Thursday, April 11, 2013

Lord Tebbit and Conor Burns pay moving tribute to Margaret Thatcher

Yesterday's tributes to Margaret Thatcher were moving in many respects. By and large, those in the House of Lords were more interesting and insightful than those in the House of Commons, not least because they were tales told by people who knew her well. The most memorable line of the day came from Lord Tebbit as he recalled the Brighton bomb and its tragic consequences for his wife. He said of Margaret Thatcher's compassion and kindness: "I cannot think of a precedent for a secretary of state remaining in office as Secretary of State although absent from the Cabinet for over three months. She allowed me to run my office from my hospital bed." But he was sorry for one thing: "She, of course, was brought down in the end, not by the electorate but by her colleagues," he said.

"Because of the commitments I made to my wife, I did not feel able either to continue in government in 1987 or to return to government when she asked me too, and I left her, I fear, to the mercy of her friends. That I do regret."

Two of these 'friends' were Geoffrey Howe, who sat silently throughout the tributes, and Michael Heseltine, who stayed away altogether.

In the Commons, it was her friend Conor Burns who mingled just the right amount of personal recollection with her international political accomplishments. He paid moving tribute to The Great Lady from the very seat in Parliament where she made her maiden speech, and the place to which she returned after leaving No10. He ended with her own account of attending Mass at the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw in 1993:
Every nook and cranny was packed, and the choral singing of unfamiliar Polish hymns was all the more uplifting because I could not understand the verses. It forced me to try to imagine what the congregation was asking of God. Foreign though this experience was, it also gave me a comforting feeling that I was but one soul among many, in a fellowship of believers that crossed nations and denominations. When the priest rose to give the sermon, however, I had the sense that I had suddenly become the centre of attention. Heads turned and people smiled at me. As the priest began, someone translated his words. He recalled that during the dark days of Communism, they had been aware of voices from the outside world offering hope of a different and better life. The voices were many, often eloquent, and all were welcome to a people starved so long of truth as well as freedom. But Poles had come to identify with one voice in particular - my own. Even when that voice had been relayed through the distorting loudspeaker of the Soviet propaganda, they had heard through the distortions the message of truth and hope. Well, Communism had fallen, and a new democratic order had replaced it. But they had not fully felt the change, nor truly believed in its reality, until today, when they finally saw me in their own church. The priest finished his sermon, and the service continued. But the kindness of the priest and the parishioners had not been exhausted. At the end of Mass I was invited to stand in front of the altar. When I did so, lines of children presented me with little bouquets while their mothers and fathers applauded.

...Of course, no human mind, nor any conceivable computer, can calculate the sum total of my career in politics in terms of happiness, achievement and virtue. Nor, indeed, of their opposites. It follows, therefore, that the full accounting of how my political work affected the lives of others is something we will only know on Judgment Day. It is an awesome and unsettling thought. But it comforts me, that when I stand up to hear the verdict, I will at least have the people of the Church of the Holy Cross in Warsaw in court as character witnesses.


Blogger Flossie said...

What a nice tribute from Conor Burns - a gay man who promised to vote against marriage but in the end voted in favour. But quite different to some of the 'let the bitch burn in hell' rhetoric from Pink News readers because of her stance on Section 28.

I felt sorry for Dan Hodges, who wrote a good piece (for a leftie!) in the Telegraph yesterday, in which he talked about the left being full of bitterness and spite:

How mortifying, then, it must have been to have to witness his mother, Glenda Jackson, spouting vitriol and bile.

11 April 2013 at 10:18  
Blogger Flossie said...

Glenda Jackson can be seen here:

11 April 2013 at 10:21  
Blogger Lucy Mullen said...

One can only feel sorry for Glenda Jackson. To carry such bitterness within is appallingly burdensome. Mercifully the vast majority of those who disagreed- and respect to Ed Milliband for his speech- have the nous either to give space to others, or to act and speak with careful graciousness.

11 April 2013 at 12:00  
Blogger ardenjm said...

And, of course, Cranmer, just as a little examination of conscience for you ask yourself this: would Lady Thatcher have been so crass to receive Holy Communion at that Mass notwithstanding the profound communion that existed between herself and that congregation?
Of course she wouldn't have done so.
Because she was too considerate and too interested in the Truth to do so.
So by acting with that deep and profound mutual respect, and by not taking Holy Communion, both she and the congregation would have grown in mutual Charity - which is what we shall all be judged on at Judgement Day.

Lady Thatcher probably couldn't articulate the theological nuances of all that - this wasn't her training - but she and the congregation had an intuitive grasp of it because they were living authentic truth-searching lives.

Unlike some who sneak into St Peter's Basilica and take Holy Communion by deceit, justifying it to themselves with all of the humbug and self-righteousness so inimical to true Charity. And then, when bragging about said deceit get all uppity and egregiously sectarian when called to task over it.

You lived a lie over that.
She didn't.

Think on't.

11 April 2013 at 13:47  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Oh, for heavens sake.

I don't know which of the Cyber Swiss Guard is back, and trying to score cheap points on an utterly unrelated post, but may I direct you to the wonderful words of our Holy Father on Tuesday on the evils of gossip.

"Pope Francis further developed this reflection. “When we prefer to gossip, gossip about others, criticize others- these are everyday things that happen to everyone, including me – these are the temptations of the evil one who does not want the Spirit to come to us and bring about peace and meekness in the Christian community". "These struggles always exist" in the parish, in the family, in the neighborhood, among friends”. Instead through the Spirit we are born into a new life, he makes us “meek, charitable."

The Holy Father then outlined the correct behavior for a Christian. First, "do not judge anyone" because "the only Judge is the Lord." Then "keep quiet" and if you have something to say, say it to the interested parties, to those "who can remedy the situation," but "not to the entire neighborhood." "If, by the grace of the Holy Spirit – concluded Pope Francis - we succeed in never gossiping, it will be a great step forward" and "will do us all good"."

Quoted from the Vatican Radio site.

Give it a rest.

11 April 2013 at 14:03  
Blogger IanCad said...

I must admit that I had never heard of Conor Burns until seeing this video.
Most impressive! Personable, perceptive, articulate, quite humourous, and salted with just the right amount of gravitas.
A very touching tribute indeed.
By association alone I would assume that he is pretty much true blue.
What a contrast with most of the other Tory MP's. He seems alive and actually has some charisma.
There is hope yet for the Conservatives.
Does this man have leadership potential?
There has to be someone a chap can get behind in hope of getting the party back in business.

11 April 2013 at 14:09  
Blogger ardenjm said...

On the contrary Sister Tiberia - if anyone's on patrol here doing protection work - it's you.
Archbishop Cranmer is a big boy.
He doesn't need your help.
And, of course, if he hadn't chosen to brag about doing the polar opposite of what Lady Thatcher did, he wouldn't receive the opprobrium in inverse proportion to the praise that Lady Thatcher so rightfully deserves.
And as far as I can tell - though I'm sure you'll hasten to correct me - broadcasting via a blog to "the entire neighbourhood" is something Cranmer does daily.

He didn't just make a mistake by taking Communion in Rome, he said, "Up yours" whilst receiving Communion boasting of the fact on his blog.

How can you not be struck by the difference in every way between his behaviour and the behaviour of Lady Thatcher.

But, I tell you what, I'll let you have the last word because, much like the two Cranmers, I suspect you're more interested in winning this argument than thinking on the truthfulness of it.
Over to you.

11 April 2013 at 14:21  
Blogger Jessica Hoff said...

I'd forgotten Glenda Jackson was an MP - has she ever done anything noteworthy? Why does she think she is qualified to comment of definitions of womanliness - glass houses and stones come to mind.

11 April 2013 at 14:58  
Blogger John Henson said...

Re Glenda Jackson, the late Auberon Waugh wrote the following in Private Eye in 1981:

"Last night, unable to sleep for worrying about badgers, I watched Glenda Jackson in Ken Russell's The Music Lovers. Hideous women, dreadful film. One can't really blame Tchaikowsky for preferring boys. Anyone might become a homosexualist [sic] who had once seen Glenda Jackson naked.

Since she has been kind enough to show it to us, I must remark that she has the most unusual configuration in her pubic hair. It seems to grow in a narrow tuft, like the hairstyle of the Last of the Mohicans. I wonder if Ms Jackson has any Red Indian blood. If so, it might explain why there are no more Mohicans."

11 April 2013 at 16:43  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

@ Jessica Hoff (14:58)—Miss Jackson’s contribution to the gaiety of the nation transcends mere noteworthiness: ‘All men are fools and what makes them so is having beauty like what I have got.’ Watch her most celebrated performance here, from 5¾ to 6¾ minutes.

11 April 2013 at 18:11  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Thatcher was removed. Not stabbed in the back. She had become certifiable over the poll tax.

Can you really imagine it ? A tax on your very existence, as opposed to a tax on property that we have now.

Millions disappearing off the books to evade it. Officially not existing at all. In its rawest form, the idea was if you booked into a hotel for a few days, you owed the tax there and would get a rebate at your normal place of residence. Can you envisage the size of the government dept to work out that little lot ?

NOW do you see why she had to be got rid of. She lost the plot, and big time at that…

Politics is the here and now and the future. If you can appreciate that, then you must know ultimately an individual’s past glorys count for nothing – nothing at all.

11 April 2013 at 19:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

ardenjim, posts passim

Let nothing come between God and his earthly creation, man, when said man seeks Him out in church. You see, God loves us, not the sacraments. The sacraments are mere tools of man’s design to help us to achieve grace. On their own, they are as much use as Jesus the carpenters hammer lying still on a table.

Cranmer wanted communion with God. Who are you to deny him that ?

11 April 2013 at 19:24  
Blogger Tony B said...

Someone bury her quick, so we can talk about something else..

11 April 2013 at 20:31  
Blogger sandwiches said...

Ding Dong.

11 April 2013 at 20:35  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Maggie will go to heaven. Section 28 will see to that. God wants upright citizens in his creation, not shameless, dissolute, diseased benders...

11 April 2013 at 20:44  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

Well said @ 14:03

"As coals are to burning coals, and wood to fire, so an angry man stirreth up strife."
(Proverbs 26:21)

11 April 2013 at 20:44  
Blogger Nick said...

I respect Lady Thatcher for the following (1) She did not follow political correctness (2) She believed in something - she was a woman with a mission, even if you disagreed with her (3) She would not have let Christians be sold down the river the way Cameron has (4) She would never have redefined marriage (5) She was patriotic.

I certainly didn't agree with everything she did, but compared to the moral pygmies we now have leading our three main parties, she definitely deserves respect.

11 April 2013 at 20:50  
Blogger Nick said...

I respect Lady Thatcher for the following (1) She did not follow political correctness (2) She believed in something - she was a woman with a mission, even if you disagreed with her (3) She would not have let Christians be sold down the river the way Cameron has (4) She would never have redefined marriage (5) She was patriotic.

I certainly didn't agree with everything she did, but compared to the moral pygmies we now have leading our three main parties, she definitely deserves respect.

11 April 2013 at 20:50  
Blogger John Henson said...

Office of Inspector General said... She had become certifiable over the poll tax.

Can you really imagine it ? A tax on your very existence ...

No, a tax that recognised that all adults use local public services so all should contribute towards their cost.

You would prefer a property tax, where a household of four or more working adults would pay the same amount as a single person in a similar property?

IMO the poll tax was a good idea; the objections came from the work-shy and the money-grows-on-trees lefties.

11 April 2013 at 21:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

John Henson. Not withstanding his earlier criticism of the poll tax, the Inspector will tell you this. If four or more working adults were crammed into an average size semi, bloody good luck to them. If they were in a grander house, then the property’s banding would reflect that. Problems old man ?

By the way, an individual on their own gets a 25% rebate.

11 April 2013 at 22:05  
Blogger Philip said...

Office of Inspector Gen at 1923: I understand it is thought she got removed more because her views on the EU were not acceptable to the establishment, more than due to the Poll Tax.

Flossie 1018: Conor Burns voted for redefining marriage, thus voted against marriage.

11 April 2013 at 22:23  
Blogger ardenjm said...

"Cranmer wanted communion with God. Who are you to deny him that ?"
Well, let's give Cranmer the benefit of the doubt for an instant and put to one side the provocation that was almost certainly intended - given the relish with which he relayed the facts to Catholic readers (from his high horse, of course, because who do they think they are to take him to task). But, like I said, no matter how those two things jar one against the other and suggest that Cranmer did what he did with at least one eye to his publication of it - instead of both eyes fixed firmly on Christ - let's just put that to one side for a second and take it at face value that he did, sincerely, seek out communion with God via the Sacrifice of the Mass which, being a good Anglican, he repudiates in fidelity to the Articles of the Anglican Church.
That communion was uniquely on his own terms and via an exacerbated individualism and in full knowledge that, no matter how much the Catholic Church longs for the separated brethren to return to full communion with the Church this can't be done without truthfulness.
Lady Thatcher, then, was in FAR deeper communion with the Polish Catholics by NOT receiving communion during Mass in Warsaw than Cranmer was by sneakily appropriating it in Rome. Because, as you say, the sacraments - even the Blessed Sacrament of the Real Presence of Our Lord - are a means to that most greatest of ends: the indwelling by Charity of the Most Holy Trinity in the soul of the believer - on view to the Beatific Vision in Heaven. What matters then, is the Charity and the growth in Charity: objectively more than subjectively felt.
Did any of that form part of Cranmer's approach in the way that, quite clearly, it was in Lady Thatcher's non-approach? Again, let's give him the benefit of the doubt and say that it did. Good for him! But why, then, gloat about it (and there is no other word for what Cranmer did). That's an odd manifestation of the Charity that Holy Communion brings about.
There is a backhanded compliment in all of this, of course: Cranmer doesn't complain about the way the Monks of Mount Athos would, by and large, not even consider him to be a Christian, nor do you see him writing about how he went to the Divine Liturgy of St John Chrysostom in order to partake of the Eucharist, nor do you see him merrily heading along to the services of Old Catholics or sede vacentists.
Whilst his namesake might have denounced the Pope as the Antichrist, Adrian Hilton feels it necessary to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in Latin at St Peter's Basilica and take Communion there.
Ultimately, then, the greatest rebuke comes not from me but from the one he claims to incarnate in this blog.
But to come back to the original point I was making:
It's impossible to imagine Lady Thatcher from acting so crassly, with such ignorance and lack of sensibility.

11 April 2013 at 22:25  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Peter D: It's an easy game to play - appropriating the Word of God to justify your own position. That's not my intention here. Unlike Lady Thatcher, Adrian Hilton gave, and I fear intended to give, scandal - and persists in insisting that he was right to do so.
That's a real shame - but, apparently, not to him.
Being Catholic I'm not given to slinging bible verses around in order to somehow make a point. But since you are - take a look at these:
1 Timothy 5:20 Them that sin rebuke before all, that others also may fear.
Titus 1:13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.
Ezekiel 33:8 When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.
ames 5:20 Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.

The passage from Margaret Thatcher's memoirs was deeply moving. And conveyed a truly Christian attitude towards Catholics.
If you can direct me to something similar in the writings of Cranmer/Adrian Hilton I shall, of course, read them with great interest and admiration.

11 April 2013 at 22:25  
Blogger Peter D said...


Sir, this thread is dedicated to the memory of a fine woman. It is not a platform for such personal comments against another.

There's a thread below where this issue was thoroughly discussed and my views and those of others are recorded there. Perhaps you should add yours there too.

11 April 2013 at 22:39  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

ardnjm. Your unhappy rant read and considered. Now see here. You know perfectly well what Christ would say about his divided church should he walk this land again. He would wish that it was not so, would he not ? In which case, why do you persist with your own divisive agenda ?

This man repeats. If a Christian man seeks communion with his God, who the hell are you to deny him ?

11 April 2013 at 23:03  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

"It's an easy game to play - appropriating the Word of God to justify your own position"....

Then we get umpteen quotes from your Bible to justify your position!

quelle heure est-il?

11 April 2013 at 23:04  
Blogger Peter D said...

"And behold a woman who was troubled with an issue of blood twelve years, came behind him, and touched the hem of his garment.

For she said within herself: If I shall touch only his garment, I shall be healed. But Jesus turning and seeing her, said: Be of good heart, daughter, thy faith hath made thee whole. And the woman was made whole from that hour."

(Matthew 9:20-22)

11 April 2013 at 23:11  
Blogger Peter D said...

Tony Benn

"Although I thought she was wrong, she said what she meant and meant what she said. It was not about style with her; it was substance – I don't think she listened to spin doctors, she just had a clear idea and followed it through."

