"One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind."
That is a lovely reminder that God loves Protestants and Catholics equally!
But later in the day, surveying Twitter, from which I detect rising anxiety that Scotland will sever ties with England, apparently not having really, really enjoyed several hundred years of marriage, I chanced upon Damian Thompson musing on ...
... the state of the marriage between 'left' and 'right' in the Roman Catholic church as exposed by the question of another kind of marriage.
For those who do not know Damian Thompson, he is a conservative Roman with deep ties into the English hierarchy and the inner sanctum of the Vatican. He is always worth reading, if slightly uncomfortable at times, for few Christian leaders avoid being targets of his lacerating barbs.
In this post even the Pontiff is subject to this vituperation:
"Pope Francis has done his own smudging with the theological photoshop."
From an Anglican perspective, it is fascinating to watch this emerging differences of viewpoint within a hierarchy now empowered to voice questions about the application of doctrine (though not encouraged to voice questions about doctrine itself).
Suddenly sharp Anglican differences over homosexuality do not seem quite so wayward. When the benchmark was Benedictine doctrinal purity to the 16th degree, we looked like a theological rabble. If not living in a parallel universe, marked by chaos compared to the strict order of the Vatican, then we were travelling in such a way as to eventually put light years between our two communions.
The quaint notion that our church was some kind of Roman-lite church and thus ever in proximity to re-union with Rome via ARCIC has taken a severe hammering through the years between Gene Robinson's consecration and the end of the Benedictine papacy. But now the tables have been turned by Francis.
The emerging debate openly described by Damian Thompson acknowledges what Anglicans have publicly wrestled with for years: we are in the midst of a striking transformation in Western society in respect of the contours and boundaries of human relationships and the least we can do as a church is work on an appropriate God-honouring response which respects human dignity.
For Rome to engage with a degree of openness of voice and width in the range of questions being spoken indicates that, if anything, the question today is not whether Anglicans are Roman-lite but whether Rome is becoming Anglican-lite.
To be sure, it is only 'lite.' Thompson is clear (as we might expect of a conservative) that the inner sanctum of doctrine itself is not about to be broached let alone breached. We are formally no closer to re-union but perhaps empathetically we can engage in dialogue about the great question of how we live Christianly in the reality of a changing world.
I will NOT publish comments which engage with the general debate about homosexuality (as often featured here previously - I see no need to re-cycle that debate). I will publish comments which engage with the specific question of the present and future of the Roman Catholic church as it engages with current issues (including marriage and divorce), as sparked by Thompson's post, and especially as referenced to the present and future of the Anglican Communion.
POSTSCRIPT: Yes, yes, I understand that the truly conservative Anglican has known for years that Rome cannot be trusted and thus one has always looked further east, beyond the Tiber to the Bosphorus for rock-solid faithfulness to apostolic doctrine :)