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I was wrong and uncharitable to suggest that the Pope should not be meeting Archbishop Welby. But about our relationship with Anglicanism I got it right

Above all, ARCIC is the institutionalisation of the indifferentism which has so weakened faith in the parishes since the Sixties

By on Friday, 14 June 2013

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby (PA)

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby (PA)

“On Friday”, I headlined my last piece, “the Pope will meet Archbishop Welby. So, why do we continue talking to the Anglicans after they have so wilfully made unity impossible?”. “Archbishop Welby is to meet the Pope”, I went on to repeat and then declared, “The real question is why?”

These articles (as do most Catholic Herald blogs) attract a certain amount of tiresome attention from trolls, who mainly write to be annoying. This time, however, one of my regulars gave an answer to my question which was absolutely to the point, and to which there could be no convincing riposte. Why was the Holy Father meeting Archbishop Welby? My troll retorted: “Perhaps because the Pope isn’t a bigot with a closed mind?”.

And of course he was right. The Pope has to talk with non-Catholics; it’s part of what he’s there for. Welby seems a sincere and intelligent man, who believes his religion and may well do good in the world by his practise of it. Popes talk to Jews and atheists; and of course they also have to talk to non-Catholic Christians. So I was wrong implicitly (and unintentionally) to criticise the Holy Father for meeting Archbishop Welby at all. I was also uncharitable. But my real point still stands: I just didn’t make it very well (for all that I attracted over 270 replies, mostly agreeing with me).

I’m sorry to go over the same ground again, but it’s important that we should get this one right, and I confused the issue last time. The danger is not that the visit is happening at all: it is that because of the way in which it is taking place, and because of the very dodgy way the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is handling it, the impression is being given that in some way the Pope and the archbishop are equivalent figures, and that Welby’s beliefs about his Church and his office are understood AND RECOGNISED by the Holy See.

It’s essential to remember what those claims actually are. Catholics believe that Henry VIII invented a new church called the Church of England. But that’s not what Anglicanism claims at all. Anglicanism claims that it is continuous with what came before, that it is THE SAME CHURCH as the Ecclesia Anglicana of the Middle Ages and that Archbishop Welby is the direct successor of St Augustine of Canterbury: the Wikipedia article on him begins with the words “Justin Portal Welby … is the 105th and current Archbishop of Canterbury”. The liturgical book of the church which Catholics believe was newly invented but which Anglicans believe is England’s historic Catholic Church, reformed not invented by the Tudors, described itself as The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of THE CHURCH according to the use of the Church of England (My emphasis).

The consequence of all that is the Anglican claim, explicit or implicit, is that the Catholic Church in England is not what it says it is, because it’s the Church of England which IS in England what the Catholic Church claims to be. In less ecumenical times, the English Catholic Church was sometimes derided as “the Italian mission”.

Those claims are soft-pedalled now, but they are still there. Their modern equivalent is that Anglican bishops, and archbishops, are in some way equivalent and equal to the Catholic bishops: that in these ecumenical times they are somehow in business together.

And that is precisely the message that is being given by the activities of Archbishop Nichols in all this. This is what the Pontifical Council has to say about it: “Anglicans and Catholics also must work together to provide clear moral guidance to society and Archbishop Justin has collaborated closely with the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, to safeguard marriage and other Christian values in society. It is a sign of their close relations that Archbishop Nichols will accompany the Archbishop of Canterbury on this visit.”

The trouble with those “close relations” is not just that they are an implicit recognition of Anglican claims to catholicity: they constitute also in themselves a claim from the Catholic side that we are now a fully functioning subsidiary of the Establishment, that our claims that we are the true Church and that those who claim Catholic jurisdiction over England are emphatically nothing of the kind are being quietly dropped.

The real damage, here, however is not being done by Archbishop Vincent. The damage is being done by the continued existence of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), which is an institutionalisation of our recognition of the equivalence of the Anglican and Catholic Churches, and which is itself a living absurdity since all the subjects ARCIC discusses are between two sets of participants assembled on entirely different criteria.

