Comments: Forward in Faith and Rome

Interesting point--if an Anglican priest is reordained in the Anglican Rite, does that mean that he was never a priest before? He never administered any sacraments? No one he married was married? No one he baptized was baptized? He never offered forgiveness of sins, meaning those he offered last rites are now in hell?

In other words, if he submits to re-ordination, is he renouncing all his previous work as a priest as null and void?

I'd really, really have to hate gays and women priests to do that.

Posted by Ashpenaz at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:36am BST

Is the C of E a sinking ship, making it suicidal to stay aboard?

In Ireland many people are feeling the same about the RC church and jumping to Anglicanism.

Maybe the churches would do well to pull together instead of conducting these sea-battles or using threats to jump as blackmail.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:07am GMT

From the Forward in Faith sermon, at a Votive Mass of Our Lady on Saturday, 24th October 2009 delivered by Revd. William Davage SSC:

You cannot dilute the Faith as would the liberal catholic: that suppurant oxymoron.

See my comments on such after listening and some note taking around the first of these very useful recordings:

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2009/10/forward-in-faith-remaining-catholics.html

Posted by Pluralist at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 4:16am GMT

I listened to the speeches at the Forward in Faith gathering, and it is very clear that they have NO intention of taking up the Roman offer. Rather they go on and on about getting better "provisions" form the C of E's General Synod, and seeing the C of E keep its "Catholic integrity". One speaker concludes: "Now provision is needed more than ever." "So it's business as usual, our fight goes on."

The next speaker: "I want to support everything that's been said about continuing the stuggle in the synodical process... The current struggle in the General Synod must go on..."

We must not be "distracted by this very generous offer from the Vatican."

In fact I detect PANIC here. The group most menaced by the Vatican offer are Anglo-Catholics who may see their numbers depleted.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 6:10am GMT

'Now Bishop Hind, the most senior traditionalist in the Church of England, has confirmed that he is willing to sacrifice his salary and palace residence to defect to the Catholic Church. "This is a remarkable new step from the Vatican," he said. "At long last there are some choices for Catholics in the Church of England. I'd be happy to be reordained (sic) into the Catholic Church"'

"Out of the mouths of...". Surely, as he has now declared his desertion of the Church of England, this prelate should be divested of the dignity of office with that Church. The clergy and people of his present diocese can surely not be expected to take any episcopal direction from this would-be Roman Catholic adherent - especially as he states that he would need to be 're-ordained' in order to practise the sacerdotal ministry of Christ.

For such a seditious poclamation to be made in the presence of a gathering of Anglican clergy in England, this requires nothing less than the withdrawal of his licence to administer the office of a Bishop in the C.of E. Elizabeth I would have had him beheaded. However, perhaps the withdrawal of his episcopal status in the C.of E. would be a more fitting pentalty in this case.

Bishop Hind has already promised to make the 'ultimate sacrifice' of his stipend and episcopal palace. Let that be put to the test immediately - before he changes his mind on the specifics.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 7:31am GMT

Father Ron Smith's posting is genuinely amusing - I assume a priest couldn't write such stuff seriously. 'Gentleness, humility, patience, compassion, forbearance' etc.
Very amusing references to Elizabeth I too. Under the same criteria I think Rowan's head would have gone by now too - what with Romish practises like Benediction etc!

Posted by Neil at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 9:45am GMT

'Surely, as he has now declared his desertion of the Church of England,'

What remains to be seen is whether than Church of England chooses to abandon what she once was...deserting that historical mix of evangelical, liberal and Catholic. To be left sans many Catholics with a high church liberal tradition, broad Church people (and we need to hear more from this element I think) and evangelicals of various types I think would be very sad.

Posted by neil at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 10:12am GMT

"Bishop Hind has already promised to make the 'ultimate sacrifice' of his stipend and episcopal palace. Let that be put to the test immediately - before he changes his mind on the specifics."

Amen, brother amen! Would that all the posturing and whining and threatening and attention seeking end and let the true show begin - time for action Bishop Hind - put an end to the rhetoric.

Posted by ettu at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:02pm GMT

"While the bishop stressed that this would depend on his previous ministry being recognised, he said that the divisions in the Anglican Communion could make it impossible to stay." What exactly does this mean? Is he referencing his sacramental actions as a priest with the concomitant question of the recognition of his orders as a priest? Is he possibly speaking instead of an appointment for himself as ordinary (not bishop) for the FiF in the CofE that move to Rome? Frankly I'm confused here. Are there other possible explanations as well?

Posted by EmilyH at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:43pm GMT

Ron, regardless of what Bp Hind has or has not said - please note that it is not possible to withdraw his episcopal licence because he does not have one. Bishops are appointed by the crown and, once enthroned, have a freehold. It would be virtually impossible to remove a bishop who has committed no crime.

Posted by David Malloch at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:54pm GMT

Thanks for the link to my analysis of Day 1 at the FIF Assembly. I used to be a frequent reader of Thinking Anglicans in my Anglo-Catholic days.

My take on Day 2 is up now:

http://subtuum.blogspot.com/2009/10/forward-in-faith-assembly-day-two-as.html

In this installment I start by going back to the Bishop of Chichester's speech from the previous day. The Telegraph's characterization of what he said misses the tenor of the speech by a wide mark. The Bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough seem to be on the road to Rome.

Bishop Hind seemed to say that, as an Anglo-Catholic and an ecumenist, he's always been on the road to Rome but that FIF should make sure that it can't bring along the whole Church of England through witness, ARCIC, etc.

He may be willing to be re-ordained, but he did not sound as if he's inclined to do so until all other options were dead.

Posted by StephenOcist at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 12:57pm GMT

"Interesting point--if an Anglican priest is reordained in the Anglican Rite, does that mean that he was never a priest before? He never administered any sacraments? ...He never offered forgiveness of sins, meaning those he offered last rites are now in hell?"

Ashpenaz, I assume that even the most rabidly ultramontane Anglo-Papalist doesn't imagine that anyone's avoidance of going to Hell depends on the validity of the ordination of the person putatively giving him the last rites.

But yes, the RCC's position on the validity of the Sacraments as performed by Anglican bishops and priests is that there is none, with the exception of Baptism. And that's because laypeople can legitimately baptize.

