I am loathe to comment too readily on the tribulations of the Anglican Communion emerging at the Lambeth conference of Anglican bishops (for one viewpoint, read here) however, a very direct speech to the conference by Cardinal Ivan Dias is worthy of mention.
You see, the Cardinal quite bluntly told the assembled anglican bishops that they are in danger of 'spiritual alzheimers' and 'ecclesial parkinsons' if they forget the apostolic tradition and go 'whimsically' in one direction or another with no reference to authority or unity. His hearers politely listened, but his words caused great offense elsewhere.
The Alzheimers and Parkinsons Societies jointly complained:
Seeing the challenges faced by people with Parkinson’s disease or dementia trivialised by comments from such a prominent public figure is demoralising. People with dementia and Parkinson’s face the challenge of coping with a physical condition which slowly robs them of their lives. These comments serve to reinforce negative stereotypes surrounding these devastating conditions.
It is indeed a strong image. And perhaps a little insensitive for some. However, isn't it rather remarkable that sufferers of Alzheimers and Parkinsons are more offended at being compared to the anglican communion than the other way round? Indeed - to compare such sufferers with the assembled anglican bishops may be a very 'negative stereotype'.
By the way, the Cardinal also described the anglicans as 'myopic'. However, although short-sighted myself, I shall be making no complaint.