Another WR Missed Opportunity?
It's amazing what a little hierarchical sign of goodwill can accomplish. When conservative Anglicans noised about their will to break away from the left-wing Episcopal Church (TEC), then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) wrote a letter supporting their efforts. Now a major realignment may be underway, in which Anglicans may reunite with the Papacy.
Many of us wondered at the time why Orthodox made no similar attempt to establish closer relations with the more conservative Anglicans. Even a token of goodwill from a high enough source would have made an important statement, and Lord willing, it would have meant teaching them what we require for unity on our own terms. Whether the Anglicans accepted the terms or not is less important than that we had the opportunity to make it, as the Lord requires. None was made.
- WR Orthodox had a bishop; and
- He had forged similar ties; and
- He had the ability to absorb a national body of multiple dioceses en masse?
Better than "what if?" perhaps, is "what next?" As we are currently unable to work in a hierarchical fashion, what do we need to do to evangelize those looking for the Ark of Salvation, which they now understand cannot dock in the harbors of the Canterbury communion?
Personal relationships? And how do we reach those we cannot meet?
And why did no one on this side of the Bosphorus understand that having a positive relationship with liturgical Christians with some moral values noisily seeking for another church home might be of some use?
The accord is far from a settled reality. But it's much closer than any similar, massive concordat with Orthodoxy, whether Eastern or Western.