Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Beware of The Telegraph’s Religion Reporting

Recently, I was embarrassed by relying too much on the Telegraph’s religion reporting.

It nearly happened again yesterday.

I thought about blogging on this article from the Telegraph. After all, the Bishop of Chichester openly saying he would be “happy” to swim the Tiber would be quite newsworthy.

The problem is that is not what he said. He has clarified matters on his site, politely making it clear the Telegraph ripped his words out of context:

An article has been published today in the Sunday Telegraph asserting that I have announced that I am about to become a Roman Catholic.

This is not the case.

The report appears to come from a misunderstanding of an answer I gave to questions from the floor at the recent ‘Forward in Faith’ assembly, at which I spoke.

A questioner had asked about the Papal condemnation of Anglican Orders. I responded by speaking about the subtlety of the position. I referred to the moment when it seemed as if the issue of how the Roman Catholic Church sees Anglican orders might be reopened but how the ordination of women to the priesthood and other developments have now made that impossible. 

In the light of that I stated that in the event of union with the Roman Catholic Church I would be willing to receive re-ordination into the Roman Catholic priesthood but that I would not be willing to deny the priesthood I have exercised hitherto.

This is clearly a contentious and complex issue and one where it is easy to misunderstand the nuances of the debate. I think I made my position clear in my address at the Forward in Faith assembly.

That is twice this month already that the Telegraph has twisted the words of a senior CofE bishop. May I suggest that paper needs to get their act together?

And let this be a lesson to current and prospective bloggers to be very careful about what sources you trust. Don’t learn this lesson the hard way as I have.


texanglican said...

Take a look at George Conger's article in Religious Intelligence to day, Newbie. He has a good quote from Bishop Iker. Conger conducted a survey of the Communion and found no jurisdiction that is likely to leave en mass for the new Roman structure. It is highly unlikely that will happen in Ft Worth, IMHO. I think we will losses a few parishes, potentially, but not very many. A good number of our clergy might like to go, but it seems to me that few of our lay people seem eager to swim the Tiber (outside of two or three parishes that have been preparing for this eventuality for years).

Sir Watkin said...

The Telegraph's religious reporting (never very orthodox) has recently taken a pronounced liberal turn.

This may seem strange in a politically Conservative newspaper, but in Britain, whilst Conservatives tend to be pro-Christianity (and the Left anti-religion), it's a pretty liberal Christianity that they are in favour of.

They aren't committed Christians, but the Christmass and Easter sort. They feel the Church of England is a Good Thing, and are annoyed when they do attend if they don't get the Book of Common Prayer and traditional hymns. But they rather like that nice new lady vicar, and don't see why the gay couple who live in the old Rectory shouldn't have their Civil Partnership blessed in church. They find old Fr Chasuble's insistence on doctrine rather embarrassing - after all, no-one really believes today that Jesus was born of a virgin or rose from the dead. They may think that abortion has got a bit out of hand, but they don't want anyone to stand in their teenage daughter's way when she has "got into trouble". They certainly want to be able to have a nice church wedding after their divorce(s).

Orthodox Christians can be supporters of any party or none. There's no strong correlation.