US Catholic Faith in Real Life

The pope with the knife in Canterbury Cathedral

By Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

Get it? Like CLUE, only with the pope instead of Miss Scarlet. And no, I'm not accusing the pope of actually killing the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, though I do think Benedict dealt a serious blow to the Anglican Communion, intentional or not, by creating a special process to admit large numbers of Anglicans to the Roman Catholic communion.

Quite frankly, I've found the commentary of Austin Iverheigh and Micheal Sean Winters at America, and Rocco Palmo at Whispers entirely too irenic. On the one hand, Rome's move may seem pastoral, but if it was directed toward the Orthodox, it would be considered aggressive.

By all accounts, the Roman process to bring over "Anglo-Catholics" did not include Cardinal Walter Kasper's Pontifical Council for Christian Unity nor was there conversation with Rowan Williams beforehand. That Williams agreed to a joint press conference with the Catholic archbishop of Westminster is more a sign of the man's grace and charity than agreement, and he's taking heat for it over there.

I tend to agree more with Andrew Sullivan's take at the Daily Dish: This looks something like an attempt at a hostile takeover, and I do not believe for a second this blather about how ecumenical discussion after 40 years has made this possible, nor do I think that it will continue beyond mere pleasantries.

This is about women's ordination and homosexuality pure and simple, and Rome has basically said that if Anglicans are OK with the Roman position on these, we can work the rest out. Unless all of the sudden Anglicans are ready to give "internal assent of the intellect and will" (as Catholics are required to) to the dogmas of papal infallibility and transubstantiation. Right...

And for all the talk of liturgical unity in the Roman Catholic Church, we are now going to have three liturgies: The Roman rite of 1970 (after Vatican II), the 16th-century liturgy of Pius V (after Trent), and now an Anglican liturgy, probably the late 19th-century one that most of the Anglican traditionalists favor. Shall we see if there are any Lutherans who want to take us up on a "personal ordinariate"?