Saturday, 24 July 2010

opinion for St James the apostle

Tomorrow (Sunday) is the festival of James the apostle.
Sophia Deboick writes a Face to faith column in The Guardian about The enigma of Saint James. The identity of Saint James has been reinvented many times over two millennia, from Moor-slayer to Spaniard-killer to pilgrim.

The archbishop of Canterbury preached, in both Welsh and English, at an ecumenical service, held at Westminster Cathedral, to mark the 400th anniversary of the martyrdom of St John Roberts. What’s the martyr’s message to our society?

Jonathan Derbyshire profiles the archbishop in the New Statesman The NS Profile: Rowan Williams.

Theo Hobson explains in The Guardian Why I won’t pay for St Paul’s. It isn’t just meanness that makes me resent having to pay an entrance fee to visit places of worship like St Paul’s Cathedral.

Adrian Pabst writes in The Guardian that The ‘big society’ needs religion. The ‘big society’ will not work unless it is informed by religious ideas of free and reciprocal giving.
Giles Fraser also writes about the big society in his Church Times column: Why the Big Society is a good thing.
And the Church Times has this leader: Big question mark.

Writing in his blog, Nick Baines has Big questions about the ‘Big Society’.

Colin Slee writes in The Guardian about Desmond Tutu, prayerful priest.

Daniel Schultz at Religion Dispatches asks Will Gender and Sexuality Rend The Anglican Communion?

Posted by Peter Owen on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 9:40am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Opinion

Thank you for The article by Sophia Deboick and the Sermon by Rowan Williams( I had to read the English translation, of course). They are both helpful pieces to have before us as we celebrate the Feast of St. James tomorrow (July 25th). I was interested in the common ground between Deboick's article on St. James and Williams' sermon for St. John Roberts.There is a sense in which martyr's may die a second death depending on what we do with their memory and to their legacy. I think it is important to try and connect the life and death of a martyr to the death of Jesus. His death was a radical attempt to "speak truth to power" to use a current phrase. The thing about his death is not that it was so special but so ordinary, average, common. He died the death of the victimized, the persecuted, the powerless. The deaths of martyrs, and the death of Jesus which is the Christian prototype for the same, ought to make us more careful and attentive to the plight of those who in life and sometimes in death,are victims of ideology both political and religious. Jesus' counsel to both James and John, in the gospel for St. James Day, can be fairly interpreted as just this kind of cautionary tale.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 3:59pm BST

Just curious: has an British RC archbishop/bishop ever preached upon the feast-day of Cranmer, Ridley, Latimer (i.e., preached about their martyrdoms by RCs), in an Anglican cathedral? (I'd love to hear about it, if so!)

[@Theo Hobson: Agreed. And to paraphrase the U.S. saying re the Barbary pirates (in the 19th c.), "Multiple pounds in donations, not one red pence for a entrance fee!"]

Posted by: JCF on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 8:00pm BST

All I can say, is that St John Roberts laid down his life to witness against all that Anglicanism stands for.

Having Doctor Rowan Williams " preach" is totally inappropriate and shows the poor pastoral leadership of the Catholic wonder they have few vocations. It was the same
Westminster Cathedral which allowed the anti-Catholic film Elizabeth to be filmed there.

The message of the martyr was for the truth, the Catholic Church and the authentic Gospel. I just can't believe that Heaven has a place for both him and Rowan Williams (as he stands now).

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Saturday, 24 July 2010 at 11:36pm BST

Just in case anyone is hurt by what I wrote, let them consider how you would feel if the Pope
( still opposed to women's ordination) was asked to preach in Westminster Abbey to commemorate the first woman priest in the Anglican Communion.

We can be friends without pretending we believe the same thing.

How can Rowan talk of truth and a person who died for truth when he believes in gay liberation, but acts otherwise. Surely that is a valid point...taking aside the Catholic -protestant divide.

It was hard writing what I did, but I must stand by what I believe is the truth.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 12:00am BST

Very good question, JCF. Rowan Williams is an ecumenist of the extra mile, outshining dismal sectarians.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 6:21am BST

Well, he’s certainly ecumenical; should anyone find a sermon Rowan Williams has willingly given on the Marian martyrs I should be most grateful if they would direct me to it. I have yet to find one.

