Wednesday, 5 October 2016

News reports from Rome

Updated again Thursday evening

For text of today’s common declaration see previous article.

ACNS Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby “undeterred” by “serious obstacles” to unity

The ordination of women and “more recent questions regarding human sexuality” are serious obstacles in the path to unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics; but they “cannot prevent us from recognising one another as brothers and sisters in Christ”, Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said in a Common Declaration.

Speaking of the meeting between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey in 1966 – the first such public meeting of a Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury since the Reformation – and their Common Declaration, Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby said that their predecessors had “recognised the ‘serious obstacles’ that stood in the way of a restoration of complete faith and sacramental life between us. Nevertheless, they set out undeterred, not knowing what steps could be taken along the way, but in fidelity to the Lord’s prayer that his disciples be one…”

ACNS Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops “sent out” for united mission

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and Pope Francis have commissioned 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops from across the world to take part in united mission in their local areas. The bishops, selected by the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (Iarccum) were “sent out” for mission together by the Pope and Archbishop from the same church were Pope Gregory sent Saint Augustine to evangelise the English in the sixth Century.

“Fourteen centuries ago Pope Gregory sent the servant of God, Augustine, first Archbishop of Canterbury, and his companions, from this holy place, to preach the joyful message of the Word of God,” Pope Francis told the bishops. “Today we send you, dear brothers, servants of God, with this same joyful message of his everlasting kingdom.”

Archbishop Justin Welby told them: “Our Saviour commissioned his disciples saying, ‘Peace be with you’. We too, send you out with his peace, a peace only he can give.

“May his peace bring freedom to those who are captive and oppressed, and may his peace bind into greater unity the people he has chosen as his own.”

The commissioning and sending out came in the setting of a Vespers service, led jointly by Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby, at the Church of Saint Gregory on the Caelian Hill in Rome…

Anglican-Roman Catholic unity takes shape in Canterbury and Rome

Pulpit swaps, shared retreats, joint action on social issues and regular meetings between clergy are just some of the ideas for local expressions of unity between Anglicans and Roman Catholics taking shape during an ecumenical summit in Canterbury and Rome. This afternoon, during a service in the monastery church of San Gregorio al Cielo, Pope Francis and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will commission 19 pairs of Anglican and Roman Catholic bishops to implement local expressions of unity in their dioceses around the world…

Updates

The Living Church
Ecumenism that Transforms

Receiving ministries, Anglican and Roman Catholic

Episcopal News Service has a number of videos of the events in Rome:

Video: Pope Francis preaches at ecumenical vespers in Rome
Video: Archbishop of Canterbury preaches at Roman vespers
Video: Archbishop, Pope exchange gifts as a symbol of partnership
Video: Presiding Bishop speaks from Rome

ACNS Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin pray for unity

Pope Francis has this morning (Thursday) held a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury and other Anglican Primates and bishops at the Vatican. The Pope told them that ecumenism was “never an impoverishment, but a richness” and he said that during the past 50-years of closer relationship between Anglicans and Catholics, “the certainty has deepened that what the Spirit has sown in the other yields a common harvest.”

Full text of remarks is below the fold.

The full text of the Pope’s comments:

Your Grace,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Thank you for your presence. It is a beautiful sign of fraternity to see the Primates of so many Provinces of the Anglican Communion joining you here in Rome. We have solemnly celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the historic meeting between Blessed Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey. That meeting has produced many fruits: we need think only of the opening of the Anglican Centre in Rome, the appointment of the Archbishop’s permanent representative to the Holy See, and the start of our theological dialogue, represented by the volume containing five documents from the second phase of ARCIC (1982-2005). In sharing together these fruits, we remember that they come from a tree which has its roots in that meeting of fifty years ago.

Reflecting on our continuing common journey, three words come to mind: prayer, witness, mission.

Prayer: yesterday evening we celebrated Vespers, and this morning you prayed here at the tomb of the Apostle Peter. Let us never grow tired of asking the Lord together and insistently for the gift of unity.

