Dear Cardinal Levada: What in the world is a Tabletista?
Just for today (I promise) I am reminded of a snippet that once helped me to take the difficult step of faith into the Catholic Church, even though there was always a dim promise of easier corporate reunion with Rome, somewhere in the future; but this went on... year after year... after year... after year.
Fr. Christopher Phillips, a pioneer of the Pastoral Provision for Anglican conversions, wrote something striking on point in the early spring of 2007 which was helpful to me:
"It’s one of those things that would be amazing if it were true: Headlines are all over the place today in newspapers and on web news sites: “Churches back plan to unite under Pope.” The claim is that “senior bishops” (whatever that means) have agreed on proposals which would unite Anglicans and Roman Catholics. The media make it sound as though it will take place at the snap of the fingers and everyone will live happily ever after. If only.
When we read a little deeper we find that a forty-two page report published by the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission states within it, “Anglicans and Roman Catholics are urged to explore how they might reunite under the Pope.” So apparently there is no actual “plan” to back, more like a “plan to explore.” And that would be very nice. It would also be nice to see the Israelis and the Palestinians become best friends...The only problem is that we probably won’t see any of those things happen. Sure, it’s nice to hope. And we should do everything we can to help good things come to pass. But let’s be realistic. The Anglicans can’t even agree on who’s an Anglican, and we’re supposed to think there’s a possibility of a plan which will bring them all under the Pope?
...There’s no doubt we need to pray for Anglicans. We need to be ready to welcome them into their only real home, which is the Catholic Church. But it’s silly to think there is some “plan” providing a way for corporate reunion. It’s a matter of the conversion of individual hearts and lives, and headlines such as the ones we are seeing today don’t help. They give a false sense of hope to those who might be on the verge of returning to the Church, and they add fuel to the anti-Catholic bitterness of those who would rather drink poison than submit to Rome."
Relevant lately? Maybe, maybe not.