The National Catholic Review

There is something rather retro and quaint about the 10-day gathering of 17 Catholic and Anglican bishops and theologians which begins at a monastery in northern Italy today.

Bose is a community of both men and women, made up of both Anglicans and Catholics, founded in the 1970s, when there was talk of Anglican-Catholic unity within a generation. 

Although the aim of the third phase of the official Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, or ARCIC (pron. AR-KICK), is, as it has always been, the full and visible unity between the Catholic and Anglican Churches, there is a new sober realism hanging over this gathering. 

ARCIC was born after the Second Vatican Council, when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Michael Ramsey, visited Pope Paul VI in 1966, and the two leaders established an official dialogue that would examine the differences between the two traditions and seek agreement wherever possible. The first two phases -- ARCIC I (1970-1981) and ARCIC II (1983-2007)  -- produced a series of inspiring and important documents on the Eucharist, Authority, Salvation, Mary, and so on.

But there were two big problems -- or rather, one major one, with two dimensions. 

The first was the mechanism of accepting the documents. The Catholic dialogue partner, the Pontifical Council (formerly the Secretariat) for Christian Unity, represents the Holy See and therefore has the power to speak on behalf of the Church. The Anglican sponsor is the Anglican Consultative Council, one of the four "instruments" of the worldwide Anglican Communion, which has no comparable authority. The documents agreed in ARCIC have therefore needed to be voted on by synods of the Anglican member Churches of the Communion, who have often given them a rough ride. Agreement among delegate theologians, in other words, hasn't translated more widely.

The second has been that Anglican actions have often seemed to Catholics to contradict the stated Anglican desire for unity. The Church of England's 1992 decision to ordain women as priests dealt a mortal blow to the idea, while the consecration in 2004 by North American Episcopalians of the actively gay bishop Gene Robinson in defiance of the Anglican Primates worldwide, plunged the Communion into a crisis over authority which made ARCIC impossible: Pope John Paul II suspended the dialogue in 2003 on the grounds that there was little point in continuing while Anglicans were unable to move together as a single Church.

Since then, developments suggest that that crisis is deeper than ever. The Church of England has voted to proceed with the ordination of women as bishops, while rejecting a proposal for special episcopal oversight of those (so-called Anglo-Catholic) parishes which object. This, in turn, has led to Anglo-Catholic bishops petitioning Rome for a means of corporate reception of Anglicans, which Pope Benedict enabled in November 2009 in Anglicanorum coetibus. This led to the creation this year of the Personal Ordinariate of England and Wales by means of which close to 1,000 former Anglicans were received as Catholics at Easter.

The Ordinariate has been framed by Rome not as giving up on the goal of unity but as a means of furthering it -- by allowing for the "spiritual patrimony" of Anglicans to be officially recognised by the Catholic Church. It is an alternative - -some might say, far more realistic -- means of achieving the full, visible, organic unity which ARCIC aimed at.

All of which begs the question: what, now, is the point of an ARCIC III?

The answer is that, however distant the goal of unity remains, if the two Churches are to move in that direction they must honestly face the new challenges posed by these developments. The alternative would be to allow differences to harden. 

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham, England (pictured), the Catholic co-chair of ARCIC III, suggests as much when he says that ARCIC "must face the obstacles that make that journey [towards full visible unity] much more difficult." The next phase of ARCIC "will recognize the impact of the actions of some Anglican Provinces which have raised the issue of the nature of communion within the Church," he says, adding that ARCIC III "can make a contribution to resolving some of the issues that seem so intractable at present."

In that sense, the two themes for ARCIC III could not be more apt. The group will be studying "the Church as communion -- local and universal" and "how in communion the local and universal Church comes to discern right ethical teaching" -- precisely the issues, in other words, which the Anglican Communion has been facing.

