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A truly liberal society would tolerate the Anglican church’s views on sexuality

20 January 2016

12:54 PM

20 January 2016

12:54 PM

Given how apocalyptic the predictions were, Anglicanism’s make-or-break meeting about issues of human sexuality last week proved something of a damp squib. The Anglican Communion was supposed to be rent asunder. Upheaval was imminent. Schism was certain. Conservative African Archbishops were going to be tripping over their cassocks in the rush for the door. In the end, however, unity prevailed and the status quo was (boringly) upheld as the 36 primates gathered here together voted overwhelmingly to stick to the church’s traditional view of marriage. Nothing really changed: Anglican HQ merely recognised formally the break its American division has been boasting about for over a decade. So the summit ended not with a bang but with a whimper.

It is surprising, then, that the whimper has occasioned such a hue and cry. On Thursday the Labour shadow cabinet minister and former Anglican priest, Chris Bryant, declared he had left the Church of England for good. The Church’s decision will one day ‘seem [as] wrong as supporting slavery’ he tweeted. On Saturday the Times published a full-blown invective. The Church has no right, the editorial claimed, to maintain its traditional doctrine of marriage.

The outcry is indicative of a profound shift. Institutions founded on certain precepts to which its members are expected to subscribe shouldn’t be allowed to act on them if those precepts don’t square with a prevailing agenda. Back in 2013 advocates for same-sex marriage argued that the church’s beliefs about sexuality shouldn’t be imposed on the rest of society. That makes sense. But now the church is being told it shouldn’t hold those beliefs at all.

It is easy to overlook how ominous this shift really is. The conviction that organisations and communities cannot determine their own distinct ethos, their own rules for membership and their own criteria for leadership imperils the very survival of a pluralistic society. What is the point of institutions if they don’t have the freedom to organise themselves in the way they see fit?

Consider a different case. Imagine that a female student leader of a church group at a university is expected not to sleep with her boyfriend. Now, one may think chastity a ridiculously outdated ideal, even a damaging instance of repression. One may think that group’s policy, and the way they justify it, is de facto judgmental about people who don’t live by their ideal. You may think it’s harsh that those leaders get removed from ministry if they break those rules. But for all our talk of diversity and pluralism, in reality this is what it looks like. Communities in society which look and feel very different from yours being allowed to look and feel very different from yours.

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The preposterous claim that the contemporary church’s view of marriage is like supporting slavery is still worth deconstructing. There are only two ways you could plausibly make this argument. First, if today’s church supported using the coercive power of the state to uphold its teaching on marriage. Secondly, if the church – simply by teaching traditional views on sexuality – is indirectly responsible for persecuting homosexuals.

On the first point, much has been made of the African Archbishops’ support of keeping homosexuality illegal in certain of their countries. But in the all-important communiqué that emerged at the end of the gathering the Archbishops, speaking with one voice, unequivocally condemned homophobia and ‘rejected criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people’.

But what about the Church’s teaching? The way it has historically addressed homosexuality has caused so much pain to gay men and women, so I can understand why a distinction between speech and hate speech must seem impossible to draw. I can understand why so many think the historic teaching of the Abrahamic faiths about marriage is always an incitement to violence. But, again, a healthy society hinges upon the freedom of communities to have and to express their take on the most contested dimensions of human identity and morality. And in our brighter moments as a species we have shown that that doesn’t have to involve inflicting harm on members of communities who have reached different conclusions.

Take an American pro-lifer appalled by October 2015’s Planned Parenthood scandal. She sees the footage of Planned Parenthood’s medical director discussing reimbursement costs for newly aborted foetal tissue. She is appalled. She joins the campaign to block all federal funding for Planned Parenthood. We may disagree with her political action, but would we blame her for Robert Louis Dear’s murder of three people during his November 2015 attack on a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs?

Indulge my alarmism a little further. Could the paradigm shift in view here – that communities shouldn’t be allowed to adhere to certain principles – not presage something even more ominous? We are not bereft of historical precedent when it comes to public opinion paving the way for state intervention.

We’ve heard on repeat this week the charge that Welby ‘misreads history’. The Anglican communion’s doctrines are archaic, out-dated, irrelevant to modern Britain. Across Europe in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century it was the charge of ‘backwardness’ that justified government assaults on religious freedom. So, the 1840s saw cartoons flooding German salons representing Catholics impeding the course of history, a depiction Bismarck was able to capitalise on in the 1870s. He launched his Kulturkampf (‘culture struggle’) against Catholicism on the grounds that it was ‘archaic’. In France in 1902, the acceleration of laïcité under the premiership of Émile Combes – in a single year he closed 13,000 of the country’s 16,000 religious schools – stemmed from the Third Republic’s dismissal of religion as insufficiently modern. While in Russia, Bolshevist propaganda, before and after the Revolution, consistently portrayed the Orthodox Church as an obstacle to social progress.

It couldn’t happen here, though? Totalitarianism taking root in this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England? What about the quadruple lock included in the same-sex marriage legislation, the series of exemptions for the church from the new law? Well, yes, but consider too Ofsted’s move only last week to ensure that every Sunday school in the country – Sunday schools! – be registered with the government so they can be monitored for what they teach? The aim is to eradicate extremism. But how elastically will ‘extremism’ come to be defined in a society that has moved, without even noticing it, from expecting communities not to compel beliefs to expecting communities not to have them?

James Mumford is currently a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture.

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Show comments
  • Nikolas

    If you consider the Anglican Communion’s ideas outdated and archaic, you have obviously never been in a Catholic or an Orthodox country, where Bishops must be unmarried, women are forbidden to become priests, homosexuality is a mortal sin, and even contraception is forbidden (for Catholics). In Orthodox countries people are supposed to fast half the year, and if they don’t they must confess to their priest and repent … Believe me, I would be very glad if the Orthodox church (where I live) was as progressiveas the Anglican church…

  • DLink

    I believe a close examination off the various factions and their beliefs within the Anglican Communion will reveal the internal schism has already taken place. This is not a new thing. From the beginning with Henry VIII, the struggle was between the Latimer and the protestant faction and Cranmer and the catholic establishment. The high church was in the ascendancy until the early 19th century when it was plainly apparent that there were essentially two churches operating in one country; Canterbury and York. While it is true that some broke away completely, never forget that the Wesleys lived and died good low church Anglicans. It was left to others to complete the break. Today, a decision has to be made. Whether to water down belief for the sake of perceived (but unreal) unity or to proceed forward, if necessary, as a remnant. The recent actions of Rome would indicate an open door for those who feel drawn by conscience to it.

