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 Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.

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Priscilla
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PostSubject: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Mon 19 Mar 2012, 06:55

Re Archbishop resigning. I am in a house divided here on this. Modern precedent, I am reminded calls for resignation when there is conflict, whereas I think appointed religious leaders have to stand their ground which goes with the job. No one gets burned at the stake these days so there is only uproar and imprisonment if one is defiant. Opinion on the reason for the current Archbisop's resignation is not my intent here.

British history has many instances of defiance - please someone remind me of them. Are there many of resignation? Of course Cranmer swung about like a pendulum but came clean in the end - or was his wife fed up with being kept in a cupboard?
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Mon 19 Mar 2012, 09:58

The Roman Catholic Church is a history of resignations at episcopal level. The Anglican Church (or Community, as it likes to term itself these days) has been a quieter affair in that regard throughout the years, though the end of empire has brought about some notable instances when Anglican bishops found themselves suddenly administering flocks in societies which had lost the veneer of British "fairness" and had suddenly embarked on some rather radical and often demagogic and repressive routes.

When it comes to the Archbishop of Canterbury however "defiance" is a moot point. As a part of the establishment - indeed one of its major figureheads - it is difficult to see just who is defying whom in these situations as, superficially at least, the archbishop is as much a part of the policy machine as the parliamentarian. Once the position had been brought into the political fold with a monarch at the top of everything this became the case (though early incumbents might have taken a while to understand this, having been born into a system of divided loyalty). And nor has Williams's resignation been couched in these terms either, though journalists have attempted to assign motive connected with the church's own internal political struggles - an assumption which may of course be correct but which is also ultimately irrelevant in terms of actual policy the Anglican church may pursue in the future, and Williams knows this too.

My own favourite resignation of an archbishop concerns Ireland in the 9th century and one Flannghus MacLoinsigh (Fergus Lynch), who occupied the primary Irish bishopric in Armagh at a time when the Uí Néilligh (O'Neills) were copper-fastening their claim to be rulers of the entire island, beginning with an absolute takeover of Ulster. Their methods left a lot to be desired according to the church and MacLoinsigh found himslef caught between a rock and a hard place as his obligatory condemnations were ignored and the clan pressed home their political and military advantages. Eventually their confidence in victory extended to the point that they could politely but pointedly indicate to the archbishop that he might expect the same political treatment which they had already meted out to rival clan leaders who had stood in their way up to that point. MacLoinsigh took this point and decided now was a good time to retire to a monastery and let his long-time right-hand man Artrí MacConchobair (Art O'Connor) take over the job. Poor Artrí was therefore the guy who appears in the annals as "deposed" by the Uí Néilligh. Where his body was buried is anyone's guess.
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Mon 19 Mar 2012, 11:37

Interesting tale and probably has been repeated in many a sphere - a case of the early duck out catches the worm.
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Sat 07 Apr 2012, 09:17

I have actually heard the current Arch Bishop preach at Gatton church which is a parish church (Gatton was one of the rottenist of rotten boroughs) but can only seat about 75 and has very few parishioners, the parish being mainly made up of Gatton Park. I also heard the Dali Llama speak when I was India but not the Pope as yet.

Tim
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Sat 07 Apr 2012, 10:04

@Tim of Aclea wrote:
I have actually heard the current Arch Bishop preach at Gatton church which is a parish church (Gatton was one of the rottenist of rotten boroughs) but can only seat about 75 and has very few parishioners, the parish being mainly made up of Gatton Park. I also heard the Dali Llama speak when I was India but not the Pope as yet.

Tim

Interesting, Tim. When do you anticipate becoming Pope?
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Sat 07 Apr 2012, 17:39

Gilgamesh, your comment worried me that I had typed an error but I did say that I had not heard the Pope speak, my wife has met the previous Pope, not that I not become Pope (a bit unlikely as I am CofE).

I was in Poland at the same time that John Paul II but was about 2 days ahead of him at both Czestochowa and Cracow.

regards

Tim


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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Tue 19 Jun 2012, 22:23

There does appear to be a schism arising from same sex marriages. As non-consumation is grounds for divorce, it follows that same sex marriages cannot be legal, as they cannot be consumated in the accepted sense of that word?



