11 October 2011

Zimbabwean President knows religious history

The Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury recently visited with Robert Mugabe, President of Zimbabwe.  During the meeting, President Mugabe reminded Archbishop Williams that the Anglican Church is "a breakaway group from the Roman Catholic Church."

Cue the crickets.

Capello tip to Fr. Z.


  1. I’m trying to figure out what your cryptic comment is intended to covey.

    Perhaps we’re to be cheered that, a ruthless dictator like Mugabe has so benefitted intellectually from his Catholic primary, secondary, and university education from the Marists and the Jesuits and in preparation for his multiple Catholic weddings that he was able to seize the opportunity to embarrass the Archbishop of Canterbury by reminding him that, as a schismatic, he was following a second-rate Christian tradition with diminished access to the spiritual gifts Mugabe has so regularly tapped into as result of his extensive Catholic formation and ongoing ties to the Church ?

    From the perspective of those of us aware of the thousands that the Catholic/Marxist Mugabe has slaughtered, the scores of churches he’s seized and the numbers of bishops and priests he's imprisoned, the depravations he's wantonly subjected his people to, the sanctions imposed on him by the US, UK, etc. for the gross human rights abuses he’s committed, etc, the insensitivity of your snarky triumphalist posting is inexplicable at best.

    I would appreciate your explaining what was your point in flinging out this zinger in this blog.

  2. I meant nothing more than what I said, Ed.

    It's not everyday taht someone confronts the Archbishop of Canterbury with the historical reality that the Anglican Church is not the Church that Jesus founded.

  3. Thanks - I appreciate the clarification.

    But I am still confused.

    I’m getting the impression that you might be surprised to learn that most Anglicans are quite aware of the historical roots of their church and would find nothing the least bit revelatory or threatening to their faith path in the content of the Zimbabwean murderer’s remarks to the ABC that you have published.

    So, just as it’s true that it's not every day that Rowan Williams is confronted with such a remark about such an elementary fact of the history of his denomination (it’s actually pretty hard to forget something like that when the Queen is still the “Defender of the Faith” in England, Parliamentary approval of changes to the Book of Common Prayer is still required, and the Queen with the Prime Minister make final decisions on appointment of new Bishops), it's also true as well that it’s not every day that someone bothers to confront a Catholic Cardinal (or even a Vocations Director) with the equally unremarkable fact that the Pope is the head of the Church.

    I doubt that you would (at least I hope you wouldn’t) give the time of day to the grade-school taunts of a respected religious leader from a minor-league-but-right-in-your-neighborhood vicious mass murder like Richard Speck, but for some reason you have chosen to publish the puerile taunts from one of the most ruthless tyrants of our time (that hypocritically and scandalously flaunts his Catholic identity) of the head of a Christian denomination that has been in, at least until very recently, a special relationship of “intercommunion” with the Church.

    Bottom line, I just hope your readers understand that

    (1) Mugabe is a mass murderer of dimensions increasingly well-known in the West (deserving only of condemnation and not an ounce of free publicity in even sensationalist publications, much less in those with loftier goals) and that

    (2) Anglicans almost universally do understand what Henry VIII did (and at least some of the reasons why he did it).

  4. It was a bit of humor, Ed.

    Anglicans may understand what Henry VIII did and maybe why, but from my experience most Episcopalians don't understand either.

  5. I think you’re right about the general lack of knowledge by country club Episcopalians of the history of their church and the development of its theology. In the past decades the mainstream Episcopal church (and most of the Church of England) has careened into some kind of vague Unitarianism and/or Christian existentialism while superficially retaining an anglo-catholic liturgy.

    On the other hand, the historic Anglican tradition remains orthodox, robust, and quite alive in places like Zimbabwe, Rwanda, Uganda, etc., where the Anglican missionaries of the British colonialists did an exemplary job of spreading their version of the good news to many of the downtrodden (usually by the British and/or local tribal warlords) peoples of those lands.

    I think that’s part of why, for Christians knowledgeable and genuinely concerned about the plight of their brethren in Africa often oppressed by ruthless mass murderers like Mugabe, that the Archbishop of Canterbury at some personal risk to his own safety was willing to meet with the very thug who has been directing the looting of Anglican churches, murdering faithful and spirit-filled clerics and parishioners, installing his own operatives in the hierarchy of Zimbabwean Anglican church, etc. and to demand of Mugabe that his predation end has seemed to be the more noteworthy story this week than the implicitly approving republication of the utterance by that ruthless and evil defiler of the sacred and of his own people of what in some circles is apparently still judged to constitute a clever and devastating rejoinder in an inter-denominational theological discussion.