In the Archbishop's address at a Willebrands Symposium in Rome, Archbishop Rowan Williams said:
"Since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, the Roman Catholic Church has been involved in a number of dialogues with other churches – including with the Anglican Communion – which have produced a very considerable number of agreed statements. This legacy has been brought together in a recent publication by the Vatican department to promote Christian Unity, whose first President during and after Vatican II, Cardinal Johannes Willebrands, is justly and happily celebrated in today's centenary conference. Let me give an outline of what I want to say in the half an hour or so available. The strong convergence in these agreements about what the Church of God really is, is very striking.”
The Archbishop then went on to list, at length these theological points at which the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church give each other a little nod in agreement in another one of his excruciatingly tiresome sermons.
In a more broad perspective, however, can it really be argued that ‘the strong convergence in these agreements about what the Church of God really is, is very striking’, in the light of the modern Anglican Communion.
The Catholic answer should, unfortunately, be a resounding, ‘No!’
The answer should be a resounding ‘No!’, because it has become more and more apparent to all believers and to those who do not believe, that the Anglican vision of God appears to be very different to the Catholic vision of God.
It is the story of bad parenting and good parenting and as we know, God should be the best and ultimate Father, which, as Catholics, we know that He is.
The ‘Anglican God’, the ‘Father’ is a rather woolly figure who dotes on His children and spoils them without giving them any boundaries, while at the same time, appearing to be rather ambivalent and indifferent to His children’s behaviour. He’s kind of like an absent Dad, whose gone down the pub and left the kids at home alone to get along and do what kids do. So, the kids are messing around and the Anglican God gets home, isn’t really too bothered that they’re up to no good, turns a blind eye and says, ‘Well, they’re having fun, let them do what they want.’ This is reflected in the modern Anglican Church’s inability to stand up and, in full agreement, state categorically that sex outside of marriage, adultery, divorce and remarriage, homosexual acts, masturbation, artificial contraception and abortion are grave and serious offences, that is, mortal sins, to Almighty God.
The ‘Catholic God’, the ‘Eternal Father’, on the other hand appears to be rather severe and strict in His view of what constitutes acceptable behaviour and what does not. So, it is that the Catholic Church teaches sex outside of marriage, divorce and remarriage, homosexual acts, artificial contraception, adultery, masturbation and abortion to be sinful, grave offences to Almighty God. Yet, at the same time, the Catholic God, the Eternal Father, is a Good Parent because when one of His children commits any number or one of these offences, the same God, through the Priest absolves the child of his offence and forgives him because of the Eternal Offering of His Beloved Son on Calvary. That, in a nutshell, is Christianity – or at least, that, in a nutshell, is True Christianity.
Now, it may be that some of the Bishops of England and Wales are a little slack in preaching this Eternal Truth and have to have Rome call them every now to ask them to apologise to the Faithful for not preaching this Eternal Truth with clarity, but at least the Catholic Church has a Magisterium which states, quite categorically, the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ and sets out a Standard of human behaviour which, though we may fall short of it, is to be strived for with the Grace of God and with the help of His Sacraments, of Baptism, Confession and the Holy Eucharist to name just three of the seven Sacraments which the founder of the Anglican Church once defended aided by the friend and confidant he had murdered, St Thomas More.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t matter that the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church can agree on some finer points of theology, or agree even on the Person of Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Humanity and His Divinity.
- Only one of these Churches reiterates and represents the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
- Only one of these Churches proclaims God’s Justice and God’s Mercy in one and the same breath.
- Only one of these Churches proclaims Salvation to the World and preaches the forgiveness of sins.
- Only one of these Churches was established by Our Lord Jesus Christ, sent, as He was, by the Almighty and Eternal Father to redeem the World, not to condemn it, but to save it!
This Church is the Catholic Church.
The God of the Anglican Church doesn’t care.
The God of the Anglican Church does not even care about the Salvation of His children.
The God of the Anglican Church is playing bridge down the pub with His mates while His children become embroiled in sin and then when He gets home he goes to bed and forgets all about them.
The God of the Catholic Church stays up waiting for them to come and apologise so that He can forgive them, heal them and let them find refuge in Him so that they can sleep peacefully.
If you were a non-believer and I don’t rule out that you have stumbled on this blog from somewhere, then I ask you, if you were on your death-bed and you wanted a Priest to hear your Confession, who would you ask to be fetched, a Catholic Priest or an Anglican vicar?
Within the answer to that question you have the answer to the question: ‘Which Church does the secular British public take seriously and which church do they not take seriously at all?’