Three C of I Parishes to move to communion with Rome…

Whilst the decision of the Traditional Anglican Communion to seek corporate communion with the Catholic Church is largely uncontroversial in most places where some 440,000 folk are expected to go along with the move. In most other places, it is largely a doctrinal matter of personal conscience. In Ireland, where there are Parishes in counties Down, Laois and Tyrone, it is likely to throw up some cultural eddies. If the parishes are to be allowed continue side by side with the traditional Catholic ones, it might also be reasonably expected that they will continue with their own traditional Anglican rite, as opposed to the Roman rite. That could lead to some, highly localised, mixing between what have long been two entirely discrete communities in the same local area.

Interesting times…

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  • willowfield

    I don’t think it’s correct to say that three parishes are leaving the C of I. As I understand it, the three parishes left the Church of Ireland 16 years ago.

  • pith

    I wonder it there are any Orangemen or members of the other so-called loyal orders among the congregations.

  • Curious

    Anyone know the names of the parishes in Tyrone and Down?

  • Diomedes

    I believe the churches in question are.

    Co.Down St Johns Kiltonga Newtownards
    Co.Tyrone Clogher Parish
    Co.Laois Stradbally Parish

  • Tecnically these parishes were not part of the CofI and they were papist in all but name .
    However that should not disguise the fact that there is an ongoing Romeward trend in the three “main” Protestant churches .
    While some “true blue” Orangemen parade to their local church once a year showing to their community what great Protestants they are . Their rector or minister is privately and sometimes publicly working closely with his Roman counterpart in various prayer fellowships and ecumenical initiatives .
    The progress of ecumenism may be slow but progressing it is . Its logical outcome is the reunification of Christendom under the leadership
    of the Pope.
    The last time we had a united church under the leadership of the Pope was that period in history known as THE DARK AGES.
    http://www.theevangelists.blogspot.com

  • Diomedes

    Ian the Dark ages was circa 476 AD to 1000 AD.

    Martin Luther nailed his theses to the door in 1517 which is during period in history known as the Late Middle Ages

  • Curious

    Clogher Parish! That’s not far from me!

    So Clogher Cathedral in the Main Street, where Bishop Michael Jackson is now a Roman Catholic Church under the Pope?

    Seems bizaree to me unless I’m getting the wrong end of the stick.

    I’d imagine not many Catholic Churches fly the Union Flag every summer and have Orange services each July!

  • Ian Hall @ 11:54 AM:

    The last time we had a united church under the leadership of the Pope was that period in history known as THE DARK AGES.

    Ah, yes, Petrarch’s sneer at earlier writers rises again. One would be hard pressed to find any contemporary historian who uses the term, “dark ages”.

    Anyway, wouldn’t that cover the period when Celtic Christianity was keeping the Faith alive, and was distinctly out-of-step with the Roman orthodoxy? My history has it that we only got one “Pope” in 1073, when Gregory VII reserved the term for the Bishop of Rome: by that time, if one must use the abusive term, the “Dark Ages” were on the way out.

    Apart from some benighted, bigoted and “dark” regions, multi-faith dialogue and co-operation seems to be the happy norm. After all, there are so many lost souls (like me) who are even agnostic about their agnosticism.

  • Dev

    “Their rector or minister is privately and sometimes publicly working closely with his Roman counterpart in various prayer fellowships and ecumenical initiatives .”

    Ian Hall, exactly what twisted form of Christianity do you follow that precludes you from loving you neighbour? I’m not a particularly religious man but I’m fairly sure Jesus wasn’t big on hating his fellow man. If you feel Catholics have offended or hurt you with their beliefs why don’t you turn the other cheek and forgive them for their sins?

    Also, you seem to think that the Pope in Rome is masterminding some fiendish plan to take over the world. Luckily for the rest of us, yours and the Pope’s organised superstition/religious beliefs have little relevance or impact on the running of the modern world so I won’t start shitting myself about living in a Papal theocracy just yet.

  • Unitarian Unionist

    Ian,

    Personally I’m more worried and comcerned about your own churches leaders and members going into partnership with the ira in government than I am about the 3 main Protestant churches leading us into any Romanist partnership.

  • Johnny B Good

    “papist” is this not a big@ts expression Ian Hall?

