Monday, September 20, 2010

An Anglican writes: Let's not run away with the idea of an all-powerful Pope

From The London Telegraph-

We Anglicans have a problem with authority. We variously accept the authority of God (well, most of us do), of scripture and even of Church tradition. But the authority of Church leaders tends to be a fairly pick-n-mix affair, with Anglican congregations tending to choose the authority that suits their desires and prejudices best. It’s why the Anglican Communion is an uneasy confederation of faith or even, at times, a sack of fighting ferrets.

Anglicans tend to assume that the Pope, by contrast, enjoys an absolute authority. Some, indeed, yearn for an equivalence in this schismatic, reformist tradition; a firm hand on the tiller of Anglican ecclesiology.

As it happens, I’ve been more than unusually busy on Anglican business over the past three days. While His Holiness has been on the exhausting round of an audience with our Supreme Governor (or was it the other way round?), an audience in Hyde Park that would have satisfied Sir Mick Jagger and the beatification of Cardinal Newman, I’ve been about rather more mundane church tasks – three eucharists, one memorial service, a sermon and a committal of ashes.

Where congregants have remarked on the Pope’s visit, it has usually been in the context of his authority: He should have done more about the child-abuse horror, he stops the developing world using condoms or he should tell his billion-plus followers to sort out the world. That sort of thing.

More here-

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