  • Ann Smith

    I love how the Protestants keep calling Catholicism a “Man-made” church. I get that from my protty friends all the the time too. Where do you get that??? Christ made his church and we are his bride. He entrusted it to Peter his “rock” upon which it was to be built. If ever there were a “man-made church” it is Protestantism which followed a mortal man who ran off and made new rules. If Protestant churches weren’t “man made,” please tell me who made them?

  • Harry Callahan

    Hmmm. If members of community mindfully shun core beliefs shared by the rest of the community, those dissenting members should remain in good standing?

    Should the Episcopalians reject the bodily resurrection of Christ, should that also be considered acceptable evolution, beyond the “archaic, out-dated” mores that are “irrelevant in Great Britain”?

  • Arbuthnaught

    In a free society any church should be free to follow a traditionalist or modernist view as they see fit. However, I do not think history shredding, tradition shredding or bible shredding modernist churches should be allowed in any way the pretense that they are in any substantial way related to their original denominational roots or the historic Christian faith. Even less should they be allowed such a pretense on the tax payer’s money. I wonder if the Wesley brothers were to be magically transported through time to our day if they would even recognize the Methodist Church of today.

  • JohnInCA

    I’m not sure I understand the problem.

    They’re free to hold whatever views they like. Everyone else is free to comment, criticize, laud, or leave. Just as they’ve been free to comment, criticize, laud, and leave everyone else.

    So what’s the problem?

  • pt8685

    A church is no more supposed to teach a popular understanding of morality than a university is supposed to teach a popular understanding of history. Both are institutions that set a higher standard so that society can aspire to greatness.

    In the case of the church, teaching us to control our base passions is aspirational, and inherently progressive. Professing that God created human sexuality with purpose and meaning beyond the experience of mere physical pleasure recognizes that mankind is not just meant for something greater, but indeed capable of something greater.

    We cannot allow our sexual preferences and impulses to define us and our politics, our culture, our values. Thank God the Anglican Church (along with the Catholic Church and a few others) steadfastly hold to the idea that mankind can and should do better.

  • GoJebus

    I defend the right of these buffoons to think what they like, but please kick them out of the House of Lords, where they have about as much right to be in this day and age as the leaders of Gosport Ladies Hang Gliding Club.

  • AlbertaProud

    Alarmist indeed.

    Churches are still free to make up their own rules, and others are still free to disagree. There is nothing “ominous at play” until the state actually does intervene, which it hasn’t. The existence of debate is not evidence of imminent totalitarianism. There will always be those who wish the state to intervene, and those who wish it not to.

    So far, the C of E has been permitted to thrive or decline based on its own merits in the free market of ideas – that is, its ability to put out teachings that the public find persuasive. As long as that’s not infringed I see no reason for concern. And no, a Times opinion piece does not count as state infringement.

  • Grant Melville

    As many readers have already pointed out, the problem is with the Established status of the church. Where is this found in scripture? Does the Bible tell us that the Head of the Church is the sovereign, or the civil governor of the country? “Christ is the head of the church” (Ephesians 5:23). When the conscious sense of the Headship of Christ is lost, then clear direction disappears – and this is as true of a company of professing Christians as is it is of the individual. Of course, the Headship of Christ is ‘recognised’ by most man-made organisations of a Christian profession, outwardly. “This people honour me with the lips, but their heart is far away from me…” (Matthew 15:8). Some ‘ordained’ into the ‘clergy’ don’t even believe in a risen and ascended Christ, so how are they to recognise His Headship? And so the profession of Christianity becomes a stale preservation of traditions, passed from generation to generation, no better than Judaism, without a living link with a heavenly Man, without the supply of divine power.

  • Dominic Stockford

    The Christian Church should not be following the mores of modernity – it never has and has always preached the Gospel from the Bible, which stands counter to the worldly culture. And it has done so through the ages. You will never find a time when everything taught by the church was accepted by the non-Christian world. You will constantly find the non-Christian world seeking to bring itself into the church, right from the early days – just read Paul’s letters to the Corinthians to see the evidence for that.

    True Christians understand that the Bible is God’s Revelation of Himself, and of the need for our salvation, and the method of our salvation, given to us. It is also the revelation of the way in which God desires His people to live. His people will seek to be faithful to that, those who are not will seek to change that (whether from inside or outside Christ’s Church).

    ‘Liberals’ only allow a wide view of opinions if they accord with their specific view of the world, just as those ‘within’ who demand a ‘broad Church’ only allow those who also want the same ‘broad Church’ to be within their church. But in the end it is God’s Church, Christ’s Church, and if it is true it will follow His teachings.

    • thefool

      Again, the Church – Anglican, Catholic, protestant – always changes. Christianity has modernized. 500 years ago it was closer to what we see in the Islamic world today. Islam has started the process of modernization. Religions change with the times, they evolve as teachings are interpreted for a different world. Christians of even 200 years ago would be aghast at what is now the norm for Christian perspectives. It’s just that religion, reflecting tradition and custom, changes more slowly. Moreover interpretation of religious belief change constantly – there are many far more liberal interpretations of Christianity than yours, but they are still Christian. Unless you claim to be God, you just have your interpretation.

      • JabbaPapa

        500 years ago it was closer to what we see in the Islamic world today

        erm, no, the early 16th century Church was in a state of affairs utterly different to that of Islam today.

        Religions change with the times, they evolve as teachings are interpreted for a different world. Christians of even 200 years ago would be aghast at what is now the norm for Christian perspectives

        These statements are simply untrue as regards the Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Churches, sorry.

        Problems only really started when some pinheads got it into themselves to start declaring that their own personal interpretations of certain freely interpretable secondary doctrines should suddenly be set up as central “tenets” of their “christianity”.

        The Dogma, however, remains — and it concerns a finite number of absolutes; the commonality of which and with which being what makes us Catholics, or Orthodox.

        I once spent two years studying Montaigne’s Travel Journal, and it’s clear from there that the same tedious old proddy, liberal, traditionalist, factionalist, sectarian arguments have been going on for at least the past 500 years, with the simple and orthodox christianity of most simply manipulated as the ideological battleground of such excessive views.

        Including the very excessive liberal view that the Church should somehow “change” with the times, following the mercurial whim of the inconstant mob as if this would lead us anywhere but to chaos.

        • Ann Smith

          I agree and couldn’t have stated it any more clearly. The church changes its customs but never its teachings which stem from our deposit of faith.