    I certainly take offence to its use.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papist

  • So Clogher Cathedral in the Main Street, where Bishop Michael Jackson is now a Roman Catholic Church under the Pope?

    Amusing as that might be, given the sheer number of flags which seem to adorn Clogher Cathedral every summer, sadly no. This is the breakaway Clogher Parish of which I must admit to knowing very little. I would struggle to believe that its roots are anything other than firmly evangelical.

    On the other hand I do know a bit about:

    St Johns Kiltonga Newtownards

    This is a delicious irony; one of the main reasons this parish exists is because of alleged ‘Romanising’ tendencies in St. Mark’s (the town centre C of I church in Ards). Basically, St. Mark’s, like a lot of middle of the road C of I Churches in the 1980s, became a little bit more ceremonial and put a cross on the altar (gasps of breath!) A group of hardcore Prod parishioners took the hump, and after the Traditional Anglican Communion was formed as a result of the ordination of women, they ended up under its banner.

    Fast forward 20 years and they are swearing fealty to the Pope! Class!

    Actually, the shotgun marriage of conservative Evangelicals and conservative Catholics is quite common in world Anglicanism; it requires no more breadth than Anglicanism has happily managed to contain for several centuries and in terms of social attitudes makes a lot of sense. It only looks odd in the Irish context because we aren’t very good at separating religion from national identity.

    By the way, the Newtownards church does not have a very big congregation and I would guess the others are very smaller. We may be talking about a few dozen people across Ireland so it probably matters very little to anyone who isn’t interested in schismatic sects. I must admit that I am.

  • Cormac

    I’d be more interested in the figures for people leaving the Catholic Church…

  • Dec

    Swearing Fealty

    Sounds like a great name for a blog…

  • Curious

    Cheers Sammy for the info on Clogher. Never heard of this breakaway parish.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dec,

    I want that one, to go with ‘gobshites.net’…

  • pith

    Ian,

    What’s a Roman counterpart?

  • I sense from the tone of his comments that Sammy Morse wants to play down the serious moves that have been made towards Rome by the CofI .
    However facts are stubborn things . Try some of these for size Sammy .
    1. The Church of Ireland is a member of the ecumenical movement which aims at the reunification of Christendom .
    2. The Church of Ireland acknowledges that such unity must include the Church of Rome .
    3. The Church of Ireland has accepted the unique place the Pope would have in a future union . Ecumenists refer to his role as that of a ” first among equals ” .
    4. The Church of Ireland is represented at the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission which is sorting out the remaining doctrinal differences . ARCIC recently agreed the position of Mary . Observers accept that this was a triumph for Rome and the hail mary brigade in the Anglican communion .
    5. The Church of Ireland is embarrassed and offended by the overt Protestantism of the Orange Institution and looks forward to the day when the Order will be refused admission to all CofI premises .
    6. The Church of Ireland actively discourages its rectors from membership of the Institution and this has led to a collapse in the no. of CofI chaplains in Orangeism .
    7.The Church of Ireland welcomes and encourages Roman priests , bishops , archbishops etc to its pulpits.
    8.The Church of Ireland will officially and warmly welcome the Pope of Rome to N.Ireland .
    9.The Church of Ireland regrets the reformation and in partciular the identification that the reformers made of the Pope as the man of sin , the son of perdition , THE ANTICHRIST.

    http://www.theevangelists.blogspot.com

  • The CoI seems happy to follow its English counterpart into ecumenical compromise and loss of inportance in the community. See what happens when you are in thrall to Romanism.

    Having said that, I was baptised in a CoI parish close to an expanding Republican area where its former assistant minister was the Chaplain of Sandy Row District LOL. I know that the folks there aren’t converting anytime soon.

  • Curious “Clogher Parish! That’s not far from me!
    So Clogher Cathedral in the Main Street, where Bishop Michael Jackson is now a Roman Catholic Church under the Pope?
    Seems bizaree to me unless I’m getting the wrong end of the stick.
    I’d imagine not many Catholic Churches fly the Union Flag every summer and have Orange services each July! “

    and union jacks with british legion on them hanging behind the altar. Did you know that the big building next door is/was a convent… a CoI convent !?

    Ian Hall, thanks for your postings… you’ve given me a great giggle.

  • Dr Strangelove

    I think Mr Hall is a great example of the personification of the paradox which is christainity.

