Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Fisking Piggott

I've gone through this article by Robert Piggott with a red pen.It's based on his news report on BBC One last Thursday which I watched in open-mouthed astonishment. Feel free to comment.

Anglicans and Catholics attempt to bridge divide
By Robert Pigott
Religious Affairs Correspondent, BBC News

The meeting between Pope Benedict and the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams had been billed as something of a showdown. [*sighs*They are clergymen not cowboys] After all, it was the first since the Pope's invitation to disgruntled Anglicans to convert to Catholicism. [Disgruntled? How about marginalised or victimised?]Many Anglicans had spoken openly of their concern not only that the invitation was being made, but also about the way it was handled. [Well they are hardly going to feel good about Rome taking people they’d like to keep in their place, are they?] It came, earlier this month, just as the Church of England was trying to find ways of keeping those traditionalists on its Catholic wing inside the fold. [They didn’t look like they were trying that hard] There was also minimal consultation with the Church of England. [So the Pope has to run things by a layman in Kent? I don’t think so.] Rowan Williams himself said he knew about this far-reaching initiative "at a very late stage" - just two weeks before the announcement was made. [Two weeks to sort out his response? Maybe he needs to go on a time-management course] Dr Williams is reported to have rung up the cardinal in charge of relations with other churches "in the middle of the night" when he discovered the offer was to be made. [Wasn’t that a little inconsiderate? Cold calling an elderly Prince of the Church. Or perhaps just a bit over the top?] It is, after all, no small offer. [The Pope is a big guy. He’s Big Hearted Ben. Get used to it.]

Question of marriage
There will be a special section of the Roman Catholic Church in which former Anglicans will be able to keep some of their own traditions and services, and even be led by former Anglican bishops. [Yes, just like the Uniates] Those bishops can be married - even though Catholic priests must be celibate. [Well, they won’t be bishops but we’ll let that pass] Anglican clergy will be allowed to become Roman Catholic priests even if they are married. [Yes, just like they have been for some decades now. Just like other Uniate clergy] Pope Benedict said he was creating this new enclave in his church only in response to pleas from traditionalist Anglicans, many of whom are unwilling to serve in a church that will, sooner or later, ordain women as bishops. But the Pope has been accused of riding roughshod over the Church, and even of trying to poach traditionalist Anglican clergy. [By whom? Name names. Do you think they might have motive for such accusations. Like pique?] So perhaps it was not surprising that there were great expectations for the meeting in Rome.

'Closer relations'
But whatever the irritation Rowan Williams might feel about the lack of delicacy with which the Pope dealt with the Church of England, there is more at stake for both sides than the conversion of a few dozen Anglican clergy to Catholicism. [A few dozen? The Forward in Faith directory has 1600 parishes in it!] At just 20 minutes, their private meeting was shorter than some previous encounters, but the official description of it was "cordial", and the Pope presented Dr Williams with a gold bishop's cross. [It was a pectoral cross – worn by bishops and some other clergy. Dr Williams is not a bishop] The Vatican acknowledged that discussions "focused on recent events between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion". However, the statement said both sides reiterated the "shared will" to achieve closer relations. Underlying relations between the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion is the Christian duty to work towards unity. The church word is "ecumenism" - describing the universal values and beliefs that all Christians share. [Why have you pitched this article at the level of a five-year-old child?] Forty years ago the Roman Catholic Church's Second Vatican Council seemed to promise a greater readiness to meet other churches half way in achieving greater unity. [Error has no rights. If other ecclesial communities ever thought they were on an equal footing with the Church of Rome, they were deluded] But Pope Benedict thinks the Council's deliberations have been misinterpreted, [They have been. Mostly by people like you.] and he wants to put a brake on the modernisation that has taken place in the Catholic Church in recent decades. [Modernisation? No. Modernism. Definitely]