Posted by BillyD at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 1:29pm GMT

What they mean is, that they themselves think they are priests now, but know that Rome doesn't. So they join Rome believing Rome is deeply mistaken ... and disputing Rome's authority. Nice one.

Posted by Rosemary Hannah at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 2:57pm GMT

Yes, WWGQBD? (Good Queen Bess, that is).

She's just the one to Tudor us about what to do with bothersome Bishops like FRS and Neil named.

I'd agree with the 'get rid of' part, let's just find a way of doing it without violence and be quick about it.

Posted by Brant-in-LA at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 3:10pm GMT

In 1577, Elizabeth I "suspended" Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury, from his jurisdictional (but not his spiritual) duties, for what she and her government regarded as an excess of Puritan zeal. She wished to have him deprived altogether, but it could not be done constitutionally; as Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Elizabeth could make no claim to the cure of souls or exercise royal power over spiritual matters. Hence Grindal remained "suspended" and in limbo until shortly before his death in 1582, when he apologized to the queen and was reinstated.

So the thing could be done, if the Church of England were willing to do it, and it would be an interesting exercise in boundary-setting. Are there things a Church of England bishop cannot do and still remain in office? Scheming to detach one's diocese from the Church of England and join it to another church, without the prior consent of the Church of England, might very well be one.

Of course, that would also be an admission that Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori of TEC has been right to deprive bishops and priests of their jurisdictional status within TEC -- not their orders! -- for attempts to join their dioceses and parishes to other churches, without the prior consent of TEC.

As I say, an interesting exercise in boundary-setting.

Posted by Charlotte at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 5:14pm GMT

Ashpenaz - "...if he submits to re-ordination, is he renouncing all his previous work as a priest as null and void?"

I attended on Friday to listen in to the speeches, especially as +Chichester is my diocesan. (I guess there were not many others who had voted in favour of women bishops at General Synod present...)

Your point is one that concerns me too. Whilst I can't speak on any of their behalf, I think they might say something along these lines:
The Roman Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation, is very different to the RC Church of today, so for many of them, the Tiber is no longer very wide.

Many are cradle Anglicans, and have a deep desire for both churches 'that they may be one'. They see their priesthood as completely in the apostolic succession, even if Rome does not acknowledge it currently. They have been serving God as priests in the Church of God (Church of England), and really wish to be part of the Church Universal.

If, without denying the ordination & ministry they have already been engaged in (a point several people mentioned, and +Chichester specifically emphasised); if without minimising the sacraments they had administered and the Church they had been faithful to, they could have their vocation once more recognised, be received in to the sacred ministry of the Roman church, they would be prepared to do it, for the sake of full visible unity of the church. I don't consider that be a selfish or dismissive position to hold.

However, I think it will now be much harder for the conservative catholics wishing to remain in the CofE maintaining special pleading, excluding the clear considered wish of the wider CofE to have women ordained to the episcopate. I'm sorry that this is so frequently charicatured as simply liberalism or political correctness, rather than even possibly being a movement of the Spirit.

Posted by Alastair Cutting at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 5:35pm GMT

Listened to the FIF speeches,,, it would appear the attitude is:

Thank you Rome.. we can use you as keverage with our bishops.

Bishop Iker even confessed that many of his flock are divorced and re-married ex Roman Catholics.

Forward in Faith are not going to Rome.

Posted by Robert Ian williams at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 5:50pm GMT

"Scheming to detach one's diocese from the Church of England and join it to another church, without the prior consent of the Church of England"

That is just not going to be attempted - it would not be possible: English diocese are not monochrome and there would be no consensus for such a proposal. Of course, this also raises the issue of identity of the "Church of England" from whom consent might be sought: Synod? The Archbishops' Council? Parliament?

Neither the withdrawal of a diocese, nor the identity of a consenting body are realities in England.

Posted by David Malloch at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 6:00pm GMT

Beware of stories that use the announcements of individual conversions (or possible conversions) as evidence of a sweeping trend. I can't speak to the British context, but I'm pretty sure the Pope's latest offer is going to have almost no impact in North America. What you will have then, is a lot of reporters and editors with egg on their faces, eager for any evidence that justifies the way that they have overplayed this story. (The Wall Street Journal seems to be under the impression that Peter Akinola is seriously considering jumping ship!) An easy way for the media to sustain the misimpression that they have created is to seize on the departure of individual priests or parishes and make it seem that these are evidence of a great movement.

We're very familiar with this in the Episcopal Church. Based on the coverage our "schism," who would believe that only three or four percent of our people have joined the new Duncan/Minns outfit? But add up their numbers, subtract all of those who were never Episcopalians in the first place (the Reformed Episcopalians, much of the Anglican Mission in America) and you arrive at about 60,000. Divide by 2.1 million.

It is impossible to know yet whether the pope's recent initiative will make much difference in the composition of the Anglican Communion. But it is clear that reporters have already placed their bets, and that they will be looking for any scrap of evidence that would force them to back down. So proceed with skepticism.

Posted by Jim Naughton at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 6:02pm GMT

Methinks JW-J's article about Rt Rev John Hind might be a little premature or assumed (as Sr Anne Williams might say). That was not what I understood from hearing the discussion at the FiF meeting.

I believe a response from +Chichester, clarifying his position, is due on the diocesan web site shortly. http://www.diochi.org.uk

Posted by Alastair Cutting at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 6:08pm GMT

What would happen if a cabinet minister was publicly speculating about switching to the Conservatives? I suppose I'm grateful that the Anglican church is as open as it is: I'd rather be in a church that allowed too much dissent, rather than too little. All the same, if a bishop really is that unsure about whether he's in the right church, I wonder if he can really put his heart and soul into his duties as a bishop.

Posted by David Keen at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 7:00pm GMT

"Ron, regardless of what Bp Hind has or has not said - please note that it is not possible to withdraw his episcopal licence because he does not have one. Bishops are appointed by the crown and, once enthroned, have a freehold. It would be virtually impossible to remove a bishop who has committed no crime." - David Malloch -

Well, David. I suppose that if Bishop Hinds were to proclaim the Church of England apostate - which is virtually what he is doing here - the State (C.of E. being a 'State Church') could conceivably depose him from his sinecure?

