October 25, 2009

When Catholicism takes over

10/21'09 Vatican summons Anglicans back into the fold

After 475 years, the Vatican is calling Anglicans back into the fold. In a move that sent shock waves to the very top of the Church of England, the Vatican on Tuesday announced a new structure within the Catholic Church – sort of a church within a church – to make it easier for disaffected Anglicans to convert to Catholicism.
Pope Benedict XVI approved the new structure with little warning to either his own church or the 77-million-strong Anglican Communion, which has been discussing closer ties to Rome. Vatican commentators saw the move as a blow to the Anglican Church. "For people who harbour the vision of Anglican unity, this will be a great disappointment," said Vatican analyst Francis Rocca of the Religion News Service. "But it may also help to let off steam within the Anglican Church. If disaffected traditionalists leave, then they will lower the tensions over issues like gay marriage and women clergy." Caught off guard, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the Anglican spiritual leader, downplayed the move and said it wasn't a Vatican commentary on Anglican problems. "It has no negative impact on the relations of the communion as a whole to the Roman Catholic Church as a whole," he said.
The move, however, marks a significant effort to open the doors of the Catholic Church to Anglicans, who split with Rome in 1534. Breakaway conservative Anglicans in Canada, however, showed no interest Tuesday in joining the Pope's new church. "This is not just a matter of wearing different clothes or having a few more rules," Bishop Don Harvey of the Anglican Network in Canada said in a phone interview from his home in St. John's, Nfld. "If you go this route, you cannot say you are Anglican of some sort – because you are not." Rev. Ray David Glenn, who leads a breakaway Anglican parish in Milton, called the move a reflection of disorganization in Anglicanism after years of conflict over same-sex marriage and gay clergy. The Catholic and Anglican churches of Canada did not return requests for comment. Harvey said while conservative Anglicans share many theological beliefs with Catholics – both oppose same-sex marriage and gay clergy, for instance – there are still many differences between the two. Anglicans, he said, would chafe at any notion of the infallibility of the Pope, and do not accept Catholic teachings about Mary's immaculate conception, her assumption body and soul into heaven or the transubstantiation of Christ.
Before breaking formal ties with the Anglican Church of Canada, Harvey's group was for years the unofficial conservative wing of Anglicanism in this country. As such, he said, it has already tried being a separate entity within a larger structure. It didn't work then, he said, and he doubts it will work now. "This would be out of the frying pan and into the fire," he said of joining the new Catholic structure. Under the new plan, existing Catholic churches would be able to set up a church within a church, to be called personal ordinariate, where former Anglicans could worship under former Anglican priests. The priests, in turn, would be allowed to follow any Anglican traditions and teachings that don't clash with Catholic doctrine. Married priests could remain married, but could not become bishops. Harvey said that would make them "second-class priests" in the Catholic Church.
The Vatican's top doctrinal official said the move was made because so many Anglicans seemed to want to become Catholic. "Those Anglicans who have approached the Holy See have made clear their desire for full, visible unity in the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic church," Cardinal William Joseph Levada said. "At the same time, they have told us of the importance of their Anglican traditions of spirituality and worship for their faith journey."
Two years ago, former British prime minister Tony Blair, who appointed the currently liberal Archbishop of Canterbury to his post, made headlines by converting to Catholicism. Although Anglicans split with Rome when King Henry VIII was refused a marriage annulment, the 16th-century schism was, in fact, part of the Reformation that also saw the evolution of Lutheranism in Germanic countries.

