Saturday, 8 May 2010

post-election opinion

updated Saturday lunchtime to add Colin Slee’s article

Colin Slee writes a Face to faith article for The Guardian: A haven from crisis. Disillusioned Catholics can find solace in a church that combines tradition and modernity.

This week’s question at The Guardian’s Comment is Free belief is Is intelligent design bad theology?
Here are the responses.
Steve Fuller Science in God’s image The greatest scientific advances presuppose something that looks very like the mind of God.
Michael Ruse Intelligent design is an oxymoron Intelligent Design theory is a mountain of waffle resting on analogy. Neither scientists nor believers should touch it.
Mark Vernon Bad science, bad theology, and blasphemy ID is indeed bad theology. It implies that God is one more thing along with all the other things in the universe.

Geoffrey Rowell writes in a Credo column for the Times about Encountering divine love in the desert and in Norwich. The mystic Julian of Norwich discovered the depth of God’s love during sixteen divine apparitions.

Also in the Times Ruth Gledhill writes about Church factions in theological battle for soul of Cardinal Newman.

Christopher Howse looks at the history of rented seats in the UK’s churches in a Sacred Mysteries column in the Telegraph: Renting the best seats in church.

Giles Fraser wrote this for the Church Times before Thursday’s general election: It’s time to prepare for lean years. But this is only available to subscribers. This might be a mistake so look again on Monday after the Church Times office opens.

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 8 May 2010 at 12:28pm BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

The issue is not whether God tweaks Creation. God does, sometimes.

The issue is that some souls say that because God tweaks that somehow puts them in a special class not subject the laws and forces that drive the rest of the universe. That kind of theology is often adopted by selfish souls who use it to sociopathically dismiss the suffering of others and to justify abuse.

God has the capacity to do anything, but God chooses to allow Creation to move in accordance with laws and principles. The alternative is the destruction of the universe as the ripples of violence would literally shatter it apart. Where necessary, God intervenes to rebuke and contain those souls who would take such paths, even to the point of discrediting and shaming those who have failed to protect when it was their responsibilty (e.g. Jesus failing to get pedophiles under control).

Posted by: Cheryl Va. on Saturday, 8 May 2010 at 9:47pm BST

"Last year seven men were ordained priest in the Roman Catholic church in the UK: there were 574 ordained in the CofE (of whom 274 were women). There is a crisis looming for the Vatican and they just don't get it: the priesthood is ageing and diminishing, something must be done or the church will implode." - Colin Slee, Guardian Comment -

the Revd. Colin Slee states a very important fact of life here. The indigenous Church of England, with all its failings, is at least still finding vocations into the ministry of the Church. The fact that many of the ordinands are women should be borne in mind when General Synod in July meets to vote on the question of Women Bishops.

The natural question to be asked here is: Why does the Roman Catholic Church lag behind in drawing recruits (exclusively male) into its ministerial ranks? This is the main question that must be exercising the minds of, not only the Faithful laity, but also the local hierarchy and the Pope in Rome.

One inescapable reason is the demand of celibacy in the life-time commitment of its clergy. Celibacy is understandable for vocations to the 'Religious Life' (monks and nuns); whereas not even the Eastern Orthodox Church requires its priests to undertake a vow of celibacy - on the contrary, Orthodox priests (except in a religious order, or in the episcopate) are required to be married!

Celibacy for priests, as has been noted by Colin Slee in his conversation with the late Cardinal Hume (albeit in private) was largely a matter of economics. The Roman Catholic Church could not afford to sustain its priests in the married state. The cost of stipends, housing and family expenses simply could not be afforded. And this is something which those Anglicans hoping to join the Ordinariates will have to take into consideration - before they forsake their present security..

I guess that if priesthood in the Roman Catholic Church were opened up to women, many of their recruitment problems would be a thing of the past. There are many very capable Religious and Lay women in the R.C. Church who would gladly take up the slack. This also would obviate the present problem of nuns having to distribute the Blessed Sacrament from the Tabernacle in the unavoidable absence of a priest. These nuns should be made priests - after all, their whole life is already dedicated to the service of God and the Church. Could God not call them into service as priests in the sanctuary? They do most other things around the church that a priest does.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 9 May 2010 at 12:03pm BST

Perhaps Newman is partly to blame for the rightist hijacking of his name. Fortunately they did not get his body.

It is good that Ruth has named the issue about Newman publicly.

Newman's greatness lies in particular in his introduction of the principle of change and development, as intrinsically good and necessary things, into a Church (both Anglican and Catholic) that since the 16th century had been frozen in a cult of no change. And also in his persuasive modern conception of the nature of Faith.

These are the two points that his right wing hijackers never mention.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Sunday, 9 May 2010 at 2:54pm BST

Interesting note about Pew Rents being unlawful in England. They were very common in parts of Canada in the 19th Century, and very much lawful, provision for them having been made in legislation which is still in force.

I once suggested to my parish that we should return to the practice of renting pews, pricing them on the basis of supply and demand: $10 per week for the front row, $20 for the second row....

Posted by: Nom de Plume on Sunday, 9 May 2010 at 3:12pm BST

Since all the churches in the Bristol suburb of Clifton had pew rents (and were in the hands of bodies such as the Simeon Trust) the church where I went, All Saints' Clifton, had as one of its objects at its foundation, the provision of free seating for all. Nevertheless, until the church was bombed in 1940, women sat on on side and men on the other.

Posted by: Richard Ashby on Monday, 10 May 2010 at 11:53am BST

"Nevertheless, until the church was bombed in 1940, women sat on on side and men on the other.:
- Richard Ashby -

Maybe though, Richard, this would have been due to the existence of a sort of 'F.i.F.' principle of making sure the sexes were not mixed at worship. All Saints Margaret Street, in London, when I first visited, had the same configuration - males on the right and females on the left (except for families). Just shows how time, and theology per sex differentiation, has changed in the interim.
At least - for most of us. Deo Gratias!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 11 May 2010 at 5:01am BST

"On the surface, all is Christian love and fellowship. But beneath the surface rages a theological battle for the soul of Cardinal John Henry Newman and of the Roman Catholic Church itself." - Ruth Gledhill -

Thanks to Ruth for this thoughtful and thought-provoking article on the Cardinal Newman epic.

While Roman Catholics squabble about what to do with his remains, the Good Cardinal foxed the lot of them. By arranging to be buried as he did, beside his beloved in the graveyard - without the security of a leaden coffin - this dearly-loved, one-time Anglican, Divine seemingly intended to escape what might have been the possibility of making sacred relics of his mortal remains - thus hoping, perhaps, for a dignified exit from the panoply of vaticano sainthood.

Those who knew him personally - as either Anglican or Roman Catholic, would have probably been struck by the force of his humility and the depth of his human relationships - as far as they were allowed at that time - and would have recognized his deep desire for anonymity post mortem - or why else would he have so arranged the circumstances of his burial?

Whatever the Roman Catholic Church wants to do for him now, they can never outdo God's love of the saintly scholar and pastor that he was in life. Why do they want to resurrect his ghost and laud his scapular after his death?

REST ETERNAL grant to John Henry, O Lord.
May light perpetual shine upon him.
and rise one day with Christ in glory. Amen.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 12 May 2010 at 12:08pm BST
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