Saturday, 2 April 2005

tributes to the Pope

Archbishop of Canterbury
Secretary General of the Anglican Communion
Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal Church
Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster
British Prime Minister

British Newspapers

Guardian Clifford Longley The best and worst of times

Guardian Stephen Bates The pope who showed the church to the world

Observer Christina Odone The man in white who changed the world

Observer editorial The man who loved humanity

Observer Peter Stanford Who will now lead one billion souls?

Independent on Sunday AN Wilson The defenders of the faiths

Independent on Sunday Catherine Pepinster He was simply the world’s most charismatic Christian

Sunday Telegraph Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor ‘John Paul II will leave us all orphans. I shall miss him’

Sunday Telegraph Clifford Longley How does the Catholic Church follow John Paul? It doesn’t

Sunday Telegraph Christopher Howse The visionary who changed history through sheer force of moral will

Sunday Telegraph editorial The meaning of suffering

The Times William Rees-Mogg A truly great holder of this highest of religious offices

The Times editorial Man and mission

Sunday Times Mary Kenny John Paul’s final gift: to share his last hours with the world

Sunday Times Leading article: A hard act to follow

Sunday Times John Cornwell Death of a titan

Sunday Times Christopher Morgan ‘Bishop of Gatwick and the panzer cardinal’ prepare for nine days of mourning – and the horsetrading of votes

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 2 April 2005 at 11:46pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: News

One of the many wonderful things about JPII was his refusal to compromise what he saw as timeless truths to the 'spirit of the age'.

This is off topic, I'm afraid - but have you seen Bishop Gene Robinson's latest ?

Posted by: Laban Tall on Sunday, 3 April 2005 at 6:27pm BST

He was a great combination:
-Global/universal/international rather than parochial in his thinking.
-Authentically Christian (as opposed to 'right', 'left' or whatever) in his outlook, & always aiming to back up his positions with proper reasoning, albeit expressed in a simple (not simplistic) way that the people could understand.
-One of the Christian leaders that people genuinely did look to as a leader, both spiritual and political, sometimes in preference to more obviously 'political' figures.
-A man of peace, who held that in war both sides are the losers.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Sunday, 3 April 2005 at 8:48pm BST

Ah yes: the sensitive, thoughtful and dispassionate coverage {sarcasm-mode OFF} I've come to expect from the "Tell-a-lie". You're going to have to do better than that, Laban.

[+Gene didn't say anything that hasn't been said by faithful Christians for 2000 years: "the stone that the builders rejected had been made the chief-cornerstone: this is the LORD's doing, and it is *marvelous* in our eyes!"]

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Sunday, 3 April 2005 at 8:53pm BST

LAban, I did see what was reported here, and I found it interesting that the offensive stuff was what people SAID that he said, not what he actually DID say.

Posted by: Pete on Monday, 4 April 2005 at 1:36am BST

Come on, I think we all know the game that Gene Robinson is playing here. "You may think I'm suggesting that Jesus was gay .. but of course I couldn't possibly comment."

"Bishop Robinson .. said that he could feel 'God's light and God's life ooze over me like warm butter'." Euuuuk. Take a bath, Gene, why don't you?

I actually have a lot of sympathy for +Gene, so it saddens me to see him playing to his core constituency in this way, instead of trying to win over the Episcopalian middle ground.

But how trivial it all seems! compared with the death of Pope John Paul, and the muffled sound of tectonic plates shifting deep down beneath the surface of worldwide Christianity.

Posted by: Andrew Conway on Monday, 4 April 2005 at 1:23pm BST

Those who are commenting on the recent Sunday Telegraph report, please note that the entire proceedings were recorded and can be listened to in full, by going to
It is thus very easy to find out what it was that Bishop Robinson actually said.
I personally find it hard to believe that either Elizabeth Day or Chris Sugden had done that carefully before making the claims that they have made.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 4 April 2005 at 1:34pm BST