The church within the church

What does it mean? In a move "that has sent shockwaves" around the world, former Hitler Youth member and current head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI has ordered the Vatican to create "a church within a church" in order to destroy the last remaining obstacle to the planned fascist takeover of the European continent, the Church of England, which had broken Rome's hold over the British people 450 years ago during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I. Queen Elizabeth's father, Henry VIII, began England's break from the evil machinations of Rome with his granting of the Act of Supremacy in 1534 declaring that he was "the only supreme head on earth of the Church in England", and which was strengthened by Elizabeth I in her granting of another Act of Supremacy in 1559 that made it "a crime to assert the authority of any foreign prince, prelate, or other authority", and was aimed at abolishing the authority of the Pope in England. A third offence against the act was deemed "high treason" and was punishable by death. […]
This latest assault upon the U.K. and the U.S. by Rome follows the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair's sudden resignation from office in June, 2007, whereupon he flew immediately to Rome to convert to Catholicism at the feet of Pope Benedict XVI and is slated to become the first in history President of Europe uniting the continent under the banner of the Vatican and fulfilling Nazi German Leader Adolf Hitler's quest for a United Europe whose "master race" would "rule the World" and which hundreds of thousands of once free British and American soldiers died in defeating last Century during World War II. Equally as worst off as the United Kingdom is the United States, where nearly 30% of their US Congress is comprised of Catholics subservient to Rome, the majority of their Supreme Court Justices are Catholics pledged to Pope Benedict XVI, and their Catholic Jesuit Vice President Joseph Biden now sits but "one heartbeat away" from the Presidency which, beyond all doubt, is the most powerful position of man to be held on our entire earth.
With the Vatican's unrelenting assault upon the West, and the presidents of Europe and the USA slated to be nothing more than Rome's "order takers", the masses of citizens in both the U.K. and U.S. are still believing the centuries old lies about the Jewish peoples that blame them for just about everything, and which according to Catholic Church doctrine, "an essential requirement for Christian salvation is hatred of the Jews." And while the hatred of the Jewish peoples accelerates in these Western Nations, these peoples remain suspiciously quite over the centuries old Roman Catholic assault against normal human behavior by Rome’s continued sanctioning of a priesthood devoted to pedophile depravity and the continued raping of boy children so as to bring back "the days of Noah" which they have long believed will mark the return of their "gods". Even worse for these peoples are "the gods" their new leaders in Rome are about to call forth upon our Earth, and which in their stupid ignorance these people fail to see the evidence of when each week they go into their churches topped by the "steeples of death" which the ancients used to sacrifice children beneath, and end their prayers with the word "Amen" they have forgotten is the ancient invocation to the ancient "gods" of Egypt.

02/19'07 Churches back plan to unite under Pope

Radical proposals to reunite Anglicans with the Roman Catholic Church under the leadership of the Pope are to be published this year, The Times has learnt. The proposals have been agreed by senior bishops of both churches. In a 42-page statement prepared by an international commission of both churches, Anglicans and Roman Catholics are urged to explore how they might reunite under the Pope. The statement, leaked to The Times, is being considered by the Vatican, where Catholic bishops are preparing a formal response.
It comes as the archbishops who lead the 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion meet in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, in an attempt to avoid schism over gay ordination and other liberal doctrines that have taken hold in parts of the Western Church. The 36 primates at the gathering will be aware that the Pope, while still a cardinal, sent a message of support to the orthodox wing of the Episcopal Church of the US as it struggled to cope with the fallout after the ordination of the gay bishop Gene Robinson. Were this week's discussions to lead to a split between liberals and conservatives, many of the former objections in Rome to a reunion with Anglican conservatives would disappear. Many of those Anglicans who object most strongly to gay ordination also oppose the ordination of women priests. Rome has already shown itself willing to be flexible on the subject of celibacy, when it received dozens of married priests from the Church of England into the Catholic priesthood after they left over the issue of women's ordination.
There are about 78 million Anglicans, compared with a billion Roman Catholics, worldwide. In England and Wales, the Catholic Church is set to overtake Anglicanism as the predominant Christian denomination for the first time since the Reformation, thanks to immigration from Catholic countries.

As the Anglicans' squabbles over the fundamentals of Christian doctrine continue – with seven of the conservative primates twice refusing to share Communion with the other Anglican leaders at their meeting in Tanzania – the Church's credibility is being increasingly undermined in a world that is looking for strong witness from its international religious leaders. The Anglicans will attempt to resolve their differences today by publishing a new Anglican Covenant, an attempt to provide a doctrinal statement under which they can unite. But many fear that the divisions have gone too far to be bridged and that, if they cannot even share Communion with each other, there is little hope that they will agree on a statement of common doctrine.
The latest Anglican-Catholic report could hardly come at a more sensitive time. It has been drawn up by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, which is chaired by the Right Rev David Beetge, an Anglican bishop from South Africa, and the Most Rev John Bathersby, the Catholic Archbishop of Brisbane, Australia. The commission was set up in 2000 by the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Lord Carey of Clifton, and Cardinal Edward Cassidy, then head of the Vatican's Council for Christian Unity. Its aim was to find a way of moving towards unity through "common life and mission". The document leaked to The Times is the commission's first statement: Growing Together in Unity and Mission. The report acknowledges the "imperfect communion" between the two churches but says that there is enough common ground to make its "call for action" about the Pope and other issues.

