Blogs Coffee House

The CofE doomed? Only because it’s surrendered to phony soullessness

19 November 2013

6:10 PM

19 November 2013

6:10 PM

The Church of England is doomed, Lord Carey has said, warning that Anglicanism is just ‘one generation away from extinction’.

To be fair people have been saying this for a long time; in the mid-19th century the Church decided to make a survey of churchgoing, and were stunned to find out that only a quarter of people in England attended Anglican services and a similar number to non-Conformist services. Half the population wasn’t going at all.

Now you’d be lucky to get that many at Christmas. The Church faces the same problem as all churches, namely that religious belief continues to decline across Europe, and that those religions that do flourish tend to be quite wacky, whether the ‘ah bless, sweet’ variety or the ‘scary, frothing at the mouth’ strain.


Religion is becoming ever weirder to most people as Britain’s Christian legacy fades into the past. Most people of my parents’ generation weren’t believers, but they had grown up in households that were Christian or had a recent Christian past. Now it’s a much more distant memory. And the more strange that religion seems, the less likely it is that fellow travellers are going to want to take part, and religions are at their most benign and benevolent when they’re full of doubters.

If half the population decided to attend Church of England services every Sunday for a year, in a big experiment, the benefits to society would be immense, in terms of community spirit and the pacifist and forgiving message being preached. The more people attended, the more their friends would want to attend. Lots of atheists and agnostics recognise the positive aspects of churchgoing, and, like Professor Dawkins feel an emotional attachment to their ancestral religion, which they regard as the least offensive. But they don’t believe, so there’s not much that can really be done there.

My diagnosis of the Church of England is that it is too lefty (admittedly that is my diagnosis for everything). Whenever I attend and irrespective of the parish I go to, it’s a bit like being read the Guardian comment page. Of course, much leftist thought stems from Christianity, but what you hear in Anglican (and Catholic) churches sounds less like authentic Christianity and more like a minority faith trying to ape the style of the dominant creed in society. But what’s the point? The whole statist worldview is fantastically implausible enough without adding supernatural elements to it. Surely, this overtly political talk must put off more people than it attracts?

What actually attracts people to Anglicanism is the beauty of its language, hymns and buildings, and tribal loyalty, in the spirit of George Orwell, but even those have faded a great deal. Maybe one day people will look at Anglican cathedrals in the way they do the remnants of the Church of the East in Nineveh, a once-fine civilisation and a major spiritual force.

By curious chance it is now China (where the Church of the East evangelised in the 7th century) that will become not just the major power of the 21st century, but the major Christian power, with the Faith growing in that country at an incredible rate. Maybe we’ll end up selling our cathedrals to the Chinese. I joke, of course, although I’m sure George Osborne has thought about it.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • Emp123

    It’s too bad because the UK is exhibit A that people have spiritual needs and what happens when they are not addressed. it is no coincidence that the British are the people the most hostile to religion on the entire planet.

  • Wesley Mcgranor

    No one here is going to say what a good job the hippies did in dismantling the institutional church and other Western Protestant institutions?

  • Alistair Kerr

    I can vouch for this. Some years ago I consulted a London vicar for spiritual advice. He was very understanding and kind about my doubts about things such as the Real Presence and the Incarnation. However when I admitted that I hated the Labour Party, I was out on my ear. New Labour, which was about to win the 1997 election, was wonderful, above criticism, incarnated Christian ideals in a practical way… and was about to recreate the earthly paradise here in the UK (as we know all too well). God might be an optional extra: Mr Blair was not. Labour is still the default position of the average pale pink Anglican J C Flannel vicar. Shortly after that I bent my footsteps towards Mount Athos and Constantinople.

  • Duncan Fell

    Imagine if China became a Christian democracy. The world would become a better place.

  • John Smith

    They always opt for an idiot to lead them. The last one did not want the job & many are not sure this one does either

  • Chris

    I have always maintained that left wing politics is nothing more than a bastardised version of christianity. Hences its hatred toward christianity – it’s a competitor. They merely removed the god. They even created their own doomsday in the form of climate change – don’t change your evil (capitalist) ways and you will die in fire and brimstone or a great flood. It allows them to moralise and try and force their view on you.

  • Guest

    The CoE only as itself to blame for all the many years of bickering and infighting within itself, expressing itself in social work type babble language it finally achieved the result of aliening itself from normal people, who have abandoned the CoE.

  • tomthumb015

    The CoE only as itself to blame for all the many years of bickering and infighting within itself, expressing itself in social work type babble language it finally achieved the result of aliening itself from normal people, who have abandoned the CoE.

  • john

    Dis-establish the CofE and maybe it’ll survive on its own.
    It is a ludicrous aspect of Britain’s deference to a ruling establishment that the State needs a rather feeble entity like the CofE to be part of the ruling hierachy. It’s 2013 not 1813.

  • Mike Barnes

    Of course it’s full of left wingers. Jesus wasn’t motivated by profit, neither are they.

    You’re not going to get any greedy Ayn Rand types becoming vicars are you? Doesn’t really fit with all that stuff Jesus said about the poor does it?

  • Paddy S

    Thought it was appropriate to point out these guys:

    Angry atheist who trolls internet sites denouncing God, Christians and religion; Atheist internet troll who demonstrates a basic ignorance of reason; Atheist internet troll who is ignorant of science and logic while claiming strong adherence to the same; Atheist who contradicts themselves through poor reasoning, especially one who exhibits hypocrisy.

    Internet Atheists cannot come to terms with the fact that the claim of the nonexistence of deities is a belief. Instead, Internet Atheists claim that atheism is a lack of belief (which is actuallyagnosticism). Basically, Internet Atheism are the idiots amongatheists.