Those on the Catholic side are there to represent a coherent doctrinal tradition the objective content of which is accepted by all of them. They would all, for instance, without even thinking about it, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church as being an authoritative expression of that tradition. On the Anglican side, opinions differ widely: some would also accept most of the CCC: others would reject much of it, and particularly what it has to say about the sacraments and the nature of the Church. The Catholic Commissioners represent the Catholic Church: the Anglicans represent only their own personal opinion. There is no consensus between them; how could any consensus emerge between them and the Catholic Church? That is why the ARCIC documents are couched in such vague and ambiguous language: and it is why the CDF has accepted none of them as adequately representing the Catholic view of whatever they were claiming to be about: some they have rejected as clearly heretical.

But what actual harm does ARCIC do, you may ask? Doesn’t it serve the admirable objective of fostering charity between divided Christians? Well, the harm it does is the harm indifferentism and reductionist ecumenism always does. We can see what has happened since the Sixties: the faithful in the pews are uncertain what to believe any more. Everyone always used to say, whatever you think of the Catholics, at least they know what they believe. Not any more they don’t. The pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI began to reverse the disaster of indifferentism: but they never disbanded ARCIC, though JPII did suspend it after the ordination to the Anglican episcopate of an openly and militantly homosexual man. As I wrote last time, “It was a moment in which reality asserted itself. What is unclear is WHY that assertion of reality was itself suspended. Why did ARCIC then recommence operations as though nothing had happened, despite the fact that throughout the Anglican communion, openly gay bishops are now seen as quite normal and there are thousands of women priests, several of whom are even commissioners in the new ARCIC?”

I don’t have space to say more about ARCIC here (though I could bore on about it interminably): I said what needs to be said last time. I simply end by repeating what it is that we have to get clearly into our heads: “The absolute primacy of the truth above all things is what we are committed to before all else. To weaken our understanding of THAT is to weaken faith and to undermine the faithful. The continued existence of ARCIC undermines the faithful: it is thus deeply unpastoral. It is cruel; it is uncaring. That is the reality that has to be grasped.”

But will we grasp it?

  • James M

    I suppose it’s logical – if mixed marriages are OK, and sharing of churches, and lots of of other ecumenical co-operation, why not this ? If the principles of action are bad – so will the actions be. I blame the Vatican, because it is the Vatican that publishes the ideas that make nonsense like this possible.

  • Irenaeus of New York

    Good article. I agree with your sentiments.

  • nanomanoman

    Yes, there was a reason St Francis made that statement. It was much the same as Copernicus. Hurrah!

  • nanomanoman

    I think, and sincerely hope, you are going against the tide. The Pope made a point of referring to himself as Bishop of Rome, a nod to the days when the Bishop stood as “first among equals” with the other bishops rather than in let’s call it a presidential role.

    Are you really so concerned with the salvation of souls Mr Oddie? Is that really what this is about? One can trade Biblical quotations back and forth, but if you examine your heart do you really believe Jesus would judge His church thus or speak of the Christianity of the Archbishop as “his religion” as if it was taken from the back of a crisp packet?

    I appreciate this is the Herald – the Daily Telegraph of Catholicism – but as someone moving toward this version of our shared faith I find the opinions that I read and hear in the media consistently in contrast to my experience of the church at first hand. The qualities that often come out in the media are in fact the opposite – a lack of generosity and a high- handed self-righteousness. I have to remind myself that the “reality” is somewhat different. Fundamentally I think that many people, of many strains of Christianity, forget it is not “their” church, but Christ’s. I remind myself of this when I am exposed to all this lack of charity and persevere.

  • Osowoofy

    I’m not a part of this debate, but it’s just amazing to hear each religion tell the world that it’s the ONE. TRUE. RELIGION.

    Carry on. Please.

  • Nicolas Bellord

    I am surprised that nobody else seems to have noticed this but it was reported in the Church Times and elsewhere:

    “Readings followed from Ruth and 2 Corinthians, both read by co-presidents of Churches Together in England, the Lutheran Bishop, the Rt Revd Jana Jeruma Grinberga, and the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols.

    Then came the two enthronements, preceded by the hymn “The Church’s one foundation”. First, Archbishop Welby was installed in the diocesan throne by the Archdeacon of Canterbury, the Ven. Sheila Watson.”


    I don’t think he danced though perhaps just tapped his foot?
    Rt Revd Jana Jeruma Grinberga – doesn’t she appear in one of those novels by Ronald Firbank – Prancing N?

