A “back door ecumenical gesture”

There is a very instructive article in The Times about the Anglican Provision.

In their latest meetings the Anglicans made no serious provisions for Anglican traditionalists.

There is an interesting parallel here for Rome and the SSPX years ago.  With the exception of The Roman Curia made no serious provisions for Catholic traditionalists.   Only.. there was no one to offer them a home.

And now we will be edified by the spectacle of liberals who out-Herod Herod.

My emphases and comments.

From The Times
October 24, 2009
Lord Carey ‘appalled’ by Pope’s treatment of Dr Rowan Williams

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

Lord Carey of Clifton has called on his successor as Archbishop of Canterbury to complain to the Pope in person about not being consulted over plans to admit disaffected Anglicans to the Roman Catholic Church.  [First… that’s not going to happen.  Second, there is no way Archbp. Williams didn’t know this was coming.  My spies say that some time ago Williams was in Rome lobbying against this.   Just like a man tied to a train track he might not have know when, but he knew that it was coming.]

Lord Carey warned that the Pope’s strategy could damage relations with the Vatican[Remember that I wrote that the liberals would whine that this is not true ecumenism.  But… we have the Pope of Christian Unity.]  Lord Carey, who stepped down in 2002, urged Dr Rowan Williams to protest strongly when he visits the Pope in Rome next month.

Lord Carey was speaking after the joint press conference this week between Dr Williams and the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Rev Vincent Nichols, to announce the move. Under an apostolic constitution decree, the Pope will set up personal ordinariates, or extra-geographical Roman Catholic dioceses, such as those that already exist in the military, to take in former Anglicans who oppose women bishops and accept the Petrine ministry of Rome.

Dr Williams appeared distressed when he said at the press conference, hosted by the Roman Catholic Church in Eccleston Square, that he had known nothing of the initiative until two weeks ago. [Ha.] He was notified formally [that’s the key… "formally"…] only when Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, visited last weekend to fill in some of the detail.

The Times understands that the former Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, [this is interesting…] a former co-chairman of the AnglicanRoman Catholic International Commission, known as Arcic, tried unsuccessfully to stop the apostolic constitution being published. [Amazing… the Catholic Archbishop tries to stop this.  He couldn’t.  But note that the new was not announced until he had stepped down.] His protests and others’ concerns delayed its publication, intended for last February.

The two archbishops presented the constitution as “a response [It’s a response.] by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church”.

They said: “The announcement … brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church.”  [Ok.  Uncertainty is, in large part, over.  So… what will the Anglicans who said they wanted unity do?]

Lord Carey said that he, too, had been caught unawares by the development, which some insiders believe has dealt a death blow to 40 years of official ecumenical dialogue under the auspices of the Council for Christian Unity, [What does that say for the Council for Christian Unity?  But… we have the Pope of Christian Unity.] if not to the Anglican Communion itself. The council was not involved in preparing the constitution.

He sought, however, to make the best of the development. “I give it a very cautious welcome,” he said. “It is worth considering because there are a number of deeply worried, anxious Anglo-Catholics who do not believe they have a constructive future in the Church of England with the ordination of women as bishops[Right!  They were shunned and ridiculed.  In a sense, there is a parallel with what happened with Catholic traditionalists here.]

“I was pastorally concerned for them when I was Archbishop of Canterbury. I know Rowan is as well. So this could go a long way to helping.”

The Times has learnt it was reports of bishops emerging in tears from the General Synod meeting last July that rejected all provision for traditionalists that finally provoked Rome into offering them a home[Sound about right?]

Lord Carey said that there were two positive aspects to the new Apostolic Constitution. “This initiatve is almost a back door ecumenical gesture[Or a real ecumenical gesture.] What we have seen is [wait for it… ] the failure of the final report of Arcic. Straightforward ecumenism at the theological level is going nowhere. [Exactly.] This fresh initiative could have surprising consequences.”

George Austin, former Archdeacon of York, said: “Rome has done this cleverly because [wait for it…] the Catholic bishops in England are liberal. [Get outta town!] The Pope has shown considerable leadership. [Remember this following phrase?] That is what Popes do[Remember how we used this in the context of the Pope receiving Pres. Obama?  That is what Pope’s do.] What has surprised me is the sort of people, and number, who have said they will leave.”

The previous decades of ecumenical relations and ARCIC etc. didn’t do nothing to create the climate where the Pope’s Provisions are nothing.  The Pope is going to keep the official dialogue going.   The Church of England was warned explicitly by Card. Kaspar that there would be serious setbacks if the Church of England stayed on its course.   Still, over the decades a great deal was accomplished at the affective level to bring us to this point.

