Monday, July 20, 2009

Is Peter Mandelson preparing to become Prime Minister?

Labour’s proposed Constitutional Reform Bill will grant Peers of the Realm the right to ‘resign’ from the House of Lords by renouncing their right to sit in the Upper Chamber. It seems ‘life peer’ will soon mean about as much as a life sentence.

Cranmer is of the opinion in both cases that ‘life’ should mean ‘life’.

But his opinion is of no consequence.

His Grace has been pondering this development. Cui bono?

And there is only one:

The Right Honourable the Baron Mandelson of Foy in the County of Herefordshire and Hartlepool in the County of Durham, First Secretary of State and Lord President of the Privy Council and Secretary of State for Business and Secretary of State for Innovation and Skills.

The post of First Secretary of State is about as senior as one can now be as an unelected peer. The roles of foreign secretary, chancellor of the exchequer or prime minister present certain constitutionally difficult issues for a member of the House of Lords to perform. Of course, Lord Salisbury managed it, but in a very different era. The proposal now is that life peers would still retain their titles even if they do resign from the Upper Chamber, thereby permitting the Lord Mandelson to once again enter the House of Commons.

It has been widely reported that he wishes to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather, Herbert Morrison, and become foreign secretary: it would be his ‘dream job’.

The fact that it would be another’s nightmare is neither here nor there. Now that Lord Mandelson is the most powerful politician in the land, he is able to legislate for his own personal ambition. And he alluded to doing so more than a year ago in an interview with the Financial Times:

FT: That’s touching. Have you ever considered renouncing your life peerage and standing again for the House of Commons?
PM: It’s not possible legally to do that.
FT: There’s no way you can do it?
PM: Nor have I made any inquiry. [Laughter]. Therefore, I’m trapped.
FT: Is it really not possible?
PM: I believe. I believe it is for life. That is what a life peerage is.
FT: Does it feel like a life sentence now you’ve got the taste for British politics back again?
PM: [Sneering, with his little finger curled to the corner of his mouth] Of course, you could always change the law.
FT [Laughs]: Part of the next Labour manifesto?
PM: You may see it on Monday.
FT: Really? That is a joke, I presume.

Disclosing the manifesto may have been a joke (as is Cranmer’s allusion to Dr Evil), but the possibility of changing the law manifestly was not. This proposal was clearly being formulated at the very time Peter Mandelson was being elevated to the Lords, and one can only assume that it was a condition of his elevation that it could be rescinded. When one asks ‘cui bono?’, there is necessarily a hidden motive.

We should not forget that Peter Mandelson is a fighter, not a quitter.

Lord Mandelson is manifestly fighting for a route back to front bench politics in the House of Commons, paving the way for his adoption by a ‘safe’ constituency and taking a more senior position in the Cabinet.

Forget his personal corruption, undeclared loans, implication in sleaze, obsession with spin or the slightly inconvenient fact that he has had to resign twice from the Cabinet for conduct unbecoming. Anyone who dares to refer these unfortunate episodes would conveniently be labelled a homophobe. For that plea now covers a multitude of sins: it is as politically effectual as the blood of Christ is for the salvation of the soul. Calling someone a homophobe or a bigot or a homophobic bigot now neutralises all that they say on any matter. Like ‘racist’, the mere accusation can now terminate careers and tarnish reputations in perpetuity.

Thus, even when the professional reputation of the delinquent is already sullied, it is he, the victim, who becomes victorious.

41 Comments:

Anonymous fitzgerald said...

There is no possibility of arguing that the present composition of the House of Lords can be justified either by logic or by reference to any preconceived constitutional theory. It is the result of a long, even a tortuous, process of historical evolution. Its authority rests upon the acceptance of the result, handed down to our time, of that historical process. It is the authority of acceptance, the authority of what Burke called "prescription".

