Pope, through Cardinal Ratzinger, supports conservative Episcopal Gathering in Dallas

Discussion in 'Free-For-All Archives' started by Jude, Oct 12, 2003.

  1. Jude

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    Jan 11, 2001
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    The following is a letter from a Roman Catholic priest...

    Back to the Future: The Rebirth of Optimism.

    by Fr Joseph F. Wilson

    We live in hope, we Christians; the virtue of Hope is part of our
    marching orders. But Hope is distinct from optimism, and it often seems
    nowadays that optimism is hard to come by in the Church. My own Roman
    Catholic Church as well as the Episcopal Church in America are beset
    with problems, scandals and signs of institutional decline all too
    familiar to anyone following the news.

    But during this past week, something happened that hearkened back to an
    earlier day, both hopeful and optimistic, a day thirty-six years ago,
    which most people seem to have forgotten. In 1966, in an ancient church
    in Rome, Saint Paul's Outside-The-Walls, the Pope of the Catholic
    Church met the Archbishop of Canterbury, and they participated in a
    prayer service. At its conclusion, just as they were to part, Pope Paul
    VI stopped, hesitated, then took off his own Episcopal ring and placed
    it on the finger of Michael Ramsey, the primate of All England and head
    of the Anglican Communion.

    It was a heady day, indeed a day of great optimism and deep hope which
    seemed to promise further progress between two great churches towards
    the realization of the Lord's prayer "that they may be one."

    The dismal aftermath of that joyful encounter is a matter of recent
    history. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Consultation (ARCIC)
    began, with great fanfare. Yet over the decades, the two churches,
    rather than converging, have diverged sharply as Anglicanism made room
    for remarriage in Church after divorce, the ordination of women to the
    diaconate, then to the priesthood, then to the episcopate. The list of
    controverted moral issues between the two churches has grown, with the
    issue of the acceptance of homosexuality and the blessing of same-sex
    unions the latest point of contention. The hope of that day in Saint
    Paul's Outside-the-Walls has seemed much more distant than just thirty
    six years - until this week.

    What happened during this past week was that over two thousand faithful
    Episcopalians, conservative believers gathering to witness to their
    Faith and plan for the future in the face of the continuing apostasy of
    their denomination, were brought to their feet in a demonstration of
    joyous, thunderous applause in response to a letter of support from
    Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the chief aide to the Vicar of Christ, the
    Holy Father, Pope John Paul.

    The letter is a significant gesture, for the Faithful of both churches,
    for a number of reasons.

    For one, as has been noted already, the headquarters of the Episcopal
    Church at 815 Second Avenue in New York City was bypassed, as Cardinal
    Ratzinger chose to communicate directly with the Plano assembly. This
    is unusual, doubly so as Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold of the
    Episcopal Church is the Anglican co-chair of the official dialogue
    between Anglicanism and the Roman Church.

    For another, the letter is quite clear that Cardinal Ratzinger is
    writing "on behalf of Pope John Paul II." This is not merely a private

    But, perhaps most significantly of all, it is a further sign of
    something which has been increasingly evident in the past few years:
    ecumenical dialogue is entering a more realistic phase. As the two
    churches diverged more and more, the "official dialogue" proceeded and
    issued optimistic statements; if the official communiquÈs were to be
    believed, it seemed as though the two churches were growing steadily
    closer as doctrinal and moral differences between them multiplied.
    Successive Archbishops of Canterbury and Presiding Bishops of the USA
    were ceremonially received by the Pope in Rome, all the while the
    official Anglican establishment in Britain and North America was
    getting loonier and loonier.

    Meanwhile, within the Episcopal Church of the USA and the Church of
    England, faithful traditionalist Anglicans were struggling to preserve
    their heritage, and continuing Anglicans, having left the official
    Anglican Communion to form their own bodies, were persevering against
    immense odds. With all of these, the Holy See certainly had more in
    common than with the Anglican Communion establishment with which it was

    But things have slowly been changing in the past few years. Bishops of
    continuing Anglican churches have been cordially received at Rome, and
    conversations quietly begun; and when those conversations encountered
    obstacles among some in the Roman Curia, those obstacles were overcome.
    Forward in Faith/UK, the traditionalist group in Britain, has been
    engaged in serious, cordial conversations with Rome. And Rome itself
    has said that it will no longer feel obligated to channel all of its
    Anglican conversations through the official channels of the Anglican

    And now there is reason to hope that we return to the Lord Jesus, Who
    is, after all, the Point of it all. We return to the Lord Jesus, Who
    prayed that we might be One. We return to the Lord Jesus and to His
    Gospel, remembering that the one thing needful is that we be faithful
    to Him. We live in a day when it is not hard at all to find bishops who
    will pretend that 'Unity" is the Most Important Thing, rather than the
    Way, the Truth, the Life who should unify us; that Dialogue is more
    important than witnessing to Truth. At Plano, they kicked off the
    festivities with "Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus." It's no accident; that
    great old war horse has been out of fashion for years. Standing Up for
    Jesus is coming back into style.

    Plano was an interesting meeting in many ways; perhaps the most
    interesting aspect of it was the quite evident feeling of participants
    that the Presiding Bishop and his minions were now quite beside the
    point. "Jesus Christ is Lord," was a common exclamation, and also
    common in the reports from Plano were expressions of joy and calm.
    Bishop Ackerman spoke powerfully when he said that they need have no
    fear, that they already knew Who had written the last chapter and where
    the victory would lie. Meanwhile, as far as 815 Second Avenue was
    concerned, one got the distinct impression that the assembly was
    saying, "Oh, rubbish! You have no power here. Now, begone! Before
    someone drops a house on YOU!!"

    Yes, it seems that, after so long, there's not just a future to hope
    in, but to be optimistic about as well. Great things are about to
    happen, great things done by the Lord. Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus!

    Father Wilson is a Roman Catholic Priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn,
    ordained in 1986. He is presently stationed at St Luke's Church in
    Whitestone, Queens, where he is curate, director of education of the
    school, and a keen observer of Anglican affairs.
  2. Carson Weber

    Carson Weber
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    Dec 5, 2001
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    Ratzinger's the man. Last night, I finished his The Spirit of the Liturgy, which opened my eyes to the profound theology and history behind the liturgy. Very cool.

    Thank you for such a positive post, Jude.
  3. Jude

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    Jan 11, 2001
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    I do predict that in the next decade, a relationship between Rome and Canterbury (at least the Anglican Catholics) will be made, similar to the one Rome has with the Eastern Catholics. The prayer of our Lord, "that they may be one..." is being answered before our very eyes!
  4. WPutnam

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    Nov 15, 2001
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    (double post)
  5. WPutnam

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    Nov 15, 2001
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    If I may be as optimistic as I can, so long as there is a conservative wing of Episcopal/Anglicanism, as you seem to represent, Jude, there is certainly room for a reconsiliation.

    I see the possibility of an "Anglican Rite" within a reunion with the historic Catholic Church "in union with Rome," including an ""Anglican Rite" of the liturgy, similar to the Anglican use parishes here in America, once Anglican/Episcopalian, but how converts, an mass, into Catholicism.

    Of course, I would then cease to be too "objectional" to the use of the word "Catholic" that the high church/conservative Anglicans use (as you do, I think) and no offense please, but in any case, such a glorious reunion would be exceeded only by a similar reunion of Orthodoxy in the East.

    The singing of the angels in heaven would probably be heard here on earth when this happens! [​IMG]

    CARSON: New picture, huh? I gotta get a new one too, as I am too young in the one you see! [​IMG]

    God bless,



    Christus Vincit! Christus Regnat! Christus Imperat!

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