Ruth Gledhill of The Times reports that the Anglican and the Catholic churches are just about to unite??!! Read the whole story here: (Hat tip to Jay)
It’s an inflated headline. When you read the full story, it turns out that the report suggests ‘ways forward’ and calls for continued work. Fr Christopher comments pretty sharply on the whole idea, and dismisses it as so much diplomatic wind. So does Jimmy Akin. Check it out.
High level diplomacy is surely necessary, but Rome will never be able to unite with Anglicanism at it now stands because Anglicanism itself is too divided. No one speaks for “Anglicanism”. If any agreement were to come into existence it would only be an agreement between the Vatican and the individual Anglican theologians or bishops who signed the paper. If the proposal ever came before the Church of England General Synod it would be dropped like a hot coal. The Evangelicals (who neither understand Catholicism nor want to) would walk out, and the Liberals (good protestants that they are) would object to the papacy just as violently. If that is the response of teh Church of England, you can be sure the Episcopal Church would give such an agreement even shorter time.
The only groups that might, just might come into a full agreement are some of the continuing churches or some individual provinces of the Anglican Church worldwide, but don’t hold your breath.
The real question is not whether whole groups of Anglicans will be reconciled to Rome, but whether an increasing number of individuals will. In fact, individual conversions are often more important than whole groups because from individual conversions come more individual conversions, and from some individual conversions many many individual conversions result.
So individuals need to think where they stand. I can remember as an Anglican priest having prayed for church unity for many years; then having the very clear conviction that there was one tangible, unmistakeable, concrete and real thing I could do to stop schism and re-unite the Church.
I could end the schism and dis-unity in my own life by becoming a Catholic. It was only one person’s decision, but you know, one person’s faithful decision has far reaching consequences. Every action of obedience enters the universe as a positive action, and the ripples spread throughout eternity.