Ah Well, I suppose the next best thing for the Church to do is make sure that Fr. Kirk does not extend his dis-service to the Church by trying to extend his tenure beyond retirement age. Otherwise he has threatened to take his parish, the parish church and all the property of his parish into the new 'Ordinariate'. That could be a problem. The C.of E. needs, quickly, to make sure that other dissidents don't try this trick.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 9:43pm GMT

The Pope and Bishop John Hind seem to share at least one characteristic. They don't consult or inform anyone. So this morning in Chichester Cathedral all we knew was what we had read in the paper (or here) or on the radio. I was doing the intercessions. How could I pray for 'our' bishop when I didn't know whether he was our bishop any more? Should I just leave him out, or refer to him in some other way? In the end I used the 'John our bishop' formula as usual but included praying for those who no longer feel that [Church of England] can remain their home.

Oh and I slipped in a reference to civil partnerships alongside marriage. Don't think anyone noticed! Anyway the roof didn't fall in.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 10:09pm GMT

If Charlotte's right, then perhaps the Church of England will finally grown a spine on the issue of cross-boundary incursions.

It's an ill wind that blows nobody no good.

Posted by Jeremy at Sunday, 25 October 2009 at 11:54pm GMT

David Malloch writes: "Neither the withdrawal of a diocese, nor the identity of a consenting body are realities in England."

If anything, that makes it still more morally reprehensible for the Church of England to be actively abetting the breakaway bishops and factions in the United States. You can stir up and reward schism in TEC, in the knowledge that it can't possibly come back to bite you. This is a little like taking measures to spread the swine flu to your neighbors, knowing that you've had the vaccine and can't get it yourself. Except that you can "catch the schism," as you have been shown by the Pope's actions, and the concurrent activities of the Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans -- UK.

+Chicester has clarified his position, so the point is now moot as it regards him, but it remains a live point otherwise.

Posted by Charlotte at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 1:22am GMT

"Dr Rowan Williams, awarded the Degree to Bishop John yesterday in Lambeth Palace. (dated 22/9/09)

The DD has been awarded, "In recognition of his significant contribution to the Faith and Order Movement, to the development of the Church of England's ecumenical relations over many years and to the study of ecclesiology."
- Chichester Diocesan web-site -

One does wonder whether the good Bishop will also renounce his Lambeth DD, now that his feelings towards the Church of England have been revealed -through his answer to a questioner at the recent F.i.F. Conference - that he intends to renounce his palace and appurtenances should the Apostolic Constitution being prepared by the Bishop of Rome to 'Receive' him prove acceptable.

What does the ABC really think of this latest development on the part of his newest graduate?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 3:00am GMT

Good for you, Richard. I'm sure everybody noticed. I'm sure also even those who disapprove of civil partnerships/homosexual marriage weren't offended: reasonable people within the C of E (of whom many remain) aren't offended when people put down little markers of their different principles. Often, there are little smiles - even, in a way, of pleasure, even from 'opponents'.

Alastair: I'm sure you're right that the position of FiF people who won't/don't want to/go over to Rome will be/is already weakened. But that is one reason (for a 'liberal' such as myself there are of course others) why I think they generically (does that include you? I do not wish to offend in any way) have made such a bad mistake in hailing the Pope's 'offer' so rapturously. I suppose that consideration lay behind the formula of some that the movement must not be 'distracted' by the Pope's 'generous' offer. But most, very publicly, have been, and, although I agree with you that their desire for (re)union with Rome, provided etc., is not per se dishonourable, if it doesn't come off, they've dished themselves at Synod. Those who do go have also dished those (actually, most, I think) who wish to remain. (I don't think these points have sunk in: most seem to think their corporate position is one of strength.) On one level, I feel very sorry, because some did seem to be arguing for genuine pluralism and for the historical Protestant-Catholic 'constitution' of the C of E. But although loyalty boundaries should be elastic and generous (even to the extent of 'separate provision'), too many FiF people have shown too little loyalty to the C of E and some of the abuse of opponents (of various hues) has been quite dreadful (as you yourself seem to imply) and, often, indeed, positively unhinged. Anyway, for me a decent 'Catholic' representation remains in AffCath and SCP (even though that 'churchmanship' is not particularly my own), especially as such 'Catholicity' corresponds pretty closely to that of the majority of RCs (not, obviously, the minority Vatican regime).

Posted by john at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 5:43am GMT

Surely there is something wrong if the Catholic Church ordains unconditionally an Anglican who believes he is already a priest...surely in assenting to the Roman Catholic Church he accepts the Magisterial authority which has pronounced his orders invalid. If Rome have got it wrong on his orders , why not on other issues?

Yes there is thanks for his fomer ministry at the Catholic ordination, but this is so worded that it could apply to a Salvation Army officer or a Methodist minister. In the US other Protestant ministers have been accepted for ordination in the Catholic Church.

Posted by Robert Ian williams at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 8:26am GMT

So is he going or isn't he? John Hind's statement doesnt seem to get us any further forward. I am not quite sure what he is denying since he talks about being willing to be re-ordained if 'union with Rome' occurs. But what 'union' since he says that the issue of the recognition of Anglican oders is dead with the ordination of women and other developments. So since there can be no 'corporate' reunion presumably he must have in mind something like what the Pope seems to be offering. So where is the difference? But then I am an ingnorant layperson.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 10:23am GMT

john: "...does that include you?"

I think you might have missed the line where I indicated I was probably alone in being there as one who had voted in favour of women bishops in General Synod (hopefully whilst not excluding those who find it impossible to accept).

So no, I am not part of the 'generic' FiF crowd. I had permission to attend as an observer; but I take my responsibilities as a Synod member seriously, so seek to be as accurately informed as possible. Even where I don't really agree.

Posted by Alastair Cutting at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 11:10am GMT

I'm sure Fr. Ron Smith was just as quick and as vocal in calling for deposition of the liberal TEC priests who hit the news a while ago for practicing Buddhism and Islam - both clear desertions of the faith of TEC, such as it is. I expect I just missed it. :)

Posted by Clive at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 2:26pm GMT

"Oh and I slipped in a reference to civil partnerships alongside marriage. Don't think anyone noticed! Anyway the roof didn't fall in."-Richard Ashby

Oh good for you...I noticed also a year ago, a quiet rebellion going on among the Canons in Exeter when I sang there.

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 5:17pm GMT

Shall we update Clive on TEC? I'm going to try, in the interests of truth.

