Human rights - the new religion?

by Suzanne Long
from Signs of the Times No. 18 - Jul 2005

Some thoughts occasioned by the publication of For All Peoples and All Nations: the Ecumenical Church and Human Rights by Canon John Nurser, World Council of Churches.

Religion is no longer seen as the basis for the value and dignity of every human being. Instead, some argue, human rights, essentially secular, fulfil that role and replace religion as the way thinking people relate to the human world around them. Archbishop Carey in February 1993 said that human rights were not simply a matter of law but "they depended on a shared belief that they were 'the embodiment of absolute goodness'". (He was arguing for the incorporation of the European Convention on Human Rights into British law and was immediately condemned for meddling in politics, of course.)

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Liberal issues and liberal method

by Jonathan Clatworthy
from Signs of the Times No. 18 - Jul 2005

The world of Anglicanism is changing. How should we respond? How should an organization like the MCU respond? In particular, how should we relate to campaigns, and single issue groups promoting them?

Recently the way we are being perceived by these organizations has been changing. Since around the time of the Jeffrey John affair, organizations campaigning for liberal positions on a variety of issues have been seeking our support, indicating that they perceive us as a valuable ally. It would be pleasant to congratulate ourselves on increasing our profile and winning the arguments; but the main reason seems to lie in the signs that the Anglican communion is moving into a more reactionary phase, with tighter restrictions on freedom of belief and practice. What we are witnessing is an increasing sense that liberals need to work together more effectively.

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Benedict XVI: Curia Triumphans

by John Mackrell
from Signs of the Times No. 18 - Jul 2005

How will the election of Cardinal Ratzinger affect the Church of Rome? Some have gone to desperate lengths in their search for an answer.

One critic consoled himself with the thought that 'a man who loved cats, couldn't be all bad.' Others have praised Benedict XVI as an outstanding theologian and have stressed the personal charm of this cultivated man, who plays Mozart and is at ease trading witticisms with the German philosopher Habermas. Personal traits aside, Ratzinger's character - the key to interpreting his reign - was forged during the War and provided him with the perfect persona as a curialist.

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Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ

Editorial by Jonathan Clatworthy
from Signs of the Times No. 18 - Jul 2005

Your editor has been caught out again.

On being asked about the Anglican view of Mary by a neighbour whose Roman Catholic mother, apparently, was glowing over the Anglican 'capitulation', the answer seemed obvious enough even before reading the ARCIC Report. No, Anglicans are in a very Evangelical mood at the moment, not in the slightest interested in cosying up to Rome. Anyway, to talk about the Immaculate Conception and Assumption in terms of being de fide (obligatory doctrines) would imply that they were true; and we couldn't possibly reach that conclusion without a huge amount more evidence than is available today.

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