Did Archbishop Bernard Longley say that the ban on giving Communion to Anglicans may be relaxed?

Archbishop Longley, wanting to sound positive, says that he could “imagine and foresee one of the fruits of our ecumenical engagement as moving towards a deeper understanding of communion and a deeper sharing between our churches ”¦ which perhaps would lead to a reconsideration of some of the circumstances.” That’s all very well-meaning: but since the chances of prelate-speak of this kind being misunderstood by the secular press are about 100 per cent, it really would have been better not to have said it….Archbishop Longley’s fantastical notion that there has been a “deeper theological understanding of one another’s Churches”, presumably because of the work of ARCIC, requires a little more attention. What theological understanding would that be? The trouble with ARCIC always was (as a former Catholic member of it once explained to me) that on the Catholic side of the table you have a body of men who represent a more or less coherent view, being members of a Church which has established means of knowing and declaring what it believes. On the Anglican side of the table you have a body of men the divisions between whom are just fundamental as, and sometimes a lot more fundamental than, those between any one of them and the Catholic representatives they face: they all represent only themselves.

Read it all from William Oddie in the Catholic Herald (emphasis his).


Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Eucharist, Media, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Sacramental Theology, Theology

15 comments on “Did Archbishop Bernard Longley say that the ban on giving Communion to Anglicans may be relaxed?

  1. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Hardly a week goes by nowadays without a salvo from Oddie or another dyed in the wool catholic writer ‘explaining’ or ‘clarifying’ what some Roman Catholic prelate or Pope has said. In this case [the aptly named] Oddie seeks to put both Bernard Longley, Archbishop of Birmingham and Christopher Hill, Bishop of Guildford right.

    But the truth is that there is just ‘simply a maelstrom of confused personal opinions’ coming from the Catholic Herald and church, which is just strangely what the Oddie dismissively accuses Anglicans of.

  2. Terry Tee says:

    PM in the post above is not entirely on the ball. Let me explain for the benefit of US readers: the London-based Catholic Herald has swung from being a journal of liberal Catholic outlook some 20 years ago, to being an advocate of the ‘reform of the reform’ ie rowing back from Vatican II. It adopts a strongly traditional ultramontane tone.

    The election of Pope Francis has therefore taken the Catholic Herald by surprise and left it discombobulated. However, that does not detract from William Oddie’s point namely that there is such a diversity of views on, for example, the meaning of the eucharist, within the Anglican tradition, that any consensus is almost impossible to achieve on their side. As a former Anglican priest he knows whereof he speaks. Now, I rush to add, doctrine in my experience is not just formal teaching but also practice. I have been to Roman Catholic Masses that were, alas, perfunctory, even slapdash; I have been to Anglican eucharists that were reverent and uplifting. (And yes, sadly, I also remember a shipboard Anglican communion where the celebrant threw the leftover bread overboard to the seagulls.) My point, I think, is that both sides can continue to learn and to grow, even if the holy grail of perfect agreement will always be beyond us.

  3. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    #2 Thanks Fr Tee, but I wonder if you have misunderstood me? I do understand that the Catholic Herald is ultramontaine, just as The Tablet is liberal catholic, although the CH seems less extreme than it did under the editorship of Damian Thompson. I suppose that what I meant is that the CH falls under that group of traditionalist papers and blogs which, many of them run by relatively new Catholics, who see their role as to preserve the ‘true’ Faith, and to chide anyone who they see as stepping out of line, be they Archbishop or Pope, or blogger.

    Which is curious, given that the English Roman Catholics appear to be regarded as suspiciously liberal by many of the other parts of the RC Church and to have been deliberately sidelined in having a voice in the recent College of Cardinals in electing the new Pope.

    Also – as far as I can see, while Anglican views of the Eucharist can vary from memorialist to sacramentally transformative [and the Prayer Book liturgy supports the latter while not ruling out the former] I am not sure that Catholic understandings of the Eucharist are uniform [transubstantiation, consubstantiation, chemical change, elemental change and so on], this really goes to how the Eucharist works, rather than its efficacy, and as a matter of Grace, I am not convinced we will ever reach a definitive answer, any more than we will on the workings of the Atonement. Does it matter whether I understand how a car works before taking a ride in it?

    But my view is only that of an outsider, and like you, my hope is that we stop shouting at and past one another, and seek to grow in charity, unity and faithfulness to the One whom we serve together, by respectful and humble engagement recognising the vast majority of unity we share, while engaging proportionately with those areas we do not.