Well, I listened to the whole thing (took ages to find the piece) and I'm sure Andrew Conway has correctly discerned the intent. Robinson didn't say (in so many words) 'Jesus was homosexual' but he clearly implied that, especially in his reference to Jesus' relationship with the 'beloved disciple'. ('What! you mean the Secret Gospel of St Mark is wrong?' /irony off) The newspaper correctly quoted his words and drew out the implication. It was an unscripted and unguarded moment for Robinson that tells us a lot about the man's inner thoughts. Earlier Robinson said in reply to an articulate and very theologically informed woman quoting the St Andrew's Day Statement (1995) that he didn't know that document - something I find very hard to believe since it is clearly referenced in Lambeth 110.1 (1998). Robinson's notion of the Cross and hamartiology seemed very unformed and he dodged the significance of her questions about Jesus the Savior with his usual self-victimology about threats on his life etc. Ah yes, on the week when John Paul II leaves this life, this is what the voice of 'progressive' Anglicanism has to offer. Oi vey ...

Posted by: James Coleman on Monday, 4 April 2005 at 4:05pm BST

Almost two decades ago I was discussing "sexual orientation issues" with the heterosexual (married/kids/grandkids/self-admitted) Bishop of my Diocese...he paused, reflected, then quietly said:

"Nobody knows the sexual orientation of Jesus Christ."

I understood.

Posted by: Len on Monday, 4 April 2005 at 7:41pm BST

James, Bishop Robinson has actually declined the vast majority of the many requests he has received for appearances and speeches. The spotlight---or crosshairs (about which one should not joke, IMO)---he has been thrust into, is never something he sought.

+Gene is not something "'progressive' Anglicanism has to offer": he is the bishop who the people of the Diocese of New Hampshire *democratically-elected*---which is not something that say, the People of Rome can claim of *their* late bishop (RIP). Of course Christians have differing opinions whether this is a virtue or not (though only for those *with a vote* will their opinions matter!)

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Tuesday, 5 April 2005 at 3:16am BST

See this report in the New Hampshire Union Leader newspaper: NH bishop denies suggesting Christ was gay,

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Tuesday, 5 April 2005 at 8:53am BST

Mr Fisher, it's never been disputed that Gene Robinson's election followed due process; the same may be said for Arius and a whole phalanx of heresiarchs. Whether 'democracy' is a virtue in the election of bishops is not the issue, either. (Don't those Sinn Fein thugs claim a 'mandate'?) The issue has always been his fitness to be a bishop in the first place. I do grant that his 'story' (self-related narrative) is of interest and I am sensitive to the enormous amount of personal pain that underlies this: a lad from a fundamentalist background struggling with same-sex desires, having a number of brief homosexual relationships, and then getting married and starting a family. What he doesn't explain is why 12 or 13 years later 'it didn't work out'. I cannot escape the impression that there is more to this than is being disclosed, knowing of cases where fragile marriages have foundered through addictions to substance abuse, pornography or affairs. No person likes to be told (in RC Catechism terms) that their affections are 'objectively disordered', not least in modern eroticized Western society, but biblical realism tells us that sin is inherent in ALL of us and our bodies cry out for that full redemption to come. In many ways Gene Robinson is a pleasant and nice man but he is no 'theologian' (which is what a bishop must be as a teacher of the Church of God) but a profoundly mistaken sentimentalist (echoes of a fundamentalist childhood?) who is (dis-)organizing his thinking around his own sexual feelings. It is a testament to the theological bankruptcy of ECUSA that anyone would take him seriously. The 'Catholic lite' appearance of that church conceals (for those who don't look carefully) the heterodox hollow at the center, a vacuum into which another religion (and a 'heteros Iesous') have entered.

Posted by: James Coleman on Tuesday, 5 April 2005 at 10:38am BST

The main 'evidence' (if one can call it that) comes from the gospels of John and Secret Mark, neither of which any liberal worth their salt would normally scour for accurate historical information, unless they had a vested interest in doing so.

Posted by: Christopher Shell on Wednesday, 6 April 2005 at 2:38pm BST

"Whether 'democracy' is a virtue in the election of bishops is not the issue, either. (Don't those Sinn Fein thugs claim a 'mandate'?) The issue has always been his fitness to be a bishop in the first place."

And of course, only those who agree with your position somehow have the mystical power to decide a candidate's fitness ?

A democratic process is the way the ECUSA determines how the Holy Spirit is speaking to our church. Perfect ? No, but as Churchill said, "It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried."

