« Previous | Main | Next »

Anglicans going to Rome are not "proper Catholics"

Post categories:

William Crawley | 17:41 UK time, Saturday, 6 February 2010

article-1114604-0181499800000578-137_233x451.jpgThe Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, says those Anglicans who respond to Pope Benedict's invitation to join the Catholic Church under the provisions of the new Apostolic Constitution, would not be "proper Catholics". You can listen to the interview in full on this week's Sunday Sequence (Sunday, from 8.30am).

In the same interview, Dr Sentamu also called for the banning of the British National Party and says he is "surprised that Parliament doesn't want to do it." He also says he has "every hope" that [Robert] Mugabe will be gone very soon."

Here's part of the exchange I had with Dr Sentamu on this week's Sunday Sequence:

Archbishop Sentamu: "If people genuinely realise that they want to be Roman Catholic, they should convert properly, and go through catechesis and be made proper Catholics. This kind of creation [the Apostolic Constitution] -- well, all I can say is, we wish them every blessing and may the Lord encourage them. But as far as I am concerned, if I was really, genuinely wanting to convert, I wouldn't go into an Ordinariate. I would actually go into catechesis and become a truly converted Roman Catholic and be accepted."

William Crawley: "So those Anglicans who take advantage of the Apostolic Constitution, you're saying, would not be 'proper Catholics'?"

Archbishop Sentamu: "Well, I mean, I'd be very surprised --"

William Crawley: "What would they be if they are not 'proper Catholics'?"

Archbishop Sentamu: "They would be what they are: an Ordinariate of the Vatican."

William Crawley: "Anglican Émigrés?"

Archbishop Sentamu: "(Laughter) Well, if I was a Roman Catholic bishop and I had this group within my diocese being looked after by an Ordinariate whose reference was back to the Vatican, I'd have to ask a number of questions."

Listen to the interview with Dr John Sentamu on Sunday Sequence (starts at 1:15:20).


  • Comment number 1.

    And the grapes were sour anyway.

  • Comment number 2.

    Horror! Surely he meant "proper Roman Catholics" - Anglicans are 'proper' Catholics already.

  • Comment number 3.

    William Crawley: "Anglican Émigrés?"

    Speaking about emigres, in a totally unrelated matter, what ever became of that kid who emigrated to America to become some sort of new age minister or preacher you did a story about last year and got so incensed when I suggested he was going there for the money? Did he have a wealthy sponsor or is he on public assistance now? I think he was going to live in a suburb of New York City.

  • Comment number 4.

    so who is the better christian, him or the Pope, who has it right. Or are they both wrong?

  • Comment number 5.

    William-you say that John Sentanu is known for "shooting from the hip"

    You are right about that, yet there are very important times when his hand stays far away from his holster. When John Sentamu was asked about the recent Haiti disaster, and why God allowed such awful suffering, John Sentamu said he had "nothing to say to make sense of such horror"

    I am sure that John Sentamu is a very nice man, but if he has nothing to say about why God allowed such horror in Haiti, why should we give any notice to all the issues John Sentamu is quick to shoot at from the hip?

  • Comment number 6.

    Talktosam: I would agree that Dr Sentamu does not always shoot from the hip when he ought to.

    I admire Dr Sentamu's work to make known all aspects of his mission as Archbishop to the wider public, but in his role as a figurehead for a large and influential Christian denomination, he and his staff still clearly lack skills in dealing with a (rightly or wrongly) fast-moving and sometimes hostile media agenda which the Church has little control over.

    Dr Sentamu's eventual statement on the draft legislative bill in his native Uganda on the death penalty for some homosexual acts was praiseworthy and a relief. Yet the delay in responding - which was several weeks - was deeply disappointing. The lack of initial response bought time for supporters of the bill and the Archbishop must learn lessons from this.

  • Comment number 7.

    Celtophile Mancunian: My point was that I do not see why John Sentamu
    should be listened to, when he evades the hard questions.

