06 July 2008

Plotting with the Vatican

An article in The Telegraph reports that “senior Church of England bishops” have been in privy conclave with Vatican officials regarding both gays and women bishops. The article states that the talks have been going on without the knowledge or approval of the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In highly confidential discussions, a group of conservative bishops expressed their dismay at the liberal direction of the Church of England and their fear for its future.

Although no one is talking on either side, no one denies the secret talks took place. According to The Daily Mail, The Rt. Rev’d. Kiernan Conroy, Roman Catholic bishop of Arundel and Brighton:

A number of Church of England bishops are looking at the options open to them should things go wrong at the Lambeth Conference.' [Emphasis added.]

The meetings were with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the new name of the Holy Office of the Inquisition) which is probably the most powerful entity in the Vatican next to the pontiff. They are, obviously, in charge of enforcing doctrine.

What I find most interesting is that “insiders” say that the Bishop of Rome and ++Williams have a “strong relationship.” Hello? If Benedict and Williams have such a strong relationship, why was Williams clueless about the talks that Benedict had to approve personally?

One possibility is that the Pope believes the schismatics are going to appropriate the firm and seek reunion with the See of Peter. That is not going to fly in Parliament. Another possibility is that as Benedict seeks to move the Roman Church to the centre (from the circus-like atmosphere that the “Spirit of Vatican II” has fostered) he sees a flood of Anglo Catholics a near miracle. These are mostly younger people (baby boomers) who love the traditional trappings of pre-Vatican II liturgy. As they filter into individual Roman parishes, they will encourage the Tridentine Mass and ritual. One must wonder how Benedict will deal with their sexuality. It seems that a significant percentage of Anglo Catholics are gay males.

There is one other question we must ask: Why should this become known now. I believe the secret talks were leaked by the ultra-conservatives as an attempt to sabotage the vote Monday on the consecration of women to the episcopate in the Church of England.

Whatever the real answer is, it appears that William’s good friend, Benedict, agrees with the GAFCON crowd that Williams is a has-been and Benedict has cast his lot with the neo-Puritans. I wonder if Benedict has read all the Thirty Nine Articles. If he hasn’t he is in for a shock.

“Remember, remember, the fifth of November…” A penny if you get the connection -- that was a hint, by the way.