Thursday, June 08, 2006

Unusually blunt

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who serves in Rome as the president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has a sensitive job and tries in all things to bring Christians together -- to bridge the divides of schisms and the Reformation.

Which is why this story, "Vatican official to Anglicans: Women bishops would destroy unity," caught my eye. In it, Cardinal Kasper is quoted as saying some rather direct things to members of the Church of England.

The background to his comments is this: "His remarks came in a speech to a private meeting of the Church of England bishops in Market Bosworth, England, just four months after the bishops agreed to set up a working group to outline a process through which women might be consecrated as bishops.

Although three of the world's Anglican provinces have already agreed to consecrate women as bishops, Cardinal Kasper said decisions made by the Church of England had a "particular importance" because they gave a "strong indication of the direction in which the communion as a whole was heading." "

Such a move would effectively end any hope of the Catholic Church ever coming to recognize Anglican holy order (bishops and priests) as valid.

And what were the cardinal's direct comments? Here are a few:

"shared partaking of the one Lord's table, which we long for so earnestly, would disappear into the far and ultimately unreachable distance."

the goal of restoring full church communion "would realistically no longer exist"

this meant that the Anglican Communion would no longer occupy "a special place" among the churches of the West

The ordination of women bishops, Cardinal Kasper added, would "most certainly lower the temperature even more; in terms of the possible recognition of Anglican orders, it would lead not only to a short-lived cold, but to a serious and long-lasting chill."

Go read more of the story for yourself. This is just one of the things going on in the Anglican Communion these days that have the eyes of ecumenists watching.

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