Pierre Whalon, Bishop of the Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe, responds to the recent Apostolic Constitution issued by Pope Benedict XVI aimed at disaffected Anglicans and praised the Archbishop of Canterbury's response to it.
In light of the lack of consultation with their own bishops, including the new Archbishop of Westminster, the unexplained delay between the announcement and the publication of this “Apostolic Constitution” (currently available only in English and Italian), as well as the insult offered to the spiritual leader of us Anglicans, the Archbishop of Canterbury, there are certainly reasons to worry about the Roman Catholic Church. On the eve of my consecration as Bishop in Rome, which took place on November 18, 2001 at our parish of St. Paul’s-Within-the –Walls, I had the signal honor to be invited to the Holy See by Pope John Paul II, who wished to offer me a formal welcome to Europe. This unprecedented act of hospitality touched me deeply, as well as the Pontiff’s brief speech, who affirmed that the commitment of his Church to the path of ecumenism is irrevocable, and has the unswerving goal of the reunion of all Christians.
However, this new Constitution does not seem congruent with that declaration of eight years ago, which was absolutely in line with the great decrees of Vatican II, Lumen gentium and Unitatis redintegratio. This new document quotes them, but seems to have forgotten their spirit. Instead of the measured, humble cadences of those great documents, a triumphalistic accent colors Anglicanorum coetibus....
...I strongly applaud the serene manner of His Grace Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury in responding to the maladroitness of the announcement and language of this new Constitution. Instead of breaking with partners whose conduct is so peremptory, or expressing a perfectly justifiable anger, Archbishop Williams decided to keep a long-planned appointment with Benedict XVI. As a sign of his apology for disrespect, the Pope offered the Archbishop a golden bishop’s pectoral cross.
In a remarkable speech on November 19 at the Gregorian University, the heart of Roman Catholic teaching, the Archbishop called our sister church back to order.
Read it all here.