Cardinal Dias: the Church of England is terminally ill
He notes that some churches 'live myopically in the fleeting present, oblivious of our past heritage and apostolic traditions', and others (or is it the same one?) 'behave in a disorderly manner, going whimsically our own way without any co-ordination with the head or the other members of our community'.
And so Ruth Gledhill concludes that the Cardinal has diagnosed the Church of England as suffering from 'spiritual Alzheimer's' and 'ecclesial Parkinson's'.
And yet the Cardinal is in many respects quite right, notwithstanding that the analogy makes light and is profoundly unsympathetic to those who are afflicted by such illnesses - as Pope John Paul II tragically was - or their families who endure the darkest years of stress and trauma having to watch their loved ones decline inexorably to incapacity, incoherence, and what must feel like oblivion.
But Cranmer's principal contention would be with His Eminence's choice of illnesses, for he has chosen the incurable, terminal kind. It would have been missiologically more accurate and theologically more appropriate had he chosen to speak of suffocating weeds and thorns (Mt.13) or a part of the body which needed the surgeon's knife (5:29-30). At least then the harsh words of his flesh would have been tempered by the spirit of truth, and their reception might consequently have been more palatable.
And all church communities, however great, suffer their bouts of illness. Dare one speculate of what diseases the Roman Catholic Church in England might be showing showing symptoms?
It is noteworthy that the Cardinal is among those who favour 'a positive reception for defecting Anglicans'. His choice of illnesses is possibly therefore not accidental. It is also interesting that his Congregation and its mission spawned the term 'propaganda', though its original meaning has been somewhat negatively warped over the past century.
And doubtless if any Protestant had spoken of the Roman Catholic Church in such terms, (s)he would be a 'bigot'.