≡ Menu

Now this is a rumor to start…

Against All Heresies points us to a story in the Times (UK) Online which suggests one possible fallout of the Anglican Primates meeting this week could be an eventual reunification of parts of the Anglican Communion under the Pope. What a rumor to start a Monday!

In a 42-page statement prepared by an international commission of both churches, Anglicans and Roman Catholics are urged to explore how they might reunite under the Pope.

It comes as the archbishops who lead the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion meet in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in an attempt to avoid schism over gay ordination and other liberal doctrines that have taken hold in parts of the Western Church.

Were this week’s discussions to lead to a split between liberals and conservatives, many of the former objections in Rome to a reunion with Anglican conservatives would disappear. Many of those Anglicans who object most strongly to gay ordination also oppose the ordination of women priests.

In one significant passage the report notes: “The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the ministry of the Bishop of Rome [the Pope] as universal primate is in accordance with Christ’s will for the Church and an essential element of maintaining it in unity and truth.” Anglicans rejected the Bishop of Rome as universal primate in the 16th century. Today, however, some Anglicans are beginning to see the potential value of a ministry of universal primacy, which would be exercised by the Bishop of Rome, as a sign and focus of unity within a reunited Church.

In another paragraph the report goes even further: “We urge Anglicans and Roman Catholics to explore together how the ministry of the Bishop of Rome might be offered and received in order to assist our Communions to grow towards full, ecclesial communion.”

There have been rumors of Anglican reunification with Rome for probably longer than I’ve been alive, but after their decision to ordain women and certainly after the Episcopal ordination of Gene Robinson, an openly gay man living with his partner (is that the nom du jour?), it was as if ice water had been poured on the possibilities. Now it seems that rather than ice water it may well have been gasoline. If nothing else, this serves to once again highlight the necessity of proper ecclesial unity and the terribly destructive effects of the Reformation on that unity.

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment