Saturday, October 24, 2009

Rome’s Via Media

There is something quite seismic afoot, which really does confirm what Cranmer has been saying for many years: Pope Benedict XVI is the foremost theologian of the age, and certainly the finest intellect to hold the Papal Office in a century. He is also gifted with shrewd and highly-attuned political antennae, which the Anglican hierarchy cannot but wonder at. Indeed, he leaves them standing.

Ever since the Bull Apostolicae Curae issued by Leo XIII in 1896, the Church of England has been in no doubt regarding Rome’s view on ordinations conducted with the Anglican rite, which Cranmer introduced in 1550. They are, declared Pope Leo, ‘absolutely null and utterly void’. And so absolutely and utterly worthless were they that he implored those who sought orders to return to Rome where they would find ‘the true aids for salvation’.

This was reiterated as recently as just a year ago, when Cardinal Dias quite rudely implied that the Church of England is suffering from spiritual Alzheimer's and ecclesial Parkinson's. And Cardinal Kasper, speaking with ‘the frankness which friendship allows’, declared that Rome’s recognition of Anglican orders was ‘definitively blocked’.

But Pope Benedict has retracted the ‘definitively’, set aside the ‘absolutely’ and dispensed with the ‘utterly’. The tedious ecumenists have been blown out of the water: their time has run out. It seems, after all, that there is to be accommodation of Anglican orders within the Roman Catholic Church. And Cranmer is of the opinion that this is one of the most significant shifts in post-Reformation Christendom.

There is no doubt that the timing of the Pope’s Apostolic Constitution with its ‘Personal Ordinariate’ incursion into the Anglo-Catholic or ‘High Anglican’ wing of the Church of England is unfortunate. That the Archbishop of Canterbury was given just a few weeks’ notice appears a little rude, not to say quite disrespectful. And yet there is a sense in which Dr Williams has been quite naïve; indeed, had he been possessing of half the antennae of His Holiness, he would have seen this coming years ago.

There has long been profound concern among Anglo-Catholics that the ‘liberal’ wing of the Church was on the ascendancy. The fine scholarship of Anglican historians and theologians was being subsumed to such ephemeral obsessions as the ordination of homosexuals and women. It is wholly consistent with the Church of England’s belief about itself – that it is part of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church – that the ordination of women to the episcopate effectively and definitively blocks a possible recognition of Anglican Orders by the Roman Catholic Church. Since there are so many traditionalists within the Anglican Communion who accord with this, it is difficult to ignore the subtle but evident allusion to the call of Pope Leo XIII that they should return to Rome where they would find ‘the true aids for salvation’.

And yet there remain some very great and significant differences between the Anglican and Catholic churches, including the very office of the Papacy, Rome’s assertion of authority, its belief in the insufficiency of Scripture, and the enormity of the claim to Papal infallibility.

And yet perhaps about 700,000 Anglicans out of 80 million worldwide are now considering the Pope’s invitation to swim the Tiber; not to convert, as such, but to dwell under their own tabernacle within the Roman Catholic Church with the ability to retain some distinct Anglican practices.

There is a sense in which Pope Benedict has graciously offered to sustain the Catholic wing of the Church of England, about which the Archbishop of Canterbury appears not to care very much at all. The Vatican has said that it is simply responding to approaches by Anglicans in search of a spiritual home, and so they have obliged. And what can be wrong with starving children being fed by the friendly neighbours next door if their own parents refuse to nourish them as their health and wellbeing require?

The problem is that the move has damaged the foundation of Anglican identity: it has upset the balance of Hooker’s ‘Catholic and Reformed’ via media. Indeed, the Pope’s invitation can only have the effect of making the Church of England more Protestant, which, in the present age, simply means more liberal, secular and relativist: there are very few parishes now which have much time at all for the XXXIX Articles or the historic character inherited from the days of Queen Elizabeth I. The Catholic tradition is important to the identity of the Church of England, and it is worth fighting to preserve.

So, what is to be done?

There has already been a little spluttering of objection: the Archbishop of Canterbury has delivered a not-so-veiled rebuke for having little warning, and his predecessor Lord Carey has indicated that he is appalled by the untimely discourtesy. He said: "I think, in this day and age, this was inexcusable that Rome decided to do this without consultation."

But Cranmer is a rather more intrigued by the legal implications: he is persuaded that the path to Rome will be rocky for any Anglican province or diocese, and they may not find in the Roman Catholic Church quite the spiritual haven that they expect. There may be dispensation to use The Book of Common Prayer, but it is very doubtful the extent to which a distinct and genuine ‘Anglican identity’ might be preserved within the Roman Catholic Church. There are very many Anglo-Catholics indeed for whom their Anglicanism consists of far more than Cranmer’s masterpiece. In addition, Anglican clergy are unlikely to take their entire congregations with them, and risk losing their houses and church buildings. There will be no financial compensation, as there was for disgruntled clergy following the decision to ordain women priests, not least because the Church cannot afford it.

And let us not forget the considerable implications that the ‘church within a church’ model presents for the Roman Catholic Church. The incorporation of highly-educated and conservatively-Catholic-minded (even Tory) Anglican vicars and bishops could create some uncomfortable competition for the more liberal (and Labour) Roman Catholic priests and bishops in England and Wales. And why should they maintain an enforced celibacy when the Anglican ministers may marry? There can be no doubt that married clergy coming in from the Anglican Church will raise yet again the issue of clerical celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church.

Cranmer wonders if the arrival of the Catholic-Anglicans might not be a Trojan horse of unintended reformation within the Roman Catholic Church.

And he is yet to examine the Apostolic Constitution and the extent to which it will confer or claim jurisdiction, and precisely over what such conferred or claimed jurisdiction will be. While this is not quite an hegemonous power grab, it has certainly taken a detour around the Archbishop of Canterbury, and has thereby arguably humiliated the Supreme Governor of the Church of England. The first Elizabethan era was concerned to retain the Church of England's Catholic identity: it would be ironic if it were to be wholly lost during the second.

While Cranmer has no doubt that His Holiness will be familiar with the provisions of the Act of Settlement 1701 - and doubtless also highly attuned to the increasingly widespread belief that it is time for it to be repealed - any jurisdiction claimed by Rome within this Realm may yet be fraught with some intractable religio-political complexities.


Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

I, for one, am not happy at the prospect of Anglo-Catholics leaving for Rome. Disestablishment would be a good thing. Christianity is in decline only where there are state churches. One thing is certain; liberal theology empties churches. With the Catholics gone, Evangelicals would be the strongest numerically and with the liberals having diminishing congregations, there would be nothing to stop the Evangelical Anglicans uniting with the FIEC. This is a recipe for revival.