    • GordonHide

      @Paddy S – “Internet Atheists claim that atheism is a lack of belief (which is actually agnosticism).”
      Atheism and agnosticism are not mutually exclusive. Atheism is concerned with belief or its lack. Agnosticism is concerned with knowledge and what can be known.

    • john

      Silly comment. Atheists do not believe that there is no God, just that there is no evidence for same. Any atheist (not the best name) will happily belive as soon as good evidence is provided – good luck with that!

  • wchancellor

    Phoney gender claims on the crafted masculine role of the priest have rendered Sunday School, not liturgy.

    The Church–Roman, Anglican or American Loud Baptist–is not merely a diakonos (agapé community); it is an elaborately constructed theatre fixed on the idolatry of a lovely young male. Like all religions, it is ultimately about human husbandry and behavioural governance.

    The Jewish Faith was then and is now fundamenatlly sexist; women are not equal and the debate continues in the various synods today. In delivering the idea of life out of death, the Christians also delivered–after Jesus’ time–the Cult of Mary. Mary is not a goddess; she is vulnerable, fertile woman. Yet, the Christian Church continued to build its traditions under the conceit of male wisdom and uniquely male authority in the liturgy.

    Clearly, 2000 years on, with women now claiming uni places at rates above young men, and gender gaps not only closing but perhaps reversing, as we live in the Age of Economic Woman, Cranmer’s magnificent Book of Common Prayer has needed more than pronoun edits. Women in Zaroastrian vestments, taking testosterone to deepen their voices, or speaking in motherly tones delivering sisterly intellectualisms from high pulpits ISN’T WORKING.

    Church (The Church or any Church) needs a major rethink, and it begins with honesty that the holy mysteries are devices for governance first and foremost. On this point, Mohammed understood and delivered more honesty.

    Nonetheless, I am saddened to ponder the fading down of The Church, and the BBC’s Congs of Praise does not “do it for me”. I miss the sharp, critical theological debnates, the Cranmer poetry, the stubborn professors (even if they were few) doing God’s work in chapel. Alas, those days are gone and the preponderance of smart femals in my family will not allow me to indulge in such discourse over the dinner table, and I’m not sure God cares if I am “not so worthy as to gather up these crumbs this thy Table” in an age of impressive power vacs.

  • Terence Hale

    The CofE doomed? Only because it’s surrendered to phony soullessness. The Church of England has indeed much in common with communism, they both have nothing and wish to share it with the world.

  • DGStuart

    ‘The whole statist worldview is fantastically implausible enough without adding supernatural elements to it.’

    Well said Ed – that’s where much of the problem lies I reckon. Not so much
    the Tory party at prayer as the Guardian commentariat or the council’s social work
    dept. at prayer. Secular prayer, of course.

  • Chris Ranmore

    Start a discussion about the decline in religious observance and what to you get? A lot of cliques arguing about the lack of (or need for) tambourines or the Latin (vs modern) mass. Try to see the bigger picture guys!

  • Chris Ranmore

    “If half the population decided to attend Church of England services
    every Sunday for a year, in a big experiment, the benefits to society
    would be immense, in terms of community spirit and the pacifist and
    forgiving message being preached”

    That’s unlikely to happen but if it did, these benefits are unlikely. “Forgiveness” sounds terribly hollow when your weasel mouthed words are busy condemning homosexuals and the divorced. “Pacifist” sentiments seem shallow when every regiment has a padre marching Christian soldiers into war. And community spirit is very inwards looking in most Christian communities – outreach and charity is solely for the purposes of recruitment – there’s a reason why they stamp “Christian Aid” in big letters on those grain sacks.

    • Paddy S

      funny you know that the people who do least amount of charity are people who are secular left like you dont you…

  • perdix

    As long as the CoE continues in its message of Guardian-speak it will not actually help the “victims” of society until it stands up for individual responsibilities for self and family. The State cannot “love”, only people can.

  • john

    Quote: “What actually attracts people to Anglicanism is the beauty of its language, hymns and buildings, and tribal loyalty, in the spirit of George Orwell, but even those have faded a great deal”
    Wot about me? God.

  • DrCrackles

    It only takes God and one faithful man to transform this nation.

  • grammarschoolman

    Look at the way they’re now trying to destroy the excellence of their schools by turning them into bog-standard comprehensives (although, admittedly, that has more to do with Welby’s Eton-guilt that Leftism per se).

  • DavidL

    I agree with the lefty bit, but I don’t see that as the main reason for the Church’s decline. The 2011 census shows that the percentage of people saying they had no religion rose from 14.8% in 2001 to 25.1%. The percentage describing themselves as Christian fell from 71.7% to 59.3%. There’s a close correlation between the two. So there’s been a shift from the “Laodicean” position of, ‘I sort of believe in God, but…’ to one of outright rejection. This has many causes, but I suspect Dawkins and others have been successful in evangelising for atheism. And the census figures suggest, if the trend were to continue, in 2021, we will have ceased, statistically speaking, to be a Christian country.

  • SimonNorwich

    “If half the population decided to attend Church of England services every Sunday for a year, in a big experiment, the benefits to society would be immense, in terms of community spirit and the pacifist and forgiving message being preached.”

    You mean like the way the British were so peaceful, non-violent and respectful of others from the Middle Ages to the Victorian period?

    • justejudexultionis

      Yes, but every other country in Europe and just about every other society across the globe has been doing the same thing for thousands of years. The British just turned out to be especially skilled at it (or lucky) and managed to build the world’s largest empire. The Victorians weren’t particularly bloodthirsty when compared to the Belgians in the Congo, for instance.

      • SimonNorwich

        I agree. My point was not to have a go at the British in particular. It was that in recent history, when religion had more power and more people went to church, we lived in a far less compassionate society. The less religious we’ve become, the more compassionate, and, dare I say, the more (small “c”) christian we’ve become. We don’t live in a perfect society, but it is one far more concerned about welfare and equality for everyone than even a few decades ago.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      “If half the population decided to attend Church of England services every Sunday for a year, in a big experiment, the benefits to society would be immense, in terms of community spirit and the pacifist and forgiving message being preached.”

