By Jesús Colina
ROME, NOV. 19, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The leader of the Anglican Communion says there are positive aspects in the creation of ordinariates within the Catholic Church for Anglican faithful who wish to be in full communion with Rome.
Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury made this affirmation Thursday in the Vatican, where he had a private meeting with Benedict XVI. The Anglican leader was in Rome for the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.
Archbishop Williams commented on the resignation this month of five Anglican bishops who plan to avail of the stipulations in Benedict XVI’s apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Coetibus” and be received into full communion with the Catholic Church.
“Obviously my reaction to the resignations is one of regret, but I respect” their decision, he told Vatican Radio.
“I know the considerations they faced, in particular the two who were my suffragans,” he added. “We have talked, we have worked and we have separated with prayers and blessings.”
Archbishop Williams acknowledged challenges that will arise as Anglicans leave the Communion for the Church: He pointed to the issue of shared church buildings, as well as the challenge of “the advice we must give as Anglicans,” and parishes that will be without priests.
In regard to those who have described the creation of ordinariates for former Anglicans in the Catholic Church as a “prophetic gesture,” the archbishop of Canterbury said, “I believe that the ordinariate helps people to value the Anglican heritage and patrimony. I am happy to praise God for this reason.
“I don’t think it’s an aggressive act oriented to destabilizing the relations of the churches and it only remains to be seen the extent of the movement of which we are speaking.”
“But prophetic?” Archbishop Williams asked. “Perhaps, in the sense that the Catholic Church says in this way that there are ways of being Christian in the Western Church that are not restricted by historical Catholic-Roman identity. It’s something we can talk about.”
Committed as ever
In an audience Thursday with the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Pope confirmed the Catholic Church’s commitment to the search for unity with Anglicans and other Christian confessions.
He said that “despite the presence of new problematic situations or difficult points for the dialogue, the aim of the ecumenical path remains unchanged, as does the firm commitment in pursuing it.”
The Bishop of Rome clarified, however, that ecumenism is not like a political effort, in which negotiation skills and the ability to find compromises eventually lead to mutually acceptable agreements.
Instead, he said, “the unity of Christians is and remains prayer, it resides in prayer. […] Unity is not ‘made by us’; God ‘makes’ it: It comes from above, from the unity of the Father with the Son in the dialogue of love which is the Holy Spirit. […] And this should not make our commitment diminish, rather, it should make us ever more attentive to receive the signs of the times of the Lord, knowing how to recognize with gratitude that which already unites us and working to consolidate it and make it grow.
“In the end, also in the ecumenical path, it is about leaving to God what is only his and of exploring, with seriousness, constancy and dedication, what is our task, being aware that to our commitment belongs the binomial of acting and suffering, of activity and patience, of effort and joy.”