  • Marcus

    In agreeing with the author’s take it makes me wonder whether the modern (far) left’s desire really is for greater and more enlightened liberalism, or simply the abolition of any form of conservatism.

  • Paddy S

    Liberals and totalitarianism. What a shock.

  • Martin ridley

    It doesn’t matter what the Anglican Church believes in the UK, it does in Africa were the Anglican Church is centre ground in the significant harm and discrimination against LGBTI groups. Uganda even attempted with support from African Anglicans to introduce the death penalty for homosexual acts. So ok its not important in the UK but certainly the bigotry destroys lives in Africa.

  • https://twitter.com/polleetickle Polleetickle

    agreed. why do those that aren’t aligned with the church seeking to change it instead of creating a body they agree with?

  • Sarka

    I entirely agree in principle, but the problem is always that such principles depend on context. For example, I don’t for a moment think that the government is really fussed by what is taught in most “Sunday Schools” – the OFSTED supervision idea is entirely because of the “problem with Muslims” – i.e. there is a good circumstantial practical case for monitoring what goes on in Muslim religious education outside state-monitorable schools….but in the interests of perceived “fairness” the monitoring gets extended to all religious education attached to religious institutions.

    Unfortunately, there is now an established pattern by which dogmatic secularists (mostly atheists), take advantage of the natural worries about Islam plus problems of formulating approaches to Islam that do not seem “singling out”, to try to control, and even napalm, religious institutions that have not in recent times been the object of much state and social concern.

    Curiously enough, at the time of the same-sex marriage bill I found myself arguing (in my liberal way – as I thought) against two definitely atheist conservative friends of mine (lawyers) who had nothing against gays but insisted that as framed the reform would actually lead to illiberal attacks on the freedom of the Church(es) to set their own rules and principles as voluntary associations…(e.g. to be forced to perform same-sex marriages, despite the apparent exemption). I poo-poohed this at the time but I am now coming round to their point of view…or rather I still see no problem with gay civil marriages but I do see a problem with any moves to force religious organisations to change their own doctrine and principles.

    Of course, should the practises of any group (religious or non-religious) involve fraud (e.g. the problem of Muslim religious marriages conducted without informing one of the parties that they are not civil marriages with all the legal implications of that), or incitement (e.g. teaching that gays should be killed), then this can legitimately be a concern for the law.

    Which means we get back to context – and indeed the problem of consensus – in regard to incitement (though not fraud, for which criteria ought to be much easier). Though I am pro-gay civil marriage, and generally pro-gay equal rights, I have always thought that there is an enormous difference between people who disapprove of gay marriage on Christian religious grounds but do not in any way (indeed are horrified by) hold that homosexuality should be re-criminalised as such, or gays stripped of ordinary civil rights… and people who want and preach the latter, whether Muslims or some (in Western Europe completely fringe) Christians and others.

    For some on the “progressive” side, there would appear to be no distinction…In their view a mote is as serious as a beam, a lamb is the same as a sheep, and even the same as a wolf. (Indeed, some progressives prefer hanging people for lambs and ignoring the wolves – it’s so much easier and more satisfying!). This is the danger…

  • Torybushhug

    My tolerance of the COE has morphed into contempt since it became a lefty mouthpiece. I’m pro equal marriage etc, but the naivity is a killer. Even today Ive had 2 new client enquires, one a traveller, the other a Turkish migrant, both with a large amount of property wealth, neither of whom pay tax, both of whom are on the whole gamit of benefits. Both work and collect their rents cash in hand. They came to me as they want specialist advice on how to expand their invents.
    This my every day reality of ‘the poor’.

    • Dominic Stockford

      I hope you reported them both to the IR?

  • johnb1945

    This is what separation of powers is, no? You always have someone who stands apart from the government/ mob and maintains a viewpoint independently of either. Doesn’t matter if it is uncomfortable or goes against the grain, in fact, sometimes it may be, and that’s the whole point?

    A Church is nothing if it does not espouse some eternal values.

    If we don’t accept that then we are one step down the road to totalitarianism or mob rule.

    • Torybushhug

      You miss the point. They espouse incredibly naïve views that endlessly perpetuates the victim and scrounger mindset, allowing it to thrive. I see the effects first hand through my work and its truly sickening the extent of benefit and tax cheating out there.
      The so called poor are very often well off. Every day I see people playing the sympathy / immigrant / victim card to runs rings around society, they are untouchable.
      The north London Turkish community is a whole other world of endemic (I better not say)

      • johnb1945

        So therefore we silence them?

        That is the point.

        This is what religious people and churches and synagogues and even mosques do. They stand independent of zeitgeists and trends and politicians and the mob and say “this is what we believe is moral”, even if you think they are nuts.

        They are supposed to make you think and they are essential in that regard.

  • lily

    The real sickness that the C.O.E. is suffering from is that from Welby down they have dispensed with Biblical truth and are pandering to the world in order to be popular.

    • GoJebus

      Biblical truth? You might as well say Alice in Wonderlandical truth.

  • rationality

    “On Thursday the Labour shadow cabinet minister and former Anglican priest, Chris Bryant, declared he had left the Church of England for good. The Church’s decision will one day ‘seem [as] wrong as supporting slavery’ he tweeted'”

    Except slaves usually dont have the freedom of setting up there own ranch to do their own thing. Thanks Bryant for overplaying your hand with that ridiculous comparison. We’re a little bit bored of the emotive oppression stories. Of course the progressive vandals in the Church can move out any time but of course its being in the Church and causing as much damage as possible thats the agenda. I deeply object to a w@nker such as Bryant who was apparently a priest yet openly pimps himself out on a gay website in his undies representative as some sort of moral standard of virtue.

    • werter

      Never have I read more brilliant comment. 🙂

    • Phil D

      “‘seem [as] wrong as supporting slavery’”

      My guess is that “former Anglican priest, Chris Bryant” is very tolerant of the belief under which slavery is returning. Perhaps one day he will convert to it and then he will be able to tweet “‘seem [as] wrong as NOT supporting slavery’”. Labour being virtually there already (as substantiated by their coverup of the grooming gangs) (/s).

      • rationality

        Yes indeed for some of these fcks they are willing to lose their lifes for the insidious agenda.