24 October 2009 at 10:44  
Blogger william said...

As his Grace stated at the top of this piece, the Pope is the foremost theologian of this age. He has rightly deduced that there are a lot of people not at all happy with the Church of England.

The Church of England has been limping fromc crisis to crisis, espousing liberal claptrap, backtracking when it should have stood firm and now converting us all to the new religon of eco-fanatacism.

No wonder the Pope decided to act in such a way. The thing is what happens now? The Pope's laid down the gauntlet will William's pick it up?

24 October 2009 at 11:01  
Blogger Arden Forester said...

As a Catholic Anglican I'm waiting to see what the ABC and the Synod come up with as far as a solution for those of us who do not wish to depart from tradition in favour of a nuanced religiosity.

I am a cradle Anglican with the understanding that the Ecclesia Anglicana is part of the One Holy Catholic Church.

Many would be happy with a third province. However, there are some who support the liberal agenda who would subscribe to the idea that, if we remain, we need to be forcefed with the new doctrines in order to retain Anglican polity.

24 October 2009 at 12:22  
Blogger Demetrius said...

Where an Anglican Orthodox Church might go, would a Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox follow?

24 October 2009 at 12:27  
Anonymous Iohannes said...

How attached are Anglo-Catholics to the historic prayerbook? Many seem content to imitate the mass, just as many Anglican evangelicals imitate the services of their kindred spirits outside the communion.

24 October 2009 at 12:50  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From David Lonsdale

Your Grace; your post prompted me to read the 39 Articles, something which I have not done in more than 30 years. They make fascinating reading. They articulate, in very clear terms, the fundamentals of our faith.

From my days in the C of E I seem to remember that they were included in the Book of Common Prayer, thus Anglo-Catholics have been ignoring the 39 Articles for centuries. More pertinently the liberal leadership have been ignoring them too. If the C of E returned to the truths as contained in those articles they would have some meat with which to feed the flock, with the probable result that the pews would fill once again.
It is little wonder that the starving flock is looking for sustenance elsewhere and for those who seek form without substance, Rome is the place for them.

It baffles me that you speak of the current Pope as being the foremost theologian of the age. Has he changed Rome's teaching on transubstantiation, purgatory, praying for the dead and indulgences? Did you not draw our attention to the indulgences regarding the bones of St Lisieux? Where was I when he disowned these heresies?

24 October 2009 at 13:11  
Anonymous Voyager said...

I am bemused by the notion of Anglo-Catholics adhering to the XXXIX Articles particularly as I have visited A-C Churches more Roman Catholic than the Pope's variant.

It is inevitable that the C of E must be rent asunder. It has to use the German phrase - danced at every wedding - and has no core but many slivers.

The fault lines are too deep and much as I find Rome unappealing I see why the Anglo-Catholics feel they have no future in the Secularised Church of England.

It would be good if the Protestants moved more in the Presbyterian direction and made the bishops redundant. It is after all Bishops that have betrayed the C of E - Trahison des Clercs.

Laying off bishops and staging a Peasant's Revolt would allow the Congregation to be revived and become dynamic away from the dead corporate structures apeing financial conglomerates of the 1970s.

The situation has been unstable for quite some time and the Bishops collectively have been men of little character and basically committee-men who have ditched the Christian Sect which grew from Judaism in favour of a Marxian tinged Secualar Humanism and denied the Spiritual World for the Material World.

The work of Martin Luther must begin anew.

24 October 2009 at 13:21  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

I meant to say I was not unhappy! Martin Lloyd Jones made a plea to evangelical Anglicans to leave the sorry mess of the C of E in the 1960s. Many Evangelicals have in fact adopted a congregational form of church government and their relationship with their diocese is only token. It would be a small step for them to leave. They remain because of their responsibility for funding a decaying old building or to the idea that a state church is the best pier to fish from.

This loyalty is misplaced. The church's function is to spread the gospel. Buildings are only useful if they function well and multi-purpose buildings like school halls can usually be rented. As for state churches - they don't work. Several European countries have them ald everywhere the church is in decline. Where the church is in opposition to the state (like China) it blossoms.

24 October 2009 at 13:34  
Anonymous the recusant said...

It is interesting that Your Grace should raise the bull Apostolicae Curae which was issued in response to repeated requests by CofE Clergy as heirs of the Oxford Movement to Pope Leo XIII in the hope that he would recognise Anglican orders. Well we know how that worked out for them but what is surprising perhaps is the press reporting of the occasion which shows a degree of honesty in the Anglican position that some would rather have us forget today:

This is what the London Time had to say:

Henceforth it is evident that he who desires to be a Catholic and to have the sacraments, as Catholics understand them, with all the supernatural powers of the priesthood, must be united and subject to Rome. The via media invented by some, and the union fancied by others, without the submission to the jurisdiction of Rome, are things to be despised. Better thus. We Englishmen have never pretended to have valid orders in the sense of the Pope, that is, such as confer the mysterious powers of the Catholic priesthood. Let us remain, therefore, what we are.

And The Rock,and Anglican publication said:

The Pope has spoken with a promptness and with a determination which many did not expect. We are fully in accord with him, and we can subscribe to almost all his arguments. It is precisely what we have always held, namely, that by the Reformation the heads of the Church of England deliberately and effectively separated from the Church of Rome, repudiated her teaching on the priesthood and the episcopacy, and therefore in ordination they never had any intention of conferring the priesthood, since they considered sacerdotalism an injury to the Priesthood of Christ, without foundation in the Scriptures, and repugnant to all the cardinal doctrines of the Gospel.

A day later the other publication editorialized that Pope Leo had finally said what ought to have been said long ago, that the Holy See completely understood the facts of the English Reformation. "If any disastrous consequence is to follow the publication of the Pontifical Bull," it concluded, "the disaster will not be due to the Church of Rome, but to those who have departed from the principles of the Reformation."

And today once again the ‘Pope has spoken with a promptness and with a determination which many did not expect’, not least me. I welcome the initiative and hope it will be seen as a positive step in Anglo Catholic relations although I have realistic expectations of the numbers of those likely to jump-ship as it were and its impact on modern secularist Britain.

Those who choose to remain will have to accept far more strange and novel dogmas than Papal infallibility based on no scriptural authority whatsoever, the authority of Rome will be small fry in comparison. However as you mention it, you are quite wrong to think the Catholic Church believes that Scripture is insufficient, this is simply not true, the Catholic Church wrote the New Testament or are you like the Baptist minister who said, when arguing with a priest about the collection of books ordained as canonical by The Catholic Church and those removed from the Bible by Martin Luther, "Well I don't know about all that, I just know that if The King James Bible was good enough for Jesus, its good enough for me".

You surprise me sir, I would not have put you down for one subscribing to the heresy of Sola Scriptura, see Catechism Of The Catholic Church, Part One, The Profession Of Faith, Section One, Chapter Two, Article 3.

