21 January 2018

Con-men and their tricks. How I was led up the Garden Path.

Autobiographically speaking, in my latter seventies, I now feel thay, as a callow youth, I was conned.

When I was an undergraduate in the early 1960s, this "Week of Prayer for Christian Unity" was, in Oxford and elsewhere, one of the big events of the year. Prayer booklets were issued every year, giving intentions for each day of the Octave and liturgical formulae for use at the (many) prayer meetings that took place all over the University. Christian Unity was the imperative; the overwhelming need if the Church was to bear united witness to her Lord. It took precedence over anything, everything else. It was pointed out, over and over again, that John 17 means that the Unity of the Lord's people is rooted in and required by the inner life of the Trinity itself; we were to be One, so that our Oneness might be the same Oneness as that shared by Father and Son in the koinonia of the Spirit, "so that the World may believe". Anything that delayed or obstructed such a Unity was deeply wrong.

So there was much regret that 'the Roman Church' had, as people put it, 'placed a new obstacle' in the way of unity a decade earlier by defining the dogma of the Bodily Assumption of the Theotokos. And Anglo-Catholics like me were made to feel awkward because our views on the necessity of episcopacy were considered (and were) an obstacle to pan-Protestant unity. I was so far taken in by all this that, a little later, as a young priest, I voted in favour of the then current scheme for Anglican Methodist Unity, satisfied by the assurances of Dr Eric Kemp (one of its authors) that the Scheme had been carefully constructed to include a service adequate to confer conditional Priestly Ordination upon the Methodist clergy. (Apparently, the latest Anglo-Methodist Scheme does not bother with such ... however minimal ... nods in the direction of Catholic Sacramental doctrine.)

Now, more than half a century later, we are told that things really aren't as simple as that. Christian Unity is still, indeed, technically, a good thing ... Oh definitely ... technically. But, apparently, we were wrong to accept a simplistic notion that Unity was the one, the only one, the over-riding imperative of the Spirit. How terribly silly we were! We should, apparently, have realised (although I don't remember anyone explaining this at the time) that there were many other things which would easily trump the need for Unity: particularly the Spirit-filled Gospel Imperative, a matter of the purest Justice, to ordain women to priestly ministries. Just as Pius XII thought he was right in 1950, so people said, to create a new obstacle to unity just because it was true, so the liberals of the 1980s deemed themselves absolutely right to do precisely the same. Now, having moved on to the next stage, they are peremptorily demanding ex animo and de fide assent to their most newly defined divisive dogma, the Sanctity of Sodomy. Well I never. Who would ever have thought it1 How totally unpredictable!!

What gullible fools we were ... I mean, I was ... back in those 1960s, ever to take these crooks at their word.

Allow me to bestow upon you some advice arising from my own life-experience ... advice I have had to learn the hard way.

Never trust a Liberal. As the slippery b****r looks you straight in the eye, clasps your hand with warm manly sincerity, and gives you some copper-bottomed assurance, always remember that a few decades later (or sooner if it suits him) he'll sneer at you and say 'Did I really say that? I think you must have misunderstood me'. Or perhaps 'Ah, but things have moved on. The Holy Spirit, you see,  ... ' etc.etc.. It's not that they're intentionally or consciously dishonest; it's simply that their own unstable fancies and fantasies slither around in such undisciplined and unpredictable ways that their Master the Enemy, 'Our Father Below', easily guides them into a duplicity which they are too self-obsessed even to notice.

And, before your friendly Liberal leaves your house, count the spoons, especially those silver ones you inherited. He will almost certainly have subtly nuanced views on such moral questions as those concerning the ownership of spoons.


motuproprio said...

Ah! Dear Ralph Waldo Emerson “The louder he talked of his honor, the faster we counted our spoons.”

Tony V said...

To be fair, it's not just liberals you shouldn't trust.
Don't trust anyone. Least of all oneself.

El Codo said...

Doesit it not make you rejoice Father that the net is broken and we are free? A pile of clothes in the corner is always that and so the C of E. I have nothing to do with the Christian Unity charade...there is One True Church and the sooner all those Prots accept that,the better. We have a terribly nice Methody,Baptist,Anglican and Quaker in our village...all wrong,wandering around in FOGBOM!God help them.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Father.

