The ecumenical path has always been narrow, but recent events cast a new light on the limited and shifting range of ecumenical possibilities. With the exception of the success of the rapprochement of Luth eran, Reformed and United churches in Europe, intra-Protestant ecumenism seems to be dead in the water.
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.
Observers of American Catholicism can be alternately impressed and puzzled by its polyphony of public voices. Some, in the name of tradition, call for pulling back from change; others, under the banner of Vatican II, push against the boundaries of doctrine.
Jerome Baggett wanted to know how Catholics live their faith, how they interact in their worship community and how they relate to the larger church and their civic community. So he visited six Catholic parishes in the San Francisco Bay area and interviewed or reviewed questionnaires filled out by 300 parishioners.
Pope Benedict’s invitation to Anglican bodies to join the Roman Catholic Church was seen by some observers as historically momentous and by others as insignificant (after all, a provision has always been there for Anglicans to convert). Which is it?
Responding to “many news accounts” and “various inquiries” about a controversial investigation of U.S. sisters, a senior Vatican official defended the probe as an “effort to promote the Catholic identity and vibrancy of life” in their communities.
Although many ex-Episcopalians in the U.S. identify with Catholic rules against ordaining women and noncelibate gays to the priesthood, the traditionalists heading their own rival Anglican organizations in North America say that few followers are likely to become Roman Catholics.