Saturday, 21 November 2009

Rowan's Roman visit (2)

Updated Sunday lunchtime

Media reports following the meeting:

BBC Archbishop of Canterbury and Pope to ‘seek closer ties’ and

Robert Pigott Anglicans and Catholics attempt to bridge divide

New York Times Rachel Donadio Anglican Leader and Pope Hold ‘Cordial’ Talks

Telegraph Jonathan Wynne-Jones Archbishop of Canterbury tells Pope that Catholic row left him feeling ‘awkward’

Mail on Sunday Jonathan Petre Rowan Williams confronts the Pope over ‘poaching’ of clergy

A very useful commentary by Austen Ivereigh in America +Rowan and Pope Benedict ‘mend fences’

Updates

Observer John Hooper Williams faces pope over Vatican call for converts and also

Leader comment: A subtle champion of the faith

Ruth Gledhill has Archbishop of Canterbury in Rome: In giving we receive

The BBC radio programme Sunday has a segment starting about 32 minutes in. It includes a brief audio interview with Rowan Williams.

Bishop David Hamid has a useful blog entry, see Anglican-Roman Catholic Relations.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Saturday, 21 November 2009 at 10:56pm GMT | TrackBack
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I have found an excellent blog article on Dr. William's speach by former Anglo-Catholic priest Fr. Dwight Longenecker at gkupsidedown.blogspot.com.

The conclusion sums things up precisely:

The Archbishop, in his well meaning speech, is only offering the Catholic Church his own latitudinarian vision. For Catholics this is as insufficient as the Sectarian solution. After the Archbishop's speech we see again the deep philosophical divide between Catholicism and Anglicanism.

Posted by: Jakian Thomist on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 1:09am GMT

"Pope Benedict's gift today to Dr Williams of a pectoral cross is just as strong a sign of respect for his episcopal office as was Pope Paul VI's gift of a ring to his predecessor, Archbishop Ramsay. (Dr Williams always wears the ring whenever he sees to Pope: today was no exception)" - Austin Ivereigh, America's 'Today' -

I find it interesting that an American Roman Catholic publication, such as 'Today', should make this point - that the Pope recognises Rowan Williams as a bishop in the Church (by giving him a pectoral cross), in the same way as Pope Paul VI recognised Dr. Michael Ramsay - by taking off his own epsicopal ring and handing it to the Anglican Primate.

Both Archbishops of Canterbury are well-known Anglican Catholics, a point which successive Popes have not been slow to recognise. Both ABCs have been keen to get Rome to recognise the validity of Anglican Orders - even though the Vatican has officially denied their validity. So, the 'double-speak' of Rome continues.

The recent move by Rome to specially accommodate *High-Church* Anglicans could also be construed as a tacit admission on Rome's part recognising something of validity within the Anglican ministerial Orders - otherwise, why the uproar over the prospective ordination of female bishops in the C.of E.? This continuing ambivalenece on Romes' part must be an unceasing cause of speculation - on both banks of Tiber/Thames.

No doubt Archbishop Rowan's remarks about the Churches' need to ordain women, in order to embrace the understanding of complementarity of the Christian calling to both women and men, will encourage further thought by theologians of the RCC on the validity of their own intransigence in this important matter. However, I'm not holding my breath. In the meantime, would-be Anglican Dissidents need to consider their next move very carefully.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 8:20am GMT

Speech, please.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 9:43am GMT

Fr Longenecker is an unreconstructed Catholic triumphalist -- just the sort of counting up past wrongs that caused so much havoc in Ireland. His claim that the Immaculate Conception is a central doctrine of the faith is in tension with the Council's teaching on the hierarchy of truths, on which Dr Williams is drawing.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 9:53am GMT

The reference is to the earlier speech:
http://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/2616

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 10:11am GMT

The Financial Times has an interesting report from a writer who had obviously shadowed Rowan -
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/cd41f6a0-d567-11de-81ee-00144feabdc0.html

It covers the days around the announcement of the Anglican Ordinates and one thing it reveals is just how much Rowan has been surprised by the entree establishment gives him. While there is something charming about this naivety there are also disadvantages in missing the grounding in the privileges and relationships a more classical route to the throne of Augustine would have given him.

The last time I remember the Pope giving pectoral crosses to Anglican bishops was the week Cardinal Ratzinger excommunicated Fr Tissa Balasuriya a Sri Lankan theologian, for asking rather interesting and important questions and holding some rather Anglican views. I remember there was a letter in The Tablet calling on the Anglican bishops to return their baubles as a sign of support for this priest - there was no response from the bishops.
I mention this not just because of the pectoral crosses but because the "personal" profession Fr Balasuriya refused to sign placed the exclusion of women from the priesthood as a new article of faith - it was only after he backed off and signed the document that his excommunication was lifted.

Posted by: Martin Reynolds on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 12:17pm GMT

Father Reynolds - The dogmatic status of the teaching that women can not (not may not) receive Holy Orders is far older than that. It is a part of the traditional understanding of the sacrament in the RCC.