24 October 2009 at 13:55  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Your Grace,

May I, as discreetly as possible, repeat here a comment I posted earlier this month on another thread, entitled Rome, Relics, Royalty and Rowan:

Hank Petram said...
The way things are going under the oaf Rowan’s “leadership”, it can’t be long before the poor old C of E implodes, scattering its remaining faithful to the four winds. Benedict, I suspect, is already putting the Vatican on standby so that the Catholic Church will be ready at any moment to give sanctuary to the survivors – who knows, the Queen and Prince Philip among them?
14 October 2009 14:25

And then, just six days later, on a different website, Cardinal Levada posted this:

I must admit that I wasn’t expecting the move to come so soon.

Your Grace, I shall post a separate comment a little later, with your kind permission, on the question of celibacy. Today happens to be an unusually busy day in the Petram household and these subjects require a certain amount of care and consideration.

24 October 2009 at 14:01  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I object to your use of the 'His Holiness' when refering to the pope. What holy man would have come up with his secret document to silence child abuse.
God in the bible is refered to as 'Holy Holy Holy'.
Has the pope stolen the title of the Living God?

24 October 2009 at 14:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A very interesting essay, that invites a lot of thinking about the role of religion and of churches in contemporary society. But I have a question: why couldn't the Anglicans join the RCs in a way similar to that of the Uniate Church?

24 October 2009 at 14:15  
Anonymous len said...

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, Come, I will show you the judgement of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marvelled with great amazement.

This religious system is a whore (unfaithful) as opposed to the faithful wife of Christ described in Revelation 19. 7-9

24 October 2009 at 14:25  
Blogger Gnostic said...

Your Grace, speaking from an agnostic point of view it looks to me that the Pope believes in the old adage - greater safety in numbers. If the schism of the
Reformation can now be patched up, if not healed, then there must be an ulterior motive for this unprecedented phenomenon.

Could it be because we are looking down the barrel of potential Islamification?

24 October 2009 at 14:37  
Blogger Stefan said...

Your Grace:

"Some are wondering whether the arrival of new Catholic-Anglicans could yet turn out to be a Trojan horse, bringing as much change to the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, as their departure causes to the CoE. "

Sounds familiar...

24 October 2009 at 15:54  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

An important aspect of the celibacy question is pay. In the Catholic country where I live, the usual rule is for the parish or an order to provide a priests’ house, modest accommodation to be shared by a few priests with a single housekeeper to look after them. A priest’s pay is hardly more than pocket money. But a married man is going to want to give his wife and family a home of their own, he’s going to want a car, he will wish to give his children a decent education and eventually send them to university.

In a word, raising a family costs money. The Catholic Church has never made budgetary allowance for its priests to incur that kind of expenditure, and the way things are at the moment, the Church simply couldn’t afford it. For this reason (among others, of course) it would be a mistake to expect the celibacy rule to be abolished any time soon.

Another aspect is the one Your Grace raises by asking, “And why should they maintain an enforced celibacy when the Anglican ministers may marry? There can be no doubt that married clergy coming in from the Anglican Church will raise yet again the issue of clerical celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church.”

In reply, I would echo the argument already made on this thread by Anonymous (today at 14:15). In the Maronite Church, which is one of or a dozen or so numerically small churches that are part of the Roman Catholic Church, there has never been a requirement of celibacy. There are places in the world – mainly in cities that have attracted waves of immigration from the Christian communities in Syria and Lebanon – where the Maronite married clergy exercise their ministry alongside Roman-rite Catholic parishes. Have there been reports of the Roman-rite clergy claiming equal status, in this regard, with the Maronite clergy? I don’t think so.

24 October 2009 at 16:04  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

It's not so much a takeover bid by the Holy Father, more a response to the not insignificant group of Anglicans hammering at the doors of the Vatican and shouting to be let in. This group would not have acted so, had they not felt marginalised by the continuing liberal shifting ground which characterises the Church of England today.

What is striking is how generous the Holy Father's response has been.

The issue of celibacy for priests in what will be an Anglo-Catholic Church within a Church will be interesting

You are right - it could be a trojan horse and no doubt the Holy Father has considered this. We have yet to see the fine print.

Still, I very much welcome the news. Ad multos annos Papa!

24 October 2009 at 16:16  
Blogger English Viking said...

Truly, definitely, most certainly, without a shadow of a doubt, Catholicism = Wrong doctrine.

24 October 2009 at 16:36  
Blogger Bryan said...

There is nothing Christian (or Christ-like) about the Roman Catholic Church. Likewise, when the Anglican Communion placed its traditions ahead of the Scriptures it too abandoned the true Historic Faith. The Protestants are equally guilty, substituting their own traditions, making the Scriptures invalid.

This pope is merely taking the steps to create a one world religion, which even moderate Islam can join through their Mary veneration and acceptance of Jesus as a prophet. There has been much out reach and acceptance of the "emergent" American church.

Only Christ followers (and the violent extremists, which will be used to label the peaceful Christ followers) will be left out.

24 October 2009 at 16:49  
Anonymous Knighthawk said...

Yes indeed, the march towards the one world religion. Remember this:-

The position of the Pope concerning Islam is unequivocally that expressed by the conciliar document Nostra Aetate:
"The Church regards with esteem also the Muslims.
They adore the one God, living and subsisting in Himself; merciful and all-powerful, the Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men; they take pains to submit wholeheartedly to even His inscrutable decrees, just as Abraham, with whom the faith of Islam takes pleasure in linking itself, submitted to God.
Though they do not acknowledge Jesus as God, they revere Him as a prophet.
They also honour Mary, His virgin Mother; at times they even call on her with devotion.
In addition, they await the day of judgment when God will render their deserts to all those who have been raised up from the dead.
Finally, they value the moral life and worship God especially through prayer, almsgiving and fasting."

24 October 2009 at 17:29  
Anonymous southwood said...

Voyager, english viking and Bryan, you are men after my heart.

What is this "foremost theologian", "his Holiness" nonsense ?
Calling him his Holiness or Holy Father is blasphemy. Only God is a Holy Father.

Muddled thinking here to say the least.

24 October 2009 at 17:32  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

Knighthawk - in other words the pope thinks Muslims are going to Hell, but dresses it up in friendly language.

24 October 2009 at 17:47  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

I agree. Although individual Catholics may truly believe in the saving grace of Jesus, the barnacles clinging to Roman Catholicism inhibit their progrsss, while as for those who teach it, it were better that a millstone etc. etc.

24 October 2009 at 17:51  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

His Grace would like to make something clear...

