and that I was, in fact, the result of an illicit affair, it would devastate me completely.
    I found the “bastard” remark wounding actually – but very clever, I must admit. I got chucked off Conservative Home for questioning gay marriage in similar terms…

    • bluedog

      ‘I got chucked off Conservative Home for questioning gay marriage in similar terms…’ As you should. The new blasphemy laws are not to be held in contempt.

  • William Lewis

    How wonderful that ++Welby is so secure in his true identity that his “new” biological one almost seems a curiosity. Let us hope and pray that his first meeting with his half sister is a joyous experience.

  • magnolia

    Not confused by double negatives here.

    I am thinking that there are many positive aspects to this new knowledge of who his natural father was.

    While he of course, and wonderfully, finds his identity in Christ, some of the initial raw materials through genetics are not to be denigrated. Yes his natural father was adulterous at times, but he was also a brave intelligent diplomatic and capable man, decorated in war- time- one of the few who survived the war in the RAF, and no doubt had the trauma of seeing many friends perish. Add to this that he had a service ethic, and often had to operate beneath his natural skill set while helping others -ah…. Churchill, no less- shine, shows his father had many very admirable qualities.

    Sexual continence and fidelity were clearly not to the fore among them, but then the Archbishop shows no signs of inheriting such traits whatsoever, so its pretty much irrelevant. Instead he has a faithful happy marriage and six children. But in the better character traits…….

    And on the lighter side he now has the fun that he can trace his lineage back to James 1st of Scotland, and thus clearly further back….

  • John Main

    This is the most amazing tale. It is enough to make you wonder if the farcical notion that breeding will out has some truth in it after all.

    All generations up until ours thought it axiomatic that bloodlines mattered; something to do with their understanding of how heredity worked amongst dogs, horses, etc. The concept was even mythologised; tales of adopted princes having adventures until finally recognised as the true heir to the throne or whatever, were common to all cultures and countries.

    But our generation was the first to see through this nonsense (other than when applied to dogs, horses, etc.) We now know instinctively that all people are equal in all respects.

    Because his true origin does not conform to current PC mythology, I sadly conclude that for the archbishop and the church, that his noble descent will now be held against him.

    • Albert

      It is enough to make you wonder if the farcical notion that breeding will out has some truth in it after all.All generations up until ours thought it axiomatic that bloodlines mattered

      Interesting. If you mean by that, that it is surprising that a child is likely to have some of the traits of the parents, then I would say that is not surprising. Moreover, one would need to take into consideration a few other things about his background. Although his upbringing was messy to say the least, he remained in all the right circles: his maternal uncle was RAB Butler, his mother worked for Churchill and he went to Eton. With a background like that, most people would have a better chance in life.

      This is not to minimise his achievements, the greatest of which is not to have duplicated some of the negative traits of his three parents, but instead to have become a man of remarkable integrity and serenity.

      To conclude: (1) We do expect genetic traits (good or bad) in the child and (2) environment is important as well.

      Or have I missed your point?!

      • John Main

        My point was mostly satirical, although I fear my last sentence will be true: the revelation of the privileged genetic inheritance of
        Justin Welby will be used against him.

        Myself, I always thought it “bleedin obvious” that nature is at least as important as nurture, and that anybody fortunate enough to possess or experience both is lucky indeed. But received PC opinion is that merit is key, and merit can only be demonstrated by coming from nowhere. Exceptions are made only if you are a Labour politician, in which case you can be the scion of a Labour political dynasty, perhaps going back three generations, and listeners will still agree with your pronouncements on the evils of inherited privilege.

        • Albert

          Oh sorry – didn’t spot the satire in this medium!

  • bockerglory

    Archbishop Welby managed this extremely personal matter with frankness, humility and love. A true Christian response.

    Years ago fidelity was key to a marriage. No wife wanted a man propagating kids and spending money and energy on another women’s children. And no man wants to unknowingly raise a child as his kin when child is not. So mongamous marriage protects men and women. And also explains why engagements were at least sixth month’s long to flush out the cheaters (man or women) and why we have the bans of marriage called out in a public place (church).

    The bible is full of the woes of polygamy and the consequences and bitter resentment it raises between the offspring and spouses. Look at Solomon (not so wise when it came to women), King David and even Sarah & Abraham (& Hagar).

    God’s plan is for monogamy and fidelity. God loves us so permits us to divorce and he recognises that in a marriage it can be destroyed by the act of just one party. Islam with its stoning of adulterous women is man made law and not from God – because God will forgive. Also the aggrieved husband has a remedy of divorce and that should suffice.

    As a married woman with children I despair at feminists who say marriage is a trap for women. Providing men and women can freely marry who they chose (no arranging by meddling parents) Marriage is an institution that liberates women. And as i said above God acknowledges a divorce is necessary where one spouse has a hard heart so no Christian spouse needs to put up with cruelty.

  • Uncle Brian

    It is never immediately that the ordinary man, stunned by some revelation of genius, is able to find words to express his emotion. When Alexander Graham Bell, meeting a friend one morning in the year 1876, said “Oh, hullo, George, heard the latest? I invented the telephone yesterday,” it is probable that the friend merely shuffled his feet in silence.

    That remarkable insight by the late P.G. Wodehouse pretty much sums up my predicament in the present case. Apart from expressing my very great admiration of Archbishop Welby’s strength of character, I can’t really think of anything else to say that hasn’t been said already by other communicants on this thread.