Vatican welcoming only the right?

This Catholic’s View By Thomas J. Reese, S.J. Pope Benedict’s latest initiative toward Anglicans who want to rejoin the Catholic … Continued

This Catholic’s View

By Thomas J. Reese, S.J.

Pope Benedict’s latest initiative toward Anglicans who want to rejoin the Catholic Church has caused quite a stir.

Although Archbishop Rowan Williams and other Anglican leaders have said that it will not hurt Anglican-Catholic relations, more liberal voices in the Anglican Church, especially in the U.S. and Britain, have seen it as a crass attack on a weakened Anglican communion.

Many ecumenists on both sides see it as a repudiation of years of dialogue with the Anglicans and the adoption of “uniatism” in the Latin-rite or Western part of the Catholic Church. Uniatism refers to the pre-Vatican II strategy of trying to woo Orthodox Christians to join the Eastern-rite Catholic churches whose spirituality, liturgy and traditions are similar to the Orthodox, including a married clergy.

The Vatican does not see it that way. Rome has agreed to no longer attempt to convert Orthodox Christians, but it has not abandoned the Eastern Catholic churches, which have been part of the Catholic Church for centuries. Nor has Rome ever agreed to turn away any from the East or West who want to join. If religious freedom means anything, it means that people have a right to join any church they want.

As a supporter of the “big tent” concept of the Catholic Church, I cannot oppose Benedict’s attempt to welcome into the church Anglicans who have left the Anglican Communion. Likewise I do not object to negotiations between the Vatican and the conservative Society of St. Pius X, founded by Archbishop Lefebvre. My only concern is that the right side of the tent being constructed by the Vatican has a big “Welcome” sign while the left side has an “Exit Only” sign. Can’t we have a welcome sign on both sides of the tent?

Thomas J. Reese, S.J., is Senior Fellow at Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University.

By Thomas J. Reese | 
October 27, 2009; 11:53 AM ET

 | Category: 

Georgetown/On Faith

,

This Catholic’s View


Save & Share: 

 


 

<!–Twitter
 –>

 


 


 


 


 


 

Previous: A religious view of ‘development’ |

Next: Benedict the Radical

<!–
Main Index –>

Written by

  • archdukefranz

    Fr. Reese:Please list for us all of these “liberal” denominations who would be willing to accept the Church’s teachings on: Mary, the real presence, abortion and contraception, etc. I am sure you won’t find any because there probably aren’t any. All of those liberal denominations have separated themselves so far from the teachings of Christ and the Church.

  • pdo3

    Fr. Reese is a defacto schismatic and heretic.

  • pdo3

    Fr. Reese is a de facto schismatic and heretic.

  • withouthavingseen

    Fr. Reese,Do you really not get it? It is not a matter of “left” and “right.” Our Holy Father has been trying to point that out for most of his pontificate.It is a matter of truth and charity, of love of Christ and love of His Church. The Catholic Church has always had a great big “Welcome” sign for anyone willing to love Christ and accept the teachings He has given to His Church; and it has always had a great big “Exit” sign for those who prefer, for whatever reason, not to do so.There is nothing new here, except some crises of conscience.Some Anglicans are saying, “Wait, for a long time, we were Anglican because we believed in what the Anglican Church taught, or at least allowed us to believe, and because that was the good, patriotic, English thing to do. But now, we aren’t English anymore, but Americans, or Nigerians, or whatever; and moreover, we have religious pluralism in England so being a good Englishman doesn’t mean being Anglican. Finally, the Anglican Church no longer believes what it did, and increasingly pressures us not to do so either. But look, we agree with the Catholics on pretty much everything. Maybe we belong over there?”And an increasing number of Catholics are saying something analogous: “Hey wait, we thought this Church was for anybody whose parents belonged. Do you really mean that you expect us to believe, act, and worship in a certain way!? What gives?!”A shuffling is happening, and going to intensify, to be sure. For my own part, I would not kick a Catholic out of the tent to save my life. But if one finds himself disagreeing with the Church on important issues, refusing to live the way the Church teaches us to live, or insisting upon worshiping in his own way… well, then, I would only try to help him see that those attitudes are inconsistent and incompatible with our religion, so that he can more clearly see the need to change either his attitudes or his religion.Ryan Haber

