I hope the acoustics was good in the Italian Monastery of… Bose, Italy. If the acoustics wasn’t, accommodation and catering must certainly have been at rather high level, as the place has been chosen (as already anticipated by me when talking about Little Britain) for the latest episode of that expensive exercise in useless waffling, busy-bodying and bad theology, but at the same time in jolly good company and first-class entertainment, called Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission, in short: ARCIC.
On this particular occasion, the talks went on for ten days, concluding in time for the return of the happy troop before the Champions League final. One can only admire such logistical skills.
There is, of course, no way any “ecumenical dialogue” made in the wrong way may ever lead to anything approaching acceptable results. The inherent ridicule of the situation by which Catholics and Protestants try to find a way by which they might be reconciled without the Protestants becoming Catholics (a very tiring exercise, I suppose; no doubt helped by ten days of healthy doses of good food and fortifying wine) was on this occasion made even clearer by the fact that a lady took part as Anglican “bishopess”, and another lady from I-don’t-care-where as “canoness”. It is clear that female presence was considered indispensable for a more pleasant conversation at table, it being unthinkable that a “bishopess” and/or “canoness” may ever, ever be of any use in any talk based on real ecumenism.
Real ecumenism can never be an exercise by which Catholics and Protestant try to talk their differences away. Nor can it be limited to inconsequential waffle about the desire to get along together, as the Truth should, in a sane world, not have any desire to get along with the lie beside the one to – as long as possible – avoid armed confrontation. Least of all can ecumenism become an effort to let it appear that it be not so important – in everyday life and in the economy of salvation – to be a Catholic or a Proddie. This last error only confuses the Catholics, helps the Protestants to remain in the dark, and is of any use only to the merry ARCIC troop, and to the catering firm.
Real ecumenism is you-come-to-me -ism; it is the talk with the clear intention to help the prodigal son to go back to the father’s house, and no other; it is the unashamed statement that one side is right, the other wrong and one tries to find ways to help those on the wrong side to get to the right one. If this kind of ecumenism is not liked from the other side, though.
The newly established Ordinariates for converted Anglicans are a clear example of ecumenism, because they build bridges for those on the wrong side whilst always making clear where the Truth lies, and where the bridge leads.
My impression is that these merry gatherings have become one of those expensive, but not entirely unpleasant occasions to which the participant do not want to put an end, even when the absurdity of such meetings has been made once and for all obvious by the presence of the “bishopess” and/or “canoness”. I can’t wait for the first transsexual Anglican bishopette. the Anglicans might not be there yet, but given time I’m sure they’ll manage to “catch up with society” as they have done so often (erm: always, really) in the past. I can’t imagine that this would be seen as an obstacle to any future ARCIC: if you can swallow a bishopette, there’ s truly no boundary to what else you could live with.
No. As long as food and wine are going to be good enough, breaking up will be so very hard to do.