Anglican leader, in Vatican City, downplays church strains

Dialogue back on track
Speaking in Vatican City a month after the Vatican unveiled plans to facilitate the conversion of conservative Anglicans to Catholicism, Arch bishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams offered a moderately hopeful assessment of ecumenical relations between the two churches.

The “ecumenical glass is genuinely half full,” he said on November 19 after his lecture at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

In his talk, Williams stressed the “theological convergence” on major doctrinal questions accomplished by Anglican-Catholic dialogue during the past four decades. He characterized areas of continued controversy, including disagreements over the ordination of women, as “second-order issues.”

Williams referred only once to what he called the “elephant in the room,” the Vatican’s plan to establish special Catholic dioceses in which former Anglicans can retain many traditional forms of worship and governance, as well as a limited married priesthood.


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