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Southern Religion

Anglican leader pushes back at the pope

The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams fired back Nov. 19, telling a conference in Rome that the Roman Catholic Church’s refusal to ordain women was a barrier to Christian unity.

Speaking at Rome’s Pontifical Gregorian University prior to his Saturday meeting with Pope Benedict XVI, Williams said, drawing a sharp contrast, “For many Anglicans, not ordaining women has a possible unwelcome implication about the difference between baptised men and baptised women.”

He went on to say that Anglican provinces that ordain women had retained rather than lost their Catholic holiness and sacramentalism.

Thus, he thoroughly defied one of the animating tensions which led Pope Benedict XVI to offer disaffected Anglicans a “Church within a Church” that would enable them to retain traditional Anglican practices within the Catholic faith.

Williams not only repudiated the notion that he might lead a reversal of direction in the Anglican ordination of women, he also described the pope’s historic offer as little more than an “imaginative pastoral response” which contributed little to ecumenical relations between the two churches.

Along the same lines, he also said:

It does not build in any formal recognition of existing ministries or methods of independent decision-making, but remains at the level of spiritual and liturgical culture.

As such, it is an imaginative pastoral response to the needs of some; but it does not break any fresh ecclesiological ground.

Not a model of ecumenism, indeed. The archbishop’s rose-colored glasses have been removed.

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November 20, 2009 - Posted by | Catholic, Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , ,

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