Comments: weekend reading

How could the CoE survive dis-establishment? Funds have to come from somewhere, and what alternate source is presently available. All of 900,000 people attend services each week. So the result of this action would be not unlike casting a man unprotected into outer space - thermal shock, boiling blood, pressure differential sucking every last molecule of oxygen out of his lungs, death. Perhaps it is inevitable, but let's at least be honest about it.


Posted by ECJ at Sunday, 20 February 2005 at 3:19am GMT

All this talk of measuring clerical performance, and the rights and obligations of professional clergy as employees demonstrates that the greatest assimilation of contemporary secular ideas into Christianity is in the area of corporate management. Ideas which have been developed for the purpose of increasing profits in industry are now being applied to an area where they can have no operation. The idea that the Church, or some part of it, can measure the extent to which it communicates good news to human beings - brings them life, abundant life - by some measure designed to increase profit is more than a little blasphemous. An institution so desperate for survival by any means is not preaching the gospel. It deserves to die - and the sooner the better to make room for new life. Abolish the professional clergy. Prohibit any lay person from serving on a synod for more than one term. Do away with all church politicians.

Posted by Rodney McInnes at Monday, 21 February 2005 at 2:28am GMT

Who are these "young, confused Anglicans" that Theo Hobson speaks of, who are attracted by the C of E but put off by the fact of establishment? Do they really exist? "Yeah, Common Worship rocks! And Bishop Tom Wright is, like, so-o-o cool! But establishment really sucks! I think I'll go and join the Methodists instead."

More seriously, Hobson alleges that Rowan Williams was a supporter of disestablishment until about 2002, when he modified his views in order to improve his chances of preferment to Canterbury. This portrait of the Archbishop as an ambitious place-seeker is inherently implausible to anyone who has followed his career; but in any case, it is not borne out by the evidence. His 1998 essay "Incarnation and the Renewal of Community", which Hobson quotes, suggests that there may be a case for establishment in terms of "the Church's witness to a community without boundaries other than Christ" and "the state's witness to the reality of goals beyond its own".

ECJ, I think you are confusing disestablishment with disendowment. The two are not necessarily connected.

Posted by Andrew Conway at Monday, 21 February 2005 at 2:58pm GMT

Interesting line from Theo Hobson at the end:

"It has already been said a number of times that the Church came into existence over a controversial royal marriage, so it can hardly object to this one. Well, most things have changed in 500 years. For example, Charles could not have decided to have Diana publicly beheaded."

Depends if you believe any of the conspiracy theories about Diana's death, doesn't it!

But I think that disestablishment - which I don't think is the financial vacuum that ECJ imagines - is ever more clearly on the cards. The AB of C cannot publically call for disestablishment, any more than the Queen can call for a republic, so Rowan's comments before his appointment were probably necessary. But it's clear that the Church wants to appoint its own bishops as does every other Anglican province, and if Parliament gets in the way of any controversial Synod measures (women bishops, anyone?) then the pressure will become immense.

Posted by Richard M at Monday, 21 February 2005 at 4:17pm GMT
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