At the same time, neither of these topics can avoid the role of the Magisterium and papal primacy, which for many Anglicans remain stumbling blocks. For many Anglican theologians, Rome is yet to make good on the offer made by Pope John Paul II in Ut Unum Sint that the exercise of papal primacy is capable of reform. The recent removal of Bishop Morris has been seen by some as symptomatic of an unreformed papacy.  Yet, as the Archbishop of Canterbury's attempt to create greater doctrinal unity and coherence within the Anglican Church through the Covenant process shows, there is wide recognition among Anglicans that without some kind of Magisterium "communion" is a meaningless abstraction.

Far from being an irrelevant sideshow, therefore, ARCIC III promises to be a fascinating commentary on key issues facing both Churches -- inter as well as intra.

The members of the new teams, incidentally, are dominated by Britons: on the Catholic side, Archbishop Longley (co-chair); Msgr Mark Langham of the Vatican's Christian unity council; Prof Paul Murray of Durham University; and the Benedictine Bible translator Fr Henry Wansborough. The remaining members are: Bishop Arthur Kennedy of Boston and Sr Teresa Okure of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Nigeria, as well as Prof Janet Smith, moral theologian; Fr Vimal Tirimanna, at the Alphonsianum University; and Fr Adelbert Denaux, dean of theology at Fribourg.

Although the Anglican co-chair is the Archbishop of New Zealand, David Moxon, his team is also British-dominated: Paula Gooder, canon theologian of Birmingham Cathedral; Bishop Christopher Hill of Guildford; Rev Mark McIntosh, canon professor at the University of Durham; Canon Nicholas Sagovsky, former canon theologian at Westminster Abbey; and Canon Peter Sedgwick, principal of St. Michael's College, Cardiff. That leaves just three non-Brits: Bishop Nkosinathi Ndwandwe of Natal, Southern Africa; Linda Nicholls, area bishop in the Diocese of Toronto; and Rev. Michael Poon of Trinity Theological College in Singapore.

Over the next ten days, in the delightful and prayerful setting of Bose, these men and women must develop some of the trust which will underpin a dialogue process expected to last many years. No one, it seems, is in much of a hurry.

Comments

B Bax | 5/20/2011 - 8:55am
Fundamnetally, the issue of unity requires humilty on both sides of the discussion, i.e. true unity is never going to be one side becoming exactly like the other side.

Whether the Catholic Church likes it or not (& whether or not it is in any way to blame) it is diminished by the fact that there are faithful Christins who are outside it: it that sense it cannot be fully "Catholic" (ie universal).

"The Church" as spoken of in scripture is not the same as the institution we know of as the Catholic church today.  "The Chuch" is broader, more complicated and messier.  Talks such as ARCIC III might help the Cathoklic church to realsise that their model of how to be a church is not the only one.  True unirty may come when all sides truly realise there own shortcomings.
Anne Chapman | 5/19/2011 - 11:52pm
David Power,   I do not deny that the RCC has often been ''truly'' heroic, although I'm not sure that this is true of most popes, or because of most popes. But, THE church, the people of God throughout its history have indeed been heroic.

  However, the issues related to ''unity'' often ignore those times when the church was not only not ''heroic'', but wrong.  It is precisely because the RCC is so important in the world that I feel so strongly that when it errs, the impact has the potential to be felt globally (unlike most Protestant denominations).  The church should be the light shining on the hill - it should be a leader in fighting injustice wherever it occurs, not the patron of this sin to women.  Its strength can be its weakness - due to its sheer size and power in the world it comes to believe that it can do no wrong, and the insulated and isolated lives of its leadership, its perceptions can be easily distorted.  It does not seem at times that it even begins to comprehend the enormity of the harm it can do when it errs, with the sexual abuse scandal being the current and most egregious example of this.  It is still in denial - it still refuses to acknowledge the evil done nor that its culture of secrecy and clericalism enabled the evil.  Its injustice to women is related - not causal, but related, part of the same tangled web.  The church should be leading the world in teaching (by example and not empty words of ''complementarity'') that women are fully equal to men, they are made in God's image, and injustice and discrimination towards women are injustice, and thus immoral.  Yet the church itself is one of the most guilty of this sin. The Anglicans (and many other Christian denominations) have seen the sin, and they have moved to correct it. But until the Roman Catholic church does the same, the church itself may enable those who feel totally justified in treating women as inferior and unworthy beings - after all, the church does, it sets the example. ''Unity'' cannot be achieved by agreeing to bless injustice.