The House of Lords shares that characteristic with many of our most cherished and important institutions. Trial by jury, for example, is not to be justified in logic; it does not rest upon statute; it came to us by a strange historical evolution out of the sworn witnesses of a neighbourhood. Neither logic nor statute nor theory is a basis of that other hereditary institution by which it comes about that a young woman holds sway over countless millions. The authority of the House itself does not, in the last resort, rest upon any logic in the principles upon which we are formed or elected: it rests upon the acceptance by the nation of an institution the history of which cannot be divorced or torn out of the context of the history of the nation itself.

I am far from saying that one should never alter or interfere with an institution of this kind. There are many instances in which such interference has taken place. There are many cases where a change has, in fact, resulted in preserving, and even enhancing, the institution in question. If one looked for it, one could find such an example in the history of the House of Lords itself, where, probably, the device of transferring from other honours to barony itself the notion of conferring a dignity by patent—the creation, in fact, of barons of patent—has been the means of preserving the House of Lords as we have had it through the last four or five centuries.

But, although it is not possible to say that one should never reform, alter, or interfere with prescriptive institutions, I do say that, such is their nature and the nature of the authority they enjoy, we should not undertake that interference except of necessity, for the avoidance of an evil which is clear and imminent, and in such a way that the result will evidently be to remove the evil.

It is because I believe that the proposal is a serious interference with a prescriptive institution and that the reasons which have been given for that interference are not such as to justify it—not such as to show that only by this change can evident and imminent difficulties be avoided—that I find myself obliged to condemn it.

20 July 2009 10:07  
Anonymous fitzgerald said...

We are faced with a proposal which represents a substantial and basic alteration in the character of a prescriptive institution; and we have to ask ourselves whether the reasons which are alleged to be compelling—and compelling they must be for this change—are adequate. The Government wish to strengthen Socialist representation in the House of Lords. Is it essential for that purpose that the present basis of that House should—to use Lord Home's word—be "modified"? When the noble Earl, Lord Attlee, was Prime Minister, he succeeded in prevailing, according to, Dod, upon no fewer than 86 persons to accept hereditary dignities. On the calculations of the Lord Chancellor given to another place, 54 of those were political creations. So the Labour Party found the necessity of conferring a hereditary peerage no insuperable obstacle to what it regarded as the necessary manning-up, in quantity and quality, of the then Government Bench in the House of Lords. It is really very difficult one to decide that this constitutional change is indispensably necessary when we know that not even preliminary inquiries as to the attainability of the object under the present system had been made.

I now come to the alleged indispensable necessity for this constitutional change, namely, that on the present basis the House of Lords cannot be made, or be kept, representative of all aspects of the national life. I invoke to the immense variety, the almost inexhaustible variety, of experience of every kind which is represented in the House of Lords as it exists at the moment. I invite anyone to take a list of the creations since the end of the war and look down it to see the variety, the width and the scope of the interests which those creations cover—science and the arts, the professions, medicine, the law, agriculture, the Press, the trade unions, the Services, both fighting and civil, industry, trade and commerce in every branch. Is it possible, in view of that recent experience before our eyes, to conclude that only if we abandon the present basis of membership of another place can we preserve there a wide and representative selection and presentation of every aspect of the national life?

To conclude, we are being asked to make a serious constitutional change and to make it without evidence of grave necessity. It is admitted that this is a substantial change. The case to show that it is necessary is not proven.

20 July 2009 10:08  
Anonymous Grumpy Old Man said...

My Lord Archbishop.
David Grey, in his book, "The Two Liberalisms", makes much the same point. The Unspeakable Mandelson is a past-master at the manipulation of PC and much else to his own agenda.

I suggest he sees himself as a 21st Century Tallyrand and Richelieu rolled into one. certainly, his political brilliance is exceded only by his amorality.

I think, my Lord, that if you had been as careful with your words to the Monarch of your times, your fate would have been kinder, though possibly less inspiring to future generations.

20 July 2009 10:12  
Blogger Gnostic said...

If this isn't proof positive that Mandy is unfit for public office then what is?

When are we going to get enough of this miserable government wiping its collective backside with our constitution and our laws?

When is Cameron going to pull his pinky out of his bum and get the show on the road? Oh wait, I forgot about his cowardice over the EU referendum...

