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MPs are threatening to overrule attempts to allow ‘traditionalists’ in the C of E to reject women bishops. And Parliament will decide: this is an Erastian Church

Anglo-Catholics should no longer expect the C of E to make special arrangements for them; it’s not going to happen

By on Friday, 13 July 2012

A parliamentary committee may block 'special arrangements' for parishes opposed to women bishops (Photo: PA)

A parliamentary committee may block 'special arrangements' for parishes opposed to women bishops (Photo: PA)

The question of whether or not the Church of England will appoint women bishops drags on and on. (We will of course put to one side here the question of the validity of Anglican orders: though our view has been somewhat softened in its expression by the ARCIC process, it is still, of course, the unavoidable view of the Catholic Church that they are, in Leo XIII’s not exactly tactful words, “absolutely null and utterly void”).

The Anglican bishops have now decided that they will delay the final decision as to whether or not to proceed to legislate on the matter. The reason for this is that those opposed to any special arrangements being made, for those parishes who don’t want to be in the diocese of a woman bishop, object strongly to these arrangements, so much so that they are threatening to vote the whole thing down. This would mean that they would all have to start again from the beginning of the whole weary synodical process; it could take another five years.

As to why many Synod members don’t like these special arrangements — which they say will mean the establishment of a second-rate episcopate for women — it is germane to note that by this stage the arguments against them are entirely secular. The Evangelicals don’t want women bishops because they say that scripture requires male headship in the Church. That’s a theological reason. Anglo-Catholics don’t recognise that they can be bishops at all, because they don’t accept (for recognisably “Catholic” reasons) that women can be ordained priest in the first place. That, too, is a clearly theological reason. Those who want women bishops, by contrast, say it’s now nothing to do with theology, and that it’s a matter of their human rights as women, and that if parishes are allowed to refuse a woman’s episcopal ministry and to opt out of their dioceses into a kind of limbo — serviced by something like the present obsolescent arrangement of “flying bishops” — that will mean that those women the Church of England would raise to the Anglican episcopate would be second-class bishops, since not only would the Evangelicals and Anglo-Catholics not fully recognise them: neither would the Church of England.

This objection has nothing to do with theology, and you don’t need to be an Anglican or even a Christian to see the force of it. The arguments in favour of women bishops have nothing to do with theology, says Rabbi Julia Neuberger, and she is dead right: once, that is, you have accepted that the women who have been “ordained” priests really are priests, since if you are a priest there can be no theological reason why you should not become a bishop. And the Church of England has already made a clear decision about that.

The fact is that the Anglo-Catholics who are still determined to stay in the Church of England are in an impossible situation. As I wrote in this column last February (the last time the Synod discussed the matter),

… if you accept that women may be priests, that those women already ordained as such by the Church of England are validly ordained (and I actually heard a member of the Catholic group in Synod actually saying on the radio that he did accept them as priests, but that he didn’t want them to become bishops) then what are you on about? If a woman is a priest, then she is eligible to be a bishop. If she’s not, she isn’t. Either way, you are a member of a Church in which there are now hundreds of women priests: and whether you put yourself in a ghetto which doesn’t accept them or not, you are still in full communion with them (and don’t give me that stuff about “impaired communion”: you are in full communion with your own bishops (flying or not), who are themselves in full communion with the male bishops who ordained all these women, so you are in full communion with them: get used to it, or leave.

As to why Julia Neuberger thinks it’s any of her business, or why I do, come to that, the answer is simple enough. The Church of England is established by law under the crown; it is the state Church, so we too have a stake in it. Ultimately its affairs are regulated by Parliament: when, that is to say, the Synod has legislated to establish a female episcopate, its legislation must be taken across the road and translated into English secular law by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Then the Queen must give her assent. All this would normally be a formality: whatever the Synod wants Parliament usually lets it have. It has been little noticed, however, that this time, members of the 30-strong parliamentary committee of MPs and peers known as the “ecclesiastical committee”, which would have to agree that the Synodical legislation is “expedient” before it proceeds on its weary way, are saying firmly that any “special arrangements” for dissident parishes would not be accepted by them.

