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I was wrong to be rude to Rowan Williams; but I wasn’t critical enough of his anti-coalition attack

The archbishop’s arguments were derived from Left-wing politics, not the Christian religion

By on Monday, 13 June 2011

Dr Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, talks to Margaret Thatcher in 1983 (PA photo)

Dr Robert Runcie, Archbishop of Canterbury, talks to Margaret Thatcher in 1983 (PA photo)

In my last post, I attempted to confront Rowan Williams’s now notorious article attacking the government. Not because I have any particular brief for either of the parties that make up the coalition, but because Rowan Williams’s case rested on a patent falsehood: that the government’s policies in three specific areas, education, benefits policy and health, had no mandate since nobody had voted for them. Since I had a clear memory that the three areas of policy – which, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury, had not been openly declared, or particularly, in the case of education and benefits policy, debated during the election campaign – had in fact been declared and in the case of education and benefits policy widely discussed, I wrote an article to prove that this was the case. It seemed to me that this should be done, whether one supported the coalition’s policies or not, in the name of common justice, since Rowan Williams, by virtue of his position, would be listened to as a spokesman for other Christians.

My article, however, misfired, for two reasons, which I now acknowledge; and I claim the blogger’s privilege (rarely accorded to print journalists) of having another go. First, I wrote in anger: always a mistake, since it all too often (and did in my case last Friday) leads to discourtesy. Just one sentence, but it deflected attention from my argument. Second, however, I didn’t make the most important point of all. Both these defects were spotted by one of those who commented on my article:

The article was fine up until: “Frankly, I don’t give a fig about anything Rowan Williams says, as such; for a most amazing quantity of utter drivel issues forth from the midst of that ghastly beard of his.”

Resorting to personal attacks just debases the argument. [Quite right; mea culpa. I shouldn’t have done it.]

What I found most lamentable about Rowan Williams’s editorial was that there was no mention of Christ, salvation, redemption etc. It was devoid of any content that pertained to evangelisation. Shouldn’t that be his primary task rather than getting into the minutiae of government policy?”

One can, of course, speak as a Christian about social and political matters without going into evangelistic mode. Another correspondent commented that “[The archbishop] is carrying out the work of evangelisation by seeking to have a society which better expresses the values of the Kingdom of God, values such as justice/righteousness, peace, the promotion of justice/righteousness, and so forth. All of this has roots in the Old Testament – the preaching of Jesus is full of OT ideas.”

All arguable enough; but my first correspondent quoted above put his finger on something, all the same: Rowan Williams’s article was based on entirely secular principles and assumptions. It could have been written by any Leftward-leaning political journalist. Even when he talks in passing about his religious beliefs, he doesn’t actually link them with his argument, but flourishes them as an ultimate but distant source of some modern secular ideas. Having sneered at David Cameron’s ideas about a “Big Society” (which he calls a “painfully stale” slogan) and cast doubt on his sincerity, he talks of a “theological strand … to be retrieved that is not about ‘the poor’ as objects of kindness but about the nature of sustainable community, seeing it as one in which what circulates – like the flow of blood – is the mutual creation of capacity, building the ability of the other person or group to become, in turn, a giver of life and responsibility. Perhaps surprisingly, this is what is at the heart of St Paul’s ideas about community at its fullest; community, in his terms, as God wants to see it.” All this is actually, incidentally, entirely consistent with how Cameron has expounded his “Big Society” in terms of specific political objectives:

The Big Society is about a huge culture change, where people, in their everyday lives, in their homes, in their neighbourhoods, in their workplace don’t always turn to officials, local authorities or central government for answers to the problems they face but instead feel both free and powerful enough to help themselves and their own communities. It’s about people setting up great new schools. Businesses helping people getting trained for work. Charities working to rehabilitate offenders.

It’s about liberation – the biggest, most dramatic redistribution of power from elites in Whitehall to the man and woman on the street.

What should we as Catholics want? The Catholic social tradition is against “unchecked competition”, as Leo XIII calls unrestrained capitalism. And it’s also against unrestrained state power and bureaucracy. These things, today, are what we all believe or claim to believe: political thinking has moved on (though maybe not far enough) towards these ideals since Rerum Novarum was written over a century ago. We can see traces of the influence of such thinking on all modern political parties. Have a look at it here (try paragraphs three to five if you’re short of time).

The problem with Rowan Williams’s article is this. There really is such a thing as a Catholic Social Tradition, entirely independent in its sources of secular political philosophies. But the Anglican Social Tradition, as it has been expounded in modern times (have a look at that famous document from the Runcie era, Faith in the City) is simply a version of current secular Left-wing thinking, with a bit of religious language stirred in to taste. “The question at issue,” says the document, “… is whether the acknowledged Christian duty to ‘remember the poor’ should be confined to personal charity, service and evangelism directed towards individuals, or whether it can legitimately take the form of social and political action aimed at altering the circumstances which appear to cause poverty and distress.” But it is made clear, probably because the document was written under the influence of Bishop David Sheppard, a well-known supporter of the Labour Party – at the time still very Left-wing – and a member of the commission that produced it) that “social and political action” should be socialist-inclined in character. And that’s what we see (though more circumspectly implied) in Dr Williams’s article, too.

That’s what I should have said. I’m sorry I didn’t. And I’m sorry about Dr Williams’s beard: it was ill-mannered to hold it against him.

  • Alan

    Don’t take yourself so seriously William!

    Nobody else does.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t care about anything Rowan Williams says either: not because he always speaks drivel (sometimes he doesn’t), but because he has no locus standi to speak about anything. There has not been an archbishop of Canterbury since the death of Reginald Cardinal Pole in 1558, and this man who claims his office is nothing but an imposter of highly dubious theological orthodoxy.

  • Roystonsapperata

    He shouldn’t have shown his left wing policies! However it has to be noted that Dr. Williams is a remarkable Theologian of note, most probablty the brightest ever, as I am sure Dr. Oddie would agree.

  • Caroline Beaumont

    I am glad you took advantage of the “blogger’s privilege” and had another go … you were right first time round but yes, it was a mistake to resort to such a personal remark, and your “second go” has put that right, I think.

  • W Oddie

    Sorry, no I don’t. 

  • niki

    Speak for yourself roman catholic, but our Dr. Williams despite his faults doesn’t claim to be equal to God himself.

    Go worship your pope!

  • niki

    You wouldn’t, ignorance it’s called.

  • Anonymous

    If you must be blasphamous in your accusations against the Catholic Church then at least get your criticism right; no Catholic worships the Pope. His role is as the successor of St. Peter and the representative of Christ on Earth. Those of us who submit to a Church led by the Queen of England who still claims the role of head of the Church and is proclaimed as its divinely appointed leader (despite the; fact that the last legitimate King of England was the Catholic King James II.) So perhaps you may wish to enhance your crude insults?

  • W Oddie

    No: when he was appointed archbishop I read everything he had written up to that point, every tortuous and inconclusive word of it (I had been asked to write a piece about what to expect). I am not ignorant of his theology; simply deeply unimpressed.

  • W Oddie

    I do’t take myself seriously at all. But I do take seriously what I write: it would be irresponsible to do otherwise. But I think that’s not why you made your comment: your purpose was simply to be unpleasant. You  succeeded.

  • Anonymous

    The pope is a greater theologian than Williams, and so have many others been – de Lubac and von Balthasar to name but two.

  • RJ

    I got the message in both articles.

  • Hughes196

    Neither does His Holiness! Furthermore, we Catholics do not worship anyone but God. Please get your facts straight before opining on Catholic matters.

  • Alan

    I have a lifetime’s experience of reacting firmly whenever I hear:  “I am sorry – BUT………”, William.

  • Michelle Eves

    The Roman Catholics worship the pope. It says so right there in canon law and the catechism. Go discover and read!
    The Romans have no claim supported by fact,scripture or evidence as successors to St Peter and the only writing brought forward to support such a preposterous allegation was a known forged book.Why do you think the Roman church doesn’t like the subject mentioned?
    Christ decides who his representatives are, not the roman church or any other individual or church.
    Our Queen is subordinate to our Archbishops, Bishops and Christ and lay no claim of equivalence to Jesus let alone God himself – as does your pope.
    What crude insults were you referring to? The only one I see are those made by Roman Catholics against our Archbishop.

