When I left the Church of England in 1992, I contrasted its think-whatever-you-want-to-think approach with the discipline of the Roman Church. Recently two separate and very different events threw that contrast into stark relief.
The first was the daft exhortation by the Very Reverend Kevin Holdsworth, the rector and provost of St Mary’s Cathedral, Glasgow, to Christians to pray that little Prince George might grow up to be gay. Presumably the prayer should read: “O Lord, grant unto this Thy child a union which can never produce children of its own.”
It is fair to add that this senior Anglican did eventually apologise, recognising that he should not have focused on the innocent child, but he still resolutely continues to promote the agenda of homosexual marriage. Yet the Cof E’s position is that marriage is a union between a man and a woman. Why therefore is a senior cleric allowed to preach the contrary?
Presumably he is allowed to for the same reason that the fourth most senior bishop in the Church of England, the then Bishop of Durham, remained in post after questioning articles of the Creed.
It is not as if Rome has no dissident priests, but it does tend to require conformity from its hierarchy and senior clergy and to impose it fairly rigidly. Similarly it does not like its sacraments mocked or indeed taken lightly, which brings me to the second event and the announcement that Meghan Markle will be baptised and confirmed in the Cof E prior to her marriage to Prince Harry.
Now hang on a second, Justin Welby. Was Ms Markle already planning to avail herself of these sacraments because she had been converted to such beliefs, or is this just a matter of form now that she is marrying a royal? Surely that is a question which matters.
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