This is, of course, for entirely secular reasons, as members of the ecclesiastical committee are making clear: the Synod’s legislation will have to conform with the Human Rights Act. That means that the “special arrangements” the House of Bishops want incorporated into the new law will not get past Parliament. “This is now the second time the bishops have tried to water down the proposals,” says Ben Bradshaw MP, a member of the parliamentary committee. “These would, in the eyes of many Anglicans, create a two-tier bishopric and a lesser status for women… I have spoken to some of my colleagues on the ecclesiastical committee and they share my concerns about the amendments.”

Simon Hughes MP, another member of the committee, says that its members have a “duty” to ensure the proposals do not conflict with equality law. “The ecclesiastical committee obviously does not set out to impose its will on [the Church], however we have a duty to make sure that anything that comes before us does not break any of the principles of the law of the land,” he said.

There you have it, really: an Erastian Church is ultimately a secular organisation, though one in which religion is permitted, so long as it doesn’t clash with the ethical principles which govern secular society. Well, you may say, don’t we all have to conform with “the principles of the law of the land”? Well, no, actually: the Catholic Church will not be ordaining women priests and bishops however much secular society thinks we should; nor will we be “marrying” homosexuals; in the end, the C of E will almost certainly have to. Secular human rights law does not and cannot touch us: we are the Church, and if they try to make us we will disobey.

Anglo-Catholics need to understand clearly that there is no longer a place for them in the Church of England; they are not wanted. They have, however, an alternative, in communion with the one true Church: the ordinariate has been erected precisely for them. If they will not become part of it, they will have simply to accept that they are members of a Church with women priests and women bishops and get used to it. But if they do, they had better stop calling themselves “Anglo-Catholics”: they will have forfeited the right.

  • srdc

    Rome recognizes Orthodox orders and sacraments as valid. Hence there are no obstacles to sacramental unity, just physical unity.

    Rome expects the Orthodox to adhere to their own sacramental discipline, but does not prevent Orthodox from receiving communion in their churches per say.

  • srdc

    I keep hearing that all this dogma, does not count just love and compassion. Love and compassion have become whatever revisionists want it to be.

    They even project their views onto God.

  • JabbaPapa

    The Pope is not infallible, only some doctrines are infallible.

    As for the Pope’s “universal jurisdiction”, misunderstanding of that question is rife, and based on some extremely poor translations of the Papal Bull Unam Sanctam that are in wide circulation, hence wide misuse.

    The Bull establishes only one thing with any clarity, which is that all Catholics owe obedience in any and all matters of Faith to the Holy Father, by virtue of their obedience in such things to the Church, and by recognition of the Pope’s leadership of the Church in these matters. It is a Bull condemning heresies and rebellions against the Church ; not one claiming universal overlordship over all men and women everywhere and in every imaginable manner.

  • Nat_ons

    Calling oneself ‘Catholic’ and asserting a divisive opinion as ‘orthodoxy’ is neither orthodox nor catholic in the sense of the orthodoxy accepted by the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church in communion with God’s beloved called to be saints at Rome (let alone those of New Rome or Third Rome), rather it is that of the Arian or Donatist .. or Anglican and Old Catholic.

    Of course a married lesbian bishop in the Church of England, even if appointed as a truly holy Archbishop of Canterbury, might well call herself catholic and orthodox in so far as these terms can be made to fit the currently prevailing Anglican ideology, and those in communion with her might well still repeat the credal ‘one, holy, catholic and apostolic church’ sincerely – that does not make their use valid in order nor legitimate under canonical jurisdiction with regard to the rest of that church catholic.

    This putative Anglican Archbishop, as a holy woman, might be worked with and appreciated, perhaps even supported, in her personal holiness and public witness to Christ, nonetheless, her place in the church catholic can never be that of a presbyter, pontiff or patriarch; nor can those who uphold communion with her as leader, priest and father (mother) Archbishop ever enter into communion with the pope or patriarchs and people of the Catholic Church if orthodox faith is maintained; her protest and her communion’s protest against Rome’s communal orthodoxy would require a repudiation of her claims in the church catholic or her repudiation of them.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jflare29 John Flaherty

     PRECISELY!

