Peter Hitchens: The importance of being Roman and Catholic
More religiously-related matters: I am chided for using the term 'Roman Catholic'. I really cannot see that this is so terrible. Its use in England (I cannot speak for elsewhere, hence my use of the word 'Catholic' above to describe the German Edith Stein) is designed to make the point that the Church of England regards itself as both Catholic and Reformed, and many Anglicans, though not members of the Roman Church, regard themselves as Catholics. I know this comes as a surprise to many English Roman Catholics, who are often strikingly ill-informed about the Church of England. But it is so. I could take them to some C of E churches where the worship and doctrine were considerably more Catholic than anything to be found readily in a modern RC Church. A Roman Catholic colleague of mine, unable to get to his usual church a few Christmases ago, found his way in emergency into a rather 'High' Anglican church instead, and was barely able to tell them apart. This doesn't happen to be my tradition. I am to be found in the Latitudinarian middle. But it is very strong, and not to be ignored.
What's more, the expression 'Roman Catholic' does not strike me as specially wounding ,or meant to be (though I suspect the description of the Pope as 'Bishop of Rome' in the Thirty Nine Articles was deliberately intended as a snub). The Roman Catholic church is after all headquartered in Rome, uses Latin as its language of business (and until recently as its language of worship) and was for many generations greatly dominated by Italian clergy. Were I to use expressions such as ‘Romish’ or ‘Papist’, I could see that this might be taken as rude. But ‘Roman Catholic?’ No.
On the day that the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols is installed in the Roman Catholic Cathedral of Westminser as the 11th Roman Catholic Archbishop of that diocese, Cranmer hopes that Mr Hitchens' gracious exposition of the importance of being Roman and Catholic is clear and understood.