Martin Marty: Vatican "Bypassing" 40 Years of Dialogue

Martin E. Marty, one of the leading Protestant theologians here in this country, and an estimable presence in the ecumenical world has a strongly worded commentary on the Vatican's gambit to attract more Anglicans into the Catholic Church.

Bypassing forty years of Anglican-Roman Catholic conversations-cum-negotiations and blindsiding Archbishop Rowan Williams, the head of the seventy-million-member Anglican Communion, Vatican officials announced that they were taking steps to receive Anglican (in the United States, Episcopal) clergy through conversion into the Roman Catholic priesthood.  Headlines had it that Rome wanted to “lure,” “attract,” “bid for” or “woo” priests and congregations to make the drastic move, while the Vatican front man, as he fished for Anglicans, said he was not fishing for Anglicans....



Some Episcopal priests seemed ripe for plucking, and Rome set out to harvest, even if the Church will thus be accepting some married priests, while leaving their own home-grown priests-who-marry in exile.  Those with even slight suspicion suspect that the Vatican initiative is also a desperation move to help solve the shortage of priests in the Roman communion.  Some of the only half-gruntled Anglicans have uttered some “not-so-fast!” or “count-me-out!” cautions.  As one leader among them reminded, “there was a Reformation, you remember,” as he spoke for those who knew that being received by Rome, even with gestures that would allow Anglican converts some liturgical and traditional free range, still demands a great doctrinal gulp.  Converts would have to accept papal infallibility and, with it, the infallible doctrine (1950) of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin and other teachings which long offended non-Roman Catholics.

Read the rest on his blog on Sightings at the University of Chicago's Divinity School's website.

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8 years 7 months ago
While Martin Marty is such an astute observer of so many things, I find this one line curious:
"Those with even slight suspicion suspect that the Vatican initiative is
also a desperation move to help solve the shortage of priests in the
Roman communion."
I can't imagine how much "help" this could potentially be.  The Catholic Church in Britain enjoys one of the highest priest to people ratios in the world, so the crisis here (where this move might result in more priests) will do next to nothing to solve the overall crisis.  In summary, of the many possible motives for this Roman maneuver, I don't see this being prime among them.
david power
8 years 7 months ago
Mr Marty seems to be calling the Archbishop of Canterbury a liar.The Archbishop has denied most of the things that Marty says and so it stands to reason that he thinks that the Archbishop is not being truthful. Apart from that he seems to be  very hsotile to the leaders of the Catholic Church,I dont think he would be bringing ecumenism very far with this type of baggage  
Rob Roy
8 years 7 months ago
This was a comment left at Titus OneNine:
ARCIC would only be meaningful if there were in fact someone on the
Anglican side with whom the Catholics could reach an agreement.  In
fact, however, there is no one who can authoritatively state what
Anglicans believe or reach an agreement with another body concerning
those beliefs.  Thus, for example, the descriptions of supposed
Anglican belief concerning homosexuality made in 1993 in the ARCIC
“Life in Christ” statement have never been treated as binding or
authoritative by TEC, the Canadian church, etc., any more than the 1998
Lambeth resolutions have been or an Anglican covenant would be.
Dialog. hammer out resolutions between the two churches. But what is the point? Nothing is binding with the Anglican Communion. Lambeth '98 is clear, and Rowan Williams has said it is the official position of the AC. But ECUSA simply ignores it.
Emily Henderson
8 years 7 months ago
The reference of RobRoy above is to Lambeth 1.10 in 1998, the resolution discussing homosexuality.  The first clause was the current teaching of the church, the second calling for a "listening process" to homosexuals.  I believe RobRoy is concerned that TEC (The name of ECUSA changed some time ago), is not enforcing the first clause of the resolution, not its second.  As conservatiives would argue that the first have of the resolutution is routinely ignored by TEC and The Anglican Church of Canada, liberals would argue that the second is routinely ignored by churches of the Global South (or GAFCON) grouping.   Given RobRoy's comments at conservative Anglican sites such as Stand Firm, I suggest he is clealry in the concern for the enforcement of the first clause camp.


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