Skip to comments.Catholics and Anglicans discuss reuniting
Posted on 02/20/2007 1:06:36 PM PST by presidio9
Issues surrounding a possible reuniting of the Catholic and Anglican churches under the pope are discussed in a 42-page statement currently being prepared, church leaders said on Tuesday.
The statement, titled "Growing Together In Unity and Mission. Building on 40 years of Anglican and Roman Catholic Dialogue", looks at common ground and differences between the two churches and is expected to be published later this year.
"Our ultimate desire is to achieve full visible unity," said Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane John Bathersby, co-chair of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) which is preparing the statement.
"The statement is put forward to foster discussion and reflection," Bathersby told Reuters.
Bathersby said the statement, which was leaked by British media on Monday, does not offer a conclusion on unity.
He said it was still incomplete and was awaiting a formal response from the Catholic Church and was being discussed by the Anglican Church meeting in Tanzania.
Bathersby said the discussion on reuniting the churches under a universal primate, the Pope, has been going on for 35 years.
"The separation that exists at the present time is a scandal to people outside the church who say why can't these Christians get together," Bathersby said.
"These things cause difficulties for the mission of both Christian churches. We realise we need to seek some agreement, some common ground so that we give a better witness to people."
The Anglican co-chair of IARCCUM, South African Bishop David Beetge, said unity was desired by both churches, but was a long-term vision.
"All we have said are there are certain areas, after 40 years of theological study, where we believe we have a degree of compatibility and agreement," Beetge told Australian radio.
"I think unity is a long, long, long, long, long journey. Of course we pray for it, of course we long for it. I would be surprised if I saw anything in my lifetime," he said.
Bathersby said areas where the churches differed included the ordination of homosexuals and women, which has occurred in the Anglican Church, and their authority structures.
The Catholic Church has a hierarchical system with Pope Benedict the ultimate authority. In the Anglican Church, the Archbishop of Canterbury is the focal point but each province has autonomy.
"They have a system of divested authority ... within that structure they sometimes find it difficult at times to hold together," said Bathersby, referring to the split in the Anglican Church over the ordination of homosexuals.
Bathersby said the issue of a universal primate also attracted differing opinions, with some Anglicans believing only Jesus Christ can be the head of the church.
If the Catholics and Anglicans could agree on the issue of a universal primate, Bathersby believed that the Pope would become the head of a united church.
"That would seem to be the idea because the Pope is the leader of a billion Roman Catholic Christians and the Anglican community ... is a much smaller church, I think its about 80 million," he said.
"If they were thinking were would they find this universal primate, it has been recognised in the old statement that all roads lead to Rome."
So much wasted effort on this fantasy.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, hundreds of thousands of Catholic Anglicans, if not perhaps millions, are knocking at the door in the TAC, FIF, and other groups, parishes, and dioceses, looking for nothing more than an Anglican Rite where they can be secure in their identity and traditions and given the protection of the Pope of Rome against creeping latinization.
Why is this so hard to accomplish? If 10% of the effort wasted on attempting to reunite the Anglican heretics were spent on trying to reunite the Catholic Anglicans, it would have already been done.
A few things: Since you apparently are wiser than both the previous pontiff (r.i.p) and the current, I would suggest you contact Rome so they know that this 35 year endeavor supported fully by both John Paul II (probably a saint) and Benedict XVI (too soon to comment on his sanctity) is a waste of time...it's your Christian duty!
There is an Anglican Rite approved in certain dioceses, so I'm presuming you're just disconcerted about its limited availability. Do you know of bishops explicity opposed to the Anglican Rite in their diocese?
Lastly, if they're interested in "nothing" more than their own rite, they should not be allowed in the Church. An interest in Truth would put correct mariology, ecclesiology (qua papal authority), and moral theology far above liturgical tastes in their order of priorities. I know plenty of Catholics who line up perfectly on all the Church's moral teachings but have whack (although not theologically heretical) liturgical tastes, shall we grant them their own rite too?
Although there's some sarcasm here, I pose this all in charity and mainly enjoy the give and take of good logical dialectic. After all, I'm a seminarian so I'm not allowed to be uncharitable ;)
In the 40 years Anglicans and Catholics have been "talking" about reunion, the Catholic element among the Anglicans has gone from a position of dominance to one of nothingness, and the Anglican Church has adopted wymyn priestesess, bishopesses, homosexualism, abortion, free denial of Christian dogmas like the Resurrection, Virgin Birth and Atonement, and it has destroyed its liturgical heritage. If a path of reconciliation was a glimmer in 1966, it is nothing but a black splotch of darkness today.