Paddy Ashdown

"She was forceful because of her character but that was enough. If you don't have courage, all the other qualities you may have – good strategic sense and oratory etc – vanish like the morning dew when you need it. But she had it.

Her other quality was of leadership of the sort that is rare in senior leaders ... You'd be in the Commons at 3am or 4am and David Steel and Neil Kinnock would be safely tucked up in bed, and Maggie would walk in to support her backbenchers.

She tied people to her with genuine bonds of affection because she appeared in the frontline when life was tough and inspired her troops."

Lech Walesa

"Observing her at work was a great opportunity to learn how to achieve goals. Once she gave me advice: "Write down the 10 steps from where you are now to where you want to be." It was a good lesson.

Thatcher was a very active person with great commitment in her duties. She had a clear vision of the world. She was a distinguished lady who acted in a tight and organised way. The Iron Lady was an unforgettable personality of the past epoch of the cold war."

11 April 2013 at 23:30  
Blogger ardenjm said...

I appreciate you admire Adrian Hilton's avatar as Archbishop Cranmer - maybe that explains why you adopt the cadence and declamatory use of the third person that is one of his hallmarks?
"This man repeats. If a Christian man seeks communion with his God, who the hell are you to deny him ?"

You read - but you didn't consider. Largely because you just KNOW that you are in the right over this.
So let me be clear.
The Catholic Church doesn't extend Communion to Anglicans because the Anglican Church takes Anglicanism seriously - more seriously than many Anglicans I suspect. And when the Catholic Church reads the 31st Article the question is: why would ANY Anglican seek Communion in the Catholic Church?

"XXXI. Of the one Oblation of Christ finished upon the Cross.
The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone. Wherefore the sacrifices of Masses, in the which it was commonly said, that the Priest did offer Christ for the quick and the dead, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables, and dangerous deceits."

Adrian Hilton takes as his hero one of the architects of Anglicanism who gave his life for commitment to this vision of the Church and of the Mass.
The Catholic Church takes that seriously and so, out of coherence, awaiting for the day where, formally, the Anglican Communion repudiates this article, the Church can't, in all truthfulness and good faith, offer Holy Communion when it's held to be a "blasphemous fable and dangerous deceit."

In fact - why would Cranmer want to have anything to do with it at all?
Because of his FEELINGS seems to be the sum total of your answer. In which case, your quarrel isn't with me but with him - because his feelings have taken him into direct contradiction of the Articles of his denomination that elsewhere he will most ardently defend and support.

I don't ask him to be coherent with Catholic belief.
But is it too much to ask that he be coherent with his own?

12 April 2013 at 00:10  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Peter D
Fair point about this being a blog post on Lady Thatcher's admirable behaviour at a Catholic Mass in Poland and the way that respecting differences rather than merely acting on the impulses of her feelings, by looking to be truthful rather than acting deceitfully, and by seeking to grow in charity rather than gloating over hoodwinking your hosts in their own home are all worthy subjects of discussion.

I entirely concur.
Hers is an example to follow.

12 April 2013 at 00:14  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Hannah K
I'm sorry that you missed my original point which was that it is far too easy to get verses from the Bible to prove a point and then its opposite.
Peter was looking to silence discussion by quoting Sacred Scripture.
I was reminding him of others that fitted less neatly into his rhetorical schema.

But let me re-iterate the point more clearly for you just in case you've missed it here, again.
Anyone can quote scripture as if it proves their point.
Satan does it to Christ in the Temptation in the Desert.

I'm not saying I'm right because I found four times as many verses as Peter.
I'm simply saying he's wrong even though he found one.
That's all.

Il est tard. Reposez-vous bien.

12 April 2013 at 00:20  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Hannah K
I'm sorry that you missed my original point which was that it is far too easy to get verses from the Bible to prove a point and then its opposite.
Peter was looking to silence discussion by quoting Sacred Scripture.
I was reminding him of others that fitted less neatly into his rhetorical schema.

But let me re-iterate the point more clearly for you just in case you've missed it here, again.
Anyone can quote scripture as if it proves their point.
Satan does it to Christ in the Temptation in the Desert.

I'm not saying I'm right because I found four times as many verses as Peter.
I'm simply saying he's wrong even though he found one.
That's all.

Il est tard. Reposez-vous bien.

12 April 2013 at 00:20  
Blogger Peter D said...


Do let it go!

Why not send a private email pointing out his error, that is if you are truely concerned?

"If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over."

12 April 2013 at 00:25  
Blogger michael north said...

ardenjm @ 13.47 yesterday, passim

Dead right.

12 April 2013 at 07:56  
Blogger Flossie said...

Following on from my earlier post (the first one in this thread) Dan Hodges has followed up in the Telegraph on his mother's excrutiating speech, with the comment 'it’s the duty of parents to embarrass their children. It keeps us honest.' One has to admire his style.

12 April 2013 at 09:32  
Blogger The PrangWizard of England said...

I saw Conor Burns, Lord Tebbit, Glenda Jackson, Frank Field, and others speaking in the House.
I hope, but doubt, that Glenda Jackson is feeling totally ashamed of herself today. It was a speech of almost inhuman spite and hatred.

12 April 2013 at 09:36  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...


Yes, such was His Grace's desire for 'provocation'; so intense was his 'relish' to relay the facts to his Roman Catholic readers; so hypocritical was he to take communion 'with at least one eye to his publication of it', that he waited four long years between the act and the writing of the account.

You judge a man's motives and bear false witness. You are not the first Roman Catholic to judge His Grace as inferior and unworthy before God. You will note that nothing of your venomous self-righteousness has been deleted, despite it being manifestly off-topic. Perhaps now you ought to trundle back over to Telegraph Blogs and attend to the beam in your own eye.

12 April 2013 at 10:45  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Adrian Hilton
I judge your ACTION on how you described it and subsequently rationalised it. In that sense, as much as it might surprise you, the fact that it was YOU that did it is neither here nor there: the action per se is worthy of consideration in the context of moral theology. I wasn't attacking you, Adrian, and, for that matter, I was only tangentially attacking the puppet character you've invented for yourself on here. I was actually praising Lady Thatcher and the contrast with your own behaviour was thrown into sharp relief.

I didn't choose to blog about those two Masses.
You did.

I wouldn't dream of judging you - simply because you have decided to remain behind the curtain of the character you have invented (which is FINE, of course, manifestly I have no problem with that).
As for being inferior and unworthy before God: Welcome to the club! SURELY we can all agree with Shakespeare:
"Use every man after his desert, and who should ’scape whipping?"

I certainly do not bear false witness. I don't know where you got that from. If I had been in St Peter's with you and said, "Adrian Hilton took the Host and put it in his pocket" then that would have been false witness.

As for my venemous self-righteousness - well - as Thomas à Kempis so rightly points out in 'Imitatio Christi': the faults we see in others are so often the faults we have ourselves. So in that respect, mea culpa, I'm sure you're absolutely right.

And, lastly, that you accuse me of being off topic is just Grand Guignol.
You know full well that Margaret Thatcher's behaviour in Poland was infinitely more worthy than your own, in Rome. I'm sorry that this rankles with you so much that you go on the attack to try and justify the unjustifiable.

You're not the victim here.
So enough of the histrionics already.
You acted cheap.
And Lady Thatcher didn't.
Like I said way back at the beginning:

Think on't.

12 April 2013 at 11:49  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...


It is flattering that you persist in comparing His Grace's act of communion with that of Margaret Thatcher. But you miss a very obvious difference; so obvious that it's embarrassing to have to point it out.

She could not participate in the Mass because she was known. The same constraints are placed upon the Queen and all those who might themselves distract from the true focus of the communion, which is Christ. Those of us who are nobodies are freer to to commune with whomever we want, wherever and whenever we want. We do not upstage. Margaret Thatcher attended on God and He spoke to her through the congregation. His Grace attended on God and He spoke differently.

It's funny how you allege 'histrionics' and other ad hominem slurs. It's so typical of your Telegraph Blogs style of engagement. This is reasoned discourse: you cannot see it because you are reluctant to acknowledge that you yourself may be wrong, so you attack the man. You judge a sacred action to have been performed with the motive of the broadcasting of it; with the intention of purposely provoking. This being the case, why would His Grace permit *years* to elapse between the two? Surely an immediate boast in back in 2008 or 2009 would have ensued?

Carry on with your judging. You are harsh, cold and loveless. You are expressing nothing of what Pope Francis radiates in his ecumenical embrace. As Tony Blair said to Cardinal Basil Hume: "What would Jesus say?"

12 April 2013 at 12:15  
Blogger ardenjm said...

She couldn't receive Communion because she was well known?
There's actually provision made for partaking of Holy Communion for non-Catholics in exceptional circumstances. I think that the Mass in Warsaw could be considered exceptional - but that would have been for the Priest/local Ordinary and Lady Thatcher to determine.
Before God, of course, the relative fame of the person is neither here nor there. The more so because Lady Thatcher wasn't there in any official state capacity - unlike Her Majesty the Queen who is never, so to speak, off duty.
In the light of what I've just said it shouldn't be surprising to learn that President Reagan and his wife were given Holy Communion in June 1983 at the memorial Mass of their aide, Joseph Holmes, for example.

But let's get this straight: You appropriate the Blessed Sacrament, you appropriate the Holy Father and use both rhetorically to try and win an argument. Doesn't that feel a bit, well, tawdry to you at all?

But, look, as I made clear in my comments above - your argument isn't with me nor even with the discipline of the Catholic Church: which she can't oblige you to follow - just as she can't stop Catholics who have the moral certitude that they are in a state of mortal sin from taking Communion either - even though she asks them not to.
You argument is actually with Archbishop Cranmer and the 31st Article of the Anglican Chuch.
Without recourse to some kind of Orwellian Double Think how can you be so incoherent: violating the founding principles of Anglicanism to say nothing of the memory of Archbishop Cranmer - and then, elsewhere defending both with such conviction?
With which one of the 39 Articles do you give yourself a good conscience to do what you did in Rome? Did you even ask yourself what Archbishop Cranmer would think of you for doing so?

You know quite well from John chapter 6 that the question of Our Lord giving us His Flesh to eat and His Blood to drink is immediately a bone of contention - that even one of His closest disciples (Judas) baulks at and rejects. The others question it - saying that it is a hard teaching.
Our Lord isn't at all ecumencial with them. He doesn't embrace them. He lets them go. Because He knows that it would be a communion in a lie: they do not accept His teaching and He's not prepared to compromise it.
Therefore He gives them, and every succeeding generation, a choice:

"And you, will you leave also?"

(And isn't it interesting, I note, that when Lady Thatcher was asked about the essential teaching of the Gospel she replied: Free choice?)

The Catholic Church teaches what she teaches on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The language has changed but the theology hasn't. The Anglican Communion is founded on a rejection of that teaching as a blasphemous deceit. Arguably, Thomas Cranmer gave his life for sincere fidelity to that vision.
The Church, like her Lord, takes this so seriously she gives you the exact same choice that Christ gave: Eat my Flesh. Drink my Blood.
The 39 Articles give you an alternative: do not partake in such blasphemous deceits.

Margaret Thatcher understood that. (It's not that hard to understand).
You either don't understand or refuse to understand.
But you still made your choice.

A bad one as it happens (to say nothing of actually broadcasting the fact and then refusing to accept that there might be any legitimacy to the criticisms of those who point out the crassness of it and the incoherence that it betrays.)
But there.
Your free choice, every step of the way.

Deal with it.

12 April 2013 at 13:44  
Blogger ardenjm said...

She couldn't receive Communion because she was well known?
There's actually provision made for partaking of Holy Communion for non-Catholics in exceptional circumstances. I think that the Mass in Warsaw could be considered exceptional - but that would have been for the Priest/local Ordinary and Lady Thatcher to determine.
Before God, of course, the relative fame of the person is neither here nor there. The more so because Lady Thatcher wasn't there in any official state capacity - unlike Her Majesty the Queen who is never, so to speak, off duty.
In the light of what I've just said it shouldn't be surprising to learn that President Reagan and his wife were given Holy Communion in June 1983 at the memorial Mass of their aide, Joseph Holmes, for example.

But let's get this straight: You appropriate the Blessed Sacrament, you appropriate the Holy Father and use both rhetorically to try and win an argument. Doesn't that feel a bit, well, tawdry to you at all?

But, look, as I made clear in my comments above - your argument isn't with me nor even with the discipline of the Catholic Church: which she can't oblige you to follow - just as she can't stop Catholics who have the moral certitude that they are in a state of mortal sin from taking Communion either - even though she asks them not to.
You argument is actually with Archbishop Cranmer and the 31st Article of the Anglican Chuch.
Without recourse to some kind of Orwellian Double Think how can you be so incoherent: violating the founding principles of Anglicanism to say nothing of the memory of Archbishop Cranmer - and then, elsewhere defending both with such conviction?
With which one of the 39 Articles do you give yourself a good conscience to do what you did in Rome? Did you even ask yourself what Archbishop Cranmer would think of you for doing so?

You know quite well from John chapter 6 that the question of Our Lord giving us His Flesh to eat and His Blood to drink is immediately a bone of contention - that even one of His closest disciples (Judas) baulks at and rejects. The others question it - saying that it is a hard teaching.
Our Lord isn't at all ecumencial with them. He doesn't embrace them. He lets them go. Because He knows that it would be a communion in a lie: they do not accept His teaching and He's not prepared to compromise it.
Therefore He gives them, and every succeeding generation, a choice:

"And you, will you leave also?"

(And isn't it interesting, I note, that when Lady Thatcher was asked about the essential teaching of the Gospel she replied: Free choice?)

The Catholic Church teaches what she teaches on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The language has changed but the theology hasn't. The Anglican Communion is founded on a rejection of that teaching as a blasphemous deceit. Arguably, Thomas Cranmer gave his life for sincere fidelity to that vision.
The Church, like her Lord, takes this so seriously she gives you the exact same choice that Christ gave: Eat my Flesh. Drink my Blood.
The 39 Articles give you an alternative: do not partake in such blasphemous deceits.

Margaret Thatcher understood that. (It's not that hard to understand).
You either don't understand or refuse to understand.
But you still made choices - every step of the way.
Bad ones.
But yours and yours alone.

That much is sure.

12 April 2013 at 13:47  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...


Thank you for your responses - both versions.

The aggressive 'Deal with it' ending shows your true self-righteous spirit.

You plainly do not understand Anglicanism, or, indeed, His Grace's beliefs on the Lord's Supper. You prefer to harp on about historic caricature, seemingly devoid of theological, social and political context. That is your prerogative, but please don't expect a thesis of self-justification from His Grace when you can't be bothered to research.

You insist that you do not judge motive. What, pray, is your assertion that communion was taken 'with at least one eye to (the) publication of it' if it is not an imputation of bad motive? Your accusation of 'at least one eye' is damning, since a man only has two. You presume to judge a man's heart. Jesus told you not to. How do you deal with that?

12 April 2013 at 14:07  
Blogger ardenjm said...

So, one second, let me get this right, Adrian.
The Catholic Church has to accomodate EVERYTHING you believe, no questions asked, and you have to, well, do what exactly?

Just turn up?

How odd, then, that you didn't march onto the sanctuary and stand next to the priest celebrating the Mass and pat him on the maniple (it was a St Pius V Mass you chose, after all) saying:
"Priesthood of all believers, Padre, now budge up."

Look, I know when someone gets so far up on their high horse the air is too thin to oxygenate their brain but really - you don't believe half of what you've just jotted down - you're just issuing a reflex response.

You chose to relate your actions on your public blog.
No-one forced you. You weren't outed in a public newspaper. No gagging order had been issued.
You CHOSE to talk about it.
If you had been sincere you would have kept silent - knowing that you'd almost certainly put a stumbling block before those who know your blog and it's resolutely anti-Catholic political orientation (everyone is aware that you count some Catholics amongst your friends). Seriously, how could you cause scandal in that way?

When people expressed their shock over it you refused to even countenance the possibility that you had given any scandal: this was entirely the problem of the spiteful people (whose judging who, here?) who were shocked by your actions.
But this is not what St Paul counsels. And you know that. St Paul says quite clearly that perhaps such people are over-reacting or lack insight, but, all the same, don't put that stumbling block before them.

It would be disingenuous of you to suggest that you couldn't have predicted their reaction.
And yet STILL you broadcast the fact.

