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Quotes of the week

04 March 2022


For years I have been reluctant to compare any dictator to Hitler, or any war to the second world war. The comparison, to me, seemed exaggerated, even vulgar. But what other analogy is there? With no reason, in an act of pure madness, an old-fashioned air assault has been inflicted on a neighbouring country

Nataliya Gumenyuk, Ukrainian journalist, The Guardian, 24 February


So, if I reach behind me to the axe that’s hidden over there and attack you savagely, you have to say, “Oh well, there we are. Programmed to do it. One of those things.” I don’t find that very satisfactory. . .

Justin Welby, interview with Justin Webb in The Daily Telegraph, 26 February


I think we are crueller than we were. Profumo today would never have been allowed to re-establish himself


You can parrot trite stuff about love conquering all and forgiveness and contrition being vital, but someone or something has to do the forgiving. For an atheist like me, there is a hole in this place

Justin Webb, Ibid.


We are frequently told that legislation of this sort is “what the British people want”. Really? This is not our experience of our fellow citizens. And democracy is hardly served by pandering to the easy indignation of those who trade on anxiety and ignorance

Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, The Times, 28 February, writing on the Nationality and Borders Bill


As it becomes clear that bishops and archdeacons don’t necessarily feel the obligations towards individual clergy that you might expect, if you have a romantic or idealised view of the church’s structures, a more formal, organised solidarity, as sought by other workers throughout the ages, increasingly looks like the only option

Fergus Butler-Gallie, C of E cleric, The Guardian, 27 February


During their midlife years of creeping weight gain, my mother and father would announce that they were losing 10 pounds for Lent, a goal I always found hilarious. As a Lenten resolution, it did bear some resemblance to the fasting and sackcloth of the early days of Christianity, if not for an entirely spiritual reason. I’m no theologian, but I feel sure that Jesus did not spend 40 days and 40 nights in the desert so he could fit into his old jeans

Margaret Renkl, The New York Times, 28 February


Rather appreciated the Report on 10,000 new Locally Lay-led Brain Surgery Clinics, promoted by some Centre in London. Apparently the new initiative releases people who feel called to be brain surgeons to start their own clinics, as traditional NHS hospitals are not effective

Martyn Percy, Dean of Christ Church, Oxford, Twitter, 28 February


We invite readers’ contributions. Quotations have to be from the past few days (or quoted therein), and we need author, source, and date. Please send promptly to: quotes@churchtimes.co.uk


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