Pope skips language of love in Anglicans manifesto
Charles Sherlock; 20/11/09
Charles Sherlock, an Anglican theologian, is assistant curate to the Bishop of Bendigo. He is involved with a range of educational/pastoral ministries, based in Bendigo. He was an ARCIC member from 1991–2005.
On November 4 each year Australian Anglicans and Roman Catholics pray for one another. It was also when Benedict XVI issued the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus (‘Groups of Anglicans’). Writing when it was first announced, I noted that its wording would matter: Phrased in overly-confident ‘Romanista’ style … it will communicate an institutional, bureaucratic message about unity. It will reinforce the suspicion that ecumenical endeavour means ‘return to Rome’, rather than the vision of every Christian tradition being converted to the unity which Christ wills. Written with humility … it may just be a sign of the pro-visional which ecumenical endeavour, and this aching world, so desperately needs. So – which way does Anglicanorum coetibus fall? It gets off to an undiplomatic start: ‘The Holy Spirit has moved groups of Anglicans to petition’ such a move. No criteria for this maximum-volume claim are given – why not ‘Guided by Divine Providence …’ or ‘In the grace of humility …’ or just ‘Christians identifying themselves as Anglicans … ’? And it was disrespectful for Benedict XVI to describe as ‘groups of Anglicans’ those who are mostly not so.