20 July 2009 10:22  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The role[s] of foreign secretary...
present[s] certain constitutionally difficult issues for a member of the House of Lords to perform...


Peter Carrington?

20 July 2009 10:22  
Blogger Unsworth said...

Your Grace,

The simple answer to your question is, yes. It has been blindingly obvious that Mandelson has no limit to his ambition and will not rest until he has reached the highest echelons. Frankly I would not be surprised if his ultimate move would be to supplant The Queen - a sort of like for like swap, if you will.

20 July 2009 10:56  
Blogger Johnny Rottenborough said...

Pace Your Grace’s penultimate paragraph, Mandelson is always being criticized, and rightly so. If he were to be killed, would it be an act of countryside?

Johnny Rottenborough

20 July 2009 11:47  
Blogger Ian said...

"Is Peter Mandelson preparing to become Prime Minister?"

Oh, I thought he already was...

20 July 2009 11:49  
Anonymous pregnant petunia said...

Cranmer is of the opinion ... blah ... drone...

But his opinion is of no consequence.

OH WELL SPOTTED!!!

THE END

.

20 July 2009 11:54  
Blogger Victor, NW Kent said...

It is doubtful that Lord Mandelson would accept a demotion to Foreign Secretary. As things stand he is the Minister for Everything and appears daily on TV discussing matters as widely separated as the NHS, education, foreign policy, joining the Euro, defence strategy and procurement - that is just in the past 7 days.

20 July 2009 11:59  
Blogger Don't Call Me Dave said...

I can’t believe that Lord Rumba of Rio would be willing to give up his Peerage to fight for a seat in the Commons. Even he must realise that Labour will get a damn good thrashing at the next election - and not the type that his Lordship prefers. Why would this vermin in ermine risk giving up his fancy robes and the title that goes with it?

As always with Labour, the devil is in the detail. We should check the small print of the Government’s proposals to see if Peers who renounce their Peerages can reclaim them at a later date?

Or perhaps Labour will simply change the law so that Peers can stand for election to the Commons, allowing Mandy to sit in both Houses at the same time. Sitting in two houses is a skill which many parliamentarians have already acquired through their profligate use of the expenses system.

Labour has previously shown its contemptuous disregard for our Constitutional heritage, so we should not be surprised if they take a chain saw to it once again to benefit one of their own.

20 July 2009 12:11  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

I sincerely hope he will not become Prime Minister. Assuming this little piece of chicanery gets passed into law, what consituency in the country would wish to elect such a political oily rag?

The country has been up in arms about MPs expenses demanding the truth. Electing a dissembler par excellence would fly in the face of logic or anything else.

If we think Gordon Brown is a liar, then Mandelson puts such liars into the sainthood category!

20 July 2009 12:19  
Blogger English Viking said...

May the LORD reward Mandelson according to his deeds.

20 July 2009 12:23  
Anonymous teresa said...

Does Pregant Petunia work for the Telegraph by any chance?

20 July 2009 13:00  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace,

Many storm clouds have gathered and broken since Mandleson was seconded from Brussels to assist Brown; many believe Brown's merely his 'puppet'- acting PM.

Mandleson confirmed his vision of abolishing sterling for the euro - confirming his loyalty Brussels and their aim of Federal Europe.

Mandleson has not jumped off
the lucrative EU gravy train, the presidency of which his comrade Bliar eagerly awaits. As the saying goes "as thick as thieves ... " and equally ambitious.

20 July 2009 13:46  
Blogger Jim Bartlet said...

A very erudite post and some very erudite comments.

Never underestimate the opinion of those who's opinion is of no consequence.

20 July 2009 14:14  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Mr sydneysider

The Sydney Morning Herald Monday July 20, 2009

England win second Test by 115 runs
Australia's 75-year unbeaten Test run at Lord's is over.

The inspirational Andrew Flintoff delivered a stirring spell of fast bowling to lead England to a thumping 115-run victory early on the final day of the second Ashes Test.

Now there’s a headline can live with.

20 July 2009 14:19  
Blogger Jim Bartlet said...

Recusant

Spin / wrist action / Mandelson / cricket / Test run at Lords over

Pure genius!