And now you have the temerity to lay claim to the "thou shalt not judge" of Our Lord - as if this was meant to silence any censure or expression of disagreement with your actions.

What twaddle.

But let's just be clear.
Do I reduce you to your sin?
Of course not.
That particular accusation smacks of desperation.
I endorse your pro-Life stance, I agree with your Euroscepticism, I admire Nigel Farage.

But what you did in Rome was the perfidious logical conclusion to your theological incoherence: the spiritual equivalent of having your cake and eating it. So categorise the 39 Articles as 'historic caricature' if you want to - the flames that burnt your altar-ego for fidelity to the ideas subsequently expressed in them were anything but.

How did you get to the point where a Catholic has to remind you of the price Archbishop Cranmer paid for faithfulness to his rejection of the Catholic Mass as "cannibalism"? For sure - his teaching on the Eucharist went through multiple versions as he past through the various schools of thought during the Reformation period.
His mature thought, found in his Defence is expressed thus:

"For figuratiuely he is in the breade and wyne, and spiritually he is in them that worthyly eate
and drinke the bread and wyne, but really, carnally, and corporally he is onely in heauen."

The Mass you participated in in Rome would have been repugnant to him. Historical caricature, you say?
But here's the references anyway:
Cranmer, 'A Defence' 75.
Eugene K. McGee, “Cranmer and Nominalism,” The Harvard Theological Review 57, no. 3 (1964): 189–216,189.
See also Diarmaid MacCulloch,Thomas Cranmer: A Life (London: Yale University Press, 1996), 12, 182; cf. Peter Newman Brooks, Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of the Eucharist (New York: Seabury Press, 1965.

12 April 2013 at 15:34  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

ardenjm. You missed your vocation. You would have been a handy chap to have around during the inquisition. As the man on the cross wept as he looked down at you as you went about your work.

So you are a Roman Catholic first, and a Christian second. Doesn’t that trouble you ? It would damn well trouble this man.

And what would you say to the returned Christ then. “Stay away, we’re doing fine without you” by any chance ?

By the way, can we safely speculate you’re not a man of the cloth ? One observes you’re far too vicious an animal to be part of the priesthood. Do reassure those of a sensitive disposition as well as the young who visit this site this is so.

12 April 2013 at 17:19  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...


The Church of England is Catholic: it has been since its inception. You may dispute that, but you are perfectly at liberty to do so.

You allege deflection. Look in the mirror. You can't quite bring yourself to admit, can you, that accusing someone of taking communion 'with at least one eye to (the) publication of it' is an egregious judgment?

12 April 2013 at 17:20  
Blogger ardenjm said...

The Church of England is Catholic.
SURE it is.
Since by your manifest definition EVERYONE is Catholic as soon as they turn up at the Church.


@Office of General Inspector.
Isn't it enough to have one bad impersonation of Archbishop Cranmer? Do we now need to have a bad impersonation of Adrian Hilton's bad impersonation of Archbishop Cranmer as well?
What is this? Some kind of online reality show like You've Been Framed Twice?
But then, your profile picture is of a ventriloquist's dummy so maybe someone else is speaking through you.
Inquisition you say?
I'll be sure to have a jar of wood worm handy to terrorise you with and make sure I keep you in a damp box.

And to think you are both amongst the supporters of Lady Thatcher.
But then, as Lord Tebbit pointed out - it was her friends who betrayed her.

Let's keep it focussed fellas - since you're getting a bit surreal:
Lady Thatcher acted with good grace and profound Christian sentiment in Poland during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
Adrian bragged about not doing so when he went to Rome. The rest is just his rationalisations and auto-justifications - with hysterical acolytes as a supporting act.

12 April 2013 at 17:56  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

ardenjm, you’ve a blasted cheek. Though one has the comfort of knowing he’s getting through to you by your tone. Is the Inspector a supporter of the late Margaret, yes to a degree with a great deal of reservation. That’s as good as it will ever get. She did what had to be done, but it could have been done a whole lot better. Rather like your condemnation of the blog host, what !

12 April 2013 at 18:12  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Why does it feel like a certain flightless bird has returned from extinction? :)

12 April 2013 at 18:37  
Blogger William said...

What a wonderful, warm eulogy from Conor Burns Your Grace. Thank you for posting it.

12 April 2013 at 18:38  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

Now that is an unjustified and uncalled for comment. Besides, said flightless bird wouldn't understand half of the words coming from this character!

I also have it on very good authority that the bird and the Archbishop are on good terms.

12 April 2013 at 18:47  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Surely, Peter, you are not discounting the possibility that said flightless bird had access to an online thesaurus?

Mea culpa though, a speculation without data is never good. :)

12 April 2013 at 18:49  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Returning to the subject of Mrs Thatcher (and being half Polish myself) I remember how all my Polish relatives at the time she resigned were saying "Send her over to us in Poland, you British don't know when you're onto a good thing..." :)

12 April 2013 at 18:58  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...


Why waste time and effort on a blog you don't care for? Seems strange to me. That Cranmer said he took Mass in Rome a couple of years ago, what a shocking 'revelation'.

Now we all know in the Roman Catholic fundamentalist worldview, that you are not a Christian if you are not a Roman Catholic, but that's not how others see it, right old chap?

In other news, Syria slaughters its own people...

12 April 2013 at 19:00  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Roman Catholic fundamentalists aren't having the best of times at present anyway, since without exception they aren't happy about the new Pope - at least the ones posting on blogs aren't. Mind you, the liberals aren't happy either because the man is doctrinally conservative. Which means all the rest of us sitting in the middle think that anyone who can get those two sides to agree on anything is probably the right man for the job :)

12 April 2013 at 19:13  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia - (or is it Tiberias?)

Poland, eh? A very fine nation, madam. A country that appreciated Margaret Thatcher, embraced her and would have treasured her.

(Ps - yes, but access to an on-line thesaurus wouldn't explain this character's superior command of grammar over that of said flightless bird.)

12 April 2013 at 19:27  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Tiberias is an incorrect masculine form, dearest flightless bird. :)

My apologies for the comparison to our other rather vocal Catholic friend. I never saw much wrong with your grammar or vocabulary, only with your ability to walk away from the keyboard and have a nice cup of tea when things got heated :)

And that's my English side speaking. The Polish half would have suggested vodka :)

12 April 2013 at 19:32  
Blogger Peter D said...

Ssssshhh .... Sister Tiberia! The poor bird was cut up and thrown on a barbacue by the heartless Inspector.

And Irish whiskey is my tipple.

12 April 2013 at 19:37  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Sister Tiberius,

To be fair, I have difficult with fundamentalist religion all told. Which is why I am happily a 'wish washy Anglican'.

12 April 2013 at 19:42  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Apologises...Sister Tiberia!

12 April 2013 at 19:43  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I've been called worse, Your Lordship. Many times :)

12 April 2013 at 19:46  
Blogger OldJim said...

I think the Inspector had the best of it when he said that it had to be done, but could have been done a lot better.

It was certainly wrong to accuse the Archbish of seeking to receive the Eucharist purely for the purpose of causing scandal.

Equally, we should aim to be as charitable as possible in our interpretations of his understanding of ecclesiology and of the sacraments.

Let's therefore assume that our dear Archbish is the most ardent puseyite in all the land.

Therefore, Article 31 of the Anglican Communion is no obstacle to him; you need only look at Newman's (in)famous tract 90:

Nonetheless, a consultation of the Roman Catholic code of Canon Law will reveal that:

"If the danger of death is present or other grave necessity, in the judgment of the diocesan bishop or the conference of bishops, Catholic ministers may licitly administer these sacraments to other Christians who do not have full Communion with the Catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and on their own ask for it, provided they manifest Catholic faith in these sacraments and are properly disposed"

So, even if Cranmer were the most High Church Anglican in the Universe, a proper respect for the laws of the Church whose liturgy he was attending would preclude the reception of its sacraments.

It is precisely for this reason that, though my Church does not strictly forbid it, I should never receive the Eucharist at an Orthodox Divine Liturgy.

If I wished to attend an Eastern Liturgy, I should have to seek out a Uniate Church. If I wished to participate in an Anglican Liturgy, I should seek out an Ordinariate Church. Whilst, due to the retention of Sacraments, Orders, and Apostolic Tradition, the Eastern Orthodox are permitted to receive Communion in a Roman Catholic Mass, there is no equivalent schismatic body in the Latin rite to whom this favour could be granted, because the defections from Orthodox Theology within those bodies are considered too great, even if some individuals within them should show an impeccable orthodoxy on many matters.

If the Archbishop feels that the Roman Eucharist holds some attraction for him, he ought to meditate on why that might be and discern whether a genuine unity can be sought, perhaps within the ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, which would accommodate much of his estimable patrimony; I have met many of the chaps coming over from Ebbsfleet, they are a very welcoming bunch, and it is a great joy and blessing to me to be able to finally share communion with them, as it would be with him, something surely to pray for. In the meantime, there are two Anglo-Catholic parishes in Rome; both All Saints and St Paul's Inside The Walls are reverent celebrations of the Anglican Liturgy in beautiful surroundings.

12 April 2013 at 20:25  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Bear in mind that Pope Francis doesn't approve of the Ordinariate very much.

In addition to Canon 844 section 4 which OldJim quotes above, it should also be noticed that as I said before one must also look at Canon 912, which says that “any baptized person who is not prohibited by law must be admitted to Holy Communion.” This canon is directly related to another (canon 213) which codified the fundamental right of all Christians to receive help from the spiritual goods of the church, especially the sacraments:

"The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the Word of God and the sacraments."

Both canons 912 and 213 use the word Christian and not Catholic as the descriptive of the subject of communion. This reflects the constant theology that the Eucharist is a fundamental right of all the baptized, not only those who are official members of the Catholic church. (Cf. Lumen Gentium 37).

In practice, the law encourages a presumption of the good will and honest faith of the one asking to receive the Eucharist.

One for the theologians here.

12 April 2013 at 20:33  
Blogger John Henson said...

Good grief! These poor brainwashed Roman Catholics are a sad crowd. You have to wonder why they spend their time posting tripe on an Anglican blog. Aren't there any RC blogs to cater for their intolerant certainty?

Thank God for the reformation.

12 April 2013 at 21:21  
Blogger OldJim said...

Yes, canons 843 and 912 begin by laying the default theological position: baptised Christians are baptised into Christ's Church and are therefore to be availed of its Sacraments, unless prohibited by law. Canon 18 is clear that all laws prescribing a penalty must be interpreted as narrowly as possible.

But it's equally clear that laws can prohibit the reception of holy communion; Canon 915 lays out that

Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.

The priest must demonstrate the applicability of this law, per Can. 18, but law it certainly is.

It is in this context that we look at Canon 844, which renders it illicit for priests to administer the sacraments to non-Catholic Christians unless the prescripts of the canon specifically authorise it.

It was in that context that I quoted canon 844, 4.

You can see that whilst 912 creates a presumption that Christians can receive, and 915 must be invoked in order to justify violating this presumption, 844 on the contrary creates a presumption that Christians who have broken communion with the Catholic Church cannot receive, and then goes on to give prescripts that exempt particular cases.

Rather than invoke questions of moral theology, which involve matter, knowledge and consent and consequently the creation of a lot of unsightly windows into the archbishops' soul, I thought the matter was best addressed by appeal to Canon Law.

Because the Archbish may well be a Puseyite with a branch theory ecclesiology and what have you, but it would even still remain uncontroversial that he should seek to obey and respect the law of the church whose liturgy he attended.

And it seems to me that that law was violated.

12 April 2013 at 21:36  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

One really doesn't want to become divisive or be accused of being a fundamentalist, however, really it isn't about presumning the good will and honest faith of the recipient.

It comes down to the Canon Law of the Chuch and the theological reasons for it.

Canon 844 is clear and the 'escape' clauses you cite have to be understood within its broad terms.

§1 Catholic ministers may lawfully administer the sacraments only to catholic members of Christ's faithful, who equally may lawfully receive them only from catholic ministers, except as provided in §§2, 3 and 4 of this canon


§4 If there is a danger of death or if, in the judgement of the diocesan Bishop or of the Episcopal Conference, there is some other grave and pressing need lawfully administer these same sacraments to other christians not in full communion with the catholic Church, who cannot approach a minister of their own community and who spontaneously ask for them, provided that they demonstrate the catholic faith in respect of these sacraments and are properly disposed.

The defining Catholic faith is a belief in transubstantiation and the prohibition is based on: "For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself".

Transubstantiation means more than the Real Presence. According to transubstantiation, the bread and wine are actually transformed into the actual body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ, with only the appearances of bread and wine remaining.

Any baptised person who is not forbidden by law may and must be admitted to holy communion.

Christ's faithful have the right to be assisted by their Pastors from the spiritual riches of the Church, especially by the word of God and the sacraments.

Canon 844 covers both of these clauses.

12 April 2013 at 21:36  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Lord Lavendon. I have no problem with calling non Catholics Christians. And I have no doubt at all that many of them are far better Christians than I. I make my own what Lumen Gentium says in paragraph 15:
'The Church recognizes that in many ways she is linked with those who, being baptized, are honored with the name of Christian, though they do not profess the faith in its entirety or do not preserve unity of communion with the successor of Peter."
But I do so in the light of what the Church says in paragraph 14, also:
"Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved."

12 April 2013 at 21:45  
Blogger ardenjm said...

And this leads us onto Sister Tiberia's remarks.
@Sister Tiberia
You interpretation of Lumen Gentium is fascinating but probably not supported by the text itself - although, as with the Bible, so with the Councils - you can chop it and change it any which way.
More to the point - you copy and paste from a webpage belonging to The Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC) which was founded in 1980 by lay and clerical Catholics in the wake of Vatican condemnations of such theologians as Edward Schillebeeckx, Jacques Pohier, and Hans Küng.
That's fine, of course - although it would have been helpful if you'd acknowledged that. But, now that we know we can at least situate where you're coming from.

But first, this:
"the law encourages a presumption of the good will and honest faith of the one asking to receive the Eucharist."

I'd not really have a problem if this is what Adrian did. Unfortunately, this is not what he did. He didn't ask to receive anything. He took. I don't doubt that he thought that he recognised the goodness of what he took. I therefore ask myself whether he adjudged that he thus had a right to have it. Others, of course, in the history of humanity have seen a good thing and reaching out their hand took it and ate of it....

But now to Canon Law and Lumen Gentium and the "right" that you think it supports for people like Adrian Hilton.
Paragraph 37 does talk of the rights of the laity and of all Christians to the spiritual succour of the Church. It also goes on to say this:
"Let it always be done in truth, in courage and in prudence, with reverence and charity toward those who by reason of their sacred office represent the person of Christ. The laity should, as all Christians, promptly accept in Christian obedience decisions of their spiritual shepherds, since they are representatives of Christ as well as teachers and rulers in the Church."

Please note - if the laity and all Christians have a right to the succour of the Church - so too, the laity and all Christians must accept the decisions of their spiritual shepherds.

Is this what Adrian did?
Did he go to the celebrant before Mass and say: I'm an Anglican but because of my beliefs, the occasion and the place could I receive communion here, today?
If he had asked then I'm pretty sure that 9 times out of 10 a wise priest would have said, "Yes, of course you may."
But, again, that's not what he did - because, of course, Adrian Hilton considers that in his case such courtesies and that kind of humble obedience are really to be dispensed with because HE KNOWS BEST. This is one step away from pride - and is the antithesis of the attitude encouraged by LG paragraph 37.

More to the point - the Canon Law you appeal to on his behalf explicitly states that, "The most august sacrament is the Most Holy Eucharist in which Christ the Lord himself is contained, offered, and received and by which the Church continually lives and grows. The eucharistic sacrifice . . . is the summit and source of all worship and Christian life."

If you can square that circle with the teaching of the Anglican communion on the Lord's Supper you have no need whatsoever to appeal to theologians - you'll have accomplished what 500 years of theology, the Oxford Movement and several decades of ARCIC have signally failed to do.

12 April 2013 at 21:49  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

notes here that the Bishop of her own diocese uses the exemption clause for all baptised Christians during a marriage, christening or funeral, a position discussed and agreed with the clergy of that diocese many years ago.

But it does indeed come down to the presumption of goodwill and honest faith, because no priest is likely ever to know if the stranger in front of him is a Catholic in good standing, a Methodist, a Muslim or an atheist. He presumes that the person approaches with honest intent and faith in the Sacrament. All else lies between that person and his Creator who knows all hearts.

