Thinking Anglicans

Opinion – 4 June 2022

Giles Fraser UnHerd The injustice of the Jubilee

Janet Fife Surviving Church Preaching Hell and Damnation

Jayne Ozanne ViaMedia.News Pageants, Progress & People – The End of an Era?

The Archbishop of York Sermon at St Paul’s Cathedral celebrating Her Majesty the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee

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Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
29 days ago

In contrast to other articles, I found Giles Fraser’s piece very unimpressive. Justice – in the sense of recognition of harm, restoration as far as possible of that of which victims has been deprived and prevention of further damage – is a core biblical value and something which Desmond Tutu sought throughout his life. Given that Black Lives Matter protestors have been mainly nonviolent, it seems far-fetched to interpret the chant ‘No justice, no peace’ as ‘a moral justification of ongoing violence’ (unless gatherings made up largely of black people are somehow seen as inherently violent), especially since it echoes… Read more »

Mark Bennet
Mark Bennet
Reply to  Savi Hensman
29 days ago

I think the question is “who forgives whom?” If I, as an outsider to a situation, declare that a victim ought to forgive an oppressor, or as a powerful person offer cheap forgiveness to someone whose amends ought to be to restore wrecked lives, I think that is a moral disaster. On the other hand if I deal with the oppressor and, in the face of power, declare that generous amends are necessary (Zaccheus) or in counselling the victim explore how the cycle of violence can be conquered so it does not diminish or define their life, then that is… Read more »

Marise Hargreaves
Marise Hargreaves
Reply to  Savi Hensman
25 days ago

The chant ‘No justice, no peace ‘ is an accurate reflection of anger at a system where justice is not only denied, but lives are taken because of the power imbalances and inequalities. The perpetrators of the violence are often agents of the state and the judiciary. May be we should be more concerned about the strengthening of laws to stop protest and the actions of institutions that hide their abuse of power. The prosecution of the police officers who actively participated in the death of George Floyd only came about because of the video footage revealing the truth and… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
29 days ago

Giles Fraser writes, “The Jubilee is a perfect time to think about forgiveness.” It is also the perfect time to think about reconciliation. An apology is usually a prerequisite for lasting peace, genuine justice, and yes forgiveness. As reported in the article linked below, “Following a suggestion from a Métis residential school survivor, Caron is calling on Queen Elizabeth II, as Canada’s head of state and leader of the Church of England, to apologize for the operation of residential schools and pay reparations to survivors.” ( yeah, I know, I know, supreme governor rather than ‘leader’) Additionally, I do not disagree with Fraser’s opinion on forgiveness. However, with… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rod Gillis
28 days ago

We pay for the police. They are our servants. We are responsible for their actions – especially if we allow them to be repeated without doing everything, EVERYTHING, we can do to stop that. And yet, almost none of those who say that the Duke of York, or anyone else, shouldn’t be forgiven if they don’t publicly apologise and accept punishment, actually expect that to apply to them in terms of police misconduct. Even the minority who apologise, don’t expect personally to be punished for the actions of their servants. That’s the thing. Generally we want unconditional forgiveness for our… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Kate
28 days ago

It’s not just that we pay the police. They have tremendous power as a part of the criminal justice system. The motto of the RCMP (Mounties) is “maintain the right/maintien le droit”, and that of our municipal police service “working together to keep our communities safe”. As regards persons who engage in wrong doing, forgiveness is a decision for their victims. Re: The Duke, one of our local schools here is named for Prince Andrew. The name is being changed (see link). With regard to public figures and public office holders there is therefore the additional question of their ability… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Rod Gillis
28 days ago

“As regards persons who engage in wrong doing, forgiveness is a decision for their victims.”
 
That’s a cop out. It moves the responsibility to forgive (or not) to someone else.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Kate
27 days ago

You seem to be confusing public mood or acceptance with forgiveness. For example, it is not up to me as a white Anglican to ‘forgive’ the perpetrators of the violence and harm caused to First Nations survivors of Canada’s Indian [sic] Residential Schools. Rather, it was my church’s responsibility to apologize. The cry, often heard here, “can’t they just get over it” compounds and trivializes the harm. It can also be a way for the majority dominant group to let itself of the hook. Now that would be a cop out.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rod Gillis
27 days ago

“it is not up to me as a white Anglican to ‘forgive’ the perpetrators of the violence and harm”

Really? So if any of those perpetrators were present in your congregation and recited the General Confession, you would refuse to pronounce the Absolution over them?