20 July 2009 14:26  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Mandelson does is Cricket?
You jest!

20 July 2009 14:40  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Bloody Catholics have had a hand in this somewhere.All that praying and intercession of the saints.

I suppose the poms could use a win at something, poor bastards.Been a tough year and you're not bad blokes.Your french mate Bertrand is saying that Catholics are overtaking England as well.Sounds like you've won the jackpot.So how are you celebrating?Raiding the altar wine?

20 July 2009 15:52  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

above post @ recusant

20 July 2009 15:53  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Mandleson is the sort of Machiavellian character you underestimate at your peril, his messianic abilities to resurrect an apparently ruined career, not once but three times from the ashes is truly astonishing.

The man has political acumen but appears not to care for his public perception and as Gordon Brown has recently shown, public opinion counts for nothing, his only concern is who can remove him and that’s not us.

Although gay he has not associated himself overtly with Harridan Herman’s equality nonsense, he is too serious for such trivia and seems to avoid the topic in public, in this at least I can respect the man. Funny though how all Blairs Babes have disappeared from Gordos cabinet since his return.

Mandelson can now do almost anything unopposed and he has the Chutzpah to attempt it. If he wants to go for PM he could, he is the consummate planner and who’s to stop him, the Blairites still love him and the Brownites are dead in the water. I’ll say this for PM Brown, he recognises a winner when he sees one, it’s just that he isn’t one of them.

On reflection I don’t think Mandelson will give up his seat in the Lords; it comes with too much power and the lease scrutiny. He knows Labour will be in opposition this time next year and does not want to risk being returned to the Commons by a margin or even defeated, he at least knows a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

What about that Cricket score eh, marvellous or what?

20 July 2009 16:08  
Anonymous the recusant said...

It been awhile Mr sydnesider

Q. What is the height of optimism?
A. An Australian batsman putting on sunscreen.

Q. What is the main function of the Australian coach?
A. To transport the team from the hotel to the ground.

Q. What's the Australian version of a hat trick?
A. Three runs in three balls.

Q. Why don't Australian fielders need pre tour travel injections?
A. Because they never catch anything.

Q. What do you call a Australian with 100 runs against his name?
A. A bowler.

Q. Who has the easiest job in the Australian touring party?
A. The guy who removes the red ball marks from the bats.

Q. What do Australian batsmen and drug addicts have in common?
A. Both spend most of their time wondering where their next score will come from.

Q. Who spent the most time at the crease of anyone in the Australian world cup squad?
A. The lady who ironed the cricket whites.

Q. Why are Australian cricketers cleverer than Houdini?
A. Because they can get out without even trying.

20 July 2009 16:33  
Anonymous stedmancinques said...

Your Grace said;

'Lord Mandelson is manifestly fighting for a route back to front bench politics in the House of Commons, paving the way for his adoption by a ‘safe’ constituency and taking a more senior position in the Cabinet.'

I profoundly disagree. Lord Mandelson does not need to commit so vulgar an act as taking part in an election, and rendering himself guilty by association with those dreadfully corrupt MP's. (Are the First Secretary's expenses open to scrutiny, one wonders?)

The last great actor on the historical stage for whom First Secretary was the preferred title was Comrade Stalin. Prime Ministers and Presidents came and went, but the First Secretary ruled unchecked.

Our nominal Prime Minister is now in the position of Sinbad the Sailor, when, in a moment of weakness, he agreed to carry the Old Man of the Sea on his back. In the end he wished that he might die so that he could be rid of him, so relentless was his guiding and goading.

When studying for my degree, some forty years ago, I was introduced to the late 4th. century Roman historian, Ammianus Marcellinus.

Ammianus realised two things; firstly, that the Roman Empire was totally finished, and, secondly, there was sod all anyone could do about it.

At the time I thought it an interesting, but entirely academic study. Nowadays.............

20 July 2009 17:08  
Anonymous Pedant said...

Were Lord Mandelson as knowledgeable as he is knowing, he could contrive to be simultaneously a peer and an MP. How so?

