Monday, June 02, 2008

Disestablish the Cof E

A motion calling for the disestablishment of the Church of England has been listed in the House of Commons as 666 - the Number of the Beast.
Labour MP John Austin, who has repeatedly tabled Early Day Motions urging disestablishment, put down his latest motion last night as MPs debated scrapping Britain's blasphemy laws.
It appeared appeared on the House of Commons order paper numbered 666, the number associated with the Antichrist in the Book of Revelation. Scholars believe 666 referred to the Emperor Nero.
The King James Bible renders Revelation 13:8 as: "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."
Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester and one of the signatories, said: “It is is incredible that a motion like this should have, by chance, acquired this significant number.
“This number is supposed to be the mark of the Devil. It looks as though God or the Devil have been moving in mysterious ways.
“What is even stranger is that this motion was tabled last night when MPs were debating blasphemy.”
The motion is unlikely to be debated. But momentum for looser ties between Church and State is growing, as the support for the repeal of the blasphemy law illustrates. The blasphemy law favours Christianity and in particular the Church of England.
Although the attempt by Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris to amend the Criminal Justice Bill was unsuccessful, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown has disclosed that he is consulting with the churches about its repeal.

This is a little frivolous but the issues is quite important.
The blasphemy law only takes account of the C of E, Catholic offence is not covered by it, it is a law wiothout any teeth, therefore it is bad law. It marks the special place the State Church has in the British Constitution, it is the "Church by Law Established". Obviously on both accounts the C of E is in a position that puts others at a disadvantage, we saw that in the forced apostasy of the young Canadian woman who married into the Royal family.
Frankly it is unjust.

The problem is that altering the situation will play into the hands of the secularists.


Anonymous said...

Actually, Father, the blasphemy law protects the Catholic religion in what it holds in common with the Anglican, and as a part of the common law it belongs to the nation's Catholic heritage.

As for the "forced apostasy" of Autumn Kelly, it was neither forced nor apostasy. What she committed was heresy, though she could still have married Peter Phillips had she remained a Catholic.

He would have been disqualified from the Throne, but he's far too distant from it to have any realistic chance of succeeding to it anyway.

Archbishop Cranmer said...

Father Ray,

This story is very old - from last January, in fact.

And the blasphemy laws are well and truly on their way to abolition. Ironically, the principal objection came from Roman Catholic MPs and a non-practising Jew. The motion had the suppport of prominent Anglican bishops and archbishops, and Gerald Howarth MP.


nickbris said...

Well good luck to Mr Austin.And while he's at it The Monarchy has got to GO.

We've had enough of Parasites & Pickpockets.

gemoftheocean said...

Well,actually I think Autumn Kelly was just stupid. I don't think it was especially forced. Other minor distant relatives of the Royal family married Catholics and relinquished their places in line without a fuss.

Physiocrat said...

The position of the Catholic Church in Britain is strange and anomalous and full of illogicalities and inconsistencies. The same applies to the British constitution. It is probably best left that way as it means we are outside the system and have managed to survive this way since 1850. If the balance is disturbed there is no knowing how things will end up, and they could be much worse.

As for 666, according to the Wikipedia there are all sorts of explanations and some authorities say it was 616 anyway. I had not come across this weird number stuff until recently - all I knew about 666 is that it was the number of my local trolleybus. When London trams were replaced by trolleybuses in the 1930s, they added 500 or 600 to the number of the previous tram route. 666 replaced tram 66 in 1936 and went from Edgware to Hammersmith via Cricklewood, Willesden and Harlesden. I never heard it referred to as the route of the beast, which suggests that this nonsense could be a recent invention. To bring the important matter up to date, the 666 trolleybus was replaced by bus route 266 in 1962, so you could say that 266 is the current number of the beast. Only now it goes to Brent Cross shopping centre instead of Edgware.

What was this forced apostacy? Was the woman taken into the C of E at gunpoint or threatened with capital punishment?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Not forced apostacy?
The law forces!

Anonymous said...

Regarding Autumn Kelly I'm still trying to work out which saint she was named after?!

And one of my sons is amused to have a mobile phone number which includes 666! He's a good lad really!

frd said...

Michael Petek - I think you are confusing "heresy" and "schism". But perhaps "opportunism" would be a kinder description. Either way, she's formally defected from the Catholic Faith and has therefore incurred a latae sententiae excommunication. Try explaining that to Our Lord at the Particular Judgement.

Physiocrat said...

Nick, Surely the monarchy is the amongst the least of Britain's problems? Isn't it politicians we need to worry about? And the people in places like Oxbridge who fill their heads up with drivel which they attempt to put into practice. Look at the trouble Ed Balls has caused, yet he has been through Oxford PPE and Harvard, and is amongst the brightest and best of his generation. But you would not put him in charge of a whelk stall, and he became Brown's adviser and now his birds have come home to roost.

Long live the British monarchy, say I.

Anonymous said...

David, I don't think I am confusing heresy with schism.

Heresy and schism formally separate a person from the Catholic Church, as does apostasy which is the total repudiation of the Christian faith.

Heresy is committed when a person openly denies or doubts an article to be believed with divine and catholic faith, and it is committed whenever a Catholic becomes an Anglican because to profess Anglicanism is to deny several articles of defined faith.

Since the First Vatican Council it is also committed when a Catholic becomes Eastern Orthodox. It seems therefore that you can't commit schism without also committing heresy, unless you belong to a sedevacantist communion.

It always includes schism, which is the refusal of communion with the Pope and the hierarchy canonically united to him.

Nick, removing the Monarchy is just what not to do! If this nation ever has the good sense to return to God, the consecrated Sovereign as an icon of Christ will have a key role in judging its public affairs and ensuring that they are kept within the limits of divine law. That has been the historic role of the Christian King.

