Saturday, December 09, 2006

"Festival Eucharist" of Christ the King at Dominican Basilica of S. Sabina

A "veil tip" to "the new liturgical movement" for more info on the scandalous event that took place a few weeks ago in Rome with the Archbishop of Canterbury at the papal high altar of the Dominican Basilica of S. Sabina. Remember?

Well, the Archbishop is interviewed this week by "The Tablet"- in a piece titled-"Ambivalent archbishop" . I am sorry to say that it reveals more information then I wanted to know!
The purpose of visiting Rome was threefold: to develop personal contacts, particularly with Pope Benedict; to build relationships with individual Vatican curial departments; and to establish progress on ecumenical dialogue. But Cardinal Kasper and Pope Benedict were frank in their admission of difficulties, speaking of serious obstacles to ecumenical progress thrown up by liberal attitudes to homosexuality and to women's ordination. However the Pope also confirmed the friendship between the two Churches and that the work of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) would resume.
Those involved on both sides of the discourse have spoken of the personal chemistry between Pope Benedict and Dr Williams. While the past 40 years have been marked by several meetings between Popes and Primates of the Anglican Communion, this was the first time that each office holder was also a notable theologian. To what extent was this an encounter as much between theologians as between two leaders of two Churches?

"Almost without preliminaries we got down to talking about the lecture I had given on St Benedict [delivered at Sant'Anselmo on 21 November; an edited version appeared in The Tablet on 25 November] and the concept of obedience - about the difficulty of that in the modern world - and the conversation unfolded from there. There was a strong sense of the two of us being able to talk about what enthuses us theologically," recalls Dr Williams.

The conversation, he says, went on to the subject of the sacramental heart of the Church. The Eucharist, of course, remains a sticking point for Roman Catholic-Anglican relations, and that was apparent during the visit to Rome, with no combined Eucharist service. Yet the Catholic Church made another gesture of fellowship and recognition of its special relationship with the Anglican Communion, following the gifts of the papal ring by Paul VI and the pectoral cross by John Paul II. This time it was the suggestion by the Secretariat of State that Dr Williams celebrate the Eucharist at the papal altar of the Dominican church of Santa Sabina.

So let's summarize here: They both met and were happy to talk to each other because they found a commonality between them--both were theologians. There's nothing wrong in this fact. Then Catherine Pepinster, author of this piece leaves out key information about the rest of their conversations for whatever reason. But interjects the main reason for our differences between one another-Roman Catholic-Anglican-the Eucharist. And states the obvious-there wasn't a real "gesture" made in celebrating the Eucharist-The Mass-"together". Well, again they ARE NOT in union with the Roman Catholic Church! Then she further mentions that there were other "gestures" made in history. A papal ring by Paul VI? Why would this be given? Then it worsens-How can the use of a papal altar in a Roman Catholic Church be considered another "gesture"? And to make matters worse it's use was suggested by the Secretariat of State? Cardinal Bertone? What is going on? This is becoming more scandalous as the information begins to present itself. Again, why and how would this be allowed to take place in a Roman Catholic Church under the Roman Curia?! They were present at this event--On the Feast of Christ the King! Before I digress and lose my Advent peace...there's more...


"I understand what my Roman Catholic friends are saying. The theology makes sense, although it is not a theology I sign up to. But it is very painful.

"For me the heart of the Eucharist is that we are drawn into the eternal prayer of Christ and that's what unifies us: that we are standing where Christ stands and praying what Christ prays. It's not only the prayers but also the shape of the action that tells you that." What the two Churches do share at the moment is common prayers - the same vernacular English of the Gloria, for instance, so that those attending one another's Eucharist can at least pray together. That will change, of course, should the new translation of the Mass into English, as seems very likely, comes to be used. Dr Williams is too diplomatic to comment on any internal divisions of the Roman Catholic Church caused by its liturgical texts, but it is apparent that he finds some of the intricate squabbling over literal translation a rather curious and not entirely appealing characteristic of the Catholic Church - "one of those Counter-Reformation things", as he puts it.

"I do find the ideas of translation puzzling, and what communicates itself as a level of anxiety about getting the words right. It isn't characteristic of the early or medieval Church: there's not a fear of getting it right nor even is there is a sense of one model against which everything else has to be tested."


The key point that did emerge from the talks was not so much the issues that have caused so many of the rows in Anglicanism - the role of gay people in the Church or the role of women - but that the Catholic Church is concerned about the way Anglicans make decisions and about Anglican standards of theology. Making appointments to the office of bishop is not just a question of justice but is about a sign of the koinonia or communio at the heart of the Church.

But, as far as ecumenical dialogue is concerned, the difficulty for Anglicans on women's ordination, says Dr Williams, is not entirely of their own making. There is a growing feeling among them, as the Church of England considers women bishops, that the Catholic Church has moved the goalposts, even though, logically, the appointment of women bishops would follow on from Synod's decision in favour of women priests 14 years ago.

Another "veil tip" to Rocco Palmo -Whispers in the Loggia for this piece of info:"Notably, word is that the Dominican mother-church was not always the envisioned venue: the service's initially proposed site was said to be the Patriarchal Basilica of St Paul's Outside the Walls."

I feel better?

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