    He was quoted by the BBC as saying that he "had nothing to say that would make sense of this horror" (Haiti). Yet he has lots to say about many other issues.

    He has plenty to say about Anglicans going to Rome, Mugabe, the BNP, human rights etc, as I say I am sure he is a very nice man, and any right thinking person would of course want equal human rights for everybody, and anybody with commpassion would agree with him on many issues.

    John Setamu talks freely about the love of God, and the influence of Jesus Christ on his life, yet this same man who has an opinion on many things, and is always ready to give a view on many issues has "nothing to say that would make sense" of the horrors in this world.

    If he has nothing to say about such awful suffering ( because it puts the idea of a loving God in the dock-if there is a God to even put in the dock), why should we listen to him about other issues?

  • Comment number 8.

    I admire the Archbishop of York, have done for some time, but he needs to start looking at answers instead of just highlighting the problems. Absolutely anyone is capable of condemnation - but lets hear some solutions now also.

  • Comment number 9.

    Thanks for your points, John and Sam.

    Now that Dr Sentamu's words are sinking in, they're beginning to raise more questions.

    Dr Sentamu apparently says that Anglicans who follow an Anglican worship style under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church are not "proper" Catholics. On that basis, are those Anglo-Catholic believers who sustain Archibishop Sentamu as a spiritual authority, yet express their worship Sunday by Sunday using the Missal against canon law, not proper Anglicans?

    On the BNP, as much as I abhor their vile racism and fascist politics, I would not want them to gain the prestige of becoming a banned, underground organisation. They need to be heard so they can be challenged vigorously, as the churches are beginning to do rather well.

    I too emphasise that I admire much of Dr Sentamu's work in his ministry, particularly his stand on Zimbabwe, his engagement with young people and his approachability as a person. Perhaps I'm reading into his remarks on "Sunday Sequence", accompanied by his friendly chuckling, a little too deeply, but I'm certainly not sure what to make of it all.

  • Comment number 10.

    I have a lot of time for John Sentamu, but I would disagree about banning the BNP ... by all means oppose their vile opinions and expose them for the ghastly bigots they really are!!!
    Banning a political party only creates 'martyrs' and drives evil undergound - much better to expose the evil out in the open and destroy its power base with the truth!

  • Comment number 11.

    Celtophile - Sentamu (about whom I have ambivalent feelings) accuses those Anglo-Catholics who use the Roman missal of a breach of discipline, he doesn't specifically question the authenticity of their Anglicanism. What I found particularly interesting, if I heard him correctly, was his assertion that it was his understanding that if they continued to use the Roman rite within the ordinariate that would be outside the provisions of the Constitution and thus constitute a breach of the discipline of the Roman Catholic church.

  • Comment number 12.

    Ha - and there was me thinking that these folks thought it was one's personal relationship with Jesus that counts! Silly old me.

  • Comment number 13.

    Helio - you wouldn't, just possibly, be from an evangelical background?


  • Comment number 14.

    Here we are again:) I prefer "I have no comment" to "the people of Haiti had a pact with the devil" . . . the former is much, much more sensible.

    Helio that's pretty funny. I'm silly too. I gave up on counting Christian denominations a long time ago :)

  • Comment number 15.

    I do not believe for one second that "the people of Haiti had a pact with the devil".

    My point is that John Sentamu opinions carry no weight, if he simply says "I have nothing to say that would make sense of this horror", why should we listen to anything any christian says when they refuse to answer the hard questions?

    John Sentamu talks about God's love, but refuses to explain God's love
    in relation to the horrors in Haiti. This is the flaw in the stand he takes.

    On the 06/12/09 William Crawley invited The Methodist Church and the Church Of Ireland to talk about the abuse of children by clergy, both refused to appear on Sunday Sequence to answer hard questions.

    That is my whole point, christians are quick to talk about God's love and power, but when so much in this world shows the nonsense of this point of view, they stay silent.

    Christians talk all the time of how they know God and experience so many blessings in their lives, and that God actively does his will in their lives. I would far rather that this active God helped stop the huge and utter horror that the weak experience.

    And as we are aware in Ireland, I wish that this active loving God would stop christians abusing chilren, we all know of many christian all through Ireland who have abused chilren.

    I would like to know why God is prepared to use a christian to extend his kingdom and "lead many men to Christ", lots of whom ended up in the ordained work, and yet this same christian abused many boys over a period of 35 years. How can this be, if there is such a loving God?
    The above is fact.

    No doubt John Sentamu would say "No Comment", therefore his other comments are worth nothing.

  • Comment number 16.

    talktosam, well put,I concur . . . but would you rather he says a "haiti-pact" kind of comment? I prefer the silence. They probably do have the obligation to say something but saying crazy [for lack of a worse word] things is probably worse. They say silence is golden don't they! This is not to say I am ignoring the adventures of some religious individuals;it is not JUST Christians. They all have drama: Child abuse,molestation,trafficking, fraud, adultery, stealing from the church and what have you . . . not mention one who said it is okay to hit your wife to discipline her (google and find out who it was). Regardless of who or what they worship, these holy men and women can be something. Religion is sadly one of the world's biggest real nightmares (and days-mares!)

    Let the smart keep quiet. We might not like what they say if (and when)they open those mouths.

  • Comment number 17.

    This is a small comment for 'talktosam'. I can understand that you probably think you're making a good point regarding John Sentamu's comments (or lack of them) regarding Haiti. My question is 'What exactly was he supposed to say?' I don't think he ever claimed to know all the answers, only our Lord knows everything. The question regarding human suffering and why God permits it is as old as the ages and a valid question I would agree. But sometimes you just have to have faith. This can only come from God, you can't create it yourself. God loves you 'talktosam', that's why he gave his only son to die for you on the cross, truly there is no greater love than that. God Bless

  • Comment number 18.

    To:Assumoter Akumu Akumu, Thank you for your comments.

    To your question, no, I would have no desire for him to make a "Haiti-Pact" type answer, to me that would be complete nonsense, just as for him to give a "God loves you" answer to Haiti would also be a nonsense. And he knows it.

    This is my exact point John Sentamu along with other christians, realise the idea of a loving God simply does not fit these type of situations, and John Setamu knows it. And while he is very quick to give opinions on every subject under the sun, he stays away from subjects he knows proves that if there is a God, he certainly is not a God of love.

    I have no doubt that John Sentamu will take over from Rowan Williams, but his desire to evade the hard questions will be no more acceptable than it is now.

    to: Al27 Thank you for your comments. In response to your question "what exactly was he supposed to say" I refer you to the above. May I also ask you to look at it this way.

    Imagine an employer who had a very hard working and very successful employee, who made great profits for the employer. However while working very hard for 35 years for the company, all of this time the employer knew that this employee was abusing children all of this time.

    Can I ask you- what would you think of such an employer? and what should he hsave done about it?

    Without saying any names it is a true fact for over 35 years, a christian, an "employee" of God abused well over 100 boys, this same christian also "lead to christ" over a 100 boys.

    Can I ask you- what would you think of such an employer? and what should he have done about it?

  • Comment number 19.

    'Talktosam' the ways of our Heavenly Father are truly mysterious and beyond our capacity of thought for we are merely his creation. The events in Haiti are terrible but Archbishop Sentamu doesn't have the answer anymore than you or I have. But the Lord does love you, that's why he died for you. In terms of your rather cryptic question I would say without doubt that all evil is exposed eventually and so regardless of a person's capacity to lead people to the Lord, the Lord will judge them for their abuse if they are guilty for the Lord knows everything. But you see the capacity to commit sin will always be in us as human beings but even while we were still sinners, Christ died for us and for you also. What an amazing loving God. God Bless!

  • Comment number 20.