12 April 2013 at 21:50  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

For further reading, both the canon lawyer Father Tom Doyle and Bishop Geoffrey Robinson of Australia have both written extensively on this subject, though I'm not sure how much of their writing is avalable online.

12 April 2013 at 21:54  
Blogger ardenjm said...

Actually, I was quite wrong to say 9 times out of 10 a wise priest would allow a sincere Anglican who appeared before him at St Peter's overcome with the emotion of the visit to receive Holy Communion.

A wise priest would have said: My son - how beautiful. I'll remember you especially at the altar of this Mass and let us pray for your reception into the Church and my deeper conversion to Christ.

As for Sister Tiberia's Bishop:
he just wants that fuzzy feeling that comes from wanting to be liked. "Use the exemption clause" indeed.
Canon 844 is clear for anyone except the most flakey of Bishops.

12 April 2013 at 22:04  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Are you presuming to know the heart of a bishop you have never met?

As well as the heart of the blog owner here?

I think even the Pope would hesitate there...

12 April 2013 at 22:12  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Also notes that the position of the Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church states:

"Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, an hinderer or slanderer of his Word, an adulterer, or be in malice, or envy, or in any other grievous crime, repent you of your sins, or else come not to that holy Table; lest, after the taking of that holy Sacrament, the devil enter into you, as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul."

One presumes that this is likely to be well known to Archbishop Cranmer, given the authorship...

12 April 2013 at 22:15  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Sister Tiberia
You what?
What IS it with this "knowing the heart" stuff?
Follow your logic through to its conclusion, sister, and do some joined up thinking:
Philpott killed 6 of his children.
Did he mean to? Was that the intention that he'd formed and carried in his heart before carrying out the action? Of course it wasn't. Does that mean we must wring our hands and not say that what he did was a terrible crime?
It was a terrible crime! Regardless of his intention. It would have been worse if he had had the intention, of course. But even without it - it was an evil thing to do.
There! I've said it!

And, no, before the histrionics start I am NOT equating what Adrian did in Rome to what this man did to his children. I am using a dramatic example to burst the bubble of the notion that the hiddeness of the intention somehow prohibts us from assessing the moral quality of the action that flows from it.

It don't.

So the Bishop's heart is neither here nor there.
The Church has a duty to ALL in extreme circumstances as Canon 844 says. But even then, even on the threshold of death, the Church gives succour to those who believe they are receiving the Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity of their Lord in Viaticum. Otherwise... why ask for it? Just give them a cookie from the cookie jar if that's what they think they're receiving.

Cue the moral outrage of those who are convinced they have the monopoly of compassion and don't want to ruffle feathers by speaking the truth.
After all, "What is Truth".
You have yours Sister, I have mine, Adrian has his, Pilate has another and Jesus has His. Let's be inclusive! Yay!

12 April 2013 at 22:50  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Christ Almighty, look what these people have done to the spirit of Your word...

12 April 2013 at 23:02  
Blogger Peter D said...


You are so right as was your earlier comment.

Behind all this venom there is an important discussion to be had on these issues. Regrettably, this has become personalised and this chap ardenjm has an obvious antipathy towards the Archbishop and is spewing forth malice. This discredits all Catholics.

"O wad some Power the giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!"

How's the dancing going?

12 April 2013 at 23:17  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I think leaving this discussion here is a sensible decision. At the point that any debate becomes a personal attack, enough is enough.

I agree that there is grounds for a discussion on this at a later date :)

Good night to all, and God bless you.

12 April 2013 at 23:37  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...


What the devil? You equate a non-Roman Catholic participating in your service as being akin to a convicted criminal ??!??!!??!?


13 April 2013 at 00:07  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Lord Lavendon
Strewth. There's no helping some people, is there?

I say this:
"And, no, before the histrionics start I am NOT equating what Adrian did in Rome to what this man did to his children."

And you come out with this:
"You equate a non-Roman Catholic participating in your service as being akin to a convicted criminal ??!??!!??!?"

Thanks for illustrating invincible ignorance, me old china. There's nowt I can do to speak more clearly that this is precisely NOT what I'm saying.
But by this point you see what you want to see.
And in that respect, you're a fine disciple of both of the Archbishops Cranmer.

@everyone else
I'm sorry I've left you with an attack of the vapours.
Perhaps if you all stand around in a circle and chant very loudly, "we know we're right, we know we're right, we know we're right" you'll start feeling better.

As for personal antipathy towards Adrian?
None whatsoever! If anything I think I'd quite like him on a personal level. I agree with nearly all of his politics, I am quite certain also that whatever the Act of Settlement may have been constructed on anti-Catholic sentiment for us now it's an essential foundation for our constitutional stability and those who seek to tamper with it don't do so out of a desire to correct a historical injustice but to pull down the whole edifice. And, lastly, as I said above, I admire his pro-life stance. But yes, as I've alluded to above, I find the constant third person reference to his avatar Cranmer a bit stuffed shirt tiresome, but, hey, that's his thing - or else betrays some kind of cognitive dissonance - but that's between Adrian and his therapist, not me.

Over this particular question of the Mass, however, his behaviour has been reprehensible - above all because he has refused point blank that it could have given any offense.
That's oddly ungracious of him.
In fact, it makes him a bit of a cad. And a priggish cad at that - which whilst hardly criminal, is, well really unpleasant.
He's hardly helped by a bunch of sycophants who spring to his defence over something, which, frankly, if they were genuine friends they'd be saying, "That's not on, Adrian. You went too far there."

In your less partisan moments, of course, all of you, including Adrian, know this full well. It's the internet that makes you recalcitrant - that and this role playing game here in Adrian's online world.
He talks alot of sense - even when he pontificates - but, my goodness, by including that remarkable passage about Lady Thatcher at Mass in Warsaw he really exposed the difference between her gracious nobility and his churlish mediocrity over this.

It's a shame.
Adrian - it's a pity and a shame.

13 April 2013 at 01:49  
Blogger Peter D said...

ardenjm said...

"He's hardly helped by a bunch of sycophants who spring to his defence over something, which, frankly, if they were genuine friends they'd be saying, "That's not on, Adrian. You went too far there.""

Sychophants? You really do like judging others.

If you'd bothered to read the appropriate thread comments you'd have seen that Protestants and Catholics alike challenged this conduct and, for the most part, expressed their views in a polite, yet robust and reasoned fashion.

Can you say the same?

Some of us do still believe that the liturgy and sacraments of the Church reflect and support our theology and must be defended against error. I fear you have not helped this cause by your conduct today. Do think about that.

13 April 2013 at 02:33  
Blogger Tony B said...

Hmm..Mr ardenjm reminds me of someone, that fella who kept banging on about Nelson Mandela. Wouldn't leave me alone. A very similar style.

13 April 2013 at 06:49  
Blogger len said...

Well that`s all been sorted by Mr ardenjm then?.

Not quite sure what that`s all about because of all that' catholic speak'but it seems that even catholics cannot agree on anything even when they have the Pope telling them whats what?.

Thank God for Jesus Christ who was not as exclusive as the Roman system.

13 April 2013 at 07:56  
Blogger ardenjm said...

Hello there. You're not the first person to allude to the possibility that I might be someone else coming on under a different name etc.
I can't prove that I'm not, of course - although anyone connected with the technicalities of the blog will be able to tell you that my IP address is a new one when it comes to leaving comments.
And I only did that because I was looking on the internet for some references to Lady Thatcher's Warsaw experience.

As far as I can tell what also peeves people on here is that, being a kind of historical re-enactment site, I don't use the carefully constructed codes and tags of a re-enactor, and therefore don't join in the game of pretending that Adrian is channelling Archbishop Cranmer (in some non-transubstantial way, of course). But, hey - I'm new here!

13 April 2013 at 09:04  
Blogger michael north said...

ardenjm @ 09.04

I fear you are wasting your time. You have encountered what moral theologians might term "invincible obtuseness".

13 April 2013 at 09:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Ardenjm, it doesn't actually matter who the blog owner is in real life in this instance. As far as I can see, he's using a nom de plume for at least these reasons:

1. As a literary device to give the religious-political blog a particular flavour, and to link the religious nature of it to a core development in the Church of England's history;

2. To create a separation between opinions which may be presented for the purposes of generating debate, and opinions held and owned by someone in real-life which when published may have consequences there.

Think literary device rather than something nerdy or pompous or mystical and you'll be on the same page as I imagine the rest of us are here, including a gay, libertarian-leaning-liberal atheist like me.

13 April 2013 at 09:54  
Blogger William said...


"As far as I can tell what also peeves people on here is that, being a kind of historical re-enactment site, I don't use the carefully constructed codes and tags of a re-enactor, and therefore don't join in the game of pretending that Adrian is channelling Archbishop Cranmer (in some non-transubstantial way, of course). But, hey - I'm new here!"

As you are the only one who has drawn attention to the mode in which this blog is conducted, it would appear that the peevishness on this matter lies entirely with you!

For someone who professes to be new here you seem to have a lot of insight into the motivations behind the comments. Either you are a very perceptive human being or just a bit of a judgemental so-and-so. I guess we will all find out - assuming you decide to stay. Have you got your gaiters on yet?

13 April 2013 at 10:08  
Blogger Peter D said...

michael north said...
(12 April 2013 07:56)

"ardenjm @ 13.47 yesterday, passim
Dead right

michael north said...
(13 April 2013 09:50)

"ardenjm @ 09.04
I fear you are wasting your time. You have encountered what moral theologians might term "invincible obtuseness"."

Ummmm .... a person who wants to stand on the side lines and encourage others to fight their cause.

Perhaps you'd care to help enlighten us and overcome this seeming obtuseness.

13 April 2013 at 10:31  
Blogger Peter D said...


A very good morning to you and I trust you are well.

Heavens above, I had no idea you were a "a gay, libertarian-leaning-liberal atheist"! Can this be true? Nice aliteration, by the way. Does the Inspector know?

Do give our new visitor some sort of a chance at redeeming himself! He's maligned the personal integrity of our host without just cause; alienated traditional and more modernist Catholics alike; and taken a swipe at Protestants.

He'll surely go into meltdown over this revelation of yours! All we need now is for one of our Jewish cousins to question him on his attitdes towards Judaism and WW3 will ensue.

Well, I'm off out for the day and shall not return until late this evening. A family gathering calls.

Happy blogging people.

13 April 2013 at 11:24  
Blogger ardenjm said...

Nom de plume?
Sure, why not. I don't much mind it - like I said - it's between him and his therapist.
As for me being somehow shocked by Dan being gay and an atheist - why on earth should I be shocked by either of those two things? I'm sure his behaviour at Mass would be far more like Lady Thatcher's than like Adrian's - sorry, Archbishop Cranmer, His Grace, yadda yadda.
I'm not much fazed by anything - hence the way I write on here. If you give it, you've got to be able to take it etc.
Still - do feel free to carry on projecting imaginatively what you think my reactions would be. If you've nothing better to do.
"either you are a very perceptive human being..."
Yes, perhaps I am. And a non-conformist who doesn't mind prodding sacred cows on the back side. So let's repeat what brought me here in the first place - and something I think that everyone can agree upon:
Margaret Thatcher's behaviour and understanding at Mass in Warsaw was deeply moving and profoundly true.
And now here's where we diverge:
I contrasted that with Adrian's - sorry, Archbishop Cranmer's His Grace's yadda yadda - behaviour when he participated in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at Rome and, most importantly of all, his subsequent attitude expressed in his blog.
It was shoddy.
But not only was it shoddy - it was also utterly incoherent with the prior commitment he makes as a disciple of the real Thomas Cranmer.
I guess that intrigues me - digging into that - which is why I've stayed around - despite all the locals jeering "yah boo sucks" from the sidelines.

But as @Michael North says - let's hope there's nothing wilful and deliberate in their obtuseness - because it would be a sorry state of affairs if there were.

Mind how you go.

13 April 2013 at 11:50  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Ardenjm: "I don't much mind it - like I said - it's between him and his therapist."

I expect people are wasting their money if they're spending time talking about their normal, sensible use of a literary device on social media.

"I'm sure his behaviour at Mass would be far more like Lady Thatcher's than like Adrian's - sorry, Archbishop Cranmer, His Grace, yadda yadda."

You've not heard about my being a god parent to a child in a Roman Catholic ceremony then? ;)

13 April 2013 at 12:15  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

13 April 2013 at 12:31  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...


If that is not what you meant, why bring in that example. There are plenty of others you could have used.

"Yes, perhaps I am. And a non-conformist who doesn't mind prodding sacred cows on the back side."

A Roman Catholic non-conformist, who doesn't mind "prodding sacred cows on the backside". That's a novel approach. From what I see of other 'traditionalist' Roman Catholics here, they respect/ claim historic tradition, continuity and authority in respect of proofs for their religious dogmas and beliefs....

13 April 2013 at 12:32  
Blogger Peter D said...

It all comes down to the expressions we use and our choice of words.

Uncle Albert
During the war...

Del Boy
If you say during the war one more time, I'll pour this cup of tea over your head.

Uncle Albert
During the 1939-1945 conflict with Germany.

'no whot I mean, like?

13 April 2013 at 13:58  
Blogger michael north said...

Peter D @ 10.31

ardenjm has expressed my attitude towards our host's action in Rome with more fluency, scholarship and keyboard facility than I can command.

I was shocked at the revelation and am a little ashamed of not reacting at the time, but other, noisier, commentators seemed to take it in stride, so I let it go by. Mea culpa. It is Mrs Thatcher's behaviour in Poland that throws the matter into relief.

I only chimed in when the central point was being obscured in a dispute that seemed to have some personal history. The crossfire didn't help, either.

That central point is that what our host did and flaunted contradicts his fervent Anglicanism. I am too old to expect intellectual consistency from Anglicans (though I am delighted when I encounter it).I suspect that ardenjm is a lot younger.

13 April 2013 at 14:16  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

So, it appears that ardenjm is merely in transit as he visits this site. Still, one does believe that ALL of us touched by his presence owe the man a debt of gratitude. He is an able poster and has managed to put us all right in a comparably short space of time. Thank you that man of deep reasoning.

Anyway, the Inspector for one will certainly miss him, when he finally leaves, but any sadness thereupon must be tempered by the hope that the blighter might once again appear and enrich our dull lives with his wit, wisdom, charity and understanding...

13 April 2013 at 14:20  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


I have experienced an interesting dynamic reading your contributions to this thread. Your main point was so well-reasoned I could hardly find fault with it. You are quite right that Archbishop Cranmer should not have taken communion in a RC Mass, and I said as much on the original thread about that subject. But you have allowed yourself to be consumed by pointless condescension - perhaps even contempt. At the end, I was left wondering if your purpose was to argue a substantial case about the Mass or if your purpose was to create a stage on which you might fulfill a rather different agenda. Why did you deviate into diatribes about 're-enactments' and 'therapists?' It only damaged your case.


13 April 2013 at 15:01  
Blogger ardenjm said...

is it a pre-requisite to becoming a groupie of Cranmer's that you refer to yourself in the third person?
What IS that all about?
"Anyway, the Inspector for one..."

still not shocked. Just hope the power of the pink pound allows you to be very generous at birthdays and Christmas (or some atheist festival of your choosing: Christopher Hitchen's birthday maybe).

@Lord Lavendon
Well - I told you why I chose that example.
Go back and read it again. Then engage brain before leaving syntacty droppings on the world wide web. There must be better uses of your time.
As for being a non-conformist Catholic - that was pretty much the state of all Catholics in England and Ireland during the years when it was against the law to be so. Prior to that, of course, everyone was Catholic. Even Archbishop Cranmer. (The real one I mean, of course, not Adrian who seems to have a working definition of a Catholic as anyone who enters the doors of the Church. Presumably they revert to whatever they were before hand when they go back outside. Which would be consistent - for once! - with one version of the original Cranmer's Eucharistic theologies).

@Michael North
I'm in my 40s and some of my best friends are Anglicans. I'm sorry to see what Anglicans have done to Anglicanism over the last 50 years. In fact, if the truth be known, ever since the Lambeth Conference severed the procreative finality of sex and the unitive finality of sex way back in 1930.
But the damage they've done to their own communion is nothing in comparison with what monsters in the priesthood have done to the Church. As for the swathes of utterly complicit Bishops in the process - Pope Benedict XVI was right to call it filth. The Church is always going to be the particular target of the Evil One - it's just deeply distressing to see how many co-operated with him:
But then, "Corruptio optimi quae est pessima", alas. There's not THAT much point targeting Anglicanism, really, is there - although it's no surprise to see authors like Philip Pullman deliberately taking on people like C.S. Lewis who did a great deal of good.

