Monday, 13 September 2010

some Anglican views of the Papal visit

Christopher Hill, who is Bishop of Guildford and chairman of the Church of England’s Council for Christian Unity, wrote in the Sunday Telegraph Pope visit: Anglicans and Catholics can share a mission.

…My hopes as an Anglican bishop are twofold. Pope Benedict is a formidable philosopher and theologian. He has spent much of his ministry analysing the ebb-tide of faith in modern Europe. This is also a matter Archbishop Rowan Williams has devoted much attention to.

Instead of slogans on buses pressing an atheist cause, or the reverse, I hope the visit will promote real dialogue between those of faith, those in doubt and those who deny.

Secondly, Pope Benedict will meet his bishops and the Church of England bishops at Lambeth Palace. Anglican and Catholic bishops regularly meet but doing so with the Bishop of Rome will, I believe, reinforce and further encourage our common mission. Differences will remain but what we have in common far outweighs them.

At the grass-roots level, SueM blogged about Protest, prejudice - and the Pope.

I am looking forward to the Pope’s visit to the UK. For a start I am interested to see what reactions it will actually evoke among the British people and in the media. I am expecting to see hostility, appreciation and indifference, but I am not sure which of these reactions will predominate. Another thing that I am looking forward to is the variety of programmes, news articles and radio discussions focusing on the Papal visit. I think that some of these may serve to raise some interesting questions, not only about the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church, but also about the changing role and nature of religion in British society and the huge shift we have seen in attitudes to religious faith and institutionalised religion.

I understand the reasons why many people object to the attitudes and approach of the Roman Catholic (and Anglican) church…

I am hoping the level of coverage (and even protest) that we see will be proportionate, sensible and balanced. I do expect that we will see some excellent and challenging debate; I hope we will not see too much anti Catholic prejudice, disrespect or ignorance, but I won’t be surprised if we do!

Church Mouse writing in An Anglican response to the Papal visit offers four principles for Anglicans:

1. Despite some theological differences, we should treat the Roman Catholic church as our brothers and sisters in Christ, and as such we should share the experience of the visit with them in the spirit of Christian unity.

2. We should not seek to “take sides” in any of the Catholic debates on reforms of the Church. It would be unhelpful to all within the Catholic Church if one side was seen to be ‘backed’ by sections of the Church of England, not to mention hypocritical on our part, given the divisions in our own Church.

3. We should defend the Catholic Church and the Pope from the more extreme anti-Christian attacks on him, which are in reality attacks on all Christians. Bishop Christopher Hill explained that “Today’s opposition focuses on Pope Benedict, gaining some support in the light of the terrible cases of clerical abuse, but intellectually it represents an attack on all Christians, indeed on faith.” Mouse reckons that is true to a large extent, as the most viscous attacks are not based on reason and logic, but on hatred.

4. We should use the opportunity afforded by the visit to move discussion of the Ordinariate from behind closed doors to out in the open. Mouse’s guess is that there are very few people who will be leaving the Church of England under the scheme, but to have the threat held beneath the surface is damaging to the church.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 10:01am BST | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England
Comments

There is no need for Church Mouse to fear - or relish the thought of extreme anti-Christian responses to Joseph Ratzinger's short visit here. Or do you need to adopt this as a posture ? I notice Church leaders seek to present themselves as victims, instead of the influential, well-healed people they are, in fact.

There is tremendous good will towards religion and churches in the UK., despite all the Churchy attacks on the British people from Rome and Canterbury and some free church guys. We have had our sexualities and relationships criticised and denigrated for a long time. One has only to think of the opposition of these Churches to people's sex lives-- insisting on no premarital sex, no contraception, no terminations, no sex education. In my life time pregnant women who happened to unmarried were stigmatised, and even treated very cruelly- rejected even, - AS WERE THEIR BABIES.

The C of E was little better than the RCC at times.

But people in Britain have remained positive about loving God and their neighbour -especially in deeds. And supporting Churches and other charities with their cash or time and energy.


They have a vibrant, personal spirituality, despite little help, and often negative messages from the Churches often, hectoring lectures slagging off their beliefs and expressions of spirituality and inner meaning & purpose.

