Comments: A Covenant in Canada

The Catholic Church in Canada is in a dreadful state..due to local liberalism, and the hierarchy is weaker than the English lot.

Canada ia statistically 40 per cent Catholic and yet the Church has hardly been salt and light in the life of that nation. in Quebec the Church has been decimated.

However God will bring it back.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Saturday, 22 January 2011 at 4:17pm GMT

What a goodly example of the willingness to co-operate - as far as is possible - with one another ecumenically, in the multi-facted Body of Christ, The Church. Despite the different values held by both components of this Covenant, each seemingly respects the other to be what they are - co heirs in Christ. No hissy-fitting!

This is so much more than some of our own Anglican Provinces ((see GAFCON) are willing to accord their TEC and Anglican Church of Canada conrferes within the Anglican Communion. This should be a lesson to all those who want to exacerbate divisions rather than do something about bridging the gaps.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 12:05am GMT

Covenants everywhere - and this one seems positive and unifying and it makes me happy that Christians of diverse traditions are seeking each other in love to share faith and share service.

It makes me wish that the Episcopal Church in the US would draft a covenant for Anglicans all over the world to sign up to.

This would be a way Anglicans in every British parish could individually align with the faith and service of TEC. It would also signal that whole national churches don't break communion with others by "bloc vote".

Because I could see a situation where, in parish after parish up and down the UK, there were Anglicans who were signed up to a covenant that recognised TEC, and shared in its faith and hope, and most definitely remained in full communion with it... whatever certain leaders said.

In this way, the idea of a top-down authority of Anglican leaders enforcing 'one' expression of Anglicanism through that other covenant... would be shown to be less total than it sounds.

Because actually, many many Christians recognise the faith and values of TEC, and it's a grass roots recognition, not one driven by a leadership that speaks as if it has a unified 'orthodox' voice, whereas in truth there is no consensus at all, up and down the UK parishes, about issues such as gay sex, female bishops etc etc.

So I wish TEC would construct a covenant, expressing faith, hope, and bonds of love in diversity...

Then as individuals we could just sign up. Many would.

That 'other' covenant has powers to demand a uniformity that simply doesn't exist and doesn't need to exist.

We may be diverse, but our unity is in Jesus Christ.

As such I am in full communion with TEC, regardless of the suggestion of my leaders that TEC is somehow delinquent.

The differences of view are not between one 'bloc' (country) and another. They exist right at the heart of Anglicanism, right at the heart of the Church of England. An alternative covenant would demonstrate this. Nor would it stop each one of us serving Christ and acknowledging one another, in all our diversity.

Posted by Susannah Clark at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 12:06am GMT

Are we to understand this local covenant is what has provoked your lamentation, RIW? O_o

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 6:10am GMT

Apperantly the 70's is still alive in Saskatchewan and I am not really surprised since there are a lot of liberal 68-generation bioshops still around in the Catholic Church in Canada. Though it will be a historical parantesis considering the views and spirituality of the young generation of priests and also in regard to where the Holy Spirit is leading the Holy Mother Church. Just have a look at Cardinal Koch's, the new prefect for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and Cardinal Kasper's successor, view on the secularisation of many the old protestant denominations (of wich Anglicanism in Canada is one of the worst example).

http://www.thetablet.co.uk/article/15558

But for now the "hippie generation" may still have a party or two in some obscure corners of the world!

Posted by Antony at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 7:13am GMT

Good to read your sentiments, Susannah. I wonder how many Anglicans around the world are thinking in somewhat similar terms. Perhaps it could be that the Global South Provinces who want to GAFCON-ize the Communion will, by their absence from Dublin, enable the rest of us to form a covenanted Communion-of-Anglicans-in-Diversity. This could be a win/win situation for everyone.
This sounds a lot more like the sort of 'Unity' that even Cardinal Kaspar has been speaking about recently - despite protests from R.I.W., the newest recruit into the fold of the Magisterium.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 9:24am GMT

This is the sort of thing that we should have been doing for the last fifty years. Joyful recognition of unity in diversity is the way forward. The way backward, even if young priests are supposed to be in love with it, is only the way backward.

Posted by Spirit of Vatican II at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 10:25am GMT

I am always amazed at the ways in which some people--RIW and Antony among them--can find sorrow in joyful news. Is the glass always half-empty in your worlds?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 12:48pm GMT

Robert and Antony seem quite determined to demonstrate their limited knowledge of the Canadian context and of the attitude of Rome - and their limited capacity to read plain English.

The great push behind this local agreement (on the Roman side) was the then Vicar General of the diocese (now become Bishop of Saskatoon) Don Bolen, who used to be on the staff of the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity. As a courtesy, he apparently shared the draft with his former colleagues who , apart from some small suggested amendments, were quite supportive.

Robert and Antony also seem to be confused about what's in the Covenant between the Anglican and Roman Catholic dioceses. Perhaps they should go read it. There is nothing more here than the sort of ecumenical activities the Holy Father himself participated in during his recent visit to England - a commitment to uphold each other in prayer, a commitment to periodic shared (non-eucharistic) worship, a commitment to work together in areas where that is appropriate.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 3:19pm GMT

Antony's comment about "hippie" Catholics is laughable. He probably is one of those throw back guys who thinks Vatican II is a fad. RIW's comment about the R.C. Church being decimated in Quebec is more worthy of a rejoinder. Robert Ian Willaims writes, "The Catholic Church in Canada is in a dreadful state..due to local liberalism..." In actual fact, it is partly old fashioned authoritarianism, and not liberalism, that accounts for the very marginal role of the Catholic Church in Quebec. During the "revolution tranquille" that transformed modern Quebec society, Quebecois rejected the history of clericalism and political interventionism by the Church in Quebec society. The revolution tranquille is too complicated to unpack on a blog site like this, but just for instance. The days of baby faced celibate priests lecturing women with large numbers of children about birth control is over. The devotees of any form of patriarchal Christianity, Roman Catholic, GAFCON, or otherwise, could learn something from the history of religion in Quebec. Brow people under the pretext of divine sanction, and a free people will vote with their feet. Liberte! Je me souviens

Posted by Rod Gillis at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 5:25pm GMT

Spirit of Vatican II - you must also be pretty much stuck in the 70's!

The radical changes towards a more orthodox catholicism that the new generation of priests are a fundamental part of in the Catholic Church is nothing but a sound reaction on the "spirit" of VII without rejecting the documents of the Synod.

Ron is somewhat right to point to Cardinal Kasper, but he is very much an ex official of the old "diplomatic school" though even he stressed that CofE would loose it's [already weakened] catholic identity if it continued on the path towards women bishops and a post-modern anthropology.

Today is the feast of John the Almsgiver, who was just as committed to keep the faithful away from the heretical sects of his time as he gave his life for the welfare of the poor.
The situation for todays Anglicanism is that it has, especially in the West, drifted towards neo-Nestorianism, neo-Pelagianism and in some places even neo-Arianism! This is a great tragedy for universal Christianity and ecumenism and even if some liberal lefties in the Catholic Church doesn't wan't to see this (or being heretics themselves) it is something that Rome has become more and more aware of (a good example is Cardinal Koch), and so has a new generation of priests!

And that is why the Ordinariate is such a blessing!!

Posted by Antony at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 5:29pm GMT

Antony said: "the secularisation of many the old protestant denominations (of wich Anglicanism in Canada is one of the worst example)." My, but people love to beat up on the Canadian Anglican Church. Supposedly, we're Unitarians who dress up. The good Cardinal thinks that the only worthy Protestants think like Roman Catholics. Unfortunately that means some of the most conservative/fundamentalist groups, among whom Roman Catholicism is anathema. There is nothing about what Canadian Anglicans believe that is different from any other Anglicans. The ancient Creeds and liturgical orthodoxy are intact. The use of Scripture is much more similar between Anglicans and RCs than RCs and conservative Protestants. What Antony and others are really saying is code for "ordain women and include gay people". All the usual rants about liberalism are really about those things and not much else. Of course, Anglicans are considered by the Roman Church to be only an "ecclesial community" and not a real Church, so what does it matter to the Cardinal anyway?

Posted by Derek Gagne at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 7:03pm GMT

I prefer to go back to the Prophet Amos, who speaking under the inspiration of God nearly 2, 500 years ago plainly put it...

"Can two walk together, lest they be agreed."

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 7:53pm GMT

I wonder that RIW and Antony would think of the following arrangement in my local area. The various churches of all denominations have something of a clergy committee; they meet occasionally to discuss local issues of concern, such as support for families in need; most especially, they hold an annual baccalaureate service for the seniors at the local public high school. This service is always held at the RC church (because it is the largest), but the lead speaker rotates among the member clergy--RC, Episcopal, Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, Lutheran. The year my elder son graduated, it was the female pastor of the Methodist church who spoke.

Are you upset that these Protestants are "preaching" in an RC setting? Especially when they are women?

(FTR, the Jewish and Muslim populations of our area are tiny and there is no synagogue or mosque within the geographic confines of the school district proper; otherwise I'm sure those religions would be involved in the baccalaureate as well.)

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 7:54pm GMT

RIW 'I prefer to go back to the Prophet Amos, who speaking under the inspiration of God nearly 2, 500 years ago plainly put it...

"Can two walk together, lest they be agreed."'

Hmm, leaving aside your chronology - is Amos really post-exilic??!! - I believe you'll find that modern commentators avoid this sort of picking of a text. IIRC (mind, it's years since I translated it) the point of the line is nothing about unity discussions, it's about lack of coincidence - to paraphrase 'if two people are walking together, they probably arranged to meet.'

Really RIW, with such use of Scripture you might be mistaken for a street corner Free Church Evangelist? Have you missed your calling?;-))

Posted by david rowett at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 11:00pm GMT

Antony says: 'But for now the "hippie generation" may still have a party or two in some obscure corners of the world!'

Antony, there are many subjects on which Malcolm French and I disagree, but one way you can be sure to bring us into a perfect unity of indignation is to describe the beautiful province of Saskatchewan as an 'obscure corner of the world'!

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Sunday, 23 January 2011 at 11:53pm GMT

Thank you, Tim.

But Anthony's ignorance (in the technical and not pejorative sense) is more to be pitied, I think. He's never seen a proper sunset I imagine.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 7:24am GMT

Answer to Pat....I am not against some social contact , as long as it does not involve compromise, or lulls the non Catholic side into thinking that their souls are safe where they are.

Posted by robert Ian Williams at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 7:55am GMT

Derek,
where in the article does Cardinal Koch refer to "worthy Protestants"? It must have been in your imagination or are you trying to divert the issue?! Modern conservative protestantism is another issue for the Catholic Church, but you would be surprised by some of the recent ecumenical developments in this area.

Back to the real issue, and it's indeed about orthodoxy, where ordination of women and the new anthropology regarding human sexuality are some of the "fruits" (or bad apples) of old heresies in new forms, neo-Nestorianism and neo-Pelagianism. So much for the orthodoxy of the Anglican church in Canada!!

And yes, that church is nothing more and nothing less than an "ecclesial community" but since Cardinal Koch is the prefect for the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity it is his concern and responsibility to point out what direction Anglicanism is taking!

Posted by Antony at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 8:25am GMT

RIW
"Can two walk together, lest they be agreed."

I expect that would be perfectly true of you and me, as you are so determined to criticise and dismiss everyone who doesn't share your thinking.

It is not true of my RC friends, some of whom are theologically very orthodox (and that means more than anti-gay and anti-women priests), but who are secure enough in their faith not to need to make me small and insignificant in order to elevate themselves.

Walking together and having a deep conversation about things you disagree on and growing in understanding as you journey together can be an experience that helps form especially deep bonds.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 8:53am GMT

" or lulls the non Catholic side into thinking that their souls are safe where they are." RIW

Robert, Giddowderhere, before you really get into trouble.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 9:46am GMT

Tim and Malcolm,
Perhaps I should have used the synonym "unnoted" or maybe just the word "remote" instead of obscure, as a definition of Saskatchewan's relatively minor importance for the world's civilization.
When it comes to the understanding of a particularly areas natural beauty I must confess that I have never experienced the plains, forests and sand dunes of the province.
Though I can reassure Malcolm that as an enthusiastic yachtsman, hunter and shooter I do have experienced many beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
Especially when I lived just south of the Arctic Circle in northern Europe.
Funny, how you lot try to divert the difficult issues regarding heresies in the Anglican churches to this....funny indeed!

Posted by Antony at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 11:18am GMT

RIW:

"...lulls the non Catholic side into thinking that their souls are safe where they are."

Yeah, because the perfect thing to tell a bunch of high schoolers and their parents is that all the ones who aren't Roman Catholic are going straight to hell....

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 11:22am GMT

Erika, I know what you mean about conservative RCs. It is more than being anti women's ordination and anti gay. There is a long list of issues and doctrinal propositions. But they are also anti-women's ordination and anti-gay and, when it comes to their view of so-called "liberal" Protestants (I'm an Anglican and not a Protestant), those two issues are at the top of the list, whatever others there may be. But then again, they think that others are unsaved anyway, so whatever we do doesn't make much difference.

