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By Diogenes (articles ) | Dec 11, 2007

What price Christian unity?

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, told The Catholic Herald: "It's not our policy to bring that many Anglicans to Rome."

How many Anglicans would be too many? Would it be OK if they entered the Catholic Church single-file?

Cardinal Kasper, the Herald reports, looks askance at a bid by a large group of Anglicans, including 60 bishops, for "full, corporate, and sacramental union" with the Catholic Church.

Of course, as a Catholic I am happy if one person joins our Catholic Church....

[Single-file is OK, then. Good to know.]

...but I doubt such a big group is coming-- I think there are still many questions to solve first.

Questions? What sort of questions? Questions about the group's sincerity? Fine; ask away. Questions about their motives, or their understanding of what it is they're doing? Very wise. But those don't seem to be the questions that Cardinal Kasper is asking, if the Herald story is accurate.

We are on good terms with the Archbishop of Canterbury and as much as we can we are helping him to keep the Anglican community together.

In the notorious Operation Keelhaul, at the close of World War II, Allied forces delivered tens of thousands of Russians back into the hands of the Soviet Union-- knowing full well that many of them would soon be living in the gulag archipelago, if they were living at all. It was a shameful episode in our history. These poor souls had made their bid for freedom, relying on the free nations of the West to help them-- thinking, perhaps, of the Statue of Liberty, and its promise to welcome the "huddled masses yearning to breathe free"-- and the West betrayed them back into the hands of tyrants.

Now the Traditional Anglican Communion looks desperately for help from Rome, as a means of escaping ecclesiastical chaos. And perhaps more than that, as a means of saving their souls. And the answer is... not yet clear.

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Show 17 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: - Dec. 21, 2007 6:15 PM ET USA

    Maybe the process calls for measuring the request against the criteria reflected/enunciated in Mt. 7:21 and 1John 4:1.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 14, 2007 9:30 AM ET USA

    Keep in mind Cardinal Kasper, the former secretary to Hans Kung, has declared “... today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would ‘be converted’ and return to being ‘Catholics’. This was expressly abandoned at Vatican II.” Adista, Feb. 26, 2001. Recall also the two Orthodox bishops who wanted to convert and were rebuffed by the Vatican who said they did not need to convert and that a conversion would harm relations with the Communists.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 13, 2007 9:08 PM ET USA

    WVCatholic - then let him say, "Gee, we'd have some big problems to iron out with all these folks coming in together at a full corporate sacramental union, but we WANT THESE PEOPLE. One way or another, we're hoping to do everything we can to get them in, their souls saved, etc. The Catholic Church is the place for them, and let me tell you why ..." Why doesn't he say this? Because he doesn't want them!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 13, 2007 8:55 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Kasper is completely right. After all, what's the salvation of souls compared to staying on good terms with the Archbishop of Canterbury?! Ecumenism: Keeping evangelism at bay for forty years!

  • Posted by: - Dec. 13, 2007 12:54 PM ET USA

    Why can't these people be honest and say what they really mean? They don't want so many conservative Anglicans becoming Catholic at once. There, now. That wasn't so hard, was it?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 12, 2007 4:59 PM ET USA

    Contrary opinions notwithstanding, corporate union is indeed possible if it is the will of the Holy Father and the TACs are willing to be subject to him. The obstacles can be overcome if there is a will to do so by both sides. Anglican orders are indeed "absolutely null and utterly void". No prob, conditionally (re)ordain those clerics who are suitable. The "bishops" are the stickyest wicket, but it's far from "impossible" for B16 to make some provision for them. He *is* the Pope after all

  • Posted by: - Dec. 12, 2007 10:54 AM ET USA

    Here's a modest proposal: Let’s have something like an exchange program. How about B16 opening the doors for all of those alienated Episcopalians, and in exchange B16 sends to Dr Rowan Williams some of our low-value bishops. These folks come to mind: Weakland, Ryan, Zeaman, George Niederauer, Kicanas, Trautman.... you get the idea. It's a feel good proposal; everyone will feel right at home. I’m sure Uncle Di’s readers have some ideas of their own.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 12, 2007 10:46 AM ET USA

    I there a Diocese of Antarctica? Surely the need a Cardinal to shepherd them.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 12, 2007 10:40 AM ET USA

    catholicity: The key phrase is the Anglican's desire for "full, corporate and sacramental union", with the problem being "corporate" union. A parish entering the Catholic Church is perfectly acceptable. The issue is the Anglican bishops who apparently wish to retain their positions under the Holy Father. While there is a "pastoral provision" for priests, the same option for bishops does not exist. Also, while married priests are possible, married bishops have never been allowed.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 12, 2007 7:15 AM ET USA

    wvcatholic: Whole parishes have converted before. I've attended Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, the founding parish of the Anglican Use Catholic liturgy. They were given their own liturgy by JPII. It still requires individual consent to convert. Those who didn't desire Catholic unity simply went elsewhere. Their priests have been through seminary, and the only thing usually lacking for true priesthood is the imposition of hands.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 11, 2007 10:30 PM ET USA

    Methinks a new assignment may be coming soon for the good Cardinal.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 11, 2007 8:55 PM ET USA

    But why would Cardinal Kaspar be calling the shots? He does not decide who enters the Church and how. That's the Pope's call. The truth will out not diplomacy.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 11, 2007 8:10 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Kasper's response is correct. An individual person can make a public profession of faith and "become Catholic." There is also the "pastoral provision" where a married Anglican "priest" can be ordained a Catholic priest. However, these are all individual actions, since such measures require the full consent of the will. "Full, corporate" union is not possible since it lacks the necessary individual consent and would also require recognition of Anglican episcopal orders as valid.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 11, 2007 7:45 PM ET USA

    Why on earth would Catholics want to assist the Archbishop of Canterbury in keeping Anglicanism together? If what Anglicans teach is heresy, this is cruel and dangerous treatment of fellow Christians. A good many Episcopalians, including this one, crossed the Tiber gladly. Would the Cardinal destroy the bridge? Why?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 11, 2007 6:33 PM ET USA

    I wonder if the good Cardinal is on the Holy Father's favorite's list?

  • Posted by: - Dec. 11, 2007 6:30 PM ET USA

    There are times when one can have doubts exactly where in proximity to the Tiber Cardinal Kasper actually stands, along with several other of our eminent Princes of the Church. And there are also times when it appears that the finger is writing on the wall for Walter Cardinal Kasper along with the other respective Eminences.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 11, 2007 5:39 PM ET USA

    The Cardinal doesn't need to concern himself with any possibility that responding to the TAC petition will somehow undermine the Anglican Communion. TAC is a group independent of the Archbishop of Canterbury. I wanted to let the good Cardinal know that, so he can sleep at night.

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