The Anglican Pravda

For years it’s been a standing joke that the Anglican Journal is the Anglican Church of Canada’s Pravda because it has such a strong bias towards theological liberalism and the political left. Just like the organisation it is there to report on.

At the same time, the Journal claims to be editorially independent, a requirement if it is to continue to receive a yearly grant of $409,866 from Heritage Canada, otherwise known as Canadian taxpayers.

Now, it seems the claimed editorially independence is under review by the Council of General Synod, prompting a CoGS member to finally catch on to what the rest of us have known for some time: the Anglican Journal is in danger of becoming – I would make that has become – The Anglican Pravda.

From here (emphasis mine):

A request by the diocese of Rupert’s Land to no longer have a print version of the Anglican Journal distributed in the diocese has led to the raising of questions about whether the newspaper should be produced in print form at all and whether it should continue to be free to determine its own content, Council of General Synod (CoGS) heard Saturday, June 24.


In a question-and-answer session after Egan’s presentation, the issue of the Journal’s editorial independence prompted, instead of a question, a strong statement from one CoGS member. Jason Antonio, from the ecclesiastical province of Rupert’s Land, who also introduced himself as managing editor of the diocesan newspaper The Saskatchewan Anglican, condemned what he termed the report’s “attack” on the Anglican Journal’s editorial independence.

“It’s a leap in logic for me to think that because Rupert’s Land News shut down we have to question the editorial independence of the newspaper,” he said. “The Anglican Church of Canada does not need another mouthpiece…To attack the Anglican Journal, then, and take it over is an authoritarian move. We might as well just rename it Pravda,” said Antonio, alluding to the former news organ of the Soviet Union’s communist party.

Anglican Journal displays its bias

The Anglican Journal is biased: it reports with breathless reverence on what looks to me like a couple of hundred people on Parliament Hill indulging in a blanket exercise “to help people understand Canada’s history from an Indigenous perspective” and completely ignores 22,000 people meeting on Parliament Hill for the March for Life.

There were Anglicans at both; which looks more newsworthy to you? Here are the blankets:

Blanket Exercise

And here is the March for Life:

Anglican Journal wins 24 awards

But none from the Permanent Office of Foreign Media Organization, People’s Republic of China. Maybe next year.

From here:

The Anglican Journal received 24 awards, including eight awards of excellence, at the joint convention of the Canadian Church Press (CCP) and Associated Church Press (ACP) held April 27 to May 1 in Toronto.

More free advertising from the Anglican Journal

Thanks AJ:

As a part of a mutually agreed upon court settlement of a defamation of character lawsuit, blogger David Jenkins has apologized to Bishop Michael Bird of the diocese of Niagara “for any suffering he has experienced as a result of blog postings” on his blog, Anglican Samizdat.

The settlement also stipulated that Jenkins would pay “a majority of the legal costs involved, remove the Bishop from his posts, and agree not to publish any similar posts about the Bishop in the future,” according to a release issued by the diocese of Niagara. In a related post on Anglican Samizdat, Jenkins noted that he had agreed to pay $18,000 toward legal costs, which Bird’s lawyer had stated were $24,000.

Jenkins’s statement of defence had denied that his postings were libellous or defamatory. It asserted that Jenkins was exercising his freedom of religion and expression and that his comments were intended to be humourous and satirical.

Justin Welby interviewed by the Anglican Journal

The whole interview is here. It is titled: ”Welby explains gays and violence in Africa remarks” because, as you can imagine, liberals have been wailing and gnashing their molars at Welby’s saying that gay marriage in the West will lead to more murders in Africa. Many are grasping at tenuous explanations to excuse such a calamitous lapse from diversity groupthink.

The Anglican Journal tries to come to the rescue:

Q: Were you in fact blaming the death of Christians in parts of Africa on the acceptance of gay marriage in America?

This encourages Welby into Rowanesque waffling:

A: What I was saying is that when we take actions in one part of the church, particularly actions that are controversial, that they are heard and felt not only in that part of the church but around the world…And, this is not mere consequentialism; I’m not saying that because there will be consequences to taking action, that we shouldn’t take action.