        That fat w@nker Giles Fraser has really wound me up today. This guy is supposed to be an Anglican priest and I dont know why this facade isnt being called out. Here he is banging on about Adolf Eichmann. Is it really a priest’s job to be talking of pity for another religion to make Christians feel forever guilty or is this just blatant cultural Marxism.

        http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/jan/28/adolf-eichmann-final-message-architects-holocaust-evil

  • AGuyNamedJames

    “On the first point, much has been made of the African Archbishops’ support of keeping homosexuality illegal in certain of their countries. But in the all-important communiqué that emerged at the end of the gathering the Archbishops, speaking with one voice, unequivocally condemned homophobia and ‘rejected criminal sanctions against same-sex attracted people’.”

    So I take it, then, that African churches and prelates who continue to support legal punishments in their countries for homosexuality will now be officially singled out and sanctioned? As the Episcopal Church in the United States has been?

  • AdrianM

    ‘A truly liberal society would tolerate the Anglican church’s views on sexuality.’

    This I find myself agreeing with.

  • UnionPacificRX

    Any faith has a right to determine what is moral and what is not. No one is forcing anyone to join that faith if they feel that these standards are not to their liking. If this faith is too intolerant it will die a natural death.

  • Coniston

    I read the Times leader referred to. It shares the common belief today that the Church should reflect the values of the society in which it exists. However, society’s views on values and morality change with almost every generation. If the Church was to try to keep up with these ever changing views it would have to change its basic beliefs several times every century. It would very, very soon have no real beliefs. It certainly could not be called Christian.

    • thefool

      The church’s values change with society, they have for centuries. It just lags a bit. Compare the beliefs now to those of 50 years ago, 100 years ago, etc., you see a changing church (Anglican, Catholic..) If the Church didn’t change with society it would become irrelevant.

  • ohforheavensake

    Couple of points.

    Firstly, don’t say deconstructing when you actually mean analysing. They’re two separate things.

    Secondly, the Church’s attitude to sexuality is being tolerated. The argument’s an internal one: looks very like everybody else is hanging back and letting the Anglicans get on with it. So I really don’t see what this article’s about.

  • Conway

    It’s a step in the right direction that you have at last realised that today’s “liberal” society is, in fact, anything but liberal. It enforces its view of the world and anybody with an alternative opinion is either a bigot, racist, xenophobic or certifiable. Telling the truth based on reality as one sees it, as opposed to toeing the PC line, is a revolutionary act.

  • The Masked Marvel

    Don’t say we didn’t warn you, Spectator. Many of us have.

  • James Chilton

    A truly liberal society would tolerate dissenting opinions on the Anglican church’s views about any matter whatever.

    • Conway

      It’s a step in the right direction that the author has at last realised that today’s “liberal” society is, in fact, anything but liberal. It enforces its view of the world and anybody with an alternative opinion is either a bigot, racist, xenophobic or certifiable. Telling the truth based on reality as one sees it, as opposed to toeing the PC line, is a revolutionary act.

    • Conway

      It’s a step in the right direction that you have at last realised that
      today’s “liberal” society is, in fact, anything but liberal. It
      enforces its view of the world and anybody with an alternative opinion
      is either a bigot, racist, xenophobic or certifiable. Telling the truth
      based on reality as one sees it, as opposed to toeing the PC line, is a
      revolutionary act.

  • john

    Can we stop using the archaic “Church of England”? It has minimal support in England and has long since just shrunk to being small chat groups of oldies hanging around in decaying old buildings.

  • rtj1211

    The issue is not whether a private institution holds the views it holds, but whether an ESTABLISHED CHURCH has the right to hold them.

    My view is pretty simple: if the CoE wishes to remain Established, it can’t be the sole arbiter of what it preaches.

    As having the Government tell a Church what to preach is entirely inappropriate, it really is beyond time to disestablish the Church of England and allow the Anglican Communion to act as its conscience determines and then see how many people around the globe wish to adhere to its preachings and teachings.

  • JabbaPapa

    Totalitarianism taking root in this blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England?

    You’re a few hundred years late — remember Cromwell ?

  • CraigStrachan

    The Church of England, as a state church represented in parliament, must be held to a higher standard. If it really wants to continue to discriminate against gay people, it should be disestablished.

    • Leftism is a societal cancer

      Found your own bundle of sticks religion if you are so bothered. It’s called being true to nature and scripture.

      • CraigStrachan

        No, I don’t need to found my own – I’ll settle for the Church of England being separated from the state, when it can be true to its version of nature and scripture on its own dime.

        • Leftism is a societal cancer

          Well you’ll be probably pleased to know that the contemporary Church of England is packed to the rafters with all forms of freaks and immorality such as homosexuals, trannies, communists, etc.

          • CraigStrachan

            Well, you would know. I live in California, so all forms of freaks and immorality are utterly unknown to me.

            • Leftism is a societal cancer

              Then why do you care?

              • CraigStrachan

                I’ll stop caring when the Church of England stops caring that the US Episcopal Church accepts gay marriage. (You’d think they’d have learned to mind their own business around 1776.)

                • JabbaPapa

                  … and there’s exactly why Americanism is a Catholic Heresy.

                • werter

                  But mind you, there’s no such thing as “gay marriage.”

                • CraigStrachan

                  True, there’s just marriage, which is open to gay people in the UK and U$.

                • lily

                  of course there is no such thing as a gay marriage, marriage is the union of 0ne man and One woman. End of. LGBTQI can if they wish do whatever they wish together but it certainly is NOT marriage!

                • Dominic Stockford

                  It is PECUSA that cares enough, despite its flagrant ungodliness, to want to stay in world-wide Anglican communion – nothing to do with the CofE.

            • carl jacobs

              Heh. One of the happiest days in my life was seeing California in my rear view mirror for the last time.

              • CraigStrachan

                Where did you find refuge?

                • carl jacobs

                  The great state of Iowa, where in a few weeks I fully intend to do my small part in rescuing the Republic from Donald Trump. I have lived in North Dakota and I have lived in Southern California. All things considered, I much preferred North Dakota. You can get used to -40 deg F wind chill. But I never got used to California.

                • CraigStrachan

                  I lived in Omaha briefly. That’s almost in Iowa. I liked it fine, although I did observe that many Omahans had relatives in California – Orange County, North County San Diego, places like that. I actually contend that the stereotypical OC “look” is Nebraskan, baked for a generation in the sun

                • carl jacobs

                  I lived in San Bernardino. Plus a year or so in Corona.

                • CraigStrachan

                  Topanga Canyon here, where it’s forever 1968.

    • werter

      Your attitude is no less preposterous than the one held by this hysterical ex-priest wossname.

      • CraigStrachan

        Well, I’m certainly not going to be out-preposteroused by a hysterical ex-priest.

