Tuesday, July 08, 2008


The Vatican on Tuesday expressed disappointment over a decision by the Church of England to pave the way for ordaining women bishops, which it said was a step backwards for reconciliation with the Catholic Church.

The Pontifical Council for Christian Unity said it had learnt of the Church of England's decision ''with regret'', and warned that it would have ''consequences for future dialogue, which until now has been very fruitful''.

''This decision is a breach with the apostolic tradition maintained by all Churches from the first millennium, and for that reason it is a further obstacle for reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England,'' the council said.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has invited council head Cardinal Walter Kasper to present the Catholic Church's position at the next Lambeth Conference at the end of July.

Following the vote, the Church of England now plans to draw up a code of practice aimed at pacifying traditionalist clerics - also known as 'Anglo-Catholics' - who have warned that ordaining women bishops is likely to cause a schism in the Church.

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An Anglican news service provides information on additional speakers at the upcoming sessions of the Lambeth Conference:

Two of the principal speakers at the conference come from the ecumenical world.

Cardinal Ivan Dias is head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, and deeply involved in the mission work of the Roman Catholic Church....

Brian McLaren is an American evangelical, the founding pastor of Cedar Ridge Community Church, a prolific author, and an internationally recognised contributor to post-modern thought and culture....

Among other ecumenical participants at the conference are: Archbishop Hovnan Derderian, Armenian Church; The Revd Dr Canon Joel Edwards, Evangelical Alliance, UK; The Revd Prof Robert Gribben, World Methodist Council; Metropolitan Kallistos of Diolkeia, Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople; Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity; The Revd Samuel Kobia, General Secretary of the World Council of Churches; The Revd Dr Ishmael Noko, General Secretary of the Lutheran World Federation; Patriarch Theophilus III, Patriarchate of Jerusalem; The Very Revd Prof Iain Torrance, World Alliance of Reformed Churches; The Revd Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, Director of the World Evangelical Alliance. A full list of ecumenical participants will be available at the conference.

In addition to these ecumenical relationships, some member churches of the Anglican Communion have established full communion agreements with churches of other traditions, involving a complete mutual recognition of ministry and sacraments. Several representatives of these full communion partners will also participate in the conference: Archbishop Joris Vercammen and Bishop Joachim Vobbe, Old Catholic Churches of the Union of Utrecht; Bishop Ernst Baasland, Church of Norway; Metropolitan Mar Basilios, Malabar Independent Syrian Church; The Most Revd Godfredo David, Iglesia Filipina Independiente; Bishop Mark Hanson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America; Bishop Susan Johnson, Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada; Archbishop Jukka Paarma, Finnish Lutheran Church; Bishop Ragnar Persenius, Church of Sweden; Archbishop Karl Sigurbjornsson, Icelandic Lutheran Church.

Looks to be quite a gathering of the churches, not unlike Vatican II.

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