William Oddie on ARCIC III

William Oddie of the Catholic Herald, has a new piece asking whether the third phase of dialogue of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission is likely to be of benefit.

Here's a sample:

… I remember as a Catholic-minded Anglican desperately hoping, back in the 70s, in the early days of ARCIC, that a series of statements would somehow emerge which would uncover a common faith, on the basis of which corporate reunion might be a distant prospect. The statements did emerge, on Ministry, Sacraments and so forth: but they were never officially accepted by Rome as being a sound or adequate representation of Catholic belief, and nor were they.

The trouble with ARCIC always was (as a former Catholic member of it once explained to me) that on the Catholic side of the table you have a body of men (mostly bishops) who represent a more or less coherent view, being members of a Church which has established means of knowing and declaring what it believes. On the Anglican side of the table you have a body of men (and it was only men, on both sides, in those days) the divisions between whom are just fundamental as, and sometimes a lot more fundamental than, those between any one of them and the Catholic representatives they faced: they all represented only themselves.

Read the entire article at the Catholic Herald.>>>

Author: Br. Stephen Treat, O.Cist

Br. Stephen Treat, O.Cist. is a monk of the Cistercian Abbey of Our Lady of Spring Bank. Like many others, his path led from an evangelical childhood in the South to Anglicanism and into the Roman Catholic Church. Our Lady of Spring Bank is a small Abbey of the Order of Cistercians, generally known as the Common Cistercians, located on 600 acres near La Crosse, Wisconsin.

1 thought on “William Oddie on ARCIC III”

  1. William Oddie's article recalls to my mind the article that Cardinal Newman's biographer, Fr. Ian Ker published in *The Catholic Herald* issue of 21 May 1999. I cannot now find the whole article online, but I did find this excerpt:

    'This is a Church which recently signed with its left hand the Porvoo Agreement accepting intercommunion with Lutheran Churches which do not claim to have retained the Apostolic succession, without which, on any Catholic understanding, there can be no valid orders and therefore no valid sacraments apart from baptism. With its right hand, the same Church's representatives on the Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission (ARCIC) have now signed an agreed statement on the "gift of authority", which has been hailed as a bombshell. I strongly suspect it is nothing of the sort.

    The commission has already produced two agreed statements on authority, but that did not stop its co-chairman, Bishop Mark Santer, from supporting the ordination of women at the 1992 General Synod in spite of the very serious warnings from the Roman Catholic Church about the ecumenical implications. The same bishop who caused a stir not long ago by marrying the divorced wife of one of his clergy has now signed a statement which recognises "the primacy of the Bishop of Rome" as a "gift to be received by all the churches." This primacy is not seen as merely honorific: no, the agreed statement has taken on board not just "indefectibility" but the dreaded Roman Catholic concept of "infallibility," by means of which the Pope can fulfil his "duty to discern and make explicit… in certain circumstances" the "faith" of the Church.

    But what would the Bishop of Birmingham say if "the universal primate" told him that he could not receive Communion because he was married to a divorcee? Would Bishop Harries of Oxford "receive" a papal condemnation of his speech in the House of Lords justifying "therapeutic cloning," or would Archbishop Habgood have been ready to say amen to a papal condemnation of his advocacy of destructive experiments on human embryos?

    […] Anglicanism is very English in its pragmatism, its dislike of logic, its suspicion of absolute truths, its endless capacity for compromise… The Anglican Communion knows which envoys to send to Porvoo and which to Palazzola, the delightful Alban town where this statement received its final shape. My impression is that ARCIC is good at choosing sunny spots where the wine flows. No doubt there will be many more convivial ARCIC meetings.

    Meanwhile those of us who know that the vast majority of Anglicans don't know the Hail Mary, think that the Holy Souls must be the old dears in the parish, have never been to confession in their lives, will regretfully conclude that, impeccable as the Scriptural theology underlying this statement is, the fact is it is totally unreal.'

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