When the plaque commemorating St John Fisher was installed in the Tower of London the Times reported:

'Today’s celebration led Bishop Chartres to reflect on Fisher’s holiness, but also to reminisce about his own predecessor, Bishop Nicholas Ridley, burnt at the stake for heresy along with Hugh Latimer and later Thomas Cranmer during the subsequent reign of Queen Mary, who accepted the supremacy of the Pope.'

Unlike Richard Chartres, Rowan Williams may not actually believe that there were Protestant martyrs if the record on the web is anything to go by; his somewhat grudging presence at the commemoration of the 450th anniversary of Cranmer’s martyrdom, organised by the Prayer Book Society and not by Lambeth Palace, was only equalled by his somewhat grudging comments about Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer in the sermon he gave on that occasion. As far as Williams is concerned the defects, as he perceives them, of Cranmer's writing style reflected the defects, as he perceives them, of Cranmer himself:

'And in his last days, this was Cranmer’s curse. If there was no easy certainty enough to kill for, was there certainty enough to die for?'

Describing this as a curse does not sit well with Christ’s teachings; it is difficult to see how the Gospel of Love can be reconciled with the sort of absolute certainty for life, and for death, that Williams seems to admire.

If you compare it with his eulogy on the Carthusians killed by Henry VIII the contrast becomes yet more vivid; the really scary thing is that he seems more spiritually at home with the idea of people who had no doubt whatsoever about the acceptability of killing people for their own good, as the Inquisition did, than those who doubted that. In short, he seems to feel that the humanity of Thomas Cranmer -a wobbly martyr as Canon Vincent Strudwick put it- meant that he was not a proper martyr, really.

Unfortunately his apparent penchant for this sort of absolutism was even more notable in his Pentecostal letter, which exuded his impatience with us wobbly Christians; no wonder Katharine Jefferts Schori’s sermon today about trying to live our faith was greatly welcomed…

Posted by: chenier1 on Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 7:43pm BST

Btw 'speaking truth to power' is an old Quaker expression, for an old Quaker practice.

Posted by: Pantycelyn on Sunday, 25 July 2010 at 8:04pm BST

SpVat2, I think that chenier1 has represented my doubts well: is it that Rowan Cantuar is really "an ecumenist of the extra mile", or does he (whether he knows it or not) already have one foot out the Canterbury door, and into St Peter's? O_o

To really be "an ecumenist of the extra mile" (I like that phrase BTW!), one must have one's feet *firmly planted* in one's OWN tradition, even as one reaches out to others.

I see little evidence that the ABC fits this bill.

[@RIW: "I just can't believe that Heaven has a place for both him [St John Roberts] and Rowan Williams (as he stands now)." Really? REALLY?! I truly pity the narrowness of your belief-system, Robert Ian---which seems the antithesis of the breadth of *catholicity*]

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 1:28am BST

No the fact is the Catholic Church acknowledges no Protestant martyrs of the Reformation period, and unlike the Church of England we do not appropriate other peoples saints..we leave Cranmer and their ilk, and their culpability to the judgement of a Holy and Merciful God.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 6:30am BST

Well our Lord said it would be narrow. Catholicity is not comprehension.

St Edmund Campion sasked at his trial, could Heaven hold the ancient saints and Luther?

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 9:04am BST

"all that Anglicanism stands for"?
Surely the Trinitarian and Incarnational things that Anglicanism stands for would have been accepted by St. John Roberts (BTW, I tend to be on the side of all the monastic martyrs rather than Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, Hooper & Ferrar - but that's just me ...)

Posted by: Prior Aelred on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 12:29pm BST

Ian R. Williams, your postings range form a limited understanding to a serious misunderstanding of the roman Catholic tradition. In fact, you may be committing, from a Roman Catholic point of view, a "grave error" with your comments on Christ and resurrection. You have simply changed the tune from "Jesus loves me this I know for the bible tells me so" to "Jesus loves me this I know for the pontiff tells me so."

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 3:28pm BST

Surely the Catholic elements within Anglicanism are Catholic anyway. However error mixed with truth, is the very definition of heresy.

As for the resurrection. Before I converted to Catholicism, I asked myself could Christianity be a heresy of Judaism. Could the Jews be right in rejecting Christ. one of the arguments thay made was why did he not manifest himself after his resurrection to the whole nation. I thought this was a valid point,as our lord only appeared to a select number.