Referring someone as 'the foremost theologian' does not necessarily imply that one agrees with the doctrine or beliefs of that theologian. There will be 'foremost' scholars in Islam, Sikhism, Hinduism, Buddhism or Jedi theology: one does not need to agree with their doctrinal peculiarities in order to acknowledge their status as foremost. It happens that Pope Benedict XVI is a theological giant: it is churlish to attempt to refute this on the basis that he holds to doctrines which others may consider error.

It is curious that people object to the title 'His Holines'.

Invariably, they tend to be people who freely use the style 'Ayatollah' of Islamic scholars who are accorded that status, and they do so without any problems of conscience whatsoever. Perhaps if they researched the meaning of the title, they may reflect that usage by those who do not share their faith may simply be a mark of respect.

24 October 2009 at 18:11  
Anonymous Ben Noah said...

Your Grace,

I think you are spot on when you call Pope Benedict XVI the theologian of his time. Catholics and Protestants alike would do well to read some of his writings.

More pertinently, I think this was an ingenious move by the Bishop of Rome that has an eye on East-West ecumenism.

24 October 2009 at 18:40  
Blogger Preacher said...

A not unexpected move Your Grace, while Cantab fiddles, the CofE burns. It seems to me that often nowdays truth is sacrificed on the alter of unity & expediency.
As I wrote yesterday The Pope will presume to represent Christianity with a little help from Sharia & Islam.
I feel that an invitation to all the disenchanted RC bretheren that want to be set free from religous bondage & shamanism should be offered by the true church of Jesus Christ, namely those saved by His blood & filled with His Holy Spirit. Basically The Lord invites all people to partake of the benefits that His once for all sacrifice purchased for a fallen world, & yes that does include 'His Holiness'. I just hope that he doesn't leave it to late to cross the Tiber in the other direction to the one he has just offered to the Anglo Catholics in the CofE.

24 October 2009 at 19:21  
Anonymous len said...

Who is the true Vicar of Christ?
The Roman Catholic Pope or the Holy Spirit?. Those who hold the office of Pope claim to mediate between God and man and to hold the keys of heaven and hell. Most appallingly the Pope takes to himself the office of “Vicar of Christ” adding even the attribute of infallibility to his position, demanding that “a religious respect of intellect and will be paid to his teaching.” The Papal arrogance tallies well with the Scripture's prediction for such claims, “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14).

The words inscribed in the Pope's official miter are “Vicarius Filii Dei,” Latin for “Vicar of the Son of God.” Since there can be but one Vicar of Christ who is infinite, supreme, omnipotent, and all sufficient, the earthly pretender can be none other than a self-energized apostate system which will eventually be judged and utterly condemned by the Lord.

It is the will of God that every true believer “should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 3). Those of us who cling to Christ and His Word alone, and who are saved before the all-Holy God by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, with all glory and praise to God alone must give voice to our profession of faith.

24 October 2009 at 19:35  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In 1989, I was an Anglican Rector who had had it up to here....
I went "over to Rome" as a layman.
The first year was very hard religiously for me because there seemed to be a chance that the group of us who went over would be ordained as Catholic priests. Of course, this never really happened. Being ordained is not the same as being accepted and given a parish of one's own, is it.
Married converts had their Converts' Aid fund removed. It is now diverted to "the St Barnabas Fund".
Economically it was very hard. Years on the dole. No house - we rented, living on my wife's income. Serious family problems with disappointed parents.
Now ask yourself this if you are a clergyman thinking of "going over to Rome": can you stand the discipline? Can you kneel in Czestochowa, Poland or Oviedo, Spain and revere the sacred relics with tears in your eyes? Are you able to sit back and watch a foreign priest make a serious hash of the parish where you worship?
And what, prithee, does you wife think? Lots of divorces...
Do you know what? I really do not think this initiative will make any difference at all in the long run. It's too nice being an Anglican Clergyman. Doctrine comes second. Why change?
Meanwhile, the Anglican Churches shut like pubs or police stations. Have you still got one near you? And how many parishes does you local Vicar serve? Ours is four huge suburban ones stretching over a radius of five miles in two different counties. She didn't even have time to visit when my father (a retired clergyman) died.

24 October 2009 at 19:47  
Blogger Preacher said...

Interesting & exciting times. It seems from the postings that there are still many that will not 'Bow the knee to Baal' which of course is totally scriptural. For the true followers of Christ these must be some of the most challenging, exciting times to live, surely the preparations for the Lords return must even now be taking place in the Heavenlies. the marriage supper of the Lamb is nearly ready & we await the return of the groom with eager anticipation. Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus!.

24 October 2009 at 20:09  
Anonymous Piddingworth said...

Your Grace,
As you, by all accounts, live on that 'other shore', have you, perchance, had the opportunity, in charity, to share views on these current events with Thomas More; that Chancellor of England your Grace knows so very well?

24 October 2009 at 21:03  
Anonymous southwood said...

@Archbishop Cranmer.
Sorry Sir but "a mark of respect" ? Well you may respect him. I certainly do not. I also consider him un-holy, as in covering up pedophilia etc. As for calling him "Holy Father" well it is unacceptable as far as scripture is concerned.
"Foremost theologian" ? Says who ? Have you checked all the world's great theologians ?
As for "ayatollahs", I do not know what that means.

24 October 2009 at 21:18  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

@Anonymous (today at 19:47), the former Anglican rector:

I found your post extraordinarily interesting. It’s the first time I’ve read anything at all written by someone in your position. (Perhaps I ought to add that I live a long way from the UK and it’s not always easy to keep up with the news.) If it’s not too much trouble, might I ask you to be so kind as to expand a little on some of the points you mentioned. I gather, for instance, that you were ordained as a Catholic priest but then they never gave you a satisfactory job to do. Were you ordained as a diocesan priest or in one of the orders? Or were you never even given that choice? And is that the common experience of many of your fellow former Anglicans?

Might I ask you also to enlarge a little on the Converts’ Aid Fund and the St Barnabas Fund. I had never heard of either of them. What are they exactly, and how do they work – in theory and in practice?

You speak of “revering the sacred relics with tears in your eyes.” How literally are those words to be understood? I read with interest, only a few days ago, Cranmer’s sermon on the relics of St Therese of Lisieux touring the UK. A few years ago, here in the country where I live, I went to mass when the same relics were brought to my local parish church, which happens to be named after the very same St. Therese of Lisieux. I don’t remember seeing anyone with tears in their eyes, certainly none of the officiating clergy.

24 October 2009 at 21:22  
Blogger berenike said...

Cranmer, ole recanter, no-one's said Anglican orders are valid. Apostolicae Curae stands. Since then some Anglicans have agreed that Anglican orders are invalid and gone around getting themselves ordained by Old Catholics or confused Orthodox bishops, or indeed anyone who might have valid orders - so in some cases an Anglican clergyman might be conditionally re-ordained, because he might already have valid, though illicit, orders.

