Why the Vatican Sounds Increasingly Anglican

pope-francis-greets-archbishop-of-canterbury-justin-welbyWhen I was a priest in the Church of England the authorities introduced a delightfully Anglican phrase, “two integrities”. We were all supposed to embrace “two integrities”. So when it came to the issue of women’s ordination for example, we were supposed to “listen carefully and dialogue with those with whom we disagreed.” We were supposed to “accompany them” as they moved from one position to another.

Those who were opposed to women’s ordination were supposed to stand by, observe, welcome and embrace those who were in favor of women’s ordination and those who were in favor of women’s ordination were supposed to be respectful and honor their “weaker brothers and sisters” who had not yet seen the light of the progressive dawn. We were to “walk together in the creative and often difficult tension that comes with disagreement among God’s people.”

This “creative tension” was not only in matters of sexual morality like women’s ordination, same sex marriage etc. The Evangelical Protestant Anglicans were supposed to co-exist with the Anglo Catholics and both were expected to co exist with the ruling liberal establishment. This idea of “two integrities” (in fact there were many more than two “integrities”) was part of the Anglican genetic code. Ever since the Elizabethan Settlement in 1559, the Anglicans had agreed to disagree. It didn’t really matter what you believed as long as you were loyal to the crown and as long as you were NOT Catholic.

Two integrities existed within doctrinal matters as well and was illustrated by the fact that the Evangelical Protestants and the Anglo Catholics would take turns as Archbishop of Canterbury. Of course no raving, red blooded Protestant would ever be selected and no true smells and bells Anglo Catholic would be selected. It would always be a good, solid, middle of the road Evangelical like Donald Coggan or Justin Welby or an intellectual, liberal “Catholic” like Robert Runcie or Rowan Williams. (It is true that the happy clappy lightweight George Carey doesn’t fit this model, but then the story was that he was “Thatcher’s Revenge” but that tale can be told another day.)

I say all that to say this: the present trend at the Vatican seems to be running along the same lines. After the fairly conservative papacy of Benedict XVI we have Francis–who is popularly perceived as a progressive. When his reign is complete will we see the pendulum swing back with the election of someone like Cardinal Sarah? When he is finished will we see a “progressive” elected? Does the Vatican hope to hold Catholicism together with the same sort of “creative tension” that the Anglicans have engineered so ingeniously?

Is this sense of “balance” also being seen in other Vatican appointments?

The recent selection  of Fr James Martin and Michael Warsaw to be part of the Vatican communications team would indicate that this is the case. The Jesuit Fr Martin is a well known progressive. I might say he is an outspoken progressive, but he is too smart to be outspoken. Instead he shrouds his progressive agenda with sentimental spirituality and intentional ambiguity. If you would like to learn about Fr Martin’s advocacy of the LGBT agenda read this article at Crisis.

On the other hand we have the appointment of Michael Warsaw–head of the EWTN media empire. Folks at EWTN and National Catholic Register would be respectful to members of the LGBT community, but they  would certainly not celebrate the gay culture.

If you were trying to choose two poster boys for the two different American Catholic Churches you could hardly do better than Mr.Warsaw and Fr.Martin. Were they chosen to bring “balance” to the team? As the pope embraces Justin Welby did he also embrace the Anglican idea of “two integrities”?

Whether the Vatican is becoming increasingly Anglican and wishy washy is a point for debate–my main observation is that this idea of “two integrities” is based on a relativist foundation of sand. Increasingly in Catholic church circles we find the idea that “you have your truth” and “I have my truth” and the important thing is that we not only tolerate one another, but listen and dialogue together.

This attempt to have “two integrities” and to “foster dialogue” is always promoted by the progressives because it springs from and reinforces their relativist philosophy.

Furthermore, as recent events in the Church of England have shown, once they have won the battle any talk of toleration and dialogue is out the window. When an Anglican bishop (Rt Rev Philip North) who doesn’t agree with women’s ordination was promoted, a media campaign led by liberals pressured him to withdraw his acceptance.

So much for two integrities.

We should take this as a word of warning. Progressives are crybaby bullies. They have learned how to pout and play the victim. Once they have got sympathy they resort to name calling. Their enemies are “cruel” and “insensitive”, “harsh and legalistic”.

Then they call for dialogue which means, “I am going to lecture you, hector you, bully you and exhaust you with my endless arguments and threats until you give in.” All of this is done under the cover of “sincere language”. Progressives are never angry. They are “saddened”. They are never aggressive. They are “courageous”. They are never manipulative. They are “careful in how they express themselves.”

If you appease the progressives they win, and they will go on from that battle to the next one. Understand: they must always have a battle, for only when they have a battle can they see themselves as the righteous warriors they believe themselves to be. Their identity is linked with this. Without a war and without an enemy they are nothing. They must have the next battle lined up.

Be prepared.

Image Creative Commons via Bing

 

 


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