  • JabbaPapa

    there isn’t enough genuine theology

    I’m sorry reverend, you appear not to have provided any theology either.

    FWIW, theology cannot be decided by the vagaries of some majority voting system, itself subjected to sovereign decisions by party political conflict in the Houses of Parliament of the United Kingdom.

  • JabbaPapa

    And so they go, skipping merrily into the ever increasing disagreements, schisms, and heresies that Protestantism provides in its very nature.

    Good grief !!!

  • http://profiles.google.com/jflare29 John Flaherty

     These comments reflect a very common prejudice that has grown all the more troublesome in the past 20 years or so: Secular advocates adamantly insist that the public square must be null and void of religious concepts because they, the secularists, wish to make believe that no one believes in something besides secularism.
    In the name of “diversity”, “tolerance”, “multiculturalism”, and “non-discrimination”, we’ve been told here in the US that we may not erect crosses, manger scenes, or anything else on public property, merely because some secularist, pagan, agnostic, or other might be offended. Beings those who loathe faith can’t stand to see anyone believing in God, we’re forced to tolerate active discrimination against faithful expressions, violating the First Amendment in the process.

    Present circumstances bear no difference.
    Because secular interests despise the existence of moral beliefs and practices, they wish to force others to offer insurance for contraceptives, abortions, and so on, which clearly many people disapprove for justified religious reasons. Secular interests also wish to require doctors to provide abortions, on grounds that women have some sort of “right” to kill an unborn child. Never mind that the physician may, in fact, hold such as an to be one of murder.

    Put very mildly, secular interests can only howl about “imposing values on others” with incredible hypocrisy. If everyone agrees with regard to some matter, no law needs to exist because everyone will act according to the same mind. Law has a need to exist when there’s a dispute and someone must decide which way life will be. Law, then, by it’s very nature, IS an imposition of values upon a person.

    In the last 50 years, we’ve had a very few choices: Either we exercise serious tolerance and allow people to misrepresent Truth to suit their own needs, or we resist an immoral law by whatever means become necessary. For the most part, we’ve chosen the former route, in no small part because the other route will almost certainly lead to widespread bloodshed.
    We’ll tolerate a degree of abuse of law for some time, but not forever.

  • JabbaPapa

    Would you please cite where in the current code of Canon Law that
    “non-Christians are not permitted to enter any sacred spaces inside a
    church”? I suspect that your search will be fruitless.

    Sorry — you can’t just hit a few buttons on your keyboard, and expect me to do your research for you.

    The entire reason why churches are built with a separate baptistery is so that it is located outside of that sacred space, that the unbaptised may not enter (with exceptions to this for catechumens ONLY).

    Yes, this is a very old rule of the Church Law, and as I stated, only extremely rarely enforced — except ritually that is, during the procedures of Catholic Initiation ; and, I would assume, during those for the lifting of an excommunication, and so on and so forth.

    It CAN however, and it HAS, been used on very rare occasions in recent centuries to expressly forbid certain agitative non-Catholics from entering the premises of various Catholic churches.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jflare29 John Flaherty

    Rome’s position is not very odd at all. There are some Orthodox sects–Byzantine, Maronite, and others–that’re fully in communion with Rome. They have a somewhat different liturgy, but still recognize the authority of the Bishop of Rome.
    If you’re referring to Orthodox churches in the sense of some Eastern Orthodox sects, some with roots in the Russian empire before the Bolshevik Revolution, it’s quite true that they consider themselves the One True Church, not Rome.

    Last I knew, both John Paul II AND Benedict XVI have been working at bringing them back into full communion.
    I hope the Spirit will move them–and us–in that direction.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jflare29 John Flaherty

     Um, that’s a rather problematic assessment.
    For starters, I’m never heard of any approval that the Catholic Church ever gave to slavery. St. Paul’s comments can only be used for that intent if they’re ripped out of context.
    Then again, I’ve never seen anything written by Aquinas that could be legitimately described as intentionally disparaging toward women either.

    As far as SRDC’s comments being statements as opposed to theology, SRDC’s comments were, for the most part, authoritative statements that the (Catholic) Church has made many times throughout the ages. They have strong basis in theology. ..And while we’re at it, I have to see a distinctively theological statement from you. I have read merely your own opinion.