  • John P Hughes

    James Mumford writes:
    “In France in 1902, the acceleration of laïcité under the premiership of Émile Combes – in a single year he closed 13,000 of the country’s 16,000 religious schools – stemmed from the Third Republic’s dismissal of religion as insufficiently modern.”

    Thank you for this dramatic summary of how and when ‘laicité’ was really imposed in France. The period when the church in France was reduced in status is not really understood in Britain and deserves better coverage. The Third Republic was called ‘La République des professeurs’ as it was said that schoolteachers were highly influential in it – some becoming Government Ministers. Interesting that while it began in 1871, the important moves were not until the turn of the century. The Dreyfus Affair was one of the reasons that the Government was able to act against the church.

    One can’t quite believe that 13,000 schools were ‘closed’ physically – though many French village schools were built new in the period, so presumably over time the old buildings were sold, or converted to dwellings. The positive side is that many French village and small-town schools were built in the early 20th century to a high standard and have lasted well.

    What people in Britain may not know is that the church ‘nationalisation’ means that other Christian denominations can use the officially Catholic village churches for services where they do not have their own buildings. Thus French Protestants can have weddings and funerals in their local church. A French relative, a Protestant, had her funeral in one and is buried in the churchyard amidst mainly Catholic neighbours. This is a result of the laicité reforms.

    • ardenjm

      All the same, the turn of the 20th century French Masonic anti-clericalism was spiteful and motivated by hatred for the Church.

      • Dominic Stockford

        Hatred for the ROMAN church.

        • ardenjm

          Well of course the Freemasons hate the Catholic Church: she is the only Church that has shone a light on their nefarious secrecy down the centuries.
          There was a time in the not too distant past when the Anglican ecclesial community, on the other hand, had over a third of its clergy involved in that occult sect and there are still many who take part in its weird ritualistic apings of the Catholic Mass even as they espouse Low Churchery when working for the state on a Sunday.

          Oh and as for your Roman epithet: The Catholic Church includes all those who are united to the authority of the Bishop of Rome – the vast majority of them belonging to what is, technically, Latin Rite Catholicism. But there are, of course, Eastern Rite and Oriental Rite Catholics such as Ukrainian, Coptic, Maronite and Melkites who have never used Latin and so, whilst Catholics are not, technically, Roman Catholics.

          There are, of course, other Churches too: several Orthodox Churches in schism since 1054, alas.

          Whatever the sincerity of the believers issuing from Martin Luther’s rebellion in the 16th century, however, as Luther himself insisted at the time: they don’t belong to a new Church. They can call themselves churches if they like. The Anglican Communion has been doing so for several centuries. I believe Caitlyn Jenner calls herself a woman also.

          • Dominic Stockford

            In France it was hatred for the Roman Church. Because Rome and they were fighting for temporal power with each other. The Church of Rome is an apostate Church.

            • ardenjm

              Well, whatever little sectarian churchlet you belong to that owes its thinking to 19th Century American inventions themselves born from crazier non-conformisms that emerged after Luther’s rebellion in the 16th century: it aint the Church that Our Lord and Saviour founded.
              Revile her as “the Roman Church” if you want, Our Lord was misidentified and much insulted on His Way of the Cross so it’s only fitting that you should treat His Church with similar scorn. But know that you are utterly wrong in seeing only the sinfulness of the members of His Church rather than what He saw when He gave His life for her: His Bride “spotless and immaculate.”
              Talking of which: may His Immaculate Mother intercede for you in your spiritual blindness and bring you to the fulness of her Divine Son’s saving truth: “Do whatever He tells you.”

              • Dominic Stockford

                There is only one mediator between God and man, Jesus Christ. Or don’t you believe the Bible?

                • ardenjm

                  The Bible teaches us that Our Lord is the only Mediator, yes, I’ve read the 1st letter of Timothy.

                  The Bible also teaches this:

                  For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. Romans 8:26-27

                  And so, we participate in the intercession of the Holy Spirit sent by Christ and this is why we pray for one another:

                  So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the Church. Acts 12:5

                  pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16

                  mak[e] supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:18

                  Since, in Heaven, as Revelation 8:4 shows us the ‘prayers of the saints’ rise up like incense I have EVERY confidence that the prayers of she who “every generation will call blessed”, she who is the “Mother of the Lord” rises up like incense: interceeding to our unique Mediator as is FITTING given her INTERCESSION at Cana:

                  “Do whatever He tells you.”

                  Now take your lopsided Bibliolatry and go and learn the Faith in its fulness.

                • Dominic Stockford

                  Not only is she not a mediator (or ‘imtercessor’ as you call it), but she wasn’t ‘immaculate’ either. She herself stated her need for a Saviour, only needed by sinners.

                  So leave your personal abuse at home and allow the inerrant Word of God to direct your thinking.

                • ardenjm

                  You confuse the mediation of the sacred humanity of Our Lord who is Head of the Church from whom all saving graces flow with the fact that He associates His friends in His work. This is why St Paul says, “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” It only makes sense and is only non-blasphemous, if it pleases God that Christ should “be all in all” as St Paul says, “no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.” This explains the parables Our Lord uses when He rewards the “good and faithful servant” who has carried out the orders of his Master.

                  Our Lady is most certainly saved!

                  She is saved from Original Sin BY Our Lord. That is the grace of her Immaculate Conception. It is ENTIRELY the grace of God. Which is why the Angel Gabriel greets her with that identity: Hail Full of Grace. She is entirely filled with God’s grace. She is more saved, not less saved than us. But not because she is a sinner but because she has been preserved from sin.

                  “All generations will call me blessed.”

                  You allow your anti-Catholic animus to spoil your understanding of The Divine Word’s Mother. I pity you for that. But if you REALLY think you love the Son whilst having such a clear aversion to His Mother then I fear that ultimately these will be the words you hear:
                  “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

                  So this isn’t a personal insult.
                  This is an appeal that you allow the inerrant Word of God to enlighten you fully: Like Our Lady, “ponder these things in your heart”.

                  “When the light in you is darkness”, Dominic Stockford, “how great is that darkness!”
                  You quote the Word of God at me. But so did Satan to Our Lord in the desert.
                  The words retained their authority, of course. But the one who employed them had none.

                • Dominic Stockford

                  Once again you deny that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word (if it is God’s Word it must be inerrant or you demean God). “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Which means your faith is built on man’s invention, not God’s Revelation.