    To: AI27-you are right John Sentamu does not have the answer, because he knows events like Haiti prove that this "God of love" does not exist, so he and other christians say nothing, so he hides behind the usual
    "mysterious, and beyond our capacity of thought". Yet for you and him other aspects of God are not "mysterious, and beyond our capacity of thought"- I wonder why. I am sorry you cannot have it both ways. You cannot give God the credit for the apparently good things that happen, and then say- ours is not to reason why, or we cannot blame God when bad events or bad things happen. It is very convenient for John Sentamu and other christians to be so very sure about Gods purposes when events are going their way, but then they are not sure or do not know about things when situations happen that do not fit in with their "God of love" I am sorry you cannot have your cake and eat it at the same time.

    As for my cryptic question, its not cryptic at all, it is actually an example of real life. I should know.

    In the very real situation I gave, this christian brought many men to salvation, yet at the same time abused many boys, making their lifes a misery. This is fact.

    If God is all powerful, he then saw all of this for 35 years, and did nothing to stop it. You talk about "regardless of a persons capacity to lead people to the Lord", would you want to have been lead to the Lord by a child abuser. If you say that it does not matter how or by whom you are lead to the Lord by, then that would be in my eyes a very sick idea.

    God used his man to extend his kingdom, and also allowed him to abuse and ruin boys lives. Please do not talk about God punishing the quilty, that is cold comfort to the victims, if God has the power to punish this child abuser, he had the power to stop him ruin boys lives. But then of course God did not want to stop him, because this christian was bringing in so many converts. The victims have no desire or interest in God's punishment, what they wanted was for this "God of love" to intervene and stop this christians abuse.

    If there is a God he could have intervened.

    Last year at the Bangor Worlwide Missionary Convention, one of the speakers talked at great length, about how he wanted to serve the Lord anywhere but in the South Of Ireland, but of course the Lord intervened and got him and his wife to serve there-you can look up the website.

    If God can intervene in christian lives, to serve his purpose, he could easily have intervened to have stopped the child abuser, I am sorry christians cannot have it both ways.

    You talk about cryptic, there is nothing cryptic about it at all, its real life, it is very real to me. This is the way "God" operated in this situation.

    How could anybody want to - worship, and bow down, and tell God that he was altogether lovely to them" When he allows a child abuser to extend his kingdom.

    Either there is no God, or if there is one he has a very sick mind.

    Please do not say it is not for us to question the ways of God, or that God is not responsible for the christian taking part in child abuse.

    Such victims have have not experienced any love, and are even less interested in punishment, they want people to start seeing the reality of the big lie of a so called christian God.

    Unless you can explain why God turns a blind eye when it suits him,
    I do not think you have any right to exlplain "Gods love"

  • Comment number 21.

    Talktosam, now you are beginning to baffle me quite a bit [But that's okay, you have a right to hold on to your own opinion] How do you know God doesn't exist? You sound pretty sure :) I truly believe no one REALLY knows. A person can choose to do good or bad based on "existence" or "non-existence", bearing in mind that one does not need to believe He does to do bad/good. (i.e. religious people can and DO kill,steal,cheat etc and non-religious people do good things like helping the poor-and vice versa)I know an awful lot of good non-religious people and terrible (read real devils) who call themselves "religious".
    No one knows whether He exists or not. At least not Sumi!I take it you don't either unless of course you are not a human being . . .

  • Comment number 22.