Last edited 27 days ago by Unreliable Narrator
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
27 days ago

Yes, really. It is not up to me as a white Anglican to ‘forgive’ the perpetrators of the violence and harm indicated. I am not the one who has been violated. It is forgiveness at a relational level between perpetrator and victim. Your comment continues into what is essentially a category mistake. For instance, the absolution in the Canadian liturgy for both the offices and the eucharist states quite clearly, “Almighty God have mercy upon you, pardon and forgive you all your sins…” (under linings mine).

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rod Gillis
26 days ago

I suppose it depends on whether you believe that statement to be descriptive or performative. If descriptive, that is, merely making a statement about what you believe to be the case, then your position is that even if Almighty God has forgiven those sins, you have not, or at least have no part in that forgiveness. If performative, so that your pronouncement plays some part in making that statement true, then it is, to some extent up to you as a minster. It was always made clear to me as a lay leader in a certain tradition that I was… Read more »

Last edited 26 days ago by Unreliable Narrator
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
26 days ago

Your line of argumentation is a kind of flawed casuistry.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rod Gillis
26 days ago

Oh dear. Taking as the dictionary definition “a quibbling or evasive way of dealing with difficult cases”, I wonder in what way casuistry could be flawed. By not being quibbling or evasive, I suppose.

But I take this to simply be argument from authority, which is, as we all know, a fallacy.

By the way, this line of argumentation arose as a simple question. Would you feel able to pronounce the Absolution over someone who, in your view, needed to be forgiven by some third party but who had recited the General Confession?

Last edited 26 days ago by Unreliable Narrator
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
26 days ago

Beware dictionary definitions. Casuistry can be a legitimate form of ethical discernment, the utilization of case comparisons. However the cases must be in the same category. Category mistakes, in terms of suggested cases, makes for a flawed casuistry. It is problematic for me to presume to extend forgiveness in the case indicated for the reasons I outlined. Additionally, it smacks of majority group self interest, may compound the harm, undermine the apologies my church and my government have given, complicate true reconciliation. The case of my acting as a priest in the liturgy of the church is poorly chosen. The… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rod Gillis
25 days ago

… and this is where argument from authority shades into argument from prestige. Of course “casuistry” has more than one meaning, as we both know perfectly well. We also both know what a category mistake is, and it isn’t what it was used for here. As correctly stated below, there are various aspects of this question that need to be unpacked. One is whether a person can forgive a sin not committed against them. Another is whether a priest has a special authority to pronounce such forgiveness. A third is whether there is such a thing as transferred harm. This… Read more »

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
25 days ago

The dive to the last word is bottomless, don’t you find? Quod scripsi, scripsi.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Rod Gillis
25 days ago

I suppose it depends on whether you’re trying to elucidate and illuminate the many facets of a complex and challenging issue by rational debate and dialogue — or to win a rhetorical context against an opponent by whatever means come to hand.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
26 days ago

I’m on the run but a quick ‘upon reflection’ addition to my previous comment, something we may perhaps agree upon, casuistry notwithstanding. You write, “But either way there is a question to be resolved about the attitude of other Christians to the forgiveness of sins not committed against them.” I agree there is an insight here for sure. For example, to engage in a bit case comparison of my own, there is the question of integrating known offenders back into the community. Public perception is an important issue in terms of working for, rather than against, reintegration. It’s a subject… Read more »

James Byron
James Byron
29 days ago

Unsurprisingly, Mr. Fraser’s dodgy hymn to cheap grace ignores the much-overlooked condition of forgiveness: it should follow sincere repentance and attempts to make amends. No repentance = no forgiveness: them’s the breaks.

Seriously, Christian socialists, seek ye a new mouthpiece already!