Witness: these past fifty years of encounter and exchange, as well as reflection and common texts, speak to us of Christians who, for faith and with faith, have listened to one another and shared their time and energy. The conviction has grown that ecumenism is never an impoverishment, but a richness; the certainty has deepened that what the Spirit has sown in the other yields a common harvest. Let us treasure this inheritance and know that we are called each day to offer to the world, as Jesus asked, the witness of our love and unity (cf. Jn 15:12; 17:21).

Mission: there is a time for everything (cf. Eccles 3:1) and now is the time in which the Lord challenges us, in a particular way, to go out from ourselves and our own environs, in order to bring his merciful love to a world thirsting for peace. Let us help one another to keep at the centre the demands of the Gospel and to spend ourselves concretely in this mission.

And to ask the grace of growing in prayer, in bearing witness and in going out in mission, may I invite you to pray together the Lord’s Prayer.

Our Father. . .

The full text of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s comments:

Your Holiness, I would like to begin by expressing gratitude to God for your leadership and example to the whole world, and especially for their effect on the Anglican Communion.

You have recalled us afresh to the needs of ministering with the poor. You have set a Christ-like example by your travel to places of suffering and difficulty. You have stood alongside migrant peoples. You have initiated work on modern slavery and human trafficking, and much more. You gave essential force to the meeting of nations in Paris on climate change.

Your letters and encyclicals have spoken far beyond Rome and her church, in a manner which is universal.

Yet, as we look around the world we continue to see enormous dangers to human dignity, and great suffering. The dangers faced are ones that many acknowledge, but to which few have a response.

Into this mix of war, migration and climate change, economic deprivation, inequality and corruption, we see added the growth of extremist groups advocating religiously motivated violence, affecting most, probably even all, of the great world faiths. The internet enables their poison to spread around the world with lightning speed, catching the naïve and lost, and leading them into paths of destruction. Secular values disregard the unborn, especially those with disabilities, and discard the aged. Family life is marginalised in the cause of economic necessity.

Facing all these perils, and a million more, is the body of Christ, the church, against which, as was promised to St Peter, the gates of hell shall not prevail. We have much cause for concern, but none for fear, for we are embraced by Christ, our Good Shepherd. In fact, we are filled with joy and hope, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit who is given to us.

Yet in our disunity we grieve the Spirit of God, and we damage every aspect of our lives in Christ. Our witness is damaged, for we are not seen as one, and thus the world is less able to see that Jesus comes from the Father. Our fellowship is impaired, for we cannot share in the Eucharist. Our delight in Christ is overshadowed by our grief at divisions within his family.

Last January, at the final Eucharist of the Anglican Primates we were blessed by the loan of the Crozier of St Gregory, and by the loan the Gospels brought by Augustine to England in 597. Speaking to us was Jean Vanier, who led us in washing each other’s feet. All three brought us back to the simplicity of Christ who breaks down divisions, and in cross and resurrection and giving the Holy Spirit, restored human dignity.

This week we have seen the meeting of the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM), established in 2000. Its less than beautiful name hides the beauty of its work, in which, with joy and love it seeks to show the world by our joint action in Mission that we are bound deeply in Christ, who is the hope of the world.

May we learn from them, and the blessing they are finding and giving. May we tackle together the issues of war and injustice.

Your Holiness, I ask that, as we have seen in these two days, despite those things that divide, we may be publicly determined to press forward where we may, together with all other Christians, especially those of the Orthodox world and the east. Jesus has gone before us. He calls us to be courageous. Let us walk closer together so the world sees new life and energy in the Church’s worship, mission and witness. Above all so the world sees Christ shining ever more brightly.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 5 October 2016 at 9:54pm BST | TrackBack
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Comments

Sent out in pairs,eh? No female bishops I reckon. Pity. Boys will be boys.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 12:20am BST

Hurrah for the meeting of Pope Francis and the ABC. The Pope's willingness to affirm his 'Body of Christ' relationship with Anglicans is surely a sign of goodwill that will, eventually, overcome all schismatic strivings over ecclesial and doctrinal difference.

