Cardinal Kasper to the Lambeth Conference, and a response to earlier comments

This is the clearest signal yet that Rome is awaiting action on certain issues, or else they will be more than happy to receive whole communities into the Roman Church.

The trouble is, unfortunately, even some of the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church are not aware of the fine distinctions between the different varieties of non-Catholics. Whether it is a charitable attitude or not, many Catholics, especially outside Manila, refer to non-Catholics as “heretics and schismatics.” I think they hadn’t changed the prayers following the Christ the King Procession yet.

The challenge is for local Anglicans and Aglipayans to reflect upon the question as to whether they are Catholic or Protestant. On the one hand, they must be prepared to ask whether they should have listened to the Belgians who went up north rather than the Americans, and on the other, whether the demands for local priests taking power would have better been resolved had they chose to patiently wait under Roman auspices. I still think (sorry to IFI members) that this was all a question of power and it was an unnecessary schism.

However, Cardinal Kasper, who earlier addressed the Church of England’s House of Bishops on the subject, received a response at that time from two of the Church of England’s most prominent bishop-scholars, Tom Wright of Durham and David Stancliffe of Salisbury. For a balanced assessment, their paper is worth reading. As I said, I will have to listen and wait for now. At the same time, I hope we can move beyond the false dichotomy between “Catholic” and “Christian” and believe that, ultimately, to be Christian is in a real sense to be catholic and vice versa.


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