  • ChantryPriest

    The C of E can never be a ‘sister’-’daughter’ is more appropriate. Until the 1960′s she was staid, respectable, a little fussy and stern but, as has been said above, there were many Catholic elements in her [even if most of her members didn't want to recognize them]. Remember also, the [fading] consciousness of Empire when to be an Englishman was to ‘hold a winning ticket in the lottery of life’ This attitude meant that ALL things English were sufficient and there was no help needed from any foreign power.
    However. since that time, things have altered drastically [liturgically Vat. II didn't help as it spread the impression that tradition was 'old hat'] the Empire has gone and we are all in thrall to American Culturally Imperialistic ‘values’ which in essence say ‘What you want is your right’
    Therefore she has thrown her cassock over the windmill and abandoned herself to every new rationalistic and modernist idea.
    Once she was merely wayward-now, regrettably, she is a trollop[e]

  • Neocat

    Surely ARCIC is more damaging to Anglicanisme. It shows some Anglicans that they can agree with the Catholic Church on things, and they start seeing their Catholic leanings. Other Anglicans cannot agree with ARCIC, and so Anglicans polerize, and some end up doing things like joining the ordinate etc. Catholics carry on regardless.
    Ecumanisme, it’s not lowest denominator, it’s common ground on which to meet and be friends, rather than searching out things to fight about. At home Is it better to be in continual warfare with your neighbour and snub them, or to recognise we both like (let’s say Football ) and enjoy a few beers watching Match of the day ? Which one will help get the garden fence fixed when needed, or get that overgrown hedge cut ?
    Anyway in Anglican circles R Catholicisme is renown for it doggedly self centred views, To anglicans, unity means have to move towards the RC position.

  • nanomanoman

    “Who is not against me is for me.”

    “My father’s house has many mansions.”

    “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is
    neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

  • Jane

    Amen! As the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith wrote in the document Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization on 3
    December 2007 ” If man denies his
    fundamental capacity for the truth, if he becomes skeptical regarding his
    ability really to know what is true, he ends up losing what in a unique way
    draws his intelligence and enthralls his heart.” and “Therefore, the work of ecumenism does not remove the right or take away the
    responsibility of proclaiming in fullness the Catholic faith to other
    Christians, who freely wish to receive it.”

  • $20596475

    So you think Catholicism will adapt itself into extinction? Surely not for Catholicism shows little appetite for modification. In any case the evolutionary lesson is that it is those who fail to adapt who are destined for extinction, and not those who do.

  • James Scott

    Come on, William, you’re ignoring that Catholics and Anglicans ARE united – by Baptism; that is to say, by Christ. All the rest is stuff to be worked out, not to huff and puff about. Isn’t a generous acceptance of each other more according to the mind of Christ than defending all these demarcation lines? Isn’t it rather remarkable, for example, that we’ve come to much closer agreement about the Eucharist and its centrality in the life of the Church, rather than being in hot dispute about it? Didn’t ARCIC nudge us along here? What’s not to like about that?

  • Jane

    They’re partially united by baptism but not in full communion.

  • Jakeap

    As the bible says in the book of Joshua (Josue) chapter 23:12-13 “But if you will embrace the errors of these nations that dwell among you, and make marriages with them, and join friendships: [13] Know ye for a certainty that the Lord your God will not destroy them before your face, but they shall be a pit and a snare in your way, and a stumblingblock at your side, and stakes in your eyes, till he take you away and destroy you from off this excellent land, which he hath given you.”

  • Haujke

    As the book of Joshua in the bible says in chapter 23:12-13 “But if you will embrace the errors of these nations that dwell among you, and make marriages with them, and join friendships: [13] Know ye for a certainty that the Lord your God will not destroy them before your face, but they shall be a pit and a snare in your way, and a stumblingblock at your side, and stakes in your eyes, till he take you away and destroy you from off this excellent land, which he hath given you.”

    We wanted to make non-Catholics more open to Catholicism but the price of removing their hate of Catholicism was teaching Catholics by omission that all religions are okay to be in or join, or think of as equals in the knowledge of the truth.

  • Tom_mcewen

    I am not defending them, I am saying what they were saying, crammer and them thought they were the English Catholic Church, Henry VIII thought he was Catholic not protestant. I think they were Heretics and they killed a lot of good Catholics who stood in the way of destroying the Abby system of support. Elizabeth thought there was enough Catholic in the Church so that Catholics would be happy. Her Secret police was efficient and deadly, Parish rolls made sure of that. For me the food in the vine died long ago and the CofE is dying of starvation and suicide.