Also this document in which child abuse was allegedly ordered to be hushed up - it was a matter of internal tribunals, and did not in concern the reporting or not of criminal matters. Go ask a canon lawyer (if you're interested in the truth of the matter, not something that can be used as mud). Never heard of anyone whose life was trashed by false accusations of rape or sexual abuse?

24 October 2009 at 21:32  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Adding to what I wrote at 21:22, what I meant by my final remark is that the popular perception here is that Protestants -- more specifically, the Pentecostals -- worship with tears in their eyes, or at least wearing expressions of intense emotion, whereas Catholic worship is more cool, calm and collected.

24 October 2009 at 21:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

His Grace declares,

"There can be no doubt that married clergy coming in from the Anglican Church will raise yet again the issue of clerical celibacy in the Roman Catholic Church."

Within what context? There are those who speak of islamification as the threat to western Christianity. I do not think that the current Pontiff is very worried about Islam - indeed his record speaks against him. His may, however, be seriously worried about a takeover by the African version of Catholicism.

The few ragged souls who creep into the Vatican from the CofE are going to make no impact at all compared with the growing power of a seriously socially and theologically conservative African church.

24 October 2009 at 22:44  
Anonymous not a machine said...

It all looks a little too audacious at the moment although no doubt it has it its timimg ,i ponder as your grace does the legal implications and perhaps those chuches that are intertwined with land , as the good squires intended in legacy .
I fail to see what is wrong with the Anglican liturgy it makes perfect sense to me having been carefully shaped in times of strife and global power , to shall I say offer an alternative ! would perhaps give the popes offer an arrowed suite and ball and chain.

Yet I cant help but ponder if hs holiness is not going through some sort of re think himself , but his offer makes a point that the CofE has become the church of political correctness , the bible is being stretched around a frame to present a soggy warm image .In some ways it accomodates issues as though a right way of living doesnt exist.
It is true that we worship the same christ , the same bible in that his holiness offer is remarkable and it does ask a modern question of what all the fuss is about.

It is perhaps a long overdue defibrilator being applied to a church that may have fallen asleep.

We musnt forget protestantism has achieved , its contribution , his holiness has not made the sugesstion that he wishes to erase and claim a sort of victory, but at this moment of shock it could be wrongly concieved as that.

His holiness is perhaps wanting to heal a split that is not helping the christian message , and take away the excuses of pedantic minds.

He may wish to point out and error in the church of Englands formation , and yet there were errors too in papal rule in the firey battle for early europe.

Regeime change is somthing modern politicians jump back from , yet in early papal workings it was very much the done thing and it musnt be forgetten that protestanism was in some ways a reaction to the an all to powerfull political roman catholic church that was losing its way back then .

His holiness may wish to consider the possibility that god worked through another conduit when the Roman Catholic church was entangled in its own fine garments , treasures and plots.

Perhaps it is too much to ask , but as your grace points out if the pope can see that Anglicanism is a church not abaondoned by god then it puts some serious theology for his church to come to terms with.

There is also the orthodox church and interesting questions of if Anglican traditions could take part in the conclave .

But we could all become so obsessed we may miss the offer , i just hope he doesnt come on his visit with an enterouge of lawyers and a case of fine italian red wine .

Uniformity is neat and streamlined an evangelical outreach could well form out of this , or it could tarnsform the church into somthing as ignorant as the Euro. I am sure his holiness has read Orwell and perhaps hasnt forgiven Cromwell , but they are as dear to me as a reminder of what happens when institutions become corrupt , as yet the offer has not got round to contemplationg what happens if that occures .

25 October 2009 at 00:17  
Anonymous Anguished Soul said...

I'm sorry Your Grace, but I cannot bow the knee to the Pope, theologian, or whatever you may call him.

I bow the knee, only, to the Lord Jesus Christ, who sacrificed His life, on the cross, for me.


25 October 2009 at 00:17  
Blogger ultramontane grumpy old catholic said...

Your Grace

It is interesting to see how much to see how much Roman Catholics are hated by your august communicants.

While Christians tear at each others throats, the secularists plot and engineer new changes to our society and morality, the islamists move to establish the world caliphate, not to speak of the gay mafia..

For example, your communicants may or may not know that the House of Lords, which threw out an amendment by Lord Falconer to legalise assisted suicide in July, are now faced with another one next week, this time by Lord Allardice which also calls for legalisation of assisted suicide.

Are any of your communicants writing to Peers to acquaint them of their views? Emails will do - in fact are better because of the postal strike?

No-one? I thought not. Much more fun to have a go at the Pope isn't it?

25 October 2009 at 00:27  
Blogger Laurence Boyce said...

"It happens that Pope Benedict XVI is a theological giant: it is churlish to attempt to refute this on the basis that he holds to doctrines which others may consider error."

Churlish? Hmm. Comrade Lysenko was the foremost agricultural scientist of the post-war Soviet era. Was he a giant? Or just a common charlatan who caused starvation and misery? It would appear that truth really does matter after all.

I love the phrase "theological giant." It's a bit like being a giant at Tiddlywinks. Only sillier.

25 October 2009 at 01:52  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

I think the Pope is fishing for something much larger than just England. The Church in Africa is what the Pope wants. Here is the key to the future for the RC.

25 October 2009 at 04:54  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Enforcing celibacy on priests to save money is monstrous.Also making Anglican defector priests become welfare recepients seems very harsh.As for the Catholic Church being short of funds I think we all know that's not true.
Joining Rome is an act of desperation and a mistake.It is the choice between the devil(Rome) and the deep blue sea (liberal Anglicanism)A new way forward is needed for Anglo Catholics,in tact.
Grumps,Catholics are extremely irritating in their inflexible
It's as if you've all been brain washed.It's not're a nice bloke but you're on the wrong track.You're running towards the cliff edge like a lemming.We're just yelling at you to stop.

25 October 2009 at 07:07  
Anonymous Ron Todd said...

I am not so sure that Pope Benny is making a wise move. An Anglican wedge driven into the Catholic Church could do it long term damage. That could outweigh any short term financial gain he gets from extra members. And it could be taken as an admission that they cannot produce enough priests without some poaching.

25 October 2009 at 07:21  
Anonymous len said...

Hating Catholics?
I don`t hate Catholics, I don`t hate Muslims in fact I don`t hate anyone.

What I hate is when men set up religious systems for their own gain, for their own selfish motives , and dupe the people into thinking they are serving God whilst in reality they are serving them and their systems.

Salvation is a work of God from start to finish.

When men add to that they nullify Gods salvation plan! Galatians makes this quite clear.