So even though there are “consequences” – like murder – to our actions, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t take them. Or does it? I really have no idea:

What I’m saying is that love for our neighbour, love for one another, compels us to consider carefully how that love is expressed, both in our own context and globally. We never speak the essential point that, as a church, we never speak only in our local situation. Our voice carries around the world. Now that will be more true in some places than in others. It depends on your links. We need to learn to live as a global church in a local context and never to imagine that we’re just a local church. There is no such thing.

Now for the hard question:

Q: In 2016, the church’s General Synod will be presented with a resolution changing the marriage canon to allow same-sex marriage. Is this a cause for concern?

A: That’s a really tough question. Well, it’s got to be a cause for concern because this is a particularly tough issue to deal with…And, I hope that two or three things happen: I hope that the church, in its deliberations, is drawing on the wealth of its contribution to the Anglican Communion and the worldwide church, to recognize…the way it works and how it thinks, to recognize the importance of its links. And that, in its deliberations, it is consciously listening to the whole range of issues that are of concern in this issue. We need to be thinking; we need to be listening to the LGBT voices and to discern what they’re really saying because you can’t talk about a single voice anymore than you can with any other group. There needs to be listening to Christians from around the world; there needs to be listening to ecumenical partners, to interfaith partners. There needs to be a commitment to truth in love and there needs to be a commitment to being able to disagree in a way that demonstrates that those involved in the discussions love one another as Christ loves us. That’s the biggest challenge, that in what we do, we demonstrate that love for Christ in one another.

It’s easy to tell that the answer is prating twaddle: it contains “listening” four times. My favourite is: “consciously listening”; can we unconsciously listen? I suppose so: in institutional Indabas. Although we must listen to “LGBT voices”, when it comes to listening to anyone who lives trying to resist same-sex attraction it will, as usual, be a case of the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear.

Anglican Journal: Bishop settles lawsuit with blogger

Read it all here:

The settlement also stipulated that Jenkins would pay “a majority of the legal costs involved, remove the Bishop from his posts, and agree not to publish any similar posts about the Bishop in the future,” according to a release issued by the diocese of Niagara. In a related post on Anglican Samizdat, Jenkins noted that he had agreed to pay $18,000 toward legal costs, which Bird’s lawyer had stated were $24,000. Jenkins did not pay damages, which were listed as $400,000 in the original claim filed in February 2013.

Jenkins’s statement of defence had denied that his postings were libelous or defamatory. It asserted that he was exercising his freedom of religion and expression and that his comments were “…intended to be humourous and make use of satire, sarcasm, irony, hyperbole, wit, ‘send up’ and other types of humour to make a point other than what one would take literally from the comments. In those cases, no reasonable viewer or reader of the blog postings would be expected to believe that the statements are true…”

The editorial independence of the Anglican Journal

When the principal secretary to Fred Hiltz, Paul Feheley, was appointed editor of the Anglican Journal, some questioned whether this would compromise the paper’s editorial independence.

The Journal gets a $596,627 subsidy from Canadian Heritage – from our taxes – but only if it maintains editorial independence; since it involves money, this is an important issue for the church.

Doubts I may have harboured about the Journal’s editorial independence were allayed somewhat when the article about my little spat with Michael Bird appeared.

However, the doubts – which I am doing my best to embrace – were reinvigorated when, the day after the article appeared, five paragraphs mysteriously vanished; ENS also carried the article and the same thing happened there.

Presumably, somebody contacted the Journal and ENS to ask for the removal of the now expunged material. I have no idea who.

Archdeacon Paul Feheley to edit Anglican Journal

Paul Feheley is principal secretary to the primate, Fred Hiltz. This casts doubt on the editorial independence of the Journal.

All the comments on the announcement here express the same concern: with Feheley at the helm the Journal will not have editorial independence from the Anglican Church of Canada. What they fail to mention, though, is that the Journal gets a $596,627 subsidy from Canadian Heritage – from our taxes – but only provided it maintains its editorial independence.

