Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary

what the pope absolutely needs to hear

By Diogenes ( articles ) | Nov 23, 2009

The Times of London is as concerned about the future of Christianity as the Abbey of Solemnes is concerned about the future of NASCAR racing (the analogy limps in that Solemnes often takes the trouble to inform itself before tumbling into print). Yet once or twice a year, when one of its liberal pieties is outraged, The Times remembers its duty to Harry and St. George and works itself up into a coughing fit of senile indignation. Last Saturday we were given an editorial on the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope entitled "Ecumenism Rebuffed." Are you listening, you popish knuckle-draggers?

Dr Williams will meet Pope Benedict tomorrow in Rome. In the interests of his own authority and the integrity of the Anglican tradition, he should give the pontiff two clear messages.

That sentence -- together with its sententiousness -- might have been taken verbatim from a Times leader of 1919, in reference to Benedict XV. Read on:

First, the Anglican Communion is not an arrangement of convenience among disparate parties. In creating the new structure, known as an apostolic constitution, the Vatican acted precipitately.

Sorry, milords, but while in Rome last week Dr. Williams asserted exactly and in detail what you deny: namely, that the Anglican Communion is an arrangement of convenience among disparate parties. He didn't put it as neatly as The Times, true, but his ten pages and 4,800 ill-chosen words can bear no other meaning. Back to the editors:

Second, there is an impeccable case for the Church to welcome women priests and homosexual clergy.

An impeccable case, you say? Odd, isn't it, that this impeccable case eluded all Christians for two millennia and occurred to the painstaking theologians of The Times only the day before yesterday, historically speaking.

In any event, the bold confrontation that The Times' editors hoped for never took place. Both Lambeth and Rome described the 20-minute conversation of Benedict and Dr. Williams as "cordial," which means it must have been restricted to Mozart, the weather, and the Sprint Cup performance of Jimmie Johnson. It's plain that the topic of Christian doctrine never came up. I suppose one might call this "ecumenism rebuffed," but was ecumenism ever buffed in the first place?

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