Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One Step Closer to a Universal Primacy

From The Living Church-

When Robert Runcie visited Pope John Paul II in Rome in October 1989 one of his concerns was to elucidate the theme of universal primacy. Just over a decade before in 1977 the third Agreed Statement of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission proposed that a unified Christian Church needed a universal primacy, and the Bishop of Rome was the obvious choice for the role.

The Anglican co-chairman of ARCIC was the Archbishop of Dublin, Henry McAdoo. A couple of years later his fellow Irish Archbishop, John Armstrong, called the Agreed Statement “a time bomb.” But Archbishop Runcie saw potential in the ARCIC statement. Runcie had a vision of a different, reordered papacy exercising a primacy of love and service. Just how much John Paul II comprehended is hard to say.

Pope Benedict XVI’s Sept. 16-19 visit to the United Kingdom, however, offered a series of tasters on what a universal primacy might look like. To begin, even if the British press tried to be cynical, it still gave the visitor acres of coverage. Only a papal visitor on a once-in-a-lifetime journey could achieve that. Inevitably media pundits were talking about how there were things Benedict XVI could do that Rowan Williams could not.

There are other signs that this new kind of papacy is emerging.

Benedict offered apologies. He apologized for the undiplomatic language of Walter Cardinal Kasper, who had told Focus magazine in Germany: “England is a secularized, pluralistic country nowadays. When you land at Heathrow you sometimes feel as though you were in a third world country.” It didn’t mean that he avoided the intent Kasper expressed. He simply found effective ways of putting across the message not to put trust in materialism and secularist ideology.

More here-


No comments: