Still more reaction on the Vatican scheme

Archbishop Fred Hiltz of Canada, Bishop Leo Frade of Southeast Florida and Dr. Muriel Porter of Australia all respond to the Vatican’s announcement of a new apostolic constitution for disaffected Anglicans.

Fred Hiltz, the Archbishop and Primate of the Anglican Church in Canada said:

From a Canadian perspective I do not foresee a groundswell of response to these provisions. I say this knowing that even among those who have separated themselves from the Anglican Church of Canada, there is an abiding desire to remain in communion with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and to maintain a place within the family of churches we know as the Anglican Communion.

I believe that among the vast majority of Anglicans and Roman Catholics in Canada and in the world there is a genuine commitment to build on 40 years of formal dialogue between our Communions. We acknowledge substantial agreement on many matters of faith. We embrace the call to action articulated in the 2007 statement Growing Together in Unity and Mission produced by the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission on Unity and Mission. That statement takes us into a new phase of common witness in the service of the Gospel — locally, nationally, and internationally.

While this announcement from the Vatican creates some shock waves, I do not believe them to be seismic. I believe the greater will of the whole church while acknowledging our “real but imperfect communion” is to continue steadfast in dialogue that will lead us more deeply into that unity for which The Lord prays, “That they all may be one.” (John 17:21)

Dr Muriel Porter, member of the Standing Committee of the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Australia, wrote in The Age that the Vatican has finally gotten revenge over that whole Henry VIII thing.

The trouble women cause! Following representations from English Anglicans alarmed by the prospect of women bishops, the Catholic Church has offered them the ultimate bolthole. In an extraordinary move and with no forewarning, Pope Benedict XVI has created a structure that will allow conservative male clergy and their congregations to remain Anglican in all but name under female-free Vatican protection….

…A vociferous minority protests that women are not acceptable as leaders in the Anglican Church. This is ironic, given that a woman – Queen Elizabeth II – has been Supreme Governor of the Church of England for the past 57 years, and her ancestor Elizabeth I – Anne Boleyn’s daughter – was the monarch who entrenched a reformed Church of England….

…Is it any wonder that the strident voices of atheism are attractive to contemporary people when churches split apart over the irrational fear of the feminine?

Bishop Leo Frade writes to his diocese of Southeast Florida with some interesting comparisons to the recent conversion of popular Latino priest from Catholicism to the Episcopal Church.

I have always said that the road between Rome and Canterbury and between Canterbury and Rome gets a lot of traffic. For centuries we have been exchanging clergy, and today the Episcopal Church has many priests—and several bishops–who once were Roman priests. Among our diocesan clergy are six former Roman priests, and we have two who are in the process toward being received as Episcopal priests.

We have not created a special Roman prelature, or provided them with a lamination of their Roman rites over our Episcopal liturgies; but instead we fully welcome them, married or celibate, as clergy in our Communion. They are not ineligible to be called to the episcopate simply because they came from Rome. They are not second-class clergy, but priests in good standing, with all the benefits and full participation in the life of our Church.

Let me end by expressing my disappointment with the lack of ecumenical love that the Vatican statement shows. I do not criticize them for receiving our clergy and laypersons, just as we receive theirs, but for their fanfare and promotion of this invitation.

“Ut unum sint” doesn’t mean that we all may be one under the authority of the Bishop of Rome, but that we all may be one under the ultimate authority of our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us continue to pray for that unity.

Past Posts