The Changing Faces of the Papacy

This is a fascinating overview of the last 50 or so years of the Catholic church, not so much a lecture as an audio/visual memoir. While he doesn’t take anybody’s side in the controversies racking our churches, he gives a perspective on why things are as they are, one of the best talks I’ve heard anywhere. I think you’ll enjoy it, and profit from it.

His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor is a retired bishop and cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church, Archbishop Emeritus of Westminster and former President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. He was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in the 2001 Consistory.

The next, and last, lecture for this year will be Bishop Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth

Sponsored by:

Diocese of East AngliaUEA

St. George, and this blessed Plot, this Realm and even Music

DSC01205 Maldon St GeorgeThursday was the Queen’s 90th Birthday, of course, it’s also St George’s day, and in addition, four hundred years ago William Shakespeare died, for that matter, fifty-two years before that, also on the 23d, he was born.  So consider this a sampling.

We might as well start with World War Two, particularly since that has some of the best. This is from the Queen mother’s 90th birthday Royal Variety performance

 

 

Here’s a group of British male vocalists from the fifties. I obviously remember some of the songs but have no idea who the vocalists may be, not who made these hits in the States.

Then in the 60s, something remarkable happened.

and:

 

And even:

And:

 

In fact:


But there’s always been something else, as well: like a song that presaged a revolution

 

And patriotism

 

Of empire lost

 

and won

 

And love of country:

 

This one here:

The one that John of Gaunt said this about:

This royal throne of kings, this scepter’d isle,
This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
This other Eden, demi-paradise,
This fortress built by Nature for herself
Against infection and the hand of war,
This happy breed of men, this little world,
This precious stone set in the silver sea,
Which serves it in the office of a wall,
Or as a moat defensive to a house,
Against the envy of less happier lands,
This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England

 

The Queen’s 90th Birthday

 

UntitledcgffI wanted to write another post on leadership today, so I did.

Today is Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday. Like the very luckily much younger (and far more beautiful) Laura says here, “she’s the only Queen of the United Kingdom, I’ve ever known”. And Britain and the Commonwealth, and yes, the United States, as well, is very lucky for that fact.

Like her mother, who I wrote about here, she has lived a life of duty; duty to her people, and to her God. She has lived it faithfully, far more than anybody else on the scene today, and the world is a far better place for her. Think about that, she has done her duty, every day, pretty much since the day her father became King, with the abdication of King Edward VIII. From being an ambulance driver (and mechanic) in the Second World War until today, she has never faltered, never flagged. How many of us will be able to look back and say that?

Her mother famously said, during the dark days of The Blitz, ” The children won’t go without me. I won’t leave the King. And the King will never leave.” And that is exactly how her daughter has lived her life. And we’re all much the better for it.

FILE - In this Saturday, June 13, 2015 file photo, Britain's Prince William holds his son Prince George, with Queen Elizabeth II, right, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales during the Trooping The Colour parade at Buckingham Palace, in London. Britain's Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, file)

FILE – In this Saturday, June 13, 2015, file photo, Britain’s Prince William holds his son, Prince George, with Queen Elizabeth II, right, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and the Prince of Wales during the Trooping The Colour parade at Buckingham Palace, in London. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth celebrates her 90th birthday on Thursday, April 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland, file)

I love the Queen. Like, I seriously love her. So far, I’ve narrowed it down to 60 reasons:

  1. She’s the only queen I’ve ever known.ca3d962ca934ade44e012b5822ec15c0
  2. She’s the only queen my parents have ever known.
  3. No one knows what’s in her handbag so she’s pretty much Mary Poppins.
  4. She got her training in statesmanship from Winston Churchill.
  5. She rocks the greatest hats.
  6. She still wears white gloves.
  7. Her grandson was lucky enough to marry Kate Middleton.
  8. She loves the Commonwealth, and puts up with the lot of us.
  9. Her hair looks like a giant diamond from a distance.
  10. She jumps out of aeroplanes.
  11. She’s the sexiest Bond girl ever.
  12. Her dad is Colin Firth.
  13. She was a car mechanic in the war.
  14. She fell in love with her future husband at the age of 13.
  15. She became queen while sleeping in a tree house in Africa.

