Skip to comments.Coming and Going [Pope Benedict XVI to Rowan Williams]
Posted on 11/24/2006 5:00:30 PM PST by sionnsar
Pope Benedict XVI to Rowan Williams:
In the present context, however, and especially in the secularized Western world, there are many negative influences and pressures which affect Christians and Christian communities. Over the last three years you have spoken openly about the strains and difficulties besetting the Anglican Communion and consequently about the uncertainty of the future of the Communion itself. Recent developments, especially concerning the ordained ministry and certain moral teachings, have affected not only internal relations within the Anglican Communion but also relations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church. We believe that these matters, which are presently under discussion within the Anglican Communion, are of vital importance to the preaching of the Gospel in its integrity, and that your current discussions will shape the future of our relations. It is to be hoped that the work of the theological dialogue, which had registered no small degree of agreement on these and other important theological matters, will continue [to] be taken seriously in your discernment. In these deliberations we accompany you with heartfelt prayer. It is our fervent hope that the Anglican Communion will remain grounded in the Gospels and the Apostolic Tradition which form our common patrimony and are the basis of our common aspiration to work for full visible unity.
The world needs our witness and the strength which comes from an undivided proclamation of the Gospel. The immense sufferings of the human family and the forms of injustice that adversely affect the lives of so many people constitute an urgent call for our shared witness and service. Precisely for this reason, and even amidst present difficulties, it is important that we continue our theological dialogue. I hope that your visit will assist in finding constructive ways forward in the current circumstances.
The Episcopal Diocese of Washington to Rowan Williams:
An important aspect of our Anglican identity is our comprehensiveness as a reformed and catholic church in which our unity is expressed in common prayer rather than adherence to a formal confession of faith other than the Creeds.
Those seeking "alternative primatial oversight" are in effect asking to walk away from the messiness and ambiguity of our current disputes about gays and lesbians in the church. In so doing, they give to these questions a doctrinal weight not in keeping with historic Anglican understandings.
Some of those requesting "alternative primatial oversight" have also claimed that The Episcopal Church has not responded adequately to the Windsor Report. However, we do not view the Windsor Report as an ultimatum dictating precise forms of response by The Episcopal Church. We remind you of Archbishop Eames statement in the Foreword to the Report that it is not a judgment but part of a process. We understand participation in this process to include serious study of the report and prayerful consideration of its recommendations to The Episcopal Church. We believe that The Episcopal Church did so in its preparation for and actions at the General Convention, and committed by resolution to continue to do so, even as the process continues worldwide.
Finally, we feel compelled to question the premise of "alternative primatial oversight." There is no provision in the Constitution and Canons of The Episcopal Church for the Archbishop of Canterbury to exercise jurisdiction in this Province. In the Episcopal Church, the General Convention has sole authority to amend the Constitution and Canons, including the formation of dioceses and the assignment of dioceses to provinces within the Episcopal Church. We recognize that the Primates Meeting at Dromantine in February 2005 recommended that you appoint a panel of reference "to supervise the adequacy of pastoral provisions" made for dioceses in dispute with their provincial authorities. We remind you that in the Communiqué from that same meeting (par. 10) the Primates expressed caution regarding "any development which would seem to imply the creation of an international jurisdiction which could override our proper provincial autonomy." Thus we urge that any work of the panel of reference respect the authority of the Presiding Bishop and the autonomy of The Episcopal Church.
Are the liberals running scared? Sounds like it. And they have every reason to since Benedict XVI explained things to my gracious lord of Canterbury. That to continue to be a player on the international Christian stage, he's going to have to rein in the Americans or throw them over the side.
Will he? Dr. Williams is not a stupid man. He knows, because the Pope essentially told him, that if the Americans are allowed to continue to call themselves Anglicans while making up their religion as they go along, then continued Anglican-Catholic dialogue would be a waste of Rome's time. He also knows, or should, which Anglican faction Benedict supports and that the Pope will not be impressed by excuses like "polity" or "autonomy" if TEC legally opens up on the Anglican Communion Network.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Dr. Williams may be desperately trying to find a way to hold this thing together but sooner or later, he's going to realize the truth. He can be a major international Christian figure without the Americans(and probably the Canadians) or he can head a tiny, liberal, pseudo-Christian debating society with them. As far as the current situation of the Anglican Communion is concerned, there is no via media.
Chris Johnson has just added to his line of Vast Conservative Anglican Conspiracy line of products. Click through on the picture to see more:
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