12 February 2011


... is in the news again; because Grandson of ARIC, alias ARCIC III, is getting under way.

Dr William Oddie is a man for whom Anglican Catholics of my generation have a great deal of respect. He chronicled, accurately and mercilessly, the unfortunate events of the early 1990s, when an English hierarchy - who, of course, are by now mostly retired or dead - was able to prevent a corporate solution to our problems. The kindness and generosity of the present hierarchy and the warmth of their support for Anglicanorum coetibus make this seem like quite another age from the bleak era when a helpless, saddened, Joseph Ratzinger asked "What are the English bishops so afraid of?"

But Dr Oddie is not quite right in saying that Rome - in his view, rightly - never gave a real OK to the ARCIC accords. As far as Eucharist and Ministry are concerned, the process ended in 1994 with Clarifications, agreed by the relevant dikasteries including CDF, to which Rome agreed "No further study would seem to be required at this stage". It is important to correct Oddie on this, because one of the tattered defences employed by shame-faced Anglican Ecumenics to explain the action of the Anglican Communion in walking away from the process is that 'Rome dragged its feet ... people assumed they weren't really interested ... if it hadn't, we would have been able to prevent the Anglican Communion from embarking on new divisive courses of action'. Rome did nothing of the sort. It did keep on returning to particular issues where it thought there was a fudge; but that was quite simply because the process was being taken so seriously. It had to be got right. And methodologically, Rome was (rightly) concerned that, for Anglicans, all that was being agreed was that the accords were within the spectrum of beliefs allowed by Anglicans. Rome wanted to know that what was agreed represented the Faith of the Anglican Communion and was a Faith which, although the language and terminology might differ, really was, substantially, that of the Catholic Church.

Throughout the ARCIC process, I was sceptical. When, in 1987, the accord on Justification was published, I was particularly outraged. This was a time when, in academic Pauline studies, the New Look on Paul, associated with the name of Ed Sanders, was the talking-point in academe. This New Look actually demonstrated that the whole Reformation construct of Justification By Faith Alone was nonsense. Non-Catholic academic scholarship had finally shown up the implausibility of classical Protestant dogma. But not a word of this got into the Report.


Anonymous said...


And old lace? (Goes without saying, I'd have thought!)

Becket said...

"Even on the plea of promoting unity it is not allowed to dissemble one single dogma; for, as the Patriarch of Alexandria warns us, 'although the desire for peace is a noble and excellent thing, yet we must not for its sake neglect the virtue of loyalty in Christ'."

Orientalis Ecclesiae, Pius pp XII

Chris said...

Or, to rephrase that, we are right, and any agreement will have to be you agreeing with us.

Dr. Adam DeVille said...

I wonder whether part of this is not cultural. Even though plainly every rational person can see that unity between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church is, in human terms, an impossibility now and into the forseeable future, still it would be thought de trop to admit that. In other words, given the Italian background of the Curia that mans these dialogues, perhaps dialogue continues only because to discontinue it would not be in keeping with the need to preserve la bella figura for all concerned?

Священник села said...

Oh! La bella figura! Such a temptation! And on the cusp of the Great Fast!