    The Romans have no claim supported by fact,scripture or evidence as successors to St Peter and the only writing brought forward to support such a preposterous allegation was a known forged book.Why do you think the Roman church doesn’t like the subject mentioned?

    Christ decides who his representatives are, not the roman church or any other individual or church.

    Our Queen is subordinate to our Archbishops, Bishops and Christ and lay no claim of equivalence to Jesus let alone God himself – as does your pope.

    What crude insults were you referring to? The only one I see are those made by Roman Catholics against our Archbishop.

  • Anonymous

    The crude insults that I referred to were the simplistic terms of his answer and his refusal to give reasons for either of them. As to the point about the Queen you say that she is subordinate to the Archbishop but in the definition of the English Church that is simply false. The title of the Queen is as head of the English Church and as “protector of the faith” which is a title that, despite the fact it is not hers and was given to Henry VIII by the Pope, leaves her, like him, at its head.

    I really don’t see why I should have to answer the rest of your blog but if I must I must. The Pope’s title in the catechism is as “Christ’s representative on Earth” and a representative is not the same as the real person. As for your point that it is not supported by scripture that too is simply false. The words of Christ himself upon meeting Simon and Andrew were “from now on your name shall be Peter and on this rock I shall build my Church.” Peter assumed this role and represented Christ after his ascension; this did not mean that he considered himself equal to Christ.

    Even if you are right about the catechism (being only a teenager I can hardly lay claim to a substantial qualification) the claim that we worship the Pope is also false as is constantly recounted in the Nicene Creed “we believe in ONE God” the Pope can be said to be the equal and successor of Peter but he does not step into the role of Christ; which is more than can be said for a woman who, theologically according to her Church, was appointed by God to rule over Britain, although to be fair I doubt that she believes this any more than his Holiness deems himself to be equal to Christ.

  • Michelle Eves

    Offering insults because of a lack of understanding is a trait of many.
    As previously mentioned, our Queen is subordinate to our Archbishop and bishops. She follows the ministry as laid down by them in the same way she abides by what parliament tells her though she is at its head. The point is she is a subordinate to God and Christ.
    If you believe a title as ‘protector of faith’ is given to our Queen by some blood soaked pope, all I can offer is that she must have rejected it and took up the Anglican title as ‘defender of the faith’
    You are incorrect: Your popes title is found on his vestments and also in your Roman bible, the catechism ccc 880-882 – check it out!
    Again you are incorrect. The Roman church claims ‘equivalence’, ‘in place of’ ‘equal’ to Christ himself (analyse your popes title.) That’s not the end of it. The Roman church actually claims its head is equivalent to God himself and has a crown of three: one for heaven, one for hell and one for earth. Here’s a useful excerpt to help you from Rome:

    As previously mentioned, our Queen is subordinate to our Archbishop and bishops. She follows the ministry as laid down by them in the same way she abides by what parliament tells her though she is at its head. The point is she is a subordinate to God and Christ.

    If you believe a title as ‘protector of faith’ is given to our Queen by some blood soaked pope, all I can offer is that she must have rejected it and took up the Anglican title as ‘defender of the faith’

    You are incorrect: Your popes title is found on his vestments and also in your Roman bible, the catechism ccc 880-882 – check it out!

    Again you are incorrect. The Roman church claims ‘equivalence’, ‘in place of’ ‘equal’ to Christ himself (analyse your popes title.) That’s not the end of it. The Roman church actually claims its head is equivalent to God himself and has a crown of three: one for heaven, one for hell and one for earth. Here’s a useful excerpt to help you from Rome:
    “Those whom the Pope of Rome doth separate, it is not a man that separates them but God. For the Pope holdeth place on earth, not simply of a man but of the true God….dissolves, not by human but rather by divine authority….I am in all and above all, so that God Himself and I, the vicar of God, hath both one consistory, and I am able to do almost all that God can do…wherefore, if those things that I do be said not to be done of man, but of God, what do you make of me but God? Again, if prelates of the Church be called of Constantine for gods, I then being above all prelates, seem by this reason to be above all gods.”

