There’s been much discussion in the Anglican blogdom about Cardinal Kasper’s assertion that it’s time for the Anglican Communion to chose between the Protestantism of the 16th Century and Catholicism. Said he:
Does it belong more to the churches of the first millennium -Catholic and Orthodox - or does it belong more to the Protestant churches of the 16th century? At the moment it is somewhere in between, but it must clarify its identity now and that will not be possible without certain difficult decisions.
But I think this misses the real divide in the Anglican Communion. Now if he had said it’s time to choose between the (small “c”) catholic church and the Protestantism of the 21st Century, he would have been much closer to the mark. For that is the real issue – will the Anglican Communion act in line with the Faith carried to us through the centuries, or will it continue to coddle (and eventually be taken over by) the counterfeit gospels of 20th and 21st Century mainline Protestantism?
Though Cranmer has his thoughts about this matter, today’s divisions have much more to do with dealing with mainline apostasy than with the Catholic-Protestant divisions of earlier centuries, particularly with orthodox Protestant Anglicans and orthodox Anglo-Catholics getting along well for the most part nowadays. Also, the divisions created by mainline apostasy are more fundamental when it comes to the basics of historic Christianity.
One may wonder if old-school Catholic prejudice against Protestantism is at work here. Although I am in several respects sympathetic to traditional Roman Catholicism (which I think slightly annoys my forbearing rector), one unsavory aspect is an animus against Protestants. It’s well portrayed by a Cartholick cartoon of a few decades ago (And if someone finds it, let me know so I can post it.) It shows Jesus shepherding sheep in his sheepfold. Outside the sheepfold wander other sheep, labeled “Atheists”, “Muslims”, etc. And guess what one of the stray sheep is labeled. Yep, “Protestants”.
This animus is mostly hidden today. But methinks Kasper let it show.