August ~ 2022 ~ Anglican-Roman Catholic news & opinion
The Executive Director of the Living Church Foundation, Dr Christopher Wells, has been named as the next Director of Unity, Faith and Order for the Anglican Communion. Dr Wells will succeed the Venerable Dr William Adam, who was installed as Archdeacon of Canterbury last month.
As Director of Unity Faith and Order, Christopher Wells will lead and support the work of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – the international body that advises provinces, the Secretary General and the Instruments of Communion on ecumenical relations and doctrine. He will also serve as the lead staff member for Anglican Communion delegations to official international ecumenical dialogues.
The Vatican’s lead cardinal for promoting Christian unity has warned of an “ecumenical emergency” which undermines evangelisation, unless Churches can find a common purpose in the ecumenical movement.
Cardinal Kurt Koch, the prefect of the dicastery for promoting Christian unity, said in a message to the Anglican bishops attending the Lambeth Conference that a “common ecumenical witness to Jesus Christ in the present world is only possible when Christian churches overcome their divisions”.
He said that there were different visions of ecumenism, from Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox perspectives, so “asking questions about the goal of the ecumenical movement, and consequently of a more precise understanding of Church unity cannot simply be done in an abstract way”. Instead, “this questioning is always directed and informed by prior ecclesial decisions of a confessional nature”.
“This means that the still largely lacking agreement on the goal of the ecumenical movement is rooted in a still largely lacking ecumenical agreement on the nature of the Church and its unity.” This means, he continued, that “there are basically as many ecumenical goals as there are confessional ecclesiologies”.
The headlines were always likely to be: “Archbishop validates Lambeth 1.10” — but that’s only part of the story, the Bishop of Monmouth, the Rt Revd Cherry Vann, said on Thursday, at the Lambeth Conference.
One of the joys of the Call on Human Dignity on Tuesday, she said, had been the recognition, for the first time, that countries across the world were in very different places over human sexuality. “Justin very clearly said that to bless civil partnerships and gay marriages, in most parts of the Anglican Communion, would mean the end of the Church, because there would be no credence or credibility whatsoever.
“Similarly, if in the West we were not to do that, exactly the same thing would apply. I think that, for the first time, that is being publicly acknowledged by someone of Justin’s standing.