As an ex-Methodist, I get it.

Trouble is now that we are in the Church, we see there are that same lot deep in the high weeds here as well.


Zephyrinus said...

Dear Fr,

The two words that sum up the attitude of today's liberal, modernist, groupings, are contained in the penultimate paragraph of your Post.


Anonymous said...

"To be fair, it's not just liberals you shouldn't trust.
Don't trust anyone. Least of all oneself."

Wow that's very deep.

Священник села said...

At least, the spoons of other people.

motuproprio said...

Another illusion shattered! I had not expected that you would have been taken in by the cobbled together scheme for Anglican-Methodist merger which was one of the many attempts (eventually successful as we see today) to undermine a Catholic understanding of the priesthood in the Church of England.

Anonymous said...

Well... Yes and no.

The Roman & Anglican communions engaged in what seemed to be a very fruitful series of conversation (ARCIC I). Substantial agreement seemed to be reached. But then it seemed that Rome had not been playing a straight bat. The decision of the General Synod of the Church of England to ordain women came after a slap in the face from the Vatican in its response to the ARCIC I Final Report.

Faults on both sides and all that. But I am not sure the C of E has been any more slippery than Rome.

Fr John Hunwicke said...

This is an untruth sedulously asserted by Anglicans. It is true that Rome made successive demands for clarifications, because the wording sometimes seemed designed to be ambiguous. But after the final ARCIC Document, entitled "Clarifications", all the relevant dicasteries, including the CDF, agreed that the questions had been settled and no more work on these topics remained to be done. This is not a slap in the face.

There was a point about which Rome had been getting worried: they had thought that they were supposed to be finding consensus with the Anglican Communion. But Anglican documents gradually revealed that all that some on the Anglican side were agreeing to was the proposition that the "Agreements" represented a position which was within the 'Anglican spectrum of belief'. There was thus a suspicion that the Anglicans had been playing a far from straight bat.

I'm afraid I am not going to rake over these

Fr John Hunwicke said...

... matters any further.

Highland Cathedral said...

Anglican-Methodist Unity? The mind boggles. I recently attended a baptism at a United Reformed Church where the minister is a combined Methodist-URC appointment. Having baptised the baby she got up into the pulpit to examine the meaning of baptism. Various possibilities were considered then rejected. Eventually she came to original sin. She rejected this doctrine on the ground that babies cannot commit sin. What do they teach in Methodist seminaries?

Mark said...

"Never trust a Liberal" is good advice indeed. My life experience, too, confirms it.

Deacon Augustine said...

It is totally illogical to believe anybody who does not believe in objective truth themselves. A person who openly rejects the idea of objective truth is effectively telling you that they are a liar. Hence there should be absolutely no place for "liberals" in the Church of God in the same way that there should be no place for heretics, schismatics, pornographers, racists, thieves and sodomites.

Hence the great part of the present Catholic hierarchy should not be trusted either as so many have swallowed the lie that truth changes according to the needs of modern circumstances - they do not believe in objective truth.

As for the ARCIC charade, I have never met an orthodox Catholic who believed that the ARCIC statements were compatible with Catholic doctrine. Why should they have been - the "Catholic" side was represented by Cormac Murphy O'Connor rather than a Catholic?

coradcorloquitur said...

I have always believed that Lucifer was the first Liberal: "I will not serve!" is the anti-legitimate authority that is the common denominator of all stripes of liberals---from the deluded, sweet ladies in the local book club whose guiding rule in life is that we should just be nice to everyone and not offend with such pesky, ancillary matters as what is truth to most the murderous manifestations of Communism and, socially, of the current Cultural Marxists. Liberalism is the enemy, as holy and intelligent popes had warned and taught us from the nineteenth century on. I wish we had one of them sitting on the Throne of Peter today.

Anonymous said...

The problem with Catholic/Anglican dialogue is that one side assumes that the purpose of dialogue is to clarify what we really mean and come to a common understanding of religious truths and hence of the realities they communicate, but the other side assumes that the purpose of dialogue is to find a sufficiently nuanced and fuzzy formula which will allow all parties to go on believing contradictory things behind a mask of institutional unity.

