Friday, October 1, 2010
I need to start off with a disclaimer. I am not much of a thorough-going theologian. I think I have read a fair amount, not everything by any means, but enough to make me dangerous and so I am going to go out on a limb.
The pope came to visit Canterbury a few days ago and apparently put most of the Church of England into a "tizzy". (Tizzy is one of those theological terms, it means holy crap, we ain't ready for this one yet). There has been a great deal of turmoil over the last few years for ARCIC since the "American Church" has scrambled the eggs with ordination of wimmin and full inclusion for LGBT persons. Fortunately for ++Rowan, he was able to keep us locked in the back room for most of the papal visit.
There was some discussion that we (the Anglican Church) have nothing to offer the Roman Church. Well, I beg to differ. On a very practical level we offer Rome what they could call the English Rite, similar to the Coptic Rite which they already recognize. What would this give Rome? Well, for starters it would preserve the Roman Rite for single, male, celibate priesthood. It would simultaneously, provide for both married priests and women priests without "sacrificing" the Church's espoused history and tradition. This in turn would swell the ranks of the Roman church's clergy almost over night and stave the flow of churches currently being closed and consolidated because of a lack of ordained clergy. It would still give the Vatican distance not unlike the Coptic rite which no one talks about anyway.
The thorny issue is not the ordained priesthood, but the pointy hat in Rome -- that would have to be written around very carefully, but I bet Gary Wills would like a crack at that (and he is probably up to the task, along with a couple of others).
So you see, we do have something to offer the Roman Church and if they would take the blinders off, come into the 21st century, reopen some doors and windows, I'll bet we could make some real progress. And, little does ++Williams know that we, The Epsicopal Church in the United States, are his real strength. Our Godly stance is what we as Anglicans, can offer the Roman Church.
Archbishop Williams, can we come out of our room now?