The UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald, has an editorial with a title which may sound familiar to readers of WDTPRS.
My original post about a project.
This comes during the Week for Christian Unity.
My emphases and comments.
Benedict XVI is truly the Pope of Christian Unity
22 January 2010
When Jesus prayed that his followers may be one, He was praying for the unity of the Church whose leadership he entrusted to St Peter and his successors. He was not prophesying that this unity would be achieved by a particular model of ecumenism. In the 20th century, the Church mapped out a route towards unity which focused on ever closer links with other Christian communities, such as the Anglican Communion; the aim was to achieve a corporate reunion. Thus, the purpose of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, so far as the Church was concerned, was an agreement in which the Archbishop of Canterbury would once again become bishop of a historic see of the Church that Anglicans describe as "Roman Catholic". Unfortunately, participants on both sides of ARCIC glossed over the fact that doctrines of transubstantiation and infallibility are unchangeable: one can do no more than tinker with the language in which they are defined. [Ecumenical dialogue in which either party waters down their belief for the sake of continuing dialogue is no dialogue at all.]
Indeed, both sides implied that they could offer what were, in fact, impossible concessions. Many, if not most, Anglicans are Protestants: their objections to Catholic teaching on the Eucharist and papal primacy are fundamental. ARCIC established some genuine common ground between the two bodies; but some of the convergence was illusory. And this was the case even before Anglicans took irreversible decisions [Are they?] to ordain women priests and (in many provinces) women bishops, too.
As a result of these latter developments, a tremendous gloom settled over the Church’s official ecumenists. [In other words, those steeped in the art of watery ecumencial tea. But go on… this is where it gets good… ] It has taken Pope Benedict XVI to show us that ecumenical dialogue can achieve the long-awaited goal of corporate reunion by another route. Let us take the example of the Society of St Pius X. Those of its members who accept the Magisterium can be welcomed back corporately into full communion; as a prelude to this, the Holy Father took the necessary but controversial step of lifting episcopal excommunications (though no one, including the Pontiff, would claim that the Vatican executed this manoeuvre skilfully). [But it sure got things moving. And the only serious dissidents objected to something that was not really germane to the question of why they had been excommunicated. Some SSPXers said they weren’t ever excommunicated (dreamland). Some objected because of one SSPX bishops bizzare views (irrelevant). Some were liberals who "Don’t want their kind ’round these parts (ecclesiastical bigots). The point is that Benedict XVI won’t shy from a tussle if that is the only way to get things going. Thus, he has redefined not only the scope and issues of ecumenical dialogue, but also the methodology.]
The forthcoming group reception of former Anglicans is in some ways less controversial. Ever since the 1990s, the Holy Father has been convinced that orthodox Anglicans can be corporately received into the Church after detaching themselves from official bodies that have opted for the Protestant innovation of women’s ordination. This detachment need not be a source of long-term damage to Anglican-Catholic relations; from the Anglican point of view, it recognises an already existing ecclesial reality. For Catholics, however, it is more than that. As the Pope emphasised in his address to the CDF last week, his Apostolic Constitution is that rarest of developments: an ecumenical gesture that increases the visible unity and the liturgical riches of the Church. Those Anglicans who accept the papal offer will be doing a wonderful thing – not just for themselves, but for us, too.
Liberals want to be the sole arbiters of what may be involved with ecumenical dialogue, as well as who may be involved. They are always happy to have "meaningful" (read = watery) discussions with groups who would be perfectly in sync with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, but not with those who want to read, say, the Missale Romanum in continuity with our teachings and worship before 1963.
Do not let liberal ecumenists define ecumenism. Do not accept their premises.
Instead, take heart and guidance from the Pope of Christian Unity… Pope Benedict XVI.