The Episcopal Bishop of Maryland, Eugene Taylor Sutton, has announced that “the door swings both ways.” He’s rolling out the welcome mat for Catholics who, dissenting from Catholic teaching and yearning for a church home that will accept each of them “just as I am,” may want to go out through the in door that Pope Benedict XVI is holding open for Anglicans who want to become Catholic.
Predictably, the pope’s startling ecumenical gesture does not sit well with some folks. There is, in fact, a great deal of inflamed emotion among some Catholics and Anglicans over Benedict’s recent masterstroke of ecumenical diplomacy by allowing a special new door for Anglicans to formally enter the Catholic Church.
The biblical phrase “wailing and gnashing of teeth” comes to mind. Naysayers perched on the banks of both the Tiber and the Thames have been fuming and frothing and fulminating in their periodicals and on their blogs, inveighing against Pope Benedict for acting like a “pirate” and a “poacher” and a . . . a . . . a papist!
And yet, this chapter in Catholic/Anglican relations appears to be the wave of the near future.
My personal reaction to Benedict’s bold strategery toward the Church of England is simply to say, “Glory to God! Bravo, Pope Benedict! and, welcome home!” to our brethren who who are coming in out of the Anglican storm.
I know that some who read this will strongly disagree with me. To them I simply say, as the late Jim Croce once trenchantly observed, “You don’t tug on Superman’s cape, and you don’t spit into the wind.” Lately, the wind sure has been blowing where it will.