Friday, March 1, 2013
The outreach to disaffected Anglicans is another hallmark of his reign, though one that is not without some controversy. Some Anglicans were, of course, upset by this and saw it as an effort to encourage defections from their own dwindling ranks. There was a time when I might have been more broad-minded about such an issue, taking into account that each side believes they represent the true Christian message but, frankly, I can no longer do so. The state of the Anglican communion is entirely of their own making and given the extent to which so many have flagrantly turned their back on traditional Christianity, to the point that even the Bible itself can be repudiated, leaves me with little room for even theoretical sympathy with their point of view. As someone who favors the oldest and most traditional sort of Christianity, I was hopeful that, in welcoming disgruntled Anglicans (most of them very ‘high church’ types) into the Church of Rome it might work together with other actions by the Pontiff to ease Catholicism back into a more traditional direction than it has been on since the Second Vatican Council.
Many have said that the changes of Vatican II were, in large part, about reaching out to Protestants. If so, it doesn’t seem to have worked very well in that regard and another area I recall Benedict XVI attracting considerable controversy was in his statement that the Protestant denominations are not true churches but that the “Church” is to refer only to the Catholic and Orthodox communities (though sadly these two had a tiff and have spent quite a few centuries giving each other the silent treatment). This seems to have outraged many Protestants though I cannot imagine why. I can understand anyone being upset that someone would say their church is not a “real” church in general but I do not really understand why a Protestant would be upset at the Pope saying that. It would be like a Christian getting upset at the Ayatollah for saying that Christianity is a false religion. He’s the Ayatollah -I would expect him to think that and say that. In the same way, if a Protestant, let us say a Lutheran, were to hear the Pope say, while sitting in the pew on Sunday, that he or she was in the “real” Church, I would think the Lutheran in question would probably run outside to check the sign in the front yard to make sure they were not in the wrong place. Are we all so sensitive these days or do so many people really not understand the fundamental difference between the Catholic and Orthodox on one side and the Protestant denominations on the other?