Tuesday, 7 February 2012

The Arrows of a Secular and Godless Culture

This is the last throw of the dice for the Church of England's pro-bishopess lobby.

Processing through the streets on the news today, they were headed up by two North American ladybishops who were both retired, and who I believe it is correct to say have both been replaced with men. Whether Anglican, Nonconformist, or of the Established Church of Scotland, parishes the length and breadth of Britain pretty much always make sure that they get a man after they have "done our bit". Clearly, North American dioceses feel the same way.

All of the grandes dames of second wave feminism are either old or dead. The Conservative Evangelicals are the coming power within the dear old C of E. Women clergy's widespread heterodoxy and even more widespread aversion to parochial ministry or even to paid work of any kind, as well as their very high rate of divorce, have all failed to escape widespread, if so far largely unprinted, notice. It is now or never. Frankly, it looks like never.

And even if legislation were passed, all that those transatlantic ladies had to do was win elections. Nothing in England works like that, not even - nay, especially not - the elections. It would only take one person of sufficient social clout within the laity of the diocese under discussion, and any talk of a woman, any woman, could be killed off at the very outset, before any committee had so much as been convened, never mind met. Every diocese contains someone like that. Usually a woman, a hostess with the mostess to ensure that any priestess retains the leastess.

Even the extremely liberal Scottish Episcopalians, who do elect their bishops and among whom the ordination of women has almost never experienced any formal opposition worth mentioning, have never actually managed to elect a woman to the episcopate.

Meanwhile, Fine Gael election candidate John Colgan is seeking to prosecute the Bishop of Raphoe, Dr Philip Boyce, for a sermon delivered at the Shrine of Our Lady of Knock, which refereed to the Catholic Church's being "attacked from outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture". Read that last sentence over again. In the land of Jonathan Swift, all satire has been surpassed.

As, very obviously, has much else besides. Once upon a time, Fine Gael was known as "the Bishops' Party", a sobriquet telling not least for the fact that it was always the more pro-British of the two main parties. Ireland never had a Catholic culture properly so called, but only very high levels of Sunday Mass attendance and an attachment to the Church as an embodiment of Not-Englishness. Now, though, even those have gone.

In fact, as a proportion of the Catholic population, there are now far more weekly Mass-goers in England than in the Irish Republic. What is it for? Seriously, what, exactly?


  1. 'What's it for?'

    Well, what's any country for?

    What's the purpose in life at all?

    What's your point?

    That The RoI should become part of the UK once again because not enough people go to Mass?!?

  2. Your comments on Irish Catholicism are complete and utter rubbish. Never had a Catholic culture or a Catholic intelligensia? What nonsense!

  3. Well, what is going to become of the 26 Counties? It sames faintily ridiculous to keep calling them a republic when their Budget is debated in Berlin before its contents are made known in Dublin.

  4. Shane, name an Irish Catholic intellectual, his or her intellectual work informed and disciplined definitively by the Teaching of the Church. I bet you can't.

    The English names, for example, trip easily off the tongue. The French ones, say, could fill a telephone directory. The equivalent Irish figures simply do not exist.

    And now, anything up to half the electorate, a proportion which still has plenty of growth left in it, is tribally anticlerical, only ever voting for the candidate most militantly of that mind, regardless of party.

  5. David, sorry you live in a fantasy world. Irish Catholicism had a very vibrant intellectual tradition; for a list of great Irish Catholic intellectuals, go to the author's index here. It is merely the tip of the iceberg.

  6. Are you suggesting that a place where only 4% of the population speaks its "National Language" as a normal part of life, not as a liturgical act to pretend in Parliament that it's alive, isn't really a nation? That a nation where more people live, apparently better off, on the territory of the "Ancestral Enemy" than they do on their own national soil, is a bit of a put-on of a nation, that Ireland's independence is more mysticism and blarney than fact? Shocking! Next you'll be telling me that the people of Rome, living next to the Holy Father Himself, aren't always honest and punctual!