AN UNBRIDGEABLE CHASM!
POPE BENEDICT AND ARCHBISHOP R. WILLIAMS FACE THE REALITY OF IRRECONCILABLE DIFFERENCES.
The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Pope met in Rome; they released a statement which was full of general pleasantries except for the passage below in orange.
Certain realities cannot be glossed over; the unbridgeable impasse between Rome and Canterbury is one of them. Rome finds it hard, almost impossible, to renounce its marian dogmas nor its claim to episcopal and ecclesiatical supremacy. Rome has never renounced its call for us to return to her, the Mother church. Its hard to imagine a Pope ever making an ecumenical pilgrimage to Lambeth Palace!
Anglicans are also in holy disarray. The election of a practising gay to the episcopate in the US together with the consecration of women bishops in the Anglican Church have not only sunk any hope for unity between the Anglican and Roman ecclesiastical bodies it is also forcing the the Anglican Communion to re-draw itself within catholic and apostolic boundaries. No one has his finger on what the Anglican Communion will look like after Lambeth 2008. These are the new developments which are characterised as being divisive for Anglicans in the joint statement; they present serious obstacles to our ecumenical progress. On a positive note, the divisiveness of the present Anglican drama could be the birth pangs of a biblically centred catholic and apostolic identity.
Here is the excerpt from the statement released after the meeting between the Archbishop Of Canterbury and the Holy Father:
"In this fraternal visit, we celebrate the good which has come from these four decades of dialogue. We are grateful to God for the gifts of grace which have accompanied them. At the same time, our long journey together makes it necessary to acknowledge publicly the challenge represented by new developments which, besides being divisive for Anglicans, present serious obstacles to our ecumenical progress. It is a matter of urgency, therefore, that in renewing our commitment to pursue the path towards full visible communion in the truth and love of Christ, we also commit ourselves in our continuing dialogue to address the important issues in the emerging ecclesiological and ethical factors making that journey more difficult and arduous".
The anglo-catholic parts of the Anglican communion will probably shake their heads and join the cry of the psalmist, how long oh Lord, how long. The low evangelical anglicans will shrug their shoulders and say, so what? Some might go into a state of shock to discover that Anglicans and Catholics have been talking about a visible union for many years. In Latin America, especially in many parts of the province of the Southern Cone, any talk of rapprochement with Rome, is akin to asking a Christian to converse with the unearthed remains of a dead relative convicted of paedophilia.
Until our Lord returns the only visible unity between Rome and Canterbury is our common baptism in Christ. Maranatha!