With all that has been going on in the Communion lately - and all the various strands of issues that divide, it was refreshing to hear and see the interview of Kelvin Holdsworth with Bishop Katharine of TEC. Her opening statement was concerned - not with politics but with Mission, which she has described as the raison d'etre of the Church, the Body of Christ.
Her eirenic presence and delivery, and her special quality of listening, were most encouraging. The degree of hospitality she has received from both USPG and the Scottish Episcopal Church on this visit has been particularly heart-warming. This will be remembered with gratitude by the ordinary folks of TEC and the Anglican Church of Canada. This makes it all the more sad at the degree of hostility that greeted her subsequent appearance at guest preacher and Eucharistic president at Southwark - not by the congregation and staff of the Cathedral, but by the Communion Office.
Let's all hope that her visit to the UK and other places in the Communion will open up the hoped-for possibility of dialogue with, and respect for, the inclusiveness and excellent missionary work of TEC in its own provincial area of the Communion.
I believe Presiding Bishop Katharine will be received with much good will and respect by many Christians of many branches of the Holy Catholic Church all over the globe. I'm sure she has even received invitations to come and speak to various large Roman Catholic progressive gatherings such as Call To Action, Voice of The Faithful, We Are Church and Women Priests. Vatican II Catholics admire and respect this remarkable leader. We pray for her to continue to have the guidance and support of the Holy Spirit. She is a brave and courageous disciple of Jesus. Her ministry to the disenfranchised and marginalized will ultimately bleed over into the Roman Catholic Church. This is what spooks the Roman Catholic Hierarchy more than anything else. They want her silenced and perhaps they imagine Rowan Williams is the man to do the silencing. It is not going to work. Bishop Katharine represents the voices of love and inclusion. History will judge this woman well.
Chris Smith posts a fascinating (though speculative) theory of Rome trying to use Rowan I, and his own Lambeth Curia, as a means of attempting to destroy the pro-women's ordination forces within the RC Church itself.
As a former RC (until 1976, at the age of 42), and as a familiar observer of the forces intent upon destroying the essence of Vatican II, I can admit that this is becoming more rational an analysis as I note the increasing stridency of Rowan I, while he journeys toward what seems his own personal rapprochement with Rome.
It would not be beyond Pope Ratzinger, and the Roman Curia, to co-opt someone so seemingly desperate for his own vision of an expanded Church of Rome + England, and if it means betraying a major part of the Anglican Communion, well that would be the price of "progress" (in Rowan's mind).
Logical? Sadly, yes.
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