Saturday, October 24, 2009

Is it Rome's or TEC's diversity which is legitimate?

Pope Benedict's recent announcement of special arrangements for Anglicans coming under Roman oversight and rule stretches Roman understanding of diversity, not least because this is the most overt inclusion of married priests in Roman presbyteral ranks in the West ever.

Cardinal Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, comments:

"... Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: 'There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism'.

"Our communion", the cardinal added in conclusion, "is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith". (Emphasis added)

That phrase 'legitimate diversity' strikes a chord with me as I have long worried that we Anglicans have embraced diversity without much sense of constraints on that diversity.

Here is another bishop speaking about diversity, Catherine Roskam from New York:

"We appreciate the welcome the pope extended to those in the Anglican Communion who are disaffected," New York Bishop Suffragan Catherine Roskam said in an emailed statement. "We for our part continue to welcome our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters, both lay and ordained, conservative and liberal, who wish to belong to a church that treasures diversity of thought." (Emphasis added)

But how does one 'treasure' diversity of thought unless it is valuable, and on what basis is it valuable? Presumably something to do with its 'legitimacy' according to Scripture (as argued by Cardinal Levada). So, presumably, Catherine Roskam is also talking about legitimate diversity, like the Cardinal.

It would take too much to argue one diversity is actually legitimate and the other not, or to argue that both claims are correct (which would have the unfortunate implication that a terrible misunderstanding has existed between Romans and Anglicans for a long time now)! There is also the interesting possibility that both are wrong!

But Catherine Roskam seems to have missed the point that the Roman church, at least in its particular way, is a church which treasures diversity!


Gene Packwood said...


Glad to discover your evangelical Anglican-Down-Under blog. I'm a Kiwi evangelical Anglican from Down Under (also with a blog - GENEralities) serving Jesus in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada.

I like what your bishop had to say from and after Lambeth.

Love in Jesus,


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Gene
For a moment there I thought the Bishop of New Hampshire was online ... being a Kiwi, you won't be offended by that, as you will have a great sense of humour!

What a great photo of the Kaikoura coast on your blog ... foreboding, mysterious !!

Gene Packwood said...

Har! You can't be too careful these days. You never know which of we Genes might be mutant or recessive.

It's been a gratifyingly Kiwi sort of day. Not only did I discover your blog, I also found some Steinlager in small bottles! :-)