Whilst Cranmer's story from Rome makes from dismal reading Margaret Thatcher's story from Poland, however, fills me with hope.
"And all manner of thing shall be well."

13 April 2013 at 15:20  
Blogger ardenjm said...

point taken. I think by that point I was punch drunk by the surreal disconnect with reason and reality in the replies coming from various quarters.

Rest assured - I really DON'T have any intention to belittle or show scorn - not even for Adrian.
Especially not for Adrian.

13 April 2013 at 15:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

ardenjm, always a pleasure to see you flounce into view. What makes you think this man is a Cranmer groupie ? He’s had posts deleted and been told to shove off to the telegraph along with the best of them...

You seem to enjoy carte blanche in your narcissistic style of self opinionated rational thug. How did that happen ?

13 April 2013 at 15:35  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


If I may be so presumptuous. You also should not have deviated into speculation as to Archbishop Cranmer's motivation. That was well beyond a bridge too far. Charity demands a charitable assumption. You don't know his motivations. Besides which, you created the opportunity for diversion by doing so. Which is exactly what happened. By questioning his motives, you focused attention on your own. If you had simply focused on the case at hand, you would have crushed him. All you had to do was keep saying "Your dispute is not with me. It is with the first Archbishop Cranmer." As it stands, you have vitiated your argument.

Understand that may statements are (somewhat) statements against interest since I hold the unique doctrines of Rome to be a collection of heresy, idolatry, and corruption.


13 April 2013 at 15:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Carl Jacobs, not like you to be ingratiating yourself with your nominal RC enemy. Standards slipping, what !

ardenjm, just your man’s way at 15:55 of saying you should have kept your big mouth shut. But that was never going to happen, was it ?

13 April 2013 at 16:10  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Well, I'll start the ball rolling here with an apology. When ardenjm put up his first post, I made an assumption that this was a new account held by someone who had been previously banned from the blog for ad hominem attacks, and my own response to the post was less than tactful. So, my apologies there for starting an argument that shouldn't have been necessary. (Hey, I'm a woman. Pause here for certain male members of the commentariat to blame it on PMT, and we'll go on from here.) :)

Secondly, Carl put my main point far better than I did last night in his post at 15.55. Disagreeing with someone's ideas is always permissible, we live in a free society (thank God.). Disagreeing with someone's actions - ditto. Claiming to know the person's motivation for the action is where the argument loses the rails, and where my badly put across argument about only God knowing men's hearts comes in. I probably could have phrased that better, but I stand by what I was trying to say.

And as for the literary convention of referring to His Grace in the third person - it's a mildly humorous acquiescence with the blog owner's own self-description. A little like having a friend called Richard who hates the name, and hates the diminutive Dick, and whose friends call him Ricky. We may dislike the name Ricky, and think that Richard or Dick is preferable, but when assembled for coffee in this friend's house, we'd all call him Ricky cheerfully and assume that someone who insisted on calling him Dick was trying to wind him up. Especially in the anonymity of the blogosphere where we can't see the facial expression of the man calling him by another name. :)

Anyway ardenjm, welcome to the frequently energetic discussions in His Grace's front room. Please pass the coffee. Mine has two sugars :)

13 April 2013 at 16:44  
Blogger ardenjm said...

winning an argument and looking for the truth are two different things. But thanks for the tips in trying to do the former. I'll bear them in mind if I ever I give up trying to do the latter.

Just a few thoughts - you can disregard them, of course, since they're pure " heresy, idolatry, and corruption."

We're beholden to make a hold raft of judgements every day: of our own actions, of those of others. Just because we can't fully know the intentions of the agents doesn't mean that we have to become all equivocal in our judgement of their actions. Far from it! The charity you talk about then is in the fact that we don't condemn the person for their "sin". But we can, indeed must, call the action what it is be it good or bad. That's what's going on in John chapter 8 and the woman caught in adultery. Hence Our Lord's "sin no more." The "judgement of intention" clause is used as a slippery way of censoring criticism.
And that's pretty perverse, when you come to think about it.

So I'll say it again. What Cranmer did was WRONG - both in Rome and, subsequently on his blog.
Given the way he resolutely fails to acknowledge that there are ANY grounds for saying that - I have a VERY easy conscience about questioning the purity of the intention that took him to the altar rail in the first place. It might be an unjustifiable retrograde application of pride where there was none - but i didn't lack charity in questioning the original motive.

Because - and here is my second point:
An intention isn't entirely hidden and mysterious - even though it can be if someone really goes to great lengths to conceal it. For the most part our intentions express themselves in the actions we perform:
Cranmer went to the Mass. He went to Communion. He knew he shouldn't have. He then wrote about it.
It's not an assumption too far (and certainly not an uncharitable one) to question his original intention and his subsequent intentions especially when the actions they gave rise to were the antithesis of Lady Thatcher's behaviour in Warsaw.

Moral Theology worth its salt teaches us that in order to know the moral quality of an action you have to know both the intention of the agent who does it and the moral nature of the action in and of itself. But this second aspect is what gives rise to the doctrine of certain actions being wrong in and of themselves - regardless of the intention that inhabits them - the Mick Philpott example I gave earlier is a case in point.
Cranmer didn't act out of ignorance in doing what he did in Rome. He admits as much. He still went ahead and did it. When others remonstrated with him he refused to back down - accusing THEM of moral fault.
That's just nuts.
Moral intention isn't entirely opaque - as I said above.

It then occurred to me that his behaviour was entirely inconsistent with the teaching he upholds elsewhere. Since I was looking for the truth and not looking to win an argument I wasn't looking for the knock out blow - I wasn't looking to "crush him" - how odd to see that in the same paragraph as "the assumption of charity."

If that's somehow vitiated my argument, too bad.
I wasn't playing for the gallery.
Why is it that we can't get beyond the Oxford Union model of debating and end up being reduced to the level of point scoring?

@Inspector General. I'll not insult your intelligence by throwing you a bone. I'm sure you'll find something to chew on in what's written above.

13 April 2013 at 16:57  
Blogger ardenjm said...

@Sister Tiberia
Double espresso, a Rusty Nail and a figurados on this side of the table.

Thank you for the baptism of fire.

13 April 2013 at 17:05  
Blogger len said...

I see ardenjm has sailed through the blog again guns blazing(taken a few of his own down with friendly fire)

Keep your head down folks he intends taking no prisoners.And what exactly is that flag he is flying under?.

13 April 2013 at 17:24  
Blogger Tony B said...


Don't care either way, it was more of an observation than an accusation. As a non conservative non Christian I'm a fairly dispassionate observer of this entertaining spat :-)

13 April 2013 at 17:45  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...


Look I am an Anglican, so I wouldn't agree with the Popeish view of the "Mass". This is not to say I am not unable to respect with charity and love Roman Catholic friends. Personally I do not think a non-Catholic can or should take their Mass. Now to me eating a God's flesh and drinking his blood, isn't my idea of Holy Communion. But if that's what you chaps want to believe, then so be it.

No, if you must know I dislike your rudeness to our host. What has he done to you to justify such behaviour?

I would go so far as to agree with Danjo on the Name de plum and literary device.

Danjo- I see nothing wrong with an atheist-liberal-gay, being a God Parent. One of my family is a gay-Jewish- politically conservative, who is a God parent to one of my great, great grandchildren.

No, the real shocker would have been you declaring yourself as a gay, atheist, liberal, who is also a mohel....

13 April 2013 at 18:17  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...


Well you ask our chap Ardeth Bay, what his views on Judaism are.

There's a good fellow. I feel 'forum chess' is being played here.

Well you ask him on his views then.

"World war three". Now where the blazes has that come from? No-one is going to declare World War Three, until after they've watched 'Dr Who' on the I-player and moaned for half an hour about wanting John Nathan Turner and Russell T Davies to run the show again... (with Paul McGan as Dr Who*).

* William Hartnell and possibly Jon Pertwee are the 'real Dr Who's'. Possibly Tom Baker as well...

13 April 2013 at 18:23  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Sister. Hey, I'm a woman. Pause here for certain male members of the commentariat to blame it on PMT, and we'll go on from here

Dear heart. Any woman who keeps up with this blog, or at least makes the attempt, has this man’s admiration...

13 April 2013 at 18:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

ardenjm, the Inspector is not long back from his constitutional. YOU were the subject of his thoughts, or at least your petty mindedness was. So Cranmer technically broke the rules. What of it. God’s rules or man’s rules ? Think about it before answering so cavalierly. Don’t think of Cranmer as a protestant man, think of him as part of God’s human creation come to commune with God. Think also of what it signifies that this man today, who posts under a religious renegade’s name, found the Roman Mass so enticing, he needed to take part.

And then we have you, our new policeman. Instead of a quiet caution, we have a full blown prosecution with you as judge and jury as well as policeman.

Habeas corpus then. What are you to do with him. Report him to AoC, to AoWestminster ? Circulate pictures of him around RC churches ? Keep ‘em peeled for this heretic who should at all times be denied the Eucharist of Christ, he’s a compulsive attender of mass and unashamed about it ?

Or are you going to continually remind us at every post how YOU feel offended, like some damn child who doesn’t know the meaning of a parental ‘No’.

13 April 2013 at 18:56  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...


Of course one of hard fought the liberties of a British chap is to have his afternoon constitutional.... a bit like that battle of Britain; beer in the morning, fight the hun midday and nap in the afternoon...

Does the Mouse N'Wheel have any ferret racing by any chance?

13 April 2013 at 19:15  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

No ferrets at the ‘Mouse’ Lavendon, but such is the age of the building, the odd rat might be found drinking from the drip tray on occasion.

Still, frequented by good British stock, all the same, as opposed to the other side of town near the ethnic quarter, where these types engage in drug dealing, fencing of stolen goods, and, dare it be said, prostitution. But then again, multiculturism has brought so many benefits to the UK, apparently...

13 April 2013 at 19:46  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Lavendon: "No, the real shocker would have been you declaring yourself as a gay, atheist, liberal, who is also a mohel...."

No way. I may have a short back and sides but it's short on the top too!

13 April 2013 at 20:31  
Blogger ardenjm said...

You'll notice that I didn't once speak of Cranmer breaking the RULES of the Church - and, whilst I did mention Canon Law, it's only after others brought it up and tried to justify his behaviour with it.
As a non-Catholic you don't agree with what the Church asks and neither does Cranmer another non-Catholic. At which point I'm left wondering what metaphor I can possibly use to explain the OBVIOUS.
So let me try:
In my home I put my feet up on the furniture, leave the lights on and help myself to food from the fridge.
But when I go to your home - I just wouldn't do it even though I'm sure you have furniture, lights and food in the fridge that is similar to mine.
But let's just say that I do turn up - and do do all those things.
And then, when someone digs me in the ribs and says, "Hey! Don't do that, you're not in your own home" I get very cross and say, "But this is how I behave in my own home. Their ways are so fuddy-duddy. They shouldn't be telling me how to behave in their home! Who do they think that they are! And look my own home is just the same. As far as I'm concerned, there's no difference. In fact, who do they think they are to tell me not to help myself to what they have in the fridge. If they came round to mine I'd let them do what they like it's entirely unreasonable that they tell me that I have to do things differently at theirs.

Now,does that help?
It's not a question of RULES.
It's a question of crass rudeness - which is what I've said since the beginning. Cranmer acted like a disrespectful oaf. And he carries on justifying himself in doing so - with support from characters like you.
How can criticising that boorishness be possibly conceived as somehow uncharitable, judgemental or mean-spirited? You're walking on your head if you think so.
And how TOTAL the contrast to the mutual respect between Margaret Thatcher and the Polish Catholics.

And lastly, you STILL haven't even begun to try and wrap your head around the key point in all of this: it's incoherent behaviour for an Anglican who espouses fidelity to Archbishop Cranmer to participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - which the real Cranmer called "cannibalism".

And, you see, this last comment of yours is PRECISELY the reason why I react as I do. Let's take a look at it:
"Or are you going to continually remind us at every post how YOU feel offended"
It's not about ME. It's not about MY FEELINGS. My language is ferocious but my feelings are quite calm. But that's neither here nor there. My feelings - your feelings and above all Adrian's feelings have NOTHING TO DO WITH IT That's the point. His subjective feelings were what decided him to disregard the objective teaching of the Church and do what he damn well pleased.
That's selfishness and quite possibly pride and simply unacceptable.
How can you not see that?

And @Lord Lavendon tells me that I am being rude in pointing all this out?
You're having a laugh.
And my view on Judaism? An unapologetic Zionist here, I'm afraid. Do I think the Haredim are in the right, theologically speaking? Of course not. But are the Jews the children of the Promise? Yes - God doesn't take back His gifts. But I pray that my Jewish friends come to know Jesus, of course I do.
What did you expect I'd say?

13 April 2013 at 20:36  
Blogger Peter D said...

Your theological and moral position is certainly clearer now but don't you think you are overlooking your own errors in this? Afterall, regardless of the merit in your case, you set the acrimonious tone, not others. I mean, you just about attacked everybody!

Welcome aboard.

Sister Tiberia
A very understandable mistake to have made given said excommunicated character's former behaviour. On reading the comments I wondered myself what impact they might have.

Lord Lavenendon
No offence meant, old chap. Just trying to stave-off future possible skirmishes. Unnecessary as it turned out.

That's a good man. Keep yourself in good physical shape; very wise.

13 April 2013 at 20:58  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Lord above ! ardenjm, you have to be a barrister at law that man. No other could argue a losing case with such aplomb. By the way, this man IS a Roman Catholic, you idiot, hence his stance !

Have you ever heard of the concept of God’s house, as in a definition of a church ? Note, NOT Roman Catholic house, which this man associates with religious orders and nothing else. You show due deference to GOD, not the man made apparatus that thankfully exists to propel the word of God through the ages. So with that in mind, we find that when Cranmer presents himself at a Catholic church, he does so not in YOUR house or my house, or a Roman house, but in GOD’S house.

You talk of Cranmer doing what he damned well pleased. Well, consider this, a Russian group called Pussy Riot did what they damned well please and OFFENDED the faithful in the process. How the hell can you say what Cranmer did, commune with his Redeemer in such privacy that we only get to hear about it four years later a similar insult to God and the faithful ?

Finally, now look. This man actually appreciates your religious zeal, if we can pass off your exuberance with that word, but there is a problem with your blasted arrogance. Perhaps if you prostrate yourself before a Roman Catholic alter. If anyone present questions you, just say, “I need to do this”.

13 April 2013 at 21:09  
Blogger OldJim said...

Ok, so let's see if I can walk us through this just one more time, and anyone who disagrees can tell me where:


if an atheist takes home a Host in his pocket, it is most natural to assume that his intention is to desecrate it

if a priest publicly living in mortal sin chooses to receive the Eucharist, it is most natural to assume that his intention is to commit a sacrilege

if a Christian layperson not living in mortal sin chooses to receive the Eucharist, it is never most natural to assume that they intend to commit sacrilege.

On these grounds we can then investigate whether sacrilege has in fact been committed; but it remains unclear to me that if we should answer "yes" we should conclude that that was intentional; for that we require reason to suspect full knowledge and consent. In this case I am not convinced that "full knowledge" was fulfilled; because if Cranmer thought it sacrilege then, even if he would choose to do it, it would nonetheless be quite a thing to go around publishing blog posts about it whilst still a believing christian writing to a largely christian audience. What you mean to say is that he knew that the Catholic Church forbid him to do it and regarded it as sacrilege, which is different to saying that he both knew and gave interior assent to this Catholic rule of faith

This is in marked contrast to the sacrilegious priest, who knows exactly the implications of his actions, and different also from that of the sacrilegious atheist, who does what he does not because he has an alternate Christian paradigm in which he places his acts, but because he knows what the Church teaches, takes its teaching at face value and acts with the explicit intention to deliberately violate the teaching: the Anglican receives with the intention of reverence to Christ in spite of the Church prohibition; the atheist accepts the Church's claim to command assent and seeks deliberately to subvert it.

There is a psychological difference in the cases. Likewise, if a child who has played rugby all his life (priest) throws the ball forward, he intends to cheat. If a child who has played American Football all his life (Anglican) sees other children playing rugby, he might throw forward for all sorts of reasons; he might not know not to, he might know but earnestly wish to evangelise the merits of American Football, not understanding the distinct nature of rugby. If a child loathes rugby (atheist), picks up that ball and throws it forward, he is not interested in discussing the merits of American Football, he fully accepts the rules of the game and violates them in order to harm the game. Surely all of that is clear?

