H/T to Ruth Gledhill for drawing my attention to this article from Frank Skinner in The Times.
In his article, My Church is not a safe haven for bigots, Frank presents the funniest lines I have read in simply ages. He is talking about atheists, and says:
I’m less keen on the glut of bandwagon atheists who’ve just unquestioningly joined in because they think the atheist label makes them sound clever and grown-up. I suspect that they see themselves in an elite senior common room with Bertrand Russell and Charles Darwin while people like me are in Julie’s Pantry with Cliff Richard.
I don't even know what Julie's Pantry is but it does sound fun! Though perhaps Cliff may not be my first choice for company. Help us if it rains and he repeats that Wimbledon affair.
In all seriousness, I thought Frank Skinner raised some interesting points in his article, but cannot agree that it's 'his' Church and nor is it helpful to use the term 'liberal Catholic' as though there is a viable alternative floating around where you can pick and choose your brand of Catholicism. We are, as most would profess every Sunday, "one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church".
Frank's reminder of Küng's analogy to a road travelled with cul-de-sacs, is, I think, a helpful one. I'm not so sure the entire Church wonders off down the cul-de-sac, so much as there is the odd foray into it from a few of her members. Sometimes these members are more numerous or influential than others (think of the Bishops during the Arian years), and sometimes they are just a few bods who think themselves prophetic but are just simply misunderstanding the ancient Tradition of the Church.
In the end, we do not need bigots in the Church, but we are a Church packed with sinners, and we none of us want to throw the first stone. Perhaps we can all, from time to time, however, offer a little fraternal correction (as we used to say in seminary) and let's not be labeling ourselves!