Comments: yet another roundup of Roman comment

"England's Church has managed an 'Alice in Wonderland' situation in which those who do not like female bishops (or the bishops who ordained them) can owe obedience to so called Flying Bishops, upholders of the traditional faith who 'fly' from parish to parish, regardless of the boundaries of diocese. These bishops, and others who think as they do, have been prime movers in shaping the Vatican's new offer"
- A.N.Wilson: New York Times' article -

Precisely! And it is these extra-terrestrial visitors the 'flying Bishops', a truly alien entity and foreign to catholic ecclesiology, which have persuaded the anti-women bishops and priests of the C.o E. to 'gang-up' on their more eirenic Anglo-Catholic brothers and sisters in this accommodation with the Roman See.

As someone has already pointed out, Anglo-Catholics who are anti-women but pro-gay - may feel themselves unable to join the Ordinariates proposed by the Pope - on the grounds of their acceptance of gays already ministering within the inclusive ministry of the Church of England.

This can only be the cause of great distress to some of the Anglo-Catholics who still maintain their suspicion of the call of women into the ministry of the Church of England. They should be assured that other members of the Anglican Communion have no problem with either women or gays being ordained - as they, too, are bearers of the Image and likeness of God, and therefore capable of representing the 'Persona Christi' at the altar.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 26 October 2009 at 11:38pm GMT

Starkey's piece is over-summarised history into journalism. The sources of the movements for change he gives are far broader and fuzzier. For example, rationality and the move towards capitalism (that included miracles, the material, printed biblical fundamentalism we'd see it as) produced those middle class chapels like boxes as much as the chapels like boxes produced capitalism. The rediscovery of the romantic again has deep rural English roots, that was an antidote to all that rationality. Theology wasn't suddenly born under Michael Ramsey! The factions started with the Oxford Movement, with the Oxford and Cambridge liberals, and were invented traditions, with the rise of evangelicalism - all of these reactions towards or against modernity. So yes but it's more mutual, layered and complicated.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 3:28am GMT

I think Peter Stanford is wrong about this Pope and a big Church. You have to go back to his background. He's alongside Hans Kung and along comes 1968, which in West Germany has overtones of rejecting those still in power who were in power in the Nazi period. Hans Kung understands this and carries on, Ratzinger understands it but is frightened by its Godless modernity. So Ratzinger moves towards a highly bureaucratic, closed Church, that has overtones that might be unwelcome in Germany - to produce a ring fenced Catholicism. Coming after the charismatic right wing anti-communist John Paul, who built the foundations of a rightist but big Roman Catholicism, this Pope sees himself as having a few years to crack eggs and do bureaucratically what the other Pope might have wanted to do. So he finds bolstering Catholics wherever they are, plus regards Orthodoxy as a means to support such Catholicism. I would suggest that Orthodoxy is the only ecumenism that really interests him, and if he cracks eggs he will make big gestures their way ecumenically. But as for Anglicanism, he'd cherry pick, convert them in, and leave the rest to be some sort of Protestant rump. The next Pope can pick up any pieces and inconsistencies. Of course the next Pope might react against all this if Benny can't secure the succession.

Posted by Pluralist at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 3:38am GMT

This article is the clearest expression I have found of Roman Catholic disgust at the Pope's behavior.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 6:04am GMT

"Equally damaging, the Vatican’s preemptive exploitation of Anglican distress explicitly ducks the large and urgent challenge facing every religion and every religious person, which is how to positively reconcile tradition with the massive changes in awareness, knowledge, and communication that come with the scientific and technological breakthroughs that daily alter the meaning of existence."
- James Caroll, Boston Globe article -

James Caroll gets to the heart of what needs to happen in the Christian enterprise in our world of today; 'To positively reconcile tradition with the massive changes that come with the scientific breakthroughs that daily alter the meaning of existence.

This seems to have been bypassed by the climate of tradition versus praxis. Each age needs to address what scientific and other evidence gives us to re-engage with how best all of us might adapt to the reality of human life & co-existence with the total environment as it is constantly changing. Climate Change is not the only reality that needs to be addressed. The ongoing spiritual dimension has to keep up with the world as it is -not just as it was in the age of the Bible.

Let's get a decent hermeneutic to begin with, and cast away outdated understandings of how Christ might deal with the reality of modern life. The Church is meant to be salt and light, after all, and not just a grand-stand from which to offer indulgences to those who conjure old anathemas.

Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us; therefore let us keep the Feast! Moreover, let us share the fruits of the Feast - with all people.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 9:52am GMT

Austen Ivereigh has a piece in 'America' in which he quiotes from a Zenit interview with Msgr William Stetson, an Opus Dei canonist who is secretary to the Ecclesiastical Delegate of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for the Pastoral Provision for former Episcopal priests. He is sceptical about whether the ordinariates will have a contnuing married priesthood:

"On the question of whether ordinariate "houses of formation" for seminarians would allow for future married priests, Mgr Stetson is sceptical. "The specifics have not yet been made known on this question. At the very least I would assume that the seminarians would have to be both married and studying in an Anglican seminary at the time they sought to enter into full communion, and then continue studying for the priesthood in a Catholic seminary. They would have to be dispensed from the norm of celibacy on a case-by-case basis by the Holy See. Future seminarians would have to be celibate.""

The full Zenit interview with Mgr Stetson is here:

Posted by MJ at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 10:13am GMT

Many thanks, Spirit. It's a great piece, from - presumably - an RC of Irish descent. Sad, though, I again remark, that the people most concerned to give pastoral support to distressed Anglicans are renegade RCs.

Posted by john at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 11:27am GMT

In case you haven't seen "The Daily Show" take on this story:

Ecce No Homo
The Vatican attempts to lure Anglicans to the Catholic Church just like a cell phone provider reaches out to new customers.

Posted by Steve Caldwell at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 11:48am GMT

Richard Dawkins, the Voice of Reason, has also entered the fray:

Just to say 'thankyou' to Simon for keeping us all up to date with all of this commentary/conjecture. We're all going to look like idiots if nobody ends up going.

Posted by David Keen at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 12:24pm GMT

Would this be the same Boston Globe that a few years ago was forced to retract a completely fraudulant story it had published that slandered Newfoundlanders? I honestly don't think it was deliberate, they just didn't bother to check the reliability of their source. I know this is an op ed piece, but is there any evidence the Globe has developed a more respectful attitude to the truth than it showed 3 or 4 years ago? Because if not, I'm not sure how to read this piece. For all I know, it might be just as baseless as the salnder they published against us.

Posted by Ford Elms at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 1:48pm GMT

Because the Roman Catholic clergy framing these documents have no real personal investment as unmarried and allegedly celibate, they may find little to concern themselves with in the proclamations regarding human procreation e.g. Humane Vitae. By contrast, those Anglicans transferring might want to re-think their decisions, unless closeted gay, their thoughts about the discipline of the Roman Church and which of its proscriptions they are willing to abide. In that light I draw attention to the draft of the US Catholic Conference of Bishops on marriage dated next month: In particular the following statement on contraception at lines 360-362:
"Deliberately intervening by the use of contraceptive practices to close off an act of intercourse to the possibility of procreation is a way of trying to separate the unitive meaning of marriage from the procreative meaning. This is an intrinsically evil action. “
The Roman Catholic church does not offer the delicatessen of dogma options of the Anglican tradition. Benedict VI, first as head of the Congregation of the Faith, and with the Pope's ear furthering his agenda, and now with his ordinariates and prelatures has been steadily coalescing those who would further his conservative theological agenda, not just in the statement of dogma but enforcement....a word some Anglicans now looking at Article 4 in the proposed Covenant might find appealing, but when some actually seek protection across the Tiber, they might be somewhat less enthused. So which of the proscriptions of the Roman Church will they accept, and which will they actually obey?

Posted by EmilyH at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 1:58pm GMT

Randy Cohen of the NY Times has a very original and novel take on the Rome-Canterbury Anglo Catholic business, an insight that can probably be made only by an outsider. He points out that if a major corporation like Exxon made an arrangement with another like Citibank at the expense of women executives and gay employees similar to the one between Rome and Canterbury, there would be a huge public outcry over its bigotry and injustice.
He asks if religions and religious institutions should be ethically accountable the same way all the rest of us are.

Posted by Counterlight at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 5:37pm GMT

Pluralist....Your statement regarding what Ratzinger's time frame do do "what the other Pope wanted to do" misses a little. JPO2 may have so wanted but that does not mean that Ratzinger didn't and has always wanted to do. Please recall Ratzinger's Congregation of the Faith, the demolition of the Catholic universities in the early 70ties, people like Charles Curran and Hans Kung. The later reapproachment, with Kung anyway, if you would call it such, was only after the Cardinal's theological views were well entrenched. There is nothing new here. Cardinal Ratzinger has been working a right wing agenda for thirty+ years, installing with JP2's help the bureaucracy needed and a magisterium in compliance with it. Of course, had liberals had the same opportunity they would no doubt have engaged in the same tactics.