  • Banyansmom

     You shouldn’t be able to make the vegan proprietors of that restaurant PAY FOR the ham sandwich; the waitress should purchase it with her own funds elsewhere.  No one is attempting to prevent anyone from having access to contraception; the issue is whether the employer, directly or indirectly, must pay for it.

  • Deesis

    The C of E is itseld heretical and schismatic. The evil that started 500 years ago lives on. It lives on in countries outside England where the pattern and founding principles of the C of E were transplanted causing confusion. Who cannot laugh at the Church of Ireland and Wales where the English forced their Erastian Church. The C of E is a lapdog of the State. Used, abused and manilpulated by the lowest common denominator in politics!

  • Deesis

    I think the government with the aid of the C of E has and is doing what it does in all ages. Passsing off a generic brand of Christianity and making social, political and theological war of the universal Church. C of E why not abide by magna carta!

  • Jonathan West

    If the ham sandwich is on prescription, then yes,  the vegan restaurant is paying for it through taxes or medical insurance contributons.

    So the question ultimately comes down to whether religious (or other) organisations should be able to opt out of making welfare provisions for their employees which are required of everybody else, simply because they disagree with it.

    This isn’t religious freedom, it’s religious coercion, and I have no hesitation in calling it by its true name.

  • Deesis

    Evangelicals do not accept female oversight. We do not have to look for God’s mind on this and we do not have reinvent anything. What the C Of E is doing is against both scripture and tradition. When I read your post I see the problem. Relativism! Even the appeal to the Holy Spirit! How touching. We know the mind of God and the Holy Spirit on this. The C of E has found itself in a very shallow theological puddle rather than the ocean of the universal Church. It is not God’s will or possible for that reason for the C of E  to ordain ANYONE let alone a woman priest or bishop.  You may try but you might as well ordainING a potatoe. As for respect their is little to respect because there is contradition. Could someone write some new verse for the song the “Vicar of Bray”. My ancestors were compelled by the government of England to abandon the Catholic Faith under pain of social exclusion and death. All Anglicans leave your abusive sect. The day my grandparents coverted was a happy day!

  • Gardulla

    Sorry — if you make a claim, the burden is on you to prove it, not others to disprove it. If you can’t provide evidence for your claim, it has no merit. The Sacred Places section of the Code of Canon Law (Cann. 1205 – 1243) can be read here: 
    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/__P4G.HTM 

    It does not say anywhere that “non-Christians are not permitted to enter any sacred spaces inside a church” Can. 1210 states that “Only those things which serve the exercise or promotion of worship, piety, or religion are permitted in a sacred place; anything not consonant with the holiness of the place is forbidden.” Note that this refers to things, not people. Other than this there is nothing even close to the law you describe.

  • Veuster

    > Anglo-Catholics need to understand clearly that there is no longer a place for them in the Church of England; they are not wanted. They have, however, an alternative, in communion with the one true Church: the ordinariate has been erected precisely for them.

    Indeed it has, and thank God for it. But it is very difficult to stand up in public and deny everything that has gone before – in the case of bishops and priests, that they were never anything other than deluded laymen, and in the case of laypeople that they have never been confirmed, been absolved, blessed or received Our Lord in the Eucharist.Whatever kind or soft words are used, this is the reality.

  • Jonathan West

    Contraception isn’t free – it is paid for out of taxes (in the British system) and insurance contributions (in the American system). What yoiu are suggesting is that an employer should have the right to prevent an employee’s insurance contributions being used for varieties of healthcare that the employer disapproves of.

    That is religious oppression, not religious freedom.

  • Rev. Gerry Reilly

     Then I am afraid you need to do a lot more reading! This debate seems to have degenerated into a dialogue of the deaf, with people shouting from their bunkers, and denigrating the work of the Holy Spirit among those who disagree with them. It almost sounds as if , for some of the correspondents, the Second Vatican Council, and the growth in theology that has taken place since, had never taken place.

  • JabbaPapa

    Modernist distortions and misrepresentations of the works of the Second Vatican Council are not a “growth” in theology, but a falling away from it, sorry.

