Iain, I suspect there are two very distinct issues — and ideologies — here, “Anglicanism” on the one hand and the Church of England on the other. If the pope’s overture finds an audience among the “international Anglican communion,” so be it. As the very idea of such a communion never made a lot of sense in the first place, I wouldn’t worry too much about its demise. The Church of England is something else, however. It is the state church (and so it should remain), one of the essential elements, however neglected, however frequently absurd, of what England is. In fact, it would be no bad thing if the C of E were to become a little less “church,” and a little more “England,” and if the departure of its international brigades increases the chance of this happy, but unlikely, event taking place – so much the better.
If I may raise a related topic mentioned by you, however, I’ve had a look at the places where the relics of St. Therese went, and while I’m no expert, they all seem to have been Roman Catholic places of worship — with the exception of a short visit to the theologically complex shrine in Walsingham. As for the “statesmen” who went to see the relics, the only story I can recall reading on that topic involved one Tony Blair, a Roman Catholic convert.
Be of good cheer, Master Murray, it’s not over yet . . .