      Also, most would be standing out in the rain, as Churches simply wouldn`t be able to accommodate that volume.

  • Ambriorix_Le_Belge

    Brilliant article. If you attend most ‘Christian’ churches these days, the sermons are all about buying Fair Trade chocolate, reducing your carbon footprint, being nice to asylum seekers and opposing the bedroom tax. Not one word about the gospel, sin, eternal life or damnation. The reason people don’t go to church is they get enough leftist hectoring from the state during the week without getting up early on a Sunday to get the same treatment in allegedly religious garb. The churches that ARE flourishing, are ones that are not left-wing at all, but preach completely undiluted traditional Christianity.

  • Meggles

    Mass is held 3 times on Sunday in the Church I attend – every one of those is almost full to capacity.

  • zanzamander

    By curious chance it is now China (where the Church of the East evangelised in the 7th century) that will become not just the major power of the 21st century,

    What is wrong with Buddhism?

    Christianity is never happy unless it is converting, meddling and insulting other faiths. In this respect it is a twin of its more aggressive brother Islam.

    Christianity and Islam are the same.

    China should ban religious conversions and kick out “charities” that work there under the guise of humanitarian aid but whose real agenda is to convert gullible Chinese. People who enter into this transaction with Christianity (and Islam for that matter) are often gulled and forced into it – taken advantage of. It is like having your senile nanny sign her will away – it ought to be invalid.

    Christianity has had its socks knocked off by Islam in the West and most parts of Africa so it is finding new minds to convert in China.

    • DrCrackles

      I contend you are disaffected Mulsim, with some sympathies for your old faith.

      You know nothing of China Sir, but I will tell you that the most oppressive regime on earth could not eliminate Christianity only cause it to grow. Ditto Stalin’s Russia. You should read about Christians in North Korea, where everyone who accepts the faith of Jesus Christ accepts death, but they choose faith and eternal life.

      • johnslattery

        You know nothing of China either doctor if you think it is the most oppressive regime on earth. i don’t think you have ever set foot in a church there. Christianity flourishes there in the same way that Buddhism flourishes here–an interesting fringe sect for the disaffected. The ‘oppression’ amounts to little more than surveillance at the moment.

  • Bob Hutton

    A true Christian is not someone who is simply raised in a “Christian” culture and tags that label onto himself. A true Christian is one who has repented of sin and accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour.

    Similarly, the “church” is not the C of E but a body of people who have so believed. A group of believers meeting in a school are just as much part of the “church” as those who meet in recognised “church” buildings.

    By that definition the Christian church is actually growing; there are a huge number of Evangelical groups meeting in rented premises, such as schools and colleges, who have a great number of young people in their midst – youngsters who have accepted Christ. Consequently, although the C of E is declining the actual picture is much more optimistic.

    • Augustus

      “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”

  • CharlietheChump

    As for Women Bishops, there is no need for Bishops at all, abolish these “Princes” of the Church rather than imposing gender balance.

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      I`m against women bishops, but then I`m against all bishops.

  • David Booth.

    George Carey was head honcho at the Church of England for 11 years so he might consider he in part is responsible for its current state.
    He retired in ?2002 and a comfortable Church funded pension and sits on the sidelines spouting rubbish.
    The man has no shame.

  • Tom Tom

    Attendance in many Anglican Churches produces the sensation of Faith being assaulted and even sucked out. I know how Jesus felt during his 40 days in the desert when I attend many church services. Faith is not contained within church buildings nor in many of these congregations. Christian Faith is vibrant and growing but in the original manner of Roman Catacombs rather than Roman temples…..just as in China.

    The Anglican Church is what the marriage between elites has made it, the handmaiden of government ideology as a Contractor to the Home Office receiving grants and the recipient of EU and Council Funds for “Community Centres” devoid of any Christian symbols. The Church of England runs so many social workers and State schools that it might as well become a Department of the Government as in Denmark

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      “I know how Jesus felt during his 40 days in the desert…”
      You can`t possibly know that. But that`s a Christian head-banger for you; claiming to know the mind of God or Mr. Jesus Christ.

  • Zimbalist

    …”feel an emotional attachment to their ancestral religion…”

    The true ancestral religion of these islands is Catholicism, for nearly 1000 years. What replaced it was a phoney version put in place for political purposes by an immoral, murdering tyrant. Britain’s very own Pol Pot.

    Britain needs to return to its TRUE ancestral religion, Catholicism. Then, and only then, will it possess the tools – objective moral truth – to truly oppose the relativist ideology that runs rampant across Europe, crippling and desecrating everything in its path, corrupting the body politic as well as souls.

    Unfortunately, deficient education, wanton ignorance, wilful hostility and outright hatred (the latter usually esposed by those most loudly shouting for an “inclusive,” “diverse” and “tolerant” society) have left many in a position whereby they will never come to know – or even wish to know, even if only intellectually – the beauty of Catholicism; the most efficacious gateway for opening the soul to God. That is a great tragedy.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …the only valid step the state can make re religion is to permit its freedom. It needn’t establish religion(s), as that’s an intrusion, and ultimately a theft of freedom and liberty. The state established religion should be disestablished.

    • DrCrackles

      It wasn’t Roman Catholicism.

      Cromwell was a hard man for hard times. To compare him with Pol Pot is absurd hyperbole.

  • Patrick

    The real problem, and one that few will actually dare to speak out on, is that there is no God. The whole thing, all religion, is a fraud. Religion has social benefits and brings comfort to millions. But all religion is based on a fundamental untruth. We live in a much less credulous age and this emperor’s clothes are as invisible as they have ever been. Could we please just find ways to respect and love and care for each other without invoking mystical sky fairies?

