Comments: opinion

The pieces by Stephen Heard and David Pockington on the place of the Church in public life have reminded me that a rather striking, if dispiriting, survey of French religious practice (or, rather, French irreligion) appeared in Le Monde earlier this month: http://www.lemonde.fr/les-decodeurs/article/2015/05/07/une-grande-majorite-de-francais-ne-se-reclament-d-aucune-religion_4629612_4355770.html, which may be of some interest to readers of this blog.

Such is the fate of Christianity within 'the eldest daughter of the Church'. It might give some pause for thought to those Christians who consider that something approaching laïcité be adopted in the UK. Of course, the steady demographic decline of Catholicism in France has been going on for a very long time, and well before 1905 (absent, arguably, a brief revival within the unfortunate context of Vichy). Yet the recent acceleration of its decay is alarming (and thank goodness the state owns most of the churches!). In view of the age profile of the rump that remains - a rump whose numbers are flattered by higher levels of practice in the DOMs, within several specific regions like Brittany, and within certain immigrant communities in metropolitan France - the Church of France might be approaching its endgame.

I suspect that the advance of active disbelief in France is about a decade (or less) ahead of the UK, and that the political impotence of the Church of England will soon come to reflect that of its Gallican counterpart.

Posted by J Drever at Saturday, 30 May 2015 at 11:47am BST

Thanks, J Drever, read it with interest and some melancholy. Agree with your pessimism. Which is why I wish Christians would spend less time attacking one another. That means doing deals with people you think/know to be in some respects wrong, so liberals after securing basic objectives should then back off, and conservatives should tolerate liberal practices, so long as they themselves aren't forced to practise them. But it's hard to persuade people of this.

Posted by John at Saturday, 30 May 2015 at 4:32pm BST

Archdruid Eileen's sermon brings to mind these words by John Henry Newman: "To attempt to be guided by love alone, would be like attempting to walk in a straight line by steadily gazing at some star. It is too high - we must take nearer objects to steady our course...Love must be wrought out by fear and trembling. It is the offspring of self abasement and self discipline..."

The major, and minor, prophets remind us of this.

Posted by Pam at Saturday, 30 May 2015 at 11:31pm BST

It would be good to see in the Opinion column of articles Stephen Platten's excellent piece in Saturday's Times about the Church's current move away from Gospel values and succumbing to Market values. Although The Jupiter places what I believe is called a "firewall" on using what is printed therein and TA would probably have to pay a fee in order to put the article on this blog. Nevertheless, the former Bishop of Wakefield's article deserves to be read by a wider audience.

Posted by Father David at Sunday, 31 May 2015 at 6:01am BST

Re "Camping in Church":

"We woke to jewel-like light filtering through the stained-glass windows and the morning calls of birds in the tree-shaded churchyard. It was the first time in years that I’d been in a church on a Sunday morning.

Le Sigh.

Color me highly ambivalent about this phenomenon. Would I? You bet! [And potentially, not have a moment's hesitation about "getting up to whatever my conscience allows" ;-)]

At the same time, it means that I would LOCK the church? Including to "a man wandered in with his dog to look around"? THAT, my conscience would prick at.

I can see using a church for multiple purposes, including "champing". But it shouldn't preclude the church functioning as, well, a *church*. Don't be "getting up to" ANYTHING other than *worship* on a Sunday morning!

Posted by JCF at Monday, 1 June 2015 at 2:24am BST

At least the Church Times is on the ball. Thank God for its latest editorial on S.S. Blessings.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 1 June 2015 at 2:39am BST

We have to accept what Stephen Heard says about how ineffective loud complaints about Government policy can be, but he shouldn't be allowed to get away with saying "Archbishop Rowan complained about'radical, long-term policies for which no-one voted'”. Archbishop Rowan acted as guest editor for an issue of the Spectator in which he wrote an editorial which explained why he had given quite so much space to Government ministers to set out the thinking behind their policies some of which were radical in directions not explored in any election campaign. It was parts oft he press who took the quotation out of context and presented it as a complaint, ignoring as they did so the sharp things he said in the same editorial about the absence of any clear alternative Labour vision.

Posted by Peter Mullins at Monday, 1 June 2015 at 7:43am BST

I think that was the New Statesman rather than the Spectator.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento at Monday, 1 June 2015 at 10:18am BST

Having viewed Archdruid Eileen's article, I am now left to wonder, what is her spiritual provenance? Is she an Anglican priest, by any chance? And where does the title of Archdruid come from?

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 2 June 2015 at 1:03am BST

Ron, if you are willing to spend an hour or two exploring the blog 'The Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley' you will get a better idea of what Archdruid Eileen is all about. I suspect the title 'Archdruid' comes from the same place as the title 'The Church Mouse'!

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Tuesday, 2 June 2015 at 12:02pm BST
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