Holy War Lite: Pope Poaches Anglican Priests

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 11/05/2009 03:08:00 PM
I have a massive backlog of possible posts I haven't been able to attend to due to not having an Internet connection at home. Lest I pay highway robbery rates to have my British Telecom line activated, this will have to continue for a while. Nonetheless, the ongoing brouhaha between the Anglican and Catholic churches certainly merits attention. Tonight being Bonfire Night which Britons celebrate by burning effigies of Catholic conspiracist Guy Fawkes is certainly appropos. Why exactly are they damning whwat is now Britain's largest religion when the one Fawkes was trying to dismantle is self-destructing?

It is no secret that the Catholic church has eclipsed its Anglican counterpart in terms of attendance here in Britain. Once more, this is no mean achievement in that the former has shrunken at a slower rate than the former. Heck, Tony Blair's even become my co-religionist. The Anglican church has been riven by internal conflict these last few years over efforts at "modernization" by enlisting women and gay priests. This internal turmoil has certainly played a role in losing some of the faithful.

Adding insult to injury, however, the Catholic church recently offered a sort-of conversion [1, 2] for Anglican priests and their flock to our bastion of religious conservatism (where it's unlikely that the Scissor Sisters will be saying mass anytime soon). Making it easier for Anglicans to switch over has raised accusations of opportunism. In contrast to jihadis and crusaders going at it, these Christian faiths have what I call "holy war lite" or a religious cold war. It's certainly interesting stuff that demonstrates that proselytizing always involves a bit of--you guessed it--marketing.

The not-so-politically-correct US General William G. Boykin once famously remarked that "my God is bigger than yours." I, however, make a smaller claim that should not arouse any sort of mischief by declining to assign moral valence: "My Pope's craftier than the Archbishop of Canterbury [!]" And that, dear friends, is not usually a characteristic associated with a staunch defender of tradition often perceived as being trapped by it.