    Ian, if you replaced the bitterness in your heart, which you feel for some of your fellow men, with love the world you inhabit would be a better place for it.

  • Sean

    Them romanists you let one in the door and the whole place goes to hell!

    Good gravy doesnt every one know thatr we are the one true church(insert appropriate moniker here)and those others are blasphemers deserving of deatha and ignominy

  • Sammy Morse wants to play down the serious moves that have been made towards Rome by the CofI

    Given that I’m an Anglo-Catholic, you’re making a big assumption that I would even care.

    1. The Church of Ireland is a member of the ecumenical movement which aims at the reunification of Christendom .

    Yes. Read your bible.

    2. The Church of Ireland acknowledges that such unity must include the Church of Rome .

    Christian unity must involve the largest church in Christendom. Not a big surprise, is it?

    3. The Church of Ireland has accepted the unique place the Pope would have in a future union . Ecumenists refer to his role as that of a “ first among equals “ .

    No, ARCIC has, which is something quite different.

    4. The Church of Ireland is represented at the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission which is sorting out the remaining doctrinal differences .

    Yes.

    ARCIC recently agreed the position of Mary .

    Sadly, not entirely.

    Observers accept that this was a triumph for Rome and the hail mary brigade in the Anglican communion .

    Who, observers who share your warped bigotry?

    5. The Church of Ireland is embarrassed and offended by the overt Protestantism of the Orange Institution

    No, embarrassed by having a shower of bigots use one of our churches as a pretext to try and start a civil war, which is quite different. Not embarrassed enough to actually do anything about it, though.

    and looks forward to the day when the Order will be refused admission to all CofI premises .

    Evidence for this nonsensical statement?

    6. The Church of Ireland actively discourages its rectors from membership of the Institution

    Evidence for this nonsensical statement?

    and this has led to a collapse in the no. of CofI chaplains in Orangeism .

    Of course, it’s all because of an evil papist plot and nothing to do with the bahviour of the Orange Order. Ooookay….

    7.The Church of Ireland welcomes and encourages Roman priests , bishops , archbishops etc to its pulpits.

    Yes. Why shouldn’t it?

    8.The Church of Ireland will officially and warmly welcome the Pope of Rome to N.Ireland .

    Yes. Why shouldn’t it?

    9.The Church of Ireland regrets the reformation

    Bullshit.

    and in partciular the identification that the reformers made of the Pope as the man of sin , the son of perdition , THE ANTICHRIST.

    Well, maybe that bit.

    But here’s a wee hint – it isn’t actually the 16th Century any more.

  • What’s really, really depressing about this Ian Hall guy is that after aeons of evolution, some members of our species still believe that SHOUTING loud enough convinces (or frightens) the rest of us into agreement.

    Alternatively, he just a troll.

  • dewi

    I dunno – perhaps we should try and engage. Ian – what’s your views on Fijian rugby?

  • Turgon

    I think this move is interesting but rather odd. Traditionalists in the CoI frequently do not like the changes to services etc. and I suspect that is a major reason for many of them to have left the CoI. I do, however, feel that there are also significant doctrinal differences between the RC church and Protestants including the CoI. Religious people here in NI are often quite interested in doctrine and theology maybe more so than in England (or even the USA). Whilst doctrine is not everything it is quite important to understand at least some of what one believes.

    There are quite significant differences in doctrine between the Roman Catholic church and traditional evangelical Protestantism. These differences do mean that unity would require a very significant compromise and one which would remove some of the areas which I personally feel are vital.

    The RC church has a different analysis of the nature of the communion service than Protestants of most denominations.

    My understanding is that the RC church has a specific position for priests as intermediaries between people and God, and has a position for the pope which I feel conflicts with the concept of the priesthood of all believers and that of Christ as sole intermediator between God and man.

    It also has a position for saints which I would disagree with, especially the Virgin Mary (though I do feel that we in evangelical Protestantism do not give Mary adequate status).

    The most fundamental problem I have with the RC church is that they do not, in my opinion, have the same understanding of the nature of personal salvation as evangelical Protestants do.

    There are other points but I do feel that a union with the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant Churches would result in a significant compromise of position which would result in vital (in my view) points of Protestant doctrine being removed.; but then I would say that wouldn’t I?

