Saturday, 20 June 2009

opinions at Albantide

George Pitcher wrote in the Telegraph that A good claret, Bishop, is a menace to no one.

Last week, in the Church Times Colin Buchanan wrote that The time is up for first past the post.

Paul Vallely also wrote about the recent election, see Not thugs so much as alienated.

This week, Giles Fraser writes that Art should point further than cash.

Theo Hobson at Cif belief wrote that We must separate church and state.

In answer to the question Can religion save the world? Parna Taylor writes that Religious literacy matters.

Nick Jowett writes in The Times that Great music can unite the sacred and the secular.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 20 June 2009 at 1:04am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

I think Paul Vallely should speak to George Pitcher; everything in the latter bears out the point he is trying to make about the sneering sense of dismissal of the socially inferior by their self-assessed and self-obsessed social superiors; curiously there's also a hint of BNP-like eugenics in the analysis, with reference to the PR person who keeled over and died - ah, it's congenital; not made of the right stuff.

Salmon and claret vs lager and kebabs - where is there any vision in this?

Posted by: MikeM on Saturday, 20 June 2009 at 8:33am BST

I thought Nick Jowett's piece was excellent - especially as it used the example of Haydn - my favourite composer and - for me - the composer of the most intelligent religious music.

Posted by: John on Saturday, 20 June 2009 at 6:57pm BST

Salmon and claret?

Posted by: Lapinbizarre on Saturday, 20 June 2009 at 8:31pm BST

Theo Hobson's insightful article about the need for separation of Church and State in the UK is interesting to those of us who are Anglicans on the outside, so to speak, from other jurisdictions?

The Church of England would appear to be the only Anglican institution which is bound by state regulation - a fact which still puzzles those Provinces of the Anglican Communion which are entirely free from interference by the state.

It is surprising that, in this time of questioning the legitimacy of 'theocratic statehood', the Church of England is still tied to governmental regulation of its internal policy - on issues like the choice of episcopal candidates; the decision about whether or not to ordain women to the episcopate, etc., - all issues which might more properly be undertaken by the ecclesiastical authorities - without interference from the state.

In a secular climate, theocratic states can be a real threat to democracy - as is being played out on the Muslim front in places like Iran at this very moment. The Church of England needs to ask itself: "should we continue to support the idea of state dependency, when other religious systems are being questioned on this issue?"

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 21 June 2009 at 9:38am BST

The only trouble is the C of E has shown itself to need the protection of the state. It needs the state to protect it from itself, and especially from certain extreme elements who want to turn it into an 'Evangelical' sect, with a reactionary theology and practice.

The state helps the C of E to be more godly. But that should come as no surprise to students of church history and human nature.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Sunday, 21 June 2009 at 12:56pm BST

I omited to include (above) those who want a similarly reactionary 'Catholic' sect. Both groups seek power through excluding others from their holy inner circle, be it those whose paradigms differ within the 'active ranks' of 'the Church', or the general public seeking ministries at key moments in their lives.

The two groups traditionally come together (a difficult feat) from time to time, to form unholy alliances which exclude others, or certain values and actions. (cf Anglican-Methodist unity on Michael Ramsey's watch, and progress towards women's ministry etc).

Eames' recent lecture on the poer struggle in the Anglican Communion explores the issues well.

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Sunday, 21 June 2009 at 8:14pm BST

Can we be clear about this: since Gordon Brown became PM the State has abandoned any claim to a voice in the appointment of bishops and of cathedral deans and canons (Green Paper, 'The Governance of Britain', July 3rd 2007).

At the initiative of the 'new' PM, the arrangement now is that the PM's office simply sends to the Queen the one name the Church has nominated and the Queen appoints that person. This is not perfect but it is no longer appointment by the Government. Creating new structures to fit this new reality is the next step. The Crown Nominations Commission now looks like the left-over mechanism of an abandoned arrangement. It will no doubt be replaced as we see the implications and possibilities of the new arrangement.

The PM, therefore, no longer has an Appointments Adviser (for senior appointments - the role previously filled by with such distinction by William Chapman). The job of those who fill what remains of that role is merely to pass on the paperwork (names to Queen, etc.) and to deal with appointments to the Royal Peculiars (especailly Windsor and Westminster) which have always fallen outside the usual structures of the Church of England (and are arguably 'irrelevant', private corporations).

The attempt to justfy having our bishops in the Lords by right must surely be further weakeked by the above changes; but that is something for another post...

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Sunday, 21 June 2009 at 10:29pm BST

That's not entirely accurate. See this Church Times news report from June 2008

Also, the workload of Crown parochial appointments remains unchanged, there are around 600 or so parish livings for which either the Crown or the Lord Chancellor is responsible.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 21 June 2009 at 10:57pm BST

Bill Bowder's CT article was written before


Since then the Church has begun to legislate for mechanisms to appoint deans and all cathedral canons, including the royal appointments. In all of these it is propsed (for better or worse) that the bishop takes the lead. I don't remember where all that has got to but I understand it effectively removes the choice of the PM (who doesn't want it!). Correct me, Simon, if necessary.

Note also that the Downing Street official no longer does any interviewing of persons deemed potentially suitable for senior appointment. That is now done by Caroline Boddington at Lambeth Palace.

What is sad in all this is that the initiative for change came from Gordon Brown, not from the Church. In taking up his offer of more freedom (without any debate) the bishops have probably removed the last excuse for being accorded seats in the Lords by virtue of their office.

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Monday, 22 June 2009 at 8:39am BST

"I omited to include (above) those who want a similarly reactionary 'Catholic' sect."

That's so easy to forget. I keep going on and on about "Evangelicals", but Anglocatholics make up part of that odd alliance, unstable in both status and makeup. Do they tend to be the ACs who consider the English Reformation a small spat and pray for "our Pope" as though the bishop of Rome was quite happy with the current set up, with, of course, some minor little quibbles? It's just another manifestation of the insecurity that makes some people need a clearly spelled out code to follow so they can be sure of Gods' love for them because they obey the code. Some of them find that authority in the Bible, others find it in the modern manifestation of ancient Imperial power structures. Some even switch from one to the other. It isn't about a particular understanding of the Gospel at it's base, it's about fear.

Posted by: Ford Elms on Monday, 22 June 2009 at 4:17pm BST

No, that document is dated October 2007, i.e. well before June 2008.

See also this report of the February 2008 debate in General Synod.

It is entirely correct that the Prime Minister no longer is offered two names to choose from. And that the removal of this option also removes the rationale for retaining bishops in the House of Lords.

However, I fail to understand how this sounds any death knell for the Crown Nominations Commission.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 22 June 2009 at 10:55pm BST

Quite right, Simon: my mistake. But doesn't the point still stand that the PM is now, in effect, not involved in choosing people for senior church appointments.

I am not claiming that this sound the death knell for the CNC, I am suggesting that we've come a long way since Jim Callaghan's premiership and I am guessing that we shall continue to evolve.

I agree we still have a way to go before the Church is free of the trappings of Establishment.

Posted by: Lister Tonge on Tuesday, 23 June 2009 at 9:10am BST

Thanks Rev L.

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Tuesday, 23 June 2009 at 2:20pm BST
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