2004-10-09 Manchester CathedralThe Anglican Church has been caught in something of a tug-of-war over the last several years, as progressive thinkers and traditionalists tussle over its direction. Both sides in this struggle continue to engage in behaviors that keep the controversy alive. The latest example of this is a New Age fair that Manchester (UK) Cathedral plans to host, as the (UK) Daily Mail reports (WebCite cached article):

The Church of England was braced for a fresh row today after a cathedral announced plans to host a ‘new age’ festival.

The event — featuring tarot card readers, crystal healers, dream interpretation, and a fire-breathing vicar — is to be held in Manchester Cathedral in May.

But the move is certain to anger traditionalists, who feel the Church has already strayed too far from tradition.

The article notes there’s been an exodus of traditionalists from Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism, and implies that this plan is sure to inspire more defections. Even so, Manchester bishop Nigel McCulloch is not fazed:

But Bishop Nigel insisted the unconventional activities due to take place in Manchester Cathedral were not incompatible with Christian belief.

He said: ‘The event is a chance to discover and explore old and new Christian spiritual traditions from living in a community to praying with icons, from healing to bead-making, from Franciscan spirituality to contemporary music and movement.

Practitioners from all over the country will be on hand to offer their experience of how God speaks to us today through the cultural language and practices so common in mind, body, spirit fairs.’

This is not a message that traditionalist Christians — who devalue, if not dismiss as Satanic, any spirituality outside their religion — will accept. The Mail might be correct in saying that this will drive more Anglicans to the Catholic Church. I’m just not sure that number will be significant, however.

Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons.

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