(the bit about Sinn Fein was a deliberately misleading distraction, and not worthy of further comment)

Posted by: Simeon on Wednesday, 6 April 2005 at 2:46pm BST

"It is a testament to the theological bankruptcy of ECUSA that anyone would take him seriously."

Oh yeah, the (collective) ad hominem: that's sure to persuade me. And making inferences via malicious gossip ("I cannot escape the impression that there is more to this than is being disclosed, knowing of cases where fragile marriages have foundered through addictions to substance abuse, pornography or affairs") is another winner.

Think I'll stick w/ the "theologically bankrupt" (as opposed to trotting off to my self-appointed theological superiors . . . though I'm sure they'd be willing to cancel my bankruptcy, w/ a gift of 30 pieces of {Ahmanson?} silver!)

{sarcase-mode OFF}

I am probably bankrupt: my only boast is that---Praise Christ!---I'm *redeemed*.

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Thursday, 7 April 2005 at 7:50am BST

Simeon: I have no mystical powers, and neither are they needed to determine a man's fitness to be a bishop; the terms for this are already given in 1 Timothy 3. My reference to Sinn Fein (I could just as easily have said George Bush) to which you took exception was simply to say that popular appeal (however this is assessed) is no measure of spiritual or moral truth. How a church elects its bishops doesn't really concern me; you might as well flip a coin or get an Egyptian shepherd boy to draw lots (well, it worked for St Matthias). My point (which I had already expressed) is that he should never have been a candidate in the first place.
JCF: when a marriage breaks down, there is always some cause to it. AFAIK, Robinson has not explained why he and his wife decided to divorce, beyond saying that 12 or 13 years into it, 'it wasn't working out'. What did he mean by this? This isn't a matter for public discussion but private pastoral concern. However,in the heterodox climate of Theuner's NH diocese, I am sure Robinson would not have received godly counsel. (Let me mention that I've known of three cases of Christian marriages and families breaking up over spousal homosexuality as old desires resurfaced - not to mention many more cases of heterosexual infidelity, greatly aided now by the internet. How would you counsel people in such a situation?) JCF, like you I want to affirm that I am saved by Christ. But my salvation does not consist of Christ affirming me forever 'just as I am' (God forbid!) but in conforming this broken sinner into His likeness.

Posted by: James Coleman on Thursday, 7 April 2005 at 10:27am BST

James, it genuinely mystifies me that, when quite a few respondents here at TA just drop, in passing, words to the effect of "well, we need not debate that the Bible condemns homosexuality," you feel you need (are entitled to?) some lengthy inquest into "what wasn't working out" in the marriage of Gene and Isabelle Robinson.

I don't pretend to know many details, but +Gene has said that he told her, going into the marriage, that he thought he had had (past-tense) a homosexual orientation, but he also thought it was behind him (this was in the early 1970s). They later together discovered what is now the well-established understanding, that sexual orientation is *immutable*. She let him go w/ her blessing (and soon re-married), they remained devoted co-parents (and now grandparents), and are very good friends to this day (as I'm sure you're aware, Isabelle presented him at his consecration). End of story (i.e., the rest is up to God).

How did "heterodox" (your term) counsel have an effect here? I just don't get it.

"But my salvation does not consist of Christ affirming me forever 'just as I am' (God forbid!) but in conforming this broken sinner into His likeness."

Amen to that! I honestly believe that the constant humiliation I feel on TA comment threads---this sense that I'm making an (obnoxious) fool of myself, that I am perennially inadequate to the task explaining my faith (God? Can I *please* have an "Aaron"?), that I'm talking to a wall (w/ a consequent echo), and sounding like a barking dog---are all a part of God's "conforming" plan. More and more, I find I *have* to lead on Christ to strengthen me, because it's All Too Much for this one wretched sinner.

When I am weak, then I am strong? I can only Hope!

Kyrie eleison---

Posted by: J. C. Fisher on Friday, 8 April 2005 at 6:49am BST

".. the constant humiliation I feel on TA comment threads .. the sense that I'm making an (obnoxious) fool of myself .."

*hugs JCF*

This place would be much duller without you, JCF, and I personally value your comments all the more for being so unashamedly personal (rather than being cut from a predictable ideological cookie-cutter, like the comments of some people I could mention ..).

Posted by: Andrew Conway on Thursday, 14 April 2005 at 11:00am BST
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