If Anglicans are thinking of swimming the Tiber they cannot have understood why the Reformation happened or the True message of salvation by Grace through faith.
Grace vs. Works – Earning Our Salvation
Grace vs. works has been a debate for centuries. It’s not surprising that man feels compelled to earn salvation on the basis of works, not by grace. The Council of Trent on Justification (Canon 12) states: “If anyone says that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in divine mercy [grace], which remits sins for Christ's sake, or that it is this confidence [faith] alone that justifies us, let him be anathema [cursed]”. This infers that we merit grace and eternal life only through sacrificial works. In Islam, the Muslim attains forgiveness through Allah's favor and works: “To those who believe and do deeds of righteousness hath Allah promised forgiveness and a great reward” (Surah 5:9). Only by good works outweighing bad works and by the will of Allah can a Muslim be forgiven his sins and gain access to his paradise. “Then those whose balance [of good deeds] is heavy, they will be successful. But those whose balance is light, will be those who have lost their souls, in hell they will abide( Qur`an 3: 102-103)

25 October 2009 at 08:47  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

Good works are the consequence of saving faith not its cause. James writes that faith without works is dead. There is no point in saying you have faith in the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ unless that initiates a change in you. We do good works out of gratitude and love, not in order to get saved - that is already accomplished and on offer to everyone, though only some will accept the offer.

Hating people is not what Christians are about. Hating false doctrines is very Scriptural. The Bible has harsh things to say about those who lead little ones astray. Those who have the care of souls have a special and awesome responsibility.

25 October 2009 at 08:55  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

"In the commitment to reconciliation, justice and peace, Christians cannot ignore the prayer of the Lord and Master of Life: "May they all be one... so that the world may believe it was you who sent me" (Jn 17:21). The shared basis of African culture, enriched by the Word of Life, is a great advantage in seeking together ways and means to make the Christian evangelical witness more and more credible. Every Christian is called to promote any initiative that favours unity." from
The Church in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace (2006)

25 October 2009 at 10:06  
Anonymous len said...

The Church had progressed only a few years into the dispensation of the Spirit when the flesh began to rear its ugly head and men began to add carnal means and methods to the pure flow of HIS LIFE. I do not believe there is any way to explain, imagine, or understand the many ways the carnal mind works. Even before the apostles had passed from this life, a spirit and system had set in among the saints of the Lord and many people were wearing the Babylonish garment. They were instituting rules and regulations, formulating creeds, observing days, establishing sacraments and ordinances, elevating human government, becoming disciples of Paul, of Apollos, of Cephas, and of many others. The babble had begun and a whole multitude of fleshly administrations was making its appearance upon the body of Christ. Before too many years had passed men began to set themselves up as "lords" (today it is called "pastor," "shepherd," etc.) over Gods people in place of the Holy Spirit. Instead of conquering by the power of the Spirit and by Truth, men began to add their ideas and their methods. Soon the glory and power and the presence of God in the morning time Church began to be eclipsed, degraded and debased by the idolatrous inventions of carnal minded men. The saints no longer moved by the power and glory of the indwelling Spirit, but became subservient to the rulership, dominion and lordship of their leaders who claimed that they alone knew the mind of the Lord, understood the word of God and possessed the wisdom of God. That which had once been beautiful and glorious became unsightly, ill-shaped, deformed, uncomely, disfigured, hideous, monstrous, and loathsome. As these false shepherds ministered among the people of God the Spirit of Christ fled from their midst and the pure vision and experience of CHRIST LIVING AND SHEPHERDING IN HIS BODY was lost to them.

25 October 2009 at 10:11  
Blogger Holy Smoke said...

"LAGOS, Nigeria -- The Vatican's invitation to Anglicans could have far-reaching repercussions across Africa, where about half of the world's 80 million Anglicans now live.

African clergymen have been some of the harshest critics of their Anglican colleagues in the West, whom they accuse of liberally interpreting the Bible. But it's far from clear whether churches here, many of which have already distanced themselves from Anglican churches in the U.S., Canada and England, would see the need to embrace the Vatican's offer...Still, the Vatican's offer may appeal to many who follow Africa's conservative strain of Anglicanism..."

Wall Street Journal Oct. 21 2009

25 October 2009 at 10:38  
Anonymous jeremy hyatt said...

I see the dreadful Nazir Ali is considering joining in the fun. This would be the Nazir Ali who a while ago had an article on the website of the grotesquely misnamed (and grotesque) organisation 'Reform' helpfully explaining why the invocation of saints is a very bad idea indeed. Now he is considering signing up with the Pope who - at the risk of labouring the obvious - considers the invocation of saints a very good idea indeed.

Just how opportunistic can the man be?

Nazir Ali, I mean, not the Pope.

Okay on second thoughts make that both of them.

25 October 2009 at 16:49  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is there any reason why High Church Anglicans need to convert to Catholisism to come under the auspices of the Church?

We find the Thomasa Church in two parts; one in communion with Rome but with its own rites and structures, the other part not in communion with Rome but to a large extent in communion with its sister Thomasa church. A confusion that seems to suit all parties.

You'll even find both types of Thomasa and Catholic churches in the same towns/cities in India with no public discord.

So, perhaps, the same could occur with those Anglicans who see that the existing English Anglican church has become nothing or little to do with spreading the good word.

25 October 2009 at 17:43  
Blogger Preacher said...

I agree with Len, that it's not a question of hating anybody, on the contrary if you have God's love for people you warn them of error, even if it's unpopular or even dangerous, it's not the people but the religous system & those that continue to use it to ensnare them that is worthy of condemnation. The reluctance to speak out against such sin is the reason in my opinion why the protestant communion is in its current weak state. Did Elijah attempt to do a deal with the prophets of Baal in an effort to unify at all costs Judaism & Baal worship? Or did the Lord himself give the O.K to the traders in the temple who were using the opportunity to feather their own nests? It's only when men have the courage to speak or act even if it draws attention to the actions of fallen humanity that God moves in power & saves the lost. May He give many more the boldness to refute error & sin wherever it appears.

25 October 2009 at 20:46  
Anonymous non mouse said...

Len and Preacher --- Yes.

25 October 2009 at 23:27  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...

As an Anglican I agree (and disagree) with his Grace's views.

If the Anglo-Catholics left for Rome en mass then yes it would leave the C of E more Protestant, but not in the way you think.

A break of the Anglo- Catholics would not leave the C of E more “Protestant, which, in the present age, simply means more liberal, secular and relativist”.

Your Grace, if you hail from the Anglo-Catholic tradition in the Church of England then you are , alas, displaying the ignorance of the equally large and important Protestant Evangelical Anglican tradition which is neither liberal, secular or relativist; indeed it is the opposite extreme of these views.

In fact, the liberal tradition in the Church of England is wedged firmly in the middle of the Anglo-Catholics and the Evangelicals and to my own humble experience tends to come from 'liberal catholics'.

