Friday, March 15, 2013

Red Nose Day - Richard Curtis deserves a peerage

His Grace has asked this before, but he will do so again: why is Richard Curtis not in the House of Lords?

The place is full of banalities and non-entities whose merit is highly questionable. His Grace does not agree much with Richard Curtis's politics, and thought his eco-jihad effort on behalf of the climate change lobby was repugnant. And, yes, the man has given us one or two dreadful films along with a few enchantingly mediocre ones.

But Mr Curtis also gave us Blackadder, Mr Bean and The Vicar of Dibley - television icons of our age. He is the creative mind and perpetual force behind Comic Relief, which has raised hundreds of millions for the world's poorest. One doesn't have to agree with how every penny is spent, and neither does one have to affirm every celebrity who participates: the sum total is good; Richard Curtis is a huge force for good.

Perhaps a seat in the Lords might stifle his creativity; it will certainly give him a platform to spout his personal politics. But that's not the point. He is one of Britain's great success stories: he merits a peerage.

Today is Red Nose Day. Article XII - Of Good Works:
Albeit that good works, which are the fruits of faith and follow after justification, cannot put away our sins and endure the severity of God's judgement, yet are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evidently known as a tree discerned by the fruit.
May the lonely be comforted, the homeless housed, the starving fed, and the troubled find rest unto their souls.

Cranmer’s exhortation for the Blessed Feast Day of the Red Nose:
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver (2Cor 9:7).


Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Goodness! Surely he who is responsible for inflicting Comic Relief on the nation deserves Death by a Thousand Cuts rather than a peerage, together with whoever is responsible for the annual Strength-through-Joy-fest known as 'Children in Need.'

15 March 2013 at 09:46  
Blogger r33per said...

Here here, Proudie!

15 March 2013 at 10:11  
Blogger John Thomas said...

"One doesn't have to agree with how every penny is spent ..." Would you support a political or social organisation knowing that although they did much good a little of their power/wealth supported the slave trade, jihdism, ethnic cleansing, etc. No, anybody has a choice of giving their money to organisations that renounce badness (eg. CD projects). Comic Relief - we're told - gives money to small organisations/projects that otherwise get little support: why not choose the projects/organisations (preferably non-CD ones) and give directly. What control do you have over money given to Comic Relief? I give my money, such as it is, direct to organisations which I pick. Good on the RCC if they're opposing Comic Relief!

15 March 2013 at 10:51  
Blogger windwheel said...

The House of Lords has plenty of great comedians already- my fave is Lord Watson who set fire to a hotel- can Curtis really compete?

15 March 2013 at 12:16  
Blogger non mouse said...

Your Grace: I seem to remember that Blackadder was rather nasty in its underlying message - stopped watching it for that, and can't recall precise details. Maybe I got the impression that he depicted those who sought to do good for its own sake as fools...

In any case, Curtis would certainly be among his own kind in the p-d HOL.

But my main point today, Your Grace... Oh dear! I knew that visit to Rome was dangerous; and you have such a beautiful nose, too. I hope today's RC commenters will hold their fire, and help it heal without permanent disfiguration.

15 March 2013 at 12:37  
Blogger The Explorer said...


15 March 2013 at 12:57  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Catholics are not saints you know.
His Grace was begging for a punch on the nose.It is a pity that this was His Holiness's first act in an unofficial capacity after taking office.

15 March 2013 at 12:59  
Blogger Gary said...

Comic Relief has given money to abortion providers. I, for one, will never again support them.

15 March 2013 at 16:42  
Blogger David B said...

I prefer to give such money as I can afford directly to causes I approve of.

I doubt that either Red Nose Day or Children in Need gives anything to the Council of ex-Muslims of Britain, but I see it as valuable. Even more valuable than those that assist ex-Mormons or Ex-JWs in fact, which is why I occasionally send a few quid to them.



15 March 2013 at 17:19  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

I say, perhaps Curtis can come up with a sitcom about two ‘married’ homosexual men, both with HIV and gonorrhoea trying to bring up 3 hapless unhappy adopted child victims in a semi, or is that stretching the blighters comedic talent beyond breaking point ?

15 March 2013 at 17:48  
Blogger Dreadnaught said...

I had to go to the doctors today after eating some contaminated Tesco mince.
I asked if anyone else had been here with the same complaint;
He said there had indeed and they were treating it as a outbreak of Orseburgers Syndrome

15 March 2013 at 18:18  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Have you read the Epistle of Saint James, Chapter 3? Verses 6-10 are especially instructive.