Remember these are the people who came thru 2 world wars, the Blitz, the Depression; or their children and grandchildren. These are the people who worked long hours in factories, mines and hard industries -often 2 or 3 shifts, for poor pay and conditions. Often with little support or help from Churches. Church ministers were (and are) often out of touch with working people and had no idea how to approach and speak with respect and with an effective, appropriate word. Needless to say listening has not been widely taught and practiced. The tongue has predomianted to the neglect of the ear.

No, I see every day in my ministry the sheer goodness, resilience, decency and love of people in this country, bravely and often against the odds.

I think we who are christians and ministers would listen to what atheists, secularists and others are good enough to seek to articulate and share with us. Can we listen truely in a spirit of modesty, openness and gratitude to them for their costly gift ?

Can Joseph Ratzinger and his associates ? Will he try it ?

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 2:28pm BST

A lighthearted FYI: The excellent web site Ship of Fools has collected a dozen Papal visit goodies. I want the bedroom slippers!

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 8:38pm BST

Have any of us thought of the positives that might flow from this papal visit? If the whole Church is really God's Church - and I believe it is - then we must give the Holy Spirit some credit for the possibility of bringing a new Cosmos out of the present Chaos of relationships between the Churches. Important also, of course, is that the Pope's visit will be seen to indicate some interest - on the part of all parties concerned - in finding a way of convergence: not only in ecclesiastical affairs, but also in the common goal of Christian Witness to a needy world.

Our prayers are more than ever needed to show to God our intention of obedience to the will of Jesus Christ - that we all may be ONE in HIM. No doubt this will mean that personal agendas will have to be forsaken, in a serious effort to find those essential common denominators that will ensure the continuance of the Body of Christ as capable of that Unity in diversity that will be needed for survival. May God use this Papal Visit to bring together - not only the Churches but also the people who will be looking on to see how the Church behaves. Kyrie eleison!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 10:42pm BST

Since this morning, several religious groups have issued statements:

Churches Together in Britain and Ireland
http://bit.ly/bfgBcj?r=td

Evangelical Alliance
http://bit.ly/9GCEjq

and from within the Church of England, a distinctive view from Church Society
http://www.churchsociety.org/press/pr_2010-09_PapalVisit.asp

ADDITION
The Scottish Episcopal Church
http://www.scotland.anglican.org/index.php/news/entry/the_scottish_episcopal_church_welcomes_the_visit_of_pope_benedict_xvi_to_sc/

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 10:56pm BST

I guess this is very much an American point of view about the Pope's visit to England. Even given the earlier mess about a possible place 'in Rome' for Anglicans wishing to swim the Tiber, so what?

He visits. He clebrates massive Masses. So? Popes have come here and celebrated massive Masses - in Yankee Stadium, in other places. So what? Lots of American RCs have gone to these.

I think I remember that when JPII came to Baltimore, the main issue was that the local RCs had to work hard to find an RC family for the Pope to bless that had more than 2 children.

I say wave at him, wish him a nice visit - perhaps to Coventry Cathedral, and then wave a cheery bye bye.

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 1:31am BST

I don't want Pope Benedict here, not on a State visit. He has kept paedophile priest cases within his institution and not released them into the hands of criminal justice authorities; he represents serious blockages to HIV AIDs progress; he represents blockages to medical advances and he has rehabilitated a holocaust denying bishop (which does not help when trying to decide whether Ratzinger was anti-Nazi at a very difficult time for opposition - or did he just run away when he could).

It is surely anyone's right to have a religious position and encourage that religious position or near to it in another institution. Those so inclined should encourage theological exploration, diversity and undermine the equivalent of absolute monarchy. There have always been cross-denominational alliances of tendencies and pressure groups.

Posted by: Pluralist on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 1:35am BST

"We should defend the Catholic Church and the Pope from the more extreme anti-Christian attacks on him, which are in reality attacks on all Christians."

If (When) there are attacks "on all Christians", then I'll speak . . . from the perspective as one particular Christian (in one particular church: in my case, TEC). If my defense then applies to other Christians/other Christian churches (inc. the RCC), then so be it.

I don't see why I would EVER need to defend the RCC, particularly [Defending individual Roman Catholics, however, is a different matter! Such Roman Catholics often need defending . . . from the Bishop of Rome.]

