Monday, February 19, 2007

Through the Looking Glass: Catholicism and Anglican to reunite?

According to the Times this morning "[r]adical proposals to reunite Anglicans with the Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope are to be published this year." As the defintion of "radical" goes this is absolutely off the scale. I am an agnostic, what I mean by that is that is the God I'm not sure whether I beleive is most defintely CofE if he does exist.

The split from Rome, whilst it was a long time ago, was not just a religious one in my mind though, it was also a political one. it was about where sovereignty in a nation lied. The settlement that put the Monarch as the head of the established religion was as much a affirmation of British sovereignty as it was a sticking up of two fingers to Rome.

If Anglicanism and Catholicism reunite with the Pope at its head, then what place does the Church of England have within that community? None that I can see. I can fully understand why the Times has run this story as its front page really, it's absolutely huge, and a potential constitutional minefield.

I don't expect His Grace will be amused.


Anonymous said...

"was not just a religious one in my mind though, it was also a political one."
Dizzy, it was so Henry could get rid of one wife to marry another. It only worked once and after that he had to resort to other means!

dizzy said...

That's an entirely recudtionist point as the battle that raged on between protestantism and catholicism for the next few hundreds years was not about getting your legover. And anyway, Henry was only married twice or four times depending on whether you subscribe to Henry;s or the Pope's view.

Raedwald said...

Things are shifting though. Of three major differences of doctrine in the 39 articles, the Vatican has already removed one by abolishing purgatory. Only transubstantiation and married clergy to go.

And I wonder if any Europhobes have ever tried the Human Rights defence of Freedom of Religion relying on Article XXXVII?

"The King's Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and other his Dominions, unto whom the chief Government of all Estates of this Realm, whether they be Ecclesiastical or Civil, in all causes doth appertain, and is not, nor ought to be, subject to any foreign Jurisdiction."

Anonymous said...

Dizzy, I agree that the continued battle between Protestants and Catholics over the next few hundred years was political and not about getting "your leg over". But it all kicked off because Henry wanted to get rid of Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Ann Boleyn and hopefully sire a son.

Thomas B said...

Purgatory hasn't been "abolished" - Limbo, possibly, but not Purgatory.

More to the point, today's Telegraph is reporting how one group of Anglican bishops was refusing to celebrate Holy Communion with another group of Bishops at their conference in Tanzania. If the Bishops of the Anglican church can't resolve their differences, then how on earth is it going to possible the much wider and more significant theological differences between the Anglicans and the Catholics?

Anonymous said...

If Catherine of Aragon had produced a son that had lived to adulthood then it would have totally rewritten history, and the Anglican church might not have existed.
The question to ask is WHY now are we discussing this possibility?
I don't have any figures to back this up but I do believe that the Anglican church is losing members daily because they are opting to convert to Catholicism.
And that is why we are now having this discussion.

Anonymous said...

More likely that there will be more defections out of the High Anglican church, it seems to me.

Raedwald said...

wibble said:
Purgatory hasn't been "abolished" - Limbo, possibly, but not Purgatory.

Ah yes. Quite right.

My apologies to all the blog readers in purgatory whose hopes I raised unjustifiably.

Right, back to the fiery torment, lads.

Archbishop Cranmer said...

His Grace is not amused.

A few deluded bishops at the top can draw up whatever document they wish, but the practical outworking will have no bearing on the theory.

ARCIC has been over-inflated with its own sense of self-importance for decades. It is not that there are not parties on both sides that desire unity; there manifestly are, and it is in accordance with the Lord's prayer 'that they may be one'. But it is manifestly obvious that there are millions of Anglicans for whom talk of 'reunification' amounts to theological and ecclesiological nonsense.

Even in an age which sets aside the differences over soteriology, we are still left with a few insuperable hurdles, like papal infallibility on matters of doctrine and faith. The via media of the Church of England may have supplanted an absolute pope with an absolute monarch, but too much water has flowed under the bridge for swimming against the tide to be credible. Female vicars and bishops? Homosexual vicars and bishops? Gay 'marriage' blessings? Married vicars?

If the holy orders of the Church of England are 'null and void', and His Holiness reiterated in Dominus Iesus that the Church of England is 'not a church in the proper sense', it is manifestly an absence of sense that deludes people into believing that reunification is remotely possible.

Let us just agree to differ, and let our mutually manifest tolerance be light in an increasingly intolerant world.