Anglican Samizdat

March 15, 2010

The Roman Catholic Church in disarray

Filed under: Nothing in Particular,Roman Catholicism — David Jenkins @ 4:56 pm
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The Roman Catholic Church likes to think of itself as the one true church, a notion that does not sit particularly well with most non Roman Catholics, including me. Understandably, people expect an institution that makes such an audacious claim to hold itself to high standards; when, instead, they find child abuse, systematic cover-ups and hypocrisy, it does little for any of the RC Church’s claims, let alone the pretension that it is the one true church.

Ruth Gledhill reports the imminent implosion of the RC church:

Catholic Church ‘imploding’ over child sex abuse.

That is the view of a senior journalist in Rome over the latest round of revelations of the extent of paedophilia among Catholic clergy.

Unsurprisingly, no-one is more smugly satisfied over the troubles in the RC church than Christopher Hitchens:

The Great Catholic Cover-Up

The pope’s entire career has the stench of evil about it.

On March 10, the chief exorcist of the Vatican, the Rev. Gabriele Amorth (who has held this demanding post for 25 years), was quoted as saying that “the Devil is at work inside the Vatican,” and that “when one speaks of ‘the smoke of Satan’ in the holy rooms, it is all true—including these latest stories of violence and pedophilia.” This can perhaps be taken as confirmation that something horrible has indeed been going on in the holy precincts, though most inquiries show it to have a perfectly good material explanation.

Hitchens, as an atheist, likes to indulge in play-morality, and, so, is eminently unqualified to give an opinion on what is evil; for an atheist, such categories are merely preferences induced by the occasional stray spasm of a neuro-mechanism. The fact that Hitchens has said something about a church that is not all wrong, in itself means that there must be something really rotten afoot.

At the moment, the storm for the RC Church has just begun; for the institution to survive, it will need a long-overdue pruning – a pruning that would have to remove and bar homosexuals from the priesthood (60% of the cases involved priests who were sexually attracted to male adolescents). If it happens, there will be great wailing and gnashing of teeth among liberals.


February 2, 2010

Pope’s Progress

Filed under: Roman Catholicism — David Jenkins @ 3:09 pm

Ruth Gledhill notes that the Pope has attacked the UK’s Equality Bill; good for him:

In what was interpreted as an attack on Harriet Harman’s Equality Bill, which is going through Parliament, the Pope urged the 35 Catholic bishops from England and Wales in Rome on a five-yearly ad limina visit to make a united stand against it. He claimed that the proposed equal rights laws threatened “longstanding British traditions” of freedom of speech.

While Damian Thomson reckons the Pope is excoriating the entire Labour Party; even better:

“Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet as you have rightly pointed out, the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs. In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed.”

Is that a direct attack on Labour policies? Yes.

And George Pitcher is creating a diversion by still obsessing about all the homosexual Anglo-Catholics that the Pope has saddled himself with:

Pope Benedict has enraged Harriet Harman’s Equality Police by laying into her plans to stop churches discriminating against homosexuals.  But the pontiff is sending out some mixed messages here.

Last year, he famously launched his Anglican Ordinariate, offering Anglo-Catholics, disaffected with Anglicanism over issues such as women bishops, a welcome in the Church of Rome. I don’t have the statistics to claim that the overwhelming majority of Anglo-Catholic clergy in the Church of England are gay. But I think we’re on safe ground if we say that homosexuals form a higher proportion than the national average in that denomination

Labour MPs are “appalled”:

Labour MEP Stephen Hughes hit back after the Pope warned that the UK Equality Bill would be unfair on religious communities.

“As a Catholic, I am appalled by the attitude of the Pope. Religious leaders should be trying to eradicate inequality, not perpetuate it.

And gay rights groups are on the defensive:

“People should not be denied access to services and employment purely because they are gay.

“We’ve got to guard against sweeping exemptions seeming to protect one person’s freedom, which actually really impact on other people’s.”