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  James Byron
27 days ago

Believe me, we did. Quite some time ago.

dr.primrose
dr.primrose
28 days ago

Forgiveness is a very complicated subject on which many volumes have been written and a full discussion certainly cannot be had within 3000 characters. That being said, I think conditioning forgiveness on repentance too closely is quite problematic. First, it doesn’t seem based on the Gospels. Of all the references to forgiveness in the Gospels, I am aware of only one that mentions repentance at all. Otherwise, that doesn’t appear to be the case. For example, the Lord’s prayer (“Forgive us our sins and we forgive those who have sinned against us.”) doesn’t condition forgiveness on repentance. Another example, Jesus… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  dr.primrose
28 days ago

You are almost entirely right, but I think you have missed the main point, and are wrong on one. The main point is this. The Lord’s Prayer could be re-written , “Love us as we love others.” Forgiveness isn’t earned: it is a gift given of love regardless. The point on which I disagree is this, in part “Forgiving does not mean that the sinner should not suffer the appropriate consequences. It does not mean the sinner should not go to prison or is excused from paying restitution.” This is a good example of one of the problems http://www.cityam.com/cost-of-living-crisis-policing-minister-says-ignore-call-for-discretion-prosecuting-shoplifters Restitution… Read more »

Last edited 28 days ago by Kate
Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Kate
28 days ago

Thomas Aquinas (quoting Ambrose) did not think it wrong to steal in the case of necessity, e.g. if starving (https://www.newadvent.org/summa/3066.htm#article7). This is very different from cases of abuse or taking life, in which, in my view, recognition of the gravity of the harm done is an important step towards restoring right relationships, at least with (or within) the wider community. In addition, change is needed to a world in which it is often regarded as acceptable for rich and powerful men to treat women and young people as objects or condone such behaviour, or officers of the law to inflict… Read more »

Last edited 28 days ago by Savi Hensman
Kate
Kate
Reply to  Savi Hensman
28 days ago

I agree with you.

James Byron
James Byron
Reply to  dr.primrose
28 days ago

I thank Dr. Primrose for setting out so comprehensively the modern perspective on forgiveness.

Since it incorporates justice, I much prefer the traditional link between repentance / restitution and forgiveness (beautifully expressed in the 1662 invitation to confession: “Ye who do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins … and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God and walking from henceforth in his holy ways …”). There can of course be arguments for exceptions to the general rule, but if the rule’s jettisoned entirely, you get, well, Mr. Fraser’s piece.

Kate
Kate
28 days ago

“But I now believe that we should be very slow to call sinful those activities that don’t harm anyone else.” I am very much in tune with Janet Fife’s piece, but think we should be careful not to allow imagined hurt of others to become a barrier. A good example is gender transition. The latest onslaught against the trans community is to present being trans as harmful to others. https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2022/06/03/helen-joyce-transgender-lgbtq/ has the latest. The argument is that we should therefore essentially eliminate the existence of trans people. Obscene argument, but we saw something similar in the campaign against same sex… Read more »

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Kate
28 days ago

“we should be careful not to allow imagined hurt of others to become a barrier” An important point, and one which all parties in this very contentious debate would do well to bear in mind. But surely the harm done by sin is pre-eminently to the sinner? It is the obstacle to having that relationship with God which He desires for us and has made available to us through Christ. The traditional deadly sins are not all about harming others: they are about harming oneself, by putting personal desire and indulgence, such as power, esteem, money, food, drink, sex or… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
28 days ago

I agree with you.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
27 days ago

What is the biblical warrant for the Seven Deadly Sins? Where did the concept originate, and from what authority?

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
27 days ago

I don’t think that when a person assaults, sexually abuses, or kills another person, or when they abuse their power over the vulnerable, the harm that is done is preeminently to the sinner.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Janet Fife
27 days ago

As far as this world is concerned, that’s sadly often true. But if we believe that sin is what separates us from God, and that Hell is another word for the eternal separation that follows rejection of the forgiveness on offer: then yes, the harm done to the sinner by themselves is immeasurably greater. That’s not to diminish or discount the harm done to the victim: it’s to emphasise how much worse Hell is going to be for the sinner.

Tim Chesterton
Reply to  Janet Fife
27 days ago

Absolutely agree with you there, Janet.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
28 days ago

If one wants to look at a theological counter position to Giles Fraser’s critique of the “no justice, no peace’ slogan of BLM, I’ve attached a link to an article by David DeCosse in which the author connects the slogan to a message from Pope Paul VI speaking at the first World Day of Peace in 1972, ““If you want peace, work for justice” and it’s consequent impact on Christian social teaching.

https://www.scu.edu/ethics-spotlight/ethics-and-systemic-racism/no-justice-no-peace-catholic-connections-to-a-powerful-slogan/

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rod Gillis
27 days ago

And was not Paul VI building on John XXIII Pacem in terris – an underrated document. https://www.vatican.va/content/john-xxiii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_j-xxiii_enc_11041963_pacem.htm

Church militant? not on your life. Church acquiescent, church hesitant, church unoffending more like. Seems to me there should never be peace until there is justice. Psalm 122 – peace requires walls.

Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
27 days ago

Certainly Roman Catholic Social teaching strives to provide a coherent framework. With regard to the issues raised around around justice and peace by by Paul VI paragraph 27 (below) of Pacem in Terris is particularly relevant. It is also consonant with the goals of the secular Black Lives Matter. In practice, the churches have often failed Christian social teaching, Roman or otherwise. During the early part of the 20th C here, when my grand-father’s generation of coal miners were engaged a bitter labour confrontation with British Empire Coal and Steel Corporation, the latter using suppressed wages to shore up watered… Read more »

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
28 days ago

Having listened to Stephen Cottrell’s sermon on Friday, and now reading it again, I am wondering what his predecessors would have made of the occasion and its context, notably Habgood, Ramsey and Temple. It made me realise what we have lost with the departure of Rowan Williams over a decade a go. There is nothing here to suggest that, amid the flag-waving and cheering, we are also living in a deeply divided ‘United’ Kingdom, where democracy is slowly but surely deteriorating, where 4.3 million of the Queen’s subjects under 18 are growing up in entrapped poverty, and where an aircraft… Read more »

Fr Dean
Fr Dean
Reply to  Tom Dixon
28 days ago

Populist or not the service highlighted for me the scale of the problem for the CofE. Most of the congregation including the younger royals looked bored. There were so many clerics dressed up and there for the ride, that even the Duchess of Cambridge looked startled when yet another platoon of them appeared from stage right to march down the aisle in front of her. All we were missing was the ecclesiastical equivalent of a regimental sergeant major to mark time. The church militant seemed a bit militaristic to me. Sometimes less really is more.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Fr Dean
27 days ago

I found much of the service inspiring, with rousing music and dignified ritual. Sadly, it wasn’t typically “CofE”. It would have been more representative if the organ had been replaced by a grinning worship band and the smiling preacher had worn jeans and T-shirt.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  FrDavid H
27 days ago

You are right, it wasn’t typical of the Church of England. There were enough clergy present for a whole rural deanery or for all the merged parishes in my diocese.

Mark
Mark
Reply to  Tom Dixon
28 days ago

Goodness me, earnest moralistic white middle-class guilt-laden Guardian readers are no fun to be around during a party (or at any other time, come to think of it), are they? Why can’t we just celebrate the saintliness of our Queen rather than turn everything into sententiousness? People have been expressing joy all weekend, one of the fruits of the Spirit, and that is a good thing in itself – the Archbishop did well to tap into that sentiment. Failure to just simply be joyful may well be one reason why Christianity has made itself so unlovely in the eyes of… Read more »

Michael Mulhern
Michael Mulhern
Reply to  Mark
27 days ago

Of course. God forbid that we should be seen to give a damn about anyone other than ourselves but just obediently tap into the culture of distraction and superficial bonhomie. Maybe the sermon was drafted at the heart of 10 Downing Street – or may be Clarence House, after Charles’s profound insights about the how the Jubilee showed that the ‘country’ (which one, I wonder) has ‘come together.’

