What’s New?

Rowan's Last Chance

Added Monday 20th August 2012

Archbishop Rowan Williams, the most perceptive theologian in his post since Saint Anselm of Canterbury (r 1093-1109), has one last chance to redeem his reputation and that of the Church of England by securing the consecration of women bishops on equal terms with their male peers. Legislation has passed all its stages and received the support of 40 out of 42 Dioceses without any support from Williams who has been more of a hindrance than a help by trying to secure safeguards for a tiny minority of dissenters which would endanger the very concept of the Episcopacy. He was behind an amendment at General Synod in 2010 which narrowly failed and he used his position within the House of Bishops to re-introduce it in a modified form which, again, failed but Williams could remedy the situation by using his remaining stock of goodwill to sway doubters in favour of the Measure at the General Synod in November 2012.

If the legislation fails, this will be added to his failure on the gay issue and its purported resolution through the Anglican Covenant.

As a true Christian he has made major concessions to his foes and forgotten his friends and, in doing so, has made too marked a gesture towards the past and been reckless with the future. It's a hard trade-off but the Church needs its growing number of women priests more than its shrinking number of supposedly theologically grounded misogynists.

Should the Pope Resign?

Added Friday 17th August 2012

The Roman Catholic Church needs a new Pope, preferably below the age of 60. And that means the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI. Even if you exonerate him - and I don't - from being the latest in a line of Popes since Paul VI to traduce Vatican II, he has trumped his unjustly admired predecessor's incompetence. JP II was beneficial, in descending order of magnitude, for the world, inter faith dialogue, Christian unity and the Catholic Church but the current Pontiff is just about equally bad for all four, but it is the last that concerns me here. Ratzinger, a supposedly competent theologian, is disastrously wrong over the status of the argument about celibate clergy; his in admission of debate on female clergy is scandalous; his meddling with the Vatican II vernacular tradition is divisive; his dispute with The Leadership Conference of Women Religious is self-destructive; is inability to handle child abuse scandals is catastrophic; and the corruption and incompetence of his Vatican gerontocracy is humiliating.

If the Pope will not come clean over his true attitude to Vatican II, decree clerical celibacy to be a matter of church order rather than doctrine, allow an open debate on the ordination of women and appoint lay Cardinals of both sexes (they do not have to be ordained) to reconstitute a competent Vatican  administration to deal with child abuse and corruption, then national episcopal gatherings should call for an Ecumenical Council and if the pope refuses they should suspend allegiance to the man while continuing to revere the office.

Martini's Valediction

Added Friday 3rd August 2012

At least the late Cardinal Archbishop of Milan, Martini, one time supposed papal candidate's final pronouncement is not entirely characterised by the valedictory courage familiar to those trapped in dictatorship and the Roman Catholic Church.

Martini, in a valedictory interview, says, not for the first time, that the Vatican's attitude to sexual issues is wholly inappropriate to its mission; that the bureaucracy is burgeoning and the ritual pompous.

But Martini's enigmatic call for root and branch reform, beginning with the Pope himself, is new and will, sadly, never be fully explained.

Martini, never known to be careless with his analysis, says that the church is 200 years out of date which would place its current state of mind roughly co-terminal with the end of the Napoleonic Wars and the return of assorted ancien regimes culminating, in Vatican terms, in the ultramontanist First Vatican Council. But for all his courage in office, and his illness following it, the Church might have been very different if Martini had given a little more encouragement to liberals trying to hold the line on Vatican II ecclesiology whose traduction is the route of all other concerns.

John Chapter 6 Sermons: Bread Talk

Added Tuesday 24th July 2012

In the coming weeks (Proper 12 to Proper 16), preachers everywhere face the challenge of preaching on the whole of Chapter 6 of the Gospel of St John, which is essentially an essay about bread.

If you are struggling to find a starting point for this most difficult of times in the lectionary, Kevin Carey has published, in advance, the sermons he is to preach over the coming weeks. Why not take a look, and perhaps take away a few ideas to get you started?

