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:
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?