Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Opening the Doors to Anglicans and Episcopalians

Pope Benedict has stunned almost everyone by announcing that the Catholic Church will welcome those traditional members of the Anglican/Episcopal Church who might choose to enter into full communion with Rome, and that they will be able to enter into that communion as parishes or dioceses. Happily, it was announced that those who choose to accept this invitation will be allowed to maintain to a high degree their own traditions. I say "happily" because in my experience traditional Anglicans and Episcopalians have often retained liturgical traditions which in many Roman Catholic dioceses and parishes have succumbed to the spirit of the age. When an Episcopalian or Anglican friend expresses an interest in "swimming the Tiber," my reply has often been: "Don't forget to bring your liturgies with you when you come."

1 comment:

Mike O'Malley said...

Richard Fernandez at Belmont Club-Pajamas Media has an interesting take on this Papal outreach:

The lighting of the beacons

Allow me to offer quotes from this essay:

Fernandez writes: The heavy blows which laid the Anglican church low were not dealt by the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed the Anglican Church broke away from Rome. What severely weakened the Anglicans was the communist-inspired secular culture which sapped it of vitality; reduced the Gospel to an outlier of the greater scripture of Political Correctness. That’s what its disaffected adherents are fleeing from. The principal attraction of the Roman Catholic Church, at least to conservative Anglicans, lies precisely in that it hasn’t been eaten out by socialist/communist faith to the degree that the Anglicans have been. It’s not that they love Rome, they’re simply seeking shelter within its walls.

That’s not to say that Roman walls are safe from the same relentless attack of secularism which did Canterbury in. Given enough time, Rome too will go under; and Benedict knows it is only a matter of time until some ecclesiastical Barack Obama mounts the pulpit to warn in a honeyed baritone against Climate Change and extol the virtues of Islam. For that reason Benedict is picking up stragglers, having judged the Anglicans already shattered. But its real foe, upon which Rome’s eyes are fixed, are the socialist/communists. Osgiliath is driven in and the orcs are hard behind.

First Fernandez quotes Roman Catholic Archbishop Nichols, the primate of England, put it bluntly.

"He claimed the Pope had made the decision because he wants worshippers to unite in the face of increasing secularism rather than form numerous smaller churchers. … Quoting the Pontiff, he said: “As he has written: ‘In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God."

To which Richard Fernandez responds: "The Roman Catholic Church is living through an extraordinary historical moment. It is facing two religious competitors. From one side, there is the religion which pretends to be a political movement — socialism/communism. From the other flank there is the political movement which pretends to be a religion — Islam. Both religions have massive amounts of money, heavy weaponry and great cultural power. Pope Benedict has probably looked at the ancient but fragile ramparts of Rome and realized that unless something turns up, they may not hold. Indeed, any normal assessment of forces would conclude that Benedict’s Church is doomed. The future looks like a face-off between socialist secularism and unbending Islam. How can Christianity even hope to keep the field? The full power of political correctness are marshaled on the one hand, and the multitudinous throngs of the Jihad are arrayed on the other. Never mind Canterbury’s end. What odds would you give Rome? An observer would give none, but for this cryptic prophecy in Matthew 16:18."

I worry that Socialism/Communism and Islamofascism are as two elements of a binary weapon of mass destruction with Christianity forestalling the Nietzschean detonation ...

Saul killed his thousands
David killed his tens of thousands
in the 20th Century
Islam killed its tens of millions
Socialism killed over a hundred million.

In the 21st century will these two top the 20th by a magnitude or more?