  • scary goat

    The Anglicans.

  • James Scott

    Not in full communion, OK – but One in Christ

  • Benedict Carter

    The last six words make that statement useless. Typical nu-Church double-speak.

  • NBeale

    I think some people become Catholics because they want to believe that WE are RIGHT and anyone who disagrees with us must be WRONG and there is no point in any real dialogue. This seems to be Oddie’s view and that’s a classic Bigot’s position. It is clearly and unequivocally not the Pope’s position.

    Furthermore the Catholic church has conceded, implicitly or explicitly, almost all the key points of difference in practice with historical Anglicanism: services in the vernacular, laity encouraged to read the Bible, communion in both kinds, clergy not a caste apart from the people. The ridiculous view that Anglican orders are null and void is clearly not held by the Pope who in fact is on record as saying the Church needs the Anglicans and that the Ordinariate is un-necessary. He clearly considers Justin to be an Archbishop and indeed his predecessor gave Justin’s predecessor an episcopal ring to wear.

    Fraternal dialogue and mutual love and prayer will continue, strongly supported by the leaders of both churches and by all Christians who respond to the loving call of Christ in this respect.

  • stefanroberts

    I work very closely with Anglicans on a daily basis. I’ve never found either any forward anti-Catholic feeling from any of them, to whom I am very openly Catholic, nor any feeling of unwelcome or misunderstanding. I cannot be the only Catholic who has grown up in a society where ecumenism is simply accepted? How how HOW are people still criticising the progress of the Second Vatican Council? The basis of our mutual faith is that which is declared in the creed. I find that more than enough common ground to share with my Anglican brothers, and i am pleased to know that the Holy Father shares that view. Whatever some of the commenters here may think, the trend among young Catholics is for acceptance of both the Old Mass and the new. NOT to end the progress of Ecumenism. As for this post, I think Dr Oddie mistakes the Church of England of 1549 with the Church of England today – one that has experienced a vast variety of changes over four hundred years, to the wide acceptance of a variety of styles of worship that it has now. While there is disagreement on many issues, I think it is perhaps digging one’s head in the sand to think there is no disagreement within our own Church. I find the whole idea of not talking to Anglicans simply because they don’t believe what we believe to be incredibly disrespectful and unchristian.

  • Julian Lord

    The ridiculous view that Anglican orders are null and void

    Anglican orders are null and void, because they are based on a denial of the Real Presence in the Eucharist, and on the requirement that Anglican ministers MUST deny the Real Presence during the course of their ritual inductions.

  • stefanroberts

    I’m sorry but I think you’re totally wrong about +Rowan wishing to be a Roman Catholic. He’s quietly in favour of gay marriage, of gay priests and bishops and very publicly in favour of female bishops. It is wrong to think that the Catholic tradition within the Church of England wishes it was Roman Catholic.

  • stefanroberts


  • Julian Lord

    the trend among young Catholics is for acceptance of both the Old Mass and the new. NOT to end the progress of Ecumenism

    I agree.

    My own tendency is to attend our parish Novus Ordo on the Sunday morning, and the diocesan TLM in the evening (our parish priest celebrates or co-celebrates at both Masses BTW). The two Forms of the Mass, when given in the proper orthodox manner, enrich each other rather than one detracting from the other IMO.

    As for Ecumenism, it remains in its Tradition the desire for the return of all Christians to the Catholic Faith, as well in its Vatican II -inspired pastoral dimension as a pastoral openness towards those same Christians — though the **abuses** of ecumenism, and any and all false ecumenism, remain quite shocking to any orthodox and/or traditional Catholics.

  • stefanroberts

    The point I, perhaps badly, am trying to make is that I don’t think ecumenism stands in opposition to desire for all Christians to be reunited to the Church. But there must an approach of realism and acceptance of the fact that reunification is very, very unlikely for a variety of reasons. So we must work in the circumstances that we are presented with and try and work together in the ways in which we can, to better the world and to try and live with Christ. The seemingly constant focus of some people on here on the differences between the two Churches seems just absurd to me. And I do not see that same approach in my day to day experience of the Church.