    To: Talktosam - you sound like someone who has an immense amount of hurt within you and I must say that truly breaks my heart. Maybe you've been personally damaged by child abuse or the events you're alluding to happened to other victims you knew or otherwise. I'm sorry that I don't have the answer to your questions but I do know that God loves you. And he wants to have a loving relationship with you which is something that I and countless other Christians have experienced and thus enables us to testify so resolutely that our Heavenly Father does exist. I hope this might answer your point as well Sumi. However as Christians we don't have all the answers. I would suggest you go to God directly and ask him 'talk to sam' (would it be okay if I refer to you as Sam?)and he will respond. God will never bring a bad thing into the world for he is perfect and loving. Unfortunately whilst there is human freewill there will be evil and suffering. However it's a sign of God's love that he gave us freewill. The alternative would be simply to force us to love him which he would be more than capable of doing but chooses not to. An example of God's love versus freewill would be that God created the earth with more than enough resources and food for everyone in it and yet because of human freewill and greed approximately 1/6 of the world's population control the world's food and resources while millions of people starve everyday. This isn't God's fault, he made it perfect, we destroyed it. I am sorry if you feel I am trying to have it both ways but I rallied against the Lord enough years myself and eventually realised that I was the one running away, not God.

    I'm sorry about the situation regarding the child abuse. This is evil and again God didn't cause it, just a human. The fact that this person hid behind God and/or called themselves a Christian makes it all the more sad and tragic. Particularly to the victims but the Lord cries too.

    Jesus said, 'Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven' (Matthew 19:14) And also 'If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a large millstone tied around his neck' (Mark 9:42) At no point did I say it doesn't matter how or by whom you are lead to the Lord by, I would argue strongly that this person wasn't a disciple of the Lord's if they committed these deeds. Regardless however of this, the pain is still very real to victims and others and again the Lord cries but justice will prevail. The Lord is all powerful and doesn't need to rely on such people to bring in converts, he can do it all by himself.

    I am heartened however that you attend such events like the Bangor Worlwide Missionary Convention. I would pray that by entering God's presence at times like this and others and by talking to people of faith that someday you will come to know how much God loves you as I love you. Again to reiterate, God doesn't cause evil but Human beings have a natural inclination towards it. I would also pray that this response will be of some comfort to you however I must also recognise that it may not be. You may also feel inclined to respond again to this comment in a similar fashion as before. I would pray you don't and also would like you to know that I'll continue to pray that you come to know God's love through faith very soon. God Bless

  • Comment number 23.

    Al27 - I have chosen to believe He does exist. (Although I'm not sure). And I know what to pick from Christianity and what not to. Religion is quite a topic . . . I tend to not to get it when people feel their religion/lack of religion is "better" than another person's way of life/religion (Who the hell knows?) God is the one who knows; no holy-man/woman does - they are just human beings. We are ALL human beings.
    However, I would rather not have a religion than believe in what is CLEARLY evil (I probably shouldn't mention the sort of religions I would never be caught joining). The over-my-dead-body kind that preach, breathe and eat evil.

  • Comment number 24.

    To: AI27 Thank you for your comments
    A very well known Pastor in Belfast, often talks of how he got "saved", it was at an afternoon Sunday School, he felt the conviction of his sin apparently, and felt that God was dealing with him there and then. He says he knew he had to "make it right with God", bear in mind this is a seven year old boy. And so that afternoon his Sunday School teacher "lead him to the Lord" Yet if this seven year old boy had rejected God that afternoon, and died that night, christians tell us that he would have gone to hell, because he had reached an age of understanding, and had rejected Christ. This is what the Pastor preaches. How sick is that? I do not doubt your sincerity, but if you have a loving relationship with God, then please ask him the questions I have raised. Maybe we will be on another blog sometime, and you can tell me if God has given you any answers. All the best - Sam

  • Comment number 25.

    I was born into the Anglican Church and I find the statement by Archbishop Sentamu uninformed and inaccurate. An ecumenical act of unprecedented generosity is treated by the Archbishop in a truly condescending way. He is not a Catholic (Bishop or priest) therefore how can he state how he would feel if he was? The Lord warns us not to be smug. We must apply our hearts unto wisdom each moment, to know when what we say or do adds value or not.

  • Comment number 26.

    "An ecumenical act of unprecedented generosity."

    A very naive way of viewing what is going on. The 'intention' is anything but ecumenical. Where did Jesus warn us not to be "smug"?

  • Comment number 27.

