So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Anglican-Catholic dialogue (ARCIC) 2016... babble, burble, banter... .

Babble, burble, banter, bicker bicker bicker
Brouhaha, balderdash, ballyhoo — It's only talk.
—lyrics from Elephant Talk by King Crimson

It's tea and crumpets time again. Catholics and Anglicans are sitting down to chat about how little much we have in common.
Anglican-Catholic dialogue coming to Toronto 
When Episcopalians, the American branch of the Anglican Communion, ordained an openly gay bishop living with his partner, Pope John Paul II shut down the dialogue in 2003. Ordination of women, particularly as bishops, prompted Cardinal Walter Kasper (What a difference a decade makes, eh?) to (rightly) accuse (with our Eastern Orthodox brethren, one might add) the Anglicans of forsaking apostolic tradition. Then the move by Pope Benedict XVI to create a means for entire Anglican congregations to be received into the Catholic Church while retaining elements of Anglican liturgy (... which those Anglicans seeking communion with the Catholic Church had initiated and requested the Holy Father to do!) gave offence to many Anglicans. (In the words of a quote on a fridge magnet a friend recently gave me: "Just because you're offended doesn't mean you're right.")

“They certainly are stumbling blocks,” Bishop Linda Nicholls, Anglican co-chair of the Anglican Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada, told The Catholic Register. “They’re not going away. They’re going to continue to be there for us.” (By "continue" does she mean that Anglicans will persist in their deviations from Apostolic Tradition? Obstinacy: Unreasonable stubbornness in persisting in one's own opinion and mode of action, tenaciously insistent upon doing one's own way. It often shuts the mind to known truth and creates contempt by militating against divine authority. By closing the heart to promptings of grace and possible repentance, it may lead to grievous malice and flagrant error. (Etym. Latin obstinatus, from ob-, against + stare, to stand: obstinare, to set one's mind firmly on.)—Catholic Dictionary.)
But Nicholls argues that the Anglican Communion’s internal struggles over just how gays are welcomed and recognized in the church and over the equality of women before all the sacraments, including ordination, has only strengthened the case for dialogue. (Two words: Anglican Ordinariate. Dear Tradition-loving Anglican brothers and sisters, the Ordinariate awaits!)
“One of the things we’ve certainly learned in my own church is, we’ve learned how to have better conversations when we’re in conflict on deeply painful issues,” she said. “We’ve learned how to sit down together and listen in ways we didn’t seem to know how to do before. And that’s not a bad thing.” (Conversation = 'We were right to capitulate and embrace the zeitgeist... and so should you.')
The challenge before ARCIC is to find ways to make its excellent theology available, understandable and acceptable to ordinary Christians, said Archdiocese of Toronto Ecumenical and Interfaith Affairs director Fr. Damian MacPherson. (Is there a hint of condescension here—"The challenge before ARCIC is to find ways to dumb down its supercalifragilisticexpialidocious theology enough to make it understandable to low information Christians... ."—?)
“That’s the hope of all the ecumenical world, that the grassroots would shake the foundations,” he said. (The foundations of Reformation Anglicanism are shaky. Just ask the many continuing Anglican groups that have left the ACoC, TEC and CofE. Just ask the Anglicans who have joined the Ordinariate.)
“(The ARCIC documents) certainly speak to the theology-geek world, that’s for sure,” said Nicholls. “The harder question is certainly how do those documents and that ongoing conversation, how do those filter down to the grassroots level… . (Assuming, of course, the documents possess substantial theological merit that make them worthy of consideration. Of course, from this convert's perspective, it would be in Anglicans' best interest to abandon Anglican heresy and embrace Catholic orthodoxy. So, the sooner Catholic teaching finds a hearing among the Anglican masses the sooner souls will be rescued from heresy. Triumphalistic? Only if one is offended by Truth.) These documents will only exist in the theological-geek world unless we can find ways to put them into practice in working together.” (Judging from the preliminary statements, perhaps we can save the ARCIC-ers a bit of time and effort by summarizing the anticipated encounter as follows: Let's just agree to disagree, shall we?)
If the grassroots haven’t been brandishing their copies of The Gift of Authority in the pews, there have been signs of almost accidental hope at the top end of the hierarchy. As Pope Francis has urged a rediscovery of synods and open, frank talk among bishops, Anglicans have been able to see something in Catholics that reflects their understanding of Christian tradition. (Yeah, um... synods. They really have worked in Anglican circles, eh? Nothing like voting out Apostolic doctrine and calling oneself the better christian for so doing, eh?)
Whatever the stumbling blocks, Anglican-Catholic dialogue in itself is a major development in Church history, said Adriana Bara, executive director of Montreal’s Canadian Centre for Ecumenism. (But,... is it a useful development or merely a distraction from conversion to the Truth as taught by the Spirit-protected Magisterium of the Church founded by Jesus Christ on the Apostle Peter, i.e., the Catholic Church?)
“Discussion between different Christian groups is very important for Christian unity, and Christian unity is the desire of our Lord Jesus Christ,” Bara said. (Unity in the truth, sure.)
There is only one good reason for dialogue and that is to discern the Truth as taught by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and embrace that Truth with absolute conviction in the grace of God which allows us to be perfectly configured to the Truth. Dialogue can never be about surrendering the Truth of the Gospel to the fiction of contemporary social "norms".
For you are all children of light and children of the day; we are not of the night or of darkness.—1 Thessalonians 5:5
Pray that our Catholic representatives hold fast to the Apostolic Tradition and admit no compromise.

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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