But I am having great difficulty wrapping my mind around the idea of theology - that is, received and discerned truths about God, His wishes, and mankind's relationship to Him and to those wishes - conforming itself to the gestures made by churchmen, rather than the other way 'round.
Fr Tony recalls that the documents of the Second Vatican Council recognized those elements of the Church which exist beyond the boundaries of the Catholic Church, adding that recent ecumenical efforts have been looking at the implications of that statement in the search for reciprocal recognition of ministry.Just because one does not use certain language because it will not advance ones cause does not make that language inaccurate, does it?
While he notes that such recognition is still not fully possible, he cites many gestures to show a growing respect and recognition of the ministry exercised by Anglican bishops. In particular he recalls the gesture of Pope Paul VI, 50 years ago, of giving his own episcopal ring to the Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsey. Theology, Fr Tony says, “needs to catch up” and find the “theological underpinnings to these gestures”.
He adds “I think it’s true to say we don’t use the language of ‘null and void’ any more” as that’s “clearly not what is spoken by the gestures, generosity, and warmth which we see time and time again”.
I suppose "imaginary" and "non-existent" are equally injudicious....