There is an opinion piece in NCR today by Maureen Fielder on the Dominique Strauss-Kahn case.  Regardless of what the courts eventually find as to his guilt, she raises the point that the maid's story was taken seriously by the establishment - something that would not have occurred as recently as a couple of decades ago.  She goes on to say:

In another age, and all too often in the present day, the powerful male perpetrator would not even be charged with a crime. Very often, men in high positions have seen it as their “right” to assault and rape a woman, especially a woman of a “lower class” or a woman of another race. Many assumed the woman would never tell, and 
... does the empowerment of women make a difference? You bet it does! Someone, somewhere, taught that hotel maid the importance of speaking out. That woman judge sits on her bench because of the work of generations of women struggling for equality.
In this case, we can celebrate empowered women. But too many women are still held back by culture, by tradition – and yes, by religious practices and teachings.
All I can wish is that leaders of the world’s religions that still inhibit women’s empowerment and bless gender discrimination would sit up, take notice and understand the larger import of their repressive policies which discourage women’s empowerment. That includes Southern Baptists, Mormons, Muslim leaders, and it certainly and includes the officials at the Vatican and the Catholic Bishops.
david power | 5/19/2011 - 7:47pm
@Anne and Jim,

It is clear that you both have a problem with the man in white.
I too have my doubts and think that to see a saintly character in that role requires a lot of make believe  and closing of eyes on the part of believers.
However, what you both fail to mention is the many times when the Church was heroic. I don't mean in the faux warrior heroic type of Wojtyla but in the true Christian type.There are many examples of this. 
The Church also had it's giants. 
The English Church is a lot more important to Rome than the Irish Church because of political reasons.But the Pope has seen a great history and culture in the latent English catholicism which is best seen in C.S Lewis.
The English soul is worth a lot more to the Vatican than the African or Irish  soul.Is this correct? If there were a break away group in Papa New Guinea you can be sure not a hair would turn in Rome.I usually appreciate very much the writings of Austen Iverieigh but on this occasion feel to see the merits of ARCIC.Often I have passed the room where they all speak and thought to myself "what biscuits were served today?".
What is my point?That ARCIC is about twenty times more important to Pope Benedict and the media than it is to God.
The English are a great race and excel in many areas but are also-rans when it comes to Religion.
ARCIC is dependent on a UN vision of the spiritual landscape.    
        
Martin Gallagher | 5/19/2011 - 6:15pm
I'm not sure why the off-topic discussion of slavery arose concerning Austen's piece.  I suppose the argument is that if the Church could develop its doctrine conerning slavery over the century, it could possibly hange it's position on other issues.

Anyway, for those who are interested, Mark Brumley had a good article on the Church's development concerning the position on slavery here:

http://www.catholic.com/thisrock/1999/9907fea2.asp
Crystal Watson | 5/19/2011 - 4:37pm
Sorry - lost part of my above quote  :)  It should read ...

"the Church of England has 600 priests in training, half of them women; the Roman Catholic church here has 39"
Crystal Watson | 5/19/2011 - 4:35pm
 I don't think the Anglican Church will crumble  if it doesn't become more like the Catholic Church - turning Rowan Williams into a pope or  adopting  a restrictive covenant.  As Andrew Brown mentioned in a past post (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/andrewbrown/2010/sep/15/cardinal-kasper-vatican-true-beliefs) ...

"the Church of England has 600 priests in training, half of them women; the Roman Catholic church
Martin Gallagher | 5/19/2011 - 4:29pm
Austen,

I love the line, "however distant the goal of unity remains, if the two Churches are to move in that direction they must honestly face the new challenges posed by these developments. The alternative would be to allow differences to harden"

So true.