    • Zimbalist

      Ok, we’ll all stop believing now. Thanks for clearing that up for this.

      “Sky fairies.” Damn, I never thought of that.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Face it, organized religions is more than a little last season.

    • Wessex Man

      as are you.

      • TheOldStoic

        That scintillating and cutting retort must have taken quite some thought for you. Well done. Now go and have a well deserved rest.

  • Daniel Maris

    No one now believes in Zeus and the pantheon of Greek gods, but our culture has always, and still is, imbued with classicism. We still take much from the myths and we still value the religious practices of the Greeks (the Olympics is tesitmony to that).

    I think we have to look to preserve the Christian tradition in the same way – we should be teaching the Bible and the essentials of Christianity to all our children, whatever their religion, because it is part of our cultural story and because at its best it has enriched and humanised our society.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Spoken like a true national socialist.

      Problem for you NSDAPers is that the Christian tradition you claim to value dies via the soul-deadening hand you statists force onto Christianity.

      You national socialists want to save “tradition” much like you want to save buggy whips, all at state gunpoint.

  • The Red Bladder

    Absolutely, we can all be doing without that “thou shalt not kill”, “it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” and “turn the other cheek” nonsense. Marxist propaganda the lot of it!

  • ohforheavensake

    Where d’you stand on Christ, Ed? In the Bible, got to be honest with you, he comes across as a bit of a lefty.

    • Daniel Maris

      You have to ask where the Apostles got their ideas of living in common, sharing all their goods and money…

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      “Where d’you stand on Christ, Ed?”
      Left ear, perhaps?

  • stevetierney

    I agree that church does often seem to tend towards the Left. Like education, Lefties seem to have gravitated in there and so, as you describe, you’re forced to wince any time you attend a sermon.

    It also tends towards the statist authoritarian approach – Which is odd because the bible really doesn’t suggest statism nor leftist policies. It suggests charity and assistance for those in need, not via laws, rules and regulations but via personal responsibility and the responsibility to others.

    There is a relentless drive towards more control, more statism, in every section of society. At some point it’s all going to end very messily, in my view.

  • ChanceBeingThere

    Good analysis, except that you omit the elephant in the room: women in the priesthood.

    It was fundamentally wrong, as my very respected-academic grandmother well understood. The Church is not a democratic manifesto and, as evident from a review of discussions on sexuality and all that stems from it, it is not inclined to be gender indifferent. The Church was designed–yes, it is a design–with liturgies keying on the projection of male voices and male physicality.

    I had rare occasion the other day to attend an Evensong at my old school that I so enjoyed when a schoolboy. Few were present apart from a handful of visiting parents. The sercice was led by an attractive and earnest thirtyish-yo woman. Her voice was soft, so she pitched a sound that was shrill. More telling was an arguably errant or indifferent intonation of the liturgy and the readings. A male student read the Epistle designiated in the lectionary and his voice was the one all present will recall favourably. In truth, I think all would’ve preferred he lead the service.

    Of course, there are countless males who deliver irritating, incompetent, or tired readings and homilies to no or negative effect, but they do so in a context in which they can be so judged and coached. Delivery was a competitive sport in my time.

    Then one comes to the theological content of sermons and, sadly, one notes on the pages of the Guardian more male bylines under the most-read intellectual pieces of the day.

    Call me sexist, but the playing fields were not designed for equal opportunity. That doesn’t mean they wre well served by arbitrary barriers.

    I strongly believe women at the altar were a mistake, and my grandmother–but not my mother or my wife or my daughter–will forgive me.

  • Alexsandr

    as our knowledge of how creation and the universe works has increased by leaps and bounds, we have left religion behind us.

  • telemachus

    Carey is the kind of dull has been that will turn off all but the most ardent of committed Christians

  • crosscop

    When the C of E has bishops who think that the Muslim take over of their parish is a “fantastic opportunity” for the dwindling few Christians to learn how it feels to be part of a minority, the church deserves to die.

  • temple powell

    The problem that bedevils all the churches is that they try to live in the world rather than standing by the principles outlined in scripture. Little wonder that the dilution of core beliefs, to placate political and cultural forces, drives away the very people who are, by their nature, drawn to the teaching in the Bible.

    Moral relativism has no objective base, it cannot stand as a moral philosophy to guide a society, it can only pander to the individual, yet moral relativism is exactly the policy of the CofE and most Christian churches today.

    The CofE cannot be all things to all men, it has to anchor itself to a set of values that people can readily define, it must promote these values vigorously and accept the damnation of the chattering classes. Otherwise its decline will continue.

    • David Lindsay

      Little wonder that the dilution of core beliefs, to placate political and cultural forces


      You could not now be ordained in the C of E if you did not believe in, say, the Virgin Birth. It never used to ask, really. But it does now.

      And it has become more and more critical of what the political Right has become, as it has become more and more insistently orthodox doctrinally.

      Well, of course.

      A lot of this has to do with having modern language liturgy. Only the most hardline Calvinist can believe the words of the Book of Common Prayer, and that was its intention.

      But by as early as the eighteenth century, it had become about the beauty of the language, whereas the whole point of it in its day had been that it was in normal speech, in contrast to the Latin Mass.

      Once the liturgy was in normal speech again, then the clergy, at least, had to believe it all again. With all the implications of that. Not least, the political implications.

      • Tom Tom

        The 39 Articles are NOT known to many ordinands and ignored by many vicars. The ONLY Prayer Book authorised by Parliament is the Book of Common Prayer 1662 but very few Churches now use it

  • TRAV1S

    The Church of England was established by law and will be disestablished by law, very soon. Once the Libs, the Obadiah Slopes, have had their way with her, they will move on to destroy something else.