There is an Anglican Rite approved in certain dioceses, so I'm presuming you're just disconcerted about its limited availability.
There is an Anglican USE, not an Anglican Rite. There are no seminaries to train future Anglican Rite/Use Priests, no Anglican Catholic Colleges, etc.
Do you know of bishops explicity opposed to the Anglican Rite in their diocese?
Yes, most of the ones with a large Anglican/Episcopalian population and no Anglican Use Parishes. For example, in this country, Cardinal Phoney Baloney Mahoney in Los Angeles refused to reconcile several entire Episcopal parishes in the 1977-1983 period who petitioned to become Catholic. In Wisconsin, Illinois, California, and the Philadelphia Episcopal diocese (eastern Pennsylvanian) and the New York Episcopal diocese, despite the presence of many Anglo-Catholics and many Catholic converts from the Episcopal Church, and many rebellious Anglo-Catholic parishes there are no Anglican Use parishes in the Catholic Church, and no effort made to welcome the Anglo-Catholics. In England and Wales, the Bishops and the Bishops Conference have always refused any recognition of the Anglican tradition and have prevailed upon Rome to not allow the continuation of Anglican traditions by English converts. There is no Anglican use in Canada, Australia, or New Zealand, despite there being many disillusioned Anglicans among them.
There are similar groups among the Lutherans in this country and in Scandanvia, who hold the Catholic Faith and would like reconciliation to Rome in a Lutheran-Catholic Rite. See here: http://www.ecclnet.org/
Lastly, if they're interested in "nothing" more than their own rite, they should not be allowed in the Church. An interest in Truth would put correct mariology, ecclesiology (qua papal authority), and moral theology far above liturgical tastes in their order of priorities.
The people I am referring to hold the Catholic Faith, accept Catholic morality and place themselves under papal authority. They venerate Mary and the Saints. The pray for the Holy Souls. They are more Catholic than most American Catholics. The major stumbling point I've seen has been a total lack of communication back from the Catholic Church towards them because of a fear of upsetting the ecumenical fantasy of reuniting Canterbury to Rome. I am speaking of men like Bishop Keith Ackerman, the Episcopal Bishop of Quincy, IL, who told me point blank that if Rome were willing to let him remain Bishop, and his priests as pastors, and the diocese to maintain its Anglican worship and traditions, he would reconcile his entire diocese to the Catholic Church. The Bishops of San Joaquin and Fort Worth Episcopal Dioceses are of a similar mind, as are the priests and parishes in Forward in Faith, the Traditional Anglican Communion, the seminarians produced by Nashotah House, and elsewhere.
Its the same old problem we've seen in this country that drove the Ukranians and Rusyns out of obedience to Rome to produce the Orthodox Church in America and the Ukranian Orthodox Church, that caused the Polish National Catholic Church schism, and that keeps the Greek and Russian Orthodox in fear of our hand of friendship. The same attitude is still abroad in some of our supposedly most traditional Bishops, such as the current ordinary of St. Louis, Raymond Burke, who in the midst of his diocese collapsing around him with the continued population drain of St. Louis, has found the time to focus his persecutions on the ethnic Polish Parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka. It is impossible for men such as this to inspire trust within people who hold the Catholic faith, but practice something other than standard-fare Irish-American Catholicism.
Oh. I didn't realize you were the explicit-Bishop-naming-and-bashing type. While I may strongly disagree with certain bishops, I tend to think the Pope and the Holy Spirit might have higher reasons for putting them in charge than what my feeble mind can fathom. All that to say, this conversation probably won't go much further. (cause of the feeble mind and what not)
That's great that those anglican bishops you mentioned really really want to fully adhere to Christ's Truth and Church but can't because of a sacrifice they'd have to make. At the end of the day, if I truly "held the Catholic faith" but was not openly in communion with Rome I'd, by grace, give up any title, position, or way of life to make that a reality. Then I may try to persuade Church authorites ex post facto but my eternal destiny isn't something I'd mess around with.
