Never discount the strength of other people's gut feelings, especially in matters of religion, says Stephen Hugh-Jones--who admits to a touch of old-fashioned English anti-papism himself ...
So the 950-year-old rift between the Roman Catholic church and the Orthodox may be patched up: the Pope and his cardinals are meeting on November 23rd to discuss a document to that end. If I were Satan, I'd be laughing all the way to the stokehole: artificial unity is a splendid way of creating its opposite. But what gets my adrenalin flowing is the words Roman Catholic.
My childhood home was in a Scottish village. My "uncle" was an elder of the kirk. His English wife, my godmother, was an Anglican. So most Sundays the household went to the Presbyterian village church, but occasionally to an Episcopal one in the town nearby. The differences caused not a tremor in its harmony.
Just what divided the two sects I never grasped. Bishops, of course, different forms of service, and a few peculiarities of behaviour thereat. Anglicans crossed themselves, Presbyterians didn't. Anglicans knelt to say their prayers, Presbyterians merely leant forward in their seats. Hence the Presbyterian gibe;
The Pisky prays upon his knees,
His back he winna bend,
Because he darena meditate
Upon his latter end.