  • Wessex Man

    It’ll never get it’s pews full again when one of it Bgwig leaders The Reverend Gordon Giles claims that the beautiful sad hymn “I Vow To Thee My Country” is not fit for Christians, saynig it’s words are obscene and hateful, with people like him in charge of the Church theres no hope!

    • HookesLaw

      There are a few too many idiot bishops.

      • Tom Tom

        There are FAR too many bishops – 162 is far more than when we had an Empire. Looking at Nigeria or Ghana they have them in single figures and lack our modern communications. England needs no more than 20 Bishops and 2 Archbishops

        • Paul Gardner

          In fact, in the early Church every church had a bishop; the point being that it was a more humble role and church hierarchy was flatter. We now have a more pyramidal structure which betrays its Caesaro-Papist origins. Such an organisation, coupled with human frailty, is bound to be more a political than theological entity, especially over time. This is apparently borne out by Lord Carey’s comments regarding Guardianistas for clergy.

    • telemachus

      It is difficult to fault what he had to say


      ‘Many would question whether we can sing of a love that “asks no question”, that “lays on the altar the dearest and the best” and that juxtaposes the service of country and that “other country” of faith.

      ‘Should we, undaunted, make the sacrifice of our sons and daughters, laying their lives on the altar in wars that we might struggle to call holy or just?”

      ‘The notion of vowing everything to a country, including the sacrifice of one’s life for the glorification of nationhood, challenges sensibilities today.’

      Mr Giles said that the hymn had a ‘dated military concept of fighting for King and country.

      This, he said, ‘gives offence, as it is based on the idea of a king as head of an empire, whose bounds need to be preserved for the benefit of subjects at home and abroad.

      ‘In post-colonial Britain this comes across as patronising and unjust. Associating duty to King and Empire with a divine call to kill people and surrender one’s own life is a theologically inept reading of Jesus’ teaching.’

      Mr Giles, who is vicar of St Mary Magdalene in Enfield in North London, added: ‘Furthermore, if the cause is wealth, power, influence, national pride, then the sacrifice is diminished and its connection to the pride of suffering is, for me, almost obscene.’

      • Andy

        Yes Rev Giles is as big a moron as you, and that is saying something.

        • telemachus

          No Andy
          He is saying that blind Guantanamo style worship of country right or wrong is unchristian

          • Neotelemachus

            No, Andy is correct, he is as big a moron as you Idiot #1.

          • Andy

            Probably a member of the Fascist Party like you.

            • telemachus

              Remember the old worn 78’s which got scratched and then stuck in a groove

              • Neotelemachus

                They remind me of you but you are less entertaining Idiot #1.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Yes, I think of them every time I see a thread with your pseudonym and avatar encrusted down its length like barnacles.

            • Jackthesmilingblack

              That`s a Brit for you; jumping to a negative conclusion on zero evidence and few indicators. Bit like a religious head- banger, prepared to believe almost anything on almost no evidence.

          • Colonel Mustard

            “Guantanamo style worship” is certainly not Christian! It involves prayer mats.

      • robertsonjames

        If you aren’t prepared to fight for your fundamental values and would be willing to abandon them rather than defend them in the face of bitter hostility they aren’t actually worth very much after all.

        All that Mr Giles is demonstrating, in his usual glib and superficial way, is that the values of the liberal elite are completely negotiable. That’s one reason why they are likely to be replaced quite soon in our public life by the very different and much sterner values of some far more resolute people whom the liberal elite naively invited into this country in very large numbers.

        In short, liberal Anglicanism is more or less a suicide cult which, for lack of testicular fortitude, is in the process of engineering its own liquidation. Unfortunately it seems as though they want to take the rest of us, and our culture rooted in an older and clearer vision of Christianity, down with them.

        • telemachus

          The love of God is unconditional and requires the love of our fellow men
          We cannot sustain a religion that blesses our battleships and visits approbium on our enemies whose Lutheran Church blesses their battleships and heaps approbium on us
          The Christian religion teaches us that me must care for others and share the fruits of the earth
          That is why it will prevail
          That is why religions and political systems that deny this will ultimately fail
          The will of the people for the greater good of the generality of the people is what Anglicanism is about
          You should deny it at your peril

          • Wessex Man

            When you’ve got lunatics banging on your door wanting to kill you, you don’t blow them a kiss idiot.

            • telemachus

              No but you grip them and force them to repent
              You do not bleat

              • Neotelemachus

                Good luck forcing the Islamofascists to repent Idiot #1. I fear it will be you doing the bleating, and the repenting, while they saw your thick head off.

              • Tom Tom

                Repentance is what they are obliged to do on their deathbed

              • Keith D

                How are you going to grip them when they’ve chopped your appendages off?

                You people have destroyed this country and our grandchildrens future.

                All to rub the rights nose in diversity.

                Smashing, thank you all so much.

              • Colonel Mustard

                Well you do both. You bleat here incessantly and you believe in “gripping and forcing” your political opponents to conform to your orthodoxy using neural linguistic programming, ideological legislation, politicisation of both the police and enforcement and all the other Stalinist impositions you admire and advocate on behalf of the Labour party.

                The true face of Labour, you are. An authoritarian communist, a Stalinist who posts as Antonio_Gramsci and advocates the gulag and “trumped up charges” against political parties that dissent. Thick as thieves with Common Purpose’s Julia Middleton too – “a friend”.

                Mark it well.

        • Tom Tom

          Christianity in The West is wet, complacent, smug, self-satisfied and self-indulgent. It eschews Sacrifice, Asceticism or Discipline…….it is a completely alien Cult compared to Christianity in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan, Pakistan, India………it is also very very different from Christianity in Poland or Russia

          • George Carpenter

            Poland is Catholic. Russia is Orthodox. What are you on about?
            Also, endless dots are very difficult to read

        • Meggles

          In a nutshell and right.God help us.