    One of the problems in such debates is the word Christian. CS Lewis has explained this well, I will not try to quote his suggestions but will make my own rather less good explanation of it. He suggested that a Christian is now seen as a good or decent person. To evangelical Protestants, however, it means someone who has personally accepted Christ as their saviour. Whilst such a person should indeed be good and decent the term Christian of itself says nothing about the Christian other than their personal acceptance of Christ. As such someone who is non Christian simply means someone who has not accepted Christ; they may well be a better person than many a Christian, there is no incompatibility there. Lewis has suggested Christian is now like the term Gentleman. Once it meant a person of a specific economic and social position in society (it was a technical description); now it means a nice and decent person. Most people mean the term Christian in a similar way. To fundamentalist evangelical Protestants it does not have such connotations; it is a technical description.

    On a separate note: Dewi and rugby. Dewi I am still most suspicious of rugby having been a very small and weedy child at school frequently run over by large people on the rugby pitch. I am trying to get into it (as a purely spectator pass time, it seems much safer that way).

  • Turgon @ 12:56 AM & others:

    I suspect too many of us are being far too doctrinal here.

    The Traditional Anglican Church (with all that capitalisation) went AWOL over the issue of women-priests. It hangs its hat (gynophobic birettas all round) on the 39 Articles and Archbishop Laud’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer. It has since been consistently seeking to become an “Anglican Rite Church “sui juris” in communion with the Holy See.

    I therefore guess the news-story is little more than acknowledging the fall-out of the College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion meeting St Agatha’s Church, Portsmouth, early this month.

    For a sample of the TAC ritual involved, may I recommend http://www.shipoffools.com/Mystery/1999/035Mystery.html ? I particularly relish the description of the style of worship as “a full solemn Mass in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, with as much ritual as you are likely to find this side of the Council of Trent.”

  • dewi

    The theological threads here are fascinating – especially to people to whom beautification etc are totally new concepts.
    P.S. Turgon – saw PE in Glasgow last week – he sends his regards.

  • Careful readers will observe that Morse accepts many of my points and confirms my argument that the CofI is moving towards union with Rome .
    http://www.theevangelists.blogspot.com

  • Ian Hall @ 11:22 AM:

    … the CofI is moving towards union with Rome …

    Can Ian Hall possibly conceive that this might have been anticipated some time back?

    29 May 1982, for example?

    It was then that John Paul and Robert Runcie, the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of world Anglicanism, named a new commission to try to smooth over the tough remaining doctrinal and practical problems that stand in the way of reunion of the two branches of Christianity, in particular the Vatican’s attitude toward the validity of Anglican orders and the question of the sharing of the Eucharist.
    Unforgettably, the Pope declared that he and Archbishop Runcie were pledged to the task of “praying and working for reconciliation and ecclesial unity according to the mind and heart of our Saviour Jesus Christ.”

    Source: Time Magazine, 14 June 1982.

    Ian Hall may not like it, but Queen Anne is dead as well.

    Quite frankly, the rest of the world (not excluding the polar bears) has problems greater than quibbling over “consubstantiation” versus “transubstantiation”

  • Turgon

    Malcolm Redfellow,
    I suspect Ian Hall can and will answer you much better than I could. However, there are significant theological differences between the Roman Catholic church and the Anglican Church.

    Clearly it is only my view but the understanding of what is required for a person to become a Christian and have a saving relationship with Christ is a pretty central aspect of Christianity. Personally I regard this as the single most important issue we have in this life and I have concerns about how the Roman Catholic church explain the nature and method of salvation.

    Also although it is a little arcane the issue of transubstantiation is actually significant in that Protestantism (I think including the CoI) believe that Christ’s death on the cross is a single once for all act and mechanism by which sin is atoned for. As such the idea that in the mass Christ is sacrificed again is extremely problematic.

    I am not a theologian and claim no special knowledge but I do think these issues cannot simply be ignored.

  • Sean

    What Ian Hall can’t seem to grasp is that the only one with his panties in a twist over it is him!

    Most of us I assume feel people should be left to worship who and how they feel like worshipping and its nobodies bloody business least of all small minded bigots

  • Turgon @ 12:07 PM:

    Of course there are doctrinal differences between the denominations: that’s what kept a lot of theologians in jobs. It crosses my mind that, in the increasingly secular and religion-free zone that is 21st century European society, it’s time for redeploying those fine intellects which have previously been occupied in calculating the angel/pin ratio.

