Details are sketchy, but if it happens it would truly be historic:
Anglicans in Christchurch are talking about sharing a cathedral with the Catholics, a move that would have worldwide ramifications. OLIVIA CARVILLE reports.
Rebuilding Christchurch’s two wounded cathedrals into one ‘unprecedented’ Anglican-Catholic super-cathedral is under discussion at top levels in the Anglican Church.
The Sunday Star-Times understands the possibility of an ecumenical, or joint, cathedral to unify the two churches has been discussed behind closed doors for months.
If given the green light, it would bring the Catholics and Anglicans together under the same cathedral roof for the first time in the world since the churches split in the 16th century.
Christchurch’s Bishop Victoria Matthews was reluctant to speak publicly about the controversial idea for fear it would ‘kill the possibility’. But she confirmed she had informally discussed it with local Anglicans.
‘There are conversations about this going on, but those conversations are with ourselves,’ she said.
The idea had not been raised officially within Christchurch’s Anglican Diocese, was yet to be broached with the city’s Catholic leaders and was currently only an Anglican ‘hope’.
‘It’s fair to say there are many individuals in the diocese who would welcome the idea,” Matthews said, adding that while the Christ Church Cathedral demolition was before the High Court, the ‘delicate conversation’ had been put on hold.
‘It’s something that I would love to be able to discuss, but at this point we can’t. We have to wait for this thing to get out of the courts before it even becomes a good conversation.’
Others are throwing cold water on the idea:
The possibility of Catholic and Anglicans sharing a super cathedral in Christchurch is being described as nothing but a pipe dream.
Anglicans are believed to be discussing the proposal, but Mike Grimshaw – an Associate Professor of Sociology at Canterbury University – says even the architecture would cause conflict as Catholics use specific designs in their buildings.
“High Anglicans might be happy about it, but a lot of other Anglicans are very Protestant, so they don’t like a lot of images, they don’t want statues of Mary, they wouldn’t want stations of the cross around the church, so what you’d have to do is truck stuff in and out.”