      • Tom Tom

        He writes in Church Music Quarterly which is probably where he expressed his opinion

    • Tom Tom

      He is simply being PC because the words were penned by the British Ambassador to Washington during WW1 and it is not a hymn

    • TheOldStoic

      ~ “It’ll never get it’s pews full again” is all you really needed to say. The rest is mere verbiage.

    • Advocatus_Diaboli_69

      I think you’ll find that the Reverend was misquoted and unjustly maligned by the Daily Mail. Read his original words in the Church Times.

      • Colonel Mustard

        The troll telemachus has obliged. The words are bad enough.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Gordon is just another in a long line of lefty traitors and self haters who have blighted this country and undermined its confidence, identity, self-esteem, and stability and who have offered succour, support and propaganda to its enemies. The majority of them were and are integral to the socialist collective and Fabians.

      • Jackthesmilingblack

        Spell it out for me, are you for or against organized religion?

  • David Lindsay

    It is doctrinally more orthodox than at any other time in living memory, and far more so than in the 1950s. Precisely therefore, it has never been more critical of capitalism and of its wars.

    The old order was decadent, and, like the then Tory party with which it was so bound up, only had a mass appeal because people needed to rebuild their social lives after one or both of the World Wars.

    • HookesLaw

      There are no capitalist wars only socialist dictators. Likewise the rest of your historical perspective is junk.

      Its pathetic that the only way you can survive is to live in a dreamworld.

    • Wessex Man

      What a strange world you live in.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      No, lad, there’s not much left of the old ways in the CoE. They even took in an AoC from the capitalist vandals. It’s like they’re setting up a parallel Church, like the Chicom warlords do. Talk to me when they bring in some rough hewn black guy from Africa, who actually believes in what he’s saying. Notice they avoid that like the plague, these fellows? Can’t afford to have an honest man in that job. You need one who will keep silent when giving nuns are being called Nazis in bubble publications.

      • David Lindsay

        You need a Catholic for that. Or an Eastern Orthodox, but it is far easier to get a Catholic in Britain. There are Anglicans in Palestine (their ancestors were Orthodox – it’s a long story), but their politics, not to say much of the theology from which those politics derive, would not be welcome here. They would have been welcome to previous generations of Tories, of course. But those days are gone.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          In your first post, you were saying the CoE was decadent previously, and was too bound up with your much hated political enemies, but is today more orthodox than it has been in about a century. Now in this post you’re saying today’s CoE can’t accept orthodoxy, because it’s bound up with your much hated political enemies. Which is it, or are you just looking for whichever club you can fashion to whack away and act out your mindless tribal politics?

          • David Lindsay

            No, I said that the Palestinian Anglicans would not be welcome here, i.e., in the Speccie much, or below the line on Coffee House much at all. Apologies for any misunderstanding.

            The people now running the C of E are in fact very close to them both theologically and politically. But in the minds of the brethren of this very different assembly, that only proves that those people are Communists, or Islamists, or something.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              No, the CoE is not theologically or politically close to anything much sensible, and hasn’t been for quite some time. Churches across the planet have been splitting from them for that very reason. Today’s CoE would not welcome anybody orthodox to lead them, the aforementioned black African or a like Palestinian (whose numbers would be far too miniscule to have much weight, in any event), because they wouldn’t fit with their post-Christian settlement.

              And I see you’re fashioning a new type of political club to swing at your much hated political enemies. You should leave that out of this discussion, as it’s far too important for you to sully it as you are.

              • David Lindsay

                You are simply out of date. The splitting has been from the American and Canadian bodies.

                Even there, people who have left insist that they are still in communion with the C of E, and it seems to be reserving judgement on that. People who left ECUSA in the Seventies and Eighties didn’t bother with that. But people who break away now do.

                The C of E’s present political positions are part and parcel of that relative and even absolute global goodwill towards it in recent years on the part of the most robustly orthodox Anglicans on the planet. Of course.

                whose numbers would be far too minuscule to have much weight, in any event

                The Palestinian, mostly Jerusalem, Anglicans have had a hugely disproportionate influence, as has the Christian minority generally (although the Anglicans are a small but influential minority even within that) as the founders and leaders of Arab nationalism and of the modern concept of Filastin, which are explicitly expressions both of their Christianity, and of their indgeneity as the original inhabitants of the Land.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  The splitting has been of those who actually believe in what they say, and you who don’t believe have deemed that “out of date”, no doubt. These splits are not “political”, lad. You may want to brush up on what’s going on, because it’s you that appears out of date here.

                  The Anglican church has little influence anywhere, now that it’s largely watered down and abandoned at home, is failing in North America and is set to split from Africa. It has no “hugely disproportionate influence” anywhere, let alone where surrounded by a hostile muslim majority in the ME.

                  You really need to stop fantasizing.

                • David Lindsay

                  You truly do not have a clue. It is extraordinary that you manage to function at all. Insofar as you do.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …says the guy who claims the CoE is more “orthodox” today than in the past, or are you back to saying it’s not, or it is, or it isn’t, or whatever….

                • David Lindsay

                  It is. It may have had tasteful music in the 1950s, but it didn’t much care what, if anything, anyone believed. It is not like that now.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …you are precisely incorrect, the CoE doesn’t care what anybody believes today, other than the luvvies who drive the bus. That’s why those of fortitude are splitting with them.

                • David Lindsay

                  You desperately want that to be true in order to explain its positions on social justice (a term, like the Living Wage, of Papal origin). But the opposite is the case. It was weak on those things when it was light on doctrine. It is no longer either.