Posted by: JCF on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 4:17am BST

Church Society state:"Our nation decisively rejected the Papacy's claims to authority in the Sixteenth Century and has resisted them ever since."

What a travesty of the truth. The nation was never consulted...it was a political schism generated by a tiny elite...who then latched on to Protestants to take over the church structure.

The faithful remnant of the Ecclesia Anglicana
( the Catholic Church in England and Wales)continued their opposition, under the most vicious persecution for three hundred years, until the Catholic Church was allowed to operate " legally" again. The same was true in Ireland where English incompetence never allowed the reformation to be accepted by the vast majority of Irishmen and women.

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 7:04am BST

Here's how one of Canada's major newspapers sees the Papal visit, commenting on sex abuse scandal and women's ordination.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/europe/concentric-circles-of-antipapal-fury-await-the-pope-in-britain/article1706380/

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 1:13pm BST

"What a travesty of the truth. The nation was never consulted...it was a political schism generated by a tiny elite...who then latched on to Protestants to take over the church structure."

Strange that RC apologists are all about consulting hoi polloi when it suits them, but not otherwise.

Posted by: BillyD on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 1:18pm BST

Well, what the English incompetence may have failed to do, alienate the Irish from the Roman Catholic church, the child molestation crisis has apparently accomplished.
Last year we were in Ireland, and our taxi drivers could speak of little else. The one from central Cork to the airport said he would never send his children to church again.
If the taxi drivers are angry, the RCC of Ireland is in big trouble.

Posted by: Andrew on Tuesday, 14 September 2010 at 9:52pm BST

Excuse me, but what Kool Aid are supporters of the current Bishop of Rome drinking? Benedict is guilty of complicity is the abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests. He should be in jail, not visiting the UK or any other place.

Posted by: pete on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 5:14am BST

" And he said this because he was stealing from the purse."

Human nature never changes and people will always make excuses.

Yes the Catholic Church in Ireland has been chastened over its once all pervading clericalism , but Mass attendance is still very strong and there are other hopeful signs.


Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 6:53am BST

Sad that all the work on justification by the Roman Catholic /Lutheran International Commission and the work of ARCIC on Salvation in the Church seem to have passed the Church Society by. Far better to be entrenched in a 16th c theological mindset than grapple with where both churches are today, to admit perspectives may have changed in four centuries and see how we might better present a more united front to an increasingly secular Europe it would seem.Thankfully their brand of "National Church Protestantism" is unlikely to rally many of the troops!

Posted by: Perry Butler on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 8:28am BST

I think the Church Society press release is another clear indication that the real split in Anglicanism is not between liberals and so called 'orthodox' Anglicans, but between those who believe Anglicanism is confessional by nature (the FCA and GAFCONites) and those who do not believe it is or ever will be confessional. That is a much deeper split and one that has not yet been addressed. I imagine it will emerge more clearly once we begin to discuss the proposed covenant.
The split has been papered over in common cause to oppose women in the episcopate and to create trouble over the gay issue; Anglo Catholics were persuaded that by joining with Conservative Evangelicals in opposing the appointment of Jeffrey John and Gene Robinson, they could work together to oppose women in the episcopate.

Posted by: Canon Andrew Godsall on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 9:57am BST

Interesting to read postings from ultra- conservative Catholics, who when they are not unchurching other Christian denominations, are busy unchurching other Catholics. So, if you want to put statements like "excommunication is an act of love", and other religious rockets from Mars, in perspective, you may find this article on the theme of "I'm Catholic and you're not" interesting. The Anglican Communion, it appears, is not alone in struggling with presenting a coherent self-image to others. Official Catholic "truth" is a lot like the old Pravda. It gives you the party line but not the true cost of potatoes in the Ukraine.
http://withchrist.org/catholic.htm