    Spot on RJB. This is the kind of ecumenism Paisley would understand. I consider the Constitution an act of naked agression executed with an absence of anything approaching manners which is quite breath-takingly uncivilised.

    I, of-course, do not regard the present pope as himself a catholic. His narrowness of vision and the exclusivist claims he makes both for the Roman branch of Christ's church and a male, heterosexual priesthood are not just anti-catholic but anti-Christ.

  • Comment number 28.

    RJB take a read of Paul; read it all to understand where the Lord says we should not be smug. Does smug fit snugly into Paul's definition of love and God IS love. I deliberately restrain my identifying the specific verse(s) as my discernment is that wider Pauline understanding will feed you.

  • Comment number 29.

    Interesting comments from Rowan Williams today. With ref to the previous post, I suppose the teachings of Saul Paulus, as in the "wider Pauline understanding", do have *some* resemblance to certain substances used as plant fertiliser, yes.

  • Comment number 30.

    #12 - Helio -

    "Ha - and there was me thinking that these folks thought it was one's personal relationship with Jesus that counts! Silly old me."

    Dare I say this, Helio, but I actually sympathise with your comment (it does happen occasionally). Who cares whether these people are "proper" Catholics or not? I - as a Christian - certainly don't. Only those who see the institution of the church as a means of controlling other people's lives would have minor nervous breakdowns about such matters (it's called "religion" - not something I generally subscribe to).

    So there you are. We may possibly agree about more things than you imagine (although I'll try hard to overlook your agrarian "analysis" of Pauline teachings).

    As for Rowan Williams, having only listened to the 18 seconds snippet on the BBC website, I think he has been misquoted. He was suggesting that the Catholic Church has lost credibility in the eyes of the Irish people (although he may have expressed his opinion more clearly in the parts of the recording I didn't hear). Is this a case of media mischief, I wonder? (It has been known to happen, shock, horror!)

    But even if the Archbishop was expressing his own opinion, I would be inclined to agree with him. If a particular Christian denomination claims that it should not lose credibility over something as serious as child abuse by its leaders, who exercise a position of trust, then what would such an institution have to do in order to believe that it could lose credibility? It really makes you wonder...

    And those church leaders who use "the fear of God" to enforce silence in their terrified victims are going to hell, as far as I am concerned (and I justify that comment with reference to Matthew chapter 23). You may possibly not agree with that view - metaphysically speaking - but I suspect you may conceivably sympathise with the sentiment behind it?

  • Comment number 31.

    Poor Rowan was only repeating what he'd picked up from the media, a chat with an Irish friend and a close reading of Pope Benedict's letter.

  • Comment number 32.

    Hey I'm finding the fact that you disagree with each other very interesting. Could you clear up a few points? Do the Anglicans believe the roman catholics are going to hell? Do the Roman Catholics believe the Anglicans are going to hell? And do the muslims believe anyone who considers Christ devine is going to hell?

    Just an atheist trying to get a handle on the, who is going to hell with us?, question.

    kind regards

  • Comment number 33.

    #32 - David Kerr -

    "Hey I'm finding the fact that you disagree with each other very interesting."

    The disagreement between certain Christians is no more significant than the fact that atheists disagree with theists. I don't want to read anything into your words, but I am aware that some atheists criticise so-called "religious" people, because we are always apparently disagreeing with each other. They don't seem to consider that the act of "disagreeing with another point of view" does not invalidate one's own position - in fact logic demands that the support of one position implies the rejection of the contrary view. Atheists do this all the time - hence their often vehement denunciations of theism!

    As for the question of hell, again I don't know the reasons for your comment, but there is the suggestion that perhaps some Christians condemn other Christians to hell on the basis of "thought crime". This may be true, but it is certainly not my position.

    The question of hell is a moral question, not a doctrinal one (although, of course, doctrines can have moral implications).

  • Comment number 34.