                  Of course, it could all go away again. Only the Petrine Office guarantees orthodoxy perennially, permanently, and in its pristine plenitude. “Conservative” or “traditionalist” critics of Pope Francis are thinking, speaking and acting like Protestants. Perhaps especially, like Anglicans.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  It’s not what I want to be true, lad. It’s what is true. The CoE is being rejected at home, and around the globe. That’s not a belief, it’s a fact. And no matter your fantasies, it’s not being rejected because it’s becoming too doctrinaire, too orthodox. Your assignment is to learn why it’s being rejected. You cannot be participatory to such a discussion as this until you do.

                  And you may want to remove Francis from your discussions, as he’s got little bearing on this, other than with you and the Speccie teenagers and your numpty buddy, who bleated aimlessly about a “new evangelical fervor” that they were yammering about a while ago. They’ve since dropped that nonsense, as their ADD kicked back out of gear. You should too. JPII selected these cardinals who selected Benedict, who selected the cardinals who selected Francis. Meet the new boss, laddie.

                  Much as you might fantasize otherwise, that system doesn’t have your problems with ADD.

        • LindaRivera

          Anglicans in Palestine? In all of history there never was an Arab nation called Palestine. Are you referring to world-famous BIBLICAL Judea and Samaria?

          • the viceroy’s gin

            That’s the amusing point. This muppet is ignoring thousands of years of history, and speaking of a magnificent epoch that occurred between calendar years 1923 and 1948, when the CoE shook the ME world theologically. It truly was a miracle, apparently. So much so that nobody noticed it.

            • LindaRivera

              The CoE have a MORAL and spiritual responsibility to speak out against the severe Muslim persecution of Arab Christians in Judea and Samaria (also Gaza). The Christians were placed under cruel OCCUPATION of the PLO/Palestinian Authority Muslim terrorist organization. The Church is silent.

              SILENCE IS CONSENT

              End the Arab Muslim occupation!

          • jatrius

            Who said nation? The mandate given to Britain to administer was known as Palestine until 1948. It was a geographical term, used widely in the twentieth century. Do catch up, you’re slowing us down and we’re already in the third millennium.

            • LindaRivera

              Indeed, ‘Palestine’ was a geographical term!!! However, Muslims use this word for their goal of a nation they call ‘Palestine’ carved out of TINY Israel. Israel is a country so small you need a magnifier to find Israel on the map of the HUGE Muslim Middle East.

    • Colonel Mustard

      The wars we have been embroiled in are socialist wars created by your twin horsemen of the apocalypse, the one you voted for three times and the one you didn’t but who managed to govern us to ruin regardless. Don’t blame the supporting act for the havoc wreaked by the main event which was your people, the socialists, red in tooth and claw, and only your people, the socialists of Britain, 13 years together, conspiring towards its downfall.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Well, lad, perhaps you could assist in the slowing of the post-Christianization in the lands by undertaking the removal of that caption underneath the photograph of a Syrian nun, on this very page. You know, the caption that reads “Syria’s version of Hitler’s ‘brown priests’ “

    No doubt, that caption was stuck up by one of the Speccie teenagers who will be gathering with the other luvvies to attend church sometime next month, to suck up a few mugs of grog and listen to the really koooool chorals, you know, making the yearly religious pilgrimage.

    • Daniel Maris

      OK, RCs to the back of the hall please…

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …but speaking of fascist state control of religion…

      • Chris Ranmore

        “RCs to the back of the hall”

        Just like school! Nothing better to start the day than a dull ceremony that relegates minorities to an embarrassing wait in a drafty corridor.

  • Reconstruct

    Well, I suppose if you ditch the KJB, the BCP and the unrivalled heritage of Anglican psalmody – ie, if you determinedly kick out three of our greatest cultural inheritances – you shouldn’t be surprised if the brand suffers a bit.

    And now, of course, the Church is obliged to suffer the same dreadful generation of ghastly ‘leaders’ that brought us Blair, the BBC, etc etc. Worst generation in Britain’s history, probably.

    • Daniel Maris

      I agree – terrible cultural vandalism. Like getting rid of the Latin Mass in the RC Church.

      I am not a church goer, but if I had the option of supporting the Church through tax (as is done I believe in Scandinavia), I would happily throw it a few quid each year. We really must ensure the buildings are retained and that the choirs and organs are maintained.

      It is sad how the C of E has been taken over by the anorak wearing, tambourine banging happy clappy crowd.

      • Gareth

        Tambourines? It is a while since you went!

        • Daniel Maris

          What do those dreadful evangelicals use these days then? Little electronic keyboards…

          • Gareth

            No, proper size ones.

            • Daniel Maris

              I challenge to a Tube-off. Link up to your best “modern” carol with a “proper size” keyboard and I’ll link to what I think is the best traditional carol with choir and organ.

              • Gareth

                My tastes are far too diverse to limit to just one! You can worship the Lord in any number of different styles – there’s plenty of good stuff, whatever your taste. But to my mind (as someone who actually goes to church) the question should be what we find most helpful for engaging with the Lord.

                Personally, I love both of these, and much of what’s in between. I’m interested to hear what you choose.



                But if you want a guide to the sorts of thing most churches are doing these days, try Googling Stuart Townend; it’ll give you a decent idea.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        It’s amusing and sad that you think the church is about buildings and organs, and you don’t even find it necessary to donate for even that, even as you lament it being “taken over”.

        You represent the post-Christian age, as well as the next-Christian age, which will be full state control of religion, as per your calls for same.

        • Daniel Maris

          We had full state control of religion nearly 500 years ago.

          The CofE is certainly about buildings, tradition, organs, choirs, the Queen, bells and graves. Take all that away and all you’ve got is some extremely dodgy theology and dreadful community sing-alongs.