Why, Your Grace, by ordering his fat butler in Downing Street to resurrect the ancient form of the Irish peerage, which did not disbar one from the Commons. Lord Palmerston, an Irish peer himself and of course PM, held that, combining social rank with eligibility to the House of Commons, it was the most desirable distinction for a politician.

It could have been made for Lord Mandelson!

It may be objected that Ireland is a foreign country now, and Irish lordships are no longer within the gift of the Crown. I reply, so what? There is no longer a British Empire (save in the primitive Jacobean sense) but the Crown still honours exemplary headmasters and lollipop ladies of unusual diligence with membership of the Imperial Order.

Yet better for the noble lord of Foy in Herefordshire, there happens to be in Ireland a mountain called Foy. I believe it is in Co. Louth. So he need not even amend his stationery.

Could Fate be calling, Lord Mandelson? Perhaps it's still not too late to pop a suitable clause in the Bill.

20 July 2009 17:15  
Blogger haddock said...

Gorbals Mick's old seat is vacant for a shoo in, I mean, if, just if, there were someone needing a very safe seat.
I wonder who that is being kept vacant for ....

20 July 2009 18:36  
Anonymous stedmancinques said...

Mr Pedant,
I believe that it was one of the terms of the agreement by which the southern counties of Ireland became the Irish Free State in 1922 that no new Irish peerages would be created, and that existing ones would be allowed to 'die the death' if there were no direct heirs, (ie second cousins twice removed would not inherit a title).
Nice try, however.

20 July 2009 19:26  
Blogger Jess The Dog said...

Mandelson would find it difficult to get a safe seat.

The remaining safe seats will have active constituency parties. They will either have sitting MPs or long-serving local activists who would expect elevation to the House of Commons as their due reward. Throw in the "all woman shortlist" issue as well, and there are considerable obstacles to being selected as a candidate let alone elected. Mandelson hasn't exactly endeared himself to the suffering working classes during the recession and the much-trumpeted achievements are illusionary. This is even before considering the attitude of the Parliamentary Labour Party to Mandelson, which is probably less than charitable.

Short of the general election, he would have to stand in a by-election. This is unthinkable. In a general election, he would presumably be tied to Brown as leader. If not, I can't see how he would be allowed to stand by another party leader - for example - Alan Johnston.

I think the only seat Mandelson could conceivably win would be Hartlepool. I wonder how the incumbent would like that.

Fear not, Mandelson will remain in the House of Lords until His Holiness President Tony of the Holy Roman Empire elevates him to Foreign Secretary of the European Union. That's the reason behind all this.

20 July 2009 21:45  
Anonymous Irish Peer said...

Peers in the Peerage of Ireland never were ipso facto entitled to sit in the House of Lords. Instead they elected 28 Representative Peers under the terms of the Act of Union. At the time of independence, the Irish representative peers were still allowed to 'die the death'.

However peerages conferred by the Crown to Irish baronies between 1801 and 1922 were often under the aegis of the Peerage of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Such peers were allowed to sit in the House of Lords up until 1999 (egs include the Earl of Longford, Lord Killanin, Lord Henry Mount-Charles, the Earl of Kerry, Earl of Cork etc). Lord Killanin when taking the ferry once from Dublin to attend Parliament was asked by an inquisitive customs officer 'What is your purpose of business in the United Kingdom?'. He replied 'I'm here to govern you'.

It's wrong to construe them as 'ancient' either. 90% of Irish peers are descendants of English servitors or Planters (Anglo-Irish) and the vast majority are Protestant. Most people in Ireland would not recognize them as Irish anyway, indeed they are colloquailly derided as 'robber barons'. Most had their homes burned down during the War of Independence. The majority of these peerages date back only to the 18th Century, many were used as bribes by Castlereagh to vote for the Act Of Union.