Posted by EmilyH at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 7:56pm GMT

Since that false article a few years ago, the Boston Globe was bought by the New York Times. Presumably the new management has raised the journalistic standards.

James Carroll, I think, is a former RC priest and a longtime Globe op/ed writer, particularly on matters of religion and the church.

Of course there are those like my friend Peter, a conservative RC layman, who accuse the Globe of deep-seated anti-Catholic bias and blame it for the downfall of Cardinal Law.

Posted by Jim Pratt at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 8:45pm GMT

On the money David Keen! Excellent article!!!!!

Posted by choirboyfromhell at Tuesday, 27 October 2009 at 8:46pm GMT

I wonder if the root of the matter,at least for the Church of England, lies in the appointments system.
By far those who have a clergy/laity electoral system seem to favour Women Bishops.
Does the present Established position of the Cof E simply entrench the "Old Boy" system?
And is this realy a response to the Gospel or simply clinging to the wreckage of the past?

Posted by Wayne at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 4:37am GMT

Dawkins has read this right.

Posted by Martin Reynolds at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 7:16pm GMT

Dawkins usually is right. In this case, though, he forgets that Rowan Williams has no backbone, no loyalty to friends, no courage, and no credibility.

Posted by Merseymike at Wednesday, 28 October 2009 at 11:55pm GMT

Professor Dawkins demeans himself and the Post with his vulgar rant. That said, that is the first time I have seen him lavish praise on the Church of England. I wouldn't brag about having such a fickle admirer. He has amply indicated that if the RCC disappears tomorrow, the CofE will be next in line for his charges of culpable ignorance, pervasive moral turpitude, and running a criminal enterprise for profit. Be careful of prophets. They can turn on you.

There are many church members in England. I hope he doesn't have to meet or deal with any. It sounds as dangerous as Blade Runner.

Posted by anthony at Thursday, 29 October 2009 at 3:16am GMT

No. No, it wasn't a rant.

Dawkins is a confidence shill. A huckster. A snake-oil salesman. He's good at it. But, the problem is, it isn't that those he's peddling his nostrums to are stupid, it's that he's very intelligent.

Simply put, Dawkins couldn't peddle his patented cure-all unless he saw some feeling of disease to exploit.

It's not a rant. Rants mean anger, or hate, or loathing. This was *disdain*, because he doesn't need to consider this creature "The Roman Catholic Church" to be a real threat. Certainly, his disdain implies, any half-way intelligent person would recognize its abuses, excesses, and incongruities.

And that's the problem -- he's right. People *do* recognize it, and it's right through organized Christianity. Even we recognize it. If he turns on CofE - and he will, as all Christianity is the problem - he will be absolutely right there, too. Our religion, throughout every, EVERY denomination has indulged in excesses and self-delusion, insane behavior right from the start, pretending it's faith. But even we know it's wrong, or we wouldn't get so angry with Dawkins for being right.

Posted by MarkBrunson at Friday, 30 October 2009 at 5:10am GMT

MarkBrunson, that's very much it, isn't it? It amazes me how little humility there is in some Church quarters for past wrongs. Yet there is change. The Anglican Church of Canada came to an agreement to redress the emotional and physical abuse suffrered by FirsNAtions children in church rin residential schools. It was an attempt to accept responsibility and atone for the sins of the past. It wasn't perfect, but it was something.

But at the same time we have the spectacle of an RC church that locally hid pedophiles for decades, was proven just last month to have hidden another pedophile bishop for the past twenty years, showing they had not learned one iota from the trauma of the 80s, and yet has the unmitigated gall to claim that I, as a gay man, am incapable of having a normal human relationship with anybody! And they actually believe they have the moral credibility to do that! I apologize if this looks like Rome bashing. I'm sure it wouldn't be hard to find situations in which the sins are alike but the roles are reversed.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 30 October 2009 at 1:47pm GMT

Anglicans who believe the RCC is corporately guilty of child abuse have no business joining it, especially if the child abuse is ongoing and sanctioned, which there is no reason to believe it isn't. So this is an important issue for them to resolve before taking up the Pope on his offer of safe haven.

Posted by anthony at Friday, 30 October 2009 at 6:26pm GMT

"this is an important issue for them to resolve before taking up the Pope on his offer of safe haven."

I rather suspect that this isn't even on their radar. Im mean, it wasn't on anybody's radar for over ten years after we went through it, until it happened in the US and then it became A BIG DEAL. But even then, it wasn't A BIG DEAL for long.

Posted by Ford Elms at Friday, 30 October 2009 at 7:16pm GMT
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