  • ccnl1

    The paramount issue is whether we even need conservative or liberal religions/followers at all in the 21st century since the basic foundations of our contemporary religions are significantly flawed and are starting to unravel brick by brick. e.g. once again for those eyes that have not seen:1. Abraham founder/father of three major religions was either the embellishment of the lives of three different men or aCurrent crisis:Realization that the Jews are not god’s chosen people. 2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a mamzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). Analyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, On Faith panelists) via the NT and related documents have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus’ sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects. The 30% of the NT that is “authentic Jesus” like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus’ case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hittites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics. Current crises:Pedophiliac priests, atonement theology and original sin!!!!3. Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of “pretty wingie thingie” visits and “prophecies” for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immaculate conceptions).Current crises: Adulterous preachers, “propheteering/ profiteering” evangelicals and atonement theology, all male hierarchies and strange banking and funding.

  • elizdelphi

    I love Fr. Reese’s idea that the welcome mat should be out for the left also. It holds true quite regardless of whether we can actually think of any specific Christian groups on the left who would be drawn to the Catholic Church. But there may very well be some who love social justice, who are peacemakers, who love evangelical poverty and simplicity of life, who are people of prayer. What about groups with a spirituality like that of the (ecumenical) Taize community? Maybe there are Protestant groups with an affinity with the Catholic Worker movement, or Focolare, or other orthodox but left-ish Catholic lay movements? There is a lot of good on the left. Absolutely as a Catholic I want to be in communion with the more liberal people who want to come into the Catholic fold (and of course embrace all that the Church teaches). We need them too!

  • persiflage

    Being perilously close to heresy in the Catholic Church generally means closer to the truth – all the great ones flirted with it…were usually but not always denied sainthood. So take faith, Frater Reese….you’re living among the great and the near-great so far as the Church goes!!

  • persiflage

    Being perilously close to heresy in the Catholic Church generally means closer to the truth – all the great ones flirted with it…were usually but not always denied sainthood. So take faith, Frater Reese….you’re living among the great and the near-great so far as the Church goes!!

  • persiflage

    Being perilously close to heresy in the Catholic Church generally means closer to the truth – all the great ones flirted with it…were usually but not always denied sainthood. So take faith, Frater Reese….you’re living among the great and the near-great so far as the Church goes!!

  • Farnaz1Mansouri1

    Tom,This is better. I was getting worried.

  • ccnl1

    Hmmm, the “lefters” in the USA would mostly be the 70 million plus members of the Immoral Majority i.e. those “mothers and fathers” of 35 million womb-babies” who will never get a chance to decide their direction in life. These “lefters” have a lot of penance to do before B16 opens the doors of the Catholic Church to them. But since these doors swing on faulty foundations, said members of the Immoral Majority will not have to worry about it for much longer but being haunted by the souls of the smallest of our brethren will be forever pounding on their hearts and minds.

  • usapdx

    I say WELCOME and bring your ideas and bible which is better written. New blood will bring over due change once this leadership leaves. It is better to have membership by their FREE WILL CHOICE.

  • thebump

    Don’t blame B16 for the exit sign on the left. Those on the “left” (for lack of a better term) don’t want to inhabit a big tent; they want to burn down the tent and replace it with something much more stylish. If they find themselves outside the tent, it’s because they destroyed it.

  • Climacus

    I agree with Ryan Haber that these are not issues of “left” and “right”, terms borrowed from politics that don’t work right in this context.I’m not sure I understand what you mean, Fr. Reese, by “having a welcome sign on both sides of the tent”. Aren’t the welcome signs presented, respectively, to the Lefebvrists and the Anglicans in some sense on opposite sides of the tent?