Ecumenical work takes place on many levels, official and non, global and local and academic and religious and ecclesial, etc.  But at a certain point, a move had to be made.  The obstacles that remain on the official level with the Church of England are not going to be easily resolved, are they.

We now, however, have a Pope of Christian Unity.

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  1. stephenocist says:

    For those following this issue, especially how the choice between communion with the Holy See and slogging on within the Anglican Communion will play out for Anglo-Catholics, I have an analysis of yesterday’s proceedings at the Forward in Faith National Assembly in London:


    Thanks, as always Father for keeping folks in the loop and giving them background.

  2. pappy says:

    And there was a letter to the editor in the Minneapolis StarTribune (yes, a real
    bastion of orthodoxy :-( ) claiming how the gesture to the Anglicans is a narrowing
    of the Christian identity (because “Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes”)

  3. TNCath says:

    How ironic that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor tried to stop this from happening. It sounds like his little comfortable world of being chummy with the Church of England hierarchy was being threatened and he didn’t want his political and social clout to suffer.

    What this really sounds like is that the current of former Archbishops of Canterbury really aren’t interested achieving any reunion with the Catholic Church. On the other hand, Pope Benedict, the Pope of Christian Unity, is. In the end, history will show that Pope Benedict’s actions were prophetic. Deo gratias!

  4. Prof. Basto says:

    Conversion to the Catholic Faith is the only true form of promoting Christian Unity. This is Ecumenism Mortalium Animos style.

    Pope Benedict the Great rocks!

  5. The Egyptian says:

    “dealt a death blow to 40 years of official ecumenical dialogue under the auspices of the Council for Christian Unity?”

    So long, farewell, goodbye

    “if not to the Anglican Communion itself.”

    Yup, self inflicted wounds really suck

  6. Thomas G. says:

    “. . . dealt a death blow to 40 years of official ecumenical dialogue under the auspices of the Council for Christian Unity?”

    It’s tough to give what is already dead a “death blow”. Sounds more like abuse of a corpse, a serious offense in virtually every State.

  7. Thomas S says:

    The Catholic-Anglican dialog of the past several years stikes me as ridiculous. What do the prelates involved really think they will get out of it other than END-less talk and warm feelings of cooperation? There’s no way they had full, corporate union as their endgame. To this day that would still take a miraculous intercession by Our Lord for the wholeslae conversion of the Anglicans. The notion that the Anglican Communion is simply in schism a la the Orthodox is a fantasy, and there’s no way Rowan Williams, Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, and all the rest don’t know that. And for the likes of Murphy-O’Connor to discourage and throw up obstacles to Anglicans who desired unity with the Bishop of Rome, for the sake of luke-warm ecumenism is scandalous.

    Thank God for our Holy Father. Could we have a second “the Great” in a row? Because if his track record of reuniting the Church continues he should be remembered in the same breath as Pope Gregory the Great.

    What a Pope!

  8. GOR says:

    We can spend a lot of time analyzing the timing and circumstances of this announcement. Items such as Cdl. Murphy-O’Connor’s retirement, Cdl. Kasper’s absence from Rome, Ab. Williams failure to address the concerns of traditional Anglicans, the direction and lack of concrete results from post-Vat II Ecumenism, etc. etc. But one thing remains clear: the Holy Father’s objective.

    While some may theorize that this move is to “fill churches’, “augment the ranks of the clergy” or “take back buildings confiscated 400+ years ago”, “put a nail in the coffin of the Anglican Communion” and so on. It is none of these. The Holy Father has only one objective: the salvation of souls – for which he as the Successor of Peter has the prime responsibility: “Feed my lambs. Feed my sheep”.

    During Vat II a recurring theme was that we had to “get back to our roots”. In the past 40 years we have seen how this admirable intention was bastardized by people with a wrong perception of what “our roots” really were.

    During his short tenure to date Pope Benedict has been at pains to show us what our roots really are. He has preached on the Apostles, the Fathers of the Church, Saints who were instrumental in upholding the Faith and Church Tradition and – not least – Jesus Himself.

    He has said he envisions a smaller Catholic Church of very committed Christians. I believe he sees the Church much as it was 2000 years ago. Just as The Twelve set out to confront a world dominated by Paganism, so today the Catholic Church is confronted by a world increasingly in the grip of secular relativism. To the Apostles the task must have appeared daunting – twelve men against the power of Rome and the East. And, as eleven of them were martyred for the Faith, it must have appeared that the World was winning.

    But they knew, and the Holy Father knows, that the World cannot win. So he will continue to reach out to all people of goodwill who truly seek the Kingdom of God. Like the Good Shepherd he will go after the lost sheep until all are safely in the sheepfold. That is his only ‘agenda’.

