This week the Vatican announced that they are going to open the way for the Anglicans to join the Catholic Church and making provision for those that join to keep some of their Anglican traditions. As one that worked for a number of years closely with Catholics, Anglicans, Scottish Episcopalian, etc.. this move from the Vatican saddens me so much. I have so much respect for my brothers and sisters from the Catholic Church, but personally I have lost respect for the current Pope. I think he has made so many blunders over the past few years (see for example: daming all other churches as non churches, ambivalent attitudes towards paedophile priests, embracing the Nazi bishop, making stupid comments about condoms and HIV, etc …), and as such discredited the office, caused a lot of damage to the Ecumenical movement and has damaged the reputation of the Catholic Church.
Taking this action without full consultation with an Ecumenical Partner the Vatican under the direction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (previously known as the Inquisition department) have showed not just disrespect but lack of judgement and un-Christian like behaviour. It is also surprising to hear that the decision was taken with disregard to the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, the body that does ‘ecumenical’ work on behalf of Rome. Out of this episode I think that Rowan has shown again character and in the long term I feel that this move rather than weakening the Anglican Church it will liberate Her. The Catholic Church in the long term has lost.
Now it seems that through his actions the Pope shows his character of an inquisitor, intolerant and one might be forgiven by suggesting that his Nazi past is catching up with him after all. His visit to the UK next year will be for sure overshadowed by what happened this week. The Pope in his wisdom (or better say foolishness) has undone much of the constructive ecumenical work that has taken place over the past decades. I stand to be disproved, but I feel this was one of the sadest moments for Christian witness and testimony in this generation.
I wonder if the Vatican’s pronouncement this week was made to overshadow the publication of a report in Ireland on child abuse and paedophilia in the last century under the Catholic Church instruction. A thought to ponder on! See the Article in the Times.