Wednesday, July 16, 2008
IT BOGGLES THE MIND
Are past popes turning over in their graves?
The U.K. Independent reports:
The Pope is leading an unprecedented drive by the Roman Catholic Church to prevent the fragmentation of the worldwide Anglican Communion ahead of the once-a-decade gathering of its 800 bishops, which begins today, The Independent has learnt.
In his first public comments on the Lambeth Conference, Pope Benedict XVI has warned Anglican leaders that they must find a "mature" and faithful way of avoiding "schism". On top of this the Pope has:
* Sent three cardinals to the conference in Canterbury, including one of his top aides from the Vatican, to act as personal intermediaries between the two churches;
* Let it be known that he does not support the defection of conservative Anglicans to the Roman Catholic Church;
* Given behind-the-scenes support to the Archbishop of Canterbury's attempts to hold together the conservative and liberal wings of the Anglican Church, including at face-to-face meetings in Rome. ...
In a demonstration of the strength of relations between the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches, Pope Benedict has sent Cardinal Ivan Dias, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and the man who appoints all the bishops in Africa and Asia, to Lambeth from Rome.
He has also sent the theological heavyweight Cardinal Walter Casper who is said to be the "key man" in forging ever-closer relations between the churches.
Also attending will be Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, who has spent the past two days with the Pope in Australia. This is the first time that three cardinals will attend a Lambeth Conference.
Some Roman Catholics fear that unless divisions over issues including homosexuality can be healed, they will act as a forerunner to a similar battle in Rome. The Roman Church's apparent unity masks long-running splits over birth control, priesthood celibacy and the interpretation of Scripture in the modern world.
Catherine Pepinster, editor of the British Catholic newspaper The Tablet, said: "The last thing that Rome wants is a lack of unity in the Anglican Communion, however difficult it finds ecumenical relations with that Communion."