Disgruntled traditionalists
A liberal Catholic and historian of the Church, Michael Walsh, said the Pope's invitation to Anglicans was part of this plan. [You don’t think Michael Walsh - ex-Jesuit author of ‘The Secret World of Opus Dei' - could have a teensy-weensy agenda do you?]
"He is a traditionalist. He likes the history. He likes the old liturgy (forms of church service). But I think what's going on in this case is that he's trying to attract back traditionalists to the Church, people who have left for traditionalist reasons." [Really? An open hearted gesture by the Pontiff to others must obviously conceal some cynical motive, no? Is there anything as cynical as a disgruntled ‘liberal’] Meanwhile, it seems to many people, Catholics and Anglicans alike, that the Church of England, and the wider Anglican Communion, has become steadily more liberal. [Liberal in what sense? Whacky? Bonkers? Unhinged?] It has ordained women as priests and as bishops, and adopted what some claim is a liberal attitude to homosexuality. [It’s not liberal to promote sin. It’s anti-Christian] So perhaps it suits both churches to transfer disgruntled traditionalists from one to another. [Then why are the Anglican’s getting their gaiters in a twist about it] It seems that the Vatican at least no longer believes that the "full visible unity" between the churches that was once envisaged is now possible. [Yes it is. Just as soon as they ditch heresy and schism. Some Anglicans have shown themselves capable of it] The Church of England has itself seen that there is almost as fundamental a division between traditionalism and liberalism as there is between Catholic and Protestant. [Damn straight there is] Indeed traditionalist Catholic and Protestant Anglicans have allied in the battle against women bishops and liberal approaches to homosexuality. [There are good guys in the most surprising places]

Bar to unity
So today's meeting between Pope and the archbishop might have been the opportunity for discussion of a new model for relations between them. [But then again....] Archbishop Williams has already suggested one - that bypasses what he regards as issues of secondary importance (such as the ordination of women) and builds on the fundamental beliefs and practices (such as the nature of God and the practice of holy communion) that both churches share. [Well the problems really start with Communion...] The old approach has been to pick away at particular theological sticking points - such as the churches' different approach to Jesus' mother Mary - and work out areas of agreement. [And it got nowhere in 40 years] In a lecture in Rome, Dr Williams questioned whether the outstanding issues of difference really amounted to much. [Yes they do. You can’t ordain a woman and a layman can’t administer the sacraments in normal circumstances] But he also suggested that even when Anglicans departed from Catholic tradition as it is currently perceived in the Vatican, they might actually have a greater truth to offer. [“as it is currently perceived in the Vatican” That statement is breathtaking in its arrogance] Dr Williams boldly used the issue of the moment as his example - suggesting that it was the Roman Catholic Church's refusal to ordain women that was the bar to unity. [Yes. It is. Next!]
"For many Anglicans, not ordaining women has a possible unwelcome implication about the difference between baptised men and baptised women." [My heart bleeds. Maybe they need to meditate on 2000 years of Christian teaching a bit more.] In other words, if a church denies woman the role of priest, what is it saying about their status even as ordinary members? [It says precisely nothing. A priest is a priest. A layperson is a layperson.] Dr Williams insisted that creating women priests and bishops had actually preserved Catholic values. [Really? A break with 2000 years of tradition in some way preserves tradition. That’s news to me. And the Holy Father] The archbishop left Lambeth Palace for Rome refusing requests for an interview about his meeting with Pope Benedict, although he later played down the Pope's offer as little more than a "pastoral response". [He's a pastor. It's, like, in the job description, dude...]

The Vatican has presented the invitation as intended to create unity, but it actually seems to entrench the differences between Anglicans and Roman Catholics, even if it does construct a bridge across the divide. [Only if you choose to look at it in that way. And the tone of this article makes it clear that you do]

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Church of Rome to "traditionalist" Anglicans:

Give us your tired, your bigots, your misogynists.

We will help them avoid all reality that God is God to women as well as men. That God calls women as well as men. That God is in control, not men.

Thanks be to God.

8:13 PM  
Blogger Paulinus said...

"bigots" "misogynists". You really must have a jaundiced eye to see the Pope opening the Catholic Church to welcome her Anglican brothers and sisters in that way.

God is in control. If arranging your ministers to conform to the world rather than the teaching of Christ's Church then you haven't grasped that.

Pax vobiscum.

But don't come here badmouthing good people again.


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