Part Two: Pope Benedict and his vision
I began Part One of this article by using in a not very flattering fashion that great image from biblical revelation, the Ark of Noah. But Noah’s Ark can stand for more than the indefinitely pluralistic ecclesiastical zoology of the Anglican Church. It can and should stand, as it has in the Liturgies and among the orthodox divines down the ages, for the ship of salvation set on chaos waters by the hand of God. Catholics identify that ship with the Barque of Peter, since, they maintain, the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ subsists in the (Roman) Catholic Church. Certainly, Pope Benedict has behaved as though the vessel onto which he was inviting so many otherwise possibly reluctant passengers was a true Ark of Noah, raised on the waters of relativism, secularism and (we may add) militant Islam which, in so many parts of the world, threaten to engulf the Christian faithful. I believe that a good deal in various policies the Pope has initiated or at least sustained can be illuminated if we suppose him to regard himself as (despite his humility) a Noah-figure, placed by Providence in a unique office at a singular cross-roads in human affairs.