15 March 2013 at 19:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter Damien, have you read about The Gay Agenda. Go on, google it...

15 March 2013 at 20:06  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter Damian, one should have added, if you are living with another fellow, then why not keep quiet about it.

And DON’T try and justify your lifestyle by posting heart rendering stories of rejection by society on this site. (If that is alright with you, Eminence)

15 March 2013 at 20:11  
Blogger Shacklefree said...

Your Grace, Was this tongue in Cheek? Phrases about trying to serve two master come to mind.

15 March 2013 at 21:14  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

May I repectfully suggest you read the passage of scripture I recommended and then, if you have time, research the 'sin against charity'.

15 March 2013 at 21:59  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Christians should not be as kill joys. However, we are also
compelled by the Gospel to responsibly promote the protection of human life and families. We must be attentive to the possibility of endorsing organisations who may be morally objectionable.

Organisations that promote abortion or seek to redefine marriage, should not be supported by Christians. We should boycott 'Red Nose Day'. It gives funds to Oxfam, which openly promotes the worldwide legalisation of abortion. It received £1m from Comic Relief last year. The 'African Women’s Development' fund received £1.5m. It is committed to "Freedom of choice and autonomy regarding bodily integrity issues, including reproductive rights, abortion, sexual identity and sexual orientation."

Give generously to those in need but give wisely.

15 March 2013 at 22:42  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter Damian, one has tried googling the thing, only to be met with ‘low low prices’. Come on then, spill it...

By the way, you must understand that as an RC, this man was not encouraged to read the bible. Sound advice – just look what it has done to Len...

15 March 2013 at 22:44  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Please receive this in the spirit with which it is given:

You appear to me inclined towards stoning with words those you judge sinners. We are all creatures of God, and by Grace, His children and heirs to eternal life.

15 March 2013 at 23:45  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Peter Damian
We may be heirs to eternal life but there is no automatic entry ticket. The intrinsically good will get there and the others will not.How these categories will be defined is not known to us.The Bibe is our guide but the fine print is beoynd us.I believe God speaks to all of us and at some point everyone is going to have to face the truth about themselves.God would not be so unkind as to allow any of us to live a perpetual lie. In the moment of truth one has to make a decision and bear the consequences.

16 March 2013 at 01:10  
Blogger Gnostic said...

This would be the same saintly Richard Curtis who thought it funny to messily explode people, including children, who did not believe in the Church of Global Warming, Your Grace?

So you want to see this illiberal cretin in the HoL and give him an even bigger platform to spout his BS?

Well why not. He wouldn't be the only cretin haunting those tainted halls would he...

16 March 2013 at 07:15  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

Cressida de Nova
Most surely we are all, through Grace, heirs to eternal life. The 'entry ticket', reserved for each of us, lies at the foot of the cross, bought and paid for in full. We have to collect it and treasure it until opening time.

No man is "intrinsically" good or evil. We are all wounded, incomplete, and inclined toward sin. The bible is God's love letter to us; the Church helps us read it. I agree, God gives us all opportunities to turn to Him or to reject Him.

Those of us wrestling with tendencies that contradict God's purpose for loving relationships experience desires that, if acted upon, move us ever away from our Creator. The task of taking up our cross daily and following Our Lord can be helped or hindered by the words and actions of others. There will be tImes we fall. Others can emulate Simon of Cyrenian and Veronica or they can stand and sneer at the suffering and effort of others.

16 March 2013 at 10:43  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter Damian. Look, old man, we are all valued creations of the Father. But we all are given a load to carry as well. Among this man’s load is irascibility. It’s cost him dear in his life, but one tends not to dwell upon it. And one certainly doesn’t consider himself a victim. None of that for this man, I can tell you. Instead, he survives and adapts by becoming a Christian soldier here. A rather good outlet for irascibility, don’t you think...

16 March 2013 at 10:44  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

*Those conditions, however, which arise from causes which may easily be rendered ineffective or speedily removed, are called, not qualities, but affections: for we are not said to be such virtue of them. The man who blushes through shame is not said to be a constitutional blusher, nor is the man who becomes pale through fear said to be constitutionally pale. He is said rather to have been affected.

Thus such conditions are called affections, not qualities. In like manner there are affective qualities and affections of the soul. That temper with which a man is born and which has its origin in certain deep-seated affections is called a quality. I mean such conditions as insanity, irascibility, and so on: for people are said to be mad or irascible in virtue of these. Similarly those abnormal psychic states which are not inborn, but arise from the concomitance of certain other elements, and are difficult to remove, or altogether permanent, are called qualities, for in virtue of them men are said to be such and such.