JIM MCCREA | 5/19/2011 - 3:38pm
Church teaching about slavery"
 
362 AD         The local Council at Gangra in Asia Minor excommunicates anyone encouraging a slave to despise his master or withdraw from his service. (Became part of Church Law from the 13th to 20th centuries).
 
354-430        St. Augustine teaches that the institution of slavery derives from God and is beneficial to slaves and masters. (Quoted by many later Popes as proof of “Tradition”.
 
650               Pope Martin I condemns people who teach slaves about freedom or who encourage them to escape.
 
1089             The Synod of Melfi under Pope Urban II imposed slavery on the wives of priests. (Became part of Church Law from the 13th century).
 
1179             The Third Lateran Council imposed slavery on those helping the Saracens.
 
1226             The legitimacy of slavery is incorporated in the Corpus Iuris Canonici, promulgated by Pope Gregory IX which remained official law of the Church until 1913. Canon lawyers worked out four just titles for holding slaves: slaves captured in war, persons condemned to slavery for a crime; persons selling themselves into slavery, including a father selling his child; children of a mother who is a slave.
 
1224-1274    St.Thomas Aquinas defends slavery as instituted by God in punishment for sin, and justified as being part of the ‘right of nations’ and natural law. Children of a slave mother are rightly slaves even though they have not committed personal sin! (Quoted by many later Popes).
1435             Pope Eugenius IV condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of natives in the Canary Islands, but does not condemn slavery as such.
 
1454             Through the bull Romanus Pontifex, Pope Nicholas V authorises the king of Portugal to enslave all the Saracen and pagan peoples his armies may conquer.
 
1493             Pope Alexander VI authorises the King of Spain to enslave non-Christians of the Americas who are at war with Christian powers.
 
1537             Pope Paul III condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of Indians in South America.
 
1548             The same Pope Paul III confirms the right of clergy and laity to own slaves.
 
1639             Pope Urban VIII denounces the indiscriminate enslavement of Indians in South America, without denying the four ‘just titles’ for owning slaves.
 
1741             Pope Benedict XIV condemns the indiscriminate enslavement of natives in Brazil, but does not denounce slavery as such, nor the importation of slaves from Africa.

1839             Pope Gregory XVI condemns the international negro slave trade, but does not question slavery as such, nor the domestic slave trade.
 
1866             The Holy Office in an instruction signed by Pope Pius IX declares:
Slavery itself, considered as such in its essential nature, is not at all contary to the natural and divine law, and there can be several just titles of slavery, and these are referred to by approved theologians and commentators of the sacred canons … It is not contrary to the natural and divine law for a slave to be sold, bought, exchanged or given”.
 
Finally there were changes —–
 
1888             Pope Leo III condemns slavery in more general terms, and supports the anti-slavery movement.
 
1918             The new Code of Canon Law promulgated by Pope Benedictus XV condemns ‘selling any person as a slave’. (There is no condemnation of ‘owning’ slaves, however, and that was viewed as an entirely distinct issue at the time!).
 
1965             The Second Vatican Council defends basic human rights and denounces all violations of human integrity, including slavery (Gaudium et Spes, no 27,29,67).
The Development of Catholic Doctrine concerning Slavery
World Jurist 11 (1969-70) pp. 147-192 and 291-324.


[ from http://www.womenpriests.org/teaching/slavery1.asp ]
Adam Rasmussen | 5/19/2011 - 1:34pm
I wonder if the goal should be changed to something more realistic. I cannot fathom how full, visible communion could come about between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion in my lifetime. (I am 28.) I fully support the Pope's decision to allow traditional Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church without abandoning their spiritual, theological, and liturgical English patrimony. This is a boon for the legitimate diversity of the one Church of Christ, which finds its "subsistence" in the Catholic Church governed by the Bishop of Rome and the bishops in communion with him (cf. Lumen Gentium, no. 8).
Anne Chapman | 5/19/2011 - 10:48am
Thank you, Crystal.  Juan - the point is that there exists more than one interpretation of most of the issues that divide the Christian world.  I came to my views on women's ordination late in my life (in my 50s) - it was not an issue I cared about  or paid much attention to - until I began connecting the dots and realized that there is a connection between some of the church's dysfunctional behaviour, some of its distorted teachings, and it's denial of full equality to women. I do not spend a lot of time reading theologians as theologians often are dense, and seem to spend way too much time trying to define that which is not, by definition, definable - the mystery that we call God, the mystery that we call ''the divine.'' 

