Saturday, 28 November 2009

The crisis in Anglicanism threatens its position in national life

[...] The congregation is falling away almost as quickly as the money. Thirty years ago 11 per cent of the UK population went to church and the average age of the flock was 37. Today, only 6 per cent are regular observers and the average age is 51. With the Anglican Church in a state of decline, troubles are piling up in battalions. The divisive issues of the ordination of women as bishops and the rights of homosexual clergy are making Anglo-Catholics susceptible to the inveigling of Rome. The Roman Catholic Church’s apostolic constitution has set out the terms whereby Anglo-Catholics would be permitted to become Roman Catholics without giving up their liturgies.

Now that 8.5 per cent of Anglican clergy jobs are expected to disappear over the next five years, the very question of the Church of England’s role in the nation’s affairs is at issue. There is still a case for the Church to be the spiritual witness to moments of temporal national communion but the privilege of establishment becomes much harder to defend when the congregation is thinning out and the Church cannot pay the bills. The Anglican Church faces a dilemma analogous to that of the BBC. It needs a wide scope to justify its position of national privilege and yet its future as an organisation may lie as the provider of a smaller, niche product. Read more
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Sam Norton said...

The 'read more' link is broken.

Revd John P Richardson said...

Thanks Sam. Fixed that. It is a Times editorial piece.