The priest who claimed to be practicing both Islam and Cnristianity was deposed. Thew Forrester (who was practicing Zen meditation, something Thomas Merton also did) was denied the needed consents to become a bishop, though more on the grounds that he was writing his own baptismal services.

Shame that the rumors repeated by Clive and his ilk turn out so often to be without foundation. Double shame that the Church of England is willing to break its ties with TEC over stuff like this.

Triple shame that the cause is the alleged TEC approach to the Sacraments -- for what we do should give no pause to any Church of England Evangelical. Let's look at what's done in the Church of England, shall we?

We may start with the liturgical chaos of Common Worship. The Evangelical vicars chop and channel those liturgies, each to his personal taste. As if that were not enough, some of these "orthodox" actually improvise the Words of Institution. Communing the unbaptized is a common Evangelical practice in the C of E. Worse, lay presidency is practiced among Evagelicals in in house churches. Some Evangelical vicars may require attendance at these house churches. All of this can be gleaned from reading discussions of these topics on church-related blogs by Evangelicals, who are quite plain about what they do.

I think the Church of England might clean up its own heterodox backyard instead of working so hard to eject TEC from the Anglican Communion!

Posted by Charlotte at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 5:47pm GMT

Then there are all those Latin Masses at the Shrine of OLoW without a respectable Roman Christian closer than 1700 years away ...... and is that Jesus I see being waved around in a glass case surrounded by a bejewelled and gilded sunburst grasped in hands swathed in silk damasque?

Where are the Global South Primates with their beloved 39 Articles when you need them ....... ?

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 11:58pm GMT

"Then there are all those Latin Masses at the Shrine of OLoW"

When was a Latin Mass celebrated at the shrine??

Posted by David Malloch at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 12:36am GMT

Charlotte don't forget to mention the Evangelical " orthodox " often use non fermented grape juice and throw away the remains.

Posted by Robert Ian williams at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 7:43am GMT

Charlotte, having been formed in the tradition of the Church of England (but now resident in New Zealand) I can tell you that, in my opinion, Clive may not be truly representative of the mainstream membership of the C.of E. - in his remarks about the practice of Faith in T.E.C.

After a recent visit back 'home', I ascertained that there were many Anglicans who have at least a sneaking regard for the prophetic stance of TEC on issues of gender and sexuality - with a real desire for inclusivity of women and gays in the ministry and mission of the Church. Many, if asked, would be dismayed at any idea of TEC being excised from the Communion on issues they see as needing to be addressed by the Church of today.

Robert, on the other hand, is a Roman Catholic. Don't be fooled by the rhetoric!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 10:52am GMT

I have the greatest respect for the Roman Church and have excellent relationships with the local RC priest and his congregation but there is no way that Fakenham Parish Church and its congregation will be re-confirmed and some in the congregation re-ordained so that we can become Anglican/RC. Living near the Shrine of Walsingham we are often visited by Anglo-Catholic clergy, how can they go to Rome, admit their orders were invalid and drag along their congregations as well? I am a Catholic and Reformed priest central to the life of the community and it would so destructive and unchristian for the status quo to be changed for ever with little or no benefit to either church.
This change will eventually lead to married RC priests which would be good but how can the RC pay the £38,000 its cost per year to keep me the style I know, and to pay me a 2/3 salary pension.
Many may thing that they will take their church buildings and Vicarages with them - I can assure them that this is impossible because as I resign my living, the house and church return to the Diocese until my successor is appointed. Also many Trusts and Grants are available only to C of E serving clergy not RC. I could go......the whole thing is so sad.

Posted by Rev Adrian Bell at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 1:37pm GMT

Charlotte, please do not misunderstand me. I was only (wryly) observing that Fr. Ron is very quick in calling for +Cicstr to be kicked out, but not so quick to do so when liberals cross the line.

Let me just congratulate you on a spirited defence of TEC that did not include the word 'polity' - that's a rare achievement :)

Naturally we agree completely on those Evangelical practices - me now being what Martin would call a respectable Roman Christian. And as to OLoW, although I've been away from England for 13 years, and a Roman for 7, I suspect any Latin Mass would be at the Roman shrine there, not the Anglican one.

I do have fond memories of following the CofE's statue of OLoW through the streets of the village, however, while (Evangelical) grannies stood on the sidelines calling us 'sodomites and fornicators'. You just don't get that kind of fun in respectable Roman Christendom.

Posted by Clive at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 3:19pm GMT

LOL Clive - it was the insults that made you think it was all worth it! No, Anglican shrine, the last Mass I served in the Holy House was squashed between two Latin Masses.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 10:37pm GMT

"You just don't get that kind of fun in respectable Roman Christendom."
- Clive, on Tuesday -

No? Then what about the "fun" Roman Catholic laity have had in Ireland recently, when the level of child abuse in that Church was revealed publicly in the Parliament? I don't expect it was quite as much fun you had, though, when you attended the Shrine Processions as an Anglican.

Personally, I'm sad that the management of the Anglican Shrine of Our Lady at Walsingham still insists on the patriarchal stance of the Roman Catholic Church where women's ministry in the world-wide Anglican Communion is concerned.

I'm sure Our Blessed Lady, if she were here to speak for herself, would approve of the validity of sacerdotal ministry for women. Her own call to bring forth the 'Persona Christi' in her womb could be considered one of the finest priestly vocations - far exceeding that of bringing forth Christ's Presence through Bread and Wine at the altar - even at the Walsingham Shrine.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 11:48pm GMT

I think, Father, you express perfectly the nature of the debate. Naturally if you're sure of something then it's true. The rest of must just fall in line :) Oh that I was so ... confident. But no. Us mortals must soul search and doubt and worry and pray to find our way on our faith journey.

I'm not quite sure where you're going with the issue of child abuse in this thread. If I'm right about what you meant to convey then it's beneath anyone in Holy Orders to imply such things about someone no matter how much you disagree.

We have our own such betrayal of trust playing out in Canada at the moment and it is difficult for all of us. But I would never presume to mention the impact on the laity over the impact on the victims. So perhaps you should pray for them - and make time for the victims of abuse in all Christian denominations including mine and yours as well as the Anglican Church of Canada and TEC.

As to Walsingham I'd be disappointed in the Latin Masses there too. Take em up the road where they belong. I also thought there had been some compromises there - don't women now concelebrate at the National?

