Catholic Culture Resources
Catholic Culture Resources

Farewell, Church of England?

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Sep 01, 2005

Vision Book Cover Prints

"The whole institution is like a psychotic kindergarten." That's the Rev'd Peter Mullen, lamenting the state of his own Church of England in the New Criterion. Here's a glimpse of his experience at a clergy conference in Oxford:

Then the Bishop came on and told us that at the laughably misnamed riot called "The Peace" he didn't want us merely to shake hands but to "hug one another"-- and not just to hug one another, but to put our arms on our neighbor's shoulders and say three times, "You are everlastingly loved."

Bob. Weave left. Short right uppercut. Return to personal prayer.

When it comes to christenings, weddings, and funerals, the Church has given up talking to grown-ups and instead produces the sort of touchy-feely guff used in adverts directed at moony adolescents. At the wedding, for instance, the new official book for every parish, Common Worship, makes the priest pray, "Let them be tender with each other's dreams." I think there should be a rubric in the margin saying, "At this point the congregation shall throw up -- bride's family's side first."

Is there anyone who actually likes this ritual cotton candy? When trapped and afflicted by it, some folks seem able to put up with it better than others, but I've yet to meet anyone who professed a positive attraction -- except divinity school staff and students. And even in the case of the div school twinks, you have to wonder whether they really enjoy it or, instead, see its usefulness in repelling from the Church the kind of Christians they loathe and fear.

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