Monday, 9 November 2009

Come to Papa!

Well it's finally out - and no great surprises.

There is much that can be said - much that is being said - on the publication of the Apostolic Constitution. What continues to puzzle this particular dull-witted priest is the following:

All of those who might take up Papa's kind offer are of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion - Yes?
These are people who for their entire life have espoused an ecclesiology that emphasises the sacramental and priestly ministry of the Church of England - Yes?
That being so, if they take up Papa's offer, exactly what are they saying about all they have recieved and (if ordained) done in their Christian life?

Is there a canon, footnote or nudge and wink that sets this all aside? A kind of Article 26 to excuse all that has gone before? It seems to me that in order to take up the offer of BXVI one has to accept that for all those years of faithful worship - in spirit and in truth - one has never actually been forgiven, never confirmed, never truly recieved, let alone never truly been a priest.

Writing from my own context as an ordained priest in the CofE, for me to leave and take up the offer (never a possibility in case you didn't know) would feel like I had turned to the congregations I minister to and, with the clown's drum and cymbal triplet, shouted "Fooled you!" as I left the church.

I realise that the above trivialises the pain that will undoubtedly be felt where a priest leaves a congregation to take up the offer, but if there are any (even possible) converts out there, please explain it to me.

I'm not expecting any responses. Not because I think they're not interested in answering but because I have a fairly realistic idea of how many people read this!

ADDITIONAL: With thanks to MadPriest's sidebar for the reminder, it is best expressed by the late, lamented ++Runcie - "According to Rome, I'm a layman. We have to talk about that first."


  1. Fooled you! I read this interesting post.

  2. I don't think many priests will leave, you know. It all looks very attractive until you are actually faced with the reality and then it suddenly doesn't. I wonder will Ed Tomlinson go? Ta-ra is all I can say:)