“Those that say it can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it.” Chinese Proverb

I have not been to the monastery of Bose, but, reading about it, I can see some similarities with the ecumenical monastery of Taizé (I have had a fascination with Taizé since my teenage years, have been privileged to spend time there, and continue to be affected by its vision). Maybe someone who has been to Bose, or who knows more about it, might like to say more about it in the comments.

Recently Bose hosted the start of the third Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) meeting. Please correct me, but I think that ARCIC 1 & 2 have had no formal reception from either partner?

Visualise denominational “boundaries” as vertical lines – I would like to suggest that unity and disunity is often more at right angles, the horizontal bands of contemplative, justice-focused, liturgical, charismatic, evangelical, etc. These horizontal bands cross denominations and also bleed into each other. Denominational divisions meant something in the modern world, but far less so in our post-modern reality, where people are far less ready to accept something on an “authority’s say so”, and pick and choose their perspective from the spiritual deli. Plot the increase of cross-denominational marriages…

In the Southern Hemisphere this is the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. In the Northern Hemisphere it is not. The leaders of ecumenical discussions between denominations cannot even agree on a united period to pray for Christian unity!

ARCIC members participated in the Sunday Eucharist with the sisters and brothers of the Monastery of Bose… The Co-Chairs, Archbishop Bernard Longley (Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Birmingham) and Archbishop David Moxon (Anglican Primate of Aotearoa, New Zealand, Polynesia) reflected on the readings… Archbishop Longley presided at the Eucharist in Italian, and at the conclusion Archbishop Moxon sang a blessing in Maori.”

But as Peter Carrell highlights, the Roman Catholic Church doesn’t even recognise the Anglican Church in Aoteaora, New Zealand and Polynesia as a church. For Roman Catholicism David Moxon is validly baptised, but deluded to think he is ordained – he is a lay person singing a blessing.

ARCIC 3 may intend to use the language of “Communion” but one partner, Roman Catholicism, is an international church in which diocesan bishops are effectively assistants appointed by the world bishop, the pope, who can, for example, fire Australian bishop William Morris for even bringing up the idea of ordaining women or recognising Anglican orders. The other partner, Anglicanism, has for decades not recognised its own orders across its “Communion”.

My own hope lies not in the impotent debates between the vertical lines, but in the nourishment received in the horizontal bands, in the increasing openness between the bands, in the learning from each other. My hope is in the theology of John Zizioulas, Dennis Doyle, de Lubac, and others who draw on the earliest insights that see the fullness of the church present in the local church (Communion Ecclesiology underpinned by Eucharistic Ecclesiology), including in a monastic community; that sees the catholic (universal) church not as the international body, but as modelled in a hologram, where the image is fully there however small you cut it; where Peter is the leader of the church in the sense that every bishop is the successor of Peter…

The young people that frequent Bose, Taizé, and elsewhere break the paradigm that ARCIC et al still work from. Those that say Christian unity can’t be done should get out of the way of those doing it.

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