Perhaps also , you think that anyone who is 'traditional' is automatically on the 'Catholic' wing of the Anglican Church, which is not the case, especially in the rural areas.

So, what’s your answer to that ?

25 October 2009 at 23:45  
Anonymous John Knox said...

Dear Cranmer,

As the Church of England was Presbyterian during the Commonwealth, I would like to give some input.

This offer from Rome seems hugely overrated by friends and foes alike.

It requires a denial of ones Anglican orders and reordination. What kind of priest is going to renounce his sacred orders that way? Only some very desperate, who are willing to sacrifice a few principles along the way. The en justifies the means. They will be right for the Jesuit order next.

The doctrinal side of things is extremely dicy. It is not orthodox Anglicanism that is welcomed here, but ritualism that has discarded Anglican orders and doctrinal contents along the way.
Is seems only liturgical elements are going to be encorporated, not doctrinal Church of England views concerning Scripture, the sacraments, praying to saints and someone who has NO supremacy in this realm of Englang...

This is not ecumenism but conversion, which Rome is offering and encouraging. Orthodox Anglicanism is not offered a home at all. It is given the options to renounce its orders and official doctrine and continue some of its liturgical niceties under Rome's supervision without money and with its leaders removed, as married bishops, unlike Peter, have to become parish priests. Which might do some of them good, but is of cours powerpolitics of divide and rule.

The disrespectful and secretive way in which Canterbury was passed by, confirms this. With my whole heart I wish I could conclude differently, but Rome doesn't respect orthodox Anglicanism or reformed Catholicity in general.
Only those who are willing to deny their doctrine, their orders and sacrifice their Christian freedom and salary are welcome.

Had the liberal persecution in Anglican circles on orthodox Christians not become so desperate, the Vatican's move would have been condemned as an outright shame!

From Scotland with love,

26 October 2009 at 01:50  
Anonymous Wilfrid said...

Lord Lavendon,I know what a cultural Catholic is but what
exactly is a liberal Catholic?

If the Anglo Catholic wing was
properly organized,it would attract a lot of dissatisfied
catholics.Maybe some priests or
Bishops could backstroke across the
Tiber.The Anglican Church is in need of a complete overhaul where the secular and relativist element is just a fringe group rather than the mainstay.

26 October 2009 at 02:08  
Anonymous non mouse said...

I still can't help worrying about the "coincidence" that those nasty, underhand, treaties (rome and lisbon) are housed in Rome. How can we believe the Pope isn't party to the carry-on? How can we believe that whatever he does, to the English Church, is not designed to hasten the de(con)struction of Britain?

And both Nazis and Papists believe in indoctrinating the young ... how can we be sure el Papa's not affected by the first?

I think I'm praying for something like an "Italian Job" - if not to destroy the treaties, at least to erase all evidence of Gordo's treachery!

wv: hersen! Aye. Not Herself, though!!

26 October 2009 at 05:14  
Blogger Lord Lavendon said...


I would call a liberal Catholic one of those Anglicans who goes along with the tradtional style of Anglo-catholic worship, i.e. Roman Catholic, but within the Anglican Church, the difference being that the theology follows a 'liberal' interpretation of the Bible. I think you called it " the secular and relativist element ".

26 October 2009 at 06:43  
Blogger Preacher said...

non mouse.
Rome & the EU are in the middle of this duplicity together, the book of Revelations clearly describes Rome as the city of the seven hills, and of course the EU flag is taken from the image of Mary as queen of Heaven with a circlet of stars as a halo. Hence the offer of Rome to the CofE ministers to "Cross the Tiber" & increase the power of the Vatican at the expense of the protestant community, as the old saying goes "The Fox & the Goose can live together in harmony, as long as the Goose is inside of the Fox". God Bless. Preacher

26 October 2009 at 11:46  
Anonymous southwood said...

Amen, Preacher.

26 October 2009 at 17:56  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

A number of posters on this thread seem to be under the mistaken impression that they are going to be seized, bound hand and foot, and thrown into the dungeons of the Castello Sant'Angelo, like the kidnapped cardinals in Angels and Demons. Your Grace, perhaps you should have spelt it out more clearly that no compulsion is involved -- the Pope is making Anglicans an offer which each one of you is free to accept or reject as you wish.

26 October 2009 at 19:34  
Blogger Preacher said...

Hank P.
That sounds very Italian, "Make them an offer they can't refuse".
Well the offer is open the other way too. Or as Mr S. Wigglesworth said to a young RC priest a few years ago when the young man kept telling him "You'd make a good catholic!" Smiths retort was "And you'd make a good Christian if only you'd get saved & forget all this religous nonsense".

26 October 2009 at 20:49  
Anonymous len said...

I think what the pope is offering is a lot more subtle than that Mr Petram.
( The pope seems to be adopting a curious stance ,seemingly about to pounce?)

26 October 2009 at 21:06  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Preacher, on the corresponding thread over at The Economist (link below), a poster called NY Liberal Conservative says:

I think Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano, of the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island (incl. Brooklyn & Queens), said it best: “At the heart of all of this is the reality that the Roman Church is willing to welcome angry, reactionary, misogynistic, homophobic people.”

So do you suppose we’ll see all the unreactionary, unmisogynistic, and unhomophobic people in the Catholic Church swimming the Tiber in the reverse direction? Maybe (though somehow I doubt it).
Not the unangry people, though: Bishop Provenzano, who I’d never heard of until this moment, comes across as much angrier than any Catholic I’ve ever met.

26 October 2009 at 21:17  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Mr Len, subtleties aside, I think we all ought to bear in mind that membership of any church these days is wholly voluntary. That was not always the case: the ashes of our gracious host are there to prove it. The Tudor period, however, came to an end quite a long time ago, I believe.

26 October 2009 at 21:33  
Blogger Preacher said...

Hank P.
Times may change, tactics may change, but the doctrines & ambitions are the same. The leopard's spots remain & the Tiger's snarl may resemble a smile, but there is more to this than meets the eye of man. God however has seen it all before it happens & warns us of the endgame & its players, one of which will be the Vatican.

26 October 2009 at 22:45  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Mr Preacher, thou speakest in riddles. I'm not quite sure I followed your reasoning there, though at the end you seem to be saying that at some future date ("the endgame") the Roman Catholic Church will still be left standing when many (all?) other churches have fallen by the wayside. If that is indeed your meaning, then I'm inclined to agree with you. It certainly looks to me as though the poor old C of E doesn't stand much of a chance of outlasting the others, but I'd blame Rowan Williams for that rather than the Pope, wouldn't you?

