Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 16, 2004
Anglican-RC relations rosey -- Vatican official
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Despite recent reports, Catholics and Anglicans are not on the verge of walking away from each other, says a Canadian priest serving with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
"There has been some recent press coverage about the relations between Anglicans and Roman Catholics which largely dealt with misinformation regarding the state of our relations," said Father Donald Bolen.
Bolen, a priest of the Archdiocese of Regina, spoke to 50 people at St. Joseph's College Feb. 9.
"Last November, a major English daily newspaper published a story stating the Catholic Church was severing ties with the Anglican Communion. The story was picked up by several newspapers and web sites and published around the world.
"A decision was then made to rush a press release to the Catholic Herald stating the Vatican's position. Two days later, a story appeared with the heading: 'Vatican reverses its position,'" Bolen said to much laughter.
"I can tell you how frustrating this is. But I should also say that several journalists went out of their way to contact our office and the Anglican Communion office to get the story straight.
"One journalist managed to call me at 7 a.m. to say the BBC is ready to send a crew to Rome to cover the collapse of Anglican-Roman Catholic relations."
Bolen said he set the record straight in that those relations are actually a success story.
As of 40 years ago, there was no official dialogue between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.
In a prepared statement he wrote along with Dean Stephen Platten and Archdeacon Clifford Offer of Norwich, England, Bolen says the manner in which we deal ecumenically with the past matters a great deal for our present and future relations.
Four centuries of tension and disagreement between Anglicans and Roman Catholics have left a legacy that in many respects needs to be cleansed by the healing waters of God's mercy.
Bolen spoke of the recent exhibition, Anglicanism and the Western Christian Tradition: Continuity and Change, which enjoyed a month-long showing at the All Saints Cathedral in Edmonton, as a means of showing the merging of the faiths.
The exhibit was the first showcasing a non-Catholic Communion ever to be displayed in the Vatican.
He also mentioned the recent appointment of an openly gay Anglican bishop in the United States which some view as a wedge keeping the two churches from drawing closer together.
"Homosexuality may threaten full communion between the faith partners," Bolen said. "Fundamental aspects of moral life are fundamental to faith unity."
Bolen said his understanding is that the Anglican Communion does not support gay and lesbian ministers and is currently in meetings to discern a process to take regarding the issue.
He mentioned the war in Iraq as another moment when Christian unity was displayed for a single purpose.
"The common heritage of our traditions leads to an ease in flow between the two faiths," he said. "The present is an interim moment ecumenically.
"We all stand at the foot of the Cross. To turn away from each other is to turn away from the Cross."
Letter to the Editor - 03/01/04