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Quotes of the week

03 March 2023


Provided a just peace between Russia and Ukraine can be achieved, there must be a security structure that makes another war unlikely. Russia cannot end up like Germany after 1919; it must be able to recover and be secure without being allowed to repeat its aggression

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Telegraph, 24 February


It seems that western liberal democracies have developed a blind spot when it comes to Christianity. Western progressives lack curiosity as to why a Christian might take a different, jarring position on issues such as refugees, sexuality, poverty, abortion, greed and gender. As it happens, I’d argue that the secular perspective is riddled with internal contradictions. For example, if there is no God or natural law, then human rights are surely an arbitrary, temporary fiction

Tim Farron, former leader of the Liberal Democrats, The Spectator, 25 February


Sturgeon and many in her party — and across politics, in fact — have ended up thinking that if you do not have religious views, then you are effectively neutral. Their worldview, they believe, is the default way of thinking and therefore the only people who have to explain themselves are the ones who deviate because of religion

Isabel Hardman, The Spectator, 25 February


There is a valid secularism that allows space for different views in public life. There is also a dogmatic secularism that allows only ‘secular’ views as if they are neutral when they are not

Graham Tomlin, former Bishop of Kensington, Twitter, 27 February


The readiness of the House of Bishops to trample imperialistically in white Western boots over the biblical convictions of the vast majority of Anglicans worldwide has caused deep distress amongst our own global-majority heritage members at St Helens, just as it has appalled Anglicans worldwide

William Taylor, Rector of St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, 26 February


Our bishops need to stop the appeasement and move to a position of clarity, honesty and principled disagreement now. No amount of appeasement will ever be enough for those following this fundamentalist ideology. They will not compromise, at all

Charlie Bell, priest, Twitter, 27 February


Iran has a systematic programme of media censorship. It blocks Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, among other sites, and, at critical times, it shuts down the entire internet. So the only source of independent reporting comes via the radio. The official state media do not report on the demonstrations. If the BBC withdraws its service, as it is reported it will, the media will be delighted that one further voice has been removed

The Bishop of St Albans, House of Lords debate on government priorities re. British-Iranian relations, 23 February


Religion helped [Boris] Becker, too. “Inside [prison] I became much more religious, and it really holds you. Because inside it’s very easy to become a criminal.” Bible studies on Friday afternoon were a “highlight”. It was “very religious, but not in a weird way”

Henry Mance, “Lunch with the FT”, Financial Times, 25 February


My teenager returns from church youth group full of talk about Pam, the leader. Pam is not loud, young, trendy, sporty or musical. She’s kind, patient, prayerful, & totally faithful. She’s been serving every week for decades, raising generations of Christians. Heroic discipleship

Ruth Bushyager, Bishop of Horsham, Twitter, 23 February


If the experience of the Episcopal Church is a good predictor, the rather mundane outcome of a Church of England that embraces its LGBTQ members will be one in which sacraments are still celebrated, bake sales still take place and the needy are still served — just with more queer people and their allies present

Steven Paulikas, Financial Times, 25 February


Were any vicarages close to your heart? Yes, the vicarage in Finedon, Northamptonshire, where I was vicar for 12 years. I loved the parish and the vicarage was a modern five-bedroom house. It was fit for purpose with a separate study area where I could see parishioners. The best thing about it was the big garden at the back. Once, a naked lady of ripe years turned up on my doorstep at teatime and said she wanted to marry me, but I told her I was already spoken for and asked her if she’d like a dressing gown

The Revd Richard Coles, Home Section, The Sunday Times, 26 February


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