Regards................Alan
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Wed 20 Jun 2012, 07:50

Hi Alan. Consummation is not a physical act, even in the liturgical sense. It is taken to mean "fulfillment" and is therefore open to whatever interpretation of that concept one wishes to apply. "Same sex" marriages are therefore no different to marriages in general when it comes to the religious requirement that they be "consummated" in order to be regarded as valid in the eyes of the practitioners of that religion.

Note that this is only important in a religious sense. Consummation or the lack of it has absolutely no bearing on the definition of marriage in law.
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Wed 20 Jun 2012, 08:47

Btw. a couple of weeks ago the Danish Parliament - the Folketing - legislated that the National Church should enact same sex marriages and that eight of the bishops had formulated a blessing of such a marriage.
The law permits any priest to opt out of performing the ceremony if he/she so chooses.

The schism foreseen in the church among some of the more religious types of this country may be erupting, just so slowly that i don't observe it, so far one wing calling itself the 'Luthersk Mission' - Lutheranian Missionaries - have opted out and are setting up a Free Church of their own.


Last edited by Nielsen on Sat 24 Aug 2013, 10:16; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Wed 20 Jun 2012, 16:25

Nordmann - Interesting point. I've always considered it to be physical, as between a man and a woman. Your word 'fulfillment' does give it a different perspective. I have a gay friend, whom I am pretty sure shares your view. I must think about this.

No where in the church's discussions have I seen the word fulfillment used in this way, but it is very apt.

Regards..............Alan
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Wed 20 Jun 2012, 17:00

A very devout Catholic friend of mine who at one time attended seminary corrected my own misunderstandings about the role and nature of "consummation" according to his paricular religion. The notion that a marriage can be annulled if consummation, normally assumed (incorrectly) to be penetrative sexual intercourse, does not take place would logically imply therefore that the whole sacrament of marriage itself is in fact nothing of the sort. A sacrament infers the intervention and application of divine grace through human ritual and in the case of marriage a public confirmation of divine approval for the union. If however this intervention and approval means nothing until the humans involved later engage in intercourse then this begs serious theological questions regarding the importance and relevance of divinity itself.

People seeking annulment however can cite absence of conjugal activity as valid grounds if they participated in the sacrament in good faith and the impediment was unknown to them at the time. This has the effect in church law of negating their vows, which include intention to procreate, meaning in fact that the marriage never took place at all.

It is this notion of "fulfilling one's vows" that the Catholic church tends to concentrate on - which is why fulfillment is the term often used these days instead of consummation, now regarded as one rather narrowly defined aspect to that fulfillment and not even the most important aspect either.
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Sat 24 Aug 2013, 10:09

@nordmann wrote:
The Roman Catholic Church is a history of resignations at episcopal level. The Anglican Church (or Community, as it likes to term itself these days) has been a quieter affair in that regard throughout the years, though the end of empire has brought about some notable instances when Anglican bishops found themselves suddenly administering flocks in societies which had lost the veneer of British "fairness" and had suddenly embarked on some rather radical and often demagogic and repressive routes.
One thing which has always puzzled me is why in the 16th and 17th centuries the Protestant Reformation generally failed in Ireland. Whereas in England & Wales the general population seemingly bent with the wind (depending upon the religious outlook of the incumbent monarch), in Ireland the case seemed to be quite different. The general population simply didn't go along with the rulers and yet as in England & Wales monasteries and nunneries etc were dissolved there too. (In Scotland it seemed to be the reverse again such as with the case of Mary Stuart, a Catholic monarch was actually driven out by a Protestant nobility and populace.)

Any ideas?
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Sat 24 Aug 2013, 22:18

In the first 70 years of the Reformation - in which for much of the period, despite English, Danish and some minor monarchies using the movement as a pretext for appropriating wealth - there was really no way of knowing what way things were going to pan out. What was obvious was that Reformation principles (a theological spread of sometimes very diverse opinion) were most likely to be adopted in regions where either political instability prevented an authority from suppressing them or where, conversely, an extremely authoritarian and strong political system was there to forcibly adopt them for its own ends. The Church in Rome recognised this and was content to handle the challenge to its authority through the expediency of excommunicating the identified ringleaders on the one hand while, at a higher stratum, negotiating directly through cajoling, threats and inducements with the secular leaders. It is worth pointing out, for example, that few if any "heretics" were burned at the instigation of Rome in the 16th century. They nearly all died on the orders of civil and municipal authorities, whatever system of government this authority was a part of.

