Thinking Anglicans

Archbishop Jensen on capital punishment

The Archbishop of Sydney is quoted in the Australian press on this topic:

Australian religious leaders were yesterday divided over the death penalty. Sydney Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen said official church doctrine in the 39 Articles of 1662 endorsed it: “The Laws of the Realm may punish Christian men with death, for heinous and grievous offences.”

Dr Jensen said Christians were concerned about the abuse of capital punishment for crimes that did not merit death. “But I cannot absolutely rule out capital punishment in all circumstances, since the Bible itself allows it.”

See Death row pleas for citizens only in the Melbourne Age.

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Fr Mark
Fr Mark
13 years ago

Yes, Archbishop Jensen, and of course the law of England followed biblical teaching in sentencing gay people to death between the reigns of Henry VIII and Victoria. So I suppose this will return to the statute books in the future golden age of Gafconianity?

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
13 years ago

Absolutely disgusting.

counterlight
counterlight
13 years ago

Very peculiar.
If there’s one thing that the Episcopal Church is clear and unequivocal upon, and that unites liberals and conservatives, and unites us with anti-abortion Roman Catholics, it’s opposition to the death penalty.

How did a lovely friendly city like Sydney get stuck with such a ferocious Calvinist dinosaur? I should think +Jensen would be happier in harsh Calvinist Texas.

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Cough, and the parallel of hate theology leading escalating acceptance of violence and aggression such as played out in the lead up to Austwitzch has fallen over where?

Play on, God is still winning the points.

Be quiet and there will be peace.

Make your stand and prove you are for tyranny, destruction and vilification.

Either way, God wins.

kieran crichton
kieran crichton
13 years ago

Having read this today (and sprayed a lovely coffee some six feet towards an unsuspecting fellow cafe customer), I think it’s worth pointing out that there is a broader context for this. As a by-the-by, I’d highly recommend the pieces in the opinion section in today’s edition (Fri 4 Jan). The whole debate comes out of an episode during the election campaign in October-November last year where Kevin Rudd tried to avoid getting ‘wedged’ by John Howard on how ‘terrorists’ should be punished. The (then Opposition) foreign affairs spokesman gave a speech outlining the commitment in Labour’s platform to work… Read more »

kieran crichton
kieran crichton
13 years ago

Oh, and an afterthought: Now that the UK has abolished the death penalty, does this invalidate the apparent endorsement of the same in Article XXXVII? I had the impression that the Church acquiescing in the rule of law under a constitutional monarchy was a more important element in the way this Article is written. The deference to Parliament is pretty clear, and the Article concerns the role of the civil magistrates acting under the authority of the Crown. To suggest that this somehow creates a strong “Biblical” case for capital punishment seems a bit of a stretch. I’d be most… Read more »

Cynthia Gilliatt
Cynthia Gilliatt
13 years ago

“But I cannot absolutely rule out capital punishment in all circumstances, since the Bible itself allows it.” Yipeee! Isn’t stoning to death the preferred OT method? If it’s good enough for the Bible, it’s good enough for me! And isn’t it fairly clear from the context in the Bible that such executions were public and witnessed by the community? I wonder if +Jensen has ever actually witnessed an execution. My state of Virginia executes fairly frequently. One of my Lutheran colleagues here in town spent some years as a death row chaplain. He could perhaps enlighten +Jensen about the reality… Read more »

choirboyfromhell
choirboyfromhell
13 years ago

Excuse my ignorance (yes, I hear you all snickering), but is ++Jensen the Primate of the Church in Australia? Good grief.

Erika: Have been trying to send things back, but VP Cheney must be intercepting.

ruidh
ruidh
13 years ago

And, apparently, he can not rule out slavery altogether since the Bible allows it.

Canon Gary Waddingham
Canon Gary Waddingham
13 years ago

How sad when hateful old men speak their mind. And what’s with the suit and tie? Is his clerical shirt in the wash?

Malcolm+
13 years ago

The article affirms that secular authorities may establish capital punishment. That is simply a fact.

Whether they ought to do so – and whether Christians should endorse it – is another question entirely.

There is no Anglican or even Christian consensus on this issue, but for me, the matter is straigytforward enough.

Capital punishment is based on a a priori assumption that some people are beyond redemption.

I suggest that their God is too small.

