The Los Angeles Times has published an editorial about the Jan. 1 establishment of a U.S. ordinariate for Anglicans seeking full communion with Rome, which the newspaper interprets as an extension of “the culture wars” into the Church.
Under the headline “Courting Episcopalians,” the Jan. 15 editorial called Pope Benedict’s creation of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter “a provocative act with religious and cultural implications.”
Why does the Los Angeles Times care? Because, says the editorial, “it illustrates a larger point: that the culture wars that rage outside stained-glass windows have come to dominate debates within and among Christian churches.”
According to the Times, the “alleged ‘poaching’ of Episcopalians… would have been unthinkable in the 1970s when, in the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, a commission of Roman Catholic and Anglican bishops and theologians reached ‘substantial agreement’ on issues that had divided the churches since the Reformation…”
The pope’s decision to create Anglican-use ordinariates is “not because of traditional theological differences but because of issues that didn't loom large in the early 1970s: abortion, the ordination of women in Anglicanism (the cause of earlier conversions to Roman Catholicism) and, most recently, homosexuality and the approval by the Episcopal Church of gay and lesbian bishops,” opined the Times.
While the editorial concedes that “combatants in the clerical culture wars would insist that these differences are rooted in theology,” it concludes, “there is a striking similarity between sacred and secular debates over what the news media call ‘hot-button’ issues. On those questions, increasingly, there is no separation of church and state.”