“Old England isn’t finished yet,” joked The Goons in the 1950s, “It’s finished . . . [tick, tick] . . . now!” And if you’d wanted a good benchmark for deciding when England would be finished, the demise of the Church of England as an international force would fit the bill. Well, it looks like that might be happening. The Bishop of Rome, as the CofE always used to refer to the Holy Father, has announced a special provision for Anglicans converting to Roman Catholicism, preserving parts of the wonderful Anglican liturgy. As The Anchoress says, this is big for Catholicism on two counts. First, it may well provide a bridge for the entire, vibrant African arm of the Anglican Communion to move to Rome and, second, the use of the Anglican liturgy may make people realize that things have gone wrong with the Roman one.
It is, however, a much bigger deal for the Church of England. As I think I have written before, it may mean that the current Archbishop of Canterbury, has, in his desire to please everyone, presided over a schism that could prove fatal to his Church. The Telegraph’s blog editor, Damian Thompson, has much more on what the story means for +Rowan Cantuar personally. There are signs, for instance, that His Grace had his arm twisted by the (Catholic) Archbishop of Westminster in their making a joint announcement.
Sadly, the writer to whom I would normally turn to for guidance in such matters, Archbishop Cranmer, seemed to put his blog on hiatus last Friday, for what appear to be personal reasons. Curiously, his last few posts were about the relics of St. Therese of Lisieux touring the U.K. and resting even in Anglican churches, and visited by English statesmen.
One wonders if the flame lit by Latimer and Ridley may indeed be about to go out.