13 April 2013 at 21:43  
Blogger OldJim said...

So, now the other argument: you violated the Articles! First, as I've said, I deny that the articles need bear that interpretation, because I have great admiration for Newman and also for Pusey, as for many Anglo-Catholics. It seems to me that this is clearly not the interpretation that they came to make the articles bear (see Tract 90), and I do not regard them as dishonest men.

So what I hear you say is: "By that act, you repudiate the protestant interpretation of the Articles of your ecclesial body!" and so he undoubtedly does. Reception of the Roman Catholic Eucharist absolutely involves the denial of the protestant doctrine on the nature of the Catholic Mass. But I fail to see how a Catholic could say that with the intention of scolding someone. Leave that to the protestants themselves. For us, this repudiation is of itself praiseworthy.

So: I deny that an Anglican must, by virtue of being an Anglican, repudiate the Mass. I affirm that because Cranmer could hold a branch theory ecclesiology he could regard the Catholic Mass as a valid celebration of the Sacrament of Communion, could affirm the Real Presence, and could consequently hold a worldview in which he could receive in a Catholic Church without sacrilege.

So how do I fault him? I regard his reception of the Eucharist as objectively an offense, but can I not impute any personal guilt? Is this all material and no formal sin?

Well, if he holds this Anglo-Catholic Ecclesiology, then it follows that he should respect the laws of the Church. He doesn't need to regard the Roman Church as infallible in order to be bound in this way. It is sufficient that he accept the authority of a Bishop in the diocese in which he is attends Mass. If he recognises this, then he recognises the right and duty of a bishop to deny him communion if he holds it to be necessary. Canon Law stipulates precisely that. In presenting himself for communion, he violated this known canon law, therefore incurring actual sin.

If he does not think a bishop can bind in this way, then he is not an anglo-catholic, and if he is not an anglo-catholic then he violates his protestant faith by receiving.

So: Cranmer committed an objective sin in receiving the Eucharist, regardless of his intention. He also committed an actual sin (involving intention) either by deliberately disobeying the presiding bishop of the parish at which he received, or, if he denies that bishop's authority, by violating the rule of faith of a Protestantism in which he still believed.

But it is not sensible or charitable to assert that he deliberately committed sacrilege,or that he did what he did to with the express purpose of causing scandal.

It is sufficient to say that there was both an objective sin and an actual sin involved. That is not "Liberal Catholicism" or "Catholic fundamentalism"; I think it is what a balanced response looks like.

13 April 2013 at 21:43  
Blogger ardenjm said...

Pussy Riot were protesting.
It was inappropriate, crass and offensive behaviour.
They shouldn't have done it inside the Church.

But neither should they have been put on (a show trial) and sent down for it. Russian Orthodox caeseropapism is one of the most dubious things in the Russian Orthodox Church. They shouldn't have turned it into a political cause célèbre.

I wouldn't have put Cranmer on trial nor sent him down.
What I would have done is come on his blog and demonstrate why he was wrong to have done what he did.
I've done that.

And you know it.

As does he.

But I wish him no ill will - just a lot more truth.
Since he has a hard time accepting it from a Catholic like me - finding me censorious and inflexible - and since, quite manifestly, he cherry picks what he wants from the original Cranmer - since, being a good Protestant, he is his own magisterium - I didn't have much room for maneouvre, pedagogically speaking: I just did a compare and contrast between his own behaviour and the beautiful story that Conor Burns drew to our attention in the House the other day.
And I urged him to think about the difference between them.

All the rest has come about because a gaggle of querellous fans got in a tizzy with me. Oh, that and Cranmer himself trying to do his 'du haut en bas' spiel a couple of times using the same tired tropes that he trots out when faced with opposition.

But I tell you want - you're a frequent visitor to this blog - perhaps you can direct me to the last religious themed blog post where Cranmer says:
"I made the wrong call on this. I got this wrong."

I'd be very interested to read it.

I can't forsee that I'll be contributing much to other discussions really - unless Cranmer is foolish enough to pull the same stunt twice and boast about it on his blog.
I've said my peace.

But I'm sure, as before, I'll come and read what Cranmer says on other issues. Like I've said several times before: I agree with a lot of what he says.

But on this question, yes, I've been unsparing.
I bided my time. I didn't launch in when he related the facts a few months ago. As the Lord says, "Vengeance is mine. I will repay." It wasn't the right time. I would have spoken from anger. I would have lacked charity.
My conscience is clear that I've done neither since commenting on here.

Cranmer wields influence.
He should have been setting the example that Lady Thatcher so beautifully set in Warsaw.
He did the exact opposite.

Let her behaviour become his own and I shall readily stand up on that Dread Day and say, "here was a true friend of the Catholic Church and a far better Christian than I."

I'm done.

Pax et bonum.

13 April 2013 at 21:49  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

OldJim, Cranmer offended Roman Catholic orthodoxy. He did NOT offend God. Where do you put your money ?

13 April 2013 at 21:53  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

It's an interesting side question, that given the decline of weekly Confession (and indeed the inability of many parishes even to offer it to more than a few people given the falling number of priests), how many Catholics weekly receiving Communion are actually in a "state of grace" by the strict letter of Canon law. Probably very few.

Certainly looking around my own church, I can guarantee that 80 percent of the adult congregation are ignoring Humanae Vitae and using some form of reliable contraception, based on the size of most families :)

13 April 2013 at 21:59  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

ardenjm, well you’ve said your bit, and this man has said his. Are you any the wiser, one wonders, but we’ll leave that as a rhetorical question.

The Inspector hopes you might hang around for future posts. You are an interesting, if stubborn, fellow. God alone knows how you would comment on the pressing issues of our time which the blog host throws us...

Au revoir...

13 April 2013 at 22:01  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Sister T, ignoring Humanae Vitae is a bloody good idea if Catholics don’t want potential children number four onwards taken into care due to insufficient means to raise them. Sure you’ll agree when YOU think about it, and not rely on Paul VI ‘efforts’. (God understands, even if you don’t...)

13 April 2013 at 22:25  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Inspector, it was never an issue for me, given that fertility problems and a string of miscarriages made me profoundly grateful for the one son that I did manage to bear.

I have had many differences of opinion with the Church at one point or another, but certainly no spiritual crisis of mine was ever prompted by Humanae Vitae :)

13 April 2013 at 22:29  
Blogger OldJim said...


what you mean, surely, is that the archbish didn't necessarily break any fixed Divine Law.

And you're right; the Divine Law states that it is acceptable to God for any baptised believer who has no unconfessed mortal sins and a lively faith in the Real Presence to receive.

But on the other hand, a man who pirates an E-book doesn't break a fixed Divine Law either.

The Divine Law states that a man shall not steal; in the old system an author would be paid for a work by a patron and others would be free to make copies; making copies didn't harm anyone.

But because an author now earns his living by being paid by members of the public who gain copies of his work, a man who pirates deprives an author of his wages. Therefore, he steals, even though piracy isn't of necessity stealing.

Likewise, the Divine Law requires obedience in matters of faith and morals to those placed in positions of leadership within the Church.

Because Communion is not only a union between Christ and the individual but a corporate joining of all receiving Christians into Christ's body and a living sign of that incorporation, it is inappropriate for Christians separated by schism to jointly receive the sacraments.

Therefore, Church leaders deny Christians in schism from their communion the right to receive sacraments within it - they should receive sacraments from their own leaders until the schism is properly healed.

Now, just as piracy becomes immoral when it becomes stealing, so receiving communion in a Church from which you are separated by schism becomes immoral when it becomes disobedience.

Now, we Romans have relaxed these prohibitions when it comes to Easterns because we recognise the authenticity of their corporate faith life. For complex historical reasons, they are not yet able to reciprocate, and I accept that. I would never dream of disobeying their bishops, who have ministerial authority in such matters, by presuming to receive Holy Communion at one of their Liturgies.

Likewise, we Romans find it hard to relax these prohibitions in the case of Protestants because many of these bodies deny the Real Presence, and even those that do not do so as institutions have a strong contingent who do.

That's without getting into the presence or absence of a sacrificial priesthood.

But if a Protestant feels compelled to receive Catholic Communion, he should think hard in any case: what is missing in his own church that the sacrament there will not do? And since Communion implies integration with those with whom one receives it, what does it say in any case to receive, or even wish to receive, the Eucharist at a Catholic Mass?

Careful meditation on these questions would do much more good and prove much more fruitful than presuming a right to receive, especially when that involves known disobedience to the Church, which is Christ's Body.

13 April 2013 at 22:31  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Agreed OldJim, what is it that is missing in Cranmer’s church that he seek communion in the Roman.

The Inspector expects to turn to dust in around thirty years time. Just take your family history and add two or three years for your own date. He watched a good friend in her death bed writhe around semi conscious with terminal cancer. She refused to resort to the morphine administrator as her daughter had yet to arrive to be greeted, if greeted is the word. What immediately struck the young Inspector at the time was how much toss Christ’s divided church means at this stage of existence. Well there you have it. The woman was received into Christ’s kingdom, she was a good soul.

That kind of experience stays with you, you know...

13 April 2013 at 23:19  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

What does the Church you are a member of teach?

Given a choice, who would you go to for confession - Father Pio Padre or Father Tom Doyle? One is a Catholic Saint. The other has taught beliefs which, in my opinion, cause confusion at best and risk endangering souls.

The Catechism is clear on what constitutes sin so grave that it offends God to the extent that Grace is killed in the soul and forbid's Communion. One such sin is knowing and wilfully using contraception in defiance of Church teaching. It also makes clear the path back to God and His Grace through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. There sorrow for sin is expressed to Christ; a firm desire to avoid future sin is stated and then pardon through God is granted.

What a wonderful Sacrament! And what a terrible scandal it is falling into disuse. This has, in turn, helped undermine the awe and reverance owed to the Real Presence of Christ.


Not a Catholic view, as you well know. You casually demean and scorn a core Catholic teaching in this way, and the theology it rests on. At the same time you affirm your faithfulness to the Church, implying this gives your views credibility. This is very questionable conduct indeed. In the light of your superior intelligence and thorough knowledge of the issues, ignorance can be no excuse for such defiance.

13 April 2013 at 23:25  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Frankly, I wouldn't choose either :) But I was commenting that there has been a major decline in Confession in Western countries, and it isn't all down to poor catechesis. My own parish priest says that with four elderly priests responsible for ten parishes now they couldn't offer it to everyone weekly no matter what happens. This isn't a situation that is going to get better.

Not to mention the problem of confessing a sin such as contraception where there is no likelihood that the situation of a family the following week will be any different.

Frankly, a huge number of Catholics have made a decision within their own conscience about contraception and as I said, are ignoring Humanae Vitae. Which it should be noted was not only never an infallible teaching, but Pope Paul refused to condemn the 70 theologians who spoke against it, saying that they had a right to their own consciences in the matter...

It wasn't an issue for me for other reasons. But the topic I was bringing up wasn't really to do with contraception, but to the fact that very few of those receiving the Sacrament on a Sunday would be considered to be receiving it in a licit manner if chapter and verse of Canon Law is adhered to.

But if we let this argument get into the issues of the "sins of the pelvic region" then we're going to be here all night, and won't have an agreement by the morning. :)

13 April 2013 at 23:40  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

"Humanae Vitae. Which it should be noted was not only never an infallible teaching but Pope Paul refused to condemn the 70 theologians who spoke against it, saying that they had a right to their own consciences in the matter..."

Exercising theological expertise and using their consciences in the process, is not a matter for censure. Why would it be? Having submitted their opinion to the Church, for whom they undertook the task, and then openly contradicting the Magisterium and the Pope, would be.

You also confuse an ex cathedra infallible statement by the Pope with an encyclical that affirms the infallible teaching of the Magisterium. It's the same position in respect of the ordination of women to the priesthood. That question is settled too.

I recognise the views outlined above places me in the more 'Traditionalist' camp and many fine arguments can be marshalled by theologians in the 'Liberal' wing.

Pelvic matters have become pelvic politics in the latest internal struggle within the Church. It has been going on since Penetecost.

All I can say about others receiving Holy Communion is that I don't dwell on this at Mass. I prepare myself for this great gift of love. Those times when I have been aware of grave sin on my part, and there have been too many times, I have always sought out a priest for confession and would not dream of taking the Eucharist without having done so.

14 April 2013 at 00:07  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D, put this man down as an advisor to the pope. Stay out of married Catholics bedrooms. The RC church didn’t bother with that area until recently, what the hell changed to warrant intrusion ?

14 April 2013 at 00:11  
Blogger Peter D said...


Yes, by all accounts Father Pio could be an exacting confessor.

14 April 2013 at 00:11  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Bear in mind also that at the beginning of every Mass we state our sorrow for our sins, and before Communion we state our utter unworthy nature, that Our Blessed Lord should be received within us.

Then we receive Him in gratitude and love, and with utter trust in his mercy.

And I dislike the labels of Traditionalist and Liberal, since too often I find myself sitting on the fence and agreeing with the arguments on both sides :) Or disagreeing with both, equally often.

14 April 2013 at 00:12  
Blogger Peter D said...


I couldn't possibly recognise you as an advisor to the Pope. By your own admission you rarely read the Bible, don't consult the Cathecism and, to top it all, haven't read Humanae Vitae. All the answers to your questions lie within their pages.

Once you've informed yourself better you'll understand some see a fault line in the Church to exploit to promote a whole modernising agenda. A number of other issues tend to coalesce around it - greater acceptance of homosexuality, fertility rights for women, and female priests.

However, should you still hold the same views then submit your considered and reaearched views, in writing, to your Bishop and ask for an audience with the Pope.

14 April 2013 at 00:34  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

Yes of course we acknowledge our unworthiness before God at Mass. However, should one have committed a grave offence, such a general confession does not provide the absolution the Church teaches is necessary.

Do you accept there is such a thing as being in a state of grave or mortal sin? As unbelievable as it is, I once had a parish priest who denied there was any such definition. Before you know it, people will be openly teaching universal salvation and the non existance of eternal damnation.

Can one sit on the fence in this struggle within the Church?

14 April 2013 at 00:41  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D. This man has read humanae vitae and didn’t think much of it. As for “greater acceptance of homosexuality, fertility rights for women, and female priests.” being associated with that document, absolute bullshit, and you know it.

Look pal, the sun doesn’t travel around the earth anymore. Hasn’t done since Galileo’s time. What does that tell you ?

14 April 2013 at 00:54  
Blogger Peter D said...


I didn't make myself clear. Resistance to the teachings of Humae Vitae and denying its authoritative status, tends to be associated with the other issues I mentioned.

14 April 2013 at 01:17  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I accept the states exist. Like many within the Church I have also had to somehow retain faith in a God who is more merciful than the more rigid members of his thoroughly fallible Church. As I believe Cardinal Hume once said "God's love and mercy are far greater than his justice. If he was only just, we would all be in trouble"

I intensely dislike and distrust the phenomenon of "creeping infallibility" and I consider there to be little justification for it, theologically or historically. So in that sense I lean towards the more liberal side of my Church. But I'm far from alone in this concern, bishops and cardinals have raised the same points.

And we seem to be getting a long way now from the original topic :)

14 April 2013 at 08:48  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I can entirely believe that the Pope, under certain circumstances, speaks infallibly by the gift of the Holy Spirit. I also think that the "infallibility" of the ordinary Magisterium is being misused by many members of the Church including those in high places as a means of stifling discussion, and it is failing significantly to do so. If you prodded hard enough at the minutiae of my personal beliefs you would sooner or later get to unorthodoxy somewhere. It is not a game I ever get into with a traditional Catholic because from personal experience what tends to happen is once the unorthodoxy is found, it is then used as a weapon to ignore anything further one wishes to say, while dismissing the speaker as a "liberal".

Sorry, Dodo, this isn't a personal attack at you. But it's a game with no winners, and on that basis, I won't play it.

14 April 2013 at 08:58  
Blogger DanJ0 said...

Tiberia: "But if we let this argument get into the issues of the "sins of the pelvic region" then we're going to be here all night, and won't have an agreement by the morning. :)"

Perhaps the pope should create a special religious something called a 'subjective disorder' next so that people can either beat themselves up or feel better about themselves, depending on whether they realise that it's all just consensual sex at the end of the day. :)

14 April 2013 at 09:33  
Blogger John Magee said...


Don't you think the Church entered our bedrooms when it made marriage a sacrament a very long time ago?

