Tuesday, December 11, 2012

ACNA Does Something Right, Something Really Right


Archbishop Duncan meets with Pope Benedict

On a recent visit to the Vatican for conversations on Christian unity, Archbishop Robert Duncan was personally introduced to Pope Benedict XVI following one of his weekly public audiences in Rome.  Accompanying the Archbishop was Bishop Ray Sutton, who is in charge of ecumenical dialogues for the Anglican Church in North America.  The two ACNA leaders were seated in the front row at the assembly, where they enjoyed the Pope’s teaching on I Corinthians 14. Afterwards, the Pope “received greetings from five to 10 of his own bishops and archbishops from around the world,” Bishop Sutton reports. “He responded in six different languages.”

When the two Anglican bishops were introduced to the Holy Father, Archbishop Duncan conveyed greetings from the ACNA and the GAFCON movement, and both he and Bishop Sutton thanked Pope Benedict for the historic greeting he sent – as then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – to the 2003 “Plano” conference sponsored by the American Anglican Council.

Their meeting with high-level Vatican officials continued the next day with discussions on Christian unity, in which they were joined by Bishop Michael Nazir Ali of England and Archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Primate of the Anglican Province of Kenya, who is chairman of the FCA/GAFCON primates. The honor was accorded them as “heroes of the faith” who have stood as witnesses for Christ against the secular liberalism of the West. Bishop Sutton recounted the sincere respect and appreciation of Pope Benedict for the work of traditional Anglicans in the ACNA and GAFCON worldwide. Future conversations are anticipated.

I was getting ready to post "My Problem with ACNA" because, as far as I am concerned, all the endless emails I receive from the head shed, are just like what I used to receive from the TEC Diocese of Dallas: church planting and church growth conferences, 'leadership' seminars, 'discipling' and 'pastoring' retreats -- the usual sort of managerial theory nonsense, which has really nothing to do with being a priest. Why not 'how to increase daily Mass attendance' or 'how to encourage more folks to make their confession' or (my favorite) 'how to say Mass according to the Extrordinary Form' or news of a Silent Retreat or the Religious Life. The overload of the former and the lack of the latter is my problem with ACNA.

But Archbishop Duncan has done the right thing by visiting the Holy Father. An important part, a very important part, of restoring North American Anglicanism is repairing the ecumenical relations, which TEC has wrecked. Bishop Sutton is a good man, a Catholic Christian in the Reformed Episcopal Church and very dedicated to the cause of Christian Unity. Bishop Sutton has been working to revive Anglican relations with the Polish National Catholic Church. I bet that he is the man behind this most recent development. But, whoever is behind it, it is good to see Anglican bishops like these men talking with Rome and the Holy Father. They, unlike the Rowan and Justin, actually have something to talk about with Pope Benedict. Despite all the silliness of the mission managers and church growth gurus, this is the surest sign of the operation of the Holy Spirit in ACNA. This does have something to do with being a Catholic priest.


4 comments:

Rob Allen said...

This is refreshing to know! Don't know how VOL missed this one.

Feed Room Five said...

Rob

I am afraid that there was little interest in this event. But perhaps I am being overly cynical. The truth is that Christian Unity is a lost cause and that means that only the most persistent, most enduring, most faithful, most prayerful care about it. It's a good way to get into heaven, since it is a part of the vineyard that nobody is tending, except maybe Pope Benedict and Bishop Sutton.

Dad

Matthew M said...

Only GOD the HOLY SPIRIT can mend the brokenness. As long as Archbishop Duncan persists in his errors on women's ordination and the Anglican belief that Anglicanism is still authentically Catholic (as opposed to 'catholic') and can change the Doctrines and Dogmas of the Faith independently of Rome and Constantinople this gesture if only a sad reminder of division.

Matthew M said...

Only GOD the HOLY SPIRIT can mend the brokenness. As long as Archbishop Duncan persists in his errors on women's ordination and the Anglican belief that Anglicanism is still authentically Catholic (as opposed to 'catholic') and can change the Doctrines and Dogmas of the Faith independently of Rome and Constantinople this gesture if only a sad reminder of division.