A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Queen opens Henry VIII's General Synod

Last night I was surfing the net, looking at information on the activities in General Synod. One site I was looking at had the C of E logo in the corner. My son came in and saw the words "Church of England" emblazoned across the screen. "Oh, Church of England!", he said, with a knowing tone in his voice. "That's not God's Church". I was taken aback a bit by this enthusiastic piece of information, but also rather intrigued. "Who's church is it?" I enquired. "Oh, no", he said, "it's Henry VIII's church". For a moment I didn't know what to say. Then thought that maybe his lessons at school were taking him on a very interesting path. He's learning about Henry VIII but I wonder if he's being given the unvarnished truth. Most people think this in one way or another. It seems that the secular education authorities just perpetuate the same old myths and teach them as gospel.

Henry may have had his beef with the Pope but he certainly was no factional sect builder. He maintained his beliefs in the Catholic Faith going so far as to instigate laws to defend it against protestant reformers who scared him as much as his mother-in-laws. I can't see folklore religion being a proper subject for the National Curriculum.

When the Queen opened the General Synod she mentioned the hard tasks before the members. She does this as Supreme Governor, but she hasn't got a church in her name. The general fuzzy thought process for most in England is that the Church of England is not really anything other that a protestant organisation that does some good things. I think it was best summed up in a remark by a British Army officer in the Balkans, when he was discussing how the Army was helping the Muslims of Bosnia. "Well, of course, they're not proper Muslims you know. They're sort of C of E Muslims". Not that there could be any Muslims of this kind, but it neatly illustrates what the Archbishop of Canterbury is up against. A vague understanding that somehow the Church of England is wishy-washy and not "proper". In 1986 the Episcopal Church had an advertisement which promoted the canard. Looks and sounds jokey but just shows up the familiar error.

So my son may have a point. Not that it's not God's church, but that those within it don't always profess the Faith in a coherent manner. Most Anglicans I meet have no desire to have any spiritual depth. This is not to slight them. They just prefer a religion that is undemanding in the literal sense. That is, not too many questions.

I just query whether children in primary schools should get a proper version of Henry VIII or get the popular version of him.


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