Those, however, which arise from causes easily rendered ineffective are called affections, not qualities. Suppose that a man is irritable when vexed: he is not even spoken of as a bad-tempered man, when in such circumstances he loses his temper somewhat, but rather is said to be affected. Such conditions are therefore termed, not qualities, but affections."
(Aristotle - The Organon)

16 March 2013 at 11:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

“Similarly those abnormal psychic states which are not inborn, but arise from the concomitance of certain other elements, and are difficult to remove, or altogether permanent, are called qualities, for in virtue of them men are said to be such and such.”

One can assure that this man is irascible by nature, not because he awoke this morning and stood on a three pin plug...

16 March 2013 at 11:26  
Blogger len said...

How to gain' Eternal life' seem to be somewhat of a mystery to Catholics ...and Muslims....and just about every religion known to mankind.Atheists will have 'eternal life'but their destination is decided by their denial of the truth(about Jesus Christ)unless they have revelation before death overtakes them.
So what is eternal life?.Well one thing it is not some' heavenly rest home' for deceased saints)

Eternal life is here and now and it is IN the person of Jesus Christ.

IF we have been' born again' we share in One Spirit with He who has eternal Life. We become One with Him and share His(eternal) Life.
So those who despise being 'born again' are in fact cutting themselves off from the only source of eternal life.
So those who rely on their 'religion' or their' good works' as a' ticket to Heaven will be sadly and tragically disappointed.
“There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again” (John 3:1-7).
To understand what it means to be born-again, it is necessary to understand that there are TWO BIRTHS. The “first” birth is the PHYSICAL BIRTH when you were born into this world from your mother and father. When the Bible speaks of being “born of water,” it is speaking about the physical birth (NOT baptism). The “second” birth is a SPIRITUAL BIRTH, which means to be born of the “Spirit” (that is, God's Holy Spirit).
This is God`s ordained method of salvation if you decide on a different course you will bear responsibility when your 'method' fails.

16 March 2013 at 16:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Len. Few had undergone baptism in Christ’s time. So when the bible talks about being “born of water,” it’s talking of baptism.

16 March 2013 at 17:04  
Blogger non mouse said...

Actually, thank you Len. I hadn't thought of physical/spiritual birth in that way before. I mean... that the waters involved in physical birth inspired and parallel the symbolism of baptism: re-birth and purification with water. You're right, of course; John 3:4 explains it in response to Nicodemus's question about how someone can go twice through the physical process.

As to early Christian baptism - John the Baptist was identifying people he baptised as the "generation of vipers" and preaching "baptism of repentance for the remission of sins" (Luke 3:7, 3). "Vipers" vividly recalls the Snake of Eden and what ensued, so the NT again connects physical and spiritual aspects in the ritual of cleansing (baptism).

Luke expands the connection more clearly, by reporting John's words to the crowd: "I indeed baptise you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost and with fire." (3:16).

Lest we have any doubt of the spiritual/physical connection, "When all the people had been baptised" Christ goes to John, so condoning and modelling the practice. As He was "... praying, the heaven was opened/ And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased: (3:22 KJV).

So as to the "born of water" controversy -- I also incline to accept John 3: 5-6 as applying the rhetorical parallellism so common throughout the Bible, especially in Psalms. In that light, water and flesh would be parallel, while spirit consists with Spirit.

But we must surely remember that, like Transubstantiation, understanding of Baptism (or Christening) is one of the complicated problems that prevents the rest of us from accepting the 'authority' of Roman words. They always had their reasons for opposing vernacular translation of the Bible ... and it doesn't look as if they've changed their minds - or spirits! (Translation usually involves interpretation, anyway).

16 March 2013 at 19:56  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

It is a very grave error to dismiss the necessity of baptism by water. Such an anti-baptismal regeneration position is biblically indefensible. It is wrong to say that the water John 3:5 refers to to is amniotic fluid; that Jesus was actually saying, "You must be born of amniotic fluid and the Spirit"!

The Greek phrase "gennatha anothen" can be translated as "born again" or "regenerated from above". In other parts of scripture this new birth is described as receiving new life (Rom. 6:4), receiving circumcision of the heart (Rom. 2:29; Col. 2:11–12), and becoming a "new creation" (2 Cor. 5:17; Gal. 6:15).

Scripture teaches that baptism by water unites us with Christ’s death and resurrection so that we might die to sin and receive new life. In Colossians 2:11–13, Paul tells us, "In [Christ] you were also circumcised, in the putting off of the sinful nature, not with a circumcision done by the hands of men but with the circumcision [of] Christ, having been buried with him in baptism and raised with him through your faith in the power of God, who raised him from the dead. When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your sinful nature, God made you alive with Christ".