Anonymous said...

If Ireland votes yes to the Lisbon treaty I'm afraid all this will become an irrelevance. The "messiah" Blair has already sold this country to the anti-Christ secularists in Europe betraying his own people. A yes vote in Ireland will put this treaty into effect. National governments will become an irrelevance. Their job will be to implement the laws passed by an unelected body in Europe and to police adherence. Read the Lisbon treaty. It is a blank cheque given to an institution that refuses to recognize Christ or even Europe's blatantly obvious Christian heritage. They are so intent on denying Christ they are prepared to ignore reality. In the UK, I really do not see the relevance of an established Church of England or even a monarchy in the face of this Lisbon Treaty.

nickbris said...

OK Henry,we'll just get shot of the "Local Authority" Parasites & Pickpockets.

Have you seen what they've done to Grand Avenue & the Drive.A criminal waste of money.

Phil said...

There was a time when the Church of England held very similar views to the teaching of the Catholic Church, especially moral teaching. Bit-by-bit, the CoE, as an institution, in a bid to be "nice" and "fair" has dumped these core beliefs and become less than useless (however, there are many good and faithful Anglican individuals who disagree with their church's decline into moral relativism) as means of defending the Gospel in this country. Read some of the liberal clap-trap in the once Anglo-Catholic 'Church Times' to see what I mean.

Anonymous said...

Interestingly enough, the ICEL missal of 1974 puts the Dedication of the Basilicas of Sts Peter and Paul on page 666. I wonder why.
Fr William Young

GOR said...

I agree Ma, if the Lisbon Treaty is ratified, much of this will be moot. However, a "Yes' result in Ireland is not assured. While the hierarchy issued a non-committal statement on it, individual priests are counseling a "No" vote from the people. I would like to have seen a stronger stand by individual bishops.

It is reminiscent of something Pope Benedict said in 1985 about episcopal conferences... Referring to the episcopal conference held in Germany in the 1930s as the Nazis came to power he said: "Well the really powerful documents against National Socialism were those that came from individual courageous bishops. The documents of the conference, however, were often rather wan and too weak with respect to what the tragedy called for."

Plus ca change...

Roses and Jessamine said...

Earlier this year, the House of Lords refused to hear a petition of appeal accusing the BBC of blasphemy in the Jerry Springer: The Opera case. The activist group, Christian Voice, had sought to overturn a high court ruling preventing it from bringing a case against the BBC over the show. The Lords said the case "did not raise an arguable point of law of general public importance".

Christian Voice is a controversial group ~ they call for the reintroduction of the death penalty for murder and believe in a Jewish Illuminati conspiracy theory. In the U.K. and the U.S. they are associated with the extreme right-wing. In the U.S. its members include pastors from 45 denominations. UK members, estimated to be around 600, are undisclosed except for the leader, Stephen Green, who describes himself as "ex-Anglican" but "not a Catholic".

Groups like that do not help the blasphemy debate. Resistance has to come from reliable sources. 10 years ago, a Roman Catholic bishop in Pakistan (John Joseph) committed suicide in protest against Pakistan's blasphemy laws. That sounds extreme to me as well.

St. Thomas Aquinas said: "We should despair of no man in this life, considering God's omnipotence and mercy. But if we consider the circumstances of sin, some are called (Ephesians 2:2) "children of despair" [Summa Theologica]

We have to pray for John Austin, MP.

Anonymous said...

Indeed Fr William. Looking at Paul V1 Hall one could be forgiven for thinking this spectacle a more suitable candidate.

Anonymous said...

On a point of correction, I have been in touch with Christian Voice for long enough to be certain that they do not believe in a Jewish Illuminati conspiracy, nor a Jewish conspiracy of any kind.

In fact CV is on balance pro-Israel.

Roses and Jessamine said...

This is from the Christian Voice UK website:

"Christian Voice is a strong supporter of the state of Israel, imperfect as it is. Those of us Christians who honour the Jewish roots of our Christian faith and the place of Israel in God's purpose will be dismayed to see such disrespect of our faith from such prominent members of the Jewish community." [in the context of a Jewish art collector exhibiting a blasphemous crucifix]

At a news conference in 1978, Robert Grant, one of the Christian Voice founders, claimed that "the Religious Right was a "sham... controlled by three Catholics and a Jew.”

Pro-state of Israel is not necessarily incompatible with anti-Semitism or Jewish conspiracy paranoia.

It's part of that broader Christian Zionist movement in the U.S., mostly Gentile WASPs obsessed with the Apocalypse. Also involved in the funding of several Republican candidates in U.S. presidential elections. They are strongly opposed to a Palestinian state and in favour of a one-state solution to Israel. Zionists believe the Second Coming will not occur until Israel is intact and the Temple of Solomon is rebuilt. Yet most Jews, Zionists believe, are merely props in the apocalyptic scenario as, the Zionist prophecy goes, only an elite of 144,000 will be saved in the end.

If Christian Voice is so legit, why are its UK members in hiding?

Why is the organisation not affiliated to the Roman Catholic Church?

On Easter Sunday this year, were its UK members in Mass and celebrating afterwards with their families and loved ones? Some might have been, some were bellowing out Bible passages from a megaphone in London, clashing with a 450-strong crowd of marching Muslims. The British People's Party were there too ~ the UK equivalent of the Klu Klux Klan.

It's all too easy for minority groups like CV to bandy about the word Christian as a bargaining tool and mask for extremism bordering on neo-Nazism. It doesn't feel right that we should all be lumped together as one Christian voice just because a few decided so.

The Church's voice comes from Rome. There's only one authority.

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