  9. Grabski says:

    GOR Nothing wrong with getting our property back, even after 400 years….

  10. Vetdoctor says:

    dealt a death blow to 40 years of official ecumenical dialogue under the auspices of the Council for Christian Unity,

    Uhh, that what what happens when you actually take action.

    Though, now as I think more on it, the actual death blow was either acepting womwn priests or homosexual ones. The Anglicans were told that the Catholic Church would never accept these things. Why did no one call “women priests” a deathblow to Anglican/Catholic relations?

  11. Rien says:

    I think the report from the FNA linked to above puts this in a realistic light.

    Basically, anyone expecting a large number of conversions through this new Ordinariate may be surprised at the trickle that end up coming over.

    As the FNA summary notes, aside frpm those who were already on the way, most folks at that conference probably are going nowhere.

    The Americans definitely seem to be of that mind. As I noted, most Epsicopals in the US are progressive or evangelical. The high church have pretty much all left already. The impact, and we can take the results of 20 years of the AU Provision in the US, is likely to be minimal in America.

    Now to TAC, just because someone belongs to TAC and opposed female priests and bishops, hardly makes them Catholic. As sort of noted in the FNA summary.

    Many TAC members believe in contraception, re-marriage, less than total innerancy of Scripture. Patrick madrid said last week he thought tens of thousands would convert.

    I think he is right – that basically this will not have a huge impact in terms of numbers.

    The TAC has 400,000 plus members. If madrid and others are right that tens of thousands will come over that implies most of TAC won’t.

    I think we will shortly see a slpinterring of TAC over this. Which unfortuantely seems inherent in Anglicanism. But anyone who feels TAC is monolithic and will come over en masse is ignoring the history of the various continuing groups in Anglicanism, their splits with each other and their disagreements with each other.

    I think now that the initial enthusiasm is over more folks are realizing this will not be as big as some initially felt and that it will be a long, long road. Those that do want to come over will have different “demands”.

  12. Rien says:

    BTW, I read this first on a blog. An Anglo-Catholic who wants nothing to do with Rome still thought the move was good as it would give those like him leverage with the CofE in getting a traditionalist high-church guaranteed position in the CofE. Like Williams is backed into a corner now and has to give the traditionalists what they want.

    If you read the FIF piece linked above you’ll see that many of these traditional Anglo-Catholics are thinking the same – using this as a wedge to get concessions from Canterbury.

  13. vincentuher says:

    Lord Carey is the person who threw into the dustbin the Church of England’s relationship with the Holy See when — completely contrary to the stern advice of the Vatican — he presided over the advent of female ordination in the C of E. I find his protestations difficult to stomach.

    There are so many different factions of Anglo-Catholics about the globe that it is impossible to speak of them as if they were some monolithic association. The so-called Anglo-Papalists (of which I was once one) are the ones who will accept the Vatican’s most gracious offer. I suspect we all are waiting with baited breath to read the actual text of the Apostolic Constitution.

    Long live the Pope!

  14. Rich says:

    I comparison to the ecumenical dialogue of the past 40 years, the pope’s ecumenical gesture represents less words and more action; actions speak louder than words, EVEN in the word of ecumenism, where the golden calf of DIALOGUE more often than not gets more praise than is due.

  15. chironomo says:

    the gesture to the Anglicans is a narrowing
    of the Christian identity (because “Jesus ate with tax collectors and prostitutes”)

    Yes… but he demanded that they cease being tax collectors and prostitutes and follow him

  16. ssoldie says:

    We have ‘Pope John Paul II the Great’, and now ‘Pope Benedict XVI Pope of Chistian Unity’ yea sure.

  17. moon1234 says:

    It sure sounds like the liberals who will remain with the COE/Anglican Communion are worried that with the loss of the Traditionalists they will be seen as a neo-modern Church where really anything goes. Want to be a priestess, sure we do that. What to be homosexual cleric, sure we do that. What to get divorced and re-married, sure we do that. “It’s ALL good”.

    The problem with that is that these types of cults are no different than a socialist state. The cult will eventually die out with the Traditionalists.

    THAT is the true reason they are whining. They evil one is not getting his way. There will be shrieking, wailing and grinding of teeth!

  18. moon1234 says:

    ‘Pope John Paul II the Great’

    The jury is still way out on that title. Many people like to kick that title around, however Pope John Paul II was not in the same league as Pope Gregory the Great or Pope Leo the Great. It will take a LONG time to see what the fruits of John Paul II’s pontificate are/were. It was under his tutilege that we had so much division in the church between the Church’s own members. Some (Traditionalists) were marginalized, etc.

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