The Times journalist who recently wrote that “the great princes of the world’s churches” were now, all of a sudden, keen to adopt the slogan, “It’s good to talk”, was perceptive enough to ascribe this to events within the bounds of these churches rather than to a surge of brotherly love. Survival is the aim. It provides the motivation which apparently leads these ” princes of the world’s churches” to conclude that “united we might just stand, but divided we most certainly fall”. Archbishop Carey is credited with having taken the initiative in drawing up what we might call the survival covenant. He is reported as saying that “one day Britain should, and would, have a single, united Church”. And the report goes on: “At Windsor in front of the Queen, he joined leaders of Britain’s other mainstream Christian churches in signing a covenant that committed them to achieving precisely that unity.”
The photograph taken on the occasion shows our Protestant Queen in the middle of this motley clerical assembly, which included the now almost-ubiquitous figure of Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor. The signing ceremony was aptly described by another journalist as “a scene of startling cynicism”! The signatories were described as feeling so beleaguered that they were “huddling together for comfort”. Rome, beset by troubles arising from the scandalous behaviour of her paedophile priests, is anxious to make as many outside friends as possible while the opportunity is there, but without, of course, yielding on any point of doctrine or practice. Meanwhile, in many places within her pale, there appears to be a widespread breakdown of the bond between priest and people.
The Cardinal’s attendance and signature, in the presence of the Queen, might well be regarded by the outside world as some sort of endorsement of the respectability of the system which he represents. In reality, it is rotten at the core. But what of the Church of England? Why should Dr Carey be anxious to find supportive friends? We are told that his Church’s congregations are getting older and smaller by the year and that it is living “a financial nightmare of its own”. It is largely as a result of its failure to sound the gospel trumpet as it should be sounded that this has happened. The forces of hedonism and paganism have taken over, and the outlook is bleak. In the view of The Times journalist, the signing of the covenant was more a sign of panic than of cynicism. One day, we fully believe, there will be a united British Church, but it will be the result of adopting the principles embodied, not in this worthless and God-dishonouring Windsor covenant, but in the Solemn League and Covenant of our illustrious ancestors.
The media officer of Catholic Truth, Ronald MacDonald, has given a blunt response, in a letter to the press, to Roman Catholic Archbishop Keith O’Brien’s statement to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland that he was grieved at being prevented by his Church from taking communion at an Assembly worship service. Mr MacDonald stated in his letter that his Church’s stance on this matter is not merely a question of discipline but “one of a profound and unchangeable belief”.
He quotes from the Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Ecclesiastical communities derived from the Reformation and separated from the Catholic Church have not preserved the proper reality of the Eucharistic Mystery in all its fullness, especially because of the absence of the sacrament of Holy Orders. It is for this reason that Eucharistic intercommunion with those communities is not possible for the Catholic Church.” Mr MacDonald continues: “Archbishop O’Brien has therefore seriously misled the General Assembly on this crucial teaching”.
So we are left in no doubt about the official stance of Rome, but the deplorable fact is that the leadership of the Church of Scotland is so besotted by ecumenicism that it appears unable either to discern the blandishments of Rome or to accept the fact that the erroneous Romish doctrines of the priesthood and the mass will remain part of its “unchangeable belief”. It seems that our once robustly-Protestant national Church is wilfully blind to the reality of Rome being semper idem – always the same.