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Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Two barrels, one report.

Fr. Philip Powell, as is his inimitable Dominican habit (rimshot!), notes something significant about the announcement that Anglicans are getting a glidepath to entry into the Church:

That belly churning howl you heard last night in the US was the collective wailing of the English/Welsh Catholic bishops as Papa Benny ground their lib noses under his bright red shoes. What a satisfying crunch that was, is, and will be forever and forever. Amen.

That is the flip side, and strikes me as the unspoken, and deliberate, second impact from this announcement--namely, a boot to the collective backside of the British Catholic episcopate. As bad as things can be in the U.S., they have been immeasurably worse in England and Wales since the closing of the Second Vatican Council. Imagine an episcopate of Mahonys and Weaklands from Land's End to the River Tweed, and that's pretty much Catholic Britain, with a handful of exceptions. It would take decades of patient episcopal replacement to change the conditions on the ground there. Unless, of course, you were able to do something like inject a brand new ecclesial structure into the mix, independent of the local bishops, along with tens of thousands of newly-minted Catholics with zero patience for bureaucratic prog-speak.

That might tilt the playing field in a landslide hurry.

Under the circumstances, it seems likely to have been goal 1b all along.

Just my tuppence.

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