Monsignor Edwin Barnes comments on the most recent meeting of the Malines Conversations Goup

Following on from our own post on the meeting of the Malines Conversations Group in 2014, Monsignor Edwin Barnes has written the following on the most recent meeting of the group held in April this year:

After Malines

York Diocese decided to have a little revival of the Malines link back in the 1980’s; I’m not sure of the date, maybe it was 1981, just sixty years after the original conversations had been started by Cardinal Mercier and Lord Halifax. Whenever it was, I was there because many of us who went were chosen because we were elected representatives of the diocese on General Synod.

Now there is another revival of Malines: Vatican Radio News tells us

“Catholic and Anglican theologians have been meeting together near Rome to discuss ordination rites within the two communions, as well as the significant ecumenical implications of Pope Francis’ recent document ‘Amoris Laetitia’. A meeting of the Malines Conversation group took place from April 17th to 22nd at Rocca di Papa, south of Rome, culminating in an ecumenical evensong celebrated by Archbishop Arthur Roche of the Congregation for Divine Worship.”

On that visit from York diocese we met many leading Belgian Catholics. Chief among them was Cardinal Godfried Danneels, at that time Archbishop of Mechlen Brussels; and he has been chairing this new meeting together with Lord Williams of Oystermouth – better remembered as Rowan Williams, one-time Archbishop of Canterbury.

Curiously, there appears to be no-one there from the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. I say “curiously” because the erection of the Ordinariates seems to me to be one of the fruits, indeed perhaps a very rare and precious fruit, of the otherwise rather fruitless ARCIC conversations of the last forty-seven years (Really. I have checked – amazingly that is how long ARCIC has existed).

There was a comparable lack of imagination when the Holy Father convened the consultation on the Family. At that time others said how contributions from married clergy might have informed the discussions. Now a similar opportunity has been missed with the Malines revival. It almost looks (surely this cannot be so?) as though the Ordinariates were seen as an embarrassment, to be hidden away from polite ecumenical discourse. From our perspective as members and so insiders, the Ordinariates are a great step forward in ecumenism. When will official Rome and Canterbury also share that opinion?

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Monsignor Edwin Barnes comments on the most recent meeting of the Malines Conversations Goup

  1. EPMS says:

    The Ordinariates are about as likely to play a part in ecumenical discussions between Anglicans and Catholics as the Ukrainian Catholic Church is likely to be showcased when the Pope talks to Orthodox church leaders. From the perspective of the other body, these are instances of sheep-stealing, not ecumenical gestures. The scores (hundreds?) of former Catholic priests now ministering as Anglican clergy won’t be mentioned either.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      That’s substantially true — but there is another side to this issue. With the establishment of the ordinariates, we now have liturgical books of the Anglican tradition that are approved for Catholic worship. These liturgical books would be available for immediate use by those who come into the full communion of the Catholic Church through a healing of the Anglican schism — which is the stated goal of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and various other fora for ecumenical dialog. I’m not implying that any healing of that schism is imminent (reconciliation of the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the majority of the autocephalous churches of the Orthodox Communion clearly looks far more promising), but it does resolve a major issue for reconciliation of Anglican Christians.

      The more interesting question are (1) what sort of ecclesial structure might come into being for reconciled Anglican Christians and (2) the process by which that structure would come into being. The obvious structure would seem to be a sui juris ritual church with the see of Canterbury gaining status as a major archbishopric, but that would require Catholic episcopal ordination of married Anglican bishops — which is precisely what the Vatican sought to avoid by creating “personal ordinariates” rather than “personal dioceses” in the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. And in any case, there’s no doubt that the process of reception will include Catholic ordination of those who will serve as clergy within the Catholic Church.

      Norm.

      • Does full communion really mean (re-)ordination of Anglican clergy or would it not rather mean recognition of the whole church and its ministers as it stands (basically a confirmation of the branch theory)?

      • William Tighe says:

        “Does full communion really mean (re-)ordination of Anglican clergy or would it not rather mean recognition of the whole church and its ministers as it stands (basically a confirmation of the branch theory)?”

        If the latter is what it means, then it will never happen: Apostolicae Curae has not, so far as I am aware, “gone down the memory hole,” nor is it likely to do so. Then again, what about all those Anglican priestesses and bishopesses?” They will all be received as laywomen, and remain such, is the only possible Catholic answer – and desirable as such a consummation would be, it is unlikely that any Anglican “ecclesial community” would accept reunion on such a basis.

      • That is precisely what I meant with my rhetorical question. Thank you, Professor Tighe.

        I think it is very obvious that the Roman Catholic Church cannot accept full communion with the Anglicans on Anglican terms – and a conversion of the Anglicans en masse to Catholicism is not going to happen, so what on earth are we making such a fuss about?

  2. EPMS says:

    The Ordinariates are about as likely to play a part in ecumenical discussions between Anglicans and Catholics as the Ukrainian Catholic Church is likely to be showcased when the Pope talks to Orthodox church leaders. From the perspective of the other body, these might be viewed as instances of sheep-stealing, not ecumenical gestures. The scores (hundreds?) of former Catholic priests now ministering as Anglican clergy won’t be mentioned either.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s