Jeg nevnte nylig litt om Troskongregasjonens leder, erkebiskop William Joseph Levadas forelesning i Canada 6. mars om forholdet mellom anglikanere og den katolske kirke. Hans forelesning er tydelig delt i to deler, der første del tar for seg samtalene mellom katolikker og anglikanere (ARCIC) fra Vatikankonsilets dager inntil vår tid. Man nådde fram til (overraskende) stor enighet, sier han, men så kom anglikanernes ordinasjon av kvinner til prestetjeneste inn (i 1976 i USA) og skapte problemer, som man aldri en gang skikkelig prøvde å løse. Helt fram til 1994 var man også helt enige om at homofil praksis ikke kunne aksepteres, men fra 2003 av har dette også blitt et stadig større problem. Og aller sist har spørsmålet om ordinasjon av kvinner til biskoper i England (og uten å gi konservative prester noe alternativt tilsyn), gjort uenigheten melom anglikanere og katolikker enda større.
Etter denne gjennomgangen gjennom 40 års økumeniske samtaler, tar kardinalen opp det som nå skjer mellom katolikker og konservative anglikanere – som ønskes velkommen inn i Den katolske Kirke. Denne delen av foredraget begynner med setningen jeg siterte tidligere: Union with the Catholic Church is the goal of ecumenism … …
I denne delen av foredraget tar kardinalen opp ganske grundig hva katolikker kan lære av andre kristne, for dette er jo et av hovedpoengene med Anglicanorum coetibus, at anglikanerne skal få beholde noen av sine tradisjoner etter at de bli katolikker. Bl.a. nevner kardinalen at katolikker kan lære en del av protestanter når det gjelder forholdet til og bruken av Bibelen – men han legegr til at protestantenes uttrykk sola scriptura er nokså misforstått. Her er et utdrag av andre del av foredraget:
… Visible union with the Catholic Church does not mean absorption into a monolith, with the absorbed body being lost to the greater whole, the way a teaspoon of sugar would be lost if dissolved in a gallon of coffee. Rather, visible union with the Catholic Church can be compared to an orchestral ensemble. Some instruments can play all the notes, like a piano. There is no note that a piano has that a violin or a harp or a flute or a tuba does not have. But when all these instruments play the notes that the piano has, the notes are enriched and enhanced. The result is symphonic, full communion. One can perhaps say that the ecumenical movement wishes to move from cacophony to symphony, with all playing the same notes of doctrinal clarity, the same euphonic chords of sanctifying activity, observing the rhythm of Christian conduct in charity, and filling the world with the beautiful and inviting sound of the Word of God. While the other instruments may tune themselves according to the piano, when playing in concert there is no mistaking them for the piano. It is God’s will that those to whom the Word of God is addressed, the world, that is, should hear one pleasing melody made splendid by the contributions of many different instruments.
The Catholic Church approaches ecumenical dialogue convinced, as the Second Vatican Council’s degree of ecumenism states, that, and I quote here: “Our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, in order to establish the one Body of Christ on earth to which all should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God.” (Decree on Ecumenism: Unitatis Redintegratio)
She believes that she is the mystical body of Christ and she is convinced that the Church of Christ subsists in her because she recognizes that, while she is like the piano that has all of the notes, that is, all of the elements of sanctification and truth, many of those notes are shared with other communities and those communities often have beautiful ways of sounding the notes that can lead to a heightened appreciation of truth and holiness, both within the Catholic Church and within her partners in the ecumenical endeavour.
Many Orthodox and Eastern Catholic Churches, for example, design their church buildings and the liturgies that are celebrated in them with an accent of the eschaton—the life hereafter. One who walks into a building shaped like a Greek cross and surrounded by a dome covered in mosaics, filled with icons that depict our brothers and sisters in Heaven, breathe in the incense, that heavenly air, listen to the chants, is expected to think that he or she is already experiencing the Kingdom of Heaven. No wonder Pope John Paul used the image of the Church breathing with two lungs. For Latin Catholics, the Eastern Church liturgies can seem to provide a rich new timbre to the notes in which our common praise of God is lifted up.
Other ecclesial communities formed from the Reformation encourage their members to base their prayers lives on the written Word of God. This biblical focus—here I am not referring to the errors that underlie the Protestant phrase sola scriptura—is perhaps more intense outside of the visible confines of the Catholic Church. The Church plays the right note, but other communities give it more volume.
Turning to the Anglican Communion, we can see the many elements that impel toward full unity: regard for the unifying role of the episcopate, an esteem for the sacramental life, a similar sense of catholicity as a mark of the Church, and a vibrant missionary impulse, to name but a few. These are by no means absent from the Catholic Church, but the particular manner in which they are found in Anglicanism adds to the Catholic understanding of a common gift. These considerations help us appreciate the Catholic Church’s insistence that there is no opposition between ecumenical action and the preparation of people for full reception into Catholic communion.
Indeed, the first ecumenical action logically leads to the second: reception into full communion. Unitatis Redintegratio, that is, the decree on ecumenism, asserts that almost all people long for the one visible church of God, that truly Universal Church whose mission is to convert the whole world to the Gospel so that the world may be saved to the glory of God.
To return to our earlier metaphor, people long for discordant tones and voices to be harmonized, united, and when an individual or, indeed, a community, is ready for unity with the Church of Christ that subsists in the Catholic Church, it would be a betrayal of Catholic ecumenical principles and goals to refuse to embrace them and to embrace them with all the distinctive gifts that enrich the Church, that help her approach the world symphonically, sounding together or united. … …