Posted by Derek Gagne at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 2:41pm GMT

'Saskatchewan's relatively minor importance for the world's civilization'.

He's obviously never heard of Tommy Douglas and the birth of North American medicare either, Malcolm.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 4:09pm GMT

Antony said: "Derek, where in the article does Cardinal Koch refer to "worthy Protestants"? You are very much a literalist. I didn't say that it was in the article. He inferred that some Protestants were more acceptable to Rome because their doctrines/worldview was more like that of Rome. It's not a stretch to say, therefore, more "worthy" of Rome's approval or approbation. I take it from your reaction that no Protestants are actually "worthy" at all. You pounced on how I expressed myself, but ignored what I actually said.

Posted by Derek Gagne at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 4:32pm GMT

Rod Gillis' comments on the Roman Church in Quebec remind us that old-fashioned authoritarian Romanism wasn't quite the paradise it is made out to be by people who haven't actually lived through it. The state was all but a Roman Catholic theocracy and the Church was very much used by the government and vice-versa. Quebec was influenced very much by the most conservative Ultramontanism of the 19th Century, while it was the only institution that had any power in the French culture, as they were marooned in an English sea. In an agricultural society where education was frowned upon by the Church and women were forced to have as many children as possible, a great number had only one choice-to join religious orders or the priesthood. Women were completely disadvantaged and scolded by priests if they went too long between children. ("The Revenge of the Cradle" was a deliberate attempt to increase the power of the Church and fortify Quebec as a French culture.)This oppressiveness was thrown off when other options became possible and political activism took the place of religious submission. Stephane Dion (former federal Liberal party leader)commented that one Sunday Quebec was a Catholic society and the next everyone went to the ski-hills and that was the end of it. A Catholic society shut down amazingly quickly. No doubt good work was done, but the bad taste will linger for a long time.

Posted by Derek Gagne at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 4:50pm GMT

Antony wrote "Perhaps I should have used the synonym "unnoted" or maybe just the word "remote" instead of obscure, as a definition of Saskatchewan's relatively minor importance for the world's civilization."

What Euro-centric baloney--bit no more than one would expect from the "old country". Saskatchewan, home to Plains Cree, a distinctive culture within the Anglican Communion, home of farmer's cooperative economics, and a place with a history of political, social and economic innovation. Thankfully, we have largely moved beyond the notion of "normative culture" in Canada. The Anglican Communion and Roman hierarchy could learn something from us. I've often suspected that ignorance of North American culture and history has been a major problem with debates about the church.Many of the issues are cultural rather than "doctrinal". Besides, it was farm boys from Canada and the U.S. that saved your bacon during WWII.

Posted by Rod Gillis at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 5:05pm GMT

Derek,
That's just it - what you describe is the current fashion among some RC groups, just like it is the current fashion among some groups in the Anglican Communion.

But let's not forget that in the AC too, women priests and gay rights were never an issue until lately. Everyone had the same beliefs about it simply because no-one had ever challenged them. These things come to the forefront because of changes in society and they then become an issue for the church.
The response of the RC church has so far been to remain firmly hostile to both and it has enshrined that in its current teaching. That does not mean that you have to make them top of your own personal daily devotional priorities and that you have to spend your life relating with other Christians purely based on whether they're pro-gay and pro-women priests or anti.

In fact, I do know Catholics who accept these things as part of official church teaching but have them on their "I wish the church changed its mind about this" list.

RC theology on who is saved is much more nuanced too than posts on this forum will lead you to believe.

Posted by Erika Baker at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 5:38pm GMT

Just to add a note to Malcolm Frnech's comment: Don Bolen held the 'Methodist-Anglican' desk at the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. Because of this position but more still because of his affection for all of us at the Anglican Centre and his respect and affection especially for Bishop John Flack the Director of the Anglican Centre, he often dropped in for a visit, supper out, an ecumenical Bible study (we read Gilead by Marilynn Robinson thanks to his suggestion, though none of the Brits liked it much, he and I decided our experience of the praries must have been part of our love for the book) and so much more. He is a deeply ecumenical person who knows and has abiding affection for the Anglican world.

Posted by Sara MacVane at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 6:54pm GMT

Tim, the list of what Anthony (and Robert) don't know about seems to be quite extensive. It's pretty clear from their comments that they also have not read the Covenant document (which does not "compromise" on any motter of doctrine.