Mark
Mark
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
27 days ago

I seem to have stumbled upon Thinking Partypoopers here… The vast mass of ordinary people have always been able to take their pleasures, even in the midst of hard times, without needing to embark on a guilt narrative. It’s only hand-wringing middle class moralisers – who stand in direct descent from the worst aspects of Victorian Evangelicalism and 17th c Puritanism – who can never just allow anyone else to enjoy themselves. I think Christianity is, at its best, a simple religion about simple things, one of which is rejoicing in the good, and it discredits our religion to overcomplicate… Read more »

Last edited 27 days ago by Mark
Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Mark
27 days ago

On the subject of middle-class morality: “I’m one of the undeserving poor: that’s what I am. Think of what that means to a man. It means that he’s up agen middle class morality all the time. If there’s anything going, and I put in for a bit of it, it’s always the same story: “You’re undeserving; so you can’t have it.” Buy my needs is as great as the most deserving widow’s that ever got money out of six different charities in one week for the death of the same husband. I don’t need less than a deserving man: I… Read more »

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
Reply to  Michael Mulhern
26 days ago

Beyond breathtaking to think that the ABY’s sermon about Jesus Christ could have been drafted in the Downing St of Boris Johnson. I simply don’t know which planet you call home, Michael. Your remarks mystify me.

Tom Dixon
Tom Dixon
Reply to  Mark
21 days ago

Apologies, I’ve only just come back to the party at this late stage. You’re entitled to disagree with me, Mark. But not to make sweeping assumptions about me. My grandfather was from Antigua. My father was a bus driver and my mother (an immigrant from South Africa) did several cleaning jobs. I may have been the first person in the family to get to university, but being able to write sentences in fluent English does not make me white, middle class – or guilt-laden. Nor does having an expectation that an Archbishop might be prepared to bring a degree of… Read more »

Homeless Anglican
Homeless Anglican
Reply to  Tom Dixon
27 days ago

Which is probably why you are not Archbishop of York! I thought it was a very apposite, and very sensitive to the occasion. Re-read it again – it was set in the context of scripture and in living in a divided and troubled world. It was not obsequious, but spoke to the masses because that is what it was surely meant to do. If the church cannot be for the masses then it becomes the very thing you dont want it to be – elitist (and horse racing is not an elitist activity!) You are right to point out our… Read more »

David Runcorn
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
27 days ago

Thank you Homeless – my feelings too. I thought the sermon added significantly to the event and note how the widely the media quoted from it. In mentioning horses he was of course drawing on the Queen’s personal world and passion and drawing a parable out of it. That is what good preaching does.

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Homeless Anglican
27 days ago

I agree HomelessAnglican but I also agree with fr Dean we could have had a smaller contingent of coped clergy in the Procession. Personally I think a brisk Jubilate would have been better than Jackson’s Benedicite. Perhaps Britten as Prince Philip asked Britten to compose it. And I’m afraid I wasn’t greatly enamoured by the anthem from the Master of the Queen’s music.

Fr Dexter Bracey
Fr Dexter Bracey
Reply to  Perry Butler
27 days ago

I wondered why there were quite so many clergy present. Given that it was a national rather than diocesan occasion, why was it considered necessary to have all of the diocesan hierarchy and the entire college of canons present?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Perry Butler
27 days ago

The Chapter wore their best copes for the great occasion and properly preceded their Royal guests in the procession. Agreed Francis Jackson’s and Judith Weir’s music was, shall we say, challenging, but both composers are representative of Her Majesty’s long reign.

William
William
Reply to  Tom Dixon
27 days ago

Horse racing as an elite activity? Have you never been inside a betting shop?

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  William
27 days ago

And there’s very much more to racing than betting shops. An irreverent thought: I wonder whether Her Majesty after following the service on television later tuned in during the afternoon to watch the 244th running of The Oaks Stakes at Epsom. Distinctly possible I would have thought.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
27 days ago

Rowland, it is most reassuring to read that you are beginning to crawl out of the pit you fell into which resulted in your feeling compelled to watch the ABC preaching. Increasing your knowledge of racing form and betting shops is altogether more healthy. I shall continue to give thanks for your recovery.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
27 days ago

Sadly, that isn’t the scenario at all. I last visited a betting shop about 20 years ago in Baden Baden while looking to find an Apotheke for bronchial relief medication. I passed a betting shop and, intrigued, went in to have a look (no wagers took place) but remarkably the first thing which caught my eye was a list on the wall of runners at Aintree! Incidentally when I found the Apotheke, it was no ordinary one, with a Baroque interior of painted religious murals like a miniature Sistine Chapel. I was very well treated, and to this day I… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
26 days ago

I like digressions. I’m sorry to have been so ungracious to have mentioned your name, Rowland, in this context. Mea maxima culpa. However, it does us – well me anyway – no harm to remember that I would feel as out of place in a betting shop as a student of the form would feel in a church. For them I suspect church rituals and what lies behind them would be laughingly incomprehensible. Why bother with church at all when one can have the companionship, mutual support, ritual, shared aims, hopes and targets from hobby groups – without petty squabbles… Read more »

David James
David James
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
26 days ago

More than a possibility – a racing certainty!!

David James
David James
Reply to  William
26 days ago

Or hanging over the parade ring rail at Southwell races??

Wandering minstrel
Wandering minstrel
Reply to  Tom Dixon
25 days ago

‘horse racing, an elite activity …’ Ever been into a betting shop?

Dave
Dave
28 days ago

Preaching at the Platinum Jubilee must be so difficult, and of course the Archbishop was a stand in for Justin Welby.

That being said personally I had hoped for something with a little more weight.

Father Ron Smith
28 days ago

Thank you, Janet (Fife), for your lovely article about your own journey towards a more wholesome theology that draws attention to the need of the Body of Christ to accept – for instance – that God’s human Creation is not merely binary, but rather a wonderful rainbow of distinctive and yet, contributory, factors of gender and sexuality that has hitherto been unknown to, and seemingly neglected by, the Church. As the bearer of the Gospel (Good News) of His Father’s openness to this many-splendored world of his own creation, Jesus sought to bring together all sorts and conditions of humanity… Read more »

Last edited 28 days ago by Father Ron Smith
Bob
Bob
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
27 days ago

So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
You are to bring into the ark two of all living creatures, male and female, to keep them alive with you.

Is this not true?

Graham Watts
Graham Watts
Reply to  Bob
27 days ago

But no one really believes the story of creation any more do they!? Or that the flood really happened.

Bob
Bob
Reply to  Graham Watts
27 days ago

The real question is if we are not created in the image of God by a Creator God, what are we?

Graham Watts
Graham Watts
Reply to  Bob
26 days ago

It’s an alternative question but I can’t see why you would claim it to be ‘the real question’ There is enough science and evidence for evolution of life from primitive specialised cells becoming simple life forms and onward. We are the product of a unique planetary environment over billions of years.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  Bob
27 days ago

No

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  FrDavid H
27 days ago

I may have told you before but a female medical student had her world view shattered when she discovered that men and women had the same number of ribs. I kid you not. Just think what might be happening if they didn’t. Gender reassignment surgery would presumably have to include rib reduction or augmentation. Isn’t it wonderful?

Father Ron Smith
Reply to  Bob
27 days ago

Yes, Bob. Male and female are needed for procreation. However. life is not all about procreation but, also, a way of dealing with the reality of plurality already invested in Creation

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Bob
26 days ago

It is a scientific fact that there are animals which engage in same-sex partnerships.

William
William
Reply to  Janet Fife
26 days ago

I don’t think that’s a good argument. Christians are called to live a supernatural life not an animal one.

FrDavid H
FrDavid H
Reply to  William
26 days ago

Living a supernatural life sounds like a Sci-fi box set on Netflix.

William
William
Reply to  FrDavid H
26 days ago

You should read more theology and watch less Netflix.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  William
26 days ago

If so, why the incarnation?

William
William
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
26 days ago

In order to be raised up into the life of the Trinity.
‘God became man so that we might become God’. (St Athanasius)

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  William
26 days ago

There are other ways of interpreting that. “Made like hum, like him we rise.” My views are not for rehearsing here but if you are interested, read my MA dissertation available under “Theotokos” on my blog.

Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  William
26 days ago

I was merely countering the traditional argument, which you seemed to be referring to, that the natural created order is of male/female partnerships.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  William
26 days ago

Make your mind up. For centuries we gay people were criticised because our desires were”unnatural”. Now we have shown that same sex activity is entirely natural we are being criticised for being like the natural world.

Jeremy
Jeremy
Reply to  Simon Dawson
25 days ago

Well said. Moreover, does the sacrament of marriage make heterosexual sex any less like the natural world? Natural is as natural does.

William
William
Reply to  Jeremy
24 days ago

‘does the sacrament of marriage make heterosexual sex any less like the natural world?’

Actually I think it does. I think Christian marriage demands far more than what we see going on in the natural world in terms of self-giving, restraint, and sacrifice. This is only possible, by living, to some extent at least, with the supernatural gift of grace.

William
William
Reply to  Simon Dawson
24 days ago

Part of the problem here, and this is the reason I entered the discussion, is that natural law is being equated with things that happen in nature. This is a false understanding and the reason that these arguments don’t get very far; we are talking about two completely different things.

Unreliable Narrator
Unreliable Narrator
Reply to  Janet Fife
26 days ago

Indeed. But what is the mode of argument that starts with statements like “X does/does not happen in nature” and ends with statements like “X is right/wrong” or “God does/does not want us to do X”?

Last edited 26 days ago by Unreliable Narrator
Janet Fife
Janet Fife
Reply to  Unreliable Narrator
26 days ago

Exactly. See my reply to Bob above.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Janet Fife
26 days ago

Here is an introduction to the topic of homosexuality in the animal kingdom. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bruce-Bagemihl/e/B001J3NMW0%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share There are creatures too that change sex during the life cycle – in “both” directions. Indeed it could be argued that we do: as endogenous testosterone production falls off with age (along with several other things), some men become more – how shall I put this in order to offend the politically correct brigade – girly. Some hold that ordination itself results in emasculation of males, though quite what it does to the female of the species is not yet clear to me. I’ll get my… Read more »

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
26 days ago

I would point out, as well, that all human fetuses start out as female. The fetus does not begin producing testosterone until the 8th or 9th week.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Pat ONeill
26 days ago

I’m afraid that is not actually true. The unborn child will be either male or female from conception based on their genetic complement.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Pat ONeill
26 days ago

No they don’t. They start out as uncommitted with elements of both.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
26 days ago

I certainly defer to you on the issue given your medical credentials.

I guess there is perhaps a question of definition of terms ?

With respect to morphology, function and tissue definition there is obviously not much that is clear very early in the life of the unborn !

Having said that the genetics is clear and therefore there is no actual doubt as to whether the child is female or male.

It’s an issue of gene expression rather than much else

Last edited 26 days ago by Peter
Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Peter
25 days ago

Yes, Peter, I agree. My first reply was unsubtle – it is a matter of definitions and gene expression as you say. Please never defer to me – I am deeply suspicious of people who don’t argue with me. Being a morphologist I tend to regard morphology as paramount – which is rubbish of course except that one can see and touch it. Like everyone else I am full of contradictions. But this I know – if we say we are certain, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. The important thing to remember is that it’s… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
25 days ago

Stanley, this subject of growth in the womb, and how various gender traits might be influenced or determined, is an area of knowledge i would like to learn more about. Are there any books or other resources that might guide me, preferably those not hidden behind academic journal password access. Thank you.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Simon Dawson
25 days ago

Simon, thank you. When I was a student 1969-75 Human Embryology by Hamilton, Boyd and Mossman was the bible. This was followed by the less detailed Langman’s Medical Embryology by Sadler. They are still available. They are all about morphology – that is, structure. Then someone invented molecular genetics. It all got out of hand and EvoDevo was born: From embryology to evodevo: a history of developmental evolution edited by Laubichler and Maienschein provides a survey. The 1934 A history of embryology by the polymath Joseph Needham is excellent as far as it goes.  It is not possible to consider… Read more »

Mary Hancock
Mary Hancock
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
25 days ago

As a retired population ecologist, I bow to Stanley’s greater expertise in the area, and genetics was never my strong point. But I think it may be worth remembering that influences on embryo development can arise from endogenous causes, like maternal hormone levels, and exogenous causes, like environmental pollutants and chemicals, and parental consumption of alcohol. These can affect the development of future embryos as well as current embryos, of course. G x E effects (genetic x environmental) need to be thought about too.

