Anglican Archbishops Betray the Reformation and Retract the Wrong Apology
I was irritated to read on the BBC website a report about the Anglican Archbishops of Canterbury and York apparently apologising for the Reformation. I resolved to write a blog post about it and duly returned to the article this morning. At its close, a sentence had been added in the meantime:
Correction 18 January 2017: This report has been amended to remove a suggestion that the Church had apologised for events following the Reformation.
Phew, I thought. The article was not accurate, and the dear old Church of England hasn’t sold out to Rome.
During the Reformation, many sincere Catholics were persecuted by Protestant authorities, and Protestants likewise by Catholic governments. The Anglican Church, though, has little to apologise for in this regard. Catholics were not prosecuted for their beliefs but for their allegiance to a foreign power- the papacy, which had all but declared war on the English government. Most were ignored so long as they made token appearances at the parish church; priests and Jesuits were prosecuted as traitors, not heretics, and by the civil authorities. Not so in Rome. Protestants were burned because of their beliefs, not disloyalty to secular power.
The correction is therefore rather odd. The Anglican Church may not have itself prosecuted Catholics, but it was complicit in the process. If ever the two churches should meet together to exchange hand wringing, it is concerning this. Yet this is the one thing the correction seeks to cover.
A far more damning piece in the article has not been removed and is something over which these two men should repent:
In a joint declaration issued after the service in October, the two leaders [Archbishop Justin Welby and Pope Francis] said they were "undeterred" from seeking unity between the two denominations.
Unity with Rome? He won’t apologise for post-Reformation persecution, but is still pressing to undo and unravel the entire Reformation itself?! We are told that the break caused "lasting damage" to the unity of the Church and caused a "legacy of mistrust and competition”.
A so-called evangelical Archbishop of Canterbury cosies up to the Pontifex Maximus seeking unity. It is this that requires an apology.