Continue reading 60 Reasons I Love the Queen. (Sadly the link is no longer active)

And then the Queen also has let us know what wrong with the United States

Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government?
Are there any tips you can give me?”
“Well,” said the Queen,

“The most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people.”
Obama frowned, and then asked,

“But how do I know if the people around me are really intelligent?”
The Queen took a sip of champagne.

“Oh, that’s easy; you just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle, watch”
The Queen pushed a button on her intercom.
“Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?”
Tony Blair walked into the room and said,
“Yes, your Majesty?”

The Queen smiled and said,

“Answer me this please Tony.
Your mother and father have a child.
It is not your brother and it is not your sister.
Who is it?”
Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answered…

“That would be me.”
“Yes! Very good.” said the Queen.

Obama went back home to ask Joe Biden the same question.
“Joe, answer this for me.”

Continue reading The Queen’s Riddle.

My dearest friend, and editor, Jessica, has an excellent article today on All Along the Watchtower, about this wondrous anniversary today as well.

My Country Tis of Thee done Right

Long Live the Queen – God save the Queen!

 

Newman Lecture: Bishop Graham James

From his biography:

The Rt Revd (Dr) Graham James
Bishop of Norwich

The Rt Revd Graham James was ordained in Peterborough in 1975 and later working in Welwyn Garden City, Church House – Westminster (where he had responsibility for overseeing the selection procedures for candidates for ordination in the Church of England), Canterbury (where he was appointed as Chaplain to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Robert Runcie, and later, George Carey).
He was consecrated Bishop of St. Germans in 1993, returning to his native Cornwall, but moved to Norwich at the end of 1999 and was enthroned as Bishop of Norwich on 29 January 2000.

Bishop Graham has been an active member of the House of Lords since 2004. He is currently Chair of the Ministry Division which is responsible for the selection and training of all candidates for ordination.

Bishop Graham has also been a Board Member of the Countryside Agency and been much involved in rural issues. In 2011, he was invited to join the Lords Select Committee on Communications and took up the responsibility as the Church of England’s lead spokesman on media issues. He is patron or president of over thirty organisations and a regular guest on BBC Radio 4’s Thought for the Day.

 

I found this to be a very interesting lecture, especially with regards to the modern history of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, which as Jessica has told us, was before the Reformation one of Catholicism’s great pilgrimage sites. It seems in many ways to be becoming one again, it’s certainly on my list of places I want to go. I also find it interesting that the first Catholic Mass held at the Shrine was by the United States Army Air Forces, shortly after VE day.

Sometimes we forget, especially those of us that are Protestants, that our traditions, like our Roman brothers and sisters, go back to Jesus, not just to the Reformation.

Next week will be as Professor Charmley noted, a bit of view from the other side of the hill with Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Conner, former Archbishop of Westminster.

As always, sponsored by:

UEADiocese of East Anglia

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feed my sheep?

1263

Jesus spoke about how when we ignore the hungry and the homeless and the dispossessed, we ignore him. His followers hadn’t cottoned on, and as so often, he ended up having to explain to them. In becoming man, he saved us, and we are all made new in him – and have a common bond. This was one of the most powerful things about early Christianity. At a time when everyone made distinctions – ‘Jew’ or ‘Gentile’, ‘Roman’ or ‘Barbarian’, as well as the ones we’re still familiar with – rich and poor, insider and outsider – Christians were all brothers and sisters, and one of the things which impressed the Pagan society within which it was situated was the way in which it considered those who were of no account – widows and orphans – as mattering. They mattered because like the rest of us they are made in the image of Christ – and in helping them, we help Christ.

