The heavy blows which laid the Anglican church low were not dealt by the Roman Catholic Church. Indeed the Anglican Church broke away from Rome. What severely weakened the Anglicans was the communist-inspired secular culture which sapped it of vitality; reduced the Gospel to an outlier of the greater scripture of Political Correctness. That’s what its disaffected adherents are fleeing from. The principal attraction of the Roman Catholic Church, at least to conservative Anglicans, lies precisely in that it hasn’t been eaten out by socialist/communist faith to the degree that the Anglicans have been. It’s not that they love Rome, they’re simply seeking shelter within its walls.
That’s not to say that Roman walls are safe from the same relentless attack of secularism which did Canterbury in. Given enough time, Rome too will go under; and Benedict knows it is only a matter of time until some ecclesiastical Barack Obama mounts the pulpit to warn in a honeyed baritone against Climate Change and extol the virtues of Islam. For that reason Benedict is picking up stragglers, having judged the Anglicans already shattered. But its real foe, upon which Rome’s eyes are fixed, are the socialist/communists. Osgiliath is driven in and the orcs are hard behind. […]
The Roman Catholic Church is living through an extraordinary historical moment. It is facing two religious competitors. From one side, there is the religion which pretends to be a political movement — socialism/communism. From the other flank there is the political movement which pretends to be a religion — Islam. Both religions have massive amounts of money, heavy weaponry and great cultural power. Pope Benedict has probably looked at the ancient but fragile ramparts of Rome and realized that unless something turns up, they may not hold. Indeed, any normal assessment of forces would conclude that Benedict’s Church is doomed. The future looks like a face-off between socialist secularism and unbending Islam. How can Christianity even hope to keep the field? The full power of political correctness are marshaled on the one hand, and the multitudinous throngs of the Jihad are arrayed on the other. Never mind Canterbury’s end. What odds would you give Rome? An observer would give none, but for this cryptic prophecy in Matthew 16:18.
And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Look to the east on the third day, Gandalf said. But that rescue was in a book of fiction; and Benedict has no choice but to put his trust in another promise in another book of faith.
I can’t remember now if he covers China’s new-found enthusiasm for Catholicism, but this factor is of particular importance in any calculation about the anti-Islamic pushback around the world. China’s culture and philosophy could manage to tame and modify Catholicism to meet its needs. Islam, on the other hand, would seem an implacable enemy to Chinese culture. That battle - China versus Islam - could be the bloodiest border of them of all.
However, the Sino-Islam conflict is far in the future. At the moment on the main stage is the drama in England. Henry VIII must be rolling in his grave, and Cardinal Newman must be dancing in his. The rest of us are scratching our heads, wondering if Benedict has done an end run around an increasingly homosexual clergy by admitting married priests in via the side door.
The calls for a married priesthood will begin in earnest now, and in justice those calls must be heeded. This is something Benedict obviously knows already; he doesn’t need anyone to tell him the obvious.