This is my first post about the ongoing once-a-decade Lambeth Conference. I might have something more to say after it is over, but I would rather let it play itself out and, for the time being, write only about what the Cardinals have said who have addressed that Conference.
Cardinal Ivan Dias:
The Vatican and Zenit have the full text of the address given by Cardinal Ivan Dias, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Ruth Gledhill offered commentary at her Timesonline blog Articles of Faith (hattip to Kendall Harmon at TitusOneNine for linking to Ruth Gledhill's article and several other sources mentioned in this post).
As the first of the three Cardinals mentioned here who addressed this Lambeth Conference, Cardinal Dias addressed the Conference on the subject "Mission, Social Justice and Evangelization." He spoke about the necessity of evangelization for a Christian, quoting St. Peter's words in Acts 4:12 that "there is salvation in no one else but Jesus, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which they can be saved." He spoke of spiritual combat in today's world against secret sects, Satanic groups, New Age movements, and secularism. While the traditional areas of evangelization in the past were hearth and home, today, he said, we must be aware of "the many modern Areopagoi" (recalling St. Paul's sermon at the Areopagus): the mass media, the world of science and technology, etc.
Cardinal Dias then spoke of morality -- a theme closer to the focus of Anglicans attending the Conference. He said, "In the Western world, which is increasingly becoming distanced from its Christian traditions and roots, a context of moral confusion has ensued, and sound Christian ethical and moral principles and values are under threat from various quarters." Christians, he said, cannot "remain on the sidelines"; they must be witnesses. He spoke of the importance of inculturation, including "blending Faith and Culture harmoniously together through art, music, dance and liturgy, making something beautiful before God and men." He also spoke of proclaiming Christ in inter-religious dialogue, picking out "those values in non Christian traditions which are compatible with Christian thought and behavior and use them as starting points for a fruitful inter-religious dialogue."
He spoke of the importance of the ecumenical dimension of evangelization. He said that when Christians "are of one mind and heart notwithstanding their diversity, their missionary thrust is indeed enhanced and strengthened. But, when the diversity degenerates into division, it becomes a counter-witness which seriously compromises their image and endeavors to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ." In that context, he commented on a spiritual Alzheimers and spiritual Parkinsons affecting some people today -- a comment that drew Ruth Gledhill mentioned in her post as possibly referring to the present situation among Anglicans.
He spoke of Mary, Mother of God, as the "Star of the new Evangelization," mentioning the ARCIC II statement "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ." He called for Mary to be the bishops' model, guide and intercessor in discerning "whether their pastoral endeavors are inspired by God, or motivated by human criteria, or prompted by the Evil one." Lastly, he quoted from Cardinal John Henry Newman's poem, "Lead Kindly Light," in praying to the Holy Spirit, commending the Lambeth Conference to God.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Conner:
The Diocese of Westminster and Zenit have the full text of his address to the Lambeth Conference on the subject of ARCIC and ARCIC II (Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission). He began by saying that he wanted to reflect on his own experiences. While many people have become skeptical of Anglican - Roman Catholic dialogue through that process, he said that he has not become skeptical. He looked back over 26 years of his life involved in ARCIC.
As the Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Murphy-O'Conner has surely been more actively involved in discussions with Anglican clergy than is often reported. He is known to be a personal friend of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and he has been in authority over many formerly Anglican/now Catholic clergy within his own archdiocese.
Discussing how the Anglican ordination of women has changed Anglican - Roman Catholic dialogue, he said, "It became increasingly clear that the ordination of women priests and bishops in a growing number of provinces has presented what is for the Catholic Church a major stumbling block to the hoped-for reconciliation of ministries."
However, he said, fundamental issues of ecclesiology have now come to the fore in the ARCIC II discussions. Emerging through the ARCIC II statements, he said, "what was emerging through them was a deepening doctrine of the Church as koinonia." He said that the work that he has put into Anglican-Catholic dialogue over many years has been worth it. He pointed to Christ's will that we be one, saying "Pope Benedict again and again comes back to this as at the heart of what he is working for."
Confirming that he is "not gloomy" and that "dialogue will continue in some form," Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor also offered this assessment of 40 years of dialogue:
"It is forty years since The Malta Report set Anglicans and Catholics on the way towards unity. Throughout these years, the Catholic Church has always sought dialogue with the Anglican Communion as a whole, with all the challenge that your treasured diversity can sometimes bring to the table. So our Church takes no pleasure at all to see the current strains in your communion – we have committed ourselves to a journey towards unity, so new tensions only slow the progress. But they do seem to concern matters that are very important. These discussions are about the degree of unity in faith necessary for Christians to be in communion, not least so that they may be able to offer the Gospel confidently to the world. Our future dialogue will not be easy until such fundamental matters are resolved, with greater clarity."
Cardinal Walter Kasper:
Zenit and Sandro Magister have Cardinal Kasper's address. Magister wrote, "Kasper highlighted the growing distance between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, especially since some of the Anglican provinces began ordaining women to the priesthood in 1974, and to the episcopate beginning in 1989." Father Zuhlsdorf mentions Sandro Magister's article and offers his own commentary on Cardinal Kasper's address. Ruth Gledhill offered commentary in the Timesonline. Catholic News Agency also has an article about the address.
He brought greetings from the Holy Father and from the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, assuring the Conference that they were in their prayers. He expressed hope for the future "that we will not be drawn apart, and that we will be able to remain in serious dialogue in search of full unity, so that the world may believe."
He gave an overview of the successes of ARCIC and ARCIC II; the obstacle posed by the Anglican ordination of women to the priesthood and the episcopate; and a common "love for Christ which invites us into practical co-operation and service." He expressed a wish to continue on the path toward union that was begun 40 years ago. Yet, he said he was "deeply discouraged by recent developments."
He then commented on ecclesiological issues. He mentioned his address in 2006, saying that while the backdrop was the Church of England's possible ordination of women bishops, "the central argument about the nature of the episcopal office as an office of unity is relevant to all of the points of tension in the Anglican Communion" that he had mentioned earlier in this week's address.
"In brief," he said, "I argued that unity, unanimity and koinonia (communion) are fundamental concepts in the New Testament and in the early Church." He further explained that argument, referencing the third century's St. Cyprian of Carthage, as he had mentioned in 2006 that St. Cyprian was the source of a theology of the episcopal office as an office of unity. Cardinal Kasper stated that, in the ARCIC dialogue "we have been able to set forward a strong vision of episcopal ministry, within the context of a shared understanding of the Church as koinonia."
Cardinal Kasper then discussed the 2004 Windsor Report, which sought to provide an Anglican ecclesiology of koinonia. The weakness, he mentioned, was that the report stresses maintaining communion within the existing Anglican Communion, but pays little attention to being in communion with the Church through the ages. He stated that "it has been particularly disheartening to have witnessed the increasing tensions within the Anglican Communion," and expressed a desire for the Anglican Communion to stay together.
In the final section of his address, Cardinal Kasper spoke of the Catholic position on the issues of sexuality now facing the Anglican Communion. He mentioned "the ARCIC statement "Life in Christ", where it was noted (nn. 87-88) that Anglicans could agree with Catholics that homosexual activity is disordered," and stated that "a clear statement from the Anglican Communion would greatly strengthen the possibility of us giving common witness regarding human sexuality and marriage, a witness which is sorely needed in the world of today." He also mentioned the Catholic opposition to the ordination of women and said that it is "not only a disciplinary position but an expression of our faithfulness to Jesus Christ." He stated clearly: "While our dialogue has led to significant agreement on the understanding of ministry, the ordination of women to the episcopate effectively and definitively blocks a possible recognition of Anglican Orders by the Catholic Church."
Concerning the impact that this has had on Anglican - Roman Catholic dialogue, Cardinal Kasper stated:
"It now seems that full visible communion as the aim of our dialogue has receded further, and that our dialogue will have less ultimate goals and therefore will be altered in its character. While such a dialogue could still lead to good results, it would not be sustained by the dynamism which arises from the realistic possibility of the unity Christ asks of us, or the shared partaking of the one Lord’s table, for which we so earnestly long."
Lastly, he expressed a hope for a new Oxford Movement as "a re-reception, a fresh recourse to the Apostolic Tradition in a new situation," and concluded by an assurance of prayer for God's grace and the Holy Spirit's guidance.