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    Saturday, June 17, 2006

    Anglicans: on Episcopal Ordination of Women



    Cardinal William Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, to the Church of England bishops' meeting June 5, on the question of ordaining women as bishops.

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    ...the question arises which also occupied John Henry Newman: is the so-called via media a viable path?[11] Where and on what side does the Anglican Communion stand, where will it stand in the future?

    Ecumenical dialogue in the true sense of the word has as its goal the restoration of full Church communion. That has been the presupposition of our dialogue until now. That presupposition would realistically no longer exist following the introduction of the ordination of women to episcopal office.

    Following that action we could still come together for the sake of information and consultation; we could continue to discuss and attempt to clarify theological issues, to cooperate in many practical spheres and to give shared witness.

    Above all we could unite in joint prayer and pray for one another. All of that is, God knows, not negligible. But the loss of the common goal would necessarily have an effect on such encounters and rob them of most of their élan and their internal dynamic.

    Above all -- and this is the most painful aspect -- the shared partaking of the one Lord's table, which we long for so earnestly, would disappear into the far and ultimately unreachable distance. Instead of moving towards one another we would co-exist alongside one another.

    For many that may seem a more realistic path than what we have attempted previously, but whether it is in accordance with the binding last will and testament of Jesus, "that all may be one" (John 17: 21) is of course another question. The answer would have to be in the negative.

    I ask you: Is that what we want? Are we permitted to do that? Should we not ponder what Cyprian tells us, namely that the seamless robe of Jesus Christ cannot be possessed by those who tear apart and divide the church of Christ ("De catholicae ecclesiae unitate," 1,6)?

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