Posted by Clive at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 12:31am GMT

"I'm sure Our Blessed Lady, if she were here to speak for herself, would approve of the validity of sacerdotal ministry for women."

Please, Fr Ron: I'm as liberal as they come, and let's NOT Go There. Playing duelling "the Saints are on OUR SIDE" is pointless and tiresome.

No, as an Episcopalian, I just maintain "This is what General Convention---by means of Scripture, Tradition and Reason---discern that the Holy Spirit IS saying (Of course, we could be wrong)", and leave it at that! ;-/

***

Interesting blog you have, Stephen O.Cist (but one you can't comment on there---which is why I say it here). As someone who frequents the not-so-very-far-away-from-you Episcopal Abbey of St Gregory in Michigan http://saintgregorysthreerivers.org/ (home of my beloved spiritual director, Prior Aelred---known to some here at TA), I'm sorry you feel you had to swim the Tiber, in order to follow your calling to "Ora et Labora." As with everyone else who leaves, however, we'll leave the light on for ya!

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 4:41am GMT

I think we should all count our blessings.

Posted by anthony at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 5:00am GMT

"Please, Fr Ron: I'm as liberal as they come, and let's NOT Go There. Playing duelling "the Saints are on OUR SIDE" is pointless and tiresome."

JCF, this exemplifies what I have been talking about on other threads: the way that liberals can, without even realizing it, I think, shoot themselves in the foot with those who are on the fence. Why should we not seek to discern the opnions of the Saints, the Fathers, and the Mothers? Why is it somehow of value to say that General Convention/Synod says it, so it's good enough for me? It isn't good enough for me at all, actually, what one national gathering of one particular part of the Church at one particular age says it believes the will of God to be, most especially when that discernment is at odds with 2000 years of Christian Tradition. The American General Convention or the English General Synod are more authoritative than the First Council of Nicea!?!?!? Really? Frankly, this seems like a blanket dismissal of anything traditional, meaning we are so much better, so much more advanced, so much more "prophetic" or "progressive" than anyone else, we have nothing to learn from anyone. I don't know if that's what you mean or not, actually, but that's how it looks. Now, if it looks like that to me, pretty much on your side in this, how much more must it look like that to someone who is torn on this issue, who doesn't know where to turn? Do you think you can serve as an inspiration to someone in that position by appearing to dismiss 2000 years of Christian history in favour of our more "progressive" modern attitudes? 'Cuz, I gotta tell ya, it's enough to change my mind AWAY FROM a position on which you and I right now pretty much agree.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 3:18pm GMT

> I stated that in the event of union with the Roman Catholic Church I would be willing to receive re-ordination into the Roman Catholic priesthood but that I would not be willing to deny the priesthood I have exercised hitherto.

This statement is contradictory. Re-ordination into the Roman Catholic priesthood is ipso facto a denial of the priesthood previously exercised.

If Bishop Hind really intends to undergo re-ordination, he must believe that at present he is nothing more than an unconfirmed layman. He should therefore IMMEDIATELY, in common decency, stop calling himself a bishop, dressing as one and pretending to celebrate the sacraments.

Posted by Robin at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 4:34pm GMT

Robin

The statement is not contradictory - or rather it may be contradictory if particular assumptions are made about priesthood. It would be helpful if you could explain how you understand priesthood in this context, bearing in mind that priesthood is variously understood in the Church of England (one report I saw had seven versions) and differently understood in the Roman Catholic Church. Then I might understand more clearly what you see as the contradiction.

The Church of England asserts that its priests are priests in the whole Church universal (Canon A4). This does not mean that the Church universal recognises that claim - and indeed it would not need to be made if it were universally accepted.

It would be possible to rationalise "reordination" as a Roman Catholic as completing a process by which priesthood was being recognised more widely in the Church - or according to some doctrine of accommodation, in which "reordination" reflects human imperfections rather than divine design.

"Reordination" will not invalidate the acts previously done, and the Church of England will not question the validity of communion services, confirmations and ordinations which have been carried out by a person who has subsequently been "reordained". (see also Article 26)

Bishop Hind can no doubt speak for himself, but to me he is "lawfully made, ordained or consecrated" and ought to be accounted both by myself, himself and others truly a bishop (to echo the language of Canon A4).

Posted by Mark Bennet at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 9:24pm GMT

Calm down, Ford. You misunderstand me entirely.

I took issue w/ Fr Ron claiming to KNOW what the Virgin Mary "would say if she could" on a matter: THAT CLAIM is arrogant and pointless.

I have NO problem w/ "consulting the Saints": did you not read my post? I said ***"by means of Scripture, *Tradition* and Reason"****.

Moreover, when you say "what one national gathering of one particular part of the Church at one particular age says it believes the will of God to be", you seem to ignore my immediate caveat "Of course, we could be wrong".

There is NO CHOICE whether Churches make policy on the basis of decisions "at one particular age: that's true of TEC, AngChCanada, the CofE, the RCC, the EOs---all of 'em!

No, the only variable is on whether the decisions "at one particular age" are made *democratically*, or on the basis of a Select Few (or Select ONE, in the case of His Infallibleness!).

And are those decisions *provisional* (reversible at a subsequent GC, for example, as B033 was), or are they set-in-stone? [Rome is going to have trouble undoing decisions that it desperately WILL want to reverse, if it doesn't want to already!]

In short, my argument is for *epistemological humility*: don't speak for the Saints, don't speak For All Time. Discern, discern, discern! [And then discern some more, ad eternum! Well, "while The Lord tarries" ;-/]

That's all I said. You only have an argument w/ what you mistakenly *thought* I said.

Posted by JCF at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 9:51pm GMT

"So perhaps you should pray for them - and make time for the victims of abuse in all Christian denominations including mine and yours as well as the Anglican Church of Canada and TEC. - Clive -

Precisely, Clive. This is why I pray for the victims of abuse in Nigeria and Uganda, who are about to be criminalised - with the approval of the Churches there - for their sexual orientation.

JCF. I am a devotee of Our Lady, and in no way would I ever want her place in the Church to suffer denigration - by either Anglican or Roman Catholics. I love the Shrine of O.L. at Walsingham, but I do wish the management would be hospitable to women clergy at the altar.
It would seem somehow appropriate, don't you think? "Ave Maria, gratia plena..."

