Thinking Anglicans

opinion on Holy Saturday

Daniel Burke in The Huffington Post asks What Did Jesus Do On Holy Saturday?

Paul Handley writes in The Guardian that Holy Saturday is a good time for Christians to reflect on worldy failure.

Benny Hazlehurst has this Soundtrack for Holy Week – Peter.

Tina Beattie writes in The Tablet about Towards the shining city: Rural and urban in the Easter story.

Sam Charles Norton writes about The stupid and ungodly culture of the Church of England.

Alan Wilson writes for The Guardian that The Church of England needs a reboot, not a rebrand.
And, starting with some references to Bishop Wilson’s article, Andrew Brown writes in The Guardian that The Church of England needs its own rebirth.

John Milbank writes for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation about After Rowan: The Coherence and Future of Anglicanism.

Giles Fraser writes for the Church Times about going Back to the heart of the C of E.

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Richard Ashby
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Richard Ashby

Giles’ new appointment gives the lie to those who cynically expected that he would accept some cosy liberal bishopric or deanery. We should wish him every blessing and success in his difficult new post in south London.

Father Ron Smith
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Huffington Post’s article on the subject of where Jesus got to on Holy Saturday provides us with at least one believable explanation: That the place of departed spirits was, in fact, Paradise – rather than the more fiery vision of Hell that inspires so much of the fundamentalist rhetoric against those who fail to meet the puritanical ethos of the ‘damned’. The Orthodox have a much more sympathetic understanding, for instance of the eternal fate of the ‘traitor’ Judas, Could it be that Paradise – with the implication of a garden setting – might be the place of further growth… Read more »

rjb
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rjb

A really sublime piece of writing from John Milbank, and a fascinating contrast with Alan Wilson’s (also very good) piece. Bishop Alan calls for the Church of England to focus on the local: to be “the ultimate locally delivered life-changing non-profit organisation.” John Milbank, by contrast, argues that we need also to be radically universal in our outlook: the Anglican Communion must be “radically biblical yet hyper-Catholic; sturdily incarnated in land, parish and work, yet sublimely aspiring in its verbal, musical and visual performances.” I think both of them are right. There is an irreducible dialectic between engaging with local… Read more »

Laurence Cunnington
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Laurence Cunnington

“On the home front, the proposal of the coalition government to legalise gay marriage makes it imperative for the Church of England to take a stand against the intended measure, while distinguishing such a stance from any mode of prejudice against gay people.” John Milbank

So, discriminating against gay people whilst giving the appearance of not discriminating against gay people.

This sort of nonsense makes me sick.

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

Much to reflect upon in several of the articles here. I am grateful for rjb’s post, I share nearly all these reactions. I wish Giles very well. It will be interesting to share his journey in the Guardian. I think my serious disappointment with Rowan came at the last. How much better if he had come home to work as a parish priest (a job he has never done) in the Welsh valley he came from, rather than desperately hawking his body around Cambridge begging for any Mastership going. All that perceived holiness and learning would have somehow made more… Read more »

rjb
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rjb

I cannot agree with you, Fr Ron. Unless Christ decended into Hell, I cannot see why we would have any need for such a Saviour. The harrowing of Hell represents Christ’s radical solidarity even with those who have excluded themselves from the love of God. It is the greatest extreme that God goes to to reconcile mankind to Himself, by making himself present even where – paradoxically – God is utterly absent. The Harrowing of Hell is not just an extra-biblical appendix tacked on to our theology. It is absolutely central to what we believe about God and what God… Read more »

Gene O'Grady
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Gene O'Grady

I’m afraid that I find Professor Milbank’s assertion that the Anglican church needs something like the Catholic Cardinalate incomprehensible. Maybe something like the Vatican II bishops’ synods, but they never got off the ground.

From experience, I know that for lay American Catholics “He’s aiming to become a cardinal” is the worst thing that can be said about a bishop.