    Well LSV you had my attention until 'logic'. Now we both know we had better leave that to the side on this thread. My only interest here is so many followers of faith disagree and when this breaks down into violence, you tend to miss and hit us. Now the fact that most of you now have nuclear weapons to beef up your faith position, kinda concerns us. I know you see a happy, every cloud has a silver lining, ending to such a war but we just see it as the end of human kind. In short we view people like you as insane. But you are in good company.... Ratzinger, Brady, Bush, Bush ii, Bin laden, Biden, The jewish killers whose name I cant spell etc etc etc God help us! Wait....
    Kind regards

  • Comment number 35.

    #34 - David Kerr -

    "In short we view people like you as insane."

    Oh, so now we see the atheists dropping their "polite" front and getting really nasty. Things must be getting desperate!! (Although I can only thank you for your honesty, in that you are revealing atheism in its true colours).

    Your comment reveals that you are both ignorant and bigoted, by having the naivete to tar people with one moral brush, who hold views with which you disagree (ah, poor little you, that you should have to live in a world where people think differently. Coping with this phenomenon is called "growing up" - in case you didn't know).

    If you want to talk about "sanity", then let's talk about it. I myself think the belief that the complexity of life is the result of nature left to its own devices without the input of intelligence, comes very close to a form of insanity.

    I also note that your comment is completely devoid of anything even remotely resembling logic. But then again I suppose for people like you "logical consistency and integrity" is not a necessary condition for mental health.

    (By the way, I suppose you won't allow me to associate you with an "insane" atheist by the name of Joe Stalin, would you??)

  • Comment number 36.

    # 35
    I find myself reflecting on the following words.... In a world without religion evil people will continue to do evil things. But for good people to do evil things, for that, we need religion.

    In the parts of the world where the faithful have lost power (Thank goodness) non believers etc are no longer locked up or executed. However, where theocrats still hold power we find the stoning, beheading, locking up continue. Atheists remain angry and passionate because they have a lot to be angry and passionate about. The main faiths did a lot of killing in the name of one version of god/gods or another, directed by scripture that is full of hate and bigotry, why they are not banned I do not know.

    People of faith are quick to judge those who do not agree with them but some get very sensitive when comments are made about them. Yes, I am sorry to be so blunt, and perhaps few atheists will articulate their feelings to you on this sensitive matter, but I will, yes, I do question the sanity of those who follow the three main faiths, why are you surprised at that?

    Now out of curiosity, any chance of enlightening me as to which sect, in which faith holds the golden ticket into the kingdom? As this thread clearly demonstrates, you can’t all be right.

    Kind regards

  • Comment number 37.

    #36 - David Kerr -

    Thank you for your response to my comment, and I must apologise also for going a bit overboard in my reaction to your opinion. You are, of course, entitled to your point of view, and I will try to understand where you are coming from. It would be a lie for me to say that I am not offended, however.

    I must admit that I feel angry when I am associated with certain "religious" people, whose actions and attitudes I hate - and possibly with a hatred and anger as great as yours, if not greater. As a Christian I agree with the sentiment expressed by the singer Sinead O'Connor who said that "God should be rescued from religion". I am sick and tired of this word "religion" and the way it is bandied around and stuck on every person who does not buy into the atheistic view of reality.

    Do you think that I, as a Christian, should defend the Pope in the recent child abuse scandal? No, I do not defend him, and I say this not because I am anti-Catholic (which I am not), but because I believe the Pope has covered up serious crimes against children. My position is one of basic human morality. But to suggest that because I believe in God I must be associated with this character and the system that has given him his authority, is absolutely ridiculous.

    I suspect that you would resent it if I associated you with atheists who have committed atrocities in the name of atheism (Lenin, Stalin, Hoxha etc). A level moral playing field is not a lot to ask.

    It's like the criticism of "moderate" religious people who abhor fundamentalism. They are not respected, but accused of being "mafia wives" - tacitly supporting abuse. This is a complete lie. Frankly, sometimes we feel we can't win.