"It is impossible for men such as this to inspire trust within people who hold the Catholic faith, but practice something other than standard-fare Irish-American Catholicism." While I might hesitate before throwing myself into the defense of His Eminence, Cardinal Mahoney, I think you're naive generalizations concerning His Grace, Archbishop Burke are frustrating. Perhaps you know him just as well as I do, but he inspired great trust in me personall y while I did my undergraduate work at SLU, and he did the same for countless friends of mine now in solid Catholic marriages, his seminary, or religious life. He wrote my recommendation to enter the seminary and he was greatly pained by what he was obligated by canon law to regularize with St. Stans. Unless you're a parishioner at St. Stan's who feels otherwise, I'd say you're not in a position to say much. Every orthodox Catholic I know in St. Louis realizes that the huff and puff over St. Stan's is just a straw-man rallying point for the heterodox, the libs, and anyone else looking for another reason to despise His Grace. But alas, reserving harsh judgements about individuals they don't know has never been the forte of most I've come across in the blogosphere. I'm sure I've been guilty of the same thus I haven't been much of a FR poster for years. This was somewhat of a random incursion on my part and probably won't be repeated any time soon.
Having to abandon their flock upon conversion to the Church isn't a sacrifice a pastor should have to make if it is avoidable.
At the end of the day, if I truly "held the Catholic faith" but was not openly in communion with Rome I'd, by grace, give up any title, position, or way of life to make that a reality.
I'm not in a position to disagree with you. However, for many leaders of disunited Catholics, it is obviously not yet the end of the day in their mind. Archbishop Ramsey of Canterbury made an open profession that he thought the Pope held the primacy and was the infallible shepherd of all Christians. There are a number of former Anglican priests, now Catholics, who will attest to his telling them this in their presence, and his explanation that this is why Pope Paul gave him a pectoral cross. But he never swam to Rome, because he thought it was within his abilities to influence a wider union of Rome and Anglicanism than merely his own person and that of his wife.
Then I may try to persuade Church authorites ex post facto but my eternal destiny isn't something I'd mess around with.
Its much easier to say that as a layman, especially a single layman, who does not yet have any charge over souls given into his care.
While I might hesitate before throwing myself into the defense of His Eminence, Cardinal Mahoney
Good. Read, sir, the sad history of St. Mary of the Angels parish in Hollywood. They've spent 30 years now petitioning for union with Rome under the Anglican Use provision, and have been constantly thwarted by Mahoney, who has worked his darndest to keep them out.
he was greatly pained by what he was obligated by canon law to regularize with St. Stans
I'm sure Archbishop Burke is a nice man, and has been a wonderful father and shepherd to you. Bravo for him. At the same time, anyone with an ounce of Christian charity can see where the fault in the St. Stans dispute lies. The "great pain" you claim he felt is undoubtedly his sense of Christian charity torturing his conscience over what he thinks the Law obliges him to do. Clearly, when the Law causes such torment of mind, it is no Law, and a different path ought to be being followed.
As I said, there is a 100 year history of mistrust among ethnic Catholics of the dominant power and position of the Irish in our Church. Countless Poles, Ukranians, Belarussians, Rusyns, and others have been driven from our communion by the back-hand of disfellowship when they felt their very identity, and the temporal edifices with which that identity is tied up, threatened. The level of mistrust this history has generated is the basic underlying cause of St. Stans resistance to Arhcbishop Burke's attempts at reforming their canonical foundation. Anyone with two eyes can see that they are in dread of the thought of the Bishop closing their parish, scattering their community to the wind, and taking the money they donated and which has turned into the valuable physical plant of St. Stans and using it for whatever pet project he or his successor might want to put it to. If the good Archbishop cannot see a way to quiet their minds on these topics besides excommunicating them, he is entirely lacking in pastoral approach to those who differ from him, and does not truly have the mind to be a Bishop.
St. Luke quotes our Lord's rather stern warning to His shepherds regarding those whom He would elect to rule who would decide that it was their position to abuse portions of their flock, and deny them the Eucharist in their community, rather than cherish and protect them. I'm sure you are familiar with it.
And the Lord said: Who (thinkest thou) is the faithful and wise steward, whom his lord setteth over his family, to give them their measure of wheat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom when his lord shall come, he shall find so doing. Verily I say to you, he will set him over all that he possesseth. But if that servant shall say in his heart: My lord is long a coming; and shall begin to strike the menservants and maidservants, and to eat and to drink and be drunk: The lord of that servant will come in the day that he hopeth not, and at the hour that he knoweth not, and shall separate him, and shall appoint him his portion with unbelievers. And that servant who knew the will of his lord, and prepared not himself, and did not according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. (St. Luke 12.42-47)
God bless you in your priestly studies. You're in my prayers.