    Christ did not choose any one apostle to build his church but deliberately chose Twelve. The scripture you refer to is by most non-roman scholars, a referral to St Peter faith,” who do you say I am’ not to his own individual ministry.Christ is positively referring to St Peters faith, not to a proposed individual ministry. Mark 8:27-33
    Coming to your last paragraph, Read the excerpts provided above. If you have been ‘received’ into the Roman catholic church, you are required to adhere to the agreed teachings of the pope and his bishops, where in agreement even above holy scripture. ccc890-891 as your pope claims the right to amend the bible.
    Who do you worship Christ or Rome? ‘No man can serve two Gods’

    Coming to your last paragraph, Read the excerpts provided above. If you have been ‘received’ into the Roman catholic church, you are required to adhere to the agreed teachings of the pope and his bishops, where in agreement even above holy scripture. ccc890-891 as your pope claims the right to amend the bible.

    Who do you worship Christ or Rome? ‘No man can serve two Gods’

  • Anonymous

    You say “if I believe” that the Queen was given her title by the Pope as though it is not historical fact that the Pope gave that very title to no less a person than Henry VIII when he wrote a letter criticising Martin Luther; there is no insult to your Queen there as it is historical fact (as is the fact that she is not the rightful heir to the throne and the last person I know of who was died in 1802, was named Prince Henry Stuart and was a cardinal of the Roman Church.) Also saying that she obeys the archbishops and Parliament does not prove anything other than modern politics; if she tries not to obey them then her days as queen are numbered because of politics not theology. You also call the Pope blood-soaked as though protestants are entirely blameless of persecution (and if you think that they were then I would advise you to read up on Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, Oliver Cromwell the Whigs and the persecutions of the Irish under British rule.) The Catholic Church certainly has persecuted people but given that the Spanish inquisition, the worst of any across Europe, killed 2000 people in 300 years (a lower proportion of its defendants than most secular courts at the time) one must wonder if the title of bloodthirsty for one Pope is not somewhat overstated.

    As for saying that the Church claims equivalence to Christ the reason for that is that Christ is not here at the moment; read what I said before and you will see that the Church acts as Christ’s representative (hence the equivalence as they perform the role of teachers in his abscence) and advocates his teachings including his appointment of St. Peter and will not agree with the idea of apostolic succession otherwise they would not be non-roman; if we ask scholars of the Catholic Church the matter may be somewhat different.

    Finally, with regard to the catechism, the first thing to say is that “amend” is not the same thing as “overide”. All te authority to amend scripture means is that the Pope has the authority to improve or reinterpret scripture if it is proved to be either metaphorical or mistranslated or misinterpreted. If that power is abused then it is the fault of the man not the Church. As for the Pope’s privileges you say that they are simpy hubris but they are no more than those that Christ gave to his disciples when he said to them “those whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven and those whose sins you retain, they are retained” and this is the “almost all that God can do” that the Pope can do; the act of forgiving and retaining sins which is given to him through the apostolic succession.

    In answer to your final question my answer is simple. I do not choose to serve Christ or Rome. I, and every other Catholic, serves Christ with guidance and education from Rome as the Church founders once did with guidance from the apostles.

