Wednesday, 21 October 2009

The Bishop of Rome's dance card.

The announcement by the Bishop of Rome ( a.k.a. The Pope) regarding the possibility of Anglican groups coming under his umbrella (or being corralled into his stockade) will be a bit of a seven day wonder in the media. It was a bit surprising to see it as front page news “above the fold” in today’s Sarasota Herald Tribune.

As my good Rector Ted Copeland pointed out, there has been a steady stream of Anglican individuals going over to Rome for well over a hundred year.(We call it “swimming the Tiber”).

But Benny's edict is something quite new, in that he is open to welcoming not just individuals, but so-called Anglican groups to come under his jurisdiction

Rome is able to "tolerate" various alternative rites, provided that Papal Supremacy is acknowledged, and has done so with such Churches as the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Maronite Church and the Melkite Church.

So there well may be various Anglican communities which are accepted by Rome, tra la la. Let's wish them good luck in the name of the Lord. Or maybe "God-speed".

Of course I hope they will read the as yet unpublished “small print”. The devil will be in the details.

The media will probably be too lazy to report that many many thousands Roman Catholics in these United States have become Episcopalians – preferring the comparative freedom of our version of Catholicity to the rigidity of Rome. Also hundreds of American Roman Catholic Priests have been received into the Episcopal Church (and we do not re-ordain them!)

"As for me and my house" - an acceptance of Papal Supremacy would be to fly in the face of the New Testament witness as to the nature of the Jesus community; and to fly in the face of Roman Catholic imperialist history.

I am uncomfortable with and opposed to ecclesiastical imperialism, whether it be from Rome, Canterbury, Constantinople or Geneva!

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