Friday, March 27, 2009

Henry Bellingham MP: The Church of England 'lacks leadership'

The attempt of Dr Evan Harris to amend the Act of Settlement has failed. The BBC reports on the debate and highlights the valiant contribution of Shadow Justice Minister Henry Bellingham, who 'launched a fierce attack on the Church of England', saying it lacks leadership and is 'overcome with political correctness'.

Mr Bellingham said too few Anglican bishops were prepared to 'stand up for basic Christian beliefs' for fear of causing offence to minority religions.

He is not wrong there. But the report includes this little gem:

'The Church of England queried the MP's remarks, saying it did not recognise the picture the MP had painted. They said the church is in 'good heart'.

If the Church of England is in 'good heart', it is in a profoundly damaging and dangerous state of denial and self-delusion.

Insofar as Mr Bellingham praised the Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu and the Bishop of Rochester Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, he was effectively damning the rest when he said 'I just hope that other bishops will follow in their footsteps'.

He continued: "I wish the bishops in this country would stand up and put a stronger case for Anglicanism. All too often, they take the easy way out and, rather than stand up for hard-pressed individuals who are being persecuted by the state, they walk by on the other side. As for speaking up for basic Christian beliefs, all too often, all we hear is a deafening silence. It seems to me that too many bishops are overcome by political correctness and a feeling of guilt about saying anything that might remotely cause offence to minority religions, and they are obsessed with multiculturalism."

The BBC also reports that 'ministers have held a "dialogue" with Buckingham Palace about possible changes to the law'.

Cranmer would humbly like to remind the BBC, Her Majesty and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales that their personal opinion on this matter is of no consequence whatsoever. It is Parliament which decides, and Parliament has (again) rejected any proposed reform.

Mr Bellingham also said the Church of England was in 'no fit state' to engage in such an important debate because of its internal weaknesses: morale is low, church attendance is declining and many church buildings are falling into disrepair.

Mr Bellingham, a member of the Church of England, said self-confidence among senior Church figures was low and thinking in some areas was muddled: "I think one of the reasons why Church morale is low is because of the way in which the leadership in my church is, at the moment, distinctly lacking," he said.

Cranmer shall open a bottle of red this evening and shall sleep soundly in his bed. Not only because the extremist fundamentalist secularist Dr Death Harris has been roundly fdefeated, but because there is clearly another Anglican on the Conservative benches with the conviction of Gerald Howarth MP and those valiant Roman Catholics who were left to defend the Church of England against Dr Harris' previous Bill which succesfully abolished the common law criminal offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel.

There is hope in Parliament yet.


Blogger Gnostic said...

Your Grace, your post and Mr Bellingham's opinions have hit the nail very squarely on the head. The Anglican church is being consumed from within as well as without. It often appears at odds with the ordinary bums on pews to the detriment of all. If the bishops can't or won't defend their faith then why should they expect anyone else to defend it? Hence the shrinking congregations.

The viral happy-clappiness doesn't help...

27 March 2009 at 18:55  
Anonymous Voyager said...

Her Majesty should recall The Coronation Oath upon which the House of Windsor rests.

27 March 2009 at 19:44  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

Heavenly Father
Please have your hand of protection, your grace and your mercy upon John Sentamu and Michael Nasir-Ali. They are the two remaining witnesses in what once a beautiful church, once sanctified to you and full of the Holy Spirit.

Please strengthen your remnant Church, build up what remains in the land.

We need to be true witnesses to your truth, that anyone who approaches you, truly repentant and believing in the shed blood of Christ for the remission of sins, will obtain your mercy.

In Jesus's precious name,

27 March 2009 at 19:52  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

27 March 2009 at 21:06  
Anonymous Joshua said...

In order to reap the harvest, you first need to sew the seeds. The church is not in decline, it's friggin dead.

She has been in bed too long with neoliberal capitalism, which has only one objective: Mammon. Such an objective has only one class of person at heart: Monied class.

In order to fill the pews, which should be seen as the harvest, you will need to sew the seeds of faith once again among ALL the classes. We are all sinners, but there is nothing more repulsive than for a working man to go to church and sit next to someone who thinks she has somehow purchased a closer relationship with God. Such specimens seem to be the only things left thriving amongst the dusky pews of Anglican upper-class self righteous attendance. .

Personally, I don't think there is any real hope for the future of the Anglican church, it is much too set in its ways, and as Your Grace has stated, it only has two Christian bishops to boast of.

But do enjoy your alcohol induced peace this evening, and in the morning, I look forward to another of your excellent posts.

27 March 2009 at 21:17  
Blogger Hugh Oxford said...

If ever there was a Greek bearing a gift, coming in through the gates in the most rickety and obvious wooden horse, it's Evan Harris, the most satanic MP of modern times, purporting to defend the rights of Catholics.