(Well, there is another possibility: that they have read the document and have chosen to lie about what was being done. I will charitably attribute their comments to wilful ignorance rather than dishonesty.)

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 7:43pm GMT

Answer to Pat....I am not against some social contact , as long as it does not involve compromise, or lulls the non Catholic side into thinking that their souls are safe where they are.

Posted by: robert Ian Williams on Monday, 24 January 2011 at 7:55am GMT

oh dear ! this came to my notice when I was in a nice lull after the Archers! Now, all I can think of is the state of non-RC soul and future destiny. Mind you I have received HC at so many RC eucharists down the years that -- who knows ?-- it may have rubbed off on / in me.

I recall at university, on many a day I was the (only) communicant - and one of the RC chaplains went on to the See of Birmingham ! Then there was communion from JP11 himself at Liverpool airport !

The graduation sounds terrific - congrats to your son.


Posted by Laurence Roberts at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 8:18pm GMT

What Erica said.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Monday, 24 January 2011 at 8:25pm GMT

"thinking that their souls are safe where they are."

RIW, does the phrase "above your paygrade" translate to your side of the Pond/globe?

I don't KNOW the safety of my own soul. I DO have *trust* in a Merciful Lord, however---that's enough for me! [Seems safer---though I may be currently "lulled"---than trusting in ANY human being, even one purported to be (in "faith&morals") "infallible"!]

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 4:31am GMT

"...as long as it does not involve compromise, or lulls the non Catholic side into thinking that their souls are safe where they are." thus saith R I Williams

Dear Mr. Williams

You are now firmly in the land of desperate delusion, which not even Sister Mary Joseph, my seventh grade teacher, would be proclaiming.

I do think you should apply for the job of burning heretics at the stake, naturally after an appropriate auto de fe.

Boogada boogada to you, too.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 4:37am GMT

@ Robert Ian Williams: The Catholic Church in Canada is in a dreadful state..due to local liberalism

Actually, Canadians might pipe up and say that it appears to be owing to scandals such as the abuse of children in Residential Schools, and the abuse of children in general from coast to coast. In Quebec, it's more likely a rejection to the church support of corrupt politicians such as Duplessis, which you can't really expect educated people to put up with.

Posted by Randal Oulton at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 4:58am GMT

The comments on Bolen say it all.. ecumenism , a pleasant social round for theologians. that's why they find it hard to give up and face the truth.

Posted by robert ian williams at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 6:47am GMT

You may not believe this, Robert I Williams, but I do pray for you, and your deliverance from the perils of neo-convertitis.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 10:30am GMT

Dear me....my comments about the relatively small contribution to our civilization that has originated from Saskatchewan really made some waves!
I mus admit that it has given me the opportunity to enhance my knowledge on a Canadian sociaist, Canada's welfare system and the Cree indians.
Now I could start with telling you on the western shores of the Atlantic about the ancient Greeks and onwards, just to put this in a little bit of perspective, but I assume that some of this knowledge has also been taught in the former colonies?!

So much for Euro-centric baloney!

Posted by Antony at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 11:16am GMT

Yes Antony, we have copies of "Odysseia" over here. We're aware of our varied heritage. Canada is a multi-cultural country. Let me help you out using the Socratic method. What do you learn from the legacy of the Greeks? What does this ironic question from the Greek New Testament teach those who speak out of a sense of cultural superiority? "ek Nasareth dunatai ti agathov? "

Posted by Rod Gillis at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 1:55pm GMT

Seems to me Jesus exercised his ministry in an 'obscure corner of the world', too.

Jesus did not judge by appearances, either - unlike Antony, who assumes that if a bishop has long hair and a beard he is a hippy (as if cope and mitre weren't proof enough of themselves!!!).

Those of us who have the privilege of being friends with Greg know that he is no hippy - just too lazy to change his hair style! He is the former Dean of Edmonton and a very fine priest indeed.

Posted by Tim Chesterton at Tuesday, 25 January 2011 at 5:17pm GMT

I am very disappointed that Anthony and Robert choose to slander people they don't know and have never met based on unwarranted assumptions about a document they have never read.

For their information, the document was shared with the Vatican and (apart from minor amendments) no objection were raised. So I ask, does the Chair of Peter have authority in the Roman Church? Or is authority vested in Robert and Anthony?

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Wednesday, 26 January 2011 at 7:57pm GMT
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