The Tablet has an appreciation of Brother Roger by Alain Woodrow A man of peace cut down.
In the Telegraph Charles Moore thinks that Westminster Abbey was right to reject Hollywood’s 30 pieces of silver, while Christopher Howse discusses government attitudes to religion in A game that the Romans played, and a leader column discusses The Pope’s duty.
Dwight Longenecker writes in The Times about Roman Catholics in the USA: Roman road leads South to a brighter future.
More interesting than today’s godslot on Bible translation was the Guardian’s report yesterday Call to end state’s link with church. More about this is at the Fabian Society’s website, and the full article is Religion and the British state: a new settlement. Earlier in the week, Giles Fraser had written The idolatry of holy books which explores the parallels between Islam and the Christian reformers. He concludes:
For there can be few more chilling examples of theocratic fascism than Calvin’s Geneva. In toppling the authority of the clergy, he made it the responsibility of the civil magistrates to enforce the word of God. Spon, in his History of Geneva, writes: “In the year 1560, a citizen [of Geneva], having been condemned to the lash by the small council, for the crime of adultery, appealed from its sentence to the Two Hundred. His case was reconsidered, and the council, knowing that he had before committed the offence, and been against caught therein, condemned him to death, to the great astonishment of the criminal.” Elsewhere, Picot observes, “There were children publicly scourged, and hung, for having called their mother she-devil and thief. When the child had not attained the age of reason, they hung him by the armpits, to manifest that he deserved death.” Quite clearly, the fear that western liberals have of sharia law can hardly be appeased with reference to a reformed polity.
Rushdie’s suggestion that a reformed Islam might find a way beyond the besetting sins of anti-semitism, sexism and homophobia is also, alas, unlikely. Luther himself was famously and virulently anti-semitic. The Reformation did little for women, and the place to find the most neanderthal religious homophobia in Britain today is in an organisation called Reform. Until the Reformation finishes its work and trains its powerful commitment to iconoclasm on the sources of its own prejudice it will hardly be a model to hold up for other religious traditions to follow.
One of the most interesting articles this week is in the Church of England Newspaper: The hidden Bible – Mark Ireland asks why evangelists are neglecting the Bible. This reveals that:
One of the strange rules of thumb I’ve discovered, visiting many churches in my role as a diocesan missioner, is that the more evangelical the church is, the fewer verses of the Bible you are likely to hear read in worship. When I go to a church in the central or liberal tradition, I will always encounter two Bible readings. When I go to one of the catholic parishes in the diocese, I will usually hear four pieces of Scripture read – Old Testament, Psalm, New Testament and Gospel – with the words printed out on the service sheet for the people to follow. However, when I visit an evangelical parish, I will usually hear only one passage of the Bible.
And finally, the Financial Times reports on what happened when Jonathan Miller visited St Mary’s Primrose Hill: True disbeliever.