Atonement or fakery?

The Church Commissioners are to set up a £100 million fund to atone for past investment in the slave trade. This is so “worthy” and in the spirit of the age. To argue against it would without bringing down wrath from the guardians of political correctness. 

But why stop there? 

Why not atone for the Commissioners freeing themselves of the burden of clergy pay and pensions by dumping it on the parishes, thereby enriching their coffers and endangering parochial finances? Why not atone for foolish investments from time to time, or for squandering funds on untried and untested initiatives? 

Why not atone for the Church’s persecution of Jews and Catholics over the centuries—until quite recently in fact? Of divorcees? Of homosexuals? Why not seek out the families of the Catholic martyrs it torched in more turbulent times?

The CoE caused misery to the “first nations” of Australia and Canada, and must indirectly have caused misery in Ireland over the centuries—most English organisations did—so why not atone for all that too? (That the Irish subsequently allowed themselves to be screwed by the Catholic Church is neither here nor there, and anyway they’ve dealt with that.) 

Let’s rip out the only things on the walls of old buildings that render them interesting. Let’s smash all the stained glass windows since there’s probably something oppressive in every one of them. (Oh sorry, that’s been done before.)

In this new puritanism let’s burn down everything and sit in the ashes feeling smug.

I know I’m just a truculent old fart, but so many decisions the institutional church makes these days feel like quick-fix reflex reactions rather than thoughtful decisions made with consideration of immediate consequences or future implications. The response to the Child Abuse report * is anodyne and self-justifying tosh. It is at odds with what the survivors report. Someone is lying.

Speaking of which, why is the church dragging its heels over reparations to those whose lives were ruined by clerical abusers—such abuse as amounts to psychological murder?

Having devoted much of my life to the CoE for almost half a century, at some personal and family cost, I see how naive I’ve been. The Child Abuse response includes the word “fraudulent”. Well, I’ve come to the view that the CoE is fraudulent, a fake church, an organisation without integrity, the validity of its sacraments dependent in the eyes of some on the chromosomal constitution, or ventral morphology, of those who purport to celebrate them. 

My elder son once informed me that were I to bequeath the CoE anything he would make clay dolls in my image for the performance of Voodoo rituals to effect my eternal torment. He is dead, so I can only assume that he is doing exactly that from another shore, in a greater light, and with evident success.

* https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2023-01/IICSA – Joint Response to Final Report Recommendations.pdf

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