While the Anglican Church plans to unite with Rome after a 40 year long dialogue between the separated brethren and the mother Church, I have often wondered how this unification will happen. What will the Church of Rome have to give up, if anything at all and what will the Anglican Church have to include?
The article called “Growing together in Unity and Mission” explains certain details of the last 40 years of dialogue between the two Churches. This unification has called the Anglican Church to recognize a universal Primate, that being the pope of course. Red flags are waving for me; anyway here is one article that addresses the need for an ‘only see’ the universal primate of Rome:
The office of a universal primate is a special and particular case of that care for universal communion proper to the Episcopal office itself. “The only see which makes any claim to universal primacy and which has exercised and still exercises such episcope is the see of Rome, the city where Peter and Paul died”. The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the ministry of the Bishop of Rome as universal primate is in accordance with Christ’s will for the Church and an essential element for maintaining it in unity and truth. Anglicans rejected the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome as universal primate in the sixteenth century. Today, however, some Anglicans are beginning to see the potential value of a ministry of universal primacy, which would be exercised by the Bishop of Rome, as a sign and focus of unity within a re-united Church. @ growing together in unity and mission (PDF file)
And to no surprise the Eucharist is to be celebrated as being the actual body and blood of Christ transubstantiated within this ecumenical movement:
Anglicans and Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The real communion with Christ crucified and risen presupposes his true presence, which is “effectually signified by the bread and wine which, in this mystery, become his body and blood.” “What is here affirmed is a sacramental presence in which God uses the realities of this world to convey the realities of the new creation: bread for this life becomes the bread of eternal life. Before the Eucharistic Prayer, to the question: ‘What is that?’ the believer answers: ‘It is bread’. After the Eucharistic Prayer, to the same question he answers: ‘It is truly the body of Christ, the Bread of Life’.” While Christ is present and active in a variety of ways in the entire eucharistic celebration, so that his presence is not limited to the consecrated elements, the bread and wine are not empty signs: Christ’s body and blood become really present and are really given in these elements.
Now, once the bread and wine have been turned into the body and blood of Christ there is a problem with what to do with the ‘host’ that has remained, you can’t just toss it and throw it in the bin, can you? Is there any left over after the mass? My understanding is that they keep it in a tabernacle to be venerated.
Anyway, you have this other document called “Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist as the Source and Summit of the Church’s Life and Mission” Date: 2007-03-13. And this document was written by current Pope Benedict XVI and is filled with eucharistic ordinances and how the eucharist should be celebrated. There is a lot to read in this article but Cardinal Angelo Scola the coordinator at the ‘Synod on the eucharist’ had this to say about it:
“This is a document of great importance both at the doctrinal and pastoral level,” Cardinal Angelo Scola, the patriarch of Venice, Italy, stated as he presented the text at a Vatican press conference on March 13. He was “relator general,” a kind of coordinator, at the Synod on the Eucharist.
To highlight the value of eucharistic devotion in the life of Catholics, the pope endorsed another proposal that Archbishop Charles Maung Bo of Yangon had introduced at the Synod. The pope advocated “perpetual eucharistic adoration, both individually and in community” and suggested that churches be set aside for this purpose. He also endorsed other popular eucharistic devotions, such as “the 40 hours” and processions with the Blessed Sacrament.
After reading a little more about the Anglican Church I was made aware that they practice the ‘eucharistic adoration‘ too, I actually had no idea that they were so close in their traditions concerning the eucharist. ‘Eucharistic adoration’ means that the ‘host or species’ is placed inside the monstrance that is then set upon the tabernacle to be venerated by the masses of people who are in union with the Church of Rome.
…he [the pope] insisted that “the correct positioning of the tabernacle contributes to the recognition of Christ’s real presence in the blessed sacrament.” The pope advised that “the place where the eucharistic species are reserved” should be “marked by a sanctuary lamp, and should be readily visible to everyone on entering the church.
Is it just me or does all this talk about the ‘host/species’ sound a little sci-fi alien?
What is it about the eucharist, the monstrance and the tabernacle that I am concerned about? I wrote a post not so long ago about my concerns, the post is called “What Christ is emerging from the ecumenical movement“. In that post I found that some emergent’s were all excited in finding their road to Rome; and now, added to that, we have 40 years of dialogue between Anglican and Catholic leaders that want to form an ecumenical path toward unity. I wonder how many other so called ‘separated churches’ will want to join in this ecumenical movement that leads to Rome?
At what cost will this new ecumenical church be willing to pay is a question worth asking. What doctrines will now have to be included and what ones will have to be taken away? Which church will be willing to give up on long held doctrines based in scripture only and which church will be willing to take on traditions of men? Time will tell I guess.
There is an obvious sifting and judging going on in the house of God, just as scripture predicted, we are now seeing that happen in our life time and what interesting times they are:
1Pe 4:17 Because the time has come to begin the judgment from the house of God; and if firstly from us, what will be the end of the ones disobeying the gospel of God?
With all this talk about the ‘host’ which supposedly contains the very real presence of the body and blood of Christ and with certain churches set aside for people to visit this Christ in the tabernacles around the world I am reminded of this scripture:
Mat 24:23 Then if anyone says to you, Behold, here is the Christ! Or, Here! Do not believe.
Mat 24:25-27 Behold, I tell you beforehand. Then if they say to you, Behold, He is in the wilderness; do not go out. Behold, He is in the inner rooms; do not believe. For as the lightning comes forth from the east and shines as far as the west, so also will be the coming of the Son of Man.
It is important to note that ‘inner rooms’ translates to: (a dispenser or distributor; akin to τέμνω temnō, to cut); a dispensary or magazine, that is, a chamber on the ground floor or interior of an Oriental house (generally used for storage or privacy, a spot for retirement): – secret chamber, closet, storehouse.
Not too unlike the tabernacle and monstrance really. Hmmmm…..
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