I do read and study and pray and reflect. It took years for me to reach the conclusions I have reached, and it wasn't because of this theologian or that one, or this papal letter or that one.  I came to my conclusions by living life, observing life, and also by reading about history, about the cultures of biblical times, some about what biblical scholars have learned about the bible and who wrote it, when, and how, the history of foundational councils such as Nicea, some Aquinas, Augustine, some of the desert fathers, some of the early church fathers etc, etc. I chose this route - going back to source documents because I didn't want what I studied to have been filtered - through the church, or through a ''feminist'' theologian, or throught a ''non-feminist'' theologian.  The footnotes and references in the Catechism of the Catholic Church seldom refer to original, source documents, but to the church's own documents, written earlier in history. Its ''authority'' is itself. I didn't want anyone's filter. I made assumptions about what you read based on what you cite in your posts.

The Anglican communion is not the world's arbiter of ''truth'' -no single denomination, composed of fallible human beings, including the Roman Catholic, has exclusive possession of ''the truth.''  Perhaps the surface divisions of Christianity are actually the best path to ''truth''. Perhaps the very tension and disagreements that exist within christianity are desirable - a creative tension often advances understanding.  It might be the prophetic understanding of Martin Luther in one era, of the Quakers on some issues, of Anglicans on others, and of Catholics on others.  Only the Roman Catholic church and the Orthodox churches claim to be ''the one true church.''  Obviously one of them is ''wrong.''  More likely both are wrong. Perhaps the ''one true church'' is all of them together - the collective wisdom that eventually bubbles up, first from one group in Christianity, then from another help to build the church.  Perhaps true unity lies in simply respecting other branches of Christ's church rather than treating them as inferior (not true churches, to quote Benedict).  The Catholic church has often erred in its history.  Since the RC church has admittedly erred at times, why be so closed to the insights and perceptions of other members of Christ's church? The RCC approaches its talks with the Anglicans with a closed mind - we are right and they have nothing to teach us. Hardly a path to unity or enlightenment.  But, the Roman Catholic church does have the greatest clout - so it is important for it to open its collective mind to listening. Listening is not what it likes to do - it much prefers to dictate.  I care about what the Catholic church says and does because it is the most influenhtial member of the Christian church.

So, we will just have to agree to disagree on this. But, just because some in the church want people to simply shut up about the church's demeaning teachings about women doesn't mean that shutting up is the right or moral thing to do.  Just because they want all dissenters to leave the church so they won't be bothered by gadflys asking hard questions, doesn't mean that is the right thing for those gadfly dissenters to do.

Crystal Watson | 5/19/2011 - 4:30am
About Sara Butler ....

There's a 2008 article byRobert  Egan SJ for Commonweal magazine on women's ordination - Why not? Scripture, history & women's ordination (http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1252/is_7_135/ai_n29481721/) -  in which he asks whether the tradition of excluding women from the priesthood has been faithful to the teaching and practice of Jesus.  Later there was  a commentary in Commonweal magazine on Fr. Egan's article. The first part of this article - Continuing the Conversation: Women & the Priesthood (http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/women-priesthood-0) - was written by Sister Sara Butler criticizing Fr. Egan's pro-women's ordination stance, and in the second part of the article, Fr. Egan refutes her view.

I agree wuth Fr. Egan, of course  :)
Juan Lino | 5/19/2011 - 12:29am
Anne - have you considered the fact that you really have no idea what I have read or have not read and yet you presume that I solely rely on the New Advent site (or even solely Christian writers) - not a good move on your part.
 
Second, I purposely cited a Rodney Stark article because he is NOT a Catholic and quite possibly, no longer considers himself a Christian.  Did you actually read the article?
 
