Unexpected blessing – ACNS

Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican Centre in Rome, was invited to share the blessing with Pope Francis and Archbishop Gennadios of the Ecumenical Patriarchate during a service to mark the conclusion of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Here, Archbishop David reflects on the unprecedented moment.

ACNS 26 January 2016

1 thought on “Unexpected blessing – ACNS”

  1. “As Bishop of Rome and pastor of the Catholic Church, I want to ask for mercy and forgiveness for the behaviour of Catholics towards Christians of other Churches which has not reflected Gospel values. At the same time, I invite all Catholic brothers and sisters to forgive if they, today or in the past, have been offended by other Christians. We cannot cancel out what has happened, but we do not want to let the weight of past faults continue to contaminate our relationships. God’s mercy will renew our relationships.”

    The Reformation disagreements about the doctrines of sin and salvation concern issues of eternal life and eternal death. But that should not have resulted in Catholics killing Protestants nor Protestants killing Catholics, either in war of judicial execution. (I blame Constantine, but that’s another story!).
    Nevertheless the pendulum has swung much too far in the opposite direction. The pressure now is to minimise doctrinal disagreements. But the disagreements between Trent and the Reformed Confessions are real. There is no possibility of bringing them into agreement in some overarching synthesis. (Archbishop Moxon’s reference to “evocative sign of our essential unity in baptism” only begs the question). One is right and the other is wrong. I join the Pope in praying that God’s mercy will renew our relationships…but it has got to be relationships in the truth. I am not convinced that the various attempts at doctrinal reconciliation (e.g. Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican) faced up to the critical disagreements in a painfully candid way. The process: scholars and theologians meeting and issuing reports is inadequate. The only way forward is a debate on the internet, competently moderated, which is open to all: scholars, theologians, ordinary Christians, with a willingness of all to face up to and try to answer the strongest arguments from all sides on Predestination, Original Sin, Justification, Sanctification, Final Judgment, Good Works etc.
    And this would dovetail in to the current debate on e.g. Tom Wright’s views.

    Phil Almond

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