New, free programme for schools at St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
In September, St Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin will launch its new, free education programme for schools.
The Cathedral already has a long and proud history of learning, dating back to the early 14th century, when it hosted a short-lived university, the first of its type in Ireland. This was closely followed by the first schools in Ireland, which still exist today in the form of the Cathedral’s Grammar School and Choir School.
THE EUROZONE CRISIS
The idea of issuing Eurobonds in order to deal with the sovereign debt crisis in the eurozone had been widely discussed but, despite earlier speculation, was not on the agenda of last week’s meeting of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Paris – a meeting that was for the purpose of addressing the eurozone crisis.
Many politicians and commentators had expressed the view that the Eurobond route – effectively meaning the pooling of sovereign debt within the eurozone – was the only way out of the current crisis, but the concept of Eurobonds is not a popular one, particularly in Germany, where there is little sympathy for such a structural sharing of the debt as things stand. Moreover, Mrs Merkel was aware that any succumbing to the Eurobond route in Paris could place her coalition government in serious jeopardy, such is the strength of feeling in her homeland.
The result of the Paris meeting was to send the euro ball back into national governments’ courts, demanding that each eurozone nation must control its own economy more efficiently, while proposing closer economic and budgetary integration within the eurozone and raising European revenue through a new tax on financial transactions.
The Paris meeting was held against the background of a warning in The Financial Times by the new International Monetary Fund chief, Christine Lagarde, that austerity measures aimed at tackling debt must be balanced, where possible, with measures to support economic growth.
A new financial transactions tax, such as was proposed in Paris, could indeed shift some of the pressure away from ordinary citizens, but, then again, increased costs do tend to be passed on to the public; it is hardly a ‘growth’ measure, more a way of putting money aside for further bailouts across the eurozone. Indeed, the Irish Finance Minister, Michael Noonan, was quick to reject the proposal, objecting in particular to the idea that there could be a transactions tax in Dublin but not in London. There were also negative vibes coming from Frankfurt. Moreover, the proposal of Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy last week that there should be a biannual heads of government meeting to coordinate economic matters was not a particularly inspiring suggestion and certainly stock markets subsequently showed that investors were not impressed.
Many factors lie behind the current eurozone problems, but one is fundamental. If one wants a single currency, one really needs a single government – or as close to that as possible. Thus, the eurozone crisis, of necessity, is giving a further impetus to a federal EU, beyond that already given by the Lisbon Treaty. The
single currency, the euro, was allowed to come into existence without sufficient capacity for it to be managed and now it will be a case of either the euro’s demise or the creation of that sufficient capacity. Needless to say, the former would be uncharted territory, presenting real dangers to stability.
Unpopular though it may be to point out, the demise of the euro is being increasingly discussed, especially when one considers recent comments by the likes of former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, Professor David Blanchflower. Mr Brown bluntly wrote in the International Herald Tribune: “Either the euro has to be fundamentally reformed by Europe’s political leaders and the European Central Bank or it will collapse.” He rejected any chance of a “middle way”. Professor Blanchflower, speaking on Bloomberg TV, described the eurozone as not “fit for purpose”. Such is the scale of the current crisis, markets did not jump with joy after a rather ‘damp squib’ meeting of Mrs Merkel and Mr Sarkozy. On the contrary, they slumped bigtime.
These things matter to ordinary people and to the Church as an institution. The Church benefits when there is a good economic climate, because there is a greater return for investments, of which the Church has many. When things become critical, the Church, as well as everyone else, feels the heat. That is certainly the case in the Church of Ireland at the moment. However, the Eurobond concept is perhaps too easy a way out of the current difficulties, posing the major dual risks, first, that countries that have bad fiscal policy habits may continue to have those bad habits – safe in the knowledge that stronger economies are sharing the total debt – and second, that those economically more sound nations would be drawn into greater debt than might have been foreseen. If a Eurobond ultimately emerges, it could surely only be after the creation of an effective form of pan-eurozone economic governance, a form that goes much deeper than biannual heads of government meetings. That, in turn, would have the most profound implications as far as sovereignty and the democratic process itself are concerned.
While the UK may be thankful that it did not opt into the euro, there is no doubt that the euro’s travails affect its economy in a critical way. It is in the interests of the eurozone, the EU non-eurozone countries and the global economy that the euro finds some real stability. What is needed for the euro now is strong political action that is clearly seen to be more than simply muddling through to the next bailout. Politicians got us into this mess and they need to get us out of it very swiftly indeed.
- Festival of Baptism at historic north Antrim church
- Lunchtime lecture to explore creation and the universe
- Enniscorthy Church Institute T property renovation
- Japanese nuclear disaster – ‘a warning call to us all’
- Church Army booklets celebrate 50th issue
- New Horizon 2011 hailed as ‘resounding success’
- West Cork community rallies to save landmark church
- Memories shared of renowned
- Belfast boy soprano
- Youth Update – CIYD gears up for new term
- Tributes paid to NZ archbishop, statesman and first Maori governor-general
- Peru conference hears calls for responsible stewardship of creation
- Olympic firms warned over sweatshop abuse
Focus on Cashel and Ossory – Herbie Sharman, Diocesan Communications Officer for Cashel and Ossory, contributes this month’s Diocesan Focus article.
Letters to the Editor
US Presiding Bishop’s comments
BISHOp JEFFERTS SCHORI’S comparison of Zimbabwe with San Joaquin and Fort Worth is disgraceful and outrageous (Gazette report, 12th August, page 1).
