Friday 25th of May 2018

mysterious ways .....

mysterious ways .....

Justin Welby, the Bishop of Durham, will become Archbishop of Canterbury when Rowan Williams steps down at the end of the year.

Apart from dressing-up in the church’s hilarious funny frocks, the new archbishop seems to be a bit of a dark horse ….

Like the Kennedy gang in the US, Welby’s family did very well from bootlegging, with his father Gavin reportedly being a protégé of old Joe Kennedy. His early connections to the church are said by some to stem from his involvement in importing communion wine, as a way to circumvent the prohibition laws.

Justin is reputed to be a Francophile & to enjoy sailing when he’s not saving souls. As the one time dean of Liverpool Cathedral he controversially allowed John Lennon's Imagine to be played on the cathedral's bells as part of the Futuresonic 09 art project in May 2009 - despite the line "imagine there is no heaven".

Like David Cameron, Justin is an old Etonian, later going on to study at Trinity College Cambridge. More surprisingly, he only entered the priesthood in 1992 & prior to that was an executive with the French oil company, rising to the senior position of group treasurer. He was recently appointed to the parliamentary committee looking into UK banking standards - especially the ethics which led to the recent Libor scandal.

He appears to have a wry sense of humour. In a tweet in February of this year, he confessed that he had been "very sleepy" during one debate at the General Synod. In reply to a delegate asking him why he had nodded throughout both sides of the debate, he said that he may have given the impression of being the "bishop of indecision".

Others might say that he is a “bishop of worldly ways” …..


whilst on the subject of worldly ways, Mike Carlton has shared a few anecdotes on the adventures of the O’Toole family during their time at the famous Sydney University College, St John’s ….


Honestly, this media uproar about a few harmless student pranks at St John's is pathetic. It's the sort of grossly exaggerated rubbish you get all the time from left-wing journalists these days - none of whom ever attended a private school, I dare say, and who are evidently consumed by class warfare.

We are actually very proud of Damien, the eldest of our four. He did brilliantly at St Sadistica's, where all us O'Toole boys have gone for generations. Not that he reached any great academic heights, I admit, but he did score a try against Grammar in the 3rd XV and, although Fiona and I were skiing in Aspen at the time, everyone said his performance in the challenging role of Yorick in the year 12 production of Shakespeare's Hamlet was an absolute standout.

Fiona worked her bum off to have Damo made a prefect and House Captain, as you do. She was president of the Mothers' Committee and Hon. Sec. of Sadistica 2012, the fund-raiser for the school's new Olympic Aquatic Centre, all that. Mind you, I think it helped that I myself, personally, and my father and grandfather were prefects too.

And now he's going gangbusters at John's. Obviously we hoped he'd follow me into merchant banking, but he's very much into the environment as young people often are, finishing his B.Sc in Lawn Care last year, with a High Distinction in Leaf Blowing. He's a popular kid, a born leader, looked up to. His nickname at John's is Tooley.

So it was outrageous to see his face all over the front pages and the TV news this week, like some sort of bogan hooligan. He grew up in Mosman, for heaven's sake. Big deal if a few freshers were made to eat dog food and shampoo. A few girls were called molls or sluts? As Fiona says, the way some of them dress these days, they deserve every word of it and more.

These initiation ceremonies have been happening for yonks. Students will be students. I left John's in '79, the same year as Tony Abbott. The stuff that Abbo and I got up to you wouldn't believe.

But now the do-gooders have become involved it's all gone pear-shaped. I tell you, though, I will not have Damien's future put at risk. After it hit the fan we immediately sent in Fiona's brother Xavier, who's a QC in Phillip Street, and that hosed things down quick smart. If there's any more trouble I'll ring the Cardinal myself and remind him just who stumped up six figures for the stone restoration at St Mary's.

Where we come from, tradition counts for something.


male zombies...

As events go, it's not exactly earth-shaking. A couple of days ago, a pressure group announced the name of its new boss, a white bloke in his 50s who used to work in the oil industry.