                • Paul R

                  Thank the Catholic Church for preserving and protecting the Gospels and New Testament letters. The unity of the Catholic Church across all Rites, Latin, Melkite, Maronite Byzantine, Armenian it is truly universal and is what the Lord willed of his living, visible Body. Real unity, real Communion in faith, doctrine, and morals. God help us if we had to rely on non-Catholic Christianity to preserve the Word and will of almighty God. One year from next years 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and we have yet another Christian denomination that can’t even get it’s doctrine and beliefs in order. You guys will not make it to the first 1000 years. Without obedience and authority , there is no real Communion, this will not be over in 3 years, not by a long shot.

                • Dominic Stockford

                  Another one who seems to think that God relies on the efforts of mankind. What a sad God it would be who depended on His creations for anything whatsoever.

                • FrCherub

                  Where does that opinion appear in the Bible, Dominic. On the contrary, God uses men and women. Eve disobeyed, but Mary the Second Eve obeyed and by her obedience brought salvation into the world. The Apostles were sent by Jesus into the world to preach the Gospel. The Catholic Church is the means through which God chooses to have the Good News spread. God chooses to invite us to work with Him for the salvation of souls.

                • ardenjm

                  I deny nothing.

                  You, however, have ignored every single one of the substantive rebuttals I have made of your sectarianly wilful personal interpretation of Scripture and have refused to engage with all of my bible-based claims on the grounds that you are your own infallible magisterium and, like the Father of Lies who has led you in to his errors your base position is “non serviam”. Truly Our Lord spoke of you in John 15:20 about those who refuse the Church’s Christ-given authority:
                  “If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also.”
                  You refuse to obey the Church and you delude yourself if you think you’re obeying Christ.

                  The Bible you read was brought to you by the Church.
                  The inerrancy of Scripture is recognised by the Church, and her judgement on matters of Faith and Morals is inerrant because, as Scripture testifies, the Holy Spirit of Truth is given to the Church to lead the Church into all truth (John chapters 14-16). Unlike the expression ‘sola scriptura’ which is found nowhere in Scripture, Sacred Scripture most certainly does teach that the Church is the, “pillar and foundation [foundation!] of the truth” 1 Timothy 3:15.

                  You accuse me of denying Sacred Scripture’s inerrancy by quoting Romans 3:23 at me in relation to the most-saved Virgin Mary.
                  According to your personally infallible and rigid literal interpretation of Romans 3:23, it must include Adam and Eve who must, therefore, have been created with sin. We know this is not true: they were created sinless by a Good God. They then chose to sin.
                  There are instances where “all” does not mean “every single one.”
                  1 Cor. 15:22 – in Adam all (“pantes”) have died, and in Christ all (“pantes”) shall live. This proves that “all” does not mean “every single one.” This is because not all have died (such as Enoch and Elijah who were taken up to heaven), and not all will go to heaven (because Jesus said so).

                  Rom. 5:12 – Paul says that death spread to all (Greek “pantes”) men. Again, this proves that “all” does not mean “every single one” because death did not spread to all men (as we have seen with Enoch and Elijah).

                  Rom. 5:19 – here Paul says “many (not all) were made sinners.” Paul uses “polloi,” not “pantes.” Is Paul contradicting what he said in Rom. 3:23? Of course not. Paul means that all are subject to original sin, but not all reject God.

                  Rom. 3:10-11 – Protestants also use this verse to prove that all human beings are sinful and thus Mary must be sinful. But see Psalm 14 which is the basis of the verse.
                  Psalm 14 – this psalm does not teach that all humans are sinful. It only teaches that, among the wicked, all are sinful. The righteous continue to seek God.

                  Psalm 53:1-3 – “there is none that does good” expressly refers to those who have fallen away. Those who remain faithful do good, and Jesus calls such faithful people “good.”

                  Luke 1:47 – Mary calls God her Saviour. Some Protestants use this to denigrate Mary. Why? Of course God is Mary’s Saviour! She was preserved from original sin in her conception (unlike us who are cleansed of that sin at Baptism), but for that she needed a Saviour as much as the rest of humanity. It’s wrong to place restrictions on God’s ability to apply the grace of the cross backwards in time, and by special intervention made Mary free from original sin from the moment she was conceived.

                  “Mary a sinner” is a new concept, foriegn even to Luther. It blasphemes the Incarnation because it means that God and sin can co-exist. It leads to Christological heresies and it is a doctrine of demons.

                  You think your faith is genuinely Biblical. Infact, you’ve just made God in your own image.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Greek “pantes” … doesn’t even mean “all” in the first place : it means “the very great number”

                • Dominic Stockford

                  “The Church” did not give us the Bible. To say so is a sin against the Holy Spirit, who did, without any ‘help’ from man.

                  Adam and Eve did sin, exactly as Paul says in Romans – “for all have sinned”.

                • JabbaPapa

                  “The Church” did not give us the Bible. To say so is a sin against the Holy Spirit, who did, without any ‘help’ being necessary from man.

                  Right — well, you just go ahead and call every publisher of Bibles, to tell them God has no more need of their assistance.

                  The Holy Spirit will simply provide each person with the Scriptures ex nihilo

                  In fact, I forget — if the Holy Spirit is 100% sufficient, your presence in here is needed because …. why, exactly ?

                • FrCherub

                  Of course the Church gave us the Bible, Dominic. It didn’t arrive on a space ship! To the Hebrew Canon the church decided which Gospels, which letters and other documents were to be accounted as inspired. The Church proclaimed the Canon of the NT. It was protestants like Luther who wanted to cut some things out of the NT because it didn’t agree with his aberrant sola fides doctrines.

                • FrCherub

                  No one is denying God’s Word, but you are seriously misrepresenting the word of God.

                • Ipsedixit

                  Very sad to find you arguing like this. Bear with one another and forgive any differences you may have among you. We’ve sufficient enemies without fighting ourselves.

                • lily

                  The sinlessness of Mary may be Catholic Dogma BUT it isn’t found anywhere in the scriptures which state “ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God” The only exception is the Lord Jesus Himself. Mary sinned because she was born in sin and shaped in iniquity as we ALL are. When Catholic dogma disagrees with scripture guess who is wrong!!!

                • JabbaPapa

                  why should anyone follow the errant interpretations of such men as yourself, who preach only schism, sectarianism, and selfishness ?

                • Dominic Stockford

                  I have never preached any of the mentioned things. Why do you resort to personal abuse instead of reasoned debate? Are you that unsure of your ground?

                • JabbaPapa

                  You preach schism by declaring that people should abandon the Church to follow your particular version of Protestantism.