He added: “What you can’t start doing is saying that religious people have hard-won freedoms, we’ll now restrict those, we won’t give them to gay people, we won’t give them to women.”

To upset so many with one dose of plain common sense demonstrates a rare talent: well done, Benedict XVI.

To incite equivalent unrest, Rowan William had to resort to promoting sharia law, an idea he pulled from his grab-bag of liberal Anglican asininities.

November 9, 2009

The last temptation of Anglo-Catholics

Filed under: Anglican,Roman Catholicism — David Jenkins @ 6:39 pm
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The Apostolic Constitution has been published to the delight of Anglo-Catholics. It allows married priests and, effectively, married bishops; it is clear that the Pope has, as Anglicans like to say, drawn the circle wide and thrown open the doors in his bid to attract Anglicans disgusted with their own denomination. Unlike Anglicans, though, he has managed to do this without the benefit of Conversation, Dialogue, the Listening Process or Indaba Groups: he just did it.

For the Anglicans who accept what the charitable view as a more than generous offer and the cynical as opportunistic poaching, I wonder how they will feel when the Pope acts – and he or his successor will – on something they don’t agree with. Presumably those who are tempted by the current offer were not sufficiently tempted by previous ones or they would already be Roman Catholic; which means they don’t believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church. Or perhaps some of the RC specific dogma about Mary, the authority of the Pope or praying to the saints stuck in their craw. For the priests,  maybe it was the prospect of losing Anglo-Catholic paraphernalia – which now they can keep along with their wives; if that was the case, though, it seems like a shallow reason (well, apart from the wives) for resisting the call which has now become so compelling.

I have a friend who used to be an evangelical and converted to Roman Catholicism – mainly because he became convinced of the truth of transubstantiation. I asked him how he copes with some of the RC beliefs that are quite opposed to his previous views. His answer was that he ignores them – after all nothing is perfect. True enough, but I wonder how long Anglo-Catholic euphoria will last once the “Anglo” part fades under the weight of the Roman Magisterium.

October 27, 2009

Beware of the Anglo-Catholics

Filed under: Anglican,homosexuality,Roman Catholicism — David Jenkins @ 1:02 pm
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In Brideshead Revisited, when Charles’s cousin Jasper advises him to “Beware of the Anglo-Catholics—they’re all sodomites with unpleasant accents. In fact, steer clear of all the religious groups; they do nothing but harm.”, I thought Evelyn Waugh was exercising poetic license, or at least exaggerating.

But perhaps not:

But property matters and theology are not the only stumbling blocks on the road to Rome. There is another elephant in the vestry. It is one that is not spoken about openly; it is suppressed by a potent mixture of political correctness and traditional church hypocrisy. But it’s high time it was aired. It is this: a very significant proportion, perhaps even a majority in some dioceses, of Anglo-Catholic clergy are homosexual men. Everyone with a ministry in the Church of England knows this.

Just what the Roman Catholic Church needs: more homosexual priests.

Nutty Roman Catholic Nuns

Filed under: Anglican,Roman Catholicism — David Jenkins @ 12:23 pm
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Whenever I find myself mildly enticed by the Roman Catholic Church, I read something like this:

Dominican Sister Donna Quinn is serving as an escort at the ACU Health Center, a prominent abortion business in Hinsdale, Ill.

A recent photo in the Chicago Tribune pictured two older women, one of which was Sister Donna, wearing “Clinic Escort” vests outside the center, which proclaims on its website it “now offers the RU486 abortion pill.”

A check on Loyola University Chicago’s Women and Leadership Archives, Center for Women and Leadership and the National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) website, a group that opposes Church teachings on moral issues, finds Sister Donna helped to either co-found or organize different groups with feminist radical causes, actively advocating such causes as reproductive “choice,” specific rights for homosexual persons, and women’s ordination.

And I’m reassured that there is a flourishing barmy faction in the RC Church, much as Anglicanism – the difference in Anglicanism is that its Western expression is the barmy faction.

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