ROBIN. I do have to agree with you on your assessment of the situation with +Chichester. He can't have his cake and eat it. Either he is a priest and a bishop in the Holy Catholic Church at this moment in time, or he is not. He needs to make up his mind. It won't just wait until after his 'conversion' to Rome.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 10:35pm GMT

I missed this very important analysis from Gregory Cameron who until recently was the ecumenical officer for the Anglican Communion and has accompanied Dr Williams on all his visits to Rome and has been at the heart of all the detailed negotiations - it is very telling.......


The Rt Rev Gregory Cameron, Bishop of St Asaph and a close colleague of Dr Williams, said that the archbishop was likely to be saddened by the developments.

"Rowan has worked very hard for unity both within the Anglican Communion, and with Rome, and I suspect he may feel that what has happened is little short of a betrayal, not by the Catholic Church, but by some of those in his own ranks."

"He is likely to be saddened that they felt driven to seek such a radical solution and that some of them now feel they have to go."

"Up until now, the Roman Catholic Church has been putting its weight behind Rowan, but now it is appearing to put its weight behind the conservative groups it can most easily win over."

"The danger is that they'll have every disaffected Anglican beating down the pathway to their door and asking for special treatment."

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 11:41pm GMT

Father Smith, I concur about the Bishop of Chichester's contradictory views. If he or others believe that without possibility of error their Anglican ordination makes them a priest or bishop of the universal Catholic Church, then it follows that they will believe that the Anglican Church is the Rock of Peter that cannot fail. How can they leave for some other church that disagrees with this? That church is clearly in error on this point of ordination.

However, if the Anglican Church cannot fail, then it behooves the bishop to follow where it leads, even to the validity of ordaining women.

At least that's how I see it, but what do I know. Anthony

Posted by anthony at Thursday, 29 October 2009 at 12:06am GMT

Ford:

"It isn't good enough for me at all, actually, what one national gathering of one particular part of the Church at one particular age says it believes the will of God to be, most especially when that discernment is at odds with 2000 years of Christian Tradition. The American General Convention or the English General Synod are more authoritative than the First Council of Nicea!?!?!?"

First of all, TEC does almost NOTHING on the discernment of a single GC. Usually it takes THREE GCs to come to a final vote. Since GC meets only once every three years, that's nearly a decade of thought, prayer, discussion, etc. (not counting what went on before the initial proposal was even made).

Second, why is Nicea so much more powerful than a similar council (and that's what GC is) held today? Because it's ancient?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 29 October 2009 at 10:18am GMT

"don't speak For All Time."

So, truth is relative, things can change, what's holy today might well be a grave sin in a couple of hundred years, and vice versa, it all depends on how we happen to see things now? You'll have to excuse me if I don't find that at all inspiring. I mean, I'm not in the "Spell out the Law clearly and for all time" school of the conservatives, but I'm not in the "You're not the Boss of me, as long as it isn't what we used to do, it's great" school either .There's a difference in scratching your behind and tearing it off all together! (The real phrase is cruder, I softened it for TA).

"why is Nicea so much more powerful than a similar council (and that's what GC is) held today?"

Perhaps our first tentative steps into uncharted waters ought not to be given quite as much authority as something that Christians have accepted for 1700 years, give or take. Doesn't mean we don't take those steps, but, see the ending to the above paragraph.

There have been innumerable councils in the past 1700 years that have not been given the authority of Nicea. Why is the American General Convention more authoritative than any of them? It isn't why isn't GC as good as Nicea, it's why is GC better than all the others? I'm not assailing anyone's equality, just saying that TEC is no more equal than the rest of us. Again, I don't see the issue with affirming that a Council made up as far as possible of representatives from the entire Christian world at the time, and that has been received as definitive for the past 1700 years should be accorded more authority than the deliberations of what is, after all, the local organizational gathering of one constituent part of one somewhat larger consitiuent part of an even greater world wide religion. That's a bit too grandiose for me.

Posted by Ford Elms at Thursday, 29 October 2009 at 4:26pm GMT

Reading on another topic altogether today, I found the following passage in the (actually quite good) Wikipedia article on "Virtue Ethics," which I proffer as a peacemaker between Ford Elms and JCF:

"Alasdair MacIntyre ... argues that any account of the virtues must indeed be generated out of the community in which those virtues are to be practiced: the very word 'ethics' implies 'ethos'. That is to say that the virtues are, and necessarily must be, grounded in a particular time and place. What counts as virtue in fourth-century Athens would be a ludicrous guide to proper behaviour in twenty-first-century Toronto, and vice-versa. To take this view does not necessarily commit one to the argument that accounts of the virtues must therefore be static: moral activity—that is, attempts to contemplate and practice the virtues—can provide the cultural resources that allow people to change, albeit slowly, the ethos of their own societies.... One might cite (though MacIntyre does not) the rapid emergence of abolitionist thought in the slave-holding societies of the eighteenth-century Atlantic world as an example of this sort of change .... While the emergence of abolitionist thought derived from many sources, the work of David Brion Davis, among others, has established that one source was the rapid, internal evolution of moral theory among certain sectors of these societies, notably the Quakers."

Similarly, we may admit that the moral deliberations taking place within TEC's General Convention do express and respond to an internal evolution of US society concerning the moral value of committed homosexual relationships. We can go further and say that it is right for TEC to be engaged in this process of response and adaptation to the ethos of North American society. Even within the context of religious beliefs and practices, many other responses and adaptations have occurred and are occurring, and inevitably will occur.

This approach brings clarity to the quarrels over TEC, for it shows them up as the political struggles they really are. Some within the churches claim a magisterium-like power to stop this internal evolution; others welcome it, and the struggle is between them.

Posted by Charlotte at Thursday, 29 October 2009 at 7:01pm GMT

"So, truth is relative, things can change, what's holy today might well be a grave sin in a couple of hundred years, and vice versa, it all depends on how we happen to see things now?"

In point of fact, Yes.

And then may CHANGE BACK, again!

"You'll have to excuse me if I don't find that at all inspiring."

I must say, I find that strange.

God made us for FREEDOM, Ford: that's what it means to be made in the Image and Likeness of God.

...but in that Freedom, we ***may make mistakes*** (which is why we should not speak for all time!)

Does it disturb you, to think (for example), that The Church might decide that slavery ain't so bad after all?

That (extremely unlikely) possibility concerns me less, than to think our *current mistakes* couldn't be rectified in the future!

