I have tried to reinvent myself a few times as I was growing up. Twice when I changed schools obviously. I remember thinking “this is going to be a totally new start. I can become someone completely new.” But the most ambitious attempt was when I went to university I had spent nine months growing my hair and beard in North America. When someone in the law faculty as I was enrolling mistook me for a postgraduate revolutionary, I thought I would try to inhabit the role. I wasn’t sure how long I would get away with it.
“Last week I was sent a copy of a devastating 7,000-word letter accusing the Catholic bishops of England and Wales of grossly mishandling the coronavirus crisis by lobbying the government for a complete shutdown of their own churches, even for private prayer. The author called herself (or, more than likely, himself) ‘Fiona McDonald’ – and used a heavily encrypted email service in order to avoid being tracked down.
McDonald claimed that the bureaucrats of the Bishops’ Conference were sending out misleading and even untruthful messages about the church lockdown, claiming that it was forced on them by the government. It quoted a letter from Richard Moth, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, which contradicted this. Writing to his priests, Bishop Moth reported that ministers only agreed to the blanket closure of churches after Jim McManus, the Catholic bishops’ healthcare adviser, begged them to do so.
As you’ll hear in this week’s Holy Smoke podcast, McDonald really stuck the knife into the Church’s officials, producing document after document calling into question their integrity. They brushed it off with an assurance that they were monitoring the situation.
But today’s Holy Smoke isn’t just about a dispute between Catholics (which, I’m told, is about to get spectacularly nastier).The Church of England, too, stands accused of bungling its response to the Covid19 pandemic – and in much the same way, subjecting ordinary clergy and worshippers to the diktats of bureaucratic control freaks.
I’m joined again by Dr Gavin Ashenden, a former chaplain to the Queen, who hopes that this fiasco will force both Anglican and Catholic churches to reform themselves after the pandemic is over.”
It has been said that we don’t get ideas; they get us.
Two announcements have been made recently from within the Church of England. One was that they looked to increase the quota of ethnic and other minorities ordained to the Christian priesthood, and the other was the promotion of transgendered people as clergy.
The world is rightly talking about Michael Curry’s wedding sermon. It was a ‘tour-de-force’. He is very good at preaching. But it also offers us all an insight into the dramatic difference between the two kinds of Christianity that are at odds with each other in the Anglican Communion.
On The 50th Anniversary of The Publication of Archbishop Michael Ramsey’s ‘Gospel And The Catholic Church.
Secularism & the Church of England:
The Future For Orthodox Anglicans Committed to the Gospel and the Catholicity of the Church.
‘The Gospel and Catholic Church’.
This conference has rightly set out to look both backwards and forwards. Back to the inspiration of Ramsey’s interpretations of the symbiotic mutuality of Gospel and Catholicity, and forward to discern how Gospel and Catholicity can be faithfully expressed in a culture that has begun to turn aggressively on both Gospel and tradition.