I'm a very active Catholic, a staunch Monarchist, and I couldn't care less about the Act of Settlement.

What I do care about is the systematic de-Christianisation and demoralisation of this country through the legislative war of attrition waged on the common good - on marriage, on the family, on the unborn, on our population, on our culture and traditions, on our freedoms, on our borders and on our identity.

What I do care about is that the CofE has been infiltrated by a fifth column of anti-Christian ideologues. It would be kind to say they had left a vacuum - because they have not. They have actively promoted the very things that destroy the families and individuals that make a society a functioning, positive and happy one.

The day that Evan Harris, a man of stupefying evil, represents me, a Catholic, is the day porcine aviation becomes a reality. I can only assume that his devious stunt masquerading as a search for justice is an attempt to drive the last traces Christianity out of this country.

27 March 2009 at 22:30  
Blogger Theresa said...

Amen to that Hugh, my thoughts precisely. Just the day after Evan Harris tried to put through an amendment via Harriet Harman on the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland, he's got the cheek to say that he is a defender of Catholics?! Eh? At least it's been a bad week for him; Gordon Brown and Jack Straw filibustered the amendment out of time, and he's been defeated on this as well and I'm glad he has. He's not interested in Catholics, he just wants to destroy the Anglican church and ours.

27 March 2009 at 23:47  
Anonymous not a machine said...

it is funny how some things crystalise in the mind , the church has always been there , i can remember when , the bishops voice was a shining star in the fumbling darknesses of lesser scholars minds.

This fag end of a labour government may wish to think that it has put god and jesus into a dead end alley and they can assemble the seige , for the church to come out with its hands up , and be found guilty of some sort of fraud or deception .

Dr harris private members bill is a very lib dem tactic never mind a humanist one. not content with even an acknowledgement that a society that birthed the liberal party , did so in the belief that it could only function ,within the far greater currents of time , that a sucessional monarchy has given us.

for those of us that can see why and how a monarch and a state christain church , actually gives a stable society , is clearly beyond some peoples thinking.

dumbing down may have worked , people probebly arnt thinking too much about it , but the catholic church is under the same assault , it now has a shared audience with mass media popular culture beamed out of every must have gadget.

the church fears it being seen as privalidged in a fractured society , you might say this is a socialist triumph , tony been says its right that people should choose , he was of course refering to faith , knowing full well that faiths arguing between one another is the best way of giving rise to the need of secular power.

i wonder if tony benn will look back in his rush to support this grand shaping of new societal mold .

a secular society , would have a number of noticeable aspects , some of which we have seen already , with offense crucifixes , to offering prayer .

it would not tolerate the christian message being superior to its mciro laws and principals , all they see every time they look , is consequence and random physics. other things would be teaching of chritianity , you would probely have to issue a disclaimer , that science is uanable to prove god exists.

dawkins thinks we will be free , truly free when we are loosed from , this historic fairy story , of a world, a universe made and run to a divine mind , no need to waste time being in communion with somthing that in his view doesnt exist and is a mere matter of mind programming .

get new imporved dawkins/socialist version 2 , less bugs , more applications , in basic langauge , direct to your brain.

the dry conclusions of the legal and medical minds , are very grand and impressive .

but they cannot grasp , what happens to a person who devotes there life to christ , they dismiss it as wrong headed, deluded , a health problem even , citing any old physcological observation , that it is behavoral , darwinnian.

the church has not prepared itself for its grand deceivers , they have been batted back , by the short attention span age and the popularist mob of the dumbers down , songs of praise is as near to a celebration of nostalgia as you can get.

i dont like telly or internet evangelism , its a bit phoney "wher two or three are gathered together in my name " , we are to gather , to have communion , in our towns and villages , that is what all those people have built these buildings for , imagine how st pauls would have looked as you viewed the london skyline for near 200 years , it was the most amazing thing .

people that love the lord create amazing things and live amazing lives , perhaps dr harris rushing to legislate , to a less inspiried form of life , thinking he is clever .

given our society is at its most secular than for at least 500yrs , does dr harris think that by going further down this route , crime will cease , people will raise families better ??.

our defenders of the faith have not wanted this fight , the bible says little about intellectual confrontation other than not to take up vain arguments , its bishops are weak in that , they have forgot that unless they are appostollic or show the way , even a great cathedral is just an interesting arrangement of stones.

i have faith that god will provide even in this darkest of time , some lessons in history are in such time spans that a human mind is bound to make rash judgements , and in some cases live to regret them .

28 March 2009 at 02:15  
Anonymous Proudgeordie said...

The CoE is indeed awash with political correctness and have abandoned the basic tenents of Christianity. They are more concerned with liberal-left political correctness than the 'saving of souls'.

