July ~ 1998 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
What is it like to make a choice? The temptation we easily give way to is to think that it’s always the same kind of thing; or that there’s one kind of decision making that’s serious and authentic, and all other kinds ought to be like this. In our modern climate, the tendency is to imagine that choices are made by something called the individual will, faced with a series of clear alternatives, as if we were standing in front of the supermarket shelf. There may still be disagreement about what the ‘right,’ choice would be, but we’d know what making the choice was all about. Perhaps for some people the right choice would be the one that best expressed my own individual and independent preference: I’d be saying no to all attempts from outside to influence me or determine what I should do, so that my choice would really be mine. Or perhaps I’d be wondering which alternative was the one that best corresponded to a code of rules: somewhere there would be one thing I could do that would be in accord with the system, and the challenge would be to spot which one it was – though it might sometimes feel a bit like guessing which egg-cup had the coin under it in a game. But in any case the basic model would be much the same: the will looks hard at the range of options and settles for one.
A top official of the Roman Catholic church has offered a positive but cautionary assessment of the relationship between the Anglican and Roman Catholic churches, according to ecumenical consultants assisting at the Lambeth Conference.
The homily at Monday night’s ecumenical vespers service by Edward Cardinal Cassidy, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity at the Vatican, reasserted that the two churches “share a real, but imperfect communion,” said Dean William Franklin of the Berkeley Divinity School at Yale University in the United States.
“He categorically reaffirmed the commitment of the Roman Catholic Church to the full visible unity of all the baptized, which means establishment of full communion,” including reconciliation of ministries and sacraments, Dean Franklin said. Cardinal Cassidy’s statement that Anglicans and Roman Catholics are “increasingly bound up with each other,” also is a “technical but important description,” he said. And even though Cardinal Cassidy offered clear warnings that some developments in the Anglican Communion could impair that relationship, his comments reflected “a level of communion where we need to be realistic with one another,” Dean Franklin said.