Rome and Canterbury compared
Another brilliant article by Stephen Glover on the Daily Mail.
Glover points out, with great clarity, to some striking facts:
1) Benedict’s authority eclipses Rowan Williams’
2) Irrespective of authority, Benedict has the guts to say things straight and Rowan Williams hasn’t.
3) There is a thirst for religious values. The coE can’t satisfy it. It doesn’t even want.
4) The atheist crowd has been silenced and exposed for what they are: haters. But they hate Benedict, not RW, because the latter is no threat at all.
Let us read some of the most striking passages of this eye-opening article.
“In a manner wholly unlike our home-grown clerics, the Pope spoke to the soul of our country, affirming eternal moral verities which our own political and religious leaders normally prefer to avoid”.
“Pope Benedict’s declarations over the past few days have been remarkable and, in modern Britain, virtually unprecedented”.
It is almost a shock to hear a religious leader speak in so blunt a way, so inured are we to our own religious leaders, particularly Church of England bishops, accommodating themselves to secular values.
(I would add here: Catholic bishops are not bad at accommodating secular values, either)
“The tragedy is that Dr Williams and Anglican bishops probably agree with almost everything Pope Benedict said about the dangers of secularism – and yet they do not have the courage, or whatever it takes, to say it”.
And whereas the Pope speaks clearly in English, which is his third or fourth language, Dr Williams often speaks opaquely or in riddles in the language that is his own.
In his concluding address, Pope Benedict said that he had discovered ‘how deep a thirst there is among the British people for the good news of Jesus Christ’. He is right. And yet how often our national Church – the Church of England – fails to proclaim this good news.
In large parts of the Anglican Church there is a sense of defeatism in the face of the incoming tide of secularism, as congregations dwindle and parish churches close. But look at the young people in Hyde Park or those lining Princes Street in Edinburgh or those standing outside Westminster Cathedral. They yearn for the good news, and they invite moral certainty. Would it be too much to hope that Anglican bishops might learn something from the fearless commitment of the Pope?
Speaking of the aggressive anti-Catholic atheists, Glover writes:
Their foaming and often unbalanced denunciations of the Pope reveal their fear. They fear him because he adheres so strongly to traditional Christian teaching and champions principles they abhor. They fear him because the values he reiterates commend themselves to millions of people and, above all, to millions of young people. They do not trouble to vent their spite and vitriol on the Archbishop of Canterbury because Dr Williams has been so cowed by the forces of secularism that he no longer poses any threat to their bleak vision.
In invoking the heritage of our Christian past, and suggesting we might still have a principled Christian future, Benedict XVI has achieved more than the Church of England over many years. The lesson of the past few days is that Britain is not quite the deeply un-Christian country that the BBC and other parts of the media would have us believe.
Of course, Mr. Glover doesn’t get it completely right. He describes papal infallibility as “bizarre” and doesn’t even stop to reflect what be so “bizarre” in it, or to wonder whether he has perchance not just assisted to infallibility at work.
Still, this is a remarkably outspoken article making clear that the country can recover its values and that a courageous Pope, not the so-called church of England is the one able to do the job.
I imagine that a good part of the Daily Mail reader, whilst not Catholic, feel an instinctive sympathy not only for the courage of the man Benedict, but for the courage of an institution not ready to accommodate her principles to those of the world. One can only hope that in time, this vague perception may become in many a more profound feeling and identification with Christian values and the acknowledgment that those values cannot be adequately defended by imitations, but only by the Original.
Posted on September 21, 2010, in Catholicism and tagged Archbishop of Canterbury, Catholic Church, Catholicism, Church of England, conservative catholicism, England, Pope Benedict, Pope Benedict XVI, Rowan Williams. Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.