The C of E was a political compromise from the Elizabethan settlement onwards, designed to hold together incompatible Protestant and Catholic opinions - and a large number who didn't care much either way but who just wanted to hang on to social position and power - in the name of national unity. So its leaders instinctively think in the same terms as a political party. Ambiguity and compromise are the stock in trade of politics. Insistence on truth held eodem sensu eademque sententia however expressed is seen as rude and divisive, if not downright impossible to achieve. Perhaps it should not be surprising that liberalism became the mindset of the majority in a such an institution.

Banshee said...

The Methodists and United Methodists are pretty infested by liberals and ordained women today, some of them outright crazies. There was a time when they were very conservative and doctrinally reasonable, but that was before a lot of liberals decided they wanted a meal ticket more than they wanted to be Episcopalian/Anglican.

Maybe this is unfair. But one of my relatives goes to a United Methodist church. Every liberal pastor has been lazier and less pastoral than the one before, to the point that the current one (who is leaving for greener pastures, come summer) has decided that not only can he hold only one Sunday service fairly late in the day instead of all three (despite the congregation being too large for this), but that he can also take lengthy expensive vacations while everybody else is freezing. He then sent out a Christmas card featuring him in swim trunks and his wife in a bikini, on some Caribbean island. This did not go over well. Most of the last few liberal pastors have been very lazy about visiting the sick, too.

So yeah, basically every US General Convention that the United Methodists have held, recently, has been a battle between literally godless, Christianity-less groups of youngish liberal ministers, and everybody else. (This same relative got invited to one as a delegate, and came back very shocked and depressed.)

John F. Kennedy said...

"What do they teach in Methodist seminaries?"
Apparently not something that would have been consider Christian 100 years ago.

Dale Griffith said...

"Never trust liberal"? Couldn't agree more. But the liberals I most distrust are the Roman Catholic variety.

motuproprio said...

May I recommend the Prayers for Christian Unity issued by the Catholic League following the model of the Abbé Coutourier. I am very clear that whilst the Catholic Church is of divine institution the Anglican Communion is nothing more than a trick with mirrors.

Hans Georg Lundahl said...

"he'll sneer at you and say 'Did I really say that? I think you must have misunderstood me'."

Hmmmm .... sounds like sth which will be less likely to succeed if their words are copied on blogs .... a decade from now Tony Trupp may have trouble wiggling himself out of what he said.

Not that I think he is very over likely to want to ... he might have changed the name. I have seen some suspicious looking names over the web.

Liam Ronan said...

Not to be confused with the plot of the 1944 Hitchcock film of a similar name, I gather you have been a victim of a technique now called 'gaslighting', Father. As have we all right up to the very present moment.

January 22, 2017 - Psychology Today: "11 Warning Signs of Gaslighting in Relationships"


Anonymous said...

As usual, Father Hunwicke gets it:

Never trust a liberal.

Or as the Bible puts it:

10 Never trust your enemy,
for like the rusting of copper, so is his wickedness.
11 Even if he humbles himself and goes about cringing,
watch yourself, and be on your guard against him;
and you will be to him like one who has polished a mirror,
and you will know that it was not hopelessly tarnished.
12 Do not put him next to you,
lest he overthrow you and take your place;
do not have him sit at your right,
lest he try to take your seat of honor,
and at last you will realize the truth of my words,
and be stung by what I have said.

Sirach 12:10-12

Ana Milan said...

True Unity can only be achieved by non-Catholic Christians recognizing their forefathers rash decision to follow Luther, Calvin, Swingli et al out of the CC, resulting in the formation of over 38K various denominations & sects. Despite all its human faults (& there are many), the OHC&A Church is the only one that can directly trace its history to Jesus Christ & the First Apostles who were the receivers of the Great Commission – Matthew 28 : 16-20 “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Those who continue to argue against the Truth are making God’s Word a political football where the most liberal/lenient propositions get their vote. They have no conception of how their grave errors & rejection cause calamitous injuries to the Bride of Christ & those who encourage them in their pertinacity are equally culpable.