We, as the chosen people of god, as contemporary disciples, fired in Baptism and sustained in the  Eucharist, are Christ's vessels wrought on the world's wheel, to carry and to be broken, to be loaded and to be vulnerable, to shine in artistry and to be dashed in disgust. We are not the triumphant elect who will be rewarded for our piety with eternal life while the benighted sceptic and the unfortunate heathen are consigned to outer darkness, but we are, rather, the world's ambassadors, the singer of the song, on behalf of all God's people, of the sacrament of God for the whole world.

The Deliverance of God: an Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul

Added Saturday 5th May 2012

Kevin Carey has written a review of Douglas A. Campbell's epic book The Deliverance of God: an Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul, in which he calls it "the greatest work on the subject since the work Martin Luther never quite wrote". He goes on to say:

Campbell painstakingly constructs a Justification Theory which he then methodically destroys before passing on to show how that theory has disastrously affected the way in which we both deliberatively and sub-consciously ... read Paul's most difficult letter. His grand rereading depends upon the notion that the letter was not only supposed to be read aloud but to be performed as a dialogue between Paul and a Christianised (but not Christian Jewish) "Teacher" ... who is threatening Roman traditional Christian orthodoxy.

Read the full interview, or Carey's Study Notes that accompany the book.

Easter Vigil

Added Saturday 7th April 2012

He put his lantern down. He didn't need it any more. It was still dark but he knew every rock and every bush. He had thought of keeping the light because there was a new body in that new tomb but he wasn't going to allow it to worry him. Graveyards were his business. He didn't know what it was all about, the Temple and the Romans were always squabbling and that poor innocent man had somehow got himself mixed up in it. He went towards the place, slowly, almost creeping, saying a garbled prayer as he went. The Pharisees said that we would all be raised up at the end of time but all he could think of was Sheol, the end of everything, the body in its new linen sheets already rotting.

Easter Vigil, from Holy Week Vignettes

Vignettes for Holy Week

Added Tuesday 3rd April 2012

A series of meditations for Holy Week are now available. 

He was overworked, grumpy and alienated. He didn't like Jerusalem and he certainly didn't like being pestered by foreigners.

"Beware Greeks bearing gifts," he muttered to himself.  He knew it was a cheap shot but they were a tricky lot. Stay-at-home Jews - even Greek Jews - might not be perfect but the ones who came in for the Festival were never satisfied. And they went through the rituals but their fancy clothes and jaunty steps spoke of a different agenda.

From Tuesday in Holy Week

Carey reveals inspiration behind controversial theological novels

Added Wednesday 22nd February 2012

Left: The Golders Hill Girl by Patricia Finch. Photograph: Margaret Carey (with permission of City of London Corporation). 
Read the interview with Kevin Carey here.

Kevin Carey has given an interview to his publisher, Sacristy Press, revealing the inspiration behind his controversial series of novelsThird Testament for the Third Millennium. The first two books in the series, Perpetua and Spirit, are available to buy now both as paperback and e-book, and the final book, Unity, is available to pre-order.

Palm, Ash and Oil

Added Tuesday 21st February 2012

  1. The ash upon my brow
    Has made its heavy way
    From those who shouted "King"
    To those who would not say:
    A warning of the slope
    Which leads us to betray;
    No need to do the deed,
    Stay quiet, walk away.
  2. The palm Cross by my bed
    Rustles a jarring note
    Of people steering clear
    Of things they should promote,
    Promiscuously bland
    In promising their vote,
    No gap between the hat
    And the collar of the coat.
  3. The oil that welds the ash
    Reminds me of a king
    Who, tortured and betrayed,
    Accepted suffering,
    Whose silence was as sharp
    As crystal shattering
    But whose word is always true
    As an infant's lettering.
  4. The Cross upon my brow
    Says that I must not wait
    To turn against my ease,
    Confronting what I hate;
    It says my sins, though small,
    Add up to something great,
    That I so often fall
    Because I hesitate.

From Hymns for Ash Wednesday to Pentecost.


Added Monday 6th February 2012

O lord, may we be fortified by the beauty of Your creation, the glory of Your Son's Resurrection and the Comfort of the Holy Spirit to grow in love and in the wisdom of Your Word as we enter the season of Green.

May we be stewards of Your Word in the time of green vestments and stewards of your earth in the time of growth and harvest.

Opening prayer from Green Compline.