Pope plays to gallery
Leading Anglican clerics have expressed dismay at the meeting between Pope Benedict XVI and Archbishop Rowan Williams in Rome in November, claiming that the Pope is playing to the gallery while seeking Catholic expansion.
The meeting came hot on the heels of press announcements that Pope Benedict will welcome disaffected Anglican clerics with open arms, and was said to have been cordial.
However, many Anglicans question why the Archbishop has not made a strong stand against the Pope’s moves to poach Church of England clerics upset by such changes as the ordination of women clergy.
Rev. George Pitcher, who is also a religious correspondent for the Daily Telegraph, wrote in his November blog: ‘If Dr Williams has been determined not to make a drama out of this crisis, the Pope has been playing to the gallery. And it’s his strategy we should be focused on. I want the Archbishop to ask what the Pope’s game is.
‘I’ll tell you what I think it is. Benedict is determined to rebuild his one, true and, importantly, universal Church. Under a banner of doctrinal purity, he is annexing orthodoxy. That’s why, in 2006, he dropped the title Patriarch of the West from the list of handles conferred on the Pope. Too parochial; too implicitly restrictive. Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church is altogether more agreeable to him’.
The Pope presented a gold pectoral cross – an emblem of episcopal leadership – to Dr Williams, as a sign of friendship. For Pitcher, the Pope is ‘on a reactionary and Counter-Reformational rampage’.