The oldest titles are invariably the Gaelic titles. Some of these, under terms of surrender of regrant, acqired common-law titles. An example is Lord Inchiquin, Conor Myles John O'Brien. His Gaelic title is The O'Brien, Chief of the Name, Prince of Thomond. He is a direct grandson of Brian Boru and the Inchiquins were Chief Peers until 1922. He was unique in that he was rewarded by Charles II for his services, 90% of the Gaelic aristocracy fled to Europe in the Flight of the Wild Geese, after Cromwell confiscated Catholic land and gave them to his English servitors. Up until 1900, 90% of all farmland in Ireland was still held by descendants of Cromwellian soldiers or English Planters, but under successive Land Acts these were redistributed to tenants. Ireland (both North and South) is almost unique today in that it is has very few large farms.

The successor to the High King of Ireland today os Don Carlos O'Neill, the 12th Marquess of la Granja. He is The O'Neill of the Fews, Prince of the Fews, Prince of Clanaboye, King of Ulster and the declared Tanist of the O'Neill. He is a direct grandson of the High King Niall of the Nine Hostages (Niall is from where 'O'Neill' comes from) in the 5th Century and is also widely regarded to be the capturer of St Patrick. The O'Neills and O'Donnells fled Ulster during the Flight of the Earls in the 17th Century due to the continued confiscation of their land by Elizabeth I and James I. James I then planted their lands with Scottish and English planters. This is why Ulster has such a high Protestant population. Most Protestants in Ulster are descended from these planters. It explains why we Ulster Catholics, the native population, have never accepted the legitimacy of their presence.

20 July 2009 23:16  
Blogger Dave J said...

Forget the Irish peerage: since all the other hereditaries were excluded from the HoL (except those they elect from among their number, and the Duke of Norfolk and Marquess of Cholmodeley as Earl Marshal and Lord Great Chamberlain respectively), I would think there is no bar to any other hereditary peer standing for election to the Commons.

Since Mandy will never have "heirs male of the body" as modern letters patent generally read, there's no obstacle in him being a hereditary peer of first creation with the expectation that the nominally hereditary peerage(s) will become extinct upon his death. The additional bonus feature of this that he could add still further to his ostentatious collection of titles and move upward beyond being a "mere" baron like so many hundreds of others. The eventual viscountcy used to be convention--upon retirement, admittedly--for Chancellors, Foreign Secretaries and Home Secretaries. It was an earldom for PM's--remember that Thatcher had Macmillan created Earl of Stockton as recently as 1990, the last hereditary creation above a barony for anyone other than royals--and so the "First Secretary," i.e., the real PM, may not think that too excessive.

Tangentially, since the hereditary peerage was effectively decoupled from membership in the HoL, there's no reason an incoming Conservative government should not revive the practice of granting them as honors. It's my understanding that John Major proposed creating Margaret Thatcher Countess of Finchley (a hereditary earldom in her own right, reviving that convention for former PM) but Heseltine vetoed it. She deserves as much.

21 July 2009 00:54  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Well recusant I am surprised at this outburst of unseemly behaviour.I never picked you as a gloater.Never mind I shall find it in my protestant heart to forgive you.
'by nature all men are equal in liberty but not in other endowments' Ol'Tomaq must have had somebody like you in mind when he said this.
You certainly have been giving len a hammering. I think you must be over excited at the cricket results As for the oral tradition thing well if you ever played a game of chinese whispers you'd know that doesn't stack up at all,
I worry about you Recusant...too much religious thought can make Jack a very sick boy.

21 July 2009 09:57  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Well recusant...I never picked you as a gloater." -- Yes. Win or lose, he's not exactly 'full of Grace' is he? We Protestants will take note!!!

21 July 2009 12:28  
Blogger rallentanda said...

I've heard about this game I think it's called Catholics play rough

21 July 2009 13:00  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Mr sydneysider

I surprise myself sometimes, In fact (here is a secret) originally the jokes were Australian against us Brits, I just changed the nationality. But it is only meant in jest. The Ashes aren’t over yet and I may live to eat my words.

Len and I have sparred in the past, tying him down on anything is like nailing jelly to the ceiling, I just get a bit frustrated with scriptural one-liners, if he is going to make wild accusations then the lesat he can do is back them up, not unreasonable I would have thought. Your reference to Chinese whispers is interesting; let me share a quote with you regarding the Isaiah scroll. It is dated at about 100 BC and is the oldest copy of Isaiah known to exist. Previously, the Codex Leningrad, dated at 1000 AD, was the oldest known Jewish copy of the book of Isaiah in existence. The Great Isaiah scroll is 1100 years older than the Codex Leningrad and provides us with the opportunity to compare the Biblical text over the centuries.

"Of the 166 words in Isaiah 53, there are only 17 letters in question. Ten of these letters are simply a matter of spelling, which does not affect the sense. Four more letters are minor stylistic changes, such as conjunctions. The three remaining letters comprise the word LIGHT, which is added in verse 11 and which does not affect the meaning greatly. Furthermore, this word is supported by the Septuagint (LXX). Thus, in one chapter of 166 words, there is only one word (three letters) in question after a thousand years of transmission - and this word does not significantly change the meaning of the passage." (Norman Geisler & William Nix, "A General Introduction to the Bible", Moody Press, Page 263).

In addition to this we have both the Codex Sinaiticus and the Codex Vaticanus which contain the New Testaments, you can read about them on the net if you want but the important thing to remember is that these two documents date for the 3rd and 7th centuries and so we can compare what we have today and what went before very accurately. We also have a vast number of scraps of translations into Aramaic, Syriac, Coptic, Latin, Greek and other languages that have been closely examined, in fact it would be fare to say that no other collection of ancient documents have been so carefully examined and although there are many alterations, they are mainly to do with grammar and syntax, none of the edits alter significantly the content of the New or Old Testaments. It is worth remembering that in the case of the classics the oldest manuscript of Ceaser’s Gallic war dates from about 900 AD and the earliest manuscript from Homer date from 1400 AD.

It is for this reason that the Catholic Church wished to retain control of who produced copies of the Bible in the Middle Ages to avoid exactly what you suggest, error creeping in. It may surprise you to know that there are textual and translation errors litter throughout eh KJV, that is not to say the translator did not have the highest regard for scripture, just that they did the best they could at the time, Still "If the King James Version was good enough for the apostles, it is good enough for me!" eh!

21 July 2009 13:22  
Anonymous the recusant said...

Anonymous please pick a monika, His Grace would prefer his communicants to have a handle as he has said many times before, anyway 'full of Grace' very droll, Commune Hoc Ignorantiae Vitium Est: Quae Nescias, Nequicquam Esse Profiteri Leon Battista, that’s a bit of Latin that is just cos’ I’m a thuggish Roman.

And rallentanda well we Papists have a reputation for a bit of the rough stuff, just look at our history. I am reminded of school when anyone who dared use three syllables or more were accused of using big words, comprehensive educations eh, the worst that lots of other people’s money can buy. Ah well back to work, so many heretics, so little fire wood.

21 July 2009 14:07  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

This is all sounds very fanciful Recusant.
Sounds like a Steven Spielberg movie.Lets be realistic...errors would have occured and that's the reason I think some of scriptures are open to interpretation.I am open to any reasonable explanations

Unfortunately you are not in that position as you are placed in the onerous position of having to accept everything (without question) the Church teaches.That must be very difficult.

There are aspects of your religion
that you must realise are impossible for others to accept eg
transubstantiation and the assumption and levitating nuns.I find it fascinating that educated people believe in all of this.The resurrection is hard enough...'and was seen by many'...it's extra terrestial or maybe it's symbolism.I can see you crossing yourself now for this heretical suggestion.
Surely you can understand why others see it this way as a possibility.We don't all have the thought police and are not penalised for thinking outside the box.It's obvious that your faith is
everything to you.. they say it's a gift but maybe it's only a gift for some and not everyone.God is omniescent omnipotent..man is flawed and limited..we are not expected to know everything..we can only wonder..that is the mystery of religion

I knew that cricket joke was Australian.It had to be because it was so very rude.Take it easy recusant..have a stiff gin or a horlicks whatever takes your fancy.

21 July 2009 14:56  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

Your eminence

I don't really understand this fuss. Technically Mandelson can become Prime Minister TODAY if the Monarch appointed him as such.