                  You preach sectarianism by doing the above, as well as by claiming that only certain sects are “truly Christian”.

                  You preach selfishness by preaching that the core of proper interpretation is the self.

                • Dominic Stockford

                  1. No I don’t. There is only one true church, and that is Christ’s Church, not the Roman church. No man-made denomination has been mandated by Christ, whatever you might claim. And I don’t declare that people should follow ‘my particular view of Protestantism’. I declare that people should believe what Jesus said, which is that salvation comes through faith in Him alone (John 3), and that there is nothing more required than the gift of faith that Christ gives (Ephesians 2:8-9).

                  2. You need to check out the word ‘sect’. The meaning of this in Christianity is that it is a group which declares, like Rome, that salvation is only to be found by being a member of it (although I admit Rome is utterly schizophrenic on this point, as it makes contrary claims at the same time – it really ought to make up its mind). I teach that salvation is to be found in Christ alone. If that is sectarian then it’s clearly the one to be in, logically speaking (Psalm 146:3)

                  3. I don’t teach that the core of proper interpretation is ‘self’, I teach that the Bible is God’s inerrant word – how can it be anything other? God would not give us a deceitful and error strewn book would he? And I teach that those who God has called (the ‘elect of God’ – Col 3:12) are given understanding by the Holy Spirit to grasp the basis of the meaning of the bible. Some have another gift, preaching God’s Word so that it is more comprehensible (Ephesians 4:11).

                  My faith rests in Christ alone, but is educated and strengthened and guided by the unchanging Word of God (2 Peter 1:21).

                • JabbaPapa

                  1. Your answer demonstrates that — yep ; you do

                  2. You need to check out the word ‘sect’ – No, I don’t. The meaning of this in Christianity is that it is a group which declares, like Rome, that salvation is only to be found by being a member of it — a) the Church claims no such thing and b) a “sect” is any group claiming that it alone holds the truth and that this truth is completely alien to other groups (both of which you have claimed in relation to the Catholic Church). — so yep, I’m right about this one too (viz. your unprovoked sectarian attack against the Church just for starters)

                  3. I don’t teach that the core of proper interpretation is ‘self’ — either that; or you’re naïve, or a hypocrite. And I said “the self” not “self” ; you’re already attempting to twist the words to suit your personal agenda… But honestly, if it’s just you, God, and the Scripture, then **where** do you expect the interpretation to occur ?

                  I mean, never mind what howlers you might come up with, what backwards interpretations, misreadings, false lessons from false or just erroneous translations, or anything else not issuing forth from the Revelation Himself but nevertheless in constant peril of intruding into your, own, interpretation, eh ?

                  Keeping a more open mind regarding 3., due to personal counter-example, but I’m still tending towards agreeing with the initial statement.

                • Dominic Stockford

                  You have made yourself a small god, formed in your own image and dependent on sinful man.

                  Therefore you find it impossible to genuinely trust in the Holy Spirit for salvation and for guidance.

                  The God I know is capable of anything, and utterly trustworthy.

                • JabbaPapa

                  You have made yourself a small god, formed in your own image and dependent on sinful man

                  You haven’t the faintest idea what you’re talking about.

                  Emphatically, no.

                  Therefore you find it impossible to genuinely trust in the Holy Spirit for salvation and for guidance.

                  You seem to enjoy making things up in your own mind without any reference to external reality. This is symptomatic of the selfishness I mentioned.

                  You’ve failed to address any of my points.

                • Dominic Stockford

                  It is not something that matters that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not acquitted or found guilty by my own judgement, or that of any man. It is the Lord who judges me. I merely do my best to preach the Gospel of Christ, with God’s help (on which I know I am utterly reliant for ALL things), that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Bible.

                • JabbaPapa

                  It is not something that matters that I should be judged by you or by any human court

                  Yeah, but you clearly want a dashed good innings with your own game of blamemongery, eh ,

                • Carlo Lancellotti

                  If you think your own personal theological opinions are “the Holy Spirit” it means there are millions of “Holy Spirits” (one per each individual) and non-believers will be fully justified to conclude that Christianity is a sham.

                • JabbaPapa

                  He sounds a lot like a Mormon.

                • Dominic Stockford

                  The Holy Spirit goes where He wishes, not where man directs. And you would be surprised at the unanimity on matters of salvation that is shared between Reformed protestant Christians. We don’t have to be in one man-made shared institution in order to agree on things.

                • testadirapa

                  Yes, I would be very surprised, since, at least here in the US, all evidence goes against your claim of “unanimity.”

                • Dominic Stockford

                  Please note, I said unanimity ‘between Reformed Protestant Christians’. As with the Church of Rome’s many claimed followers, there are many liberals who call themselves evangelical, but simply are not, and even steal the name Protestant, but are not.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Please note, I said unanimity ‘between Reformed Protestant Christians’

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WboggjN_G-4

                  See ? Sectarianism

                • Dominic Stockford

                  The Bible is clear that The Holy Spirit goes wherever he wills, not wherever some earthly human institution says He can go. You would clearly be amazed to find that in fact, on the matter of the means of salvation, there is agreement between Reformed Protestants – that is, those who actually believe the Bible to be God’s Word, and thus inerrant. I rely on the Holy Spirit, as should everyone, to guide us and teach us when we read the Bible – after all, this is what the Bible actually says!

                  The Church of Rome, for instance, relies on other men to tell them what God said – which is clearly going to lead to disaster as men are fallible and sinful. Liberal Christians rely on experience to tell them what god says – which is again, clearly going to lead to disaster. But when people genuinely allow the Holy Spirit to guide them, trusting God properly in doing so, they find that God does not let them down for He is a faithful God who doesn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t, let sincere followers down.

                  The question is then, do you believe God to be a faithful God, reliable, and faithful (as the psalmist says frequently in Ps.119, for instance). Or do you not have full trust in Him to uphold you when you turn to Him?

                • Carlo Lancellotti

                  What you call the Holy Spirit is just the theological opinions of a small group of Christians who think that their reading of the Bible is the correct one and everybody else is wrong.

                • Dominic Stockford

                  So, contrary to the Bible’s teaching, you think that those who you clearly regard as the ‘majority’ must by definition be right?

                • testadirapa

                  Not at all. Since the early Christian times the criterion of truth has been apostolicity, not numbers.

                • JabbaPapa

                  The Church of Rome, for instance, relies on other men to tell them what God said – which is clearly going to lead to disaster as men are fallible and sinful.

