The Portal May 2018 - Page 3

THE P RTAL May 2018 Page 3 P ortal Comment The Gospel and the Catholic Church Jackie Ottaway and Ronald Crane report on a Conference discussing Anglican Patrimony today T he late Michael Ramsey’s book formed the title for this conference. Published in the 1930s it still has resonance today. About one hundred people, clergy and lay, assembled at Saint Stephen’s House in Oxford. Many different strands of what one might loosely call “Anglicanism” were represented. These included a good representation from the Ordinariate, both clergy and lay. We began and ended each of the two days with worship from the BCP or the Customary. Mgr Keith Newton and Fr James Bradley leading the Ordinariate based worship. Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali took the lead, and began proceedings with an, as usual for him, excellent opening address setting the scene. This was to be followed by an address from Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, (member of the CDF) but unfortunately he was indisposed. His contribution was read by Mgr Patrick Burke, (Vicar General of the RC Diocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh). This rehearsed the themes well known to Ordinariate members about how the Holy See responded to requests from Anglicans for full communion with the Catholic Church. Fr George Westhaver (Principal, Pusey House Oxford) made a response in which he agreed that it is false to separate the gospel from the church. He was concerned that the pre-Vatican II lectionary might be lost. Bishop John Hind (former Bishop of Chichester) spoke about Anglicans and Christian Unity. This was followed by a response from Bishop John Fenwick (Bishop of the Northern Diocese of the Free Church of England) and also from Mgr Mark Langham (RC Chaplain to University of Cambridge). He admitted that the rush of enthusiasm for ecumenical endeavour following Vatican II, has slowed somewhat. Dialogue was now more thoughtful and realistic. In Roman Catholic circles Anglican Patrimony is important as both a challenge and an encouragement. But he also warned that there is RC suspicion of Anglican comprehensiveness. and reiterated that the Holy See was aware that there was something lacking which the Ordinariates could give it as a gift. He began with the old jokes about the Ordinariates, and reminded the conference that the journey taken by those in the Ordinariate began some three or four centuries ago. A second thoughtful response was from Bishop Jonathan Goodall (Bishop of Ebbsfleet) He pointed out that the Anglican way was for  those who hold major theological differences to “walk together”, and closed with the observation that Our Lord’s sacrifice and the sacrament of His Body is in contrast to something far shallower. The second day began, after Morning Prayer, with a talk from Dr Steven Rutt entitled Anglicans, Culture and the State. Bishop John Ellison (formerly Bishop of Paraguay) made a response, as did Dr Gavin Ashenden. His talk was one of the highlights of the conference. It was a chilling analysis  of the state of Christianity in the West and especially England and the English Church. He ended by telling the assembled company that a secular society has only just begun its assault on Christianity. All ended with some closing remarks from Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali. Looking back on the Conference, we felt the contributions of Archbishop Di Noia and Mgr Mark Langham were the highlights, along with a brief intervention from Bishop Azad Marshall. He has worked in Iran, Jerusalem, and Pakistan. He reminded the Conference that Islam is losing respect for Christians because the church in the west has taken up with what it sees as non-biblical doctrines. We must be careful because what is said in the west effects the lives of Christians in the east. Late in the first day Bishop Christopher Cocksworth (Bishop of Coventry) spoke to the title Anglican  We wait to see what will become of it all. We shall Worship. The response to this was from our own Mgr Andrew Burnham. His talk was well received keep you informed of future developments, if any.