In one significant passage the report notes:

The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the ministry of the Bishop of Rome as universal primate is in accordance with Christ's will for the Church and an essential element of maintaining it in unity and truth.

Anglicans rejected the Bishop of Rome as universal primate in the 16th century. Today, however, some Anglicans are beginning to see the potential value of a ministry of universal primacy, which would be exercised by the Bishop of Rome, as a sign and focus of unity within a reunited Church.
In another paragraph the report goes even further:

We urge Anglicans and Roman Catholics to explore together how the ministry of the Bishop of Rome might be offered and received in order to assist our Communions to grow towards full ecclesial communion.

Other recommendations include inviting lay and ordained members of both denominations to attend each other's synodical and collegial gatherings and conferences. Anglican bishops could be invited to accompany Catholic ones on visits to Rome. The report adds that special "protocols" should also be drawn up to handle the movement of clergy from one Church to the other. Other proposals include common teaching resources for children in Sunday schools and attendance at each other's services, pilgrimages and processions.
Anglicans are also urged to begin praying for the Pope during the intercessionary prayers in church services, and Catholics are asked also to pray publicly for the Archbishop of Canterbury.

In today's Anglican Church, it is unlikely that a majority of parishioners would wish to heal the centuries-old rift and return to Rome. However, the stance of the Archbishop of Canterbury over the present dispute dividing his Church gives an indication of how priorities could be changing in light of the gospel imperative towards church unity. Dr Rowan Williams, who as Primate of the Church of England is its "focus for unity", has in the past supported a liberal interpretation of Scripture on the gay issue. But he has made it clear that church unity must come before provincial autonomy. A logical extension of that, once this crisis is overcome either by agreement or schism, would be to seek reunion with the Church of England's own mother church.

Anglikaner und Katholiken – Erste Schritte zur Wiedervereinigung

Eine internationale Kommission aus Vertretern beider Kirchen hat laut der Londoner Times einen Bericht ausgearbeitet, der die Schritte hin zur Einheit der beiden Kirchen unter dem Papst darlegt. Bischöfe beider Glaubensgemeinschaften haben den Vorschlägen demnach zugestimmt. Laut Times soll das 42-seitige Dokument noch in diesem Jahr veröffentlicht werden. Derzeit prüfe der Vatikan die Vorschläge der Kommission und man erarbeite eine förmliche Antwort, heißt es. Die im Jahr 2000 ins Leben gerufene Kommission wird vom konservativen südafrikanischen Erzbischof David Beetge und dem katholischen Erzbischof von Brisbane, John Bathersby, geleitet. Ihr Ziel ist es, einen Weg zur Einheit der beiden Kirchen durch "gemeinsames Leben und eine gemeinsame Mission" aufzuzeichnen. Mit einer Vereinigung der beiden Kirchen ist freilich noch lange nicht zu rechnen.
Bei dem von der Times in Auszügen veröffentlichten Dokument handelt es sich um den ersten Bericht der Kommission. Er räumt ein, dass die Gemeinschaft der beiden Kirchen "mangelhaft" sei, stellt jedoch fest, dass es genügend Gemeinsamkeiten gibt, um bezüglich des Papstes und weiterer Punkte zum Handeln aufzufordern. "Wir halten Anglikaner und Katholiken dazu an, gemeinsam herauszufinden, wie das geistliche Amt des Papstes dazu eingesetzt werden kann, um beide Gemeinschaften dabei zu unterstützen, sich zu einer kirchlichen Gemeinschaft zu entwickeln", heißt es in dem Papier weiter. Der Bericht beinhalte außerdem Vorschläge, wie sich die beiden Kirchen einander annähern könnten. So könnten anglikanische Bischöfe eingeladen werden, ihre katholischen Kollegen bei deren Reisen nach Rom zu begleiten. Spezielle Protokolle sollen darlegen, wie ein Austausch von Geistlichen zwischen beiden Konfessionen aussehen soll. Das Papier regt ferner an, dass die Geistlichen der jeweils anderen Glaubensgemeinschaft in die Gebete eingeschlossen werden sollen.