14 April 2013 at 10:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

John Magee. Why not let the church choose your wife for you, or at least approve your choice. We could have a new ceremony ‘pre nuptial’ where the priest would judge as to whether the match is valid in the eyes of the church. On rejection, the sobbing girl would be led away as prayers are said for all. On acceptance, the happy pair would be given a crucifix and a couple of candles for mounting above the marriage bed, to be lit during the act of congress.

Remember, it was Dodo who opined there are three present as the business is conducted, the most important party being God himself...


14 April 2013 at 10:47  
Blogger len said...

This( rather boring) 'discussion'(for want of a better word) seem to illustrate the difference between' religion' and 'relationship'(with Christ)

Religion is about 'rules'.Follow this don`t do that.Religion actually doesn`t need Christ at all!. What religionists have to do though is follow the' rule book'.Religionists will never of course put it this bluntly but this is basically true.Of course 'religionists'pay lip service to scripture but have moulded scripture to fit in with their religious concepts.

Seems that religion has little to do with 'love' but more with keeping or breaking 'rules'.

What I am surprised at is that any Christian would want to enter any Church that owed its origins to a 'blending' of Christianity with pagan religions (this is well documented about the origins of Catholicism.)
The Pope actually announces what and who he is ' vicar of Christ' comes from the Greek Vicarious Christi. Vicarious Christi literally means anti-Christ.
So far from' going into' a Catholic Church one should be 'coming out of her'.

14 April 2013 at 11:08  
Blogger Hannah Kavanagh said...

Well it is refreshing to hear that there are Zionist Roman Catholics out there...

14 April 2013 at 12:12  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

Fair enough and we have, I think, covered all the significant issues. For me, this isn't a 'game' either and I think we are in a period of great challenge in our Church. I wish you well as you explore these matters further.

Just to let you know, I am a 'traditional' Catholic when it comes to matters of faith, morals and the authority of the Church. And I acknowledge many points have become 'politicised' and reflect a power struggle. On the other hand, I am more 'liberal' about matters such as the liturgy and, possibly, governance issues.

I'm hoping we have a new Pope who is orthodox and who will combine authority and the need for Church discipline with greater simplicity.

Apologies to others on here for a very Catholic discussion having dominated this thread.

14 April 2013 at 13:06  
Blogger Peter D said...


Good afternoon.

A certain flightless bird wants me to convey his apologies to you for his past conduct, most especially the ad hominem he engaged in. He has been "regenerated from above" and sees the error of his ways. Whilst he remains staunchly oppossed to your views and opinions on the Catholic Church, and what you loosely term 'reigion', he accepts there is a Christian way of conducting oneself in discussions.

14 April 2013 at 13:44  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Understood, Peter D, and as I said, I really didn't want it to sound like an attack on you. I do consider that the new Pope we have who from all appearences is dotrinally conservative and pastorally kind is the best chance the Church has had in many years to bring all its squabbling children back under one roof. He is in my prayers daily.

Take care and God bless, and also my apologies to anyone else who thinks the Catholics tend to do nothing but argue around here, and I am surely as guilty as anyone of that :)

14 April 2013 at 14:00  
Blogger carl jacobs said...


winning an argument and looking for the truth are two different things.

They certainly are.

I'll bear them in mind if I ever I give up trying to do the latter.

Oh, please. Quit posing. You didn't arrive at this weblog as a 'seeker of truth.' You arrived as a committed apologist for a particular point of view. Every post you have made has been intended to win an argument.


14 April 2013 at 14:18  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

14 April 2013 at 16:55  
Blogger OldJim said...

p.s. Sister Tiberia

I would consider myself to be a "liturgical traditionalist" as well as a theological one, but I for one was never upset with the choice of Bergoglio. We're not all members of Rorate Caeli!

And you know, the online views of traditionalists can be quite fickle things. I direct you, for your amusement, to this article from 2003:

14 April 2013 at 19:47  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I've tried to avoid reading Rorate Coeli and Father Z's blog recently, because of a tendency to indulge in some unseemly gloating at the wailing and gnashing of teeth going on - would rather not have to add "constant schadenfreude" to the next list of sins I need to repent of :)

One does have a bit of a tendency on those blogs to think that certain catholics see Obedience To The Pope as one of the highest virtues until they get a Pope who says something they really don't like...

Will now go and read your link, I could do with some cheering up.

14 April 2013 at 20:48  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

HG has never said that he was aware that receiving the Eucharist as a non Catholic was the ultimate offense to Catholicism.
Even if he was unaware it is unlike that an apology would ever be made.This is an anti Catholic blog.

I can only presume that HG announcing this to the world wished to indicate his utter contempt for the Catholic religion. He has a right to do so and because of his belief in free speech allows Catholics to post on his Anglican blog.

But far worse is the approval of this act by the inspector who is one of those disgruntled Catholics who have hatred of the Church and seek to undermine it .

Sister Tiberia in an attempt to undermine Peter D, as assuming the id of ardenjm is attempting to cause trouble again as Peter D is the only reliable regular Catholic apologist on this blog.She also knows there is no such thing as a liberal Catholic church . This is Anglicanism.

The whole premise is the unchanging base of faith and morals.The 80% of her congregation who are attending communion and are living in defacto realtionships ,using contraception living,having premarital sex should not be doing so.They cannot change the Church's teachings no matter what pressure they exert.If they do it will no longer be the Catholic Church.

Why am I here? Well firstly it was to clear up some common mis understandings about Catholics e.g idol worshipping, saint worshipping,cannibalism belief etc. However I soon realised that certain Protestants cling to these beliefs regardless of what is explained to them so there is no point in a debate.

Secondly to support Catholics like ardenjm and Peter D both interesting erudite and knowledgable Catholic apologists who speak with conviction and truth, unafraid of the vitriolic attacks that they are going to encounter.

I do hope that ardenjm will return and defend his faith.

15 April 2013 at 00:52  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...


HG has never said that he was unaware that receiving the Eucharist as a non Catholic was the ultmate offense to Catholicism.

The 80% of her congregation who are attending communion,if they are living in defacto relationships, using contraception,
having pre marital sex should not be doing so.

15 April 2013 at 01:04  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Cressida. A fellow the Inspector’s age takes comfort in routine and stability. So you can image how reassured he is to find your usual hyperbole.

Anyway, let’s get down to it. It’s all about context, old girl. Cranmer has convinced this man that he took the host in all humility and not as part of the usual protestant, well, protestation. That’s good. This man understands that devouts as yourself would find this upsetting. Now, the Inspector is not averse to imagining what Jesus would do / say in a situation. Can you imagine Jesus saying to Cranmer, as your man left for the alter rail, “Don’t even think about doing it”. No, neither can the Inspector.

Cranmer is a protestant, that’s for sure. But is he as anti catholic as when he set out as a blogger those seven years ago ? Catholic suspicious, yes, and especially when the raison d’etre of the EU is concerned. But would he leave the room if you or this man walked in ?

Feel free yourself to send the man packing, but do take the time to think how Jesus would respond...

15 April 2013 at 19:18  
Blogger Peter D said...


You should revisit the article in question and then slowly read through the posts of ardenjm and OldJim.

In his article Archbishop Cranmer acknowledged there are "diverse beliefs about the sacrament or mystery of the bread and wine".

He then outlines his understanding of why Catholics hold they and other Christian groups cannot share the Eucharist. We have different theologies about the Mass and about Holy Communion. For these reasons the Catholic Church has closed Communion and sets out conditions for the good of its own members too.

One has no reason to doubt: "As he approached the altar to receive the Host, he knelt and thanked God for feeding him."

As a private act, if he felt compelled to receive Holy Communion, and understood and accepted the Catholic theology about the Mass and the nature of the Eucharist, it may be understandable. It is unclear if he did.

However, as pointed out on the original thread, and again here, he knew he was acting contrary to the Canon Laws of the Church and to that extent it was not an ecumenical act of Christian unity.

He concludes his article by saying:

"This post is not a disputation on Transubstantiation: it is a plea for the church that calls itself Catholic to welcome Christians of all denominations to participate fully in the Lord's Supper, should they themselves wish."

In fact, I would say, it is an implicit disputation about the authority of the Church, the nature of the Mass, the nature of Communion and the role played by the Sacraments in salvation.

He ends:

"Your Holiness, tear down this wall of transubstantiational dogma." This would be tantamount to tearing down all of Catholic theology!

What would Jesus say? I really don't know. However, a Catholic would say Jesus has given His answer when He said to Peter:

"And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."

And when He said to all the Apostles:

"Peace be to you. As the Father hath sent me, I also send you. When he had said this, he breathed on them; and he said to them: Receive ye the Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained."

15 April 2013 at 20:12  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

A difficult one Peter D, but when we appear before God naked, are we not all Christians. So Cranmer has this thing about transubstantiation. Well, for that matter, so does the intellect of this man. There is much out there this man just takes as dogma, the trinity, transubstantiation. You see, he lacks the mental ability to come to terms with it. It’s more faith than physics.

Anyway back to “Christ Almighty, look what these people have done to the spirit of your word”

Does God expect us all to be theologians ?

15 April 2013 at 20:27  
Blogger michael north said...

OIG @ 20.27

God doesn't expect us all to be theologians. He does expect us to follow those he authorised to carry on the work of his son. That is the Church.

Since the topic seems to be still alive, I have to say that the image that flashed in my mind when our host told us of his Roman exploit was of Jadis, the White Queen in one of the Narnia books ("The Magician's Nephew", I think) climbing over the wall of Aslan's garden to steal an apple.(I think it was illustrated.) She didn't use the proper entrance.

15 April 2013 at 20:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Chaps, this man felt the sun on his back today. It’s just as strong today at this time of the year as when the sun when round the earth....

15 April 2013 at 21:20  
Blogger Peter D said...


Ummm ... you didn't happen to see any comets on your walk, did you? Galileo got that one wrong.

If you don't have a rudimentary understanding of the doctrines of your faith how on earth can you consent to them?

Anyay, not terribly sure what your man Galileo has to do with the nature of the Priesthood, the Sacrifice of the Mass and the nature of the Eucharist unless you're proposing a scientific experiment of some sort.

Of course, you'll know all about the long established Catholic principle that the Bible is not intended to expound scientific theory and where it conflicts with common sense should be read as allegory. Not easy at the dawn of science and the scientific method, old chap.

And no doubt you'll also know Catholic scientists were major contributors to the development of the modern understanding of evolution and genetics. The writings of Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and Gregor Mendel will be on your bookshelves next to the Bible, the Cathecism and a collection of significant Encyclicals.

15 April 2013 at 22:55  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D. If the Inspector, in his infinite wisdom, has it wrong and is going to be rewarded with Hell, perhaps you could intercede on his behalf. Ask the Almighty to switch him off on his death. If that’s the way the game is played, he would rather have nothing to do with it. Heaven or Hell.

15 April 2013 at 23:14  
Blogger Peter D said...


My good man, you eternal future, , rests in your own hands, assisted by freely given Grace.

My advice, if you really want it, is to learn a bit more about your faith and do stop mouthing off in an uninformed way. A blog you'd enjoy and find very amusing and instructive, me thinks, is: Mundabor.

Catholicism is not the same as supporting a bloody football team!

16 April 2013 at 00:15  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

When you go to St Peters or Notre Dame ..there is an announced request that non Catholics do not line up to receive Communion. It is a question of respect for the religion.

I would never enter a Hindu temple without a temple scarf.Do I think
the earth will swallow me up if I do? No, but it is out of respect for another's belief.

Inspector, you know the sgnificance of the Eucharist..Cranmer may not. I still can hardly believe you are making excuses for him . As for me being a devout Catholic..well I am probably more devout than you are which does not make me so.

You already know I cannot be in communion with the Catholic Church because I am divorced and living with an Anglican... even if I personally think I am not the worst sinner on the planet for doing so and should not be branded with an iron on my forehead as a scarlet woman....I still respect the religion of my forebears enough not to desecrate it by taking communion which is something that cannot be said for a large percentage of Catholics who do so.

The Anglican Church in your belief system Inspector is a devout Christian prayer group...nothing more. The Mass can never be made by its priests.Their
Bishops are not of the Apostolic succession. If you do not believe in this...Why call yourself a Catholic when you know this a core stuff!

16 April 2013 at 00:53  
Blogger Peter D said...


I think you're underestimating yourself. I really do. As I recall some months ago you described a very profound awe and respect for Holy Communion as the very body and blood of Our Lord. So profound, indeed, you expressed the view that no person was worthy of receiving. This is true in that it is a great gift from Christ and we all fall short of perfection. It is this awe, I think, that makes you understand the Eucharist cannot, in good faith, be taken by those the Church regards as being in a stste of grave sin and not just respect for the institution and its rules.

Not to take Communion in this situation is, I think, as much an act of faith as receiving it would be an act of sacrilege. Maybe one day circumstances will allow you to be in full communion with the Christ once more. Until then I would recommend shaving your head on a regular basis rather than branding yourself. This is enough to announce you are a scarlet women. Do go to Mass when you can and accept the Priests blessing and interiorly accept Christ into your heart.

16 April 2013 at 02:43  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...


"You already know I cannot be in communion with the Catholic Church because I am divorced and living with an Anglican... even if I personally think I am not the worst sinner on the planet for doing so and should not be branded with an iron on my forehead as a scarlet woman....I still respect the religion of my forebears enough not to desecrate it by taking communion"

Now, here I can entirely understand where you are coming from and respect you. Having had times in my life where I also considered myself unable to take the Blessed Sacrament, I honour you for this, and hope that the time will come when it will not be this way for you.

And I also agree with you and Peter D that there is no human on this earth worthy of receiving Our Blessed Lord in this manner.

16 April 2013 at 08:30  
Blogger William said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

16 April 2013 at 08:55  
Blogger William said...

Peter D

"and ... accept Christ into your heart."

It took a while, but we got there in the end. :)

Your Grace

You may need a subsection for RC matters on your august blog. Still it's nice to see them discussing their differences in a cordial manner. Perhaps your introduction of a Synod in an earlier thread has had a soothing effect on them.

16 April 2013 at 08:57  
Blogger Peter D said...


Catholics the world over believe this. It's not just a question of ritually receiving Our Lord in consecrated bread and wine.

There is a secluded beech and cave I visit at times when I feel troubled or distant from God - or at times when I just want to thank Him. When there I feel Him present and close and walk with Him. I'm in communion with Him and open my heart to Him and His Grace. I wander about, watch the waves and clouds and discover peebles and pieces of driftwood.

This is a private act of worship, outside of the Church and its 'rules' and, in ways I don't understand, can be as uplifting as attendance at Mass - more so at times.

Christ is everywhere and in all things. At Mass we participate in His great act of redemption in a real and tangible way and Catholics believe He is physically present with us and not just in Spirit.

16 April 2013 at 12:03  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Fellows. When his mother wanted of him what he was not prepared to do, or think or say, she would resort to putting the child Inspector on a guilt trip. It was water off a ducks back, such was this man’s intransigence. If you believe for one second this man is going to allow you Catholic laity to attempt the same in matters of the faith, you are surely deranged.

Cressida lives in guilt before God. So she isn’t as perfect as Christ. What of it ? Madam, get yourself to the communion queue and stop wallowing in your own perceived self pity. Join the line of sinners, certainly no better and probably no worse than you.

Peter D. Continue to treat your religion as an academic issue rather than an approach to life if you must. But do allow the rest of us to live our lives in the earthly peace that following Christ’s example must result in. That includes our brother in Christ, Cranmer.

16 April 2013 at 18:05  
Blogger Peter D said...


"The child is father to the man"

What a child you must have been - stubborn and one supposes irascible too! The use of intellect alongside feeling is not the same as an academic approach.

You're adopting a very 'via media' approach which, of course, you are perfectly free to do. However, it is most certainly not Roman Catholic.

Now off to the 'naughty step' with you.

16 April 2013 at 18:35  
Blogger len said...

The act of Communion in the Church is an outward sign of the deeper Communion between man and God.
I believe 'Peter D' has captured the essence of this although this is basically Spirit to spirit.

16 April 2013 at 18:53  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

“it is most certainly not Roman Catholic.”

Peter D, you find the Inspector in mellow mood tonight. So he will not rip into you with phrases like ‘You have a damn nerve defining Roman Catholicism’. And ‘The Pope, yes. You ? Well, what do you think ?’

16 April 2013 at 19:05  
Blogger Peter D said...

Brother Inspector

Now, I thought I asked you to go and sit on the 'naughty step'. Yet here you are again.

