Good reason #65648 for Pope Benedict’s Anglican Provisions

Not long after Anglican Archbishop Williams stood up in public and waved to the planet wearing funky colored gloves, in the wake of his comments that Benedict XVI’s provisions for traditional Anglicans could be seen as "theologically rather eccentric", I present you with another reason why Anglicanorum coetibus was probably a good idea after all.

This is from The Daily Telegraph with my emphases and comments:

The Taliban could be admired for their religious conviction and their sense of loyalty to each other, the new bishop for the Armed Forces said.

By Jonathan Wynne-Jones and Duncan Gardham
Published: 1:16AM GMT 14 Dec 2009

The Rt Rev Stephen Venner called for a more sympathetic approach to the Islamic fundamentalists.

The Church of England’s Bishop to the Forces said it would be harder to reach a peaceful solution to the war if the insurgents were portrayed too negatively.

His comments in an interview with The Daily Telegraph came as the Prime Minister visited Afghanistan and claimed that the Taliban was fighting a “guerrilla war” aimed at causing “maximum damage”.

Gordon Brown said soldiers were discovering improvised explosive devices every two hours.

Mr Brown stayed overnight in the Allied base in the southern city of Kandahar, the first British prime minister to spend the night in a war zone since Winston Churchill.

His visit came days after the death of L/Cpl Adam Drane, the 100th member of the British forces to die in Afghanistan this year.

His death brought to 237 the total number of British service personnel who have died since operations began in 2001.

Bishop Venner said he admired the sacrifices made by the British forces fighting in Afghanistan but he called for a reassessment of how the Taliban were viewed.

“We’ve been too simplistic in our attitude towards the Taliban,” said Bishop Venner, who was recently commissioned in his new role by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury.  [What sort of background, do you suppose, this fellow has in order to make this assessment.]

“There’s a large number of things that the Taliban say and stand for which none of us in the West could approve, but simply to say therefore that everything they do is bad is not helping the situation. [Here it comes…] The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other.”  [And…..?]

The Taliban have been responsible for public beatings, amputations and executions, and have launched bomb attacks on Afghans.

They often refer to foreign forces as “Crusaders”. The bishop said some of their methods of combat were not honourable or acceptable, but he argued that it was unhelpful to demonise them.  [What would they have to do before we could use harsh language?]

Everyone in Afghanistan, including the Taliban, would have to be included in discussions to find a solution to the conflict, he said.

“We have to involve all the people of Afghanistan to find justice and prosperity for all,” he said. “Lasting and just peace will in the end justify the sacrifices our servicemen and women have made.”  [And the Taliban are… what… going to change their minds and decide to cooperate with the Westerners?    If we talk nicer about them are they going toooooo….. stop beating their women?]

Bishop Venner also said the Government had “a moral duty” to ensure that the Army was properly equipped.

Col Richard Kemp, a former commander in Afghanistan, said the bishop was being naïve.

“We clearly need to understand our enemy but that is more of a military issue rather than a religious one,” he said.

“Elements in the Taliban do not act from a religious perspective and it is important to turn them around.

“But there are many others who will not be persuaded. Their central creed and ethos is about violent oppression.

“In many ways it is a mistake to compare their faith of extreme holy war with the kind of religion of peace and understanding that the bishop follows. They wouldn’t show understanding of his faith.”

Last month David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary, offered parts of the Taliban “an alternative to fighting’’ and said men now waging war against Western forces should be encouraged to sit in the Afghan parliament.

His comments came a day after a military strategy was unveiled, talking of the need to negotiate with the Taliban. 


I don’t know what the fellow really had in mind or if that is the whole story.  But…. perhaps the provisions for Anglicans were well timed.


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  1. JohnW says:

    Venner needs to read about 9-11-01. These men he holds in esteem killed innocent Americans. I am a firefighter and 343 firefighters died trying to save the innocents. Let us pray the Rosary that the people of England will swim the Tiber to salvation.

  2. Ellen says:

    It’s nice to be open minded, but this man’s mind is so open his brains have fallen out.

  3. Frank H says:

    Didn’t Screwtape and Wormwood demonstrate convIction to their cause and dedication to each other?

  4. medievalist says:

    Somehow Mr Brown’s stay at a guarded airbase is less impressive than Mr Churchill’s London bunker during the Blitz. New Labour spinning, spinning, spinning into a timely grave.

    Otherwise, this is a perfectly eccentric statement from a ‘Church’ that thrives on eccentricity.

  5. Random Friar says:

    How can they speak well of the Taliban after their disgraceful lack of support and enthusiasm for fighting Global Climate Change conference and less than medieval recycling policies?

  6. Random Friar says:

    Oops, the closing (tongue in cheek) did not show up. I mean, they are usually more than willing to demonize first world businesses, why not lambaste Taliban for the same?

  7. Clinton says:

    Could there be something in the water over there that creates these Neville Chamberlains? Surely the British cannot have forgotten
    that there are indeed people in this world who will not rest until they have watched the world burn. What must the people who lived
    through the Blitz think of nonsense like this?