  • Michelle Eves

    You are making an error of reasoning
    presuming your roman church maintains a stake in our Anglican heritage, liturgy
    and constitution. You believe our inspiration was bourne out of roman ways. You
    have not fully accepted or appreciated the Anglicans church’s complete
    separation from the romans. Not just in its liturgy but also its historical
    context. How ridiculous to suggest our current Queen is not a rightful heir
    from a line of descendents totally unrelated to the Roman church or Rome for
    that matter. Though our Queen is a modern Queen, she follows our constitution
    dating back to 1255- 1707 which formulated magna carta. You are exhibiting a
    historical chasm as our sovereigns have throughout the age have demonstrated
    the principle of Sovereign rule by rebuke of parliament. That is why even today
    she has power to dissolve it.
    You would have us believe your point the Irish
    was in some way connected to our Anglican church but that was a difficulty
    between two different governments! What is fact is the Roman catholic church
    have always caused trouble there simply because it felt, wrongly, Ireland was
    ‘it’s domain’ for which there is a long history of it being directly engaged in
    provoking violence against the British. Even today, there was a case of a
    practising rc priest being a member of the IRA. To suggest we (Anglicans) were
    anywhere near your murderous church tally of murder, torture and persecutions
    is quite nauseating to behold. Only yesterday, I was at St Mary’s London where
    the Roman catholics persecuted English Christian martyrs. A trait developed
    from the time Romans were burning Christians alive in order to light dark
    streets at night. You must be getting your figures from Rome as how ridiculous
    to suggest a figure of 200 when the true record is that around 75 million
    people killed during the course of Roman catholic rampage against  those who protested or rejected its rule and
    teachings, That excludes the mass rapes and torture of survivors which included
    us ‘protestants’
    I did not say at all ‘the church’ claims the place of Christ
    in his absence and specifically pointed out this was a Roman church claim
    unsupported by the real fathers of Christianity such as the Orthodoxy and
    Anglican catholics. I note you have no comments on the real horrifying matter of your roman church
    claim regarding the status of their pope to God himself and I think you lost
    the essence of argument by attempting to define its claim to have
    authority to what in fact is to ‘change’ the holy words of holy scripture. Let
    me re-quote a passage from my previous response of roman catholic doctrine
    about there pope: “I am able to do almost all that God can do.” That
    is not just laying claim to forgiving and retaining sin is it?  By the way, this even includes the right to change the old
    testament covering Gods chosen people, the Jews and Judaism itself. Outrageous
    Sir!
    There is no Roman apostolic successor as there is no sound evidence of St
    peter ever passing the reigns to rome, let alone even going there.
    I did not
    say at all you willingly choose to worship the pope, just pointed it out that
    is what is effectively achieved when you undertake an oath to the roman
    catholic church. Ever heard the saying, ” Ye shall be as gods” go check it
    out!

  • Anonymous

    This will have to be my last point on the matter and I don’t have time to express it all but I will clarify what I said about the Queen being illegitimate. The reason that she is so is that William III was nothing more than a common usurper and there were 50 people closer to the throne than George I when he became king. The actual rightful heir of King James II was his son James Francis Stuart and his son and heir was the famous Bonnie Prince Charlie. It is the descendants of this line who are the legitimate heirs to the throne and certainly not our modern Queen. The only reason that King James was usurped was that he wanted Catholics tolerated and he actually tried to be King. Not so much to ask unless you have the Protestant Whig Parliament against you.

    Also you still make the mistake of putting “change” equal to “amend” which is what the catechism actually sais. As for the example you gave it is, once again, following from scripture; specifically the passage of “out of all the nations he made one people” there is no longer a divinely chosen group; the message is to be spread to all and all are equally accountable.

    Next the Romans who burned Christians alive were pagan Romans and so mentioning that has nothing to do with this argument and the figure of 2000 that I stated was not all of the Church but merely the Spanish Inquisition. If you want to play the numbers game then I would stop covering Protestantism in glory as it has spilt its share of blood. One example is in Ireland and I have to say that, until recently, I would fully applaud the Catholic Church for encouraging the Irish risings; I’m sure that you will see why if you research the record of the Black and Tans who simply rampaged all over Ireland firing their rifles at anything that stood before them; including the death by kneecapping of my own Great-Great Grandfather. Mercifully that has changed but the renewal of persecution under Cromwell and William III was most certainly and explicitely against Catholics; do not tell me that Protestantism is blameless in Ireland.

  • Michelle Eves

    Your mistaken in your analogy by presuming Roman catholics were legitimate heirs to the British throne when they were not. Our Queen descends from a long line of clean protestant lineage though its worth noting this also included Hanoverian & German protestants. We were not Romans and regret to say, didn’t  run sideline to our throne for disgruntled roman catholics.

