Pope plays for keeps


The Vatican is setting up special arrangements to welcome disaffected catholic-leaning Anglicans into the one true Church.

The announcement caught everyone by surprise, not lease Vatican-based journalists. An account of their disorientation and consequent questions is here.

The impact in England is likely to be numerically insignificant. The bigger impact is the casual discarding of decades of careful ecumenical discussion. The Pope clearly prefers the certainty of an estimated 1/2m conservative adherents immediately to the slow, improbable and probably undesirable process of greater theological understanding and mutual acceptance.

The main body concerned are the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) (Wikipedia) said to be strong in Zimbabwe and Tanzania with smaller groups in various parts of the world.

The manner of the announcement also seems to have been 'humiliating' to Rowan Williams who was informed (not consulted) just the night before the press conference.

And in the US the decision could pose a dilemma to Forward in Faith members who have only recently signed up with ACNA, notwithstanding the determined opposition of some of the conservative evangelicals in that grouping.

What does seem to be happening, if by different routes, is the slicing away of conservatives from the main body of Anglicanism, one stroke at a time.

1 comment:

  1. It isn't surprising that Rowan Williams is reported to have ‘looked uncomfortable’ at the joint press conference held with his Roman Catholic counterpart the Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols. Other reports have claimed that Rowan Williams’ ‘complexion reddened’ when Nichols appeared to answer for him at the press conference. The Archbishop of Canterbury must have felt quite humiliated at what are undisguised overtures, incentives even, from the Church of Rome, to leave the Church of England, which he was forced to endorse in his own backyard? From Rome's point of view the Church of England, the heartland of Anglicanism is the big prize.

    To seasoned observers in England this scenario has its roots in the Episcopal Act of Synod 1993. Way back then, in a last-minute attempt at containment the Bishops of the Church of England produced a means whereby an effective Church within a Church might exist. This was well intentioned at the time but predictably has become what is essentially institutionalised schism. It's no real surprise therefore to learn that the principal players behind recent ‘secret’ conversations with Rome are the 'Forward in Faith' bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough whose actions have been heartily endorsed by the Bishop of Fulham in London and whose whole existence has been predicated on catering for those who will not accept women priests.

    It would be good for the Church of England to get rid of the 1000 that the Bishop of Fulham says will go. Alas only a trickle of those with some integrity will finally leave.

    It would be good though to have some pro-Anglican leadership from Rowan Williams instead of his dumbfounded capitulation to bullying disguised as some kind of ecumenical progress.

    I'm not alone in these sentiments and if he's losing people like me who were his natural constituency then he hasn't got many friends left. It would be best if he stepped down ... or went to Rome himself!