|Ecumenical Communion at The Gathering 2012 Credit: The Presbyterian Church of Wales|
After posting my previous entry I was reminded by a reader that the Church in Wales had approved the rite of Holy Communion for Ecumenical use. The rite, "The Gathering of God's People", can be found here. But is it the Sacrament of Holy Communion for Anglicans or an Agape Feast?
The "Ecumenical Communion" service begins with a passage of scripture which has been used to justify just about every liberal departure from the historic Christian faith, in particular the ordination of women: "In Christ Jesus we are all children of God through faith. There is no longer Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female: [Response] We are all one in Christ Jesus.
What is unsaid is more alarming. Later in the service there is "An Affirmation of Faith" which replaces the Nicene Creed: "Let us proclaim our faith:
"The Church in Wales is a fellowship of dioceses within the Holy Catholic Church, constituted as a Province of the Anglican Communion. It maintains the threefold order of bishops, priests and deacons which it has received, and acknowledges as its supreme authority in matters of faith the Holy Scriptures as interpreted in the Catholic Creeds and the historic Anglican formularies, that is, the Thirty Nine Articles of Religion, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons as published in 1662. Its calling is to nurture men and women in the faith of Jesus Christ and to aid them to grow in the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, so that the good news of God’s grace may be clearly proclaimed in the world and that God’s Kingdom may be honoured and advanced."
The Catholic Creeds are central to our faith but the bishops of the Church in Wales skirt around them. Then in Holy Scripture: "We often see what we want to see ... We often use Scripture to reinforce viewpoints that we have already arrived at in other ways and for other reasons". – The Archbishop of Wales (here). That excludes Galatians 3:28 of course when it is wrongly used to justify the ordination of women.
The Bishop of St Asaph, the Right Revd Dr Gregory Cameron said: “We have been challenged by the Gathering of Churches in Wales to seek for unity among Christians. ... Jesus requires his followers to be one family: it’s time to take that command seriously.” Quite so Dr Cameron!
Back in 2008 Cardinal Walter Kasper, the president of the Pontifical Council of Christian Unity posed the question to Anglicans: "Are you Protestants or Catholics? He said it was time to decide: "Ultimately, it is a question of the identity of the Anglican Church. Where does it belong? Does it belong more to the churches of the first millennium, Catholic and Orthodox, or does it belong more to the Protestant churches of the 16th century? At the moment it is somewhere in between, but it must clarify its identity now and that will not be possible without certain difficult decisions." See Fr Z's blog here.
The response in Wales? "Chapels and churches from five denominations are being encouraged to think of themselves as The Church Uniting in Wales" - The Presbyterian Church of Wales (here).
Barry and his bishops are unable to spot the difference. Those who can are being ostracised for keeping the Catholic faith. Surely it should be the other way round if the Constitution continues to have any relevance in the Church in Wales.