The Archbishops’ Council – An EU Lobbyist?

Rochester CathedralIt was recently my pleasure to attend the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee service at Rochester Cathedral shortly after installation ceremonies for both our new Dean, the Very Reverend Dr Mark Beach and the new Bishop of Rochester, the Right Reverend James Langstaff. I also enjoyed working under our Dean’s chairmanship last week to seek out common ground with the Occupy Faith movement on their march from St Paul’s to Canterbury.

I was shocked, however, to see that the Church of England appears to have told MPs that the Government needs to re-educate Eurosceptics. Its Archbishops’ Council has stated to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee that it is unfortunate the Government’s referendum lock “ties the Government’s hands” into holding a referendum on future European Union treaty changes, claiming that the Prime Minister’s veto in December left the UK “without credibility”, and that we risk the “travesty” of splitting from the European Union.

Indeed, the evidence prepared by the Church of England’s ‘Mission and Public Affairs team’ reads as if it is a missive from pro-European Union lobbyists, rather than a document befitting a Church ministering to the people of Britain, over 80% of whom want a referendum on Europe.

The work of the Church of England and its Cathedral in Rochester are generally welcome and praiseworthy. The Archbishops’ Council’s extraordinary political intervention, however, is the reverse and a travesty of the gospel to ‘give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.’

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9 Comments

Filed under Church of England, conservatives, europe, mark reckless, rochester and strood

9 responses to “The Archbishops’ Council – An EU Lobbyist?

  1. Allan Draycott

    Indeed. St John’s Gospel is fairly explicit on the matter when Christ responds to Pilate’s questioning as to the reason He had been brought before him:

    “My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

    (Gospel of St John, chap.18, v.36)

    Psalm 146 tells us:

    “Put not your trust in princes, nor in the son of man, in whom there is no help.”

    However like much else in scripture the Church of England feels that these Biblical injunctions should be set aside and ignored (without giving any reasoning for doing so) and we should seek our salvation in the Common Agricultural Policy and the European Stability Pact that has done so much to benefit third-world farmers and Mediterranean economies currently saddled with debt.

    The European Union is a veritable Belshazzar’s Feast, a house built upon the sand but like Pontius Pilate Pilate the clerics reply, in Chesterton’s adaptation of St John, “what is truth?” and will not stay for an answer.

    It is statements such as those produced by the Archbishops’ Council coupled with their pronouncements on such issues as the right for Israel to exist and defend itself that have lost the Church of England any credibility as far as preaching the Word of God is concerned and why so many of us find other things to do on Sunday. In short, it has become, in Christ’s words, “a whited sepulchre”, rank with the smell of its own corruption.

  2. I am astonished that the Church of England bishops should regard
    splitting from the EU a ‘travesty… because the church is, by virtue
    of its history, a European church’.
    Article 37, to which all bishops and clergy have sworn on oath to
    uphold, states:
    “The Queen’s Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England… and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any Foreign Jurisdiction.”

  3. fjpickett

    “a European church”
    Not much point in calling it the Church of England, then.
    Why, whenever senior clerics pontificate (!) about worldly matters like statehood and climate change, do I feel strangely comforted when my own views are diametrically opposite? Most of them make P G Wodehouse’s clerics look positively sane.

  4. Paul

    I would expect nothing less from the bishops. They have consistently misread the will of the people and have a totally different agenda from the rest of humanity. Nazir Ali had a clue but Langstaff … (Hasn’t Rochester had a Langstaff previously?)

  5. Oswald of Paddlesworth

    It seems the Church of England has some kind of internal security problem that some infiltrators from Brussels can have such a report published in her name. Could you find me many congregations that would agree with this report? Many clergy? Of course not.
    But then, could you find me a true Conservative who can defend the leader of the party – even on this issue?
    The problem of the Church is not that she engages too much with the problems of the people but that she does it too little. Calls from politicians for the Church of England to stay in its old buildings and mumble its hymns remind me of that wonderful scene in the movie “On the Waterfront” with Marlon Brando and Karl Malden. Malden plays a local priest who is the only man with the courage to stand against gangsters who run the docks. They have murdered a man in the hold of a ship and Malden stands over the body with the dock-workers gathered around. “Get back to your Church!” shouts a gangster. “This is my Church!” replies Malden.
    Did Jesus lead some charmed life where he was able to avoid engagement with the suffering of people and never come into contact with state authorities? I am not so well rehearsed in the details and nuances of some gospel stories but I think that generally Jesus lived with the people and the whole purpose of his life and ministry was to give himself to state and imperial authority so that they would kill him.
    The place of the Church is with the problems that afflict the people. The function of the Church is to love God’s people on His behalf. If the Church cared nothing and said nothing that would be some kind of reason to ignore her and do something else on Sunday. (Churches other than CofE are available). But what has happened here is only that some part of the Church has said the wrong thing: some bishops, who are only busy men, have made a mistake – big deal. This is a sound reason for Eurosceptics to engage more with the Church and make even bishops understand that the motivation and a eurosceptic vision for the future of Britain and Europe might also be in line with God’s will.
    That calm conversation might not be entirely fruitless for the eurosceptic movement.

  6. The trouble is that the Archbishops council is designed to bring abour faith liason and co-operation between diffferent Anglican / Episcopal areas amongst other churhces who seek allegiance with Canterbury (such as to varrying degrees teh RC and Scotish kirk). It is designed so that the CofEs parliamentary basis now devolved democratically to the English provinces of Canterbury and Yorks General Synod and consulted to Lambeth conference of said Archbishops is reformed with consent and with reference to the Commonwealth so as to repeat a version of teh troubles elswhere and foster dialogue.
    Its mimicked by the work of teh interfaith foundation.
    In short the crown that is supreme governor can listen to whomever it chooses or not.

  7. Pingback: Church sees the light | Mark Reckless MP

  8. Pingback: Church sees the light | Mark Reckless MP

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