Discernment

 

Dear Frank,

I have been reading your Homily from Santa Marta the other Monday (to be fair my Italian is not all that good!) and I am really puzzled. You said that those who will not let themselves be open to the change which the Holy Spirit brings are ‘rebels’ and ‘idolators’.

Of course, I would not want to be thought to be either of those things. But – call it Anglican reticence, if you like – I have a real problem knowing what comes from the Holy Spirit and what derives from the spirit of the age.  Take gay lib, for example. It’s probably plain sailing for high flying theologians like your Fernandez fellow, but I sit listening to American bishops on one side and African bishops on the other, and I find myself in sympathy with both of them. Which is divinely inspired? I am damned if I can say!

Am I, I sometimes wonder, just too lily-livered for this job?  Archbishops of Canterbury, it is true, are not generally given to hurling accusations of idolatry at people before breakfast, but I would like to have at least some of your assurance and panache.

I admit I am no theologian: I owe everything in that department to Cranmer Hall and Sandy Millar. What I think I need is a crash course in ‘discerning spirits’ (isn’t that the phrase?) – knowing what comes from Jesus and what from the other place. Do you think Archbishop Fernandez could spare the time?

Your confused colleague,
Justin.

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