Recently I was watching a Youtube video that showed the closing of an Anglican service. The Anglican Church in question is part of the Anglican Network in Canada (ANiC).
(For those who don’t know, the ANiC is part of the Anglican realignment that is occurring throughout the Western world. As heretical parent churches wither, their dioceses shrink, and their churches close, a fresh, orthodox, vibrant parallel church is supplanting it and will, by the force of brute mathematics, replace it.)
Wherever such videos exist, you will find a Roman Catholic hovering around. Not any kind of Roman Catholic, however, but a specific sort of hyper-sanctimonious troll whose comments show neither Christian charity nor even the most superficial social awareness.
Usually they will begin by firing a grandiose broadside along the lines of, “Invalid mass! False worship from a heretical church founded to feed a king’s libido!” Or, “This is a mass of demons! Turn to the true mass of Roman Catholicism away from the heresies of sex-crazed Luther’s Protestant “Deformation”.” I kid not. This is literally the sort of stuff they pump out.
Quietly responding to this, even in the most cautious, gentlemanly and kindly manner, will result in escalating hysterics. I tend to imagine them hammering feverishly on their keyboards, “like lab rats on methamphetamine” (to quote Frasier).
Then comes the next phase of wearisomely abrasive posts, as long as your arm. These consist of strips of prefabricated assertions, circular reasoning, or begging the question fallacies in which they assume that all other churches are fallen, heretical, and false. It never seems to occur to them to consider that Roman Catholicism might warrant these charges more than the targets of their rage.
In my experience, any “conversation” degenerates immediately as the Roman Catholic zealot fires zingers, abuse, names, and rank profanity. In fact, somewhere in my Youtube account is a conversation that was so peppered with four-letter words that I was forced to block the man (they almost always are men). As his harassment continued, he informed me that he actually was keeping the commandment of Christ to love. His abuse was love.
More profanity has been directed at me by Roman Catholics than by Muslims. In general, Muslims will be polite, even if they feel compelled to tell you that you will boil in hell for eternity. If you try to be diplomatic, they will be diplomatic in return, eager to call infidels to their faith in a demonstration of sincere, though erroneous, zeal.
One cannot help seeing a tragic parallel between Roman Catholic zealots and the New Testament Pharisees, a parallel that I have seldom seen enacted so predictably and with paint-by-numbers rote by Protestants, although I am certain that self-proclaimed Protestant bigots exist everywhere as well.
Online interactions like these prove something about the root stock from which various believers arise. For Roman Catholic defenders, the pride is palpable. In their minds they are not lowly vessels saved by grace alone, but rather they are the best kind of Christian that exists. They are infinitely superior to Protestants, and thus they obtain enjoyment and purpose from condemning Protestants of any stripe, rubbishing their simple faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Their chief glory must not lie in following the Lowly Nazarene, for if it did, surely they would seek to obey his imperative to love. Instead, they seem to derive more gratification from being submitted to the powerful and great Pope who leads a powerful and mighty church. Even in conversation, they seek to convert people to their church, not to the Lord Jesus Christ who is relegated to a comparatively minor role of being the casual agent, or the machinery beneath the hood. And so their behaviour demonstrates how the pope has supplanted the affections and obedience that properly belongs to Christ alone.
To “James”: I am sorry you deleted our conversation. I write with sadness this final comment, which I hope you will see.
Yes, I certainly agree with you about the errors of Islam. Unfortunately, I can be consistent in my position but it is very difficult (indeed, I would say impossible) for you to be theologically consistent in your accusation that Anglicans are guilty of heretical interactions with Muslims. This is because the church you defend has stated in its own Catechism (s. 841) that Roman Catholics and Muslims adore the same god.
This is not a mere statement of shared monotheism, as you suggest. It is much more. It is an affirmation that the respective deities of Islam and Roman Catholicism are the same – part of a common “faith of Abraham”, despite Muhammad proclaiming things that Abraham never believed and which are antithetical to both the Old and New Testaments.
We agree that the Christian God is triune. The Muslim deity is unitarian. Therefore this cannot be the “same god”, as Rome teaches. Moreover, this represents a clear break with Roman Catholicism’s historic position on Islam and other religious faiths. Nonetheless, since Pope John Paul II allowed himself to be photographed kissing a Koran, your church has accelerated its interfaith experimentation to an unprecedented degree.
It is sad that you were unaware of this. I provided you with links to the National Catholic Reporter showing Muslim art and symbols being displayed in a Roman Catholic Church in the United States. You had previously said that this never happens, could never happen, and has never happened anywhere in the Roman Catholic Church. It is with sincere sorrow that I point out to you the fact that your church has been greatly committed to interfaith experimentation.