  • Little Black Censored

    “…the Church of England has already made a clear decision about that [sc. whether women can be priests].”
    Not so. We were promised that during a period of reception both parties would be equally regarded as loyal members of the Church. There was to be no time limit on the provisions made for the orthodox minority. Now the majority seems to assume that the period of reception is over and that the winners are entitled to take all. The “clear decision” you refer to never took place, but we are all supposed to be acting as though it had.

  • Rev. Gerry Reilly

    Jabba Pappa,  don’t know if it helps, but I have studied The Church Fathers, especially St Augustine and St John Chrysostom, and St Basil, as well as St Thomas Aquinas, Suarez, St Teresa, St John of the Cross, Julian of Norwich, Rahner, Schillebex, O’Collins,Moltman, and all the documents of Vatican II. So I think my comments are well inbued with theology!

  • Tristan

    Mr Oddie, you were once, I believe, an Anglican cleric.

    As one still in the Church of England, can I ask you if you truly believe that all the celebrations of Holy Communion, all the confessions you heard, and all the annointings you performed – were all ‘absolutely null and utterly void?’

    This really isn’t some sort of attack, I’m truly interested to know.

    When I gently asked one priest of the Ordinariate the same question, he ummed and errred, paused, and for a second looked as if he was about to cry. Then he shrugged and looked away.

  • Tristan

    Sorry, I meant to write Dr Oddie. No impropriety was at all intended.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jflare29 John Flaherty

     Neither do I have any problem labeling your apparent attitude by it’s most accurate description:
    Secular bigotry.

    You have no right to demand immoral services from someone else merely because you adamantly insist it’s OK.

    We have no moral obligation at all to bow to the views of a de facto Church of Secularism.

  • Henry

    The Church of England was founded by breaking 3 of the 10 commandments:

    The Crown became God: breaking # 1 I am the LORD your God, thou shall have no
    other gods before me.

    Murder of Catholics for their faith: breaking #5 Thou shall not kill.

    Theft of countless churches and Cathedrals and destroyed monasteries: breaking #7 Thou shall not steal.

    How can an institution founded on the infraction of 3 of the 10 commandments even consider itself to be Christian?

    And today the Evil Church of England is continuing criminal action by worshiping
    in stolen churches.  Relativist
    arguments about abuse on both sides are invalid as there is not one
    Catholic church today in Britain which is a stolen former Anglican
    church; however, about half of all Anglican Churches are stolen Catholic
    property and no moral equivalency argument will not change that
    reality.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jflare29 John Flaherty

    I agree that there’s a small, but crucial point here, though I differ in what the difference may be. Catholic faith DOES teach that Christ holds the role of the head of the Catholic Church; however, the Pope DOES have the authority on earth as his Vicar, therefore the Catholic Church recognizes the Pope as it’s governor, not a civil or secular authority.
    Given the stakes, that of whether souls are guided to heaven properly or not, even if one pope or another has failed miserably at appropriate leadership, I still thank heaven that Catholic faith doesn’t ultimately hold it’s final allegiance to a secular politician.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jflare29 John Flaherty

    Your assessment of religious oppression assumes that secular interests have the final say in what people must believe or do or not.

    That’s inherently an attitude of SECULAR oppression, not religious.

    If one must choose between tolerating the use of tax or insurance dollars to pay for intrinsic evil OR suffer imprisonment or inflict violence to resist, one must discern whether either of the latter options might bring about a just change before inflicting greater evil. If the change won’t happen without even worse evil being enabled, one must exercise prudence and tolerate the evil until such madness might be reconsidered.

    Freedom does not mean that one has the complete right to do or believe anything or everything one wishes. Freedom most truly means being able to do and believe as one knows one should without being harassed and hindered from it.

  • http://profiles.google.com/jflare29 John Flaherty

     “What yoiu are suggesting is that an employer should have the right to
    prevent an employee’s insurance contributions being used for varieties
    of healthcare that the employer disapproves of.”

    Um, yes, precisely.

    If the State has the authority to declare what employers must ensure, based on what the State consider “right” or “wrong”, the State has already inherently BECOME the Church, even if you call it something else.