Would Jesus have banned a legitamate political party from His fathers house? Or would he have welcomed them in and spoken with them, entered into discussion with them and taught them to live by His example? Does a political view mean you do not deserve God's love? Absolute proof the CoE is a labour propaganda arm and have forsaken Christian values.

Maybe we should allow a foreign church into the Monarchy as our native church has lost it's way and no longer represents British Christians, just like it's political masters no longer represent the British Citizen.

28 March 2009 at 04:45  
Anonymous mckenzie said...

It is difficult to write effective words these days without sounding off clichés. But this is mainly due to the times we find our selves living in. And regardless of how repetitive it may sound, we are on the cusp of major changes in the social structure of how we will live together.

Most of us have known that things could not continue along the same lines for ever, but we have been more or less forced to accept the status quo of the jungle, purely out of a do or die need for survival. But the time for change is here at last, and it will not be an easy transition period for any of us. There will be many sacrifices to be made in the way we live our lives, and major changes in attitude, in regards to both our individual ideals, and in how we see and treat each other.

The church may have seen to be abandoned by the masses, but the faith is still very much alive and kicking. The present church structure no longer either appeals, or serves the best interests of the vast majority of the people. The archaic paradigm is rotten, decomposed of any useful or sustaining ingredients, in fact, to a large extent it has become toxic to the Christian community.

We are going to witness great upheaval in our communities over a very short period of time, and it it not going to be pleasant at all. But out of the turmoil, I have confidence, and faith, that new and better things are going to emerge. One such thing is going to be the emergence of a new kind of church structure that will be invigorating and nutritious for the benefit of the entire Christian community. It will evolve quite naturally, or at least seemingly naturally with the guidance and loving Grace of our Heavenly Father.

This is the hope. This will be the future. People will rise up with a determined sense of mission, they will be discovering themselves and will find the seas of change parting before their very eyes. But in the short term, batten down the hatches and pray for speedy deliverance and a smooth and safe passover.

28 March 2009 at 10:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cruel fate. Henry Bellingham praises Bishop of Rochester one day, the next day said Bishop announces he is to stand down. Oops.

28 March 2009 at 11:51  
Anonymous Joshua McKenzie said...

Now it only has one Bishop to boast of!

28 March 2009 at 12:43  
Blogger Manfarang said...

The Church of Ireland isn't doing too badly as is the Church in Wales.Just ask yourself why?

28 March 2009 at 12:58  
Anonymous Joshua said...


I don't know how, but you have somehow crossed over into this dimension, where the Church in wales happens to be equally tits.

28 March 2009 at 13:06  
Anonymous len said...

It is interesting that in revelation Jesus starts off by saying to the churches " I know your works"
Jesus is not fooled, for he is the one who searches mind and heart(Rev 2:23)
Revelation 3:1 Probably describes the Anglican church best"I know your works.You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead."
There is a true body of Christ, the ekklesia,growing and expanding ,probably more outside, than inside the traditional church.

28 March 2009 at 14:02  
Blogger Manfarang said...

I didn't say it was doing very well,I said not too badly.
The Methodists and Presbyterians have been in much greater decline in Wales.

28 March 2009 at 14:03  
Anonymous Joshua said...


I have read this myself and find it strange. The Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan has said the role of the church in today’s society had altered, and it could no longer be judged by attendance at services alone. This seems an odd statement and could explain the delusion.

Obviously, it is deemed OK to discount the vast swathes of people who have absolutely no contact with the church what so ever. If this is what is meant by not doing too badly, then it is correct. But I have absolutely no reason to believe that the trend in THIS report has got any better since it was written in 2006.

28 March 2009 at 14:28  
Anonymous Voyager said...

The Church of England wants State Aid. It wants to be like the Danish Church with its own Government Minister and acting as a branch of the Welfare State with churchmen as civil servants

28 March 2009 at 17:00  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

28 March 2009 at 18:20  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

28 March 2009 at 18:22  
Anonymous Philip Walker said...

It's good that Mr Bellingham has spoken out - yes we need more 'national church' leadership speak out in defence of basic Christian beliefs and morals.

As for the Government's proposed reforms to allow a monarch to marry an RC, and on the succession, perhaps they arise from the modern obsession with 'equality' as defined by role and position in society, rather than the Biblical concepts of our equal worth to God irrespective of roles and position etc (a housewife, or even a servant-slave of Biblical times, being of equal worth to a monarch), and male headship.

Also, the Coronation Oath requires our monarch to promise "to the utmost of your power maintain the laws of God the true profession of the Gospel and Protestant reformed religion...". Can this, should this, be changed? Could allowing a monarch or heir to the throne to marry an RC undermine this and the central place of "protestant reformed" Christianity in our national life?

But despite Mr Bellingham, it seems much of the Tory Party is under the influence of today’s notions of ‘equality’ (e.g. Chris Grayling on Any Questions this week)

28 March 2009 at 20:13  

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