However, that won't stop the growing potential for schism in the Anglican Communion by those creeping Gafconites who assume they are going to take over our Anglican Communion by stealth.

"They will know you're my disciples by your love" - Jesus, Lord of the Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 12:35am BST

I fear that “more recent questions regarding human sexuality” may well be a hindrance on the long road to unty. The well-attested presence of gay people in the Vatican and among RC clergy might be regarded with suspicion by large swathes of Anglicans, particularly in the Global South.

Posted by: FrDavidH on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 8:25am BST

This is the Bishops Reflection Group all over again. Instead of demonstrating that the Anglican church believes women bishops are equal to men, it caves in to opposition and demonstrates he doesn't see women bishops as the equal to men. This attitude that equality is OK but is set aside if it becomes inconvenient is not equality.

The whole approach of sending out bishops is very hierarchical, and as they are all men, very Romanesque, very patriarchal.

The goal is a worthy one but equating male Anglican bishops with Roman Catholic bishops in this was increases, rather than reduces, tensions within the Anglican Communion and the Church of England.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 9:11am BST

I think this has to be seen as a start of something and nothing more. It seems to me that - rightly - this focuses on unity rather than anything like reunification. I don't think the GAFCONites will be at all please with anything that brings Canterbury and Rome closer together...

Posted by: Alastair Newman on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 10:50am BST

Lots of hard work in France centered on Matins and Vespers for Anglicans and French Catholics. +Welby is to receive an honorary degree at Institut Catholique de Paris/Catholic University of Paris 17 November. Vepres selon la liturgie anglicane de 1662 to precede. Presided over by +Welby and le Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, Archeveque de Paris.

Posted by: cseitz on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 11:03am BST

Until Rome repeals "Apostolicae curae" I'm not interested in discussing any kind of organizational "unity" with them.

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 1:39pm BST

'Until Rome repeals "Apostolicae curae" I'm not interested in discussing any kind of organizational "unity" with them.'

Since as an evangelical Anglican (in the Reformation tradition) I don't believe in ministerial priesthood, I don't personally give a toss whether the Pope thinks our clergy are priests or not. I don't believe his clergy are priests either, except in the sense of 'presbyters'.

Posted by: Tim Chesterton on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 5:31pm BST

This all seems a very expensive waste of time. The two churches are further apart than when these discussions started 50 years ago. Women priests, women bishops, sexuality, divorce, magisterium, clergy discipline etc etc.

It would be better to accept that the Church of England is a creation of an adulterous king, and until this is recognised unity is not possible.

Posted by: Paul Waddington on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 6:36pm BST

Perhaps one little liturgical change could come about as a result of this welcome rapprochement between the two churches?
Could the Church of England get rid of the banal response "And also with you" and replace it with the more dignified Roman response "And with your spirit"?

Posted by: Father David on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 6:57pm BST

"It would be better to accept that the Church of England is a creation of an adulterous king, and until this is recognised unity is not possible."

And the Catholic Church was in many ways the creation of a despotic Roman Emperor - Constantine.

If you want purity of origin, in many ways the Coptic Church has the most convincing pedigree. But there's a balance too between origin and later refinement.


Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 9:01pm BST

Well, Tim, Evangelical or not, according to Rome, you are not in any way a valid minister of ANY kind. Do you still want “unity” with those people..?

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 9:31pm BST

Everyone wanting major change is wasting their time while the pointy hat wearers are desperate for links with Rome and the GS.....

Posted by: S Cooper on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 9:31pm BST

What a disappointing set of comments from Thinking Anglicans regulars. These do not reflect well on the aspirations of this site to promote critical engagement with events and ideas in the Anglican world.

Unity is far more than recognition of a shared presbyterate or episcopate. Apostolicae curae, female bishops, and sexuality are all divisions, but Unthinking Anglicans who refuse the scriptural injunctions to unity in Christ are as much of a division.

We should rejoice that 50 years on we have made so much progress. It is commonplace now for Anglicans and Roman Catholics to sit at the same table; to attend each other's services; to acknowledge that we have 85% agreement on key doctrines; to stop calling each other names; to stop throwing petrol bombs at each other. This was not the case 50 years ago and we should be thankful for the painstaking, efforts that have brought us thus far in God's good grace.