Ireland, simply for the reason that internal non-English division had been more or less rendered toothless by increasing English involvement, was never going to be a hotbed of reformist agitation. Individuals might have harboured private sympathies with reformist theological stances but the vast majority of people - if they thought it relevant to their situation at all - would have conformed pragmatically to the Church's own official stance that this did not represent a division within its congregation that could not be ultimately contained. An astute rabble-rouser along the lines of a Calvin or Knox, directing their reformist theology to the immediate concerns of the Irish people in a manner that conformed to their political views with regard to avoiding becoming English, might have met with some success but the fact that this did not happen suggests that the same astuteness discouraged reformers from taking on the challenge. Ireland was a very politically charged land in the 16th century undergoing a major realignment of Norman and Gaelic ambitions so that they conformed to unite in opposition to English interference. The dissolution of the monasteries therefore in Ireland was primarily perceived as evidence of this unwelcome interference, this time by a self-proclaimed reformist monarch, and if it was to have any politico-theological impact this would have been, in the main, to reinforce the notion of Catholicism as a political badge of opposition to such policies being inflicted on them at all.

The artificial transplanting of thousands of English and Scottish in the beginning of the 17th century simply consolidated the real political merit of such a badge - on both sides. But by this time in Europe the Church had effectively also disowned, or at least admitted it had permanently lost, those regions and people who had adopted Reformation religion. The earlier ambiguity (which explains the ambivalence of English planters religiously in Munster and Laois-Offaly plantations) was now a thing of the distant past. Like the rest of Europe, Irish society recognised the split as a done deal and whichever "side" religiously you had ended up on was your lot. In a country where this permanence was welcomed by both sides as an integral part of establishing your political and cultural identity, there was now little point in either side trying to persuade the other to cross the divide.
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Sun 25 Aug 2013, 16:09

Thanks for that explanation nordmann.

I suppose whereas the royal authorities in Ireland may have had the ability to dissolve monasteries etc (i.e. fixed addresses), they couldn't prevent open-air masses being held at remote (or sometimes not so remote) locations. This would be an indication of just how tenuous was their hold on power. 

Your point about the planters is significant. It seems that it was the failure of the Protestant Reformation to take root (excuse the pun) among the Gaelic Irish which highlighted the weakness of royal authority there. The realisation of this fact, itself seems to have been one of the spurs to the subsequent Elizabethan and Jacobean plantations.
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Mon 26 Aug 2013, 08:07

The open-air masses due to not having a legal roof under which mass could be celebrated were something that one associates with the suppression of the Catholic church under later Penal Law times, not the pre-Cromwellian plantation Ireland that corresponded time-wise with the spread of reformation theology in Europe. But your basic point is sound, I feel.

A crucial difference between the organisation of the church in England and Ireland before Henry VIII's reforms was the question of how integrated they were into their respective power structures. The Irish church had developed historically along quite different lines than in England, and though the ascendant Normans had indeed attempted to get the whole structure under one central authority, Catholicism in Ireland at the time of the Reformation was still a rather diffuse entity with many regional variations, especially when it came to what might be called its "chain of command". Henry could dissolve the monasteries as much as he wanted, but one effect of this in Ireland which wasn't true in England was that this effectively merely served to render thousands of small chapels and other places of religious congregation even more independent of his authority than before. If Henry's reformed church was to take control of these disparate congregations it would have to do what the Normans before him had attempted to do, a task that had proved beyond them outside of areas under their direct authority and control. Henry had exactly the same problem. (Placenames beginning with Kil- in Ireland are a good rule-of-thumb indication of where such continuity back to ancient monastic evangelisation resulted in congregations that were semi-independent from secular or even ecclesiastical authority - and it is telling that many hundreds of them are in fact in areas under nominal "Norman" rule in the 12th to 16th centuries.)