  • Julian Lord

    I agree, Stefan — but this is an online forum that tends towards polemics, which polemics may include reference to some stricter views of the doctrine and the Tradition of the Faith than many of us might otherwise engage in, in our parish life, and other parts of our non-internet-forum existence.

    When various views of Catholicism, understandings of the Tradition, diverse personal relationships with Christ through the Church and the Spirit are thrown together into an apparently haphazard jumble in these forums, it is the Catholicity itself, in its orthodoxy, that can often remain as the steadfast common touchstone of our shared Faith, particularly in responses to those trolls who come in here with various anti-Catholic or anti-orthodox agendas of their own.

    And there are MANY of them … :-(

    Nevertheless, many of us in here have been watching the apparently suicidal acts of secularism by the various churches and ecclesial communities of Anglicanism with a certain degree of dismay, or even horror, given the sheer NUMBER of core Catholic teachings that have been overtly rebelled against by Anglicans in recent decades.

    However you define Ecumenism, if it is to be coherent with the Catholic Faith, then the Anglicans have been providing its DIAMETRIC opposite.

  • NatOns

    Indeed, no we are not – and any such likelihood recedes with each new Anglican fancy to play tease with the devouring lion just outside our door; hence the reality of the ‘ever-achingly improbable recognition of sister churches’. But ARCIC did – in theory at least – point to the basic possibility for such a sisterly connection .. the common reliance on and love of Sacred Tradition. This can be seen in the tremendous witness of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham: there the Patrimony is one of shared, yet distinct, communion – now in a filial unity though not (as yet) a sororal community.

  • Benedict Carter

    “How how HOW are people still criticising the progress of the Second Vatican Council?”

    Because it is a very significant departure from the Catholic Faith, that’s why.

  • Benedict Carter

    “but One in Christ”

    What does that actually MEAN?

  • stefanroberts

    I’m sad you’ve said this because I could not oppose either of these things more. Homosexuality is a simple fact of life. I’m 21 and brought up in a strict Catholic household, but the idea of describing anyone as a militant homosexual, or accusing homosexuals of being “predators” is totally unacceptable in modern society. When did we forget to love the sinner?

  • stefanroberts

    No, the Second Vatican Council is the Catholic faith. Those who oppose it are the departure.

  • kentgeordie

    So have you abolished all sins, or just the practices favoured by our urban élites?

  • James Scott

    Not in full Ecclesial Communion; but One in and by Christ.
    The first in virtue of our sinfulness; the second by virtue of grace.
    What does it “mean”? “For anyone in Christ there is a new creation … It is all God”s work.” (2 Cor. 5)

  • Julian Lord

    the idea of describing anyone as a militant homosexual, or accusing
    homosexuals of being “predators” is totally unacceptable in modern

    … then you’re simply saying that realism is unacceptable.

  • JCF

    Oh, convert zeal. Always so amusing.
    Meanwhile, ordinary, faithful Roman Catholics and Anglicans just get on, often together, w/ the work of the Gospel. Having not been the latter, you’re really not going to join the former either, William. Just stuck in the Convert Zone, where the men are men, and the sheep are nervous…

  • William Oddie

    What a nasty little post. I’ve been a Catholic for over twenty years. How long is it before one can just be regarded as an ordinary Catholic? My views are held by very many cradle Catholics. They’re also held by many Anglicans.

    And anyway, what’s wrong with “zeal”? It’s the opposite of indifference, a much bigger problem for the Church.

  • JoFro

    This Pope seems to have told the Catholic religious folk in South America to not be too concerned about what the CDF says. He also, before becoming Pope, thought the Anglican Ordinariate was a bad idea. If that his true, I don’t see the ARCIC disbanding under his watch or him even being concerned that it is causing great harm!

  • Toshi quaraba

    I am impressed with the article of Dr Oldie. I must confess it is time that Anglicans should stop soft – pedalling with the Church. Either they are Roman Catholics or Protestants. Their supposed “via media” it is just a mere sitting on the fence. ARCIC has not contributed at all to the Ecumenical Dialogue, it has caused Evangelicals and other Protestants to keep their distances from any form of dialogue, let alone of any form of Ecumenism. ARCIC has imposed rules which prevent real dialogue and Protestants have understood that long time ago. I find easier to talk to a “Reformed” Protestant, even if I totally disagree with him on some issues, than with a feeble Anglican who has no dogma at all. If Ecumenism has failed, let us have at least the good and charitable manners of understanding and respecting differences, without pretences or claiming to be fully committed to the Ecumenical process. In any way the ecumenical idea was not invented by the Church, it is a by-product of the Oxford Movement , too afraid to be committed either way.