Posted by: Peter S on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 9:50pm BST

«Since as an evangelical Anglican (in the Reformation tradition) I don't believe in ministerial priesthood, I don't personally give a toss whether the Pope thinks our clergy are priests or not. I don't believe his clergy are priests either, except in the sense of 'presbyters'»

I very much agree and while in terms of same sex marriage the increasing profile of evangelicals within the Church of England worries me, when we switch issues I cheer the bulwark against the tide of Catholicism.

Posted by: Kate on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 10:02pm BST

The work of ARCIC, the celebration of the Anglican Centre in Rome, the awarding of a degree honoris causa to the ABofC , all those things are laudable, represent the result of a lot good hard work by lots of people, and are part of an answer to Christ's priestly prayer that we all may be one.

What is open to a fair minded critique, and it is really a critique of our Anglican side of the tracks, is the commissioning of pairs of Anglican/RC bishops in a highly public ecumenical gesture but one in which the females in our episcopate are invisible.

You've got to know that our side agreed to this. It is something of a betrayal which does not serve the authenticity that ecumenical dialogue requires.

The joint communication speaks of a hoped for restoration of full faith and sacramental life. Again, one notes that for Rome this is always code for accepting the "fullness of catholicity" which is believed only resides in the Roman Catholic Church, presumably when "obstacles"
(some of which are persons who have names!) are overcome. Perhaps we might take a page from Rome's play book, and not participate in gestures like the "pairs of bishops" if we are not able to have our half of the pairing fully representative.

Posted by: Rod Gillis on Thursday, 6 October 2016 at 10:36pm BST

"It would be better to accept that the Church of England is a creation of an adulterous king, and until this is recognised unity is not possible."

Posted by: Paul Waddington

Spoken like a convinced Tridentine Roman Catholic, who conveniently forgets some of the other causes of the reformation - which even Rome now admits to having been necessary. And, of course, there were Popes with children - even one (St.Peter) with a WIFE.

I think Pope Francis, like Good Pope John XXIII, has been sent by God to stir up the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 7 October 2016 at 12:21am BST

"Unity is far more than recognition of a shared presbyterate or episcopate. Apostolicae curae, female bishops, and sexuality are all divisions, but Unthinking Anglicans who refuse the scriptural injunctions to unity in Christ are as much of a division."

The call is to unity with fellow Christians. It is the group of baptised (and/or professing - it's unclear) Christian who are the universal church.

We are not called to unity with any earthly institution. The correct approach to unity is to say, as we do, that any Catholic may take communion with us at any time. The correct approach, as I think we do, is to fully recognise those who have been baptised, ordained or consecrated bishop within the Catholic Church - while insisting that the ordained are only presbyters and not priests. Anglicans already offer full unity. We are not, and for many of us cannot, called to accept Catholic dogma and institutions.

Posted by: Kate on Friday, 7 October 2016 at 6:01am BST

It is good to see the Pope and the ABC getting on so well together and cooperating with each other in spite of certain perceived difficulties and obstacles to a fuller union. It does indeed bring back happy memories of the heady days when Blessed Michael Ramsey met with His Holiness Pope Paul VI at the Vatican all those years ago when it seemed almost as though visible unity was within their grasp. However, I think that His Holiness should be wary about who exactly he is getting into bed with. The Church of England under Justin Welby's leadership is definitely not the same as the Church of England as it was during Michael Ramsey's Watch!
In the current edition of the Church Times there is a report of the Farewell Sermon by the Very Reverend Charles Taylor as he takes early retirement from his ministry as Dean of Peterborough. The address seems to be quite a critique of the current state of the Established Church.
As the Roman and Anglican bishops set out together "two by two" one sentence from the Dean of Peterborough's valedictory sermon struck me as relevant - "The pattern of the Good Shepherd has been hijacked by the model of the Chief Executive Officer." We Anglicans need to be sending out shepherds rather than managers in company with the Roman Catholic episcopal partners. It would be good if TA were to obtain a full copy of the Dean's sermon and print the same under a separate thread.