                  A ludicrous category error — it is precisely because men are fallible and sinful that solo readings of Scripture are likely to be erroneous, and lead to disaster.

                  If certain others have a Gift of Interpretation, as the Bible teaches us to be the case, then it would be **extremely** stupid to reject what they say, just on the basis of some silly mind trick.

                  The Holy Spirit goes wherever he wills, not wherever some earthly human institution says He can go

                  Please demonstrate that the Holy Spirit has not blessed the Church of Rome — or what, do you dictate HIS movements too ? (and **where** exactly does the Catholic Church “say” where the Holy Spirit can go ? isn’t this just some more of your loony proddy made-up stuff ?)

                • FrCherub

                  If you are going to disagree with the Catholic Church, Dominic, it would be better if you discussed what the Church actually teaches and not your parody of it. The Church relies upon the Holy Spirit in all that she does in her teaching on faith and morals. I suggest no one should engage further with Dominic because he is attacking straw men, is ignorant of the Catholic faith which presumably is the reason why he abandoned it. And Dominic, you will have to face God for your schismatic acts, your preaching of heresy and schism, and for your apparent hatred of the Church of God.

                • FrCherub

                  Guided by “the unchanging Word of God” interpreted as you see fit, Dominic. The fact of the matter is that the Word of God is clear that the Church is built upon the rock of Peter and his faith. The true Church is then to be found in all those Churches in communion with the successors of Saint Peter. You follow doctrines formulated by schismatics in the sixteenth century. The Catholic church clings to Christ as saviour and to the faith delivered to the Apostles.

                • FrCherub

                  But Dominic, you did preach schism and practice it. you separated yourself from the Church. You advised members of the C of E to leave that body and associate with other congregations of schismatics. This is not personal abuse. It is simply an accurate account of what you have done and continue to do. I am not sure, though, about the accusation of “selfishness”. I don’t know you and I don’t think it is fair to accuse you of that.

                • FrCherub

                  Ignorance of the Catholic faith by a former Catholic does you no credit Dominic. God did save Mary by a sovereign act of grace at the moment of her conception. She is, “full of grace”, and she thanks God for that in the Magnificat. In the great wedding feast at Cana, Mary interceded on behalf of others re the problem of the wine. Jesus acceded to her request and turned water into wine. I have no doubt, Dominic, that you pray for others at their request. So too does the Holy Mother of God.

                • FrCherub

                  True Dominic, but those who intercede for others make their prayers through Jesus Christ our Lord. The Saints pray for us just as the saints do. Cf Hebrews 12:2

            • FrCherub

              Dominic, you are the apostate from the Church.

  • Atlas

    Anyone else notice the hypocrisy inherent in all the criticism of the CofE’s views on sexuality when contrasted with the utter silence on even worse views held by other major religions now present in the UK?

    • Mary Ann

      Are you talking about the other versions of the religion of Abraham, you are of course aware that Jesus recommended the OT with all its violence, rape and child murder.

      • jimfromcanada

        You are wrong. Jesus when asked what the most important commandment was, quoted the Hebrew Bible when he said” the first commandment is ‘you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind soul and strength’ and he second is like the first ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself’ all the Law and prophets come from these” There is no violence in Jesus’ summation of the old testament.

        • Ipsedixit

          You really are wasting your time trying to educate this person though you are absolutely correct. Incidentally Mohammedanism is not an Abrahamic religion just because Moslems say it is.

        • JohnInCA

          There may be no violence in Jesus’ summation of the old testament, but there’s plenty that his summary left out.

  • outlawState

    The failure of the clerics to enact schism shows the brotherhood of the cassock is more powerful than the brotherhood of apostolic belief. No true Christian could contemplate being aligned with a priesthood permitting homosexuals of any hue within its ranks.

    The CofE is caught in a triple lock. On the one hand the Monarchy and the bishops are constantly populating its ranks with people unfit to hold any position of responsibility. On another, it has no power to excommunicate or unbaptize those who fall into sin. On a third matter it has been propelled by its progenitors and current incumbents over the past 75 years and more onto an increasingly worldly trajectory of doctrinal error.

    It is ripe for being constantly attacked by pagans and Christians alike. May be it should be disestablished and left to sort itself out, well away from the political limelight, as other churches. It is trying to be something that it clearly isn’t, which usually leads to schizophrenia.

  • flipkipper

    If bigots were banned from going to church would this further decrease or increase Mass attendance?

    • JabbaPapa

      At least it would mean that Thought Police employees would regularly attend the Mass.

    • The Masked Marvel

      You mean bigots of a certain kind. There is plenty of bigotry against those with any form of traditional religious belief.

      • flipkipper

        I wasn’t talking about those ones.

        • MikeF

          You actually weren’t talking about anyone at all since the word ‘bigot’ is now simply a term of abuse devoid of definition.

          • Mary Ann

            It surprises me that anyone who is a homosexual wants to have anything to do with the Religion of Abraham. If god created man he also created homosexuals.

            • Toni_Pereira

              I don’t know how things are where you live but in the rest of the world homosexuals are part of mankind…

              • Neil Saunders

                Yes, and we all know which part of mankind they’re most interested in.

            • johnb1945

              What religion of Abraham is this? Officially there are 3, 4 if you include Bahai. Within each are multiple views and sects. The egalitarianism which you take for granted and view as a simple predetermined human value owes much to Christianity.

    • King Kibbutz

      Good question. Similarly, is this same level of agonising going to be brought to bear anytime soon, over the sexual proclivities of those who attend and those who preside over Mosques?

  • Bodkinn

    The trouble with the C of E is that it appears to have no doctrines that are not subject to the vagaries of public opinion. One knows that however firmly a tenet may have been held in the immediate past the C of E will always eventually concede to the whimsies of its political masters. So in my life time all the items that were once taboo like homosexuality, priestesses, and abortion have been ejected in favour of a good press and to keep parliament happy. A member of the Anglican Church does not really have the most basic guide lines to know what they are supposed to believe. It is no wonder that the Anglican Church abroad has given up on the mother establishment and goes their own way. The fact that the thirty nine articles of the C of E states that ordination is not a sacrament makes it much easier for them to promote woman than it is for the apostolic churches.

    • Dominic Stockford

      The Church of England as a body has indeed prostituted it’s faith in search of numbers (bums on seats). A few of their congregations are still faithful to God, but most aren’t. Those faithful ones who stay within it are tarnished by the ungodliness of the rest. If you really are faithful Christians then Leave the CofE, no denomination is mandated by God.

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