Benedict opening arms to disgruntled Anglicans…

An interesting adjunct to that story of three Irish churches seeking, as Malcolm as put it, “sui juris” communion with the Holy See. Damian (the ‘blood crazed ferret’) Thompson over at the Telegraph reckons that Pope Benedict partially had disgruntled Anglicans in mind when he brought in the recent liturgical changes into the Catholic Church:

Benedict XVI is more sympathetic than John Paul II to Catholic-minded Anglicans. He has been talking to them unofficially for years. He understands – and shares – their reservations about liberal RC bishops and bad liturgy. I’m convinced that the Pope’s liturgical reforms are aimed partly at bringing anxious Anglicans into the fold. With the Motu Proprio in place, the ability of Bishops’ Conferences to make life difficult for conservative converts is greatly reduced.

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  • Outsider

    By the sound of this what the pope wants is a complete reallignment within religion with Anglicans having to choose if they are tempted over to the dark side or not.

  • May I draw attention to a rebuttal by Alister McGrath on the Church of Ireland Gazette website at http://www.gazette.ireland.anglican.org/2007/191007/focus191007.htm ?
    This refers to an earlier article by Canon Gregory Cameron, the Deputy Secretary-General of the Anglican Communion, in the [CoE] Church Times. That earlier piece is on the Church Times archive at http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/content.asp?id=37426.

    Cameron sketches the moves to ecumenism.

    He declares that the differences between the Eastern Churches and Rome are now slight:

    It is becoming hard to see what holds the two traditions apart, beyond the issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood and episcopate (which is seen as a huge obstacle, despite the difficulty of articulating the theological reasons why this might be so). A more honest evaluation might also point to the sheer cultural alienation bred by 1000 years of separate development.

    Similarly, on the differences between Anglo- and Roman Catholics, he says:
    … questions about the ordination of women blocked off the possibility of a re-examination of Anglican orders by the Church of Rome. But the issue of authority, and, in particular, of the universal ministry of primacy exercised by the Bishop of Rome, overshadows all other progress.

    If that implies the Anglican communion would be well-rid of the Leviticus-lovers and Nigerian tribal politics, I’m with Cameron. Particularly if the happy-clappy fanatics go with them.

    Finally, a sad story.

    Years ago I attended a memorial service for a well-loved Anglican cleric. The local Bishop told a story of visiting the man on his death-bed. When they prayed together, the formula of words of the Pater Noster came between them. That’s a fair measure of the achievement of the evangelicals.

  • abucs

    I’m all in favour of the Latin Mass.
    If it draws some anglicans back to the Catholic Church then i’m even more in favour.

  • Dawkins

    Two Christmases ago I was dragged kicking and screaming into visited a church to help celebrate midnight mass. I’d presumed it was a Catholic church as the ritual seemed to me to be “Roman”. Only later did I realize it was an Anglican church.

    I know I’m talking up appearances here but can’t help thinking that Anglicans would probably feel right at home in an RC place of worship.

  • Dawkins is of course absolutely right in his assertion that many Anglicans would feel at home in the Roman church . Many Anglicans are now papists in all but name . It is only a question of how to sell the union with Rome to the remaining CofI pewfillers who still believe they are part of a Protestant church .
    The Romeward drift of the 3 “main” churches is there for all to see .

    http://www.theevangelists.blogspot.com

  • Sean

    Ian
    What matters which way they drift? are you a member of those churches?

    Then take your small minded bigotry and go episcopate it

  • Ian Hall @ 02:25 PM:

    the remaining CofI pewfillers who still believe they are part of a Protestant church

    Once upon a time, when I took these hair-splitters seriously, I would have consoled myself with the words of the Nicene Creed:
    (1559 version) I beleve in the holy Ghoste. The holy Catholique Churche. The communion of sainctes. The forgevenesse of sinnes. The resurrection of the body. And the life everlasting.

    And no “kiss of peace”, no hand-shakes and embraces, no funny made-up-on-the-spot “liturgy”, no tambourines, no arms upraised in ecstatic nirvana as we sway together. Please.

    Evie Hone, the great stained-glass artist, converted in the 1930s, and is alleged to have told the Archbishop that she could only be a “low-church” Roman Catholic. Seems fair enough.

    By the way, on a more rewarding point, is Hone’s window, originally for the 1939 World Exhibition in NY, and now in the Government Buildings in Dublin, the origin of the “Four Green Fields” conceit? Is that where Tommy Makem nicked the idea?

  • Dawkins

    I beleve in the holy Ghoste. The holy Catholique Churche. The communion of sainctes. The forgevenesse of sinnes.

    Gosh, Malcolm, don’t you have a spellcheck on your machine?

  • Ahem

    ‘As ever’, he patronisingly pronounced, ‘the same old problem with Slugger: no one round here ever lifts their eyes beyond the dreary confines of the statelet’. *The* Christian happening of the last 50 years has not been how Romewards one or two sects might have drifted, but just how fundamentally protestant both the catholic church in terms of its doctrine, and still more widely so, it’s continuing adherents, have become.

  • Outsider

    This brings me to an interesting discussion that was held in a local newspaper in which a commentator decided to criticise the Orange Order. The main crux of her arguement was that are Protestants not able to worship and express their beliefs in their own church without the need to choice religious organisations such as the Orange Order.

    This drift towards Rome certainly vindicates membership of the Orange Order and defeats this arguement put forward against it.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Malcolm

    “…is Hone’s window … the origin of the “Four Green Fields” conceit?”

    The earliest reference to it is in Yeats’ play Cathleen Ní Houlihan (1902), though the symbolic figure of Cathleen pre-exists the play so I wouldn’t be surprised if the “four green fields” motif does too.

    Ahem

    “*The* Christian happening of the last 50 years has not been how Romewards one or two sects might have drifted, but just how fundamentally protestant both the catholic church in terms of its doctrine, and still more widely so, it’s continuing adherents, have become.”

    Very good point. I remember once being in company that included the then recently retired George Carey, who said something so eloquent and surprising (to a Norn Ironer) that I can still remember his exact phrasing.

    He said: “We, (the implication that “us” = Protestants) are all of us on the journey back to Rome. But of course the Rome we arrive back to will be a very different Rome from the one we left.”

    It reminded me of a great story from our family, when my grandfather arrived home having just attended his first Vatican II vernacular mass. He declared: “I’m going over to the Presbyterians in Loughgall next week – sure we’re all Protestants now.”

    Carey’s conception was fascinating – as though the Reformation was the big bang that created the theological universe in which we now live, but which also contained within it the inevitability that eventually, the debris would slow down, stop, and be gravitationally drawn back to the centre.

    Only a few head-cases argue that Rome is unchanged from that which Protestantism broke from half a millennium ago. How many of Luther’s 95 theses would stand up today? These are fascinating times in Christendom.

  • barcas

    Mick

    “Pope Benedict partially had disgruntled Anglicans in mind when he brought in the recent liturgical changes into the Catholic Church:”

    Maybe Pope Benedict had disgruntled Catholics in mind, too. There are many of us who feel strangers in our own “home” since Vat II and would welcome revival of some of the old rites.

    The wastage from the Church since the Vatican II changes were implemented,must, to some extent have been caused by those changes and the banality of the liturgy and music which replaced much of the traditional liturgical practice.

  • Petran

    Ahem understates this by talking of a Protestantisation of Roman Catholic doctrine. In fact the Catholic Church is losing members in it’s large demographic heartlands to actual Protestant denominations at a very fast pace. Denominations generally of the most “low church” kind.

    One fifth of Latin Americans are now Protestant and about 10-15% of Filipinos. This has happened largely in the last two decades and is heading in an upward trajectory. In the areas of large scale new growth of Christianity: China, Korea and to some extent Southern India again it is Protestants, mostly of the Evangelical kind, making most of the running.

    Christian growth in China and Korea has been and is huge. South Korea went from 2% Christian in 1945 to 35% Christian today. While China, presently at 5%, looks like it may be about to follow the Korean example. Even if the growth were half as much we would still be talking huge in terms of absolute numbers and China would constitute a large chunk of the world’s total Christians.

    On how many Latin Americans have become Protestant,

    http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/religion/jan-june05/protestant_6-14.html
    (both text and video)

    http://independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=1969
    “In Guatemala, about 30 percent of the population considers itself Protestant today and the success of the “assault” on Catholicism can be measured, for instance, in the fact that the Christian Fraternity, the largest evangelical group, is about to inaugurate the biggest religious building in Central America—it will seat 12,200 people. In Brazil, God’s Assembly, the strongest Pentecostal movement in the country, brings crowds that easily rival those of soccer matches. Between one-fifth and one-fourth of Brazil’s population has deserted the Catholic Church in favor of Protestant churches.”

    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/459/pope-brazil-visit
    http://pewforum.org/surveys/pentecostal/
    (look at the “Religious Demographic Profiles” box for stats)

    So could all this have something to do with a Papal penchant for mergers and acquisition activity? Roman Catholics are still the majority of the world’s Christians by a whisker at something like 52% but without a few mergers it looks like they could very soon be a minority. Perhaps a meaningless number but also maybe a psychologically significant one.

