…..the serious crisis facing their communion, saying that attendance continues to dwindle, church pews are evermore far from full. For Britain in particular, part of the problem simply boils down to caring for edifices (usurped centuries ago from the Catholic Church) without congregations.
Catholics should be grateful to the Anglicans for raising the curtain on what happens, secondary to acceptance of: contraception, abortion, no-fault divorce, same-sex marriage, and the ordination of women. These things are entirely incompatible with a body of believers being truly faithful to Jesus Christ. Far from a blossoming, the branches have withered, and the stump of a trunk is about to retract into itself.
While I was in Assisi, I enjoyed dinner late one evening in a nearly-empty dining room. A husband and wife were together on holiday, seated at a table near me. I did not eavesdrop, but I did come to a realization that they were English speakers, most likely from England.
Toward the end of dinner, I took a few pictures of the dining room. The waiter and owner brought them some Limoncello from Sorrento to try. They had paid their bill and were soaking up the glow of the last few minutes of post-prandial satisfaction in such a peaceful place.
It must have been the way I was holding my phone to take the picture, because the wife, correctly observing that I was dining alone and thinking that I had just taken a “selfie”, asked me if I wanted to have one of them take my picture. I explained that while I had previously succumbed to taking a selfie (with my wife) in the past, I was not doing so in the restaurant, but was only taking a picture of the lovely dining room. This led to an opportunity to chat briefly about what we were each doing in Assisi.
When I explained that I was on “retreat”, the husband quickly became animated, and wanted to know a little more about me. I was given to the realization that I was in the company of two Anglicans, who were interested in my conversion from the Episcopal Church to Catholicism. He seemed intrigued that I would leave the Episcopal Church, and while I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I believed that all of Anglicanism was in rapid decline, I was emphatic about the fact that the Episcopal Church would soon cease to exist as a functioning body of believers in the these United States.
I believe my words were, “The Episcopal Church in America is dying, and will soon be dead.” And then I provided some evidence, using the Washington National Cathedral as a prime example (a worship space so underused that it is now being considered for skateboarding, flying paper airplanes, and prayer to Allah), he astutely did not try to argue these points, and we continued our chat so peaceably and jovially that when I mentioned Pope Francis, he became even more animated: “He’s my guy! I really, really like him!”
I readily agreed with him regarding Francis, and pointed out that the Catholic Church was fortunate to have had truly wonderful popes (BXVI, JPII) in recent memory. So pray for the conversions of Mr. and Mrs. Anglican who found themselves in Assisi over the New Year, headed back to England via Florence!