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By Diogenes ( articles ) | Jan 19, 2004

Of course it'll be strangled in the cradle -- like a pro-life resolution introduced at the Democratic National Convention -- but it's wryly amusing all the same. The topic of Papal Primacy is debuting at the C of E's General Synod.

The Church of England is being asked to take its biggest step towards accepting the primacy of the Pope and the concept of infallibility since Henry VIII broke from Rome 450 years ago. A joint Roman Catholic and Anglican report arguing that the Pope should be recognised as the "universal primate" is to be debated by the General Synod next month.

Personally I'm far from convinced that all Roman Catholic bishops hold an orthodox doctrine of papal infallibility, and I expect Rowan Williams to sign on to Pastor Aeternus the same week that Hillary Clinton joins Operation Rescue. However, we can anticipate some coarse entertainment in the form of old fashioned polemic of the No Popery variety and the attendant journalistic fluttering. As for resistance to the notion of universal primacy, I like the point made in Evelyn Waugh's letter (4-6-1947) to Penelope Betjeman, in response to her husband's argument that an Englishman's Catholicism could only be sought in the Church of England:

I am by nature a bully and a scold and John's pertinacity in error brings out all that is worst in me. ... I will lay off him in future. But really when he says that the truth of the Petrine claims is dependent on his place of residence, the mind boggles.

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