In 2007 and 2008, the Diocesan Conventions of San Joaquin and Fort Worth voted overwhelmingly to leave the US Episcopal Church ( TEC). In both cases, the bishops made it clear that any parishes (seven in San Joaquin and eight in Fort Worth) wishing to stay with TEC could do so and retain all their property.
The Constitution and Canons of TEC do not allow metropolitical powers to the presiding Bishop. Nevertheless, she interfered in both dioceses by inhibiting the bishops through a misuse of Title IV (originally passed to inhibit bishops who became Roman Catholics).
The Standing Committees (the ecclesiastical authority in the diocese in the absence of a bishop) objected. She declared them deposed and called Special Conventions with the small minorities of continuing TEC members.
Rival bishops and Standing Committees were elected so that, masquerading as the true dioceses, they could sue Bishops Schofield and Iker, as well as vestries, individuals and parishes (not the diocese – that would be an admission that the plaintiffs were not the true diocesan authorities). Iker is even being sued for using his own episcopal seal!
There have been no physical violence, beatings, murders or threats made by either Bishop Iker or Bishop Schofield. They have acted in accordance with their own diocesan Canons and procedures.
To compare these godly pastors to Kunonga is propaganda worthy of Goebbels.
The presiding Bishop, on the other hand, is relentlessly suing congregations for their buildings and property, instigating and funding vindictive lawsuits and even refusing to allow parishes to buy their own properties.
Bill Atkins (Canon) Mohill Rectory Mohill Co. Leitrim
THANK GOODNESS that, in the Church of Ireland, we still have men such as the Revd Alan Millar (Letters, 22nd July). It’s about time that the evangelical voice was heard more in our Church. Some people in the pews don’t know what they believe any more, such is the lack of biblical teaching.
Instead of sermons that encourage, challenge and enlighten, we have 10 minutes of waffle – and then our rectors and bishops wonder why people don’t come to church.
Unfortunately, those who espouse liberal theology have filled the vacuum left by this lack of scriptural teaching. If there are men and women in the ministry of our Church who do not believe that the Scriptures are the infallible Word of God, why are they in the ministry? What is their rule of faith? In my opinion, they are like the man who built his house upon the sand.
The central message of the Gospel is that God in Christ has the power to change us, if we will allow him to do that. As Paul wrote to the Corinthians: “If any man be in Christ, he is a new creation. Old things have passed away, behold all things are become new.” Therefore, if people claim to be Christians, but continue to live lives that are contrary to Scripture, they are deluding themselves.
People today have forgotten that God is holy and righteous. Yes, he is a God of love and compassion, but he will not tolerate sin. However, the glorious news is that he has made a way for us to escape the punishment for our sin by sending the Lord Jesus, his only son, to die at Calvary in our place and then gloriously raising him from the dead, thereby sealing our salvation.
So, let those of us who know and love the Lord and his Word continue to pray that God’s Holy Spirit will visit our Church and revive it and that in this year of celebration for the King James Bible, the Scriptures will be faithfully preached.
Errol McNally, Dromore, Co. Down BT25
Christchurch, NZ, Cathedral
I WAS fascinated by the article in the Gazette (12th August, World News, page 7) on the proposed temporary ‘cardboard’ cathedral for Christchurch, New Zealand, designed by a Japanese architect.
It reminded me of a delightful story I heard when we lived in Kobe over 40 years ago. St Michael’s (Anglican) Cathedral in Kobe was destroyed by Allied bombing during the war and a temporary, flimsy, wooden one was erected to serve until the new one could be built.
One morning, the Bishop, Michael Yashiro, went along to the cathedral to discover that it had simply vanished. Somebody who demolished and stole it during the night obviously felt that his own domestic accommodation needs were greater than the congregation’s.
Apparently Yashiro, far from being outraged, had a sneaking sympathy for the thief and used to tell the story with great relish afterwards.
Michael H.G. Mayes (Bishop) Langford Row, Cork
WHO, I wonder, are the “non- Catholics” referred to by my friend, the Revd Ian W. Ellis, in his proposal for jointly-run schools (Gazette, 19th August, page 16)? Surely not members of the Church of Ireland – who belong to a Church defined in its most fundamental
constitutional document as “Ancient Catholic and Apostolic”, as well as “Reformed and protestant” (Book of Common prayer p.776 f).
Michael Kennedy (Canon)
Lisnadill Rectory Armagh BT60
ONE OF the most depressing things about the Church of Ireland is the growth of party among the clergy.
The recent ordination photographs published in the Gazette illustrate this well.
At the Connor ordination, all the candidates wore black scarves, while most of the other clergy present wore white stoles.
At the Armagh ordination, the candidates wore black scarves, while the Archbishop was in a red stole.
These things are handled much better in the Church of England which has a much longer history of dealing with parties. There, all clergy participating in ordination services wear the same thing. After all, it is one and the same ministry.
Robert MacCarthy (The Very Revd)
Dean of St Patrick’s Cathedral St Patrick’s Close Dublin 8
Features and columns
- Insight – The Church’s Ministry of Healing in Ireland – future challenges By Ian Strachan OBE and the Very Revd Patrick Rooke
- Down At St. David’s
- Musings – Alison Rooke – Empathy
- Mission to Seafarers, NI, 150th anniversary ends with royal visit
Launch of organ scholarship scheme in Christ Church Cathedral, Dublin