Torn over issues of female clergy, the practice of homosexuality, declining Sunday services attendance, and some of its former churches turning into mosques, the Anglican Churches of England and Scotland were required by the Queen to welcome Pope Benedict XVI at former Catholic institutions lost when stolen by Henry VIII in the 16th century. Indeed, the current Queen Elizabeth is probably named after Elizabeth I who was excommunicated by the Pope also in the 16th century. Again, history surprises us in our lifetime. Many thought the Soviet Union, the "Iron Curtain" and the Berlin Wall would out last us and our children, but in an historical instant they were all gone.
Now we have the Pope welcomed by Queen Elizabeth to visit the former Benedictine monastery of Westminster Abbey, and the actual courtroom where Thomas Moore was sentenced to death because of his loyalty to the Vicar of Christ, the Roman Pontiff. Four hundred years ago Catholic priests were hung, disemboweled and quartered for the "crime" of being a priest. Henry VIII stole, looted and destroyed 600 Catholic churches and monasteries. Now the Roman church returns to declare blessed, John Cardinal Neuman who left the Anglican priesthood, converted to Roman Catholicism and became a cardinal. A Pope honoring an Anglican who converted to Roman Catholicism in England under the witness of the schismatic Archbishop of Canterbury... historically unthinkable but now a reality.
One senses that the Christians of Europe are possibly finally reuniting. Devastated by Nazism, Communism, Secularism and now a growing Islam, Christians are seeing an urgency and duty to save Europe's Christian soul and identity. Perhaps our lifetime will witness the spectacular once again...a reuniting of Protestantism, Anglicanism, the Roman and Orthodox churches.