The ecumenical path has always been narrow, but recent events cast a new light on the limited and shifting range of ecumenical possibilities. With the exception of the success of the rapprochement of Luth eran, Reformed and United churches in Europe, intra-Protestant ecumenism seems to be dead in the water.
Pope Benedict’s invitation to Anglican bodies to join the Roman Catholic Church was seen by some observers as historically momentous and by others as insignificant (after all, a provision has always been there for Anglicans to convert). Which is it?
Responding to “many news accounts” and “various inquiries” about a controversial investigation of U.S. sisters, a senior Vatican official defended the probe as an “effort to promote the Catholic identity and vibrancy of life” in their communities.
Although many ex-Episcopalians in the U.S. identify with Catholic rules against ordaining women and noncelibate gays to the priesthood, the traditionalists heading their own rival Anglican organizations in North America say that few followers are likely to become Roman Catholics.
Members of Westboro Baptist Church, the antigay church in Topeka, Kansas, that protests military funerals, won a court victory September 24 when a federal appeals court overturned a $5 million judgment against it.
On the opening day of the U.S. Supreme Court’s fall term, the high court announced that it will not intervene in two prominent church-state cases, one involving a Catholic diocese in Con necticut and the other a former Epis copal parish in southern California.
The new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See, who was nominated to the post in late May and was easily approved by the Senate, met the press recently in Rome for the first time—and showed some diplomatic skill.
With embraces, hymns and common prayer, Catholic, Lutheran and Methodist leaders recalled joyfully the pact made a decade ago that ended a centuries-old division over a key church doctrine. Vows were made at a Chicago service to seek greater unity—even as a Catholic archbishop noted a new challenge to unity posed by diverging views on sexuality.