Have I defined Roman Catholicism? I'm simply pointing out that as a member of the Church one is required to internally accept certain doctrines and beliefs. Significant amongst these is the teaching on the Mass and Holy Communion. It's all laid out in the Cathecism.

How would you describe a person openly encouraging another Catholic to ignore their conscience and receive the Eucharist in defiance of Church teaching? Would you allow the same leeway to a practicing homosexual? How would you describe a person who scorns at Church teaching on marriage and the expression of human sexuality?

Sounds like you're becoming a 'cafeteria' Catholic who wants to 'pick and mix' what he believes. This isn't the Catholic way.

No Pope is at liberty to unilaterally change the established doctrines of the Church. Truth remains the Truth regardless of the opinion and views of individual Pontiffs.

16 April 2013 at 19:30  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peter D, drop the naughty step shit, will you. Your not up against a self centred homosexual now.

Look pal, YOU need to explore how YOUR take on Roman Catholicism is at odds with the spirit of Christ !

16 April 2013 at 20:00  
Blogger Peter D said...


I thought you were in a mellow mood!

"Look pal, YOU need to explore how YOUR take on Roman Catholicism is at odds with the spirit of Christ!"

Well, please enlighten me.

16 April 2013 at 20:10  
Blogger Peter D said...


My Baptism name is Peter and this my authentic identity. The old bird 'Dodo' has retired and makes occassional visits to a blog not a million miles from here when the mood takes him. I'm sure you'll be pleased to hear he is doing well and avoiding trouble.

I do agree our relationship with Christ consists of a union of our spirit with His. As for the rest, I fear we'll never agree this side of eternity unless one of us converts - and Catholics of my conviction just don't do that!

Take care and I'm sure we'll have discussions in the future.

16 April 2013 at 20:22  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

I remember many years ago an elderly Jesuit on a retreat talking about how to make a decision in good conscience, when your own judgement seems at variance with that of the Church. As he explained it - it's hard work!

You start by studying all the facts available about the decision. However long that takes.

Then you consider - both prayerfully and humbly and preferably with the assistance of a spiritual advisor - what the Church teaches about it. This does not mean blindly accepting it, but seeing whether there is a point of reconciliation between your conscience and the Church's teaching. Often, there is. Initially this point may not be apparent.

If there is still no way to reconcile the two, you pray for guidance.

Finally, you make the decision as best you can, and then wait for God to make his will known. Being prepared at all times to alter your stance should the facts of the case change.

As I said, it's hard work :)

16 April 2013 at 20:52  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well said Sister. There are some of us on this blog who believe absolute obedience to the RCC is a sure way to heaven. One might suggest the RCC is only useful guidance, and that it is to each and every one of use to find their way.

And beware of enthusiastic laity. For PROPER advice, always consult a priest. Those aforementioned proud amateurs don't’ appreciate the harm they do...

16 April 2013 at 21:20  
Blogger Peter D said...


"One might suggest the RCC is only useful guidance, and that it is to each and every one of use to find their way."

Have you discussed this proposition with your Priest or a spiritual advisor?

Do read what Sister Tiberia has written. I think you'll find it at variance with the above.

"There are some of us on this blog who believe absolute obedience to the RCC is a sure way to heaven."

Really? This would be a very unusual Catholic. There are and have been, many fine Catholics who have disagreed with the Church's actions whilst remaining true to the deposit of Faith.

I agree with much of what Sister Tiberia says. However, where I depart from her is that after all the stages she describes, I'd follow the Church teaching if it was consistent with its tradition, and doctrines.

Since we are discussing Holy Communion no modern or revised teaching would persuade me against the beliefs I hold.

Here's what the Pope (a Jesuit too, an order not known for its orthodoxy of late))recently said on matters of Faith:

“How’s our faith? Is it strong? Or is it sometimes a bit superficial?”

“The Faith isn’t negotiable ... There has been, throughout history of the people, this temptation: to chop a piece off the Faith ... (the temptation to be a bit) ... like everyone else ... (the temptation) not to be so very rigid ... But when we start to cut down the Faith, to negotiate Faith, a little like selling it to the highest bidder, we take the path of apostasy, of disloyalty to the Lord.”

16 April 2013 at 22:51  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Peters D. Magnificent and indeed arrogant pride, if you don’t mind this man commenting, as opposed to approving. One wonders why God sent his son to earth, for if He’d had waited a couple of thousand years, you’d be along.

16 April 2013 at 23:30  
Blogger Peter D said...


You mean the words of Pope Francis?

Oh, I get it, silly me. you've no argument to advance so resort to a personal attack.

Well then, one last thought for the night:

"For a Catholic to receive holy Communion and still deny the revelation Christ entrusted to the church is to try to say two contradictory things at once:

"I believe the church offers the saving truth of Jesus, and I reject what the church teaches."

In effect, they would contradict themselves. This sort of behavior would result in publicly renouncing one's integrity and logically bring shame for a double-dealing that is not unlike perjury."
(Archbishop of Detroit, Allen Vigneron)

What bits do you wish to pick and choose? You never did say.

16 April 2013 at 23:57  
Blogger OldJim said...

Excellent advice, Sister Tiberia!

I'd like to place the emphasis on conscience, though.

That is, if as a child I had really wanted a chocolate bar, and my parents had forbidden it me, and I had gone away and prayed about it - nope, still want the chocolate bar - and then considered whether maybe there could be a point of reconciliation between my desires and their instruction - nope, I fancy that chocolate bar - and then discussed with a favourite aunt the nature of obedience and authority, and come to a considered judgement... I wouldn't consider that at the end of it I could now in good faith climb up on the tall chair in the kitchen, reach that top cupboard and nick the chocolate bar.

Rather, the method seems to me to be circumscribed to areas of real conscience. Called-up-pacifist-during-WWII or Sworn-servant-of-a-ruthless-tyrant sort of stuff.

Because in these sorts of instances the Church might very well say that we are ordinarily called to behave one way (Obey your temporal leaders whenever possible! Especially if you've sworn yourself to them, and especially when they're not commanding you to do something directly immoral, which the Church does not regard just war as being) whilst on the other hand our consciences might strongly impel us to take the opposite line ("To kill a man strikes me as gravely inconsistent with human dignity!"; "I cannot give aid, even when not doing anything directly immoral myself, to such a man as this!")

Here, we see that there is a very obvious existential conflict - we sin whenever we willfully disobey our consciences (and if our consciences say "no killing" that means no killing for us, even were the State or the Church to command it!), but we are also called upon to form our consciences according to the mind of the Church, and held to account for failing to do so - and so we would require the exercises outlined.

Whereas I don't violate my conscience by not eating the chocolate bar, no matter how unfair I think its being denied to me might be.

I just want to outline that this sort of thing requires symmetry between the dictates of conscience and the obedience required. My parents only have authority over me if there is some room for them to abuse it - if I vet every decision according to my own lights then nothing worth calling obedience exists. It's only when my parents order me to withhold a chocolate bar from my diabetic brother that an appropriate occasion for a review of the limits of authority is called for.

I'm sure you weren't advocating anything else at all, Sister. It's just that these sorts of exercises tend to get "mission creep" in my experience. It's worth reviewing the situations in which they are applicable.

17 April 2013 at 00:19  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

You cannot possibly be Catholic inspector. What you are encouraging
Catholics to do is totally out of Catholic character.An older man of your age should be very aware of core Catholicism. I suspect strongly that you were never raised as a proper Catholic.

I am not suffering from self pity.
I like my life and do not feel guilt about my situation.That does not give me the right to try to change my religion and flout the rules in its face, to suit me.

I do draw the line at heresy, and you do not.
One of the good things about Catholicism as PD aka JCS:)says is that all Catholics (except apparently you ) know the catechism and no matter if Pontiff or priest state differently, we all have a handle on the unchanging truths of the Church.

We may not like it, or prefer it was not so...but then we have to be grown up to accept decisions that we make and the consequences. One being, that one can no longer be a practising Catholic rather than trying to twist and change dogma to suit our own needs.This has nothing to do with conscience.
Anglicanism caters for this type of outlook not Catholicism.

Only God can judge motives and conscience. An all knowing God is not fooled be self delusion and finely wrought reasoning.

17 April 2013 at 05:01  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Like I said, OldJim, if you're prepared to go to all the trouble listed above, it's amazing how often there will actually be somewhere where your own conscience and that of the Church can get along. Often after a lot of reading and prayer.

But what this allows for is the possibility that such a reconciliation - for whatever reason - cannot be found, and the decision still must be made.

It is no guarantee that the decision you make will be the right one. It's more a comfort that you explored all avenues before finally deciding that on this occasion - after counsel, thought, study and prayer - there is no way in which you can obey the Church in good conscience.

Let's give an example - a very difficult one, coming from the Third Reich.

In Auschwitz, a woman deported there and found to be pregnant was either immediately sent for medical experimentation or gassed. No exceptions.

There were numerous occasions where the camp doctors - many of them Polish Catholics - either did late term abortions or committed infanticide - both absolute moral evils - rather than reveal the pregnancy to the SS and see the inevitable death of mother and child both. These doctors were faced with the most evil choice one can imagine, with no possible chance of saving both mother and child. Under this circumstance, with only the choice of two evils, unable to save both mother and child, they chose to save the life they could. I don't think many rational people would condemn them - or indeed would have any right to do so if not in the same circumstance. Heaven alone knows what any of us would have done, and our prayers should be to be spared such a choice.

But it is precisely because canon law does not and cannot foresee every circumstance, that the Church asserts primacy of conscience.

As Pope Benedict himself many years ago said, long before even becoming a bishop.

"Over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority there still stands one's own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, if necessary even against the requirement of ecclesiastical authority."

Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, 1968

This is itself a paraphrase of St Thomas Aquinas - ""It is better to perish in excommunication than to violate one's conscience." - St. Thomas Aquinas in his Commentary on the Sentences of Peter Lombard

Note that neither of these is a licence to throw out all the Church's teachings and ignore them, and both require the careful education and formation of said conscience, but both accept the possibility, remote though it may be, that there may come a time when the Church's law and the well-formed conscience simply cannot be in agreement. As I said - it's nobody's idea of easy, and it certainly isn't a performance one would go into over something like a chocolate bar :)

17 April 2013 at 07:41  
Blogger Cressida de Nova said...

Good post Tiberia...The Third Reich example is a good one. Chocolate bars indeed!What on earth goes through Old Jim's mind?

17 April 2013 at 11:55  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

That particular quote from Cardinal Ratzinger, as he then was, taken out of context, features prominently on the websites of groups challenging the Church's position on a whole raft of moral issues: abortion, homosexuality, contraception and women priests. It ignores the possibility that individuals may be acting from erroneous judgement and the acts they do, nevertheless, remain an objectively morallt disordered.

Cardinal Ratzinger's views on the conscience are complex and many layered (we could discuss them endlessly) but he was not giving license to individuals over revealed truth or divine law and, I think, saying individual conscience, law and truth will always be in harmony.

In terms of the example given, you've actually suggested a justification for abortion where a mother's life is endangered.

A key principal of the Church is: "One may never do evil so that good may result from it.".

That said, I wouldn't judge or condemn the actions of those particualr prison doctors. Neither would I say their actions were morally right. In the insanity and evil of Nazism, amid the sheer horror of the situation in concentration camps, responsibility for what was objectively erroneous judgment, performing an abortion, cannot necessarily be imputed to those individuals.

17 April 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

As I said, Peter, this process is never a guarantee that a decision will be the right one, only that we have made it to the best of our ability.

I deliberately gave that example as one where there simply is no right answer, only the choice between two wrongs. Unfortunately not the only circumstance where such a choice exists, and where the refusal to choose becomes in itself a choice.

17 April 2013 at 12:18  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

I'm disgreeing with your proposition "there simply is no right answer, only the choice between two wrongs." based on the principle:

"One may never do evil so that good may result from it."

The example you gave counterposed what you described as two "absolute moral evils" - aborting a child or revealing a pregnancy resulting in the inevitable murders of both mother and child.

Harsh as this might seem, if revealing the pregnancy is considered an absolute moral evil equal to aborting the child then there was the option of the doctor taking neither course of action.

I accept this would be the route of martydom for the doctor and both mother and child would die once the pregnancy showed. I also acknowledge its all too easy for me to say this.

In all honesty, I do not know how I would respond in such a situation and thank God I have never been placed in one.

17 April 2013 at 13:15  
Blogger Peter D said...

Where's our resident Catholic moral theologian when you need him?

17 April 2013 at 13:18  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

This isn't a situation where concealing the pregnancy is an option, Peter - these abortions were done because a pregnancy could no longer be concealed and the doctor chose to save one life rather than sacrifice two. Sending the mother away would have resulted in the same double death. Martyrdom for the doctor wasn't a choice and would not have saved either life. Two wrongs. Two evils. No good choice. The whole thing is documented in full detail in Olga Lengyel's terrifying memoir "Five Chimneys" where it is clear that it was a common occurrence

As you say, all one can do is pray never to be faced with such a choice, and refuse to judge the person who was faced with it and made the closest decision to one in good conscience that was open to them.

17 April 2013 at 13:30  
Blogger Sister Tiberia said...

Nor did Olga Lengyel ever say that the decision was morally right - I believe her words were something along the line of the Nazis having managed to make them (the doctors and nurses) into murderers too. I no longer possess the book so I cannot check - it was the sort of book it is almost impossible to reread.

17 April 2013 at 13:35  
Blogger Peter D said...

Sister Tiberia

"Olga and the other women in the infirmary were responsible for the delivery of newborns in the camp. However, unless a child were stillborn, both mother and newborn were sent to the gas chambers. Olga’s companions wrestled with this ethical dilemma and eventually decided to save the mothers by inducing stillbirths.

"And so, the Germans succeeded in making murderers of even us", mused Olga."

If Wiki has the summary correct, then the moral dilema is starker than you suggested. She is acknowledging the decision was an act of murder. Nevertheless, the abortion was the act of the doctor, whilst the murders of the baby and mother the actions of the Nazi regime.

Thank God such situations are exceptionally rare and cannot be used to formulate wider principles supporting the freedom of individual conscience over that of the Church.

17 April 2013 at 17:21  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Look you two decriers, to wit, highly strung woman and that fellow who does a damn good impression of Uriah Heap when it suits him - leave off. This man is just as entitled to call himself a Roman Catholic as you are both to portray yourselves as better than him. But if you get some relief from doing that, portray on…

AND if you are waiting for an explanation as for why this man is not as perfect as Christ and yourselves, wait on that too.

You two amateurs do nothing for the spirit of Christ’s message. You stick to your rules and regulations like the obedient children you would be - this free thinking grown man will be getting on with his life…

Chars !

17 April 2013 at 18:20  
Blogger The Way of Dodo said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

17 April 2013 at 19:51  
Blogger Peter D said...


You're at liberty to believe what you want and to call yourself whatever you choose. However, others are entitled to challenge your opinions and ask if they are consistent with basic Catholic teaching.

"You stick to your rules and regulations like the obedient children you would be."

Comments like this, and many others on this thread, reveal your understanding of Catholicism is, how shall I put this, underdeveloped.

Take this:

"One might suggest the RCC is only useful guidance, and that it is to each and every one of use (sic) to find their way."

Hardly Roman Catholic, is it? More than a slight touch of 'Sola Inpector', what!

And as Uriah might say:

"Oh, indeed you must excuse me, Inspector! There are people enough to tread upon me in my lowly state, without my doing outrage to their feelings by possessing learning. Learning ain't for me. A person like myself had better not aspire. If he is to get on in life, he must get on umbly, Inspector!"

17 April 2013 at 19:54  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Well done Peter D. Your publishing of Uriah Heap’s words reassures this man you have not lost your sense of humour in this religious catastrophe we are embroiled in.

Anyway, the point is, we are put on this earth not to crawl on our stomachs before God. It’s the parable of the talents, old chap. God asks, “What have YOU done with what I gave you” and the hapless son answering “Nothing really, I’ve spent all my time in fear of upsetting you”.

We both wait now to see what Miss Pissy makes of all this. (...Apologies to the Muppet show...)

17 April 2013 at 20:16  
Blogger Peter D said...


Just remember: if you want to gain access to a place, follow the person with the Keys! Religious indifferentism is dangerous and so is seeing the teachings of the Church simply as guidance.

An honest assessment of Catholic teachings will reveal the great peace and happiness that they can bring to our lives - a spiritually rewarding life, not a fearful one!

17 April 2013 at 22:31  

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