Thursday, November 18, 2010

Rowan Williams says women priests should not impede communion with Rome

VATICAN CITY (RNS) A week and a half after losing five Anglican bishops to the Catholic Church, the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion reaffirmed his dedication to ecumenical relations between the two churches -- and his belief that female Anglican priests should not be an impediment to union.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams spoke Wednesday (Nov. 17) at a ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Vatican's ecumenical office. Dozens of senior Catholic leaders attended, including the church's No. 2 official, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone.

While reflecting on progress in Anglican-Catholic relations, Williams admitted to "intractable difficulties" in two areas: disputes over the authority of the pope, and a failure of the two churches "to recognize each other's ministries fully."

Catholics insist on an all-male priesthood, while several parts of the Anglican Communion -- including the Church of England, the Episcopal Church in the United States and the Anglican Church of Canada -- ordain women.

Williams echoed a statement from his Nov. 2009 address to a Vatican ecumenical conference, when he asked rhetorically "in what way" the ordination of women priests could "compromise the purposes of the church."

The issue has provoked tension not only between Rome and Canterbury, but within the Church of England itself.

Earlier this month, five Church of England bishops announced plans to join the Catholic church under a Vatican program that permits them to retain many traditional Anglican forms of worship and governance in special Catholic dioceses. The Vatican designed the program to facilitate the conversion of Anglicans upset by their churches' growing acceptance of homosexuality and women priests.

In his speech on Wednesday, Williams did not refer to the bishops' conversion or to the Vatican's overture to Anglican converts. Williams is scheduled to meet Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday.
H/T Dr. Tighe who writes in response to Dr. Williams' drivel...
Evidently he has run out of things to say on the subject, so now he contents himself with the mere repetition what he said in Rome in October 2009. But to what point, really? Rome made it clear already, in the correspondence between Paul VI and Coggan the AbC in 1975 and 76 that from the Catholic perspective WO would form an "insuperable obstacle" to Anglican/Catholic "reunion," and this was reenforced by Inter Insigniores in 1977, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis in 1994 and the CDF statement on OS in 1995. To put it bluntly, the Catholic teaching is that "the Church has no authority to ordain women," and that the status of this teaching is that it is "irreformable" (unchangeable). And when Williams goes on to argue that the question of who can preside at the Eucharist is not an essential or first-order issue, he sets himself at odds with the whole Catholic Tradition, East and West, as well as the position of the Catholics, the Orthodox, the Oriental Orthodox and the Assyrians, and so one can see that his "Catholic Anglicanism" has resolved itself into nothing more than ritualistic Liberal Protestantism. And so the "Church that Elizabeth Built" has returned back to its Protestant and Reformed origins of 1559, albeit bedizened with a medley of feathers filched from other fowl in its farings.


Igumen Gregory said...

perhaps he is echoing what an Anglican priest friend of mine said some years ago: We should be surprised that Rome does not recognize the ordination of women? Bear in mind they don't recognize the ordination of men in the Anglican Church either.

Anonymous said...

ROTFLMAO in reaction to the headline. But it is really sad. This leads me to wonder if ABC's reason is failing. Bill, tGf

Matthew the Curmudgeon said...

I responded to this more fully on another blog so all I will say here is Rowan Wormtongue is smoking some strong stuff. He definitely is off the deep end, in my not so humble opinion.
How long can Rome or Constantinople put up with this nonsense? This is ecumenism? I think not.

Anonymous said...

Yes. It's so important that willies retain their supremacy in the grand scheme of things.

John (Ad Orientem) said...

I briefly considered deleting the preceding comment. But upon reflection I am content to leave it and let others draw their own conclusions.

CJ said...

Williams seems to think that unity will consist of a church "held together in tension" like Anglicanism. Rome will have its celibate male priests, the Orthodox will have their married male priests, the Anglicans will have their "married" lesbian priestesses etc, but it'll all be one church because . . . well because!

The Archer of the Forest said...

I actually have a great deal of respect for Rowan Williams. Despite brain cramps like this one, he is actually pretty thoughtful on a number of theological levels and is largely being blamed for the break down of Anglicanism for a lot of reasons that are not his fault nor within his actual power to fix.

That having been said, I do wonder how he can with a straight face argue that women's ordination could not in itself be an impediment to Communion with Rome. But how a Communion could exist with one Church harboring a whole sector of priest(esses) that the other Church thinks is an abomination could possibly work either practically or theological. "We're in full Communion...except for all these people over here and the people in their parishes and their sacraments."

We, Anglicans, can't even agree on how many sacraments there are, much less who can perform them.

Sigh...Rowan, you're smarter than this.