26 October 2009 at 23:06  
Anonymous sydneysider said...

Mr Petram,Rowan Williams does have a lot to answer for and the C of E is in a mess but that doesn't make the Catholic Church
any more palatable The only reason
the Catholic Church is still going strong is because of its effective
brain washing techniques on the young.Give me a child at the age of seven and he's mine for life.
Ignatious Loyola quote or words to the that effect.Also because it targets the third world countries preying on ignorance and poverty.

27 October 2009 at 03:05  
Anonymous len said...

At the consecration of Roman Catholic bishops there is an oath of allegiance to the Pope. Whenever a bishop is consecrated, an allegiance oath is given. Here’s what it says, “With all my power I will persecute and make war on all heretics, schismatics and those who rebel against our Lord the Pope, and all his successors, so help me, God, and these holy gospels of God.” So you swear to make war on anybody who rebels against the Pope. Where is humility in this? Romanism is a gigantic system of Church worship, sacrament worship, Mary worship, saint worship, image worship, relic worship, priest worship and Pope worship. J.C. Ryle was right when he said, “It’s a huge organized idolatry. A man wearing a gold crown, triple decked with jewels worth millions? A cardinal’s garb that costs tens of thousands of dollars?” Peter said, “Silver and gold have I not.” Paul said, “I coveted no man’s gold, no man’s silver, no man’s clothing.” The Pope is surrounded by a dazzling display of arrogant over-indulgence, it is theater, it is nothing more than theater to give the illusion of God, the illusion of transcendence, the illusion of spirituality. It is a pompous display of wealth. It is a lavish indulgence in ridiculous buildings, ridiculous robes, crowns, thrones to cover and mask a sinful system like the whitewashed tombs that Jesus referred to. There was never such a thing as a papal coronation before the tenth century. And now the world has gone berserk over this as it if was true religion.

Oh, they’ve got a clever system. How to preserve error. How to perpetuate error. Make heresy infallible. And the arch heretic unassailable, ir-reformable and absolutely authoritative. It is possible that the final Antichrist could be a Pope because the final Antichrist will be a dominating world leader. He will be not subject to any other world leader. He will be an imitation of Christ, an anti-Christ, a pseudo-Christ. He will have international power. He will be a Gentile. And his system seems, in the book of Revelation chapter 17, to be headed up in Rome.

( From The Pope and the papacy John Macarthur)

27 October 2009 at 08:14  
Blogger Preacher said...

Hank P.
Sorry if you couldn't follow my drift, basically Rome remains the same as she has ever been, a proud, ambitious predator, a wolf in sheeps clothing. She makes concillatory noises but has never changed & never will. All the old heresies remain & if she regained the power she once held she would be a formidable force. Currently she attempts to beguile the weak & disaffected with soothing words & promises, but woe betide any who are swayed by her blandishments Scripture reveals her true nature as a harlot & thus the advice of "Come out of her my people" seems appropriate, hence my suggestion that the wise would be swimming the other way accross the Tiber.
The end times will without doubt prove painful for the true saints, but when the apostate church which stands on the Seven Hills falls, albeit after a brief time of worldly success she will be left desolate & she & her priests will be judged for their guile. At that time she will be responsible for the loss of many souls, who have looked to her instead of the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation.
Now I ask you friend, can you swim?.

27 October 2009 at 11:57  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Mr Preacher, I know you’re not alone in interpreting the “Rome” of Revelation as signifying the Roman Catholic Church. There is a rival interpretation, however, which goes something like this. The papacy didn’t even begin to acquire any kind of temporal power until the reign of Constantine, which was two hundred years or more after the period when Revelation was being written (the second half of the first century AD). Consequently it is more likely that St John was referring to the people who held power in Rome in his own day, probably the Emperor Nero.

27 October 2009 at 13:52  
Anonymous IanCad said...

David Lonsdale's (Anonymous??) post prompted me to re-read the 39Articles. There can be no question of any union with Rome if we are to remain faithful to these foundational tenets of the CofE.

27 October 2009 at 18:26  
Anonymous Lanky Cathy said...

Semi O/T, but this is a pretty good precis on the whole faith 'n' works shebang (which I have oft heard quoted by my Prot friends as The Reason Why You Can't Be RC).


27 October 2009 at 19:22  
Anonymous len said...

For the first 280 years of Christian history, Christianity was banned by the Roman empire, and Christians were terribly persecuted. This changed after the “conversion” of the Roman Emperor Constantine. Constantine “legalized” Christianity at the Edict of Milan in A.D. 313. Later, in A.D. 325, Constantine called together the Council of Nicea, in an attempt to unify Christianity. Constantine envisioned Christianity as a religion that could unite the Roman Empire, which at that time was beginning to fragment and divide. While this may have seemed to be a positive development for the Christian church, the results were anything but positive. Just as Constantine refused to fully embrace the Christian faith, but continued many of his pagan beliefs and practices, so the Christian church that Constantine promoted was a mixture of true Christianity and Roman paganism.
The origin of the Catholic Church is the tragic compromise of Christianity with the pagan religions that surrounded it. Instead of proclaiming the Gospel and converting the pagans, the Catholic Church “Christianized” the pagan religions, and “paganized” Christianity. By blurring the differences and erasing the distinctions, yes, the Catholic Church made itself attractive to the people of the Roman empire. One result was the Catholic Church becoming the supreme religion in the “Roman world” for centuries. However, another result was the most dominant form of Christianity apostatizing from the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and the true proclamation of God’s Word.

27 October 2009 at 22:26  
Blogger Preacher said...

Hank P.
I have heard of the alternative to which you refer, but the book of Revelation obviously is prophetic as it contains descriptions of things that were impossible for the apostle to even dream of, so he resorts to visual descriptions to describe the vision. Of course if the end battle on the plains of meggido took place in Nero's time & Christ has returned, all people of that era received 666 & the judgement has taken place when all men will stand before The Lord, then some credence could be attributed to this alternative but I think we might have heard about such an occurence taking place, so if it hasn't there are only two obvious conclusions firstly John got it wrong(I think not) or it was a future event which is now being fulfilled over the last few decades & will come to pass in the near future.
All mankind should consider their eternal destination before these things take place as many will not be here next week, let alone next year & in His love & mercy, God has made it so easy for us not to face judgement. It's only sinful man that has tied burdens of religous requirements to mankind with ropes of fear & superstition. Come on in Hank, the water's lovely. Preacher.

27 October 2009 at 22:53  
Anonymous Hank Petram said...

Yes, Preacher, it must be an interesting place. I suggest we meet there and settle our differences over a pint. Or over a litre, I suppose, in Israel.

While there’s still time.

28 October 2009 at 11:50  
Blogger Preacher said...

Hank P.
I look forward to the time we meet face to face, hopefully in paradise rather than Rome.
I fear Meggido may be rather busy & noisy if we wait too long.
Regards. Preacher.

28 October 2009 at 16:03  

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