Comments: News reports from Rome

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

Posted by Rod Gillis at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at 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 at Sunday, 16 October 2016 at 1:25am BST
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