    Can I politely suggest you look up ‘amend’ in your dictionaries (you can find cambridge or oxford’s on-line) and note its include the process of ‘change’.

    Can we then presume the pagan romans under ‘Valentinian’ who were burning alive Christians for rome’s street lighting problems around 300AD were the same roman pagans wearing priestly attire burning Christian ‘protestents’ during the inquisitions 12-16th century under the rule of Pope innocent III: “Anyone who attempts to construe a personnel view of God which conflicts with church dogma must be burned without pity”? Also worth pointing out your current roman pope Benedict is a fully paid up member of the office of inquisition.

    Agreeing history shows the black and tans were a tough and often violent military unit but I note you have jumped in the same boat of that which you complain by your support for violence by roman catholic priests.

    The situation was that Cromwell and William, both protestants, ‘reacted’ to roman catholic torture and killings from centuiries of inquisition, attacking both Ireland and france who were predominantly romans catholics

  • No Longer Deceived

    You frequently ARE irresponsible, Mr Oddie, in that you all too often try to pass of your opinion as fact and, all too frequently you regurgitate opinion that pleases the people you appear to want to please but what you say simply is not, according to many of us, catholic. My comment is not meant to be unpleasant, so don’t defend yourself by suggesting that it is an attack on you. It is an attack, if you wish, on your view of matters when it is plain that you are at odds with the Church and, believe me when I say that you more than sometimes appear to be. I have a ‘feeling’ about you that says that you have nothing much in common with very many of us here, that you do not at all care this may be so and also, worse, that you have fallen into the ultimate error of believing that you really are some sort of ‘expert’ and so your words mysteriously must therefore reflect the mind of the Church. They do not, I am sorry to say, reflect anything other than the pale, weak post-conciliar church and, in your shoes, I wonder how you notice any difference between this ersatz ‘church’ and the ecclesial community you left for it.

      

  • No Longer Deceived

    Just a little reminder that the Doctrine of the catholic Church is clear that you have no ‘Archbishop’, no Priests and no Deacons. I do not say that this is so. I do not say this. The Catholic Church does – see Apostolicae Curae

  • Michelle Eves

    For your information kind Sir, respectively, we don’t follow your roman pope, cardinals, bishops, priests and deans whose doctrins have been null and void since around the 15th century in Anglican realms and dominions across the globe.

    By the way, here’s one of two reminders of papal doctrine which seem to arise on a regular basis:
    Pope Innocent III: “Anyone who attempts to construe a personnel view of God which conflicts with church dogma must be burned without pity”

    1244 Council of Harbonne: (sentencing of heretics) ” no husband should be spared because of his wife, nor wife because of her husband, and no parent spared from a helpless child.”

    No wonder your roman church bares a crown for Hell!
     

  • Michelle Eves

    For your information kind Sir, respectively, we don’t follow your roman pope, cardinals, bishops, priests and deans whose doctrins have been null and void since around the 15th century in Anglican realms and dominions across the globe. By the way, here’s one of two reminders of papal doctrine which seem to arise on a regular basis:Pope Innocent III: “Anyone who attempts to construe a personnel view of God which conflicts with church dogma must be burned without pity”
    1244 Council of Harbonne: (sentencing of heretics) ” no husband should be spared because of his wife, nor wife because of her husband, and no parent spared from a helpless child.”
    No wonder your roman church bares a crown for Hell!

  • No Longer Deceived

    Poor little scrap – poorly informed and semi-literate, too.  What are you doing here, Missy? Seeking to vent your protestant spleen? Not very evangelical of you.

  • No Longer Deceived

    This is a blog under the auspices of allegedly catholic moderators and their ‘experts’. From time to time even some real catholicism appears, here. If that is  not to your taste……tough 

  • Michelle Eves

    Your insult are worn in honour of our lord

  • No Longer Deceived

    Not nice, being pulled up like that? Have you read your posts, here? They are – in my view- wilfully offensive and insulting but you plainly think it is OK for you to dish it out but you cannot take it when it is thrown back in your face. We are a tolerant lot but we already have among us enough protestants masquerading as Roman catholics that we have to put up with in the Church that we can do without you, thanks. Get a life, little woman, get a life. Improve your mind by extensive reading and READ what is said, as opposed to twisting it – and the Scripture – to suit your ends.