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 5:03pm BST

BillyD, to me, all Robert Ian Williams is stating about the creation of a formally independent sovereign Church of England in the 16th Century is that it was created by a very small number of people. I think that is undisputed. One Sunday, the average English church-goer discovered s/he was now a member of the CofE instead of the Roman Catholic Church. What s/he may have thought of this was irrelevant to King Henry VIII, Thomas Cranmer, et al. I don't see Robert Williams claiming to be speaking on behalf of the people, and Roman Catholics were indeed persecuted at times, ostracized at times, discriminated against, etc. Possibly even more so than the Jews after Oliver Cromwell welcomed them back (although, I suspect, not with open arms) in the 17th Century.
I'm with Cynthia Gilliatt on this one: Let him come, kiss the tarmac (do the airport authorities have to cleanse it first, or is he on his own?), celebrate massive Masses (what a delightful turn of phrase, Cynthia!) in football stadia, and go on his merry way.
Years ago, I read an article in the New Yorker magazine about a visit by Pope J2P2 to France. The article was about the absolute glee from conservatives that he would once again return France to faithful submission to Mother Church. The liberals were filed with dread that he would destroy France's decidedly secular society by trying to return France to faithful submission to Mother Church. So, ... Pope J2P2 came, he said a few Masses, made some new saints, and flew back to Rome.
French society was undisturbed. The same will happen with England.

Posted by: peterpi on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 8:03pm BST

To be more positive and less side-tracking , why not listen to this instead.....

Your are not thinkers if you just take the party line all the time..

http://www.catholic.com/audio/2010/mp3/ca100913a.mp3

Posted by: Robert Ian Williams on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 8:07pm BST

Looks like somebody got fired (sacked) for statements about the UK being akin to a third-world-country. But not officially.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/sep/15/popes-visit-aide-dropped

Maybe a one-way (single) ticket back to Mars. Definitely not on British Airways.

Posted by: evensongjunkie on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 8:09pm BST

Joe Ratzinger has done such damage to the spirit and letter of all that was Vatican II that very little good will come from his tenure as Bishop of Rome. His predecessor stopped Vatican II dead in its' tracks in 1978 and Ratzinger was cheering the Polish Pope on as he began to "reform the reforms" brought about by the Council. Ratzinger will not be regarded by history as a bishop who embraced the modern world. He ran from the modern world and took cover in a broken and imperial model of Church that is not working and many believe is in the final stages of decay from its' own corruption. His "State" visit to England is not going to have the positive effects that many of his far right supporters believe. Joe Ratzinger never should have been elected Bishop of Rome. He is and has been a figure that has disenfranchised and marginalized women and gay people. He is not a leader or a great thinker as many of his promoters claim. His visit to the English people will have very few benefits. He is a man that is all wrong for the crisis that is facing the Catholic Church.

Posted by: Chris Smith on Wednesday, 15 September 2010 at 10:47pm BST

"Your are not thinkers if you just take the party line all the time.."

That. Is. The. Funniest comment I've ever read, when you consider the source.

Really, how can you take the Roman denomination seriously *at all* with these kinds of spokespeople.

Posted by: MarkBrunson on Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 8:26am BST

Peterpi, I don't dispute what you say, although I point out that the RCC exacerbated the situation by doing things like trying to foment a rebellion against Elizabeth I . My point is that the RCC isn't given to ruling by plebiscite, so complaining that the Reformation was a top-down process seems hypocritical.

Posted by: BillyD on Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 11:06am BST

"My point is that the RCC isn't given to ruling by plebiscite, so complaining that the Reformation was a top-down process seems hypocritical."
****
Touche! Point taken

Posted by: peterpi on Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 8:14pm BST

lighthearted FYI: The excellent web site Ship of Fools has collected a dozen Papal visit goodies. I want the bedroom slippers!

Posted by: Cynthia Gilliatt on Monday, 13 September 2010 at 8:38pm BST

Unfortunately the Ship of Fools is also know to abuse and mistreat people who venture into its territory.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 8:46pm BST

Joe Ratzinger has done such damage to the spirit and letter of all that was Vatican II that very little good will come from his tenure as Bishop of Rome. His predecessor stopped Vatican II dead in its' tracks in 1978 and Ratzinger was cheering the Polish Pope on as he began to "reform the reforms" brought about by the Council.'

Chris Smith.

This is sadly true. It is tragic for those care about christianity in our world and spirituality for our times.

Posted by: Laurence Roberts on Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 8:51pm BST

Thinking catholics are Anglican. Believing Anglicans are catholic. Yes Primus but also inter pares. Peter needed Paul to put him right on some things. What is going on across the water in Britain is interesting. Hard to work up much feeling though after all we have been through.

Posted by: Tom Healy on Thursday, 16 September 2010 at 10:40pm BST
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