Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
March 15, 2010
Levada urges embracing Anglican gifts
Vatican's top doctrinal official compares unity to the harmony of musical instruments in an orchestra
CANADIAN CATHOLIC NEWS
KINGSTON, ONT. - Groups of Anglicans coming into communion with the Catholic Church will not be absorbed the way "a teaspoon of sugar would be lost if dissolved in a gallon of coffee," Cardinal William Levada said here March 6.
"Rather, visible union with the Catholic Church can be compared to an orchestral ensemble," said the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF).
"Some instruments can play all the notes, like a piano," the cardinal told a fundraising dinner for Catholic Christian Outreach and the Queen's University Newman Centre. "There is no note that a piano has that a violin or a harp or a flute or a tuba does not have."
"But when all these instruments play the notes that the piano has, the notes are enriched and enhanced. The result is symphonic, full communion," he said.
"One can perhaps say that the ecumenical movement wishes to move from cacophony to symphony, with all playing the same notes of doctrinal clarity, the same euphonic chords of sanctifying activity, observing the rhythm of Christian conduct in charity, and filling the world with the beautiful and inviting sound of the Word of God," he said.
"People long for discordant tones to be harmonized, united," he said.
"And when an individual or, indeed, a community, is ready for unity with the Church of Christ that subsists in the Catholic Church, it would be a betrayal of Catholic ecumenical principles and goals to refuse to embrace them, and to embrace them with all the distinctive gifts that enrich the Church, that help her approach the world symphonically, sounding together or united."
Pope Benedict's historic offer for groups of Anglicans to come into full communion with the Catholic Church is "the logical outcome" of 45 years of ecumenical dialogue, said Levada.
The CDF published the historic apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus (AC) last October. The document provides a personal ordinariate structure for gatherings of Anglicans wishing to join the Catholic Church.
FRUITS OF TALKS
Levada described the AC "one of the fruits" of the agreed statements from the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission's agreed statements on the Eucharist, Ministry and Ordination, and Authority.
Speaking at the annual St. John Fisher Dinner, honouring the only English cardinal to die a martyr, Levada traced the 45-year post-Vatican II history of ecumenical talks that were launched after an historic 1966 meeting in Rome between Pope Paul VI and Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsay.
"It would be a betrayal of Catholic ecclesiology not to embrace (Anglicans) with all the gifts they bring," Levada said. Those gifts include a distinct spirituality, liturgy and discipline.
But he also stressed the continued hope and commitment to work toward "full corporate unity" with the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The cardinal spoke of the upheaval in women's ordination caused within the Anglican Communion. He outlined the Catholic Church's repeated warnings of the negative impact women's ordination would have on unity.
He described the issues concerning homosexuals that confront Anglicans as "another Church-dividing issue."
The primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, Archbishop John Hepworth, attended the dinner. Hepworth has been travelling the globe to meet with traditionalist Anglican bishops.
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