Union with Rome
The Bishop of Chester is spending October as the Anglican observer at a Synod of 200 Roman Catholic bishops. He has told the gathering that his Church accepts the Pope’s primacy. “Anglicans have come to accept the wisdom and need of a universal primacy, exercised by the Bishop of Rome,” he said, while acknowledging that “agreement remains to be reached over the precise rights and responsibilities to be attached to a renewed and fully ecumenical primacy.”
This pronouncement is in line with the conclusions of the Anglo-Roman Catholic International Commission in 1999. Discussions are proceeding, with a view to eventual unity when such issues as the nature of the papal office, the place of Mary, and the role of the laity are resolved. But Anglican clerics are deceiving themselves if they think their negotiations can change the Vatican’s position in any meaningful way. Bishop Foster is not even prepared to face up to the fact that Rome regards his ordination to the ministry as null and void. The Church of England is truly a poor witness for biblical Christianity in its present condition, but if it were absorbed by Rome, this would be an utter catastrophe, especially as it is the Established Church south of the border.
“Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is entrusted with upholding the doctrine and morals of the Roman Catholic Church, is to retire next year when he turns 75,” reports The Daily Telegraph. “The Bavarian-born prelate has headed the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for 21 years.”
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is, of course, a continuation of the Inquisition, which was instituted by the Pope in 1233, after Rome’s horrific crusade against the Albigenses. Wylie in his History of Protestantism shows how dreadful its activites were: it “worked on and on, day and night, century after century, with a regularity that was appalling. With steady march it extended its area, till at last it embraced almost all the countries of Europe, and kept piling up its dead year by year in ever larger and ghastlier heaps.” The Inquisition’s bloodthirsty persecution continued until the nineteenth century, when it halted as a result of political change.
Its name was changed to the Congregation of the Holy Office in 1908, and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1965, but its murderous record remains. In their work, The Inquisition (1999), Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh write, “Under this ponderous appellation, the former Inquisition has continued to operate ever since, as if a sanitised title could distance it from its bloody and incendiary past”. The Church of Rome is indeed the woman of whom we read in Revelation 17:6, “I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus”.