  4. Sarah says:

    RE: “But the truth is that there is just ‘simply a maelstrom of confused personal opinions’ coming from the Catholic Herald and church, which is just strangely what the Oddie dismissively accuses Anglicans of.”

    Well, except that we all know what the RC church believes *officially and formally* whereas the Anglican Communion’s *official documents* are all over the place, province by province. The inane vacuous non-believer Frank Griswold represented “Anglicans” on the ARCIC committee — *obviously* he doesn’t speak for Christians in the Anglican Communion or the Gospel at all! In fact, pretty much anything he says “we believe” will be what Frank believes and those who believe the Gospel in the Anglican Communion will believe quite the opposite. Whereas . . . when a RC representative on ARCIC says “we believe” I expect quite strongly that what he says will actually agree with what the RCs actually assert in their own documents.

  5. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    Oh there is no doubt the Anglican leadership is all over the place, Sarah – whether it is Griswold on ARCIC, David Moxon representing us supposedly at Rome, or Justin Welby posing as Archbishop of Canterbury while lobbying for rites for same sex unions in disobedience of Scripture and the Windsor Report moratoria. It is not that we do not have doctrine or theology, it is just that some in power are wilfully and arrogantly disobedient.

  6. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    It is an indication of how utterly disfunctional and presently unfit for purpose the Instruments of the Anglican Communion including Welby are. However, there is GAFCON and the Global South, and of course, with Christ as the head of our church, there is nevertheless considerable hope. Like TEC, it may be the work of several generations, but one day the Asherah poles will be brought down.

  7. KevinBabb says:

    @2–not to get too far off-topic, but at Commencement exercises that I attended at Seabury-Western in the waning years of the last century, a deacon threw the unconsumed consecrated wafers to a flock of birds jcongregating just outside the narthex. Apparently the birds had figured out over some period of time where to go for a good meal.

  8. Catholic Mom says:

    Well, Longfellow has St. Francis both feeding and preaching the Gospel to the birds. 🙂

    “O brother birds,” St. Francis said,
    “You come to me and ask for bread,
    But not with bread alone today
    Shall you be fed and sent away.

  9. driver8 says:

    The classic example is the ARCIC II Report, “Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ” – in which the RCs basically put forward standard RC Marian theology…and the Anglicans apparently did so too. Now I’m as Anglo Catholic as the next chap so it was all fine and dandy for me, but the Report seemed to reflect an Anglicanism in which evangelicals and Reformed folks barely existed.

    One often has to look at who gets invited to serve on these various Communion bodies. They are dominated by white liberal catholics. The Anglican ARCIC II team that drafted the “Mary” report contained not a single African nor a single “Sydney” Anglican.

  10. Franz says:

    “. . . at Commencement exercises that I attended at Seabury-Western in the waning years of the last century, a deacon threw the unconsumed consecrated wafers to a flock of birds congregating just outside the narthex.”

    How truly, truly bizarre.

  11. Ad Orientem says:

    It’s not often I can type these words…

    But I completely agree with Pageantmaster’s #1.

  12. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    The end-times must be approaching.

  13. jhp says:

    #7, 8, 10

    For a period in my life I was Chaplain’s Assistant on a Navy aircraft carrier. Routinely, after Lutheran/Anglican Holy Communion, the consecrated wine was (reverently) poured over the side of the ship, directly into the ocean. The thinking was that it was as acceptable as any piscina in a High Church/RC sacristy. Interestingly, the consecrated bread was reserved privately in a safe.

  14. jhp says:

    #9, driver8

    When the Mary statement was published, I was shocked and offended that so much seemed to be given away, from the point of view of mainstream Anglicans. I wholly agree that those eager to serve on ARCIC commissions are likely to be people who do not stand in the mainstream consensus of Anglican faith and practice, which is not supportive of RC teaching in this area.

    No one seems to notice, no one seems to care.

  15. Terry Tee says:

    #13 I often find misunderstandings about Catholic ritual in Anglican circles and am nonetheless surprised to find this one. Consecrated wine would never be poured down a piscina. It is consumed by the celebrant, assisted by others if the amount requires it. In the pre-conciliar rite (often called the Tridentine Mass) the following would then happen:
    a) any crumbs in the paten would be carefully wiped into the chalice;
    b) non-consecrated wine would be poured into the paten, which chalice in a small amount, swirled round and consumed;
    c) ditto water
    – In fact this is pretty much what is done today, except that the non-consecrated wine is omitted. I think it was originally put in because sometimes a large fragment of the host might be difficult to shift and the heavier element of wine helped to move any fragments.
    The piscina was for the water from the lavabo.