Daily Archives: July 6, 2019

(Law and Religion UK) David Pocklington, “IICSA: Some more legal views: Comments on the seal of the confessional”

  • In summing up the approach of the Anglican Church In Australia, Dr Bursell said that he would not advocate the Australian model “I think it is too complicated and I think that it leaves far too much to the individual who finds other reasons for not reporting, which is why I think that there should be a mandatory reporting, if the priest or anybody knows — has knowledge of or has reasonable suspicion of sexual abuse. Now, immediately one says “reasonable suspicion”, it of course brings in a subjective term. But it is well known within English law and it seems to me, therefore, is acceptable [36/22 to 37/11].
  • He also said “May I also add that the Church of England Faith and Doctrine Commission also says there is no definition of what auricular confession is. It is not just me. So if the Working Party and the Faith and Doctrine Commission says there’s no definition, how can you draw the boundary as to where it starts and where it ends? It seems to me perfectly fundamental. [38/2].
  • With regard to national vs diocesan responsibilities for safeguarding:

I’ve got absolutely no doubt that the rolling out of safeguarding has to be done at diocesan level. I equally have no doubt that the principles, the training manuals, whatever you want to call it, must be done at national level, because I’m aware, within the last ten years, of a Diocesan Safeguarding Officer saying, “I don’t agree with what the national churches say. Therefore, I am going to give different training”. That’s not good enough, because an individual does not know better than the whole, certainly in this regard when it has been properly rolled out. I accept that a lot of the guidance is a little opaque sometimes.” [44/14]

  • This guidance is written in the language of the safeguarding professional, just as lawyers write in legalese,” but it is a question then — all right, the safeguarders understand it. It may be that the senior end of the church understand it, though not always. I refer in my witness statement to a bishop who didn’t understand “have due regard to” [45/1]

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology

Stephen Lynas Summarizes the Early Goings on at the Church of England General Synod

For once, the debate on the agenda got quite agitated. As predicted, the speeches made were largely about safeguarding – or the lack of it, according to some – on the agenda.

There were plaintive requests that

  • we respond to the catalogue of failings being rehearsed at the current IICSA hearings (see yesterday’s post for some context on this)
  • we should debate the Blackburn letter (which I referred to in yesterday’s post, and which you can read here). A number of members had petitioned the two Archbishops (as Presidents of Synod) to use their powers to insert a debate into the agenda, despite the lack of notice. Their request was turned down.
  • We recognise that the outside world is under the impression that we are ‘dragging our feet until IICSA goes away’ (a reported quote from a legal adviser at IICSA this week).

The overall tone was of dissatisfaction on behalf of victims and survivors of abuse, that when the Bishops speak out on safeguarding failures, they do not ‘speak from the heart’.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE)

(OC) Lawrence Farley–A God without Wrath?

The popularity of these heresies springs from the fact the underlying presuppositions on which they are based are so unquestioned in our culture that they have the force of unassailable dogma. These heresies therefore present themselves not as new ideas or novel options, but rather as self-evident truisms. (This in itself presupposes, of course, that one keeps one’s head and reading rigidly riveted to the modern era—as soon as one reads the Christian writing of earlier centuries, one instantly sees how novel these ideas really are.) Among these underlying modern presuppositions are: a conviction in the innate goodness and perfectibility of human nature, the conviction that the opinions of those in the Middle Ages (often derided under the term “medieval”) were barbarous and unworthy, the conviction that feelings of guilt are always unhealthy, the conviction that love is to be equated with tolerance, so that any intolerance is unloving by definition, and the conviction that anger and retaliation are always blameworthy and a sign of insufficient civilization. One could multiply examples expressing and celebrating these convictions, but such documentation is hardly necessary. As it turns out, Facebook and the liberal media are good for something after all.

