Matters of Faith


The Reverend Peter Mullen is a distinguished member of the Clergy, and for many years has been Chaplain of the Freedom Association.  He casts an acerbic and unforgiving eye on the follies of modern Anglicanism.  He has given me his permission to publish the following piece as a Guest post on my blog:

In recent times, the Church of England has been blessed with some highly imaginative bishops. Remember the former Archbishop of Canterbury, the very devout Rowan Williams whose final sermon included the inspirational theological insight, “The church has a lot of catching up to do with secular mores.” Given such prophetic leadership, how can we fail to keep God’s word and commandments? Then there was Rt Rev’d Richard Harries, bishop of Oxford, who said we should stop saying “This is my body” at the Holy Communion – because visitors “will think we are cannibals.” We should use a phrase such as “angel bread” instead. And we can never find words sufficient to express our gratitude to John Sentamu, Archbishop of York who, in a darkening world, provides us with constant comic relief: a sort of episcopal Widow Twanky in an everlasting Archdiocesan pantomime.

But now these profoundly gifted fathers in God have been surpassed by that indefatigable stentorian Richard Chartres, bishop ofLondon who says that clergy in Muslim districts should grow beards “to reach out to the majority of their parishioners.” Of course they should. And they should strive to avoid even the suspicion of giving offence which might be construed as Islamophobia. The sensitivities of the Muslim population must be accommodated. It is appropriate too that the bishop should have made his suggestion two days after the earliest Christian community in Iraq was wiped out by our Muslim brothers and at a time when militant Islam is harassing, persecuting and murdering Christians – bearded or clean-shaven – across three continents.

Writing in Church Times, Dr Chartres reminded us that beards have traditionally been a sign of holiness and wisdom. Illustrating the bishop’s article were the pictures of two of his bearded London priests. I can’t speak for their wisdom but, as for evidence of holiness, neither was wearing a dog collar. In fact, from their attire, there was nothing to suggest their clerical orders. But one was clutching a glass of beer – which probably did little to help him “reach out” to his Muslim parishioners.

The episcopal suggestion that priests wear beards is not without its problems in these exciting days when we have women priests who might be unable to grow a full beard and will have to do their bit for “reaching out” by sporting a neat moustache. In order to commend themselves to Muslims, perhaps these ladies should adjure beads and necklaces, stop wearing short skirts, cover their heads and hold church services for women only?

But these trifles amount only to a small beginning in this godly programme of “reaching out.” Surely Deaconess Ursula Peabody who supervises the Confirmation class could make arrangements for the young girls to receive FMG? And all these bottles of wine for prizes at the whist drive will have to go.

As a priest myself, I have nothing but praise for the bishop’s invigorating suggestion and I can only regret that I no longer reside in his progressive diocese. But I wonder if his laudable policy of “reaching out” might be rather one-sided? Next time Bishop Chartres attends a meeting of that everlasting talking shop called Interfaith Dialogue with Moderate Muslims – aka the Total Appeasement and Self-Abasement Society – he might invite a little “reaching out” from the other side – say a pork pie and ale night at the mosque for the oppressed minority of Christians in Tower Hamlets. He might even put it to leaders of the religion of peace and love that they cease their practice of burning down churches and crucifying Christians – not permanently, you understand, but perhaps for a couple of weeks or so as an ecumenical gesture.



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18 Responses to Matters of Faith

  1. barrymx5 says:

    Thank God there is still sense somewhere in the Anglican Church. This will bring much comfort to many real Christians.

  2. catalanbrian says:

    I am rather surprised that a man who calls himself a Christian can write an article full of hatred such as this.

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      Righteous anger is OK, Jesus displayed this with the money changers and it’s time we realised anger management is a just conn to to divert opposition to control freaks.

      On the religious front I understand the Pope has said that The Prophet and Jesus are of equal value? This is of course nonsense once you read a little of the Koran and compare it to the recorded words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.

    • barrymx5 says:

      Not hatred but righteous indignation of the way the Church is being usurped. Protestantism has numerous examples of single minded men who have not hesitated to criticise the hierarchy when they stray into the wilderness.

      • Jane Davies says:

        Not hatred, he is just being honest, turning the other cheek is not working. But then it never has, personally I have no time for religious groups of any kind. Peace will never reign over the world until all god clubs are banished.

    • catweazle666 says:

      You’re a bit of an expert on hatred aren’t you, Brian?

  3. Chris Hill says:

    Hatred? I did not see hatred, only good old common sense and welcome humour. What an excellent piece. The vicar should be promoted.

  4. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Prayer for the Day….BBC R4 (again!) at 05:43 each day pretty much. Switch = OFF
    Its mostly opportunistic drivel for the day. Is it to counter the 5 times a day thing…dunno? Some bloke was giving it a whole length of BS about “mindfulness” the other day. Real jobs don’t exist do they?

    I had a set for 6 years in the Middle East…nobody recognised me as a scholarly cleric (clerk maybe?). Saved an awful lot of dumb shaving each day though. What those silly woolly beards are about I don’t know, but I don’t think its a clean thing. And why in high temp/humid/dusty places?

    Anyway, say what you want…just don’t force it on others by public broadcasting.

    Had the long dose of electric cars this pm on R4. One guy got to slag it off for what it really is. The rest were struggling with charging points and range…they loved the BS though. Must be money in it somewhere?

    Had the chance to go in my sons Merc C63 AMG Saturday – son follows on as a dinosaur GR8! Scary though, but cheap fossil fuel providing work for loads of people to repair roads and remove smashed trees and walls!. Mercedes also pleased about trading and paying their workers.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      The forgoing vid is a message about …Faith

    • catweazle666 says:

      “Had the chance to go in my sons Merc C63 AMG Saturday”


      Now the price of fuel is getting more reasonable, perhaps I’ll de-mothball my (chipped) classic straight six BMW Alpina.

      Just the thing to dispel the boredom on clear roads in the early morning in the summer. No pussy traction controls either, just a tightly-set LSD to add a bit of spice to exiting tight corners!

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        Must be a little office in the EU fed by related hand wringers that’s after horse powers and torks…gotta be? Chipping must be high on the kill list. VW had the right idea, just needed a quick swap out ECU!

        There is a config mode on the C63 that both of us are too frightened to use, which is all limitation off mainly. Merc give a warning about it. So, we’ll take it to one those EU funded roads to nowhere in Spain, if we can survive Calais.

        I much prefer the inline 6 of my much mourned 525.

  5. catweazle666 says:

    This was I think Rowan Williams’ finest hour.

    Archbishop backs sharia law for British Muslims

  6. Edward M says:

    The Bishops in the Church of England have a duty to uphold and defend the traditions of the CoE. Unfortunately too many Bishops in recent years fail to do that – their own beliefs clearly do not coincide with CoE tradition and in the name of honour they need to leave and find themselves a new church – perhaps the TASAS.

  7. Now you see why I left the CofE and became a Catholic. It is much better. Although there is trendy talk about Easter, and whatever the Press throws at us, I know that I am in a place where the Faith will be defended.

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