Anglicans face crucial choice, Vatican prelate says
London, May. 7, 2008 (CWNews.com) – The Vatican’s top ecumenical spokesman has posed a challenge to Anglican leaders, saying that the Anglican communion must decide whether it has more in common with the Catholic and Orthodox churches or the Protestant denominations.
“Ultimately, it is a question of the identity of the Anglican Church,” Cardinal Walter Kasper (bio – news), the president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, told the British Catholic Herald. “Where does it belong?”
In an unusually candid interview, Cardinal Kasper said that Anglican leaders would be forced to address “certain difficult decisions” at this year’s Lambeth conference in July. The Lambeth meeting, which brings together Anglican prelates from around the world every 10 years, will face tough decisions on divisive questions such as the ordination of female bishops and the acceptance of same-sex unions. The cardinal said that these decisions would require the Anglican communion to “clarify its identity.”
Cardinal Kasper has been invited by the Archbishop of Canterbury to address the Lambeth conference, and his blunt remarks to the Catholic Herald may be a preview of his message to the Anglican leadership. He said that the Anglican Church must decide whether it will be guided by the authority of ancient Christian traditions or whether it will break from the doctrines that once bound all of an undivided Christian world. “At the moment it is somewhere in between,” he observed.
At the Lambeth conference, Cardinal Kasper told the Catholic Herald, the Anglican communion must make a choice: “Does it belong more to the churches of the first millennium–Catholic and Orthodox– or does it belong more to the Protestant churches of the 16th century?”