Thinking Anglicans

Oxford bishops write about Brexit

The Oxford bishops write:

We may be about to exit the European Union and begin a new relationship with our European neighbours and with the world. +Steven, +Alan, +Colin and Bishop-elect Olivia have written a joint letter to every church, school and chaplaincy in the Diocese of Oxford reminding us all of the important roles that our churches and schools hold at this time. The bishops are encouraging parishioners across the diocese to read the letter too: “Don’t underestimate what we can achieve if every church, chaplaincy and school does something and if every Christian disciple takes some action, however small”.

Read the whole letter here. A Christian response to Brexit.

And there are further resources here.

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Kate
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Kate

Once again Oxford shows leadership

James Byron
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James Byron

“Our calling as the Church in these times is not to take sides in this debate but to continue to be the Church for everyone.” Every single bishop in England explicitly called for Brexit! What on earth is the point of trying to gaslight people like this? You took a nakedly partisan position and drew a firestorm of criticism for it: either stand by it and argue your case; or withdraw. Pretending it never happened is the worst of all worlds. As I said on another thread, I’ve far more time for the hardest of hard Brexiteers, who know what… Read more »

Simon Bravery
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Simon Bravery

The former Bishop of Shrewsbury , Mark Rylands now a Parish Priest in Devon, was pro Brexit

Father David
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Father David

Yes, wasn’t he known at the time as “The Brexit Bishop” – a unique holder of that title. Now it would seem that all 118 can claim to be Brexit Bishops, thus giving succour to what the current Attorney General refers to as “This Dead Parliament”.

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

Yes, there is an apparent inconsistency in quoting the College of Bishops’ statement on Brexit, but this isn’t about the rights and wrongs of Brexit; it’s “A Christian response to Brexit” – and so pastoral, not political.

James Byron
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James Byron

Personally, I couldn’t care less about where bishops stand on Britain seceding from the E.U., so long as they stand up against the ugly Bannonism that’s hijacked a perfectly reasonable cause. I care a great deal about bishops tombstoning into the post-truth swamp and gaslighting their flock about a letter issued in their name just over a week ago. If, as has been suggested, it wasn’t unanimous, they need to publicly repudiate it and demand an investigation into how such a blunder was made. Otherwise, either defend its contents, or announce a change of mind. Pretending it never happened is,… Read more »

Guest
Guest
Guest

Brexit is a political issue, the issues the Oxford Bishops list – eg. foodbanks and hate crime increasing after the 2016 referendum – are politically-created problems, the posters Oxford has produced reference the government’s “inherently party political” (according to a cross-party group of MPs led by Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson) Get Ready for Brexit campaign and in context of the unanimous Bishops statement Oxford praises strongly imply support for Brexit themes – eg. the “Peace, prosperity, progress” poster. How can it be pastoral to avoid addressing the reasons for the politically-created problems the Bishops claim to address, and produce… Read more »

Guest
Guest
Guest

The Oxford posters gently subvert the Get Ready for Brexit campaign. They use existing imagery to send a distinctly Christian message. The ‘peace, wellbeing and prosperity’ poster is a direct reference to the letter sent by the bishops, which says: “Six hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Jeremiah wrote to those sent into exile in Babylon. His words resonate powerfully today. We are to seek the welfare of our cities, towns and villages in these difficult months. The word translated welfare here is shalom: peace, well-being and prosperity. These must be our goal.”

Guest
Guest
Guest

After deciding to in writing “denigrate, patronise or ignore the honest views of fellow citizens” (and others) who question the 2016 referendum result, the means used to achieve it, and Brexit – as the Church Times powerful leader pointed out on 4 October – these Bishops unblinkingly claim that “Our calling as the Church in these times is not to take sides in this debate but to continue to be the Church for everyone”. One notices that they falsely present “not to take sides” as the same as “to be the Church for everyone”. Why do these Bishops think that… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Outstanding post. This is exactly why the CoE needs to take a stand against the current Leave project, which is a proxy for Bannonism. I don’t care where bishops stand on secession as an abstract issue: but I care deeply about the church, wherever she may be, standing firm against the politics of scapegoating and nativism.

Jill Armstead
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Jill Armstead

To associate Leavers and an innocuous letter from Oxford diocese bishops with ‘Bannonism’, by which I take it you mean far right populism/white nationalism/racism is unnecessarily provocative and offensive. Many Anglicans are Leavers and as far removed from bannonism, if there is such an ism as it is possible to get.

James Byron
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James Byron

Throughout recent threads on this issue, I’ve clearly separated E.U. secession (a noble cause with which I have a great deal of sympathy) from the antics of the people who’ve hijacked it for ulterior motives. My criticism is aimed squarely at the “Breaking Point” mob, whose leaders and strategists have met with, endorsed, and been endorsed by, Trump and Bannon, not the concept of secession. It’s precisely because I see the merits in the U.K. leaving the E.U. that I don’t want to see Bannonism drag it down. Anyone who cares for the secessionist cause ought to want the same.

Charles Read
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I wonder if the bishops saw the full text before agreeing to put their names to the College f Bishops statement? If they did not, that might explain why some bishops are now rowing back from the endorsement of Brexit…

James Byron
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James Byron

Some advice for their graces (Oxon), from the author and finisher: “I know thy works, that thou art neither cold nor hot: I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.”

