05 July 2008

Help! We're drowning!

The penmanship might look pretty, but as the handwriting on the wall becomes clearer it’s apparent that the message is pretty devastating. What used to be the Anglican Communion is now little more than a collection of factions, ranging from staunchly evangelical protestants to full-blown Gnostics. Some think things are hunky-dory. Others want to go it alone. Still others claim to be the “real” Anglicans, whatever that might mean. And some are looking – albeit gingerly and anonymously – towards Rome.

The following story is from London’s Sunday Telegraph:

They met senior advisers of the Pope in an attempt to build closer ties with the Roman Catholic Church, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, was not told of the talks and the disclosure will be a fresh blow to his efforts to prevent a major split in the Church of England.

In highly confidential discussions, a group of conservative bishops expressed their dismay at the liberal direction of the Church of England and their fear for its future.

They met members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the most powerful of the Vatican's departments, the successor to the medieval Inquisition, which enforces doctrine and was headed by Pope Benedict XVI before his election.

The names of the bishops are known to The Sunday Telegraph, but they have asked for anonymity because the talks are of such a sensitive and potentially explosive nature.

The disclosure comes on the eve of a critical vote as members of the General Synod – the Church's parliament – prepare to decide whether to allow women to be bishops without giving concessions to staunch opponents.

Up to 600 clergy gave warning in a letter to Dr Williams that they may leave the Church unless they receive a legal right to havens within the Church free of women bishops. (read more...)

Looking to the Catholic Church as a means of escape probably isn’t the best reason to consider conversion. But the Anglicans certainly have plenty of motivation to look someplace. Who knows? Perhaps what started for negative reasons for them may well turn into the positive desire actually to become Catholics. It’s rather like the difference between imperfect and perfect contrition. Wanting to avoid hell is a pretty good reason to get to confession. Loving God and not wanting to offend Him is an even better reason.

Conversion can be like that. Sometimes the best journeys start with phrases like, “Let’s get the heck out of here!”