Thursday, 28 April 2016

After Malines

York Diocese decided to have a little revival of the Malines link back in the 1980's; I'm not sure of the date, maybe it was 1981, just sixty years after the original conversations had been started by Cardinal Mercier and Lord Halifax. Whenever it was, I was there because many of us who went were chosen because we were elected representatives of the  diocese on General Synod.
Lord Williams of Oystermouth

Now there is another revival of Malines: Vatican Radio News tells us
"Catholic and Anglican theologians have been meeting together near Rome to discuss ordination rites within the two communions, as well as the significant ecumenical implications of Pope Francis’ recent document ‘Amoris Laetitia’. A meeting of the Malines Conversation group took place from April 17th to 22nd at Rocca di Papa, south of Rome, culminating in an ecumenical evensong celebrated by Archbishop Arthur Roche of the Congregation for Divine Worship."

Cardinal Danneels
On that visit from York diocese we met many leading Belgian Catholics. Chief among them was Cardinal Godfried Danneels, at that time Archbishop of Mechlen Brussels; and he has been chairing this new meeting together with Lord Williams of Oystermouth - better remembered as Rowan Williams, one-time Archbishop of Canterbury.

Curiously, there appears to be no-one there from the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. I say "curiously" because the erection of the Ordinariates seems to me to be one of the fruits, indeed perhaps a very rare and precious fruit, of the otherwise rather fruitless ARCIC conversations of the last forty-seven years (Really. I have checked - amazingly that is how long ARCIC has existed). 

There was a comparable lack of imagination when the Holy Father convened the consultation on the Family. At that time others said how contributions from married clergy might have informed the discussions. Now a similar opportunity has been missed with the Malines revival. It almost looks (surely this cannot be so?) as though the Ordinariates were seen as an embarrassment, to be hidden away from polite ecumenical discourse. From our perspective as members and so insiders, the Ordinariates are a great step forward in ecumenism. When will official Rome and Canterbury also share that opinion?


  1. This treatment of the Ordinariates reminds me of how many Orthodox feel about the Uniates so the latter are sometimes ignored in ecumenical talks, as if our true-church claim were an embarrassment. The trouble with these talks with the Anglicans is it's just Catholic liberals saying they want to recognize Anglican orders, which of course the church can't; it's a dead letter, a moot argument. Anglo-Catholicism is a part of my formation I celebrate (why I'm not Novus Ordo) but what is, is.

  2. I think the York event to which you refer is one I attended. The most memorable feature was an elderly French layman, an Academician, who had known Halifax. He departed from his prepared text, of which a translation had been provided, and launched into a comedy act, using the Most Revd John Habgood as his straight man. Those rolling on the floor could be identified as those who understood French. Poor old +John Ebor: was terribly worried that we'd be late for Evensong.

  3. Shut up and kiss me. Hey, i am looking for an online sexual partner ;) Click on my boobs if you are interested (. )( .)