Thursday, 20 December 2007

Rowan Williams on Christian unity

This week’s Tablet has an article by the Archbishop of Canterbury which looks forward to next month’s centenary Week of Christian Unity.

His article is titled No common language yet. It starts this way:

A hundred years on from the establishing of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, how much further forward are we? And what exactly are we praying for during this week of prayer? On the whole, it’s become a fixture for most “mainstream” denominations, a few days when the more enthusiastic or more biddable members of the congregation turn up to someone else’s church for a well-mannered but often rather lukewarm joint service or two, or perhaps for a talk by a prominent local leader.

The aspiration that we end up relating better with each other, or even that we end up more willing to engage in witness and work together is entirely worthy, and is probably widely fulfilled. But are we praying for anything more than this?

For some people, the answer is clearly “no”. To look beyond this fostering of local goodwill, they would say, is always in danger of slipping towards the yearning for some universal institution with clear central control - at worst, a Pullmanesque Magisterium, some people’s nightmare of Roman Catholicism…

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 11:30am GMT | TrackBack
You can make a Permalink to this if you like
Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Opinion
Comments

It is bizarre to see the Archbishop gently mocking the lukewarmness of ecumenical occasions. Lukewarmness seems to be his own preferred mode of operation in a situation of potential disagreement.

Posted by: Fr Mark on Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 12:24pm GMT

I'm arguing here:

http://pluralistspeaks.blogspot.com/2007/12/pardon-archbishop-says-anglicans-are.html

That this passage...

Along with the rest of my Anglican ecclesial family, I don't agree with the official Roman Catholic (and Orthodox) teaching which sees eucharistic communion as depending entirely on the attainment of a comprehensive agreement on doctrine. But I must also grant that this discipline at least shows that what is understood by the Eucharist (and thus, by extension, the recognised ministry of the eucharistic president) is to do with very basic aspects of faith as an activity of the Body, not of the individual.

...is inconsistent with the narrowness of what he is trying to do with the Anglican Communion, if indeed this is what is really intended.

Posted by: Pluralist on Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 10:03pm GMT

"in danger of slipping towards . . . some universal institution with clear central control - at worst, a Pullmanesque Magisterium, some people’s nightmare of Roman Catholicism"

Ironically, that's my nightmare of the "Anglican Church" [sic!], as is taking shape under Rowan Cantuar. :-(

Posted by: JCF on Thursday, 20 December 2007 at 10:42pm GMT

I am right with RW in so many instances, until he then repeats some conservative drivel about how trustworthy received or traditional views are, compared with the fallibilities or limitations of any individual thinker. I read RW as wanting to believe what he is saying, but I cannot believe that a keen mind like his has failed to notice, failed to think things through.

I see no empirical-historical evidence that tradition - whether cultural or religious revelational - has had any free ticket exemptions from terrible error, any more than individual views and discernments might have demonstrated.

If individual discernment and understanding can be flawed, partial, and incomplete - horribly in love with itself and with power - communal discernments are often all of these, writ large in thousand foot letters, then add, usually violent and bloody to boot.

I trust Jesus to save me, not any individual or communal pledeges of allegiances. I would not be at the kingdom feast, were I to be constrained by the lack of invitations conservative believers would offer me, individually and/or communally.

Duh.

So far as I can tell from reading the OT (Prophets especially), and the NT as well - both individual and communal discernments pretty much equally stand under the judgment of God in Jesus, both held to those same high standards - love of God and love of neighbor at least equal to love of self.

I just completely lose Canterbury at points like this. Does he really believe that God is only revealed and trustworthy via communal vehicles?

Sure then, we should turn back all the clocks we reset, owing to exceptional and scorned new witness which only later was found true and loving in ways that the traditional and communal failed to be.

Posted by: drdanfee on Friday, 21 December 2007 at 4:09am GMT

"Along with the rest of my Anglican ecclesial family, I don't agree with the official Roman Catholic (and Orthodox) teaching which sees eucharistic communion as depending entirely on the attainment of a comprehensive agreement on doctrine."


It seems Dr. Akinola, in fact, agrees with it. He has refused to attend at least two eucharists because the successive Presiding Bishops of the Episcopal Church were attending. Not presiding, mind. Just attending.

Posted by: Malcolm+ on Friday, 21 December 2007 at 5:12am GMT
Post a comment









Remember personal info?

Please note that comments are limited to 400 words. Comments that are longer than 400 words will not be approved.

Cookies are used to remember your personal information between visits to the site. This information is stored on your computer and used to refill the text boxes on your next visit. Any cookie is deleted if you select 'No'. By ticking 'Yes' you agree to this use of a cookie by this site. No third-party cookies are used, and cookies are not used for analytical, advertising, or other purposes.