Posted by: anthony on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 3:57pm GMT

> The recent move by Rome to specially accommodate *High-Church* Anglicans could also be construed as a tacit admission on Rome's part recognising something of validity within the Anglican ministerial Orders - otherwise, why the uproar over the prospective ordination of female bishops in the C.of E.? This continuing ambivalence on Rome's part must be an unceasing cause of speculation - on both banks of Tiber/Thames.

There's no ambivalence. As far as Rome is concerned, Dr Wiiliams is an unconfirmed layman. The gift of a pectoral cross was just a meaningless gesture. It must be so, because if it meant anything at all Rome wouldn't insist on reordaining Anglican priests.

Posted by: Robin on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 4:03pm GMT

Absolutely spot on Robin and in the US former Lutheran,presbyterian and Methodist ministers have become Catholic priests . Indeed the Catholic Church allows all Trinitarian groups to on occasion use its churches. A friend of mine, a Methodist lady minister was ordained in a catholic cathedral in New Zealand.

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 8:23pm GMT

"The dogmatic status of the teaching that women can not (not may not) receive Holy Orders...is a part of the traditional understanding of the sacrament in the RCC." - Posted by anthony

If by "traditional", anthony, you mean less than 100 years old.

It is everso tiresome to be told that REACTIONS to modern developments have some sort of hoary, ancient, "traditional" status.

Condemnation of women's ordination *originates* w/ women's ordination.

Condemnation of same-sex marriage *originates* with (movements toward) same-sex marriage.

This isn't "The Faith": it's Newton's First (?) Law, "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction."

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 9:11pm GMT

I am sure I speak for many in the Episcopal Church and the wider Anglican Communion in wondering why our leaders are so desperate for a few crumbs of recognition from the Roman Catholic Church from which our forefathers parted company centuries ago. Personally, I couldn't care less what the Roman Catholics think about us, and I have seen nothing suggesting that they care in the slightest what we think about them. No-one at my Episcopal Church here in Washington is the least bit interested n being "reunited" with the Catholic Church, whatever that means. What on earth is wrong with being a proud Anglican?

Posted by: James Warren on Sunday, 22 November 2009 at 11:37pm GMT

James Warren, Christians should be working together for the Kingdom. This does not require juridical unity as Dr Williams insists. But warmer mutual recognition would help. How can we tell Israelis and Palestinians to love one another if we are so touchy and distant in our relations to our sister churches?

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 1:31am GMT

"It is everso tiresome to be told that REACTIONS to modern developments have some sort of hoary, ancient, "traditional" status. Condemnation of women's ordination *originates* w/ women's ordination. Condemnation of same-sex marriage *originates* with (movements toward) same-sex marriage." - JCF

I don't know how to interpret this. I can't argue against a postmodernist view that history has no role in the understanding of doctrine. If that's what you intend.

It is incredible to me to imply that female ordination and homosexual marriage were accepted in the RCC prior to Pius X. The stated opinions of Irenaeus, Tertullian, Hippolytus,John Chrysostom,and Augustine are "ancient" enough for many people. I suppose it is remotely possible that no woman explored the possibility of being ordained in the RCC before 1915. I concede the likelihood that no gay couple demanded the sacrament of Matrimony in the RCC until very recently, so no one had to say no. But I find it very improbable that if the gays had done so, the answer might have been yes.

It is certainly true, however, that formal definitions of doctrine in the RCC do not arise out of the blue. There is almost always a provocation. But the doctrine being defined does not itself arise out of the blue.


Posted by: anthony on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 3:09am GMT

Anthony, the Church has produced many dramatic innovations, and has then found that they were implicit in the Idea of the Gospel all along -- read Newman. For instance the idea of marriage as a Sacrament begins in the middle ages. Stronger valorization of same-sex relationships and female leadership in the Church would have a very rich reservoir of material to draw on. Feminist and pro-gay theologians have been assembling it for years.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 11:31am GMT

Spirit of Vatican II: I agree that we should all be working together for the Kingdom of God, and there is nothing stopping us all cooperating in feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and other works of mercy. Indeed, we should each strive to excel in such endeavors. But, it is a fool's errand to think that we can promote the Kingdom of God much by trying to eliminate the cultural differences that separate the different Christian denominations. We simply see things differently and most of us don't want to change. I really don't see what's wrong with that.
As an American, should I expect the Canadians to dissolve their country and seek unification with the United States? If the Israelis and the Palestinians could get along as well as the Catholics and Protestants in the United States or Britain, that would be a huge improvement on the current stand-off. Indeed that may well be a reasonable goal. But they are not going to sink their differences so that they become one undifferentiated people, and no-one should expect them to do so or even think in those terms.

Posted by: James Warren on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 4:58pm GMT

Fr Dwight Longenecker has written an excellent book ('The Little Rule and The Little Way') on Thérèse and Benedict - but can't resist polemical comments which, for me, made the book harder to read than it should have been, widening the divide between the True Faith and what people like me hold to. Clearly - like many converts of a particular tradition - he wants to find nothing of merit in the Church he has left, and everything of merit - including straight-down-the-line upholding of things like Humanae Vitae - in his new home. He may, of course, be right, but he's not perhaps the most balanced authority on the subject!