  • Mark Gliddon

    Ever since leaving the Anglican Priesthood I have been overwealmed by people who are genuinely puzzled as to why I left. I simply tell them I could no longer accept their claims to authentic Catholicity, which is found on the barque of Peter alone. Now as I move toward Catholic Orders I continue to be amazed at how those who claim to possess the beauty and mystery of the one true Holy Catholic and Apostolic faith are blinded by the agendas of secularism and the poision of a false ecumenical ‘dialogue’. Truth can have no conversation with error an schisim. It is indeed cruel, uncaring and deeply Un-Pastoral. Ultimately how many souls will be lost becaue of it?

    “The absolute primacy of the truth above all things is what we are committed to before all else”

    Pray for us who journey toward Catholic Orders that we may always be faithful to the truth for if that is forsaken then all is lost.

  • Nesbyth

    I so agree with Mr Oddie and with regard to JCF, the lukewarm (the indifferent) should beware of the place they occupy.

    “Those who are lukewarm, I will spew thee out of my mouth” Revelations.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    To be fair to Oddie, I think he went beyond that in the arguments he set out. And on some of them, he does have a point.

    I agree that Catholics have learned from the Reformed churches, including the Anglicans, and I value those churches.

    But I can’t agree that you list the key points of difference, even historically. Historical Anglicanism was (at moments, at least) much more Reformed and anti-Catholic than it is now. The 39 Articles include some very Reformed theology. There is a strand of theology in Anglicanism which sees itself as having serious differences with Catholics, just as we do with them. Welby, indeed, belongs to this strand. The accord between him and Francis is impressive precisely because they are both well aware of what their differences are. Read what he said closely, and you will see he is very careful about what he picks as his grounds of agreement- and all the more impressive for that reason.

    The key points of difference from our perspective are their not having a full theology of the Sacraments, and their not being in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

    Francis is willing to call Justin an archbishop; that doesn’t mean he thinks he is an archbishop in the sense he thinks the archbishop of Milan is an archbishop.

    The status of Anglican orders is not the place to start, as far as I am concerned; it is because they don’t have a full, agreed sacramental theology that we can’t treat the Anglican church as having the Sacraments (other than Baptism) in the way that we can the Eastern churches. Should that change, then we could, in my view. But transsubstantiation (or some theological equivalent) is a sine qua non.

    Having said that, I still think we have much to learn from Anglicans/Episcopalians- just as I think we do from the other churches.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    I don’t think the Catholic tradition of the Church of England wishes it were Roman Catholic in general; just Rowan Williams.

    The reasons you list are I’m sure the reasons he explains to himself why he doesn’t: that it helps the greater Catholicity of the Church for other churches to do these things, which he believes are consonant with the Church’s true nature. But there are also plenty of Catholics, and even some Catholic bishops, who hold the views you mention, quietly or otherwise.

  • Sara_TMS_again

    Apologies for my own ‘convert’ reference- you are quite right that such references are uncalled-for.

  • NBeale

    Still boils down to “We are RIGHT you are WRONG” alas. On this matter the Pope is right and Oddie & co are sadly mistaken.

    It is obvious if you think for a moment that it is not an essential part of being a church or a bishop A of having the sacraments that you have a “full agreed sacramental theology.”

    a. “full” sacramental theology is impossible – they are mysteries that surpass human understanding. Nor does any church with more than a handful of people completely agree on theology.

    b. Obviously the early church didn’t have a “full agreed theology” about anything, and yet even the most bigoted ultra-catholic won’t hold that the early church didn’t have the sacraments.

  • Ordinary Decent Anglican

    Some posters here might benefit from the Pope’s comments on Christian unity at his most recent general audience.

    To quote briefly, he said:

    “Unity is a grace we must ask from the Lord so that he would free us from the temptation of division, fights among us, selfishness and complaining about each other – how much damage, how much evil that chatter creates.”

    Alternatively, keep chattering. Just be sure to keep throwing salt over your shoulder.