Third, your conspiracy theory bias is showing when you write: “The problem with relying exclusively on the church's own publications and papers and letters and bulls and catechisms and apologetics is that the information is not always objective, since these documents exist in order to convince people.”  Are you presuming mendacity on the part of writers faithful to Christ and His Church and objectivity on the part of those not?  Ha! What criterion are you using to determine that judgment, if that is your judgment?  
 
Regarding the women’s ordination issue, have you even bothered to read the books written by those against it - I am asking because I like to imagine that you’ve read literature that’s both for and against a particular topic.  For example, have you read The Catholic Priesthood and Women by Sara Butler, MSBT?  That’s just one I could cite, and I can suggest more if you wish, but that one is written in non-specialist language.  Or are you also going to charge her, as you did Maria, of being brainwashed?
 
I have no idea who the “dissenters” you have in your mind are so I can’t comment on them until you disclose your mind.  
 
I see your latest post as just another example of you trying to persuade yourself and others that read this blog that the Anglican/Episcopal Church is the Church that Christ founded - well it’s not since it’s founder was someone other than Christ - and that’s a fact anyone can verify whether they are Christian or not. 

If you think that communion is the place for you, then try it out, and let me know how it works out for you. 

Anne Chapman | 5/18/2011 - 11:22pm
Juan,

Your history is incomplete.  The church and the popes were inconsistent throughout history - sometimes condemning slavery, at least under selected circumstances, often permitting it, also under selected circumstanes (for example, slavery was approved as acceptable in conquered lands for those who were not baptized Christians).  It depended very much on the pope's personal opinions and views, and church statements on slavery at different times in history often had conditions. So it was OK to enslave a Muslim, but not to enslave a christian. It was OK to keep in slavery the child of a woman who was a slave. Etc.  The reality is that the church did not unequivacally condemn slavery in the way it condemns abortion, for example, until about the dawn of the 20th century.  I cannot give you all the information here - I suspect your information sources are the conventional apologetics and catechisms of the church that you mention - which are often selective in what they provide and thus incomplete. I have noticed that you refer to New Advent as a reliable source - it is not.  If you would like some examples of how it airbrushes out the information it would rather the ''simple faithful'' not have, please email me.  The problem with relying exclusively on the church's own publications and papers and letters and bulls and catechisms and apologetics is that the information is not always objective, since these documents exist in order to convince people.

You believe the Catholic church has it right on the subject of women's ordination - even though it is quite obviously wrong on simple moral grounds and really takes little reasoning when reading the gospels to see through the church's various arguments.  However, it is your right to believe it.  I would like to see the Catholic church move away from this position because of its role in the world - what it says and does influences the actions of others.  If the Catholic church teaches through its actions and attitudes that women are inferior to men, can be denied a sacrament simply due to their gender, others interpret this as meaning that they are fully justified in treating women as second class human beings - in their societies, and in their own families. The church is teaching a rather powerful lesson through its example - and it clearly is teaching that women are second-class beings. The Catholic church is important simply because of sheer size and it's ability to garner the world's press to attend to its utterances. And so it has more ''clout'' than does Canterbury, for example. But, this does not guarantee that it always and everywhere speaks the ''truth.''  Often that has fallen to the dissenters in the church, including some who were thrown out or separated themselves. (Some of whom were later canonized even after being silenced or thrown out of the church at some point).  Usually - eventually - the Catholic church gets it right - but often long after others did. But since the others lack the Catholic church's position with the world's media, it becomes important to work hard to ''push'' the church into acknowledging when it is wrong - something it is always loathe to do, as evidenced by its actions during its long history.
Juan Lino | 5/18/2011 - 8:42pm
My squabble with Anne diverted me from telling you that I like your post very much Austen.   You ask the right questions and highlight important points - bravo.
 
Although I have many Protestant friends and family members, ecumenical dialogue is not something I am interested in doing, for a variety of reasons, the primary one being that I don’t think that’s where Christ wants me to share my gifts.  Since I am a revert, I tend to focus on Apologetics and catechesis.  
 
