If you go here at around 2:10:00 (make haste, because it might disappear in the next days) you’ll have a good example of what doesn’t work with the Church in England.
The BBC journalist insists in posing irritating, but actually very fitting questions to Archbishop Longley. Thankfully, the journalist has got it that the Pope was, during Condomgate, “not saying anything terribly new” and he therefore asks – understandably, from his ungodly perspective – whether the Church is going to “change” Her opinion about condoms and, more fittingly, whether the average English Catholics accepts “lock, stock and barrel” the Catholic doctrine.
This would be an ideal occasion to launch oneself on a passionate defence of Truth, on BBC’s “Today” programme, on Christmas Eve. Which is, I was told, what an Archbishop is supposed to do anyway.
Instead, Archbishop Langley’s answers oscillate between the inane, the cowardly and the pathetic. He goes on and on remembering the success of the Papal visit; talks about how much the church is looking for “dialogue”; insists on Cardinal Newman in a way clearly meant to avoid the show of “tough love” required of him; tries not to answer the journalist’s questions and even says that he thinks that Catholics in England accept “lock, stock and barrel” the Catholic teaching, “otherwise they wouldn’t be Catholic”. Good Lord; do we live on the same planet….
The buzz words, though, are all there. Dialogue is obviously there and change is also felt as appropriate. “The Church is constantly changing”, says he when he talks of the ways the Church talks to the people. This is meant to sound positive, I suppose, but the guts to say loud and clear that the Truth doesn’t change and everyone must come to terms with that is clearly more than he can muster. So we have on the one side the hurt feeling of perverts – explicitly and emphatically championed by the Beeb man – and on the other hand we have a man insisting with you that the Church “changes” because now the Pope talks to you on the radio. Brilliant.
Archbishop Longley (not one of the worst, for sure; for the English standard, I mean) has given a wonderful example of why the Church struggles in this country: because it is afraid to say it straight and prefers to hide behind successful visits, blessed Cardinals and easy slogans of “dialogue” and “change” instead.