    Bigger isues are abroad. If our liberal Judaeo-Christian tradition is to survive (and I, for one, think it should), we cannot afford the kind of fissiparous quibbling we’ve had for so long.

    Example: I recall, probably back in the 60s, an interview on BBC or UTV when a prominent Presbyterian (who has since gone on to greater things) was asked to explain the difference between his Prebyterianism and that of others. The answer was something on the lines of “They believe ye’re predastined to be domned, but I believe ye’ll be domned on yer merits”.

    Sean @ 02:36 PM:

    Thanks for a voice of reason in this.

    Look, the original thread was about three congregations. My guess is, on a good day, all three together might provide a decent bus load.

    Finally, let me admit that I enjoy live theatre, and High Anglicanism (the smells and bells brigade) delivers just that. I am, indeed, one of those whom Alexander Pope skewered as:
    As some to church repair,
    Not for the doctrine, but for the music there.

    One of the great let-downs of my life was to get to the Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Chartres to find the main Sunday celebration was a “folk-mass” with some bearded weirdo plonking a guitar. By contrast, one of the best sermons I have heard was at a Jewish Center in Pasadena.

    What I don’t do is factionalism, and certainly not, as one or two here seem to enjoy, factionalism as an end in itself, like the ritual punch-up after the local clubs’ derby.

  • re Sean I don’t believe I am the only person in N.I. concerned about the drift to Rome which is ongoing in the main churches . It may interest you to know that in the life times survey of 2004 12% of the population described themselves as fundamentalist christians . Also I am aware anecdotally of trouble in various main stream churches re the issue of ever closer links with Rome.
    re Redfellow you may view Rome’s doctrine of transubstatiation as of no importance but I regard the teaching that a Roman priest has the power to transform a bread and water wafer into the body of Christ and then offer Christ as a sacrifice for the living and the dead as a blasphemous insult to the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ .

    http://www.theevangelists.blogspot.com

  • Outsider

    Does the COI ever wonder why is membership is declining so rapidly.

    Secondly the COI is a staunch critic of the Orange Order, does the church ever wonder why this institution continues to flourish with increased membership etc?

  • Stiofán de Buit

    Turgon

    Anglicanism and Catholicism are actually quite close in their understanding of the Eucharist. Anglicanism rejects the philosophical doctrine of Transubstantiation, for the primary reason that it attempts to explain a Mystery which is by its very nature incomprehensible – that is, how the elements of the Eucharist become the body and blood of Christ. In no way does it say that the elements don’t become Christ’s body and blood. Its view is actually pretty much the same as the Orthodox Church on this issue – very far removed from the viewpoint of most Protestant denominations, which I think tend to view it as purely symbolic.

    Of course, a good number of nominally CofI people would probably be shocked at this, but the fact is – Anglicanism, theologically speaking, is much closer to Catholicism than it is to most Protestant denominations. As an Anglican myself, I feel far more at home at a Catholic mass than a Baptist, Pentecostal, or even Presbyterian service.

  • Outsider

    As an Anglican myself, I feel far more at home at a Catholic mass than a Baptist, Pentecostal, or even Presbyterian service.

    Stiofan

    How predictable that line was.

  • Outsider

    In Ireland, where there are Parishes in counties Down, Laois and Tyrone, it is likely to throw up some cultural eddies.

    Ireland, wheres that then?

    What the hecks a cultural Eddie, a Prod who doesn’t want to be a Catholic?

  • Stiofán de Buit

    Outsider

    What’s your point? I do feel more comfortable. Theologically I am closer to Catholicism than Presbyterianiam. I make no apologies for it. If you are not an Anglican yourself, why does it even concern you?

  • Sean

    Ian Hall
    No i wouldnt be surprised that you arent the only one worried about the “drift to Rome” unfortunately small minde petty bigots with big noses stuck in other peoples business flourish through out the world

  • Turgon

    Stiofan,
    I am interested, what is your explanation of what happens at the Eucharist? What is your understanding of what is required for personal salvation? And to what extent do you think your views are typical of Anglicans? This is not an attempt to attack you or start a row, just I am interested.