  • Niall

    Since when did you or any other presumably roman catholic develop under the rule of our Queen and her law, the right to publicly critise by blog or any other news article; Her, Her Ministers and Officers of State such as our Archibishops and further deny them the right of reply in our own country accordingly? 

    Perhaps you should just blog off in a foreign jurisdiction like Rome!

  • Anonymous

    It is commendable of you to acknowledge that you were wrong to be rude. (You could of course go further and actually apologise.)

    I wonder, though, introducing personal appearance (“ghastly beard”): is that now generally permissable in these discussions?  Can comments on your appearance* now be contribute to arguments against your views?

    *See http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/author/william-oddie

  • Anonymous

    I said I would not make another comment but your history is so inaccurate that it requires attention. It is no analogy that Catholics are the legitimate heirs to the British throne; if you don’t belive me then research the Glorious revolution and the Jacobite risings.There is no analogy and no ambiguity to the succession; William III was a usurper whose claim to the throne was through James II’s daughter Mary. The Catholic James Francis Edward Stuart was the eldest son of King James II and therefore heir to the throne which leaves the successions of Mary, Anne and all of the Hanoverians illegitimate and illegal. That is a simple historical fact; I will admit that I don’t know who the rightful heir is but it would be throught the cousins of Bonnie Prince Charlie as he never produced a legitimate heir (this still does not leave the Hanoverians first in line.)

    You are right that amending requires change but what the Oxford dictionary defines it as is “alter something in order to improve it” in other words it is simply to correct any ambiguities or misinterpretations of scripture and is not to overide the scriptures; the Pope cannot, does not and has not changed the fundamental Christian doctrines of Christ’s divine nature and his teachings and any Popes who have have overtepped their role as the representatives of Christ.

    You then call me a hyocrite for declaring my support for the Irish; what you did not seem to notice was that I said that I supported them before the winning of Irish independance when they were oppressed, abused and victimised by the British when there had been no inquisition of any kind in Ireland that had not been encouraged by the British; in France you may be right about the reaction to Roman doctrine (although I doubt it seeing as the French Protestants were granted some toleration after the French Religious Wars) but in Ireland oppression and violence came far more frequently and far more visiously from the British Protestant side who were, after all invaders in Ireland and had been since the days of Henry II; my support, therefore, remains solely with the Irishmen who fought to win back their own homeland as strongly as I would have sympathised with the British had the Nazis invaded.

    As for your points on the Pagan Romans the simple answer is yes there is a difference as the Pagans were non-believers with repulsive doctrines while Catholics were believers who greatly misinterpreted and overstated their own role; they were not Pagans and judging by your poor standards of Stuart history you will hopefully forgive me if I do not trust you here; I will admit that many medieval Popes went badly astray but the same is true of Protestants; in the Christian Church blood has been spilled for no good reason on both sides and every reasonable Christian now declares that it is time to move on. As for your point about Benedict XVI the simple fact is that he has never killed, he has never ordered a killing and he has stood fast to his views on contraception, homosexuality and marriage despite modern society’s hatred of them – which may well be more than can be said for you or for the Protestant clergy (many of whom have now given in to the modern attitude on all of these issues.)

  • Anonymous

    One correction: the word “overtepped” should be “overstepped.” I’m sorry I was being too quick and I forgot to proof-read the comment.

  • Ian
  • Anonymous

    One more thing: if the Roman Catholic Church bares a crown for Hell then whence I enter there I will place that crown where it belongs: On the heads of Henry VIII, William III, Oliver Cromwell and the Hanoverian Usurpers. That and if Roman Catholic doctrine is now null and void in Britain then I am glad for the explanation for the deteriation of morality that the Catholic Church has always stood against; far more than can be said for the Church of England.