We see all these underlying presuppositions at play in the new idea gaining ascendency in some Christian circles that God has no wrath, and that consequently all will be saved. Whether in the scholarly and multi-syllabic works of David Bentley Hart, or the more popular works of Rob Bell in his book Love Wins, or the tour-de-force of Brad Jersak with his insistence that the God of the Old Testament must be “unwrathed” to be understood in his A More Christlike God, we find the idea promoted that it is unworthy and inaccurate to declare that God has righteous wrath against sin and sinners. The argumentation is often pretty thin and the exegesis often atrocious, but it succeeds because it is based upon presuppositions which go unquestioned in our culture. Of course a God of love could never have wrath towards any of His creation! The Biblical texts which seem to suggest otherwise must be countered by other Biblical texts and then quietly put to one side. Gaps in the argument can be filled in by knocking down straw men (thoughtfully provided by fundamentalists), and by rhetorical flourishes and grand generalizations.

As soon as one emerges from the cultural cocoon of modern thought one sees that the concept of God’s wrath against sin was not regarded by the ancients as an embarrassment to be overcome and denied, but as something to be emphasized and celebrated. That is because the ancients did not share the modern presuppositions which make writers like Bell and Jersak so popular. The ancients also, perhaps more tellingly, did not share our culture’s loss of a sense of guilt, and our consequent squeamishness about declaring God’s wrath against sin.

Read it all.

Posted in Theology

(AJ) The Anglican Church of Canada’s General Synod: A Primer

More than 350 Anglicans from across Canada—delegates, partners, invited guests, displayers, volunteers and observers—will gather July 10-16 in Vancouver for the 42nd General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. While there, delegates will consider resolutions affecting the whole church.

General Synod is the highest governing body in the church. Although the Anglican Church of Canada is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion, it has final authority over its own affairs. It can pass, alter and strike down its own laws—or, in church parlance, canons.

The General Synod meets every three years, unless otherwise determined by Council of General Synod (CoGS), provided such meetings are not more than five years apart….

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Canada

(CNN) This church will pay off about $4 million in medical debt in its community. Here’s how it happened

After Northview revealed their plan to help relieve medical debt in their community, even more people reached out to donate — something that Executive Pastor Jason Pongratz told CNN had never happened before.
The church has now raised $30,000, the most in church history. But how do you take that and alleviate a few million dollars in debt?

That’s where RIP Medical Debt comes in. RIP Medical Debt was founded in 2014, and they’ve helped more than 250,000 people get out of debt, basically by buying back debt for pennies on the dollar. Yes, you can buy debt.

CEO Craig Antico broke it down like this: When people don’t pay debt, after a while it gets placed with collection agencies, and the debt accumulates. RIP is able to buy the debt at a reduced rate from hospitals, doctors, and even investors — who typically purchase debt at reduced rates, say 15%, and will require the debtor to pay them maybe 30%, turning a profit for the investor.

Read it all.

Posted in Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

A Short description of Jan Hus from the Virtual Museum of Protestantism

He protested against the ecclesiastical system, he preached in favour of reform in the Church and advocated a return to the poverty recommended by the Scriptures. Indeed, the Scriptures were the only rule and every man had the right to study them. In Questio de indulgentis (1412) he denounced the indulgences.

He admired Wyclif’s writings and defended him when he was condemned as a heretic. He was excommunicated. An interdict was pronounced over Prague and he had to leave it and go to southern Bohemia, where he preached and wrote theological treatises, notably the Tractatus de ecclesia (1413), known as «The Church».

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Czech Republic

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Jan Hus

Faithful God, who didst give Jan Hus the courage to confess thy truth and recall thy Church to the image of Christ: Enable us, inspired by his example, to bear witness against corruption and never cease to pray for our enemies, that we may prove faithful followers of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to begin the Day from the Gelasian Sacramentary

We beseech thee, O Lord, in thy loving-kindness, to pour thy holy light into our souls; that we may ever be devoted to thee, by whose wisdom we were created, and by whose providence we are governed; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Daily Prayer, Eric Milner-White and G. W. Briggs, eds. (London: Penguin Books 1959 edition of the 1941 original)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Anani’as. The Lord said to him in a vision, “Anani’as.” And he said, “Here I am, Lord.” And the Lord said to him, “Rise and go to the street called Straight, and inquire in the house of Judas for a man of Tarsus named Saul; for behold, he is praying, and he has seen a man named Anani’as come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.” But Anani’as answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to thy saints at Jerusalem; and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call upon thy name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.” So Anani’as departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came, has sent me that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized, and took food and was strengthened. For several days he was with the disciples at Damascus.

–Acts 9:10-19

Posted in Theology: Scripture