.- Canon Edward Norman, the chancellor of York Minster Cathedral and a leading Anglican scholar, has announced that he is converting to Catholicism when he retires in May, calling it âa shaft of light before the sun sets,â reported the Daily Telegraph Feb. 24.
In his most recent book, âAnglican Difficulties: A New Syllabus of Errorsâ, Canon Norman offers sharp criticisms of the Church of England. Though he argues that the book is actually not a criticism, he writes: "Every disagreement [at the General Synod]â¦ proceeds by avoidance of principled debate. Ordinary moral cowardice is represented as wise judgment; equivocation in the construction of compromise formulae is second nature to leaders."
The ecclesiastical historian said leaving the Church of England and becoming a Catholic are independent. âThere is a big hole at the centre of Anglicanism â its authority. I don't think it's a Church. It's more of a religious society,â he told the Daily Telegraph.
âAnglicanism is going to tip into the sea,â he predicted. âBut it will all come out in the wash.â
Canon Norman, who was originally in favor of the ordination of women to the priesthood âon rationalist liberal groundsâ, now says that he is against it based âon the evidence.â
âWe were told that a whole dimension to humanity was missing from the ministry, but that enrichment hasn't happened,â he told the Daily Telegraph.
"Women emphasize caring, relationships, suffering, healing and love. Men are interested in truth, ideas, conflict, sin, wickedness and virtue. Those are caricatures, but there was wisdom in our Lord entrusting the office of the priesthood to men,â he told the newspaper, admitting that his words were probably not appropriate for the current culture. âThe priesthood is about teaching, not just conveyance of the sacraments. If you think Christianity is all about love and relationships, then it will disappear in the flood.â
The chancellor, who says his only ideology is âclassical Christianity, without reservation,â has started attending mass in Catholic churches.
"Catholicism is what I have always believed, though I did not have the wit to realize it," Canon Norman told the Daily Telegraph. "You might call it a shaft of light before the sun sets."