Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Anthing is Possible

The Vatican has just announced a plan to make it easier for Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church while holding onto some of their Anglican traditions. That's like the Hatfields inviting the McCoys to a party to share some rhubarb pie. (Then, based on the comments of the Anglican Primate, Rowan Williams, it's like the McCoys saying in response, "We'll see.")

The impetus for this move springs out of a battle currently raging in the Anglican Church over whether or not women should be ordained as ministers. The Pope wants to provide a streamlined process for Anglicans uncomfortable with potential women ministers to convert to Roman Catholicism. The Vatican seems to be genuinely interested in preserving cultural traditions while also trying to reunite a worldwide Church: "The unity of the church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows."

Is it possible that an almost 500 year old rift could finally be getting a little smaller? I am intrigued by that possibility, although I also think the burden is on the Pope to explain why one united, worldwide church is such a great idea.

The church is a funny thing; it may be simultaneously the most powerful force for good and the most powerful force for bad in history. Will thawed relations with other church traditions make the Roman Catholic Church better? I have no idea. The only thing I can say for sure is that it will provide even more fodder for Dan Brown novels.


  1. When I read this, I was interested as well. I think you're right on. What's more tragic than funny is that the religious tradition of the church has been one of the most influential forces to drive people both towards, and away from, genuine faith. Not so much funny "ha ha". More funny "hmm..."

  2. Perhaps that tragedy is inevitable? It will always be driving people towards and away from genuine faith? What happens if the balance is tipped towards driving people away?