  • srdc

    Under the HHS mandate, this is govt, mandated free contraception. 

    The employer has to purchase the insurance, whether they like it or not.Would you want to be forced to do something you disagree with? Forced by fines and jail?

  • srdc

    I am sorry, but you are projecting your views on to the Holy Spirit.  The Council documents that I have read, indicate no such thing.

  • frgrump

    Whereas I agree with William Oddie’s analysis of the sad and shameful situation in the Church of England at the moment, Henry’s comments cannot go unchallenged. It is ridiculous to say ‘the Crown became God’ despite the Erastianism of the CofE. Execution of ‘heretics’ occurred on both sides of the Reformation divide. The destruction of monasteries is inexcusable but was done basically to raise money, though it must be admitted there were more than a few very lax religious houses. The last point that catholic churches were ‘stolen’ is simply ludicrous. Do you think that faithful catholics were driven out by upstart protestants arriving from the continent? They were the same people who were persuaded for a variety of reasons to move away from Rome ( again often for basically political reasons; don’t forget, Henry VIII was fidei defensor – defender of the catholic faith). The Church of England has many, many good, and as they would term it catholic Christians who struggle to uphold the faith in the face of increasing ‘liberal’ opposition. It was, I think, Archbishop Temple who declared that the Church of England has no special doctrines but holds to the Catholic Faith as set out in the Creeds and Scriptures and defined in the early Ecumenical Councils. The Book ofCommon Prayer defines the CofE as the Ancient Church of this land, Catholic but reformed; O that this were still true.  Get your facts right before using such intemperate language.

  • Kenneth

    4 commandments if you include the reason for the creation of the CoE. Adultery of the king

  • Mark

     The crown confiscated all Catholic Churches and  property; that is called theft last time I checked. There is no equivalent Catholic persecution in England; Queen Mary I killed 300 protestants while Elizabeth I killed 100′s of thousands of Catholics; this type of moral equivalence nonsense  is similar to those that said the Nazis and British were both morally equal and and that there were atrocities on both sides so its a wash either way-rubbish…

  • Rev. Gerry Reilly

     Regretfully I shall have to give up on this thread. I am shocked at the level of theological and historical ignorance, and at the viciousness and intolerance of many of the contributions. I have only encountered the like in Northern Ireland, and even that had more basis in reality! See how these Christians love one another!

  • Patrick

     Why wouldn’t Irishmen be angry at having been invaded and enslaved. When England gets out of Ireland, and the country unified again, then we will be satisfied.

  • Sigfridii

    Some serious errors here. It was the General Synod which postponed the legislation, not the House of Bishops. And while Parliament still retains a veto it can not amend any church legislation. If the ecclesiastical committee of Parliament decides to block the Measure it will simply prevent any women becoming bishops.

    As for other denominations being unaffected by Parliament, it is not long ago that Catholic Adoption Agencies felt the cold blast of the law, and it will not be long before MPs are tempted by remove the protection currently enjoyed by the Roman Catholic Church against the requirements of equality legislation.

  • Jonathan West

    These comments reflect a very common prejudice that has grown all the more troublesome in the past 20 years or so: Secular advocates adamantly insist that the public square must be null and void of religious concepts because they, the secularists, wish to make believe that no one believes in something besides secularism.
    The religious like to conjure up this idea of secularism to frighten people with, but it simply isn’t true.

    Secularism doesn’t insist that the public square be cleared of religious ideas. What it does expect is that the religious promote their ideas on their merits just like everybody else has to, and to accept it if their view does not prevail, just like everybody else does.

    Secularism has no reason to give preferential respect to religious ideas simply because they are religious. What you are claiming to be religious persecution is simply the gradual dissolution of this automatic and unwarranted respect.

    So if you want to put arguments to the effect that women should not have equal rights with men in certain spheres, or that gays should not be permitted to marry, then you are welcome to put your ideas across in the public square. And I’m entitled to put contrary views, and we shall see which prevails on the relative merits of the different arguments. Because if your argument has merit then it will be persuasive and it will prevail, and I shall have no complaint about that.