Seit dem 16. Jahrhundert hat die anglikanische Kirche den Papst als Primas abgelehnt. Im Jahr 1534 brach König Heinrich VIII. mit dem Kirchenoberhaupt, weil dieses sich weigerte, die Ehe des Königs zu annullieren. Heinrich VIII. setzte sich daraufhin selbst als Oberhaupt der neuen Staatskirche ein. Konservative Teile der anglikanischen Kirche befürworten heute eine Anerkennung des Papstes - als Schritt zur Einheit der beiden Kirchen. Im 19. Jahrhundert löste eine Gruppe anglikanischer Geistlicher an der Universität Oxford eine Rückbesinnung auf katholische Elemente aus. Seither stehen sich die eher traditionell-konservative "High Church" und die eher liberal-protestantisch geprägte "Low Church" gegenüber. Das Spannungsverhältnis zwischen den beiden Kirchenzweigen hat sich in den vergangenen Jahren erheblich verschärft.
Nach der römisch-katholischen Kirche und den orthodoxen Glaubensgemeinschaften ist die anglikanische Kirche die drittgrößte christliche Glaubensgemeinschaft.
Außerhalb Großbritanniens gibt es weltweit 26 anglikanische Kirchenprovinzen. Insbesondere die Gemeinschaften in den USA, in Australien und in mehreren afrikanischen Ländern nehmen an Bedeutung zu. Geistliches Oberhaupt der anglikanischen Kirche ist der Erzbischof von Canterbury. Er hat jedoch als "primus inter pares", als Erster unter Gleichen, keine Weisungsbefugnis für die jeweiligen Nationalkirchen. In der Theologie steht die anglikanische Kirche den Protestanten nahe, die Liturgie aber blieb der katholischen Tradition verhaftet.
Die Brisanz des ersten Papiers der bereits seit sieben Jahren tagenden Kommission erwächst vor allem aus den derzeitigen Auseinandersetzungen innerhalb der anglikanischen Kirche. Die Glaubensgemeinschaft droht, an der Frage, ob Homosexuelle zum Priester geweiht werden dürfen, auseinander zu brechen. Die Führer der anglikanischen Kirche treffen sich derzeit in Tansania, um über die kontroversen Themen zu diskutieren. Streitfragen sind die in vielen Nationalkirchen zugelassene Weihe von Frauen, der Umgang mit bekennend homosexuellen Priestern sowie kirchliche Zeremonien für gleichgeschlechtliche Paare. Vor allem die konservativen Kräfte innerhalb der anglikanischen Kirche stehen den Lehren der katholischen Kirche sehr nahe. Bei einer Spaltung der Anglikaner würden sich viele der Vorbehalte der katholischen Kirche gegenüber dem konservativen Flügel erübrigen.

Die Krise in der anglikanischen Kirche begann vor vier Jahren in den USA mit der Weihe eines Bischofs, der sich offen zu seiner Homosexualität bekennt. Im vergangenen Jahr wurde mit Katharine Jefferts Schori eine Frau zur Bischöfin gewählt, was den Protest der konservativen Anglikaner hervorgerufen hat. Während die meisten Anglikaner in den USA dem liberalen Flügel angehören, dominieren in Afrika die Konservativen. Der konservative nigerianische Erzbischof Peter Akinola bezeichnete die Anerkennung homosexueller Beziehungen bei dem Treffen in Tansania als "teuflischen Angriff" auf die Kirche. Um gegen die liberale Einstellung Jefferts Schoris in dieser Sache zu protestieren, weigerte er sich mit sechs weiteren konservativen Bischöfen, gemeinsam mit der Bischöfin die heilige Kommunion zu feiern. Die Bischöfe der anglikanischen Kirche überlegen nun, ein verbindliches Abkommen zu schließen, das Glaubensgrundsätze festlegen und die zerstrittenen Flügel einen soll.

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