Thursday, October 22, 2009

Roaming wisdom from John Richardson and on his site, and elsewhere

I think 'measured' is a good word to describe the general quality of the posts on John Richardson's blog The Ugley Vicar. Today he offers a measured reflection on the recent Roman announcement of hospitality to Anglicans. Measured, not least, in the sense of getting a feel for the width and the quality of the cloth being offered by Rome. In doing so he answers one of my questions, would an individual Anglican here and there wanting to take up the offer be drawn into a Personal Ordinariate? Probably not, because a Personal Ordinariate would be offered where there was 'demand'! Incidentally I think John has the best headline for a post or news story I have seen, The Papal Bull in the Anglican China Shop!!

Yesterday John offered a reflection from someone else, Richard Bewes an elder statesman of Anglican evangelicalism. Please read it - if nothing else as a brilliant example of 'appreciative review', the ability to find the good in two opposing points of views. Excellent!

PS By contrast Ruth Gledhill offers something tantalising with the headline Will Michael Nazir-ali Go To Rome? Read on and you will soon find that she thinks this unlikely because married bishops will not be bishops in a Personal Ordinariate. Self-contradiction? Possibly. Hiding but hinting at inside knowledge? That's ALWAYS possible with Ruth!!

As for other comment - is there any Anglican blog or news site NOT commenting on this remarkable 'apostolic' initiative?

OK - one stands out for a mention here. Not unexpectedly it is from the very sage Kendall Harmon at Titus One Nine. I shall reproduce it in full, along with a very interesting comment posted below it.

The post:

"I have a slew of emails and telephone calls asking what I think of this latest development. Herewith a few thoughts for starters.

(1) It represents a huge indictment of the leadership of the Archbishop of Canterbury. Many people question Rome's motivations, but I believe Rome, which has been watching Anglican developments like a hawk in recent years, wanted Anglicanism globally to succeed. Their response to the Windsor Report, for example, was quite favorable. This move to me shows they do not believe the Anglican moment in history to help global Christianity can take place sufficiently under Rowan Williams.

(2) It represents a sweeping judgment on Anglicanism in particular. Rome believes, as John 17 says, that the world may know the gospel if Christians are one as Jesus and the Father are one. Such a unity is only possible through a church with catholic order and evangelical faith. Rome has watched global Anglicanism evolve and has seen the Instruments of Unity be used repeatedly, over a period of time, and they have judged that Anglicanism itself is not and will not work for the cause of real global Catholicism going forward.

(3) It repesents a judgment that the real story going forward is between Rome and the East. Do not underestimate the significance of the fact that in this present unusual "arrangement," if I may call it that, Rome has drawn the line at Episcopal celibacy. That is a gesture Eastward, among many other things.

(4) It represents a sense that only an external action will have any benefit to Anglicanism going forward. Let us not kid ourselves. Rome put a lot into ecumencial conversations with Anglicans because they believed that more internal mechanisms and persuasions were possible. Now, in their judgment, they are not. They don't see a future of greater Anglican unity they see one of greater Anglican splintering. At this level, it represents a shout which one wonders if any Anglicans will hear--KSH."

The comment (with emphasis added by me):

"4. rickk wrote:
The short answer to the question, is this:
Benedict XVI has just done what the Archbishop of Canterbury has rightly admitted, for the last 5 years, he, as primus inter pares, has no authority to do: create an new province, unite the church, and teach with authority the truth of the catholic faith. Benedict has proposed an answer to the question of authority for Anglicans, whether and how many accept will be decided. He has consequently illuminated the heart of the confusion and disarray within Anglicanism itself in its incapacity to right the ship on its own terms. The grace of this development is that the Pope offers to Anglicans, in their own terms, an extraordinary option, to participate in the communion of the faith of the Apostles.
Those who are already complaining about this gesture because it requires too much of Anglicans, fail to recognize that the giver of the gift is the one who determines the nature of the gift and the terms upon which one may receive the gift. And furthermore, they miss the point of the Gospel that receiving any gift requires metanoia."

PRC: Yesterday I drew attention to Mark Harris' critique of Rome's offer: they are not the master at the table to let the crumbs fall to the Anglican dogs; God is. Nevertheless the point remains, as Kendall Harmon reminds us, where in the Anglican Communion do we find 'catholic order and evangelical faith'? Until yesterday it seemed impossible to find that in relationship to Rome except on the (usual) Roman terms. Today it seems possible to find that in relationship to Rome on terms with a latitude which is unexpected (though not, of course, of such a degree that a reformed protestant Anglican would find them acceptable). That unexpectedness is a grace from (so to speak) one of the stronger dogs under the master's table, allowing one of the other dogs to come closer to the place where the crumbs fall (within the Petrine perspective of 'crumbs')!


Anonymous said...


I noticed the reference on Ruth's blog to Nazir Ali and married bishops. Surely the statement by the CDF yesterday has made it clear that married bishops are simply not on the cards?

"Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches".

As former Anglican priests and bishops will have to 're-ordained', this surely makes it very clear that no Anglican bishop who is married will be able to exercise episcopal ministry in the new arrangements being created by Rome.

I just can't see how the CDF's statement gives any credence to Ruth's line, "If married bishops are to be permitted". We have already been told they won't be permitted.

Brian/More Than a Via Media

Peter Carrell said...

In other words, either Ruth is displaying an uncharacteristically low level of acumen about the future of Michael Nazir ali, or she is hinting at something ... for instance, an Anglican bishop taking up this offer (i.e. as a newly (re)ordained priest) could still play a high level role in the scheme of things without being a 'bishop', as the Vicar-General for Anglicans In Personal Ordinariates or Chief Advisor in Rome for Anglicans in POs, that sort of thing ... keep watching!

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