The document said that the Second Vatican Council’s opening to other faiths ”“ including “ecclesial communities originating with the Reformation” ”“ had recognised there were “many elements of sanctification and truth” in other Christian denominations, but had also emphasised that only Catholicism was fully Christ’s Church.
The document said that other Christian faiths “lack elements considered essential to the Catholic Church”.
The disappointment of the Anglicans was evident in the response of Canon Gregory Cameron, Dr Williams’s former chaplain in Wales and a leading canonical lawyer and scholar who is now ecumenical officer of the Anglican Communion.
Canon Cameron said: “In the commentary of this document we are told that ”˜Catholic ecumenism’ appears ”˜somewhat paradoxical’. It is paradoxical for leaders of the Roman Catholic Church to indicate to its ecumenical partners that it no longer expects all other Christians merely to return to the true (Roman Catholic) Church, but then for Rome to say that it alone has ”˜full identity’ with the Church of Christ, and that all others of us are lacking.”
He said Anglican bishops had indicated in 1997 that such a position constituted “a major ecumenical obstacle”.