Thursday, 14 March 2013

Welcome to the new Pope

A round-up of comments and words of welcome from Anglicans and others to Pope Francis can be found here at Anglican Mainstream.

Unfortunately the Anglican news services were abuzz for the wrong reasons earlier today after a comment by Archbishop Greg Venables, reporting an off the record conversation with Cardinal Bergoglio, as he was then:
“Many are asking me what Jorge Bergoglio is really like. He is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written. I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary. He called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the church needs us as Anglicans. I consider this to be an inspired appointment not because he is a close and personal friend but because of who he is In Christ. Pray for him.”
"The church needs us as Anglicans" - I thought in a sense that was what the Ordinariate was about, reincorporating a lost or displaced tradition within the mainstream of the 'western' Church.
In any case those filled with schadenfreude, ever unforgiving of those who find the current theological and ethical follies  of some parts of the Anglican Communion impossible to endure, should reflect that The Archbishop of Buenos Aires' experience of Anglicans in the 'Southern Cone' may not be exactly typical of those who encounter contemporary 'liberal' Anglicanism in Europe and North America. Also, Cardinal Bergoglio is now the Pope, something which may allow a different perspective on matters ecumenical. 
On the one hand, the revisionists in our midst who think that this is at last 'the next pope but one' should consider his unflinching support for the traditional family and the rights of the unborn and think again. On the other hand, a Latin American theological and social conservative with nonetheless a burning charitable concern for the poor and their economic conditions is another kettle of fish with a completely different set of priorities than the 'Eurocentric' or (broadly) 'Anglo-Saxon' matters closest to our own hearts...

 On a much less controversial point, here is a link to Cardinal Bergoglio's 2008 catechesis at the 49th International Eucharistic Congress in Quebec - well worth a read:


  1. "...the church needs us AS Anglicans..."

  2. My apologies for the omission - it doesn't, of course, as you can see change my argument one bit: Anglicans in South America are very different from the liberal hegemony.

  3. I think it obvious that he was being polite and inoffensive while being questioned about the Ordinariate by a senior Anglican.


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