Thanks for the post.
Juan Lino | 5/18/2011 - 8:26pm
It does if Canterbury (as an institution) is deviating from what the Truths that the Triune God is revealing to us through His Church (which is what I believe is happening) then they are most definitely the obstacle. Of course there's where we disagree isn’t it!
 
I am familiar with the authors that promulgate the opinions you cite but their opinions are being shown to be as solid as a cloud. 
 
For example, on the question of slavery, Rodney Stark wrote the following in 2003:
 
The Truth About the Catholic Church and Slavery
The problem wasn't that the leadership was silent. It was that almost nobody listened.
Rodney Stark 
 
Some Catholic writers claim that it was not until 1890 that the Roman Catholic Church repudiated slavery. A British priest has charged that this did not occur until 1965. Nonsense!
 
As early as the seventh century, Saint Bathilde (wife of King Clovis II) became famous for her campaign to stop slave-trading and free all slaves; in 851 Saint Anskar began his efforts to halt the Viking slave trade. That the Church willingly baptized slaves was claimed as proof that they had souls, and soon both kings and bishops — including William the Conqueror (1027-1087) and Saints Wulfstan (1009-1095) and Anselm (1033-1109) — forbade the enslavement of Christians.

The full article is here: 
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/julyweb-only/7-14-53.0.html
 
If you want to justify your decision to leave the Church by citing the same old tired arguments that have been disputed by many contemporary and ancient authors, then go ahead.  But why do you insist on tempting others to follow you into falsehood?  

Anne Chapman | 5/18/2011 - 7:16pm
Yes, Juan, that is a nice ideal.  But, that doesn't negate the possibility that perhaps the obstacle is Rome and not Canterbury.  The church has changed its teachings in its history - it has been wrong many times, often lagging in understanding the insights received by their separated brethren on some occasions (the morality of slavery for example. The Catholic church insisted it was moral and ''in accord with natural law'' until almost the end of the 19th century, and it wasn't officially condemned in no uncertain terms until Vatican II).  Its stubbornness and pride were significant influences on the events that eventually became the Protestant Reformation. It took a few hundred years, but Rome has conceded that Luther's points were valid - especially at the beginning, when he had no interest in causing a rupture and hadn't yet become ''extreme''  -, just thought some things needed reforming from within. And they did. Luther was absolutely right. 

Well, the Catholic church does not reform itself very well nor very quickly.  It perhaps could have prevented the big-time splits within christianity that have occurred - the split with the east, the split with Luther.  And, now the Catholic church itself may be the biggest obstacle to unity with Anglicanism.
Juan Lino | 5/18/2011 - 6:17pm
I’m back from my trip and trying to catch up now.
 
Anne, I truly admire how you constantly insist on trying to make the Catholic Church another version of Protestantism (or, at least that’s how it often appears to me!)
 
Well, if it’s the Holy Spirit’s “job” to lead us into Truth and unity, then I propose you look a little more closely at the Anglican Communion.
 
I am especially referring to the fact that in 2006 Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion, said
 
"the best way forward" for the deeply divided Anglican churches is to adopt a Communion-wide covenant and a two-track membership system.
 
Under Williams' plan, churches that agree to the as-yet-unwritten covenant would be "constituent" churches, while those that don't would be "churches in association," he said in a letter to the top bishops in each of the communion's 38 provinces.”
 
Read more here: http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Christianity/2006/07/Williams-Lays-Out-Two-Tier-Membership-For-Anglicans.aspx#ixzz1MkCuzyeV
 
I’d focus less on trying to make the Truth fit into today’s Zeitgeist.  Also, I recall reading somewhere that Jesus had a desire that we all be one.
Anne Chapman | 5/18/2011 - 3:13pm
So, why are the Anglicans blamed for the lack of "unity"?  Why isn't Rome blamed for its failure to open the sacrament of Holy Orders to the 51% of its members who are female?

 Perhaps it's the Anglicans who better hear the voice of the Holy Spirit, and it's Rome who is the stubborn obstacle to unity.