  8. kbf says:

    Believe me, that went down in the HM Forces community like a bucket of cold sick. He has today retracted and apologised for his comments.

    It is interesting to note that while the +Rowan was advocating the introduction of Sharia courts into the UK legal system, +Michael Nazier-Ali the CofE bishop of Rochester and of Pakistani origin was telling every paper who would interview him what an un-utterably bad idea that would be. Talk of Nazir-Ali becoming a Catholic was quite a buzz at the time, and I understand that it sent a shiver down the spine of the ECCB because many of them are “dialoguers” (and medicorities, but that is another issue altogether).

  9. Kerry says:

    In Homer Simpson’s voice, “Doh! Pesky Taliban!”

  10. Eric says:

    Heart to Brain, “Surly if we reason with the cancer we can peacefully coexist in this body.”

    Brain to Heart, ” Would that I could live without you.”

  11. irishgirl says:

    The colonel has it right-the bishop has it wrong.

    You got it, Ellen-the bishop’s so open minded, his brains fall out!

    Oy. St. George, pray for England and her forces!

  12. Rob Cartusciello says:

    If I were a British squaddie, I would be asking some serious questions about what my Ordinary was up to.

    I thought the role of a chaplain was to give spiritual consolation & support to his own soldiers, not those of the enemy.

    Especially when the enemy would saw his head off if given the chance.

  13. thereseb says:

    I must admit – I saw the headline, and read down just far enough to go “phew – not one of ours – thank goodness”.

  14. maynardus says:

    My kids like to dress-up and play “church” too, but my five-year-old “bishop” (complete with a Superman-cape-turned-inside-out for his cope and an older-brother-modified Quaker Oats canister covered in tinfoil for his miter) makes sounder pronouncements than this Monty Python bishop!

    Yes, “Bishop” Venner, and I’m sure you can also find much to admire in the Nazis’ “sense of loyalty to each other” and even the Satanists’ “conviction to their faith” as long as you keep inhaling that lovely (and presumably CofE approved) “Fumée de la Relativité” incense you’re burning…

  15. MAJ Tony says:

    Part of the issue is you really can’t lump all so-called “Taliban” into one monolithic group. It’s similar to the issues with De-Nazification after WWII and in more recent action, De-Bathification in Iraq. “Bishop” Venner, however, has oversimplified this into “let’s all hold hands and sing ‘Kumbaya’ around the campfire. If it were that simple, we’d not be in “the ‘stan” at this point.

    As one “Green Beret” t-shirt put it “Special Forces: Because some people just need to be killed.” The trick is determining who those people are, and understanding the “beyond first-order” effects of that act (the “and then what happens” and because of that, what else happens, ad inf.), and knowing how to deal with said effects, and taking sufficent and timely action. If you have an even remote understanding of Just War theory, this should make some sense.

    Example: recently, an SF sniper team and their commander, a Captain, were exhonerated of murder in the death of a Taliban leader. Claim was made by the command JAG lawyer that it was an ROE violation. ROE does not cover offensive action against “known/designated enemy combatants” hence the not guilty verdict. Sniper team had PID (positive ID) of the Taliban leader. Commander ordered the shot, based on visual signals from the Afghan Police who did the ID. Said sniper team took the shot, and immediately went into the village and explained exactly why they killed the targeted Taliban leader (PR blitz, or Information Operations in GI parlance).

    For an excellent example of “effects beyond first order” watch the History Channel documentaries on street gangs lately. What the FBI, state and local police learned from previous events was when they took out gang leadership, it created a power vacuum that was going to be filled, and the spillover into the surrounding neighborhoods from the resultant carnage from the infighting was so bad, they realized they couldn’t just take out one or a handful of gangsters. That’s why the gang task force hits hard and tries to take out a sizeable chunk of the gang when it hits.

  16. MAJ Tony says:

    ROE: Rules of Engagement

  17. Warren says:

    The Taliban use profits from the sale of opium made from the drought resistant poppies that flourish in Afghanistan to fund their terrorism, i.e., the purchase of weapons, pay to recruits, etc. The Taliban are drug dealers, thugs. They kill their own people and enslave others overseas by their production and distribution of opium and heroin.

    “The Taliban can perhaps be admired for their conviction to their faith and their sense of loyalty to each other.” Yeah, and let’s canonize Al Capone for his similar devotion to cause, i.e., himself. The Taliban are ruthless, power hungry and will stop at nothing until they achieve their objective. The Afghanis need a legion of Eliot Nesses, moral men and women beyond reproach to end corruption and crush this new mafia.

  18. MAJ Tony says:

    Warren, you don’t know the half of it. Afghanistan is awash in drugs. I just was briefed on it this Saturday. It’s not just the drug trade, but also serious drug use issues. Prior to 2001, the Taliban were opposed, officially, to opium. Now, it’s part of their fund stream. The trick to getting a legion of Elliot Nesses in Afghanistan is trying to change a patronage culture to a meritocracym, a very difficult task in good conditions. It’s like Iraq, but much worse.

  19. Melody says:

    I’m fine with it, but only if he’s the one who has to go to the Taliban and propose the idea. ^_^

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