  • Dewi

    So strange – why do people still think that Christianity at all is valid. Why not the different religions of the native Americans ? Or anything anyone else would make up. Faith, I suppose, can be a good thing for personal well-being but it’s so odd that that theological doctrinal differences still important. Welsh Baptists sing the best hymns by the way.

  • Dewi @ 12:20 AM:

    I was with you until: Welsh Baptists sing the best hymns by the way.

    Fair enough. But what about Belgian monks doing antiphonals?

    And, incidentally, at the age of 12 I could cause a treble harmonic among the vaults of St Peter Mancroft, Norwich, and other East Anglian churches. Then something happened: I lost the knack and soon after I started to notice girls. Can you propose any explanatory link?

    I have to admit that worries me more than anything previous in this thread.

  • Dewi

    Guide me o thou great Jehovah, Pilgrim in a barren land.
    I am weak but thou art mighty….

    It was the treble harmonics that got the girls interested obviously Malcolm. East Anglian girls cultural vultures it’s a well known fact.

  • Stiofán de Buit

    Turgon

    I am interested, what is your explanation of what happens at the Eucharist? What is your understanding of what is required for personal salvation? And to what extent do you think your views are typical of Anglicans? This is not an attempt to attack you or start a row, just I am interested.

    Thank you for your questions. Don’t worry about me thinking it is some sort of attack – I’ve seen enough of your postings here to know that you’re not one to go in for that sort of thing. While I may disagree with your views on many things, you always come across to me as someone who is able to discuss issues calmly and respectfully.

    I’ll try and deal with your questions now.

    Regarding the Eucharist, I don’t know that I have an explanation as such. I believe that the bread and wine are the Body and Blood of Christ. How that occurs is a mystery. I actually think that it is unnecessary, and even futile, to attempt anything further in the way of explanation. Interestingly, the Orthodox Church uses the term Mystery as a rough equivalent of the western term Sacrament. Indeed Orthodoxy has, to my mind, the ‘purest’ view on this, untainted by the Scholasticism of medieval Catholicism, or the Rationalism of Protestantism.

    This quote from the website of the OCA pretty much sums it up:

    “It is strictly understood as being the real presence of Christ, his true Body and Blood mystically present in the bread and wine which are offered to the Father in his name and consecrated by the divine Spirit of God.”

    There’s more here if you’re interested.

    Now, what is required for personal salvation? The simple answer would be Faith. Ultimately though, we can’t say who is and is not ‘saved’. God’s Grace is His to give, and He will judge us all as individuals by the contents of our hearts, not by going through a checklist. Salvation is not something we can earn, either by partaking in rituals, doing good deeds, or believing a certain set of doctrines to be true.

    As to how typical my views are among Anglicans, I’m honestly not sure. I would imagine they are fairly typical of those who lean towards the Anglo-Catholic end of the spectrum. Anglicanism is a very broad church, united more by form of worship than by doctrine. However, that said, I’m sure most Anglicans would view the Eucharist as something more than purely symbolic. On salvation, I’m probably on the liberal end of things. Certainly many Anglicans would have similar views, but there are a good many who would be more restrictive in their ideas of who may and may not be ‘saved’.

  • Turgon

    Stiofan,
    Thank you very much for that.

    “The simple answer would be Faith. Ultimately though, we can’t say who is and is not ‘saved’. God’s Grace is His to give, and He will judge us all as individuals by the contents of our hearts, not by going through a checklist. Salvation is not something we can earn, either by partaking in rituals, doing good deeds, or believing a certain set of doctrines to be true.”

    I am no theologian but I would not be able to disagree with any of that, and I certainly could not put it down as elegantly as you have done.

    Regards

  • It reminds me of the Simpsons where the catholic heaven was full of Irish, Italians and Mexicans partying and having a jolly good time and then there was the dour, humourless protestant heaven full of stern, cranky bible readers.

    Judging by many of the gang here, I know where I’d prefer to be going, you can keep your heaven because I don’t want to meet any of you horrible nasty people in the next life.

  • deSpoike

    dis isa partofde socalled “Reverse Taig-Over” operation masterminded by Blair & HMG & CoE:

    … furst u must join de taigs by pretending to beall chummy, kissin’ der ring, etc., denn once inside u quickly gadder intel and subvert deir org, Jimmy Bond style, and become Pope yourself, voila! Victory for England!