          We are in a post-Christian age, though I hope we retain the best of the Christian cultural tradition.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            No, lad, there never was a time when a state has had full state control of religion, not while true believers were about, and martyrs even. But that was all before you 20th Century national socialists came along, and hijacked enough of society to truly squelch religion, and bring on the full statist theology you prefer.

            • rtj1211

              No state told me or my generation to go to church. We tried it out and it was pointless nonsense, wholly inapplicable to children. Learning lists of the books of the bible?? Pointless waste of time. Saying ‘Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers’ etc etc achieves precisely nothing.

              Brainwashihg didn’t evolve, so thinking children said ‘what a load of old cobblers’.

              The majority of people won’t adhere to a religion that doesn’t address everyday issues in everyday language.

              Telling everyone that they have to spend years with ridiculous allegory is self-defeating. If you call a spade a spade, christianity isn’t your religion. It has nothing to do with your morality, it has to do with your mode of expression.

              Christianity is for those who appease the hyper-rcih and have given up fighting them. They need to believe that things might change at some indefinable future point, but they won’t do anything now to make it happen.

              For those who still fight them, what some bloke said 2000 years ago is irrelevant. You speak your truth according to the morals you hold and don’t back down on your red lines.

              Nothing to do with socialism at all. To do with self-directed life.

              Nothing to do with elevating a bunch of clerics to some exalted role. To do with identifying those with requisite knowledge, insight and authority irrespective of religion.

              • dalai guevara

                Every single detail in the world around you is based on an ethical framework. Do you even know that there is a world around you?

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, it has all to do with socialism. Your post is the perfect exemplar.

              • telemachus

                It is not about what some bloke 2000 years ago
                His principles are simply an expression of caring down the ages
                From JC to John Wesley to James Keir Hardie to Neil Kinnock and down to Andy Burnham

                • Wessex Man

                  You certainly show your cretinous stupidity with that one comparing Neil kinnock and Andy Burnham wi zzzzzzzzzzzzz

                • Neotelemachus

                  Comparing our Lord with the man who oversaw the deaths of countless thousands, the inept Burnham, is a nonsense too far, even for you Idiot #1. Your postings here are becoming increasingly desperate as we discover more about Ed Balls’ association with the drug taking, rentboy using, Labtard placeman who gave him £50,000. When will the money be returned and an apology given? The truth will out Idiot #1.

              • Reconstruct

                I suggest you try the Quakers. Very honest, very strong, and no brainwashing.

              • Colonel Mustard

                “The majority of people won’t adhere to a religion that doesn’t address everyday issues in everyday language.”

                And yet so many still adhere to the Labour party that deliberately misrepresents almost every everyday issue with lies. Quite extraordinary that.

            • Daniel Maris

              Well there were true believers under Nazism and still are under Chinese Communism (which for some reason our government likes to forget continues to persecute Christians – as does our other ally Saudi Arabia).

              I’ve no desire to persecute Christians. Quite the reverse. I think they are important to our national life.

              • Wessex Man

                I think if you bothered to check you would find that the German Church was offered co-operation or annihilation by Htiler and it’s leaders shamefully accepted. That some of the boldest resistance to him was by priests

              • the viceroy’s gin

                Yes, to you, Christians are just more people for you NSDAPers to control, and to force to do their duty serving the Fatherland.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Er no…

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Er yes…

          • Reconstruct

            I agree that we are in a post-Christian world. But I do not think we are in a post-worship world, or an atheist world. If so, one question is: ‘What form of worship satisfies that need?’ Personally, I think the older forms of CoE worship – sung Matins, in which the congregation is expected to participate, and theology kept to a bare minimum – performs that function well.

            The problem for the ‘modernists’ is that, for all their ‘tambourines’ they are essentially ‘High’ church, elevating the priest to a level of theological knowledge and access (ie, power) above that of the congregation, whilst simultaneously emphasising the ‘magical Jesus’ aspects which most people ought to find intellectually difficult if not actually intellectually demeaning.

            The ‘lower’ you go, the more intellectually honest and satisfying it becomes: of course, we find the ultimate expression of this in the Quaker tradition.

            But as a beautiful half-way house, a properly conducted and participated Matins is very hard to beat. How ironic and damaging it is that the service is now hard to find – as opposed to the ‘magical’ Eucharist.

      • Tom Tom

        In Germany it is not a choice and the Church Tax is 10% the sum levied in income tax monthly ….not “a few quid”…….in return the Churches provide kindergartens and hospitals on a wider scale than in this country……..the fact is the C of E does very little for people in THIS country as opposed to its role in The Empire raising aid for the darkies in the colonies

        • Jackthesmilingblack

          Church Tax in Germany is outrageous. Reminds one of the shilling fine in the 17th century for not attending Church on Sundays and Saints` Days. Imagine it stems from the pact that Hitler made with the Vatican under which the Catholic Centre Party stood aside to give the National Socialists a clear run in the elections, in exchange for being in sole charge of education in Germany. Do they still have Holocaust denial laws in Germany?
          Keep these in mind when deciding your host nation, Britisher pals.
          The darkies? And they call me a racist bigot.

    • dalai guevara

      Oh dear, why do you lot always do that?
      Blair brought double glazing to bankrupt Britain.
      The BBC is fighting off AlJaz, RT and most importantly CCTV propaganda all across the globe.

      The Anglican Church IS BASED not on scripture/ ethics as we find in Calvinism or with Lutherians. The Anglican Church is based on one chap not keeping his pants up, it’s based on politics, it’s based on a fight for power, not morals.

      You cannot do this sort of thing nowadays. It does not resonate with anyone. It’s just not good enough. Henry VIII is irrelevant. Get over it and return to the word of Christ.

      • David Lindsay


        Return to Matthew 16:18.

    • Tom Tom

      Blair appointed Rowan as a fellow Christian Scientist because it was the AngloCatholic turn at the job, it alternates which is why Welby is evangelical