  • just how fundamentally protestant both the catholic church in terms of its doctrine, and still more widely so, it’s continuing adherents, have become

    Absolutely. That’s why I had to become an Anglican. 😉

    I remember once telling a member of the Orange Order how my experience of parading was limited to processing down Oxford Street in London (the boundary of the parish I belonged to then) on a number of occasions helping to carry a statue of Our Lady.

    Then surprising him even more by noting that like him, I was a member of the Church of Ireland.

    Only a few head-cases argue that Rome is unchanged from that which Protestantism broke from half a millennium ago. How many of Luther’s 95 theses would stand up today? These are fascinating times in Christendom.

    And in the West, at least, the real divisions run within and across denominations rather than within them.

  • Billy Pilgrim on Oct 29, 2007 @ 05:22 PM:

    Thank you for the link to Cathleen Ní Houlihan. I’m quite annoyed with myself for not knowing/remembering that: I’ve taught the bloody play at least once. It must be the Alzheimer’s setting in.

    But, not Yeats alone. Lady Gregory was very emphatic that the first scene, up to the entry of the Old Woman, was exclusively hers (see Nicholas Grene’s book on The Politics of Irish Drama). The rest was “This with WBY”. The precise quotation my four beautiful green fields is the mathematical centre and crisis of the play, with the cheering for the French landing heard off-stage.

    Which, curiously brings us back to the thread, which for me addresses the place of the Anglican in Irish society and culture, and how that is to be reconciled with the predominant Roman Catholicism. On the other hand, the blinkered Protestant, as we have seen already in these contributions, can retreat into blind antipathy.

    Augusta Gregory (née Persse) is as Ascendancy Anglican as one can find, but she was reacting against her own mother’s evangelicalism (what Grene terms as “salvation by faith alone”). She turned to the Broad Church and Good Deeds as her approach: hence her involvement in the Gort workhouse, the poor of Southwark and Irish goods produced in the local convent. The result of that was, again in Grene’s words: Her nationalism and her religion bear the stamp of the same principles: self-abegnating commitment to duty, service and the advancement of the causes to which she had given her loyalty.

    What is less easy to forgive is that hideous blood-sacrifice thing, which she seems to have acquired from Le Fanu. Typically, Yeats pirated even that, when he wondered whether “perhaps some words of mine” drove the 1916 Rebels to their fates.

    Why does this all remind me of Frank Ryan, responding to Cardinal MacRory’s denunciation of the International Brigaders: “May I assure your eminence that as an Irish Catholic I will take my religion from Rome, but as an Irish Republican I will take my politics from neither Moscow nor Maynooth”?

    Hmm. I seem to have wandered off-topic.

  • ulsterfan

    When thinking of changes in the RC Church what is the present debate on celibacy, women priests and married clergy?
    These subjects seem to have fallen below the radar.

  • Spudnik

    Anyone here ever been successfully ex-communicated from Roman Catholicism?

    Please let me know if there is a quick and easy path to exit, with corresponding paperwork stamped and sealed? Thnx.

  • Dawkins

    Spudnik,

    You’ll think it strange for a godfree chap to respond to your question. Fact is, a fellow-traveller wished to do the same and discovered the following.

    Upon Baptism, an infant’s name is registered in the parish records, and the Bishop’s House is alerted to the newcomer.

    Unless the baptized peep requests its deletion, the name is retained in those records for his/her lifetime. In practice this means that in the event of a census or head count, the record is used to show that X number of Catholics live in a certain area or did at one time. This has consequences for the planning of schools, etc. It makes no difference if a peep has turned his/her back on the Church. As far as the Church is concerned the soul remains theirs.

    If you wish to have your name deleted, send a letter by registered post to the Bishop’s House. Ask that a letter of confirmation — not to be confused with Confirmation :0) — be sent to you.

    That should do the trick.

  • Petran

    Spudnik

    “Anyone here ever been successfully ex-communicated from Roman Catholicism?

    Please let me know if there is a quick and easy path to exit, with corresponding paperwork stamped and sealed? Thnx.”

    Headbutt the Pope.

    Here’s a list.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latae_sententiae

  • Dawkins

    Petran,

    I ordered a Latae sententiae only the other day in Starbucks. All I got was a look of bemusement.

  • Donnacha

    Hmmph. Dawkins, I ordered it after Mass the other week and got a milky coffee. Most disappointed.

  • pith

    Ian Hall,

    When you get to Heaven will you let God stay?

  • Rev. Ian Hall

    Pith,

    maybe, but first he will need to be most severely straightened-out for all this sissy forgiveness shit he’s been into – fucking hippy!

    Zero tolerance, that’ll be the new policy

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Tsk tsk such a bizarre thread. Surely we should all be looking forward to the day when such complete nonsenses as women clergy, liturgies and homophobia justified by archaic writings are consigned to the dustbin of history and everyone actually lives in the real world. Or is that too much to ask?