JeremyP
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JeremyP

“On the home front, the proposal of the coalition government to legalise gay marriage makes it imperative for the Church of England to take a stand against the intended measure, while distinguishing such a stance from any mode of prejudice against gay people.” John Milbank I guess the question I want to ask John Milbank is this: Just how do you intend to convince gay people that your position is not indistinguishable from all those other positions on this subject (like that of C4M and its Religious Right proponents)that are fuelled by undisguised homophobia? You have a big task with… Read more »

David Shepherd
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The problem with Giles’ piece is that it only points at the symptoms of economic impoverishment imposed on the class expansion of new Rome at the expense of the poor. The propensity for brutish self-aggrandizement among his own left-wing cadre will never be a target of his careful scrutiny. The Jesus who healed the Roman soldier’s servant is hardly visible, since it wasn’t economic poverty that led the Centurion to call on Christ. With the focus on temporal public justice, why shouldn’t we release Jesus Barabbas to the crowd instead? After all, insurrectionists like him would say, they never killed… Read more »

Father Ron Smith
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Thanks for your response, rjb. Since the descent of Jesus into Hades, when the powers of Hell were overcome (see the ‘Exultet – or better, hear it), could the very presence of Christ not have changed the horrors of Hell for the Peace of Paradise – where the departed progress further in sanctity, until Christ comes again to gather the sanctified?

I’m all for a progressive understanding of the thought that Hell is potentially here – where God’s presence is not recognised. And eternal Hell may just be the eternal absence of God.

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

“it imperative for the Church of England to take a stand against the intended measure” John Milbank on civil marriage equality proposals.

Why?

Daniel Lamont
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Daniel Lamont

I regret Martin Reynolds’ ungenerous comment. I wasn’t aware that Rowan Williams was ‘hawking his body’ anywhere – and surely if he was hawking anything it would be his brain. Mr Reynolds’ undoubted implication of prostitution is sad in this context and on this site. I should have thought the best use of RW’s talents was in an academic job where he will do much good. Moreover, his suggestion that Jane Williams would make a good parish priest’s wife harks back to the bad old days when the parson’s wife was an honorary unpaid curate and parish secretary. My mother… Read more »

RPNewark
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RPNewark

John Milbank and others (some on this site) need to understand that THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS *THE* ANGLICAN CHURCH! There are only Anglican churches.

Write it out 100 times.

john
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john

I’d like to agree with rjb (with whom I do agree about the need for ‘pluralism’ within the C of E) about the merits of Professor Milbank’s manifesto. But of course I do agree with Gene O’Grady above, the call to resist gay marriage seems almost insane (because not only is it wrong but it will be beaten, with bad consequences for the rest of us), the style is hopelessly portentous and out of touch, and there is a hectoring tone which I associate particularly with … Tom Wright. Meawhile in the real world, life goes on – or it… Read more »

Craig Nelson
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Craig Nelson

John Milbank wants the Church of England to “distinguish such a stance from any mode of prejudie against gay people”. Quite apart from the near impossibility of acheiving such a feat it is quite remarkable that he is calling on a church entity to (in some way, presumably meaningfully or if not he’s merely advocating a PR scam) eschew prejudice against gay people. I am presuming this would apply to other churches as well because not many are following it at the moment. Any way perhaps the C of E can lead the way in this exciting new enterprise and… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
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Martin Reynolds

If “the implications” piled on my comment by Daniel Lamont were in any way accurate – or a true reflection of anything – then I too would be full of regret to see it here at TA. I am sorry to hear of his mother’s plight. Mrs Williams however seems to have managed to raise a family, be the most loving and welcoming hostess and have a professional life. She lectured at Trinity while at Newport and at Holy Trinity Brompton while at Lambeth and has written a thoughtful book or two at the same time. It seems somewhat odd… Read more »

john
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john

Without endorsing some of Martin’s other comments, I do absolutely agree that too many of our bishops and bigwigs have never had parishes. It is often adduced by wise old-timers as an explanation for spectacular misjudgements and uncharitableness (heard it many times said of Tom Wright), and it bears on the topic of another thread – the relationship between cathedrals and parish churches. Of course, RW has had a terrible time, but the smaller struggles of many parish churches are just as heroic and – dare I say it – just as worthwhile.