Admittedly the job couldn't have gone to a woman – this particular pressure group isn't up to speed with equality – but did they have to pick an Old Etonian? Even more puzzling has been the reaction, with lots of people rushing around and using words like "daring" and "unexpected". I even heard a woman on Radio 4 saying she was "excited". That's probably because the new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, is replacing Rowan Williams, a cleric who sounded thoughtful but was actually incomprehensible.

Whatever Welby's qualities, however, the truth is that he's taking charge of an organisation which doesn't matter to most of the population. Desperate attempts to make the Church of England sound "relevant" can't avoid that fact that most of us never set foot in any of its buildings except as tourists. And we hold a wide range of beliefs that include agnosticism, atheism, other forms of religion and devotion to the Jedi. The Anglican church long ago lost any claim to authority, and its special status is an outrageous anachronism. Disestablishment is long overdue and so is the removal of 26 Anglican bishops from the House of Lords. They're actually just senior officials in an NGO, with no stronger claim to sit in the legislature than the head of Amnesty International or the RSPB.

It's hard to see why I should care what the new Archbishop thinks about gay marriage, and even harder to see why he should be able to vote on it if and when legislation comes before the second chamber. One of the reasons church leaders are so touchy, I suspect, is that they know that these are extraordinary and indefensible privileges. A former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, gets acres of space to complain about discrimination against Christians, but he doesn't say much about all the ways in which Anglican clerics continue to enjoy special status.

blind faith ....

The Church of England has again voted down the introduction of women bishops, after a long and divisive debate including over 100 speeches.

The measure had majority support but did not win the two-thirds majority in all three houses of the General Synod that was needed for it to pass. It was lost in the House of Laity by just six votes.

The result will embitter and embarrass supporters of modernisation, with many tweeting that they were “ashamed” of the church's decision.

Among existing bishops, 44 voted for women to join their ranks, three voted against and two abstained. Among priests, 148 were in favour and 45 against. Of the laity, 132 were in favour and 74 were against. Forty-two of the church's 42 dioceses have previously backed women as bishops.

The church will not vote on the issue again for at least five years. But there has been speculation that women priests might turn to civil law for redress, asking that the church be stripped of its exemption to obey equal-employment laws.

Before the vote, Sally Muggeridge of Canterbury asked who would go to see the Queen, a woman, and “tell her that we've failed her?”

Canon Jane Charman of Salisbury described the debate as “one of the most inward looking… I can remember”, saying a spin doctor did not exist who could make excluding women sound like good news to the outside world: “Synod, we need to pass this legislation.”

But speakers opposing the measure cited scripture as the basis for their refusal of “female headship”.

The synod was voting on a compromise measure that would have allowed women bishops but left wriggle room for conservative evangelicals, with women bishops able to “delegate” authority to a male bishop if their parish requested it. The incoming Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the compromise was “as good as we can get”.

But Edward Armitstead of Bath said the measure was unsatisfactory and that opponents of female bishops had not really been listened to: “The measure as it stands is discriminatory and does not offer reassurance to the almost a third of members who cannot accept female headship.”

Bishop Peter Forster of Chester said he was uncomfortable with the ordination of women as bishops even though he gladly ordained female priests. The proposed change would allow parishes to choose their own bishops and would mean bishops “will not be in Eucharistic communion with one another”.

Women spoke against the measure too. Rosemary Lyon said she was not a misogynist but “we need to stick with scripture.”

“Please vote against this. There is a better way,” she said.

Canon Rebecca Swyer of Chichester said she felt the church did not have the authority to make this decision.

Rod Thomas of Exeter said the compromise would still mean recognising the authority of female bishops, something he believed was not accepted in scripture.

But Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams asked how long the church could sustain a system in which some priests are blocked from being bishops. He said he wanted the church to “liberate itself” from the issue so that no more time and energy would be spent on it.

Church Gives Women Bishops The Thumbs Down - Again