Baptism gives us new life - a new birth - it is not symbolic. In Acts 2:38, Peter tells us, "Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." When Paul was converted, he was told, "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptised, and wash away your sins, calling on his name" (Acts 22:16).

Peter teaches this transformation from sin to grace when he exhorted people to "be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

Augustine taught, "It is this one Spirit who makes it possible for an infant to be regenerated ... when that infant is brought to baptism; and it is through this one Spirit that the infant so presented is reborn. For it is not written, ‘Unless a man be born again by the will of his parents’ or ‘by the faith of those presenting him or ministering to him,’ but, ‘Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit’ [John 3:5]. The water, therefore, manifesting exteriorly the sacrament of grace, and the Spirit effecting interiorly the benefit of grace, both regenerate in one Christ that man who was generated in Adam" (Letters 98:2 [A.D. 408]).

17 March 2013 at 15:53  
Blogger non mouse said...

Mr.D: I believe you misread us, again! While I do not think I need to justify myself to you, or to any RC --- I should perhaps make it clear that I do not deny baptism is about NT descriptions concerning regeneration, or rebirth, or Redemption.

I also do not deny that Christening is a ritual cleansing through which Christian souls (born interlaced as they are with bodies) receive Grace - that is what I mean by my interpretation of Jn 5-6. However, if RC priests claim to perform some other alchemy with baptismal water, you should understand that I am not one who believes in their magical powers. We must agree to differ: I am not open to persuasion, nor am I trying to persuade you on the matter.

While I am spending otherwise valuable time on this thread, I may as well observe that you apparently deny that use of the terms 'birth' and 'generation' (or even 'circumcision') parallels, illustrates, and explains how baptism works. Yet rhetoricians all the way through the Bible apply such methods of symbolism. Therein: physical processes or objects re-present spiritual concepts; audience knowledge of the physical helps them understand spiritual or abstract ideas.


18 March 2013 at 00:31  
Blogger non mouse said...


For many of us who reject RC authoritative pronouncements, the present case can work in the following parallel. Physical 'waters' accompany birth from maternal flesh into autonomous flesh; ritual waters (symbolic of cleansing) accompany our re-birth from sullied Flesh into Spiritual Grace. Having moved through water from internal flesh to external flesh, in the second case we move from the external expression of spirit to the Internal Spirit.* There is then a sense in which Christening reverses our direction; it enables our journey from external to internal Life.

This interpretation is consistent with the comment you post from Augustine. As you quote, he describes water as the outward "manifest"ation -- [that is the physical re-presentation] -- of the spiritual, inly gift (Grace) which we receive from Christ.

Thank you, btw, for bringing up Augustine. He provided wonderful explanations of the way John uses our knowledge of physical reality to help us perceive spiritual truth. An example occurs in Tractate 2**, where Augustine suggests (with John) that Christ became incarnate so that men could first see Him, and then each act as a "witness." There is a sense, of course, in which all words are metaphors for real things; here we use our words to show our understanding that the Word became Flesh.

*I'm applying Augustine's model to this point.

**Augustine, Saint, Bishop of Hippo. Tractates on the Gospel of John. Trans. John W. Rettig. Washington, D.C:
Catholic University of America Press, c1988. Here Tr 2. 67(3); 68.9.

18 March 2013 at 00:39  
Blogger Peter Damian said...

non mouse
If I misunderstod you, I apologise. In writing I was addressing a specific comment from len which I found disturbing and which you appeared to support:

"When the Bible speaks of being “born of water,” it is speaking about the physical birth (NOT baptism). The “second” birth is a SPIRITUAL BIRTH, which means to be born of the “Spirit” (that is, God's Holy Spirit)."

This was not an allegorical statement but was dismissing the necessity of the sacrament of Baptism.

Baptism is not seen as "magic" or "alchemy" in Catholicism but a dying with Christ to sin and a resurrection with Him to new life.
Through Baptism we are adopted by God as his children and made members of Christ's Body, the Church, and inheritors of the Kingdom of God. The outward and visible sign in Baptism is water. I believe Anglicans, along with Catholics, believe that the spiritual grace received in Baptism is union with Christ in his death and resurrection, birth into God's family the Church, forgiveness of sins, and new life in the Holy Spirit.

18 March 2013 at 01:15  
Blogger non mouse said...

Thanks then, Mr. D!

18 March 2013 at 07:06  

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