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Mary Hancock
25 days ago

Oh yes. And we don’t know about all exogenous substances – we know a bit about effects of ethanol, heroin, thalidomide etc but who knows what a daily intfake go apparently innocuous drugs will do such as coffee I’m a tea drinker myself but then I don’t have a functional uterus).,

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Mary Hancock
25 days ago

I can agree that there may be many possible triggers for embryo developmental changes.

I am aware, however, that the gender identity and sexual orientation changes which are at the root of this discussion have been recorded widely (and, allowing for cultural differences) with some similarity across continents and across millennia. So for these specific changes I would suspect reasonably stable endogenous causes at a population level.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
25 days ago

Stanley, thank you for a very generous response. I am currently travelling, but I will follow up privately in a couple of weeks. Best wishes.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Janet Fife
26 days ago

There is a wonderful book called”Biological Exuberance” documenting how same sex activity has been documented in about 450 species.

Pat ONeill
Pat ONeill
27 days ago

On the subject of the huge numbers of CoE clergy at the service:

Was any thought given to having representatives of the other denominations and religions of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth? The Queen may be the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, but she is equally the head of state of all its citizens and of those Commonwealth member who hold her to be head of state–including Methodists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Roman Catholics, Quakers, Hindus. Buddhists, Moslems, and so on.

Rowland Wateridge
Rowland Wateridge
Reply to  Pat ONeill
27 days ago

They were there although not all identified by their individual names. The full order of service can be read, courtesy of ‘The Telegraph’ (and doubtless elsewhere – see Google) and those attending included “the Primus of the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Archbishop of Armagh, the Representative of the Archbishop of Wales, and the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; Visiting Representatives of World Faiths; Visiting Ecumenical Dignitaries.” Incidentally, the sheer numbers in the processions which others here have questioned are explained in the order of service. All the stops were pulled out for this great occasion,… Read more »

Wandering minstrel
Wandering minstrel
Reply to  Rowland Wateridge
25 days ago

But did any take part? With all due deference to the diocese of London and St Paul’s Cathedral, it should have been a National Service.

Unless the DBS clearance system for visiting clerics couldn’t cope, of course …

Simon Sarmiento
Reply to  Wandering minstrel
25 days ago

And we are all looking forward to seeing how that system will work during the Lambeth Conference…

Perry Butler
Perry Butler
Reply to  Pat ONeill
27 days ago

There was an ecumenical group in the Procession and representatives of other faiths in the congregation

Peter
Peter
26 days ago

The difficulty with much of the comment on the thread on Giles Fraser’s excellent piece is that commentators here clearly have an algorithm in their head which they use to tell them which categories of people are victims of injustice and which categories are perpetrators of in justice.

It sounds convincing, but has no more connection to the New Testament than the works of Marx.

I am afraid the New Testament puts every human being who has ever lived (with one exception) in both categories – Victim and perpetrator of injustice. An inconvenient truth.

Savi Hensman
Savi Hensman
Reply to  Peter
26 days ago

People are indeed both victims and perpetrators of injustice at different times: the biblical insight that all are sinners is valuable indeed. However in a particular situation, someone may be in one position or the other. For instance, if you or I were mercilessly beaten up in the street for no good reason, sinful though we are, we might be relieved if onlookers intervened to stop what is an unjust action (at least I would be) and prevent the attacker from attacking others.

Peter
Peter
Reply to  Savi Hensman
26 days ago

I don’t think the situation you describe is ethically complex. It is perfectly obvious how people would view it.

The complexity is in relation to the contemporary instinct to treat political ideas and movements as if there were moral or even theological. For example, BLM is obviously a political organisation. Nothing wrong with that but clearly BLM needs to be criticised and challenged like all political movements.

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