A View From Middle England - Conservative with a slight libertarian touch - For Christian charity and traditional belief - Free Enterprise NOT Covert Corporatism

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Theologically a catholic?

The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that there are mutterings and murmerings on the Labour benches about disestablishment. This is in response to a vague aside by the Archbishop of Canterbury that it was “by no means the end of the world if the Establishment disappears”. No it wouldn't be, but as a previous Archbishop of York (Dr Habgood) commented, it is like unravelling auntie's jumper. Once started it won't end!

The usual suspects have come out of the New Labour closet. Alun Michael, David Cairns (former RC priest) and Peter Kilfoyle. There are not many in the Labour Party now who appreciate or understand the Church of England.

My advice to them is to leave well alone. It may all seem a bit odd to them, but I don't see many Roman Catholic women queueing up to be Queen Consort. Even though this is a shambolically religious country, the English seem quite happy today to keep their clerics at arms length (or further, if possible), but have it all as some kind of heavenly insurance policy (paid pro bono!) should the need arise. I'm relaxed with that, but New Labour isn't.

The Church has been linked to the state since 1534, when King Henry VIII broke from Rome in order to get an annulment of his marriage to Catherine of Aragon so he could marry Anne Boleyn. Henry, although theologically a Catholic, took the position of Supreme Head of the Church of England to ensure the annulment and was excommunicated by Pope Paul III. Henry did his utmost to keep out of England all manner of continental calvinist thinking. He failed in part with that.

Today I was at Mass. Henry may well have liked it, bar the prayers for Pope Benedict! The Church of England contains many a cross-section. It is perfectly and legally possible for the heir to the throne to marry an Anglo-Papalist, or any other person who is "theologically a Catholic", so long as they are not in communion with Rome. Cardinal Newman was said to have remained at heart an Anglican. Henry remained at heart a Catholic.

This is all lost on New Labour. They see the icing on the cake is a bit thin, but they never bother much about the cake itself. If they start attacking the fabric of the Church, not only will we lose much, but others will suddenly reflect on its impact on their own lives. My bet is it won't be happening any day soon.


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