Over here, during the twentieth century, the State took on many of the philanthropic functions previously carried on by voluntary organisations, not least the churches. But over the past decade or more, as the over-reach of the State becomes apparent because of economic crises, the churches have sort of begun to insert themselves into some of the gaps. So, in terms of the refugee crisis which you may have heard of, with thousands on thousands of Syrian and Iraqi refugees fleeing the crises which have engulfed their countries, our Government has tended to give some funding to the churches and to other groups and told us to get on with it.

That’s how I find myself helping a couple of nights a week, and one Saturday a month, at a help centre for refugees. We serve food, we help find accommodation and schooling, and we put them in touch with others who can provide professional help such as psychiatric care. Though we have some funding from the local authorities via the Government, much of what we spend comes from donations, and the generosity of people is humbling. So, too, are the stories we hear.

I’m in no position to take sides – except that of the people we are trying to help. When you hear what these people have been through, your heart breaks – and there but for the Grace of God we all go. Most of the people I meet were, until a few years back, middle-class professionals, teachers, doctors, lawyers, who suddenly found their lives destroyed by the civil war in Syria. If anyone had told them, five years ago, they’d be eking out an existence in a bedsit in a foreign country depending on handouts, they would not have believed you – but that is just where they are now. But, once they are in a stable place, they help us to help others coming after them.

It’s not always easy. Some of the men in particular clearly feel humiliated in having to take charity, and some of them don’t much like being helped by women. It would be easy to get irritated by that, but what’s the point?  True charity is not setting conditions on what you do such as expecting those you help to be grateful in the way we would express gratitude. A female friend expressed some crossness that I was covering my hair when I go to help, but I know, from talking to many of the women, that they feel more comfortable when their men aren’t unsettled. Some will think this a form of appeasement of Muslims, but I left out one detail – most of those we are helping are Christian refugees. In their churches women and men sit on opposite sides of the aisle, and the women always cover their hair. In following their custom, we’re simply making them feel comfortable – it is an act of courtesy, acknowledging that even if they are homeless refugees totally dependant on our charity, they are men and women from a culture which we can show some respect to.

They say that you shouldn’t judge someone until you have walked a mile in their shoes, and having shared some time and space with these men, women and children, all I can say is that it isn’t hard to see them as brothers and sisters. What is heartening is to see how they respond, and how a comradeship grows between us. As one women with whom I prayed recently said to me: ‘You are good sister to me, and if needed, I would be to you, we are one in Jesus Christ.’ Yes, I thought, we are, and I believe you would be if the boot was on the other foot.

Newman Lectures

Francis CampbellThose of you who were here last year at this time will remember that we carried, the audio of and some pictures (videos when the speaker agreed) from the Newman Lectures, sponsored by the University of East Anglia, and the Diocese of East Anglia. We are again going to carry them, as they become available, barring technical glitches, which do happen, as we all know.

This year has a very distinguished group of presenters

  • 4 April:   Francis Campbell, Vice-Chancellor, St Mary’s University, Twickenham
  • 11 April: Dr. Graham James, The Bishop of Norwich
  • 18 April: Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Former Archbishop of Westminster
  • 25 April: Bishop Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth

I’m very excited about this lineup, and also again working with John, Andrew, and Siobhan. So if you can’t make it to Norwich, don’t miss out completely.


 

THE CHURCH IN SOCIETY AND ITS RELATIONSHIP TO THE STATE

The first Newman lecture this spring was by Francis Campbell. His CV is most impressive:

Currently Vice-Chancellor of St Mary’s University, Twickenham, Francis has had a long and distinguished career, working as – amongst other things – Policy Advisor and Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Senior Policy Director with Amnesty International, and British Ambassador to the Holy See from 2005 to 2011.

Probably wouldn’t hurt to add for us Americans, a British Vice-Chancellor is an American university president.

Enjoy, a most interesting lecture.

These lectures are sponsored by:

UEADiocese of East Anglia

 

 

 

Next will be: Dr. Graham James, The Bishop of Norwich

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