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

TA is nothing if not broad-minded publishing posts like the above. But it looks as though we are potentially back in the legal melting-pot – in Scotland again. It’s somewhat like last time (although using a different procedure in the Court of Session), and, also like last time, the Government has won round one – the Court declined to make any order – but already an appeal has been announced. The Court of Session is, in any event, considering whether it has the power to write a letter to the EU requesting an extension if the PM does not do… Read more »

Rowland Wateridge
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Rowland Wateridge

The Court of Session has delayed making a decision saying (as reported by the BBC) that it could not rule on the matter until the political debate has “played out”. The Court will sit again and resume consideration (presumably only if necessary) on 21st October.

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

The bishops, poor dears, open their mouths merely to change feet. If it weren’t so sad, it’d be an entertaining spectator sport. But fear not, as Our Lord, might have said, nobody – and I mean nobody – takes any notice of bishops any more. They twitter and twatter so much, or some of them do, that there can’t be any time for brain chemicals to recuperate after each “important” pronouncement, subsequent utterings becoming more and more anodyne. Nobody in my congregations eagerly awaits an episcopal pronouncement about anything (“I wonder” Elsie said to Fred, “what the bishops say about… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Couldn’t agree more about Whitehall’s debt to Ireland, but if this madness continues, then a majority of Northern Ireland’s people may well decide to vote to erase from the map the legacy of “differences carefully fostered by an alien Government.” I’d be amazed if the Scots refused, in short order, also to exercise their sovereign right to self-determination. Wales will at this point be asking herself some extremely tough questions about her future. It’s entirely conceivable that England will soon stand alone. A prospect fantastical before the botched referendum, and scarcely less so before the infamous red lines were smeared… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Irish reunification, James? I’ve many friends and relations in the Republic and I don’t know any that wants the north. The Dublin government can’t afford it, no matter what posturing might go on. Even if Westminster “paid” Dublin to take the 6 counties, who in their right minds would want to handle that shower? As for Scotland and Wales – they are not lumbered by being governed by self-indulgent public school louts up to their “larks” and tax games. Good luck to them – Scots and Welsh I mean. As you say, whatever happens, the bishops will have something to… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

A 2017 poll put support for reunification in the Republic itself at 60%*, even at the cost of €9bn a year. Support for reunification from south of the border’s never been the issue. We should remember that Ireland’s constitution only removed a territorial claim to the whole island in the late ’90s: whatever the practical concerns, backing a united Ireland is baked into republicanism’s DNA. More strikingly, a recent poll** put support for reunification in the north at 51%, a striking illustration of the ground shifting. If the inevitable border poll (if not over Brexit, then something else) passes 52-48,… Read more »

T Pott
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T Pott

No matter what support there might be for unification of Ireland separate from Great Britain there will still be a very significant, utterly determined, large number of people who will not accept it. Talk of “re” unification is war-mongering. It can’t happen peacefully, so to advocate it at all is to support a return to violence. The problem in Ireland, of which Brexit is but the latest manifestation, is the failure of the Reformation to gain the support of large parts of the island, and the persistent failure of Anglicans and Presbyterians alike to resolve this. If the Anglican bishops… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Thahks for that info James. Bring it on. It’s inevitable.

Michael Mulhern
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Michael Mulhern

Agreed, Stanley and others. The DUP are in a for serious grubbing at the next general election, especially by the young (and particularly the Unionist young) who are looking over the border at a progressive, democratic republic (that offers equal marriage and abortion, to say nothing of a more inclusive European culture) and saying ‘we want some of that.’ What fills me with confidence is that Ireland has a sustained track record of dealing graciously and generously with other cultures. Whatever the ‘New Ireland’ looks like, it will not remotely resemble the kind of imperial absorption so characteristic of England’s… Read more »

James Byron
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James Byron

Thanks for raising the transformation of Ireland, which is what’s making reunification a viable possibility. With recent constitutional amendments, a key plank of unionist argument — that the south was a Catholic theocracy in all-but name — has evaporated. It’s also exactly what the Irish Republic was supposed to be, before Whitehall partitioned Ireland along sectarian lines, and De Valera imposed his vision on what remained. Secularism, and not T. Pott’s … idiosyncratic suggestion that Ireland converts to protestantism en masse, is the route to reunification (considering that Ireland used to be one, the correct term). Reunification that can, and… Read more »

Stanley Monkhouse
Guest

Widely off topic, but … When we moved to Dublin in 1988 it was without doubt still Catholic Ireland and anti-English. “What are you doing in a job that could be taken by an Irishman” I was asked. De Valera and John Charles McQuaid were mentioned with awe. By the time we left in 2003, this was most definitely not the case. The first crack was exposure of Bishop Eamonn Casey’s reproductive prowess. We were back again 2011-14 – I was Rector of Portlaoise – by which time MM’s description of Ireland is absolutely right. The Irish population is, by… Read more »

Bill Broadhead
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Bill Broadhead

“Give extra support to the food banks in your area” – but don’t question Government policies that force people to use foodbanks. “Watch out for the lonely, the anxious and the vulnerable” but don’t ask why swingeing cuts to local authority, health and social funding is making people lonely and leaving huge gaps in mental health services. “Reach out to EU nationals in your neighbourhood and workplace” but don’t ask how the encouragement of a “hostile environment” over a sustained period of time by this Tory government and its predecessors towards EU nationals and others is feeding a pernicious, xenophobic… Read more »