"While the Lord tarry", we're only here---living the Gospel---*provisionally*, Ford. We discern, we act, we discern again, we realize we made a mistake, we change, we discern again. Repeat constantly!

I find that Reality *very inspiring*, Ford, and I thank God for it: I pray you may---in God's Good Time---be moved to do so also.

Posted by JCF at Thursday, 29 October 2009 at 7:29pm GMT

I remember a book by Charles Williams, called "The Descent of the Dove: A History of the Holy Spirit in the Church" now fortunately back in print. It is a short and graceful history of the church from the point of view of the Spirit's close and loving direction at all times and places. It opened my eyes to the Spirit's guiding action in every branch of the church, and through every turn and twist of its development. It also convinced me that the Spirit can be trusted to take care of the church even through the process of change, and that it is OK for there to be various paths within the church. I recommend this book highly. It does assume a rudimentary knowledge of church history. I found it slow reading, too, because it kept sending me off on paths of thought and meditation. I am sure many commenters are familiar with this work.

Posted by anthony at Thursday, 29 October 2009 at 8:47pm GMT

"Does it disturb you, to think (for example), that The Church might decide that slavery ain't so bad after all? That (extremely unlikely) possibility concerns me less, than to think our *current mistakes* couldn't be rectified in the future!"

Yes, actually, and I don't believe it to be in any way "extremely unlikely". There are a lot of things that people in past times would have thought "extremely unlikely" that we now embrace. I am not talking about next month. You have no idea what will happen culturally in the next 500 years. If the "wisdom" of our society can guide our decisions now, the "wisdom" of their day will be just as entitled to guide their decisions then, us having set the precedent. I cannot be at all confident that in 500 years witch burning won't become popular again. Neither can you, given that you say

"And then may CHANGE BACK, again!"


I think we need guideposts that are a little longer lasting than what we in the early 21st century think is the manifest holiness of our current cultural beliefs. It was once considered holy, after all, to burn defenseless women at the stake. Society is not pursuing a steady march forward into the light.

That concerns me a lot more than whether or not everything we currently think is a mistake will be solved in my lifetime.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 30 October 2009 at 2:01pm GMT

"I find that Reality *very inspiring*, Ford, and I thank God for it: I pray you may---in God's Good Time---be moved to do so also."

And I can do without the pious implication that my faith is somehow less than yours. I could be just as disparaging towards you. I have been pretty sharp, but I don't think I've implied that your faith is less valid than mine is. If I have unwittingly given that impression, I apologize.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 30 October 2009 at 2:14pm GMT

" I cannot be at all confident that in 500 years witch burning won't become popular again. Neither can you, given that you say: "And then may CHANGE BACK again". - Ford Elms -

Ford, "Did you not know, have you not heard" - it is at least rumoured that in parts of Africa, which see gays as 'limbs of Satan', still practise the murder of young girls suspected of being witches? We don't have to wait 5oo years!

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Friday, 30 October 2009 at 11:07pm GMT

Not my point, Fr. Ron. Society is constantly changing, and what today is a horrible sin could very easily become laudable over time, and what is now honourable could very easily become shameful. Suggesting that our understanding of the Gospel should be guided by something so fickle is a bit much. And the excuse that if we get it wrong, God will forgive us, as long as we are sincerely seeking to follow the Gospel is a convenient theological rationale for abdicating responsibility for our actions. +Orombi is just as convinced that HE'S sincerely following the Gospel. He is advocating draconian actions that could well lead to genocide, and, if it does, he will have a lot of blood on his hands. The argument that, as long as he's sincerely following the Gospel as he understands it in his culture, God will forgive him may or may not be true. But there'll still be a lot of dead people. Sorry, but if the argument works for letting gays get married, it also works for killing us. It doesn't work for me in either case.

Posted by Ford Elms at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 2:51am GMT

Ford
what has to happen in the world for you to actually want to DO something about it rather than just sit there criticising everyone else for doing it and claiming that this is the only religiously acceptable way of living in this world?
Seriously, do you ever consider the consequences of NOT doing something as deeply as you consider the possible risks of getting involved?
Since when has sitting on your hands for fear of making a mistake been the only credible moral choice?

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 2 November 2009 at 10:56am GMT

"Since when has sitting on your hands for fear of making a mistake been the only credible moral choice?"

Since when have I said that sitting on my hands was a credible moral choice? I am saying that the current societal trends are a poor moral guide, since today's morality can very easily become tomorrow's immorality. I think Christianity represents an eternal truth, and I don't think it is a good idea to alter our understanding of that eternal truth because we think a particular modern societal belief is attractive. We are being led to all truth, but I don't think the fickle morality of society, or politically savvy clerics, is a good indicator of what the truth is. The Church justified the burning of witches, and slavery too, and why did they do that, I wonder? For me, any cleric of whatever stripe or station who seeks to justify an action of the Church by pointing to its popularity with society, that's one indication, a relatively strong one, that I perhaps ought to take whatever he or she says with a grain of salt.

Your approach would have justified the burning of witches because society thought it was the proper thing to do, the Church agreed, and, besides, and as long as we were sincerely trying to follow the Gospel as best we could understand it at the time, God will forgive us for killing all those innocent people. Because people thought it WAS following the Gospel. Sorry, torturing innocent people to death is eternally wrong, I don't care what society, or self aggrandizing clerics, tell me. And my sincere belief that I am following the Gospel is a poor excuse. Your argument is also a justification for slavery. The cultural rationale for it was that there are societies, like Polynesians for instance, that they considered so "debased" that Christians had a moral responsibility to enslave them to raise them from their benighted ways. Real honest to God Christians who truly felt they were following the Gospel believed that. And they trusted certain clergy who agreed for some very worldly reasons. Are you suggesting that the sincerity of their belief excuses the sin of enslaving others?

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 1:37am GMT

Ford
"Your approach would have justified the burning of witches because society thought it was the proper thing to do,"

That argument is on the same level as the consevo rhetoric of claiming that those who support same sex relationships today will ask for the legalisation of paedophilia tomorrow.
Please!

In any case, I do not recall that my arguments have ever been “society good, church bad”. I rather thought my moral reasoning was a little more complex than that. Are you setting up a strawman again?