Posted by: Father David on Friday, 7 October 2016 at 9:03am BST

First of all, before I grizzle a bit, I rejoice that this meeting has taken place. Ecumenical work at this level takes a lot of work. Good on Francis and Justin and the staff that got them to this point.

But I have to ask whether the obstacles presented by 'more recent questions regarding human sexuality' include the differing Anglican and Roman Catholic official positions on the morality of the use of artificial forms of contraception? Probably not. But it is odd, isn't it, that the familiar litany of the ordination of women and 'human sexuality' (which always seems to mean 'homosexuality') are presented as 'obstacles'. Whereas, it seems reasonable to assume that there are many, (many!), more Anglicans practising artificial forms of birth control in the world than there are Anglicans in same sex relationships. Why is that not 'an obstacle'? One cannot say it isn't a matter to do with 'human sexuality'.

Posted by: Judith Maltby on Friday, 7 October 2016 at 10:01am BST

Kate said; 'We are not called to unity with any earthly institution. The correct approach to unity is to say, as we do, that any Catholic may take communion with us at any time. The correct approach, as I think we do, is to fully recognise those who have been baptised, ordained or consecrated bishop within the Catholic Church - while insisting that the ordained are only presbyters and not priests. Anglicans already offer full unity. We are not, and for many of us cannot, called to accept Catholic dogma and institutions.'

This betrays a Protestant understanding of priesthood/ministry, which has long been 'a' tradition within Anglicanism but by no means the only one. Understanding of what priesthood means can't be reduced to slogans, and it has evolved and will continue to do so both in the RCC and amongst us.

To a Catholic, we Anglicans are clearly *not* offering full unity, because if we have no priesthood we have no other sacraments and the Eucharist means something quite different. Personally I would be happy to say that I accept the sacraments on God's terms not on the basis of the limited understanding of one or other 'tradition'. To quote F W Faber, 'We make his love too narrow/ By false limits of our own.'

Posted by: David Emmott on Friday, 7 October 2016 at 1:45pm BST

I do think it is shameful that the AC agreed to NO WOMEN, since many parts of the Communion have had women bishops for quite a while now. I wonder if the RCs had said 'No married bishops' ('cause we don't have them') or what would we think of any 'bi-partisan' twinning in the outside (real?) world if it was stipulated 'no women, no Africans, no Asians, no handicapped, no over-weights, no-nonOxBridges, or whatever'. There was no absolute need to do a coupling, and we should have offered some other plan for working together rather than accepting on which excludes half of humanity.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Friday, 7 October 2016 at 2:19pm BST

“This betrays a Protestant understanding of priesthood/ministry, which has long been 'a' tradition within Anglicanism but by no means the only one. Understanding of what priesthood means can't be reduced to slogans, and it has evolved and will continue to do so both in the RCC and amongst us.”-- David Emmott

Right on, David! Many Anglicans/Episcopalians have always rejected the Evangelical “understanding” of Holy Orders. This is particularly true in America, where we Anglicans have been surrounded by Evangelical “sectaries” for centuries. Frankly, I would rather have organizational “unity” with Rome than with any of the American Evangelical groups I’ve known…

Kurt Hill
Brooklyn, NY

Posted by: Kurt Hill on Friday, 7 October 2016 at 6:07pm BST

I did respond, here, to protestations against the catholic/Anglican understanding ordained of the ministerial priesthood. However, it seems to have gone astray. May I now affirm Kurt Hill's comment that embraces the Anglican/Roman Catholic quest for unity - the point of the current exercise.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 8 October 2016 at 12:21am BST

This thread is both silly and sad. Anglicans sniping w/ mutually-exclusive ecclesiologies/liturgical theologies, Uber-Romans adding pot-shots w/ their partisan histories (and appalling ethics!). You'll know they are Christians by their love? Hardly.

Kyrie eleison---Lord, re-form your churches!

Posted by: JCF on Sunday, 16 October 2016 at 1:25am BST
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