Cynics would argue that the ecumenical blabfest is mere window dressing. One critic likened it to those endless rounds of dÃ©tente during the Soviet era in which both sides shook hands and smiled for the cameras, but were really waiting to see which side would cave first.
Pope Francis thinks otherwise. While recognizing the “grave obstacles to unity” erected by the Anglicans, in his opening remarks he told the delegates not to give up hope.
“The cause of unity is not an optional undertaking and the differences which divide us must not be seen as inevitable ”¦. Despite difficulties, we must not lose heart, but we must trust even more in the power of the Holy Spirit, who can heal and reconcile us, and accomplish what humanly does not seem possible.”
Not only does unity seem impossible at this point, but movements within global Anglicanism itself are moving towards schism instead of unity. Earlier this month, the leaders of an organization named GAFCON met in London. GAFCON stands for Global Anglican Future Conference. Spearheaded by African Anglican bishops, GAFCON now includes representatives from North America, Australia, and South America.