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This page last updated 2 May 2005
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Letters to AO

EVERY WEEK WE PUBLISH a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read at Anglicans Online. Stop by and have a look at what other AO readers are thinking.

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Letters from 25 April to 1 May 2005

Like all letters to the editor everywhere, these letters are the opinions of the writers and not Anglicans Online. We publish letters that we think will be of interest to our readers, whether we agree with them or not. If you'd like to write a letter of your own, click here.

Wishful thinking

It is difficult to imagine that the analysis that you refer to in your news stories by Australian journalist, Christopher Pearson, is anything but wishful thinking. (Something that is not altogether foreign to him).

In it he states that the so-called 'Traditional Anglican Communion' (TAC) is likely to be drawn into closer relationship with the Roman Communion if the new Pope has his way. Whatever else Pope Benedict might be he is certainly no fool, and will certainly have good intelligence on the TAC and recognise that they are given to rather overstating their importance in the scheme of things. One must be careful since it is difficult to get a handle on such things, and membership numbers of the TAC would seem to be slippery indeed; though I am told (having one of their conventicles in my parish... actually the seat of the Primate!) that two visitors to worship one Sunday morning recently doubled the congregation.

As a local convenor of Affirming Catholicism in South Australia, I think it's vital that modern Catholic Anglicans should not allow the world to believe that Anglo-Catholicism has retreated into the Forward in Faith group, or worse still into the TAC. There is little doubt in my mind that the majority of Catholics in our church find that sort of approach to the living faith rather moribund.

Stephen Clark
St John's Coronado, & All Hallows' Blackwood
Blackwood, South Australia, AUSTRALIA
25 April 2005

Waiting to see

While the new pontiff and the challenges he will face are in our sincerest prayers, I cannot help the his election will give us pause as Anglicans.

As close companion and advisor to Pope John Paul 2, Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in May of 1998 a commentary in which he suggested the 'invalidity of priestly ordinations in the Anglican Communion.' He went further in June of 2000 writing a position on Anglican churches considering themselves 'sister churches' to the Roman Catholic Church. He denounced this position citing that the 'Roman Catholic Church was the mother of all churches, not merely a question in terminology but a basic truth of the Catholic faith'. To consider the Anglican Communion as equal to Roman Catholicism would be 'improper'.

We must continue to pray for him to become a builder of bridges, but as a historical conservative I believe the new pope will not change such issues that face the Roman Catholic church today: ordination of women, reunion of the divorced, marriage for clergy and acceptance of homosexuals.

In my prayers too, I thank God for my Anglican faith.

Fr Bryan Wolf, S.R.
The National Anglican Catholic Church of the United States
Aberdeen, New Jersey, USA
25 April 2005

What really matters

As always, your opening essay was both thoughtful and thought-provoking.

As one who, in the last twelve months, has experienced the pleasure of working with interfaith groups on two projects — one a stewardship conference sponsored by the Anglican, Lutheran, Mennonite, Roman Catholic and United Churches and the other a 'Buy Nothing Christmas' event, a joint effort of Anglican, Lutheran, Mennonite, Quaker, Roman Catholic and United Churches — I have come to appreciate the fact that there is more uniting the various Christian denominations than there is separating them. I'm also old enough (ah, me!) to remember the ARCIC document, a fine piece of ecumenical work. I can find it in me to pray that our Anglican brothers and sisters in the Global South will come to be as open and accepting of our Anglican diversity as our Christian brothers and sisters in other denominations are of our Christian diversity.

In response to the query about 'Last Rites' in the Anglican Church: While we do not refer to the practice as Last rites, it is not uncommon for those on the point of death to receive Holy Communion and to be anointed by a priest. The use of holy oils for baptism and confirmation, ordination and healing is widespread — in the Canadian Anglican Church at least.

Thank you for providing a wonderful forum for exchanging information, learning, and sharing our faith journey with others.

Rene Jamieson
The Cathedral Church of St. John
Winnipeg, Manitoba, CANADA
25 April 2005

Who are the saints?

Ever since the media coverage of Pope Benedict XVI's inauguration. I have heard several times the 'Litany of Saints' where all the people present in St. Peter's Square invoke the Saints to pray for them. This had me wondering. How many saints are there in the Anglican Church? And where would there be a detailed list of them? I know that in the US 1979 Book of Common Prayer it lists the days that are memorials to memorable Christians. But which of these are Saints? I know that we have many of the same Saints as the Roman Catholic Church does. But where would I find a list of all of the Anglican saints?

Phillip Clark
Emmanuel Episcopal Church
Baltimore, Maryland, USA
30 April 2005

Earlier letters

We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All of our letters are in our archives.


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