However when I discoverd the Petrine texts, and how they have wonderfully unfolded and held together for 2,000 years, I realised that this was of Divine origin. No human conspiracy could possibly confect that. I hope that doesn't sound blasphemous or disparing of the resurrection.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 9:12pm BST

It was a beautiful and moving sermon, as was the Archbishop's previous sermon on the Carthusian martyrs. The comments here make me wonder if everyone skipped over this bit: "It is a serious and destructive mistake to think of the martyr as some sort of proof of how right we are, some sort of 'point' in an argument. The martyr's business is celebration, celebration of the cross and resurrection, of the new creation." And furthermore, that the point of Anglican commemoration of the Recusant martyrs is not crypto-Romanism, but of looking with penitence on those whom we have pierced.

Posted by: Warren Woodfin on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 10:57pm BST

Rod..another point , I forgot to mention is that Catholics do not believe that the Bible is the sole proof of the ministry of our lord. Was it not St Augustine of Hippo who so beautifully put it, " I would not believe the Gospels if it were not for the Catholic church"

Catholics believe in the Scriptures, the unwritten sacred tradition and the living magisterium.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Monday, 26 July 2010 at 11:03pm BST

"the point of Anglican commemoration of the Recusant martyrs is not crypto-Romanism, but of looking with penitence on those whom we have pierced."

Well-said, Warren.

I don't expect the RCC to endorse Cranmer's liturgics (although, via the Ordinariate, aren't they doing just that? O_o)

But y'know, a little "we're here to remember/repent of *burning to death* this faithful Christian we happened to disagree with" would be nice.

[@RIW: very interesting confession.

"when I discoverd the Petrine texts, and how they have wonderfully unfolded and held together for 2,000 years, I realised that this was of Divine origin. No human conspiracy could possibly confect that. I hope that doesn't sound blasphemous or disparing of the resurrection."

No, not blasphemous (much less despairing). Merely, as SUBJECTIVE as any other faith-claim! Which is your right to make! (As is---of very different such such subjective claims---mine! ;-/)]

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 27 July 2010 at 11:06pm BST

The Catholic Church does not endorse Cranmer's liturgics and the Anglican use liturgy has been carefully revised to eliminate his Protestantism.

I meant disparaging not dispairing! My typing again.

There is nothing subjective about the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, as you see its wonderful unfolding of the deposit of faith throughout the centuries.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Thursday, 29 July 2010 at 6:53am BST

With apologies to Mr. Colbert I'd like to offer a "tip of the hat" to one poster and a "wag of the finger" to another.

"A tip of the hat" to Pantycelyn for pointing out the Quaker origin of the phrase "speak truth to power". I did not know that, but it makes perfect sense, and adds additional weight to the phrase. Thanks!

"A wag of the finger" to R.I. Williams for muddling up orthodox Roman Catholic teaching. Ian you can expect to spend a very long time in purgatory. I wonder how many potential converts to Rome you have deterred? tisk. tisk. tisk. For your penance say ten Hail Marys and read the entire Karl Rahner corpus in time for All Souls. lol!

Finally, thanks to Thinking Anglicans for the great set of articles on St. James Day. I'm still sifting. The article about Archbishop Tutu's retirement is first rate. What will the angels say when they look down and see that Archbishop Desmond is no longer before the public? May The Creator bless his retirement. Hopefully we will be sent someone else with the same grasp of incarnate truth as in "the Truth shall set you free"

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Thursday, 29 July 2010 at 4:16pm BST

Rod, that's quite the penance to assign. Not only will RIW be edified by reading Karl Rahner, the act will be profoundly penitential since Rahner is so deucedly hard to read.

His brother Hugo (also a Jesuit) is said to have observed, "What is needed is not a good translation of my brother Karl from German into English. What is needed is a good translation of my brother Karl from German into German."

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 30 July 2010 at 4:44am BST

Thanks for the post on Rahner Malcolm, you have caught the gist of the penance I have assigned our rookie RC friend quite nicely. If you want to get someone who is rushing to a conclusion to get the "wash on, wash off" thing, in this case who better than Rahner. I had thought of sticking Bernard Lonergan's name in there, but a penance should not be impossible for performance. Besides, Rahner is actually a lot like purgatory, suffering yes, but a joyful suffering with salvation at the end. Ah sometimes, I long for the days of my youth at University and Divinity School, nothing to do but read Rahner, Tillich, Lonergan, MacQuarrie, and company and talk with the Anglican, Roman Catholic and United Church faculty in an ecumenical environment.(sigh!)

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Friday, 30 July 2010 at 3:24pm BST
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