    It is absolutely clear from the gospels that the greatest enemies of Jesus Christ were the religious leaders of the day. Essentially it was the manipulative and abusive religious mindset which sent Jesus to his death. So therefore, as a Christian, I do not wish to be associated with "religion".

    Frankly, I don't give a damn about denominationalism and all the pathetic nonsense about which sect is right. If atheists want to use the phenomenon of sectarianism as a weapon to damn "religion", then go ahead. But just keep me out of it, because it has nothing to do with me (or with God for that matter).

    As for religious wars etc - anyone can appeal to a higher authority to justify his evil actions. What more convenient way to justify oppression than to claim that God is on your side. Is that God's fault? Of course not. This is human nature, and atheists could appeal to, for example, the concept of natural selection - survival of the fittest or social darwinism - to justify evil (just yesterday I read a comment on another site in which one contributor was saying that he wanted seriously obese people to die off, as this was the natural outworking of the evolutionary process. An evil sentiment that had absolutely nothing to do with God!)

    I am a Christian for a number of reasons, and I fail to be convinced by the naturalistic interpretation of reality. Nothing that I have read on this or any other site has convinced me to question my point of view, and if ever I were to change my views I would need to see far more coherent arguments than the "guilt by association" accusation which has been presented here. Now I think that this is a sane position to take.

    All the best, Al.

  • Comment number 38.

    Small point. LSV, I don't think I used the word hate anywhere in my post.

    I accept that Lenin, Stalin, Hoxha etc did terrible things and do not resent being associated with them. They were members of the human race and even though they claimed to be outside of any faith group they were evil people doing evil things and I covered that above.

    Moderate followers of any group provide the climate that enables the fundamentalist to operate and therefore have a lot to answer for.

    I thought god was really into selecting one section and supporting them against other sections? You may not agree with god on this point.

    Religion does not cause all wars but sadly it seems to go, some way, in producing 'sides' i.e. not one of us.

    Thank you for taking the time to write. It must be very difficult though to sound sane when talking about a belief system that involves talking serpents, raising dead people and a few of each of the entire animal population of the world on a ship, captained by an 800 year old man? (The last time your loving god killed everyone else on the planet)Good luck with that one.


  • Comment number 39.

    When Archbishop Rowan said that the Roman Catholic Church in Ireland had lost all credibility he was only voicing a self-evident truth. I do not see how any remotely reasonable person could see it otherwise or say it otherwise. I would want to agree with him and I would want utterly to repudiate the comments on his remarks by the three most senior prelates of my own church. The words of Alan Harper, John Neill, and Richard Clarke were nothing less than a betrayal of Christ and a wounding from a new source of the victims whose suffering they thus compounded. I am deeply deeply ashamed and angry that they lead my church.

    The bishops' comments are examples of the worst and most corrosive kind of clerical solidarity. They mask perhaps a shame of our own for the Anglican church in Ireland handled its own abuse cases in exactly the same way as its Roman counterpart - a policy of cover-up, move, and indeed, as PK has noted, export of problem priests and hushing of scandals in its residential care provision.

  • Comment number 40.

    I listened to the broadcast this morning and enjoyed it. I do not understand why he said it then took his words back later? Did someone get to him?


  • Comment number 41.

    My own thoughts are that he said what he did to put his thoughts and opinions on the matter irretrieveably into the public domain. Remember Archbishop Rowan is an extremely clever man; too, he is not like a Presbyterian moderator just learning the ropes of his job when he's ready to step down: the Archbishop is now well into his tenure, he is media-savvy, he would know that we would know that he wasn't speaking carelessly, he meant what he said. He hasn't exactly, from what I've read, retracted his statement he has apologised for its impact and for the effects it has had - nothing more than diplomatic noises really.

  • Comment number 42.

    an Anglian is as much a Catholic as a Roman Catholic
    so for the Archbishop of York to say otherwise then just goes to shows hes Not an Anglian at all.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.