THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Recent developments in the Anglican world, combined with recent statements made by officials at the Vatican, have caused 'The Catholic Knight' to question if an Anglo Catholic and Roman Catholic convergence is not far away.
Members of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) have been petitioning the Vatican for entry into the Catholic Church as a fully recognized Anglican Rite. Simultaneously, Anglicans who have already entered the Catholic Church through the Anglican Use Pastoral Provision, (created by Pope John Paul II), have also been working toward the creation of a full fledged Anglican Rite. At the same time, Anglican bishops from all over the third-world, who are still in communion with Canterbury, have been petitioning the Vatican privately for the exact same thing.
What has hindered the Vatican from granting this request so far is ecumenical relations with the Anglican Communion. Rome does not want to step on Canterbury's toes and damage any ecumenical progress that has already been made. However, in the long history of Catholic-Anglican discussions, certain national churches within the Communion itself have been moving further and further away from orthodoxy. The Vatican has made it clear that the Anglican practice of ordaining female clergy already presents a serious obstacle to restoring unity between the two churches. Compound this with the ordination of female bishops, and the promotion of homosexuality, and it is starting to become clear that rehabilitation of this organization is nearly impossible.
Thus enters the comments of Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council of Christian Unity, who said it was time for Anglicanism to "clarify its identity". He continued; "Does it belong more to the churches of the first millennium -Catholic and Orthodox - or does it belong more to the Protestant churches of the 16th century? At the moment it is somewhere in between, but it must clarify its identity now and that will not be possible without certain difficult decisions." Here we have the clincher. Rome is calling Canterbury out. Are you Catholic or not? Decisions will be made at this year's Lambeth conference whether the Anglican bishops intend to make them or not. Rome appears to be indicating that it will "monitoring" this years Lambeth conference very closely, and will be "adjusting" it's ecumenical dialog with Canterbury based on the Anglican bishops' decision or lack thereof. The Anglican bishops now find themselves under a tremendous amount of pressure at this upcoming Lambeth conference. Failure to make the "difficult decisions" of putting down homosexuality and stopping the ordination of women, will put Canterbury squarely at odds with historic catholic patrimony - thus relegating the Anglican Communion to a mere Protestant denomination in the eyes of Rome. Once that happens, it opens the door for the creation of an Anglican Rite within the Catholic Church, as a refuge for Anglo Catholics seeking protection from the Protestantized Anglican Communion centered primarily in England, Canada and the United States.
On the other hand, in the unlikely event that Anglican bishops square up with their catholic patrimony at Lambeth, and make the "difficult decisions" needed to prove that catholicism is not dead within their church yet, then Rome will have no trouble pursuing further ecumenical relations with Canterbury, on the same level as with the Eastern Orthodox churches.
The choice is left squarely in the Anglican bishops' hands, and they have little time left to make up their minds. Decision, or lack thereof, will soon determine their relations with Rome, and the future of Anglo Catholicism. Whatever their decision, or lack thereof, it seems to this blogger, that an Anglo - Roman Catholic convergence is eminent, one way or another. I certainly won't commit to any kind of time table, but it seems that Pope John Paul II's work with the Anglicans may soon find it's completion in the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI.
It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired. I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue. I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe. I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great.....