Friday, 20 November 2009

Canterbury and Rome

I have only time for a quick comment on the Archbishop of Canterbury's talk in Rome. It seems to me that this illustrates just perfectly what the real problem is here. He thinks like a Protestant and is unable to grasp why we think differently, or even that we think differently. The process of getting to what we believe is different. For him, doctrine is derived by a Christian prayerfully contemplating the scriptures, using his reason and consulting tradition, and making his mind up on what he should believe. Naturally, one has either to accept that one's co-religionists might differ to a greater or lesser extent, or else one must break away and form yet another sect. Anglicanism has generally preferred the former position of tolerance of others' doctrinal conclusions, and here it is elaborated once more. It's as if Rowan Williams had said:
'Why can't we just settle down into one big family, members of which look at doctrine in different ways; sure, there are doctrines that might be beyond the pale, but I don't see that, for instance, the ordination of women is such that we can't live with our divergent views on it. We all need to grow and learn together.'
But, Dr Williams, the Catholic (and indeed Orthodox) Church doesn't ask what divergent views it can live with. It asks is this the faith that we have received from the Apostles? Is this what our fathers believed? If you can grasp that, then you will understand why we do as we do, say what we say, and believe what we believe, and why we can't live with diversity on issues that impact directly on the Sacraments.

I hope I'm not doing him an injustice; for the sake of fairness to the Archbishop, I should observe that I have not been able to read his whole talk yet, but only extracts. I will try and find time to read it properly after the extremely busy forthcoming weekend.

I've also just discovered that Fr Ray has said almost the same thing!

1 comment:

Terry said...

Well said, Father! Couldn't have put it better myself.