Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Boost for Catholic-Anglican Dialogue

A response to So Long and Thanks for All the Priests in Monday's Guardian.

Cardinal Heenan, Archbishop of Westminster until 1975, used to get annoyed when Anglicans were offered communion in French Catholic churches and given a hearty Gallic welcome. French Catholics, understandably, couldn't see a lot of difference between Catholic Anglicans and English Roman Catholics. But Heenan was horrified. Once the two started being welcome in each others' churches, he warned, it was obvious what would happen: the Romans would all start to drift to the smart Anglican churches, with their robed choirs and Oxbridge clergy and their glimpse of a pre-Reformation English world.

And that's the reason why the pope's firecracker announcement last week of a legal space within the Catholic church for a corporate Anglican existence will have the effect of advancing Catholic-Anglican relations, not undermining them.

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