By now you may or may not be aware that Pope Benedict has issued an invitation for Anglicans to become Roman Catholic. The exact details of this are beyond me, but it got me thinking.
Firstly, I thought any of us could become RC any time we wanted. I mean, I assumed there was some sort of entry ritual, like an assault course or a quiz or something, and you couldn't just waltz in and expect to be one of the gang, but I always thought that the entry ritual was open to whoever wanted to give it a lash. It wasn't that I was sitting around waiting for an invitation. It was more that I didn't feel inclined.
Secondly, and perhaps more interestingly, if I were issuing an invitation to a group of people to join my church, I'm not sure that the Anglo-Catholics would be the focus of my marketing strategy. Don't get me wrong: I have nothing against them or anything; it's just that broadly speaking they're the ones who are defined by being against women bishops and gay people, and I'm just saying that wouldn't be my first choice of essential criteria. Now if someone happened to be against women bishops and gay people, I wouldn't object per se to them coming along of a Sunday (and if they can bake, so much the better and I'm sure we can get over our differences), it's just that it's not the thing I'd be first inclined to go after.
Thirdly, if anyone is inviting me to join a church (and I notice they're not), I'm not sure the Roman Catholic one would be my first choice. Now, I do not wish to offend my RC readers, and assure you that it's not that it's absolutely not an option; it's just that it wouldn't be my first choice. I've always quite liked the Pentecostals, for instance - or indeed any place that combines 'being allowed to dance' and 'being able to dance' so effectively. And I've long had a soft spot for the Quakers. Some of them seem a bit nuts, but I quite like how they all just sit and think and call it a Sunday service. I could do that. I can sit and think. So I think if I was to go anywhere and angle for an invite, it would be one of those two, or perhaps the Rastafarians, because I think I could carry off the hairdo. But I think if I really wanted to join them, I could, because I don't think you have to be invited, and I would just have to gear up for the assault course.
So, in conclusion, the Pope has done something I didn't know he had to do and which I wouldn't want done to me anyway to a group of people who are not me, so that's fine.