7 November 2014

ARCIC: two brilliant ideas

I often have brilliant ideas, but, like London buses, two have now come along together.

(1) It is, I think, agreed that the ARCIC Ecumenical process between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, initiated in the 1960s with the intention that it should lead to visible organic unity, has totally, utterly, completely, failed. Cardinal Kasper, not the most extreme  and unbending hard-liner in the Vatican, went to see the English Anglican bishops and explained very frankly that, if they went down the path of consecrating Women Bishops, that style of ecumenical relationship would come to an end, because Anglicans would have revealed themselves as intent upon following a Protestant rather than a Catholic model.

WHAT I SAY IS: close down ARCIC and transfer all the Catholic money that will thereby be saved to the Ordinariates, charging US with the task of maintaining good relations with our Anglican friends. We understand them! We know what makes them tick!

Yeah!! You know it makes sense!!

Why waste time and money on more ARCIC? Why deprive Catholic bishops and theologians of the opportunity to spend more time in their dioceses and colleges, which they so long to do? Like Pope Francis, what most Catholics want is fewer 'airport bishops'; fewer 'airport theologians'. We want bishops, religious, and clergy given the opportunity to smell more of their own flocks/communities/students!! We want fewer piles of paper which nobody ever reads from a process that is going nowhere! Save the Rain Forests!

When the Ordinariates take over the Anglican/Catholic relationship, you will see a real sea-change! More incense, less hot air!! Leave the job to us! Give us the tools and we'll finish the job!!!

(2) Alternatively: Anglican /Catholic dialogue has now changed radically; Ecumenism will go on, but, at least in the short and medium terms, it will be about, not the matters that in the 1960s seemed to need to be resolved in order to secure full visible communion, but about the sort of things, relating to the Christian life in a post-Christian society, which could usefully include all Christian bodies in this land. Moreover, the Anglican Communion itself has so radically changed and become more diverse that it now appears to be impossible even to get the world-wide Anglican Episcopate to meet together at Lambeth!! A model of dialogue which implied a certain intra-Anglican homogeneity is no longer sensible.

We should face both these facts.

So: abolish ARCIC and upgrade Churches Together In Britain. Much cheaper and (joking aside ... I concede that my Idea (1) was a trifle droll) more realistic and more of a service to the People of God.

But the Ordinariate should still be given the money saved!


GOR said...

Option #1 is a “trifle droll” Father??? One might say it is the essence of drollery (droll-itude? droll-ness?).

Actually, I think you’ve got something there. Who better to see through the wishy-washy mutterings of the confused than those who have been in the trenches and weathered the battles and storms of the past? You don’t send a boy on a man’s errand.

Or, as we say in golf: “Let the big dog eat!”

Sue Sims said...

Churches Together is pointless at national level, but works quite well at local level (I was secretary of ours for some years), as one can arrange things like our Good Friday Walk of Witness, or a creche in the centre of town at Christmas. It's less ecumenism than eventism, but it's quite a sensible procedure.