    But whingeing on about how you are being persecuted when you still have the means of putting your arguments into the public square is a claim that your argument should prevail without you even having to describe its merits. That is going to alienate a lot of people. Personally, I’m happy for you to go on in that fashion as much as possible, because it saves me from the bother of having to address such merits as your arguments might have.

  • Sigfridii

    Utter unhistorical drivel.

    The Church in England voted almost unanimously to submit to the King rather than to the Pope. There was no seizure: the same people were bishops the day after the Submission as the day before. You cannot seize what you already hold.

    As for “moral equivalence” – Mary was responsible for a reign of terror in which even the Archbishop of Canterbury was burned at the stake, a campaign which left England convinced for many generations that the pope was antichrist. Very few suffered during the long reign of her sister, despite her formal excommunication and the invitation by the papacy to depose or even murder her.

  • Semper cum Petro

    No, sorry . All wrong there. A smash and grab. You have not read history recently, it seems. Start with Eamon Duffy. The historic faith of England is Catholicism, and it was not voted away, it was stolen, coerced, and terrorized out of existence.

  • srdc

    Rev. Reilly,

    In other words you simply failed to argue your theological case. And were called out on hiding behind political language.

  • paulsays

    The history of the Catholic Church has equally involved breaking the commandments, and Catholic monarchs have had blood on there hands in the same way as Church of England monarchs have. And it can hardly be argued that the crusades, and the Spanish inquisition did not break any commandments either.
    History was brutal in many respects, to dwell on the fact is hardly helpful considering our own chequered history. To refer to Churches taken in the refemetion, 5 centuries ago, as ‘stolen’ is quite laughable. Almost like the French trying to claim that we have ‘stolen’ England, and that it is theirs because they won the Battle of Hastings – and therefore England is a French territory!! I really would like to know what century you are living in.

  • Alan

    Unfortunately there are still a minority of my fellow-Catholics who hate everything Vatican II stands for, and who would love to ditch ecumenism and return to 16th century-style warfare.  These people are grossly over-represented on Catholic websites, and can give a false impression of their importance and significance.  The great majority of us get on well with our Anglican fellow-Christians, and have no wish to “take back” Anglican churches, just as the great majority of Anglicans have no wish to take back former CofE churches who have joined the Ordinariat.

  • Alan

    No you won’t, because you would then have the problem of the majority in Northern Ireland who wish to remain in the UK, and who would undoubtedly resist any attempt to coerce them into a state they do not want.  Your problem is not the English, who would love to be rid of the “Irish problem”, but the (Northern) Irish themselves.

  • Semper cum Petro

    The difference is that violence and theft is not at the origin, much less in the nature, of the Catholic Church, founded by Jesus Christ, not by Zwingli, Luther, Calvin, H VIII.  “To be deep in history is to cease to be Protestant,” wrote Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman.  Perhaps that is what troubles you about Catholics, who bravely in my opinion maintain the historic faith of England against serious odds, bringing up the utterly unchristian smash and grab (and worse) that was the English ‘Reformation.’  Anybody can point to this or that Catholic (or Protestant) as being vicious: that is beside the point.  The Catholic Church is the church of Christ.  It has given the world the one true faith in and will continue to do so until Christ comes again.  

  • srdc

    I have nothing against V2. I just can’t be forced to call politics theology.

  • Ave Verum

    While, as Catholic who was formerly and Anglican, for both theological reasons and those of Tradition, I cannot agree with much of the substance of your arguments, I do sympathise with the sentiment in which you express them.  Your tone is calm, even pacific …… and it is this Christ-like and Apostolic imperative to peaceableness that is sadly lacking in much of the tone in the debate here.  Good to express and debate points deeply held: not good to do so in a spirit of rancor, contempt or desire to inflict injury.

  • frgrump

    I did not suggest that there was any kind of moral equivalence in persecutions. Can you please substantiate the claim that Elizabeth I killed ‘hundreds of thousands’ of Catholics. My extensive reading about the period at degree level (inc. Eamon Duffy’s books) have not shown that.

  • JRMartyn

    I think Monsignor Newton has used the phrase “When I was an Anglican priest”.