Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh, the irony for the Tiber swimmers and campers

One line of thinking at this time in the Anglican Communion goes like this: the Reformation was a mistake, and is now glaringly revealed for all to see as the Instruments of Unity fail to offer leadership of a meaningful kind; real improvement is not possible, but a really good church lies close at hand, a church with backbone and substance. For some that church is a swim across the Tiber, for others it can be associated with - following a recent generous offer by the Pope - by camping on the riverbank.

But in the last few weeks the Roman Catholic church has been, once again, exposed as failing to adequately deal with the ongoing and recurring problems it has faced in many countries in respect of errant priests abusing innocent children and youth. Even when acknowledgment is made of the great majority of priests who have been entirely laudable in their work through long ministries, and when acknowledgement is made of different perceptions in earlier ages of the seriousness of pedophilia (to my knowledge something other churches, including Anglican churches also were deficient about), there is now the problem that the usually admirable Pope Benedict XVI has offered a less than satisfactory approach to the present outbreak of news reports, especially from Ireland and Germany.

No church is perfect. No church has perfect answers to difficult situations. No church is a safe haven for people wishing to have sound leadership they never need be embarrassed about.

Perhaps the Anglican Communion could be seen in a better light by those who have left it for a church which cannot bring itself to acknowledge that Anglican ecclesial communities are churches.

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