You may not see anything positive in our culture and only ever focus on the big mistakes, never on the major achievements. No-one can be forced to be a realist and to be thoroughly negative is fine.
As long as you don't ascribe any particular superior morality to a position that ignores what is going on in life but waits for the church to come to some decisions in the very far future.

It may feel safer, but there's no guarantee that you will not have to answer for the prolonged injustice you have at least tolerated by refusing to make your own moral choices and act on them, but granted sole moral authority to a very very slow process that has been shown to result in as many errors as society creates.

From my point of view, it is quite possible that I might have found myself with progressive society and the progressive parts of the church and lobbied for the rights of witches or slaves, whereas you might have found yourself on the side of those in the church who’d rather have a few thousand more burned for fear of making the wrong decision.

Don’t you see that you cannot ever escape your own personal moral responsibility?

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 9:48am GMT

"That argument is on the same level as the consevo rhetoric of claiming that those who support same sex relationships today will ask for the legalisation of paedophilia tomorrow.
Please!"

Explain how, please, because I honestly don't see it. Your argument, as I understand it, is that as long as we are sincere in our attempts to discern the Gospel and that we are acting according to that discernment, then we shouldn't worry too much about our mistakes, God doesn't. I am not comparing two different things. Those who burned witches, and those who justified slavery sincerely believed they had discerned the Gospel, and they certainly had done that through the limitations of their cultural persepctive, just like we do. How is that the same as equating homosexuality with pedophilia? Are you suggesting that they were not sincere in their belief that they were following the Gospel, or that we are somehow more sincere in seeking the discernment of the Gospel than they were? I honestly don't understand how arguing that sincerity of belief that one's actions are in accordance with the Gospel excuses our mistakes but not those of past generations.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 5:40pm GMT

New post for more room. Erika, what irritates you about me is that I criticize with no suggestions of how to do better. That's because I think that what needs to be done is impracticable. I think every Anglican diocese in the world should get rid of its bishop immediately and call an electoral synod. Yeah, that's getting rid of the good corn with the tares, but that's too bad, we aren't talking about citizenship in the Kingdom here, just people's status in this world. Anyone who points to the societal equality of women as an argument for OOW is ineligible. Same for those who point to society's acceptance of gay people, and those who claim that those who do not agree with them are not Christian, and those who pretend to be holy while supporting the unjust imprisonment of others, same with those who argue that because someone has two X chromosomes, she gets to decide which human lives are worth saving and which aren't, no questions asked. Short of that, we can at least demand that our bishops actually behave like bishops instead of trying to paint themselves out as somehow holier or more evolved than their opponents. We can denounce their lust for power. We can throw their hypocrisy in their faces. I think the latter option only slightly less impracticable than the former. We are the laos, we can demand our bishops behave like bishops. But that would require us to acknowledge that the things our bishops say and do do not represent the Gospel as WE understand it. And some of us understand the Gospel to be embodied in sneering at the faith of those who differ from us, and that cuts both ways. Liberals can be pretty sneering of the faith of conservatives as well. I know I can. It means being just as uncompromising about the behavior of those bishops we like as we are of those we don't like. If I can agree to be uncompromisingly critical of a bishop as good as Cy Pittman in the interest of the common good of the Church, why can't conservatives agree to do the same to Bob Duncan for the same reason? That sounds simple, but it isn't at all.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 5:58pm GMT

Ford,
sorry, I misunderstood you. When you said I would have justifieid burning witches if society saw it as good, I assumed you were saying I would have justified something I knew to be wrong.

But you're right. It is impossible to say that we have all the truth. And society gets it wrong as often as church does, so our own moral discernment has to be extremely careful. And we have to accept that we may get it wrong.

I just fail to see that this absolves us from trying. That's the first answer.
We have to live in the world we find ourselves in.
If we really really believe that the church is getting it wrong, then, yes, we should try to do something about it.
What else have we been put on this earth for but to try and be stewarts and to try and work for the Kingdom of God?
You see, your impractical ideas would be valid if I saw you actually do something - anything, to make them a reality.

Some of us are big ideas people, you seem to be one of those.
Others, like me, make daily small moral choices and try to live by them. That's a much more practical approach. It is no better for that, the world needs both types.
But what it doesn't need is people who don't get involved at any level and just wish things were different.
Because someone like that will just criticise left right and centre, never be satisfied, never move anything, never change anything... and will slowly but surely loose all the influence he might have had.
To me, that's a huge waste of the life we've been given in order that we can DO something with it.

Posted by Erika Baker at Tuesday, 3 November 2009 at 8:04pm GMT

"I just fail to see that this absolves us from trying."

So do I.

"You see, your impractical ideas would be valid if I saw you actually do something - anything, to make them a reality."

Which is what I thought I WAS doing by pointing out the hypocrisy of conservatives here and in a few other fora, and now I'm a bit more bold in doing it to liberals as well. I don't get the opportunity to talk to Bob Duncan or Henry Orombi. I could do it more effectively if I toned down my language, I suppose. I expect any day to be thrown down a virtual well:-)

Let's look at the Uganda situation. I have written the letters, I've signed the petitions. But there's something else. I grew up in a society that is white, English speaking, and Christian. We were in an odd position: colonizers on the one hand, who did what colonizers do: the local native people were driven to extinction and those on the Labrador are only now getting anything that even vaguely resembles justice. On the other hand, our treatment by our British overlords has commonalities with that of colonized Africans. I'm only partly joking in saying that the best reason for keeping the Commonwealth together is that regardless of our race, religion, or language we've all been sneered at by snotty British colonialists.

My reaction to the statements of liberals is informed by that heritage, and to me it appears that while they would be offended by the words of "From Greenland's Icy Mountians" they too feel that
"They call us to deliver their land from error's chain"
it's just that the error these days isn't paganism, but conservative Christianity. They are still Shouldering the White Man's Burden. If it's so clear to this little English speaking, Christian, white, North American boy, how much clearer is it to Africans? Well, here's your answer:
http://lifestyle.iafrica.com/content_feed/telkom/2021660.htm

and the response is predictable.

I think it's worthwhile to point that out, though it sounds selfrighteous to call it a moral responsibility. I don't think it's "prophetic", it's freakin' obvious! Conservatives have a point when they council circumspection in this, though I don't think their motives are near as lily white as they pretend they are. But there's a vast difference between circumspect action and doing nothing.

Posted by Ford Elms at Wednesday, 4 November 2009 at 6:48pm GMT
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