For those concerned that I have suffered a lapse into gullibility – perhaps induced by an excess of Christmas cheer – never fear: I am well aware that the Journal’s editorial independence has always been a fiction. But with the primate’s principal secretary in charge, it may be a fiction that is impossible to maintain – at the cost of $596,627 per year.

The paper could not survive without the subsidy. I, for one, would be unhappy to see the demise of the Anglican Journal and satellite diocesan papers: it would be the end of rich vein of material begging to be mocked.

Anglican Journal to be editorless, left wafting hither and thither on a miasma of politically correct religiosity

The current Anglican Journal editor, Kristin Jenkins – whom I met briefly in 2010 and rather liked in spite of our radically different perspectives – is abandoning the Anglican Journal to the tender mercies of Paul Feheley.

In the face of certain cuts for Anglican Journal staff, one can hardly blame her.

As the article below notes, the budget for the Journal will be more conservative; what is left unsaid is that the content will undoubtedly be less conservative – you may think that an impossibility, but with a herculean effort from the stragglers still employed by the paper, I am certain a way will be found.

From here:

Following the resignation of Editor Kristin Jenkins, the Anglican Journal will adopt an interim management structure and not hire a new editor until late 2013 at the earliest. Sam Carriere, director of Communications and Information Resources and Resources for Mission, shared this news with General Synod staff on Dec. 13.

Editor since 2009, Ms. Jenkins will leave the Anglican Journal on Jan. 7, 2013 to become director of advancement at Albert College in Belleville, Ont.

“It is my feeling, supported by advice I have sought and received, that I should not engage in a formal search and hiring process for an editor of the Anglican Journal until next year’s restructuring work is behind us, at the earliest,” said Mr. Carriere in an email to staff.

In November, the Council of General Synod passed a transitional budget for 2013 and agreed to establish a more conservative budget for 2014 in response to declining revenues. Throughout the next year, General Synod leadership will consider ways to restructure the national office, including the Anglican Journal.


A History of the Anglican Journal

Can be found here.

Some interesting tidbits:

A new distribution concept benefitting dioceses and the national church is forged. All identifiable givers to the church receive the newspaper along with their diocesan publication. Circulation skyrockets to more than 200,000.

Since I still receive the Journal, I must be viewed as an “identifiable giver”: believe it or not, I don’t actually give the Anglican Church of Canada any money, so my identifiable giving must be all  the free publicity the ACoC receives on this blog. It’s gratifying to be appreciated.

Come to think of it, though, the Journal receives a yearly subsidy of $596,627 from Canadian Heritage, so, as a taxpayer, I am still contributing to the Anglican Church of Canada. Very reluctantly.

Hugh McCullum, a well-respected journalist and activist, is the first editor to hire professional reporters rather than clergy to produce stories on poverty, aboriginal land claims, pollution, abortion law reform and apartheid. A fierce advocate of editorial independence, he believes that an open, transparent church is a stronger church.

And now, 40 years later, the ACoC is such an “open, transparent” church that its membership has strengthened from around 1.36 million to 320,000, many of whom are septuagenarians.

The newspaper’s editorial policy is revised. While the Canadian Churchman remains the national newspaper of the Anglican Church of Canada, its’ [sic] position as an independent voice rather than the official voice of the church, is made clear.

The supposed editorial independence of the Journal is frequently reiterated, largely to avoid losing its substantial grant from Heritage Canada. In reality, it has about the same amount of independence as Pravda had from the U.S.S.R.

Even with the yearly grant, the Journal has been shrinking – it must be getting stronger – and has had to appeal to members for money:

With funding from General Synod slashed by 38 per cent, the Journal seeks donations from readers for the first time. Proceeds from the Anglican Journal Appeal are shared 50/50 with the diocesan newspapers.

Rest assured, though, that it has not abandoned its liberal blinkers: instead it now oozes reader friendliness:

A re-design of the Anglican Journal, the first in a decade, is launched with the April issue, offering a bold new reader-friendly look.