I really do think it about time somebody put the present position of the Church of England, considered as a world religion, in plain ordinary language. So let me cut through all the equivocations and diplomatic but futile and weakminded phrases and state the plain truth.
This ancient and in its time much-loved religion became a world religion because it was the religion of the conquerors. It was because it was sustained by the military, naval and economic might of the British Empire that it spread all across the world, doing much good, served by martyrs, spreading the Good News to both the despairing and the proud among pagans that for all peoples there is a Saviour; But now there is no Empire: we all know, what no politician has the 'courage to say, that we are stripped of our world power and glory. The Empire has vanished politically, militarily and economically. So what about its own special religion, called by its own name and energised by its power? The sad truth is that that has also vanished with the disappearance of its soul, the power that painted the map of so many countries in red, that energised so many and such farflung territories that it was true that for the first time in history there was a flag flying proudly on which the sun never set.
The staff of that flag has been, broken and its bright colours trampled — by plain force. by cunning, by treachery and by a shameful rot at the heart of government. 1, who am nearly 80, have seen this. May God forgive all who are responsible. And when the head of this vanished religion goes to visit the representative of the Ancient of Days in Rome, as he has just done, he will not be told his true position. Rome too, can be diplomatic and kind-hearted, and can veil the truth where it would hurt too much. But when this last representative of vanished glories stands before the Throne of Peter, of what is he proud? He cannot bring with him the prestige of world power but only its broken remains: and he most certainly does not carry the sharp sword of doctrine but only the wavering wand of "comprehensiveness," and a cloud of confusion around his head.
If he stood on the steps of Peter dressed as a suppliant, with hands put out asking for some crumbs of that Truth entrusted to the Prince of Apostles, then indeed he might be told to "go up higher." But having assumed the highest already, with what shall he answer if asked to show credentials? For a man in such a position, the rest showa, think, be silence.
R. W. Twigg
Llantwit Major, Glamorgan.