I would not concur with your second point at all. I really don't see that the motivation for plantation policy on the part of the Tudor or Stuart regimes had much to do with religion at all, except in so far as a "lack" of protestants was one of several indications that the country required fundamental cultural reform in the authority's eyes. I'm being generous to both regimes here. A crucial aspect to plantation was the intended physical displacement of large parts of the Irish population at a time when such displacement was tantamount to liquidation. The word "reform" is therefore one that should be read with some latitude in its intended meaning.
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Mon 26 Aug 2013, 16:52

Just when I thought that I had got that straitened out in my head you've suddenly sent me back to square one. Aargh!

If, after the Reformation, the Catholic Church in Ireland was generally anarchic then it's difficult to see how it could also be 'Roman'. And yet it was its 'Roman' or 'Popish' character which was presumably such an issue for the Protestant establishment (and particularly when viewed from England). As an anarchic (or at least non-conformist) entity then this would mean that the Irish (Catholic) Church was continuing along the lines of the early Celtic Church. The rival Church of Ireland, however, also pretty much claimed this role. The parallel bishoprics that then emerged after the 1530s, however, seemed to show that the bishops of the Catholic succession were anything but non-conformist. They were very dependent upon their allegiance to Rome. They led a precarious existence and were often on the run when in Ireland and in fact spent much of their time outside of Ireland on the continent.

With regard to the plantations then I actually take a more charitable view of them and their regimes. In the context of the 16th and 17th centuries, 'cultural reform' could really only be seen in terms of religion - or at least in terms of religious allegiance. And although it's true that the intended physical displacement of the native Irish was a stated aim of those who planned the plantations, the reality was that much (if not most) of the land earmarked for plantation continued to be inhabited by native Irish people. In fact the planter settlements were often totally dependent upon Irish labour even though they were officially forbidden from employing such. It soon became clear that an blind eye was turned to this state of affairs with a view that by such daily co-existence, the 'Protestantism' of the planters might somehow rub onto their Catholic neighbours.

I agree, however, that religion was not the only factor behind the plantations. The English navy, for example, required a plentiful supply of wood (particularly oak) for ship-building and repairs. England itself was pretty much logged out by the 17th century yet Ireland had huge forests. This was an important natural resource which the English government was keen to keep access to.
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PostSubject: Re: Church V State: Bishops - Arch and assorted.   Tue 27 Aug 2013, 08:38

I hope I wasn't giving the impression that the church was "anarchic". I meant simply that for historical reasons it had ended up with a rather more fractured chain of authority than its English counterpart by the time of the Reformation. Bishoprics within the non-monastic ecclesiastical structure had become, as in England, extensions of the general political system of patronage and reward. However in Ireland, where the political system was not as uniform as in England and contained many regional variations this was reflected too in the ecclesiastical hierarchical structure. But this is not to infer that the church in any way was "non-conformist" with regard to Roman doctrine and theology. That had probably once been true in the monastic/ecclesiastic divide that pertained in the early centuries of christianity in Ireland, but that division had long ago been resolved by the 16th century.

While it is true that the post-reformation Catholic bishops held allegiance to Rome it is also true that right up to the Cromwellian invasion they were still adjuncts of the political system, most often appointed under political patronage and - depending on the prevailing political circumstances - sometimes even in positions of greater power and authority than their Protestant equivalents. Hugh O'Reilly's career as bishop of Drogheda and Archbishop of Armagh illustrates a more notable case of this occurring in the 17th century.

The plantations were justified on various grounds, including of course those of religion, by their engineers. However this really fooled no one. If every person in Ulster had converted to Protestantism overnight in 1609 the land seizures and plantations would still have gone ahead. The opportunity was too good to miss in the vacuum created by the emasculation of the Gaelic ruling class. As regards one religion "rubbing off" on another amongst people in close proximity, the Munster and Laois-Offaly experience had actually illustrated that this cut both ways. In that sense the Ulster plantation was something of a new approach, especially in the concept of creating "island refuges" of planters in the western area. This measure severely restricted the chances of cross-proselytisation no matter how close the proximity of the other side, and subsequent events bore the success of such restrictions out.
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