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July 13, 2007

Oh Dear, Sir Simon

It being a long time since I was fed Catholic dogma I'll probably get some of this wrong myself but Simon Jenkins does seem to have grasped the wrong end of a number of sticks:

Who is this joker in Rome claiming supremacy via the greatest con in Europe's intellectual history, the 1870 Vatican council's invention of papal infallibility. Listen, Pope, I am inclined to say, two can play at infallibility.

Well, if our Benedict were indeed claiming Papal Infallibility on this matter that might be a fair comment but I'm pretty sure he's not. Do correct me if I'm wrong here but I think that the only time Papal Infallibility has indeed been claimed was back then in 1870, when Papal Infallibility was used to insist that the Pope could indeed speak Infallibly on various subjects. I'm really not certain that since then any Pope has stated that he's speaking Infallibly on any other subject than that Papal Infallibility is possible.

The Pope drew a distinction between the Orthodox churches, which he calls sisters (surely brothers?),

No, obviously not: Mother Church, remember?

While Roman Catholics scurry off to their modern sheds, it is the Anglican vicar who might reasonably imitate Benedict, sit atop his gothic steeple and proclaim his to be "the one true church".

Something of a touchy subject there: the jexting arm of lapsed Catholics (of which I am one) has been known to argue that the architecture of Roman Catholic churches would be vastly improved by hte Church of England handing back those ones built by Catholics: you get to keep St. Paul's for example, but we get Westminster Abbey back, along with all those built before about 1550 or so.

And as a special bonus:

I would not disestablish parish churches, rather the reverse. I would "establish" them, as in Germany and other continental countries, as the formal responsibility of parishes and municipalities, a charge on local rates and a religious and secular amenity for all local people, as in the middle ages. Everyone paid to build them. They belong to everyone and should be open to everyone. They just need the product of a penny rate to prop them up - and need it ever more desperately.

We get the return of the Church Tithe! Well, I suppose that when you give someone a knighthood there is always the possibility that he'll get all feudal on you.

July 13, 2007 in Religion | Permalink


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Posted by: The Laughing Cavalier | Jul 13, 2007 9:33:24 AM

In 1992 the Catholic Church finally exonerated Galileo for the grave heresy of publicising his theory that the earth moved round the sun - which left us a bit uncertain about what the sun was supposed to be doing prior to 1992:

Posted by: Bob B | Jul 13, 2007 10:58:26 AM

*tsk* The immaculate conception and assumption were both proclaimed ex cathedra.

You obviously weren't beaten enough at prep school.

Posted by: Alex | Jul 13, 2007 11:12:40 AM

But we do pay for the upkeep of churches. Think of all those grants.

Posted by: fjfjfj | Jul 13, 2007 12:20:34 PM

With all the politicking going on at present, with Gordon Brown clearly distancing government from both Church and Crown, giving Royal Prerogatives to parliament and abdicating his responsibilities to appoint Church leaders being but two, I think that the Catholic leadership is sensing the possible end to the CofE in its present form and is therefore making moves to retake the UK aka pre Henry VIII.

Posted by: IanP | Jul 13, 2007 12:32:00 PM

I don't see why transferring the control of Churches from the descendants of the people who built them to the descendants of a bunch of Wild Irishmen constitutes handing them "back".

Posted by: dearieme | Jul 13, 2007 12:45:09 PM

The papacy first claimed infallibility in 1075, with the publication of the Dictatus Papae. Pope Gregory VII was struggling for secular supremacy with Emperor Henry IV and this document was the papacy's trump card.

Clause 22: the Roman church has never erred; nor will it ever.

See: http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/g7-dictpap.html

Posted by: Charles Orton-Jones | Jul 13, 2007 2:39:51 PM


Who are you calling Irish? Not a drop, I'll have you know.

This article aside, Simon Jenkins does seem to be getting angrier and angrier. His role now seems to be that of professional miserabalist.As politics slips back into the form we have been used to on this isle for the last 400 years - Cavalier.v.Roundhead - he has clearly nailed his puritan banner to the church door: barrel of laughs he ain't.

Posted by: Recusant | Jul 13, 2007 3:28:56 PM

Recusant: me, actually. In part.

Posted by: dearieme | Jul 13, 2007 4:16:56 PM

"I don't see why transferring the control of Churches from the descendants of the people who built them to the descendants of a bunch of Wild Irishmen constitutes handing them "back"."

Better wild Irishmen than Scotch heretics.

Posted by: Martin | Jul 13, 2007 8:06:57 PM

Didn't know you were a lapsed Catholic. Visiting the most conservative of Catholic websites, catholicfundamentalism.com may either confirm you in your belief, or open a new door. Very briefly, it puts forth the idea of God as Programmer. He can program particles, complile them into structures and beings, and have them move through time.
With that premise, the 10,000 year age of the universe, and all the miracles, and all the Bible, and The Church, make perfect sense.
If you aren't absolutely sure you're right about The Church not being for you, it may be better to check out the site than check off your soul.

Posted by: bill adams | Jul 14, 2007 12:07:29 AM

The Pope is only infallible in matters of faith and morals. This does not mean he can accurately predict the winner of the Grand National. Jenkins talk of modern sheds is a bit harsh given the CofE disolved the monasteries and nicked ancient Catholic art and treasure.

Posted by: michael | Jul 16, 2007 10:38:12 AM