    Dey jist havte remember which foot to boot wit, and not get swallowed up lock, stock and barrel, as de Pope of Rome has an infamously large gob!

    Salutz 2 brudder Ian Hall, nivvurrh surrendurrh!

  • About Me: Rev. Ian Hall
    Location: Belfast, (soon-to-be) United Ireland

    Lifestory: Conceived without sin in a tearoom at Harland+Wolff’s, and first born in 1973 as a native of the city of Belfast, I was educated at the Inst., QUB and Whiterock Bible College (UVF). Following a misguided youth, in Sept 1994 I was captured by the RUC whilst communing with a succubus on Cave Hill, handed over to the Sanhedrin, deprogrammed and forcibly converted to Christ by ‘mini-Pope’ Dr Big-Ian Paisley, was buried, died and born-again to be ordained and inserted as minister of George Seawright Memorial Free Presbyterian Church in Nov 2005 @ £39,500 p.a. tax-free, thank you Jeezis, amen!

    Interests: Bible-Thumping, Philosophy of Calvin, Astrology, Cheese, Rapture

    My Favourite
    – Religous authorities: Jeffrey Donaldson, Judge Rutherford, Ted Hagee
    – Secular authors, Poetry: Homer Virgil, Mason Boyne, Milton Chaucer
    – Secular authors, Literature: Mervin Dickson, Hugo Trotsky
    – Secular languages: Pig-Latin, Double-Dutch
    – Religous language: Glossolalia (Tongues)
    – Pharmacological molecules: Lithium, Coke

    Please, be my friend!

  • pjoerk

    Rev. Ian Hall’s sum total of comments accumulated on his blog after 14 years of pontification = 0 (in words, “Zero or Nada”)

    Rev. Ian Hall’s biggest contribution to the science of humour during that time = “This blog is not a democracy, it is a dictatorship.”

    Oh sweet Jesus, my sides!! ;0)

  • Petran

    I don’t think people should get their knickers in a twist over the idea that the Pope wants other churches to unite under his authority. Looked at objectively the Pope has said as much himself. That’s largely what his recent trip to Turkey was about. He mostly wasn’t there for the benefit of Muslims but rather to meet with the Orthodox Patriarch to try to draw the churches closer together.

    Of course any merger would require adjustment to doctrines that may never happen. The Roman Catholic church is not in a position of strength however. Strange as it may seem a fifth of Latin Americans have now become Protestants, mostly Evangelical, and the Philippines isn’t far in following behind in terms of growth. The rapid growth of Christianity in China is also disproportionately Protestant and Evangelical. China will account for a large proportion of the world’s Christians in the future. It’s current 5% may not sound like much but it is growing quickly and that’s 5% of a hell of a lot of people.

    In the west the Roman Catholic church (though to be fair the traditional Protestant churches as well) are leaking out members no non-religiousness at a great rate too. Though in terms of raw bums on seats numbers the non-western world is more important, and increasingly so.

  • Outsider

    Strange as it may seem a fifth of Latin Americans have now become Protestants, mostly Evangelical, and the Philippines isn’t far in following behind in terms of growth.

    Petran

    Interesting statement but my question is how did this trend come about, these are exclusively Catholic populations.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Outsider, you’re going to have to provide a source for that.

  • Outsider

    Outsider, you’re going to have to provide a source for that.

    Comrade Stalin

    I was just making an obsevation as I felt these populations were predominantly Catholic I have no sources Im afraid.

  • Petran

    On how many Latin Americans have become Protestant,

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/religion/jan-june05/protestant_6-14.html
    (both text and video)

    http://independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1969
    “In Guatemala, about 30 percent of the population considers itself Protestant today and the success of the “assault” on Catholicism can be measured, for instance, in the fact that the Christian Fraternity, the largest evangelical group, is about to inaugurate the biggest religious building in Central America—it will seat 12,200 people. In Brazil, God’s Assembly, the strongest Pentecostal movement in the country, brings crowds that easily rival those of soccer matches. Between one-fifth and one-fourth of Brazil’s population has deserted the Catholic Church in favor of Protestant churches.”

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/459/pope-brazil-visit
    http://pewforum.org/surveys/pentecostal/
    (look at the “Religious Demographic Profiles” box for stats)