Why the aversion to a Lord as PM?

Don't forget the last Lord to be Prime Minister, Lord Salisbury, did so when Britain was, erm the leading economic power controlled over one quarter of the globes surface and is considered by historians to be one of the great Prime Ministers.

So lefties stick that in your Pipe and smoke it!

PS- any childish and stupid reply to this comment, such as wanting to kill me or to my head being chopped off and put up my bum (as per one comment last week) - Jesus, loves you too!

21 July 2009 20:58  
Anonymous len said...

It is interesting to see the catholic humour about burning heretics, sorry protestants
Quite an insight onto your mind, recusant (14 07)
One of your catholic traditions.

21 July 2009 23:45  
Anonymous Adrian P said...

Whatever is going on, it's obvious we have no say in matters.
Perhaps we should all enter into

Lawfull Rebellion

22 July 2009 20:19  
Anonymous the recusant said...

sydneysider

To answer your other questions, yes Catholicism is not a pick-and-mix religion, it’s not a café menu where you can choose to believe what you like and leave the rest (though many Catholics believe this is the case). “Is it hard”, yes at times, I don’t pretend to understand everything the Church teaches, but I accept it, Lex orandi, lex credenda as we say. “There are aspects of your religion that you must realise are impossible for others to accept”, of course we call it invincible ignorance (really, it’s not an insult), You say you are open to any reasonable explanations, it is reasonable to believe Christ didn’t tell lies, if your answer is yes – and I hope it is, then you have to admit that Christ meant what he said

You believe (I say believe, not understand) Christ is god equal to the Father and the Holy Spirit, You believe he died, of all things for your sins and was resurrected three days later and afterwards bodily ascended into heaven, yet you also believe he was a liar because although he said that both the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood are required if we are to have eternal life John 6:53-56 he didn’t mean that at all, but didn’t bother to clarify it.

You say it was only symbolic although when the Jews present objected to that very matter and left him he didn’t call them back and say ‘stop let me explain, you don’t understand, I meant it only symbolically’ or some variation, He just let them go, He didn’t try to explain. If that were not enough, at the last supper he said the same thing again so he must have lied twice. Christ the liar, Christ the misunderstood and it took 1500 years before we got the message or Christ does what it says on the tin?

Then of course you have to explain why the disciples kept up that lie and passed it on and in many cases died for that lie. I can give you the thoughts of the earliest of Church Fathers on the real presence if you like.

How is this more credible than just saying he meant it, God does it, we believe what he said he meant- the 10 guinea word is transubstantiation.

“I can see you crossing yourself now for this heretical suggestion.” Nope, no, not even a bit

“We don't all have the thought police and are not penalised for thinking outside the box.” – You sound like my friend who is a convinced alternative medicine nut. If I have a car accident I want a doctor there, someone who has studied the subject and passed exams in it, not some woolly headed New Ager lighting joss sticks and dropping hot crystals on me chanting Ommm to the nearest lay line. Who are the though police anyway?

“It's obvious that your faith is everything to you” You see this bit I want to be true but I will be judged on what I say so if by faith you mean faith in Jesus Christ then I want it to be.

They say it's a gift - do they, who are they?

Maybe it's only a gift for some and not everyone. – Mark 8:34 - Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. – Nope it’s anyone who wants to make the effort, that’s what He said

God is omniscient, omnipotent. - If you believe this then why is transubstantiation so difficult, God can’t do it?

we are not expected to know everything - I agree, are we then to just leave it to the professionals, the priests and the nuns etc, after all if our efforts are not enough why even bother to try. Is this not exactly how the Jews reacted to the prophets Nehemiah and Ezra; they gave up trying after Cyrus king of Persia declared a general amnesty in 538 BC allowing them to return to Jerusalem. Well, it makes it easier to attack those that do though eh!

23 July 2009 21:00  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

I find your references to Christ as a liar profane and extremely offensive.I also find your anti semitic comments unacceptable.You have deliberately misread my post.
There is nothing christian or catholic about you and your posing as a christian is utterly unconvincing.

24 July 2009 12:23  

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