Monday, May 3, 2010

Is it Embarrassing to Provide a Refuge for Abused Wives?

From the Daily Telegraph comes a story about plans for the defection of Church of England clergy to Rome by Jonathan Wynne-Jones.
When hundreds of Church of England clergy defected to the Roman Catholic Church nearly 20 years ago, it dealt a damaging blow to Anglican unity and strained relations between the two Churches.

These relations will now be stretched to breaking point with the revelation that the Vatican is secretly plotting with English bishops over plans for a new wave of converts.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has already expressed his dismay at the way Pope Benedict XVI last year made his offer to disaffected Anglicans to join the Catholic Church He would have been encouraged by the lack of clergy who have so far responded to the invitation, but The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that schemes to allow for an exodus of Anglican priests are being discussed at the highest levels of the Vatican.

This is likely to prove highly embarrassing for the Pope and deepen suspicions that he is preparing to poach clergy from England only months before he visits Britain.

If the initial offer was described as a move that parked his tanks on the lawn of Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop's residence, one bishop said last week's Vatican summit would be seen as "a declaration of war".
I don't understand how on earth this embarrasses the Pope, but it sure seems to be an embarrassment for the Archbishop of Canterbury. Surely the source of the problem here is the utter failure of the Church of England even to make accommodation for orthodox, traditional bishops who simply want to maintain what the Church has always believed. It seems to me that if Williams and his friends want so much to be part of a liberal Protestant denomination, they should become Methodists.

A comment on a thread on Virtue Online sums it up well. It says:
The Pope's not poaching anybody's clergy. The C of E is like some bullies I knew as a kid. They attack you, beat you up, and then go running to their father's crying about how you hit them first. In the end the bullies' fathers phoned your father and complained about what a rotten kid you were for hitting their precious boys first. This is the same scenario. The C of E walks all over everyone's rights and then cries "Foul!," when the victims seek solace from another party.
It seems to me that the liberal Anglicans should just suck it up. If they want to go against catholic tradition they are free to do so, but they should stop pretending to be "catholic" while doing so and they should understand that not everyone is going to go along with them. Liberal Anglicans have done more to undermine ecumenical dialogue than anyone else, so their wounds are entirely self-inflicted.

I would have used a stronger image. They are like wife-abusing husbands who are indignant when the long-suffering wife moves out for her safety and that of the children. Everyone else is to blame - the Pope, the Anglo-Catholic bishops and priests - everybody but them.

No comments: