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Fresh hope for dialogue with Rome:CEN 8.15.08 p 6. August 17, 2008

Posted by geoconger in Church of England, Church of England Newspaper, Roman Catholic Church.

Dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church has not necessarily come to an end, a Vatican official has stated. But the form future talks take will depend on how the communion implements the suggestions offered by the 2008 Lambeth Conference.

In an Aug 7 interview with the Catholic News Service the head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity’s Anglican desk, Msgr. Donald Bolen said the “dialogue will continue” between Rome and the Anglican Communion.

In three progressively harsher speeches to the bishops at Lambeth, Cardinal Ivan Dias, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor and Cardinal Walter Kasper chastised the Anglican Communion for its disorder and lack of theological seriousness.

Cardinal Dias, prefect for the Congregation of the Evangelisation of Peoples, warned the Anglican Communion was suffering from “spiritual Alzheimer’s”, and was in danger of forgetting its apostolic roots as it followed the spirit of the age in determining doctrine and discipline.

Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster and head of the Roman Catholic Church in England urged Anglicans to put their house in order, saying there was little point in pursuing theological dialogue when Anglicans failed to live up to their side of the agreements.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, urged Anglicans to embark on a new “Oxford Movement” to revitalize the church, but also warned that moves by the Church of England to introduce women bishops and the apparent laxity over gay clergy had effectively ended the quest for Roman recognition of the validity of Anglican orders.

Msgr. Bolen told CNS that Lambeth “in many respects was positive” as he witnessed “strong support” for a moratorium on same-sex blessings, the consecration of gay bishops, and respect for diocesan structures from the bishops at Lambeth.

“A sense of direction emerged which was largely, but not universally agreed, and which should translate into greater cohesion within the Anglican Communion, giving it stronger boundaries and a stronger sense of identity,” he said.

An ecumenical participant in the conference, Msgr. Bolen said “we went into the Lambeth Conference in a wait-and-see mode and we came out of it with some encouragement, but still waiting.”

He backed Cardinal Kasper’s call for a new Oxford movement within Anglicanism, saying it could lead to a greater recognition of “the importance of the role of the episcopacy, the need for authority in the church and a concern for fidelity with the church’s tradition throughout the ages.”

However, Cardinal Kasper was not “subtly suggesting that we bring individuals into the Catholic Church — some may come — but what he was asking was that Anglicans be attentive to the treasures that lie within their tradition as well as ours,” he said.

Moves to welcome Anglican ecclesial bodies—dioceses, parishes, religious orders—into the Roman orbit appear to be on hold. On July 5 Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wrote to the leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), Archbishop William Hepworth stating the Vatican was giving “serious attention” to the “prospects of corporate unity” with TAC and other traditionalist Anglicans.

However, the Vatican would wait and see what happened after Lambeth before it acted. “The situation within the Anglican Communion in general has become markedly more complex” in recent months, Cardinal Levada noted, and the Vatican would respond once it knew which way the Anglican Communion would turn.

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