Posted by: Mynsterpreost (=David Rowett) on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 5:24pm GMT

Anthony,

It's simply unnecessary (unnecessarily speculative) to play the "If/Then" *anachronism* game.

I'm not intending to imply "women would have been ordained" or "same-sex couples would have been married", had they asked in the past...

...but it's equally impossible to prove the opposite.

The past (and its conditions) are in the past.

The present (and its conditions) are in the present.

What will we make of the future? THAT is the burning question. I simply refuse to be silent, in the face of the "(Hypothetical, Imagined) Past Should Determine the Future" canard.

Posted by: JCF on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 7:52pm GMT

The more the mighty Males First Males Only church rumbles, the more I hear pain and agonies of a sickness, slow unto death. It's all an organized, wholesale escape from believer conscience, discernment, and the holy freedom that simply will not ever completely go away, nor be completely vitiated by having somebody else work things out for you, promising utter truth and utter safety with, wait, even more, a certified guarantee of heaven.

Just because this stuff persuaded many in 300, 1110, or seemed to offer hope during the Great Black Plague that nearly wiped out Europe, or is avidly sucked up like Icees on a hot summer day by many believers today - does not actually make it genuinely persuasive and compelling, let alone comforting.

What the Vatican is currently offering to women, queer folks, and the average Anglican believer is as the saying goes, Cold Comfort. Anybody who has ever been seriously told that he or she must be dominated, controlled, and abused for their own good will immediately recognize the spirit at work? My geek friends opine that the original recipe for this updated Vatican Welcome Wagon dish must be Klingon?

Posted by: drdanfee on Monday, 23 November 2009 at 8:42pm GMT

JCF - just because you hold the moral high ground does not mean that everything you say is true.

To claim that church discrimination against women and gays did not exist before the 20th century is perverse. If the premise must be that the past is all "hypothetical and imagined" I argue that the future is speculation and cannot be influenced by anything we say or do, and that the present is part of the hypothetical past before we even perceive it.

If your intention is to deny the value of tradition, religious or secular, in making ethical judgments, just say so. You will be in excellent company. I wouldn't agree with it, but it is a reasonable and arguable proposition.

Accusing commenters on this thread of embracing the '"Past Should Determine the Future" canard,' as you call it, is itself a canard. What some of us believe to be the case is that the past determines the present. Not 'should' determine, but 'does' determine.

drdanfee has it right, above: "Just because this stuff persuaded many in 300, 1110, or seemed to offer hope during the Great Black Plague that nearly wiped out Europe, or is avidly sucked up like Icees on a hot summer day by many believers today - does not actually make it genuinely persuasive and compelling, let alone comforting."

And Spirit of Vatican II, further above, eloquently: "the Church has produced many dramatic innovations, and has then found that they were implicit in the Idea of the Gospel all along -- read Newman. For instance the idea of marriage as a Sacrament begins in the middle ages. Stronger valorization of same-sex relationships and female leadership in the Church would have a very rich reservoir of material to draw on. Feminist and pro-gay theologians have been assembling it for years."

Posted by: anthony on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 4:08am GMT

I was saddened to hear Archbishop Rowan tell his interviewer thast the Anglican position regardinging sexuality is as it was stated ten years ago. This is untrue, and he knows it. The American and Canadian provinces have moved forward, as has the Church in India. See USPG latest newsletter. So also has the Scottish Episcopalchurch, and many of his own Cof E flock.

Fr John

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 9:25am GMT

"I was saddened to hear Archbishop Rowan tell his interviewer that the Anglican position regardinging sexuality is as it was stated ten years ago." - Fr. John E. Harris-White -

Sad, Fr. John, but true - in a way. The trouble with official statements on behalf of Anglicans - even from (perhaps even more so from) the ABC - is that the proprieties have to be observed. And the basic truth about his statement is: that the official stand on homosexuality - expressed in 'Lambeth 110' from the 1998 Lambeth Conference - is still in fact the 'enshrined' position of the Anglican Communion.

The fact that individual Churches, or Provinces, of the Communion think differently on the matter of whether or not the homosexual orientation (or gender*) of a person should preclude them from being admitted to Holy Orders in the Church, does not over-ride the official Anglican Communion stance on this important matter as being that of Resolution 110. (*a separate issue)

Until this Resolution 110 is overturned by each of the existing 'Instruments of Unity' it stands as the official 'mind of the Communion'. This will be one of the bargaining chips for the acceptance, or not, of the 'Anglican Covenant'.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 9:58pm GMT

Yes, but Rowan seems to think that 'the Church' is bishops or even just archbishops ! We don't count in his eyes ! What a timewaster...

'I was saddened to hear Archbishop Rowan tell his interviewer thast the Anglican position regardinging sexuality is as it was stated ten years ago. This is untrue, and he knows it. The American and Canadian provinces have moved forward, as has the Church in India. See USPG latest newsletter. So also has the Scottish Episcopalchurch, and many of his own Cof E flock.

Fr John

Posted by: Fr John E. Harris-White on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 9:25am GMT

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Tuesday, 24 November 2009 at 10:30pm GMT
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