Rick D
Rick D
13 years ago

Note that Jensen’s comments, like many in the separatist movement, are an example of scriptural selectivity. I wonder if capital punishment is included in the “faith once delivered to the saints” accolades he signed onto in the San Joaquin letter.

Simon Sarmiento
13 years ago

No, the primate of Australia is the Archbishop of Brisbane, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall. Each Australian state, more or less, is a separate ecclesiastical province within the Anglican Church of Australia.

Robert Ian Williams
Robert Ian Williams
13 years ago

In defence of Archbishop Jensen, he has spoken out for Aboriginal rights and refugees. He was never a lackey of the Howard Government. So it would be totally wrong to portray him simply as a rightwing bigot. His theological views are sincerely held, and he and his brother are often misunderstood. They love Our Blessed Lord and seek to serve him. Listen to his talk on the internet..Why he is a Protestant. He states how he would not go to the inaugral Mass of Cardinal Pell, because ” No Archbishop of Sydney goes to a Mass.” ( he did go… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Keiran He was the primate when I was trying to get the churches ready for the tsunami (started in early 2004 with my local minister) and he was the ensconced one when the debacle of how not to handle a disaster was played out. You should have heard Sydneysiders screaming about Jensen’s lack of sympathy for the tsunami victims in his 16 January 2005 sermon. People fumed for a long time (some, like me) still are fuming that they can purport to be the “godliest” priesthood that exists or has ever existed. God, if their Jesus really loves them, then… Read more »

Hugh of Lincoln
Hugh of Lincoln
13 years ago

Just as well the Archbishops of the C of E take a “minimalist” view of the 39 articles.

JCF
JCF
13 years ago

“And what’s with the suit and tie? Is his clerical shirt in the wash?”

Asked tongue squarely in cheek, or? (Hint: clerical shirt is another thing that “Archbishops of Sydney” don’t do)

***

“I cannot absolutely rule out capital punishment in all circumstances, since the Bible itself allows it.”

Silly me, I thought that Christ’s subjection to capital punishment COMPLETED that command of the OT once and for all!

kieran crichton
kieran crichton
13 years ago

Cheryl – I do recall that both Jensen brothers managed to put their foot in their mouths around the time of the tsunami on Boxing Day 2004. It was a rather splendid performance, if memory serves, but not one that they should be encouraged to repeat. They’re very talented boys, after all. However, Jensen is a metropolitan and not primate. The two are distinct offices, and Peter Jensen failed to get the numbers the last time General Synod had to elect one. The fact that his rather quaint view on capital punishment has been given prominence reflects the condition of… Read more »

Kurt
Kurt
13 years ago

“Just as well the Archbishops of the C of E take a “minimalist” view of the 39 articles.”—Hugh of Lincoln The Articles of Religion have never been very popular in the American Church. In the Proposed Prayer Book of 1785, the Thirty-nine Articles of the Church of England were dissected and cut down to twenty. In the first Authorized Prayer Book of 1789 they were left out altogether. The question of their reinstatement proved to be a subject of considerable debate within the American Church. An informal discussion at the General Convention of 1792 revealed the fact that the bishops… Read more »

Cheryl Va. Clough
13 years ago

Yes Kieran, and their defense was to justify why their aggressive teachings were okay. It doesn’t hurt to remind people how “sensitive” they are to local conditions in light of the attempted GAFCON in Jerusalem and in the lead up to Lambeth 2008. Their sermon on the tsunami and their tauntings purporting God’s rejection of the Jews (and Catholics, and Buddhists, and other religions, and even most forms of Protestantism) reminds me of Obadiah 1:8-14 “…will I not destroy the wise men of Edom… Because of the violence against your brother Jacob, you will be covered with shame; you will… Read more »

Ford Elms
Ford Elms
13 years ago

“he unequivocally opposes abortion, after all” Ah, but there’s the rub. You see, a child is innocent, so to kill said child is murder. A criminal is guilty, so to kill said criminal is execution. It’s based on the approach to life as containing crimes which must be punished. When you conceive of God as the Punisher, when your understanding of your relationship with Him is of a judge who lets you away with your crimes, and when judgement is continually before your eyes like some kind of a beacon, then you can’t help seeing the rest of the world… Read more »

Erika Baker
Erika Baker
13 years ago

Ford

Thank you for that outstanding comment

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