Where did the Church of England go wrong?
A senior figure predicts imminent extinction. How did it get so bad?
- Brantly Millegan for Aleteia.org
- United Kingdom
- November 22, 2013
Christianity is dead in England - or at least it could be in a generation, says former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey.
“In many parts of Britain churches are struggling, some priests are diffident and lack confidence; a feeling of defeat is around... The burden seems heavy and joy in ministry has been replaced by a feeling of heaviness.”
His comments come in response to a report given at the Anglican Church’s recent General Synod which warned that shrinking congregations are an existential threat to the centuries-old national institution. According to the report, only 807,000 Englishmen attend Anglican services on a typical Sunday. That number represents just 1.5% of England’s population of 53 million.
In the land that built the beautiful Westminster Abbey, helpedevangelize Europe, and inspired the Inklings, what went wrong?
The Irrelevance of Relevance
“Church of England is dying because it has opted for the course taken by liberal Protestantism,” says Paul Gondreau, Professor of Theology at Providence College, “which is to say a course that conforms itself more and more to the modern secular world.”
“Rather than acting as an agent of evangelization, the Church of England, no doubt eager to demonstrate its modern ‘relevance’, has gone too far to the other extreme and has compromised its Christian identity (the ordination of openly homosexual ministers and the ordination of women provide two obvious examples). It is well known, for example, that the principle draw and defining element of Anglican liturgy is nothing at bottom theological, but aesthetic only.
"That the new Archbishop of Canterbury seems extremely favorably disposed to Catholicism, and even willing to take the Church of England in a more ‘Catholic’ direction, indicates that he sees the trend to secularism in the Church of England as spelling its doom.”
Academic Dean of Evangelization for the Diocese of Paterson Allan Wright also puts the blame for the decline of Christianity on Christians not staying true to the faith. “We can point to cultural changes and attitudes, an increased secular culture but more pointedly Christians themselves share in the downfall of Christianity through poor catechists, lack of family involvement in faith formation in the home and through Church leaders who seek the approval of the current social leadership rather than being disciples and witnesses to Christ.”
Full Story: What Went Wrong in England