Sunday, 30 August 2009

United Ecumenical Catholic Church

A new global website has appeared for the United Ecumenical Catholic Church. Have a good look and you may be surprised. The Church has links to it's presence in the UK, USA and Australaisia. This young and vibrant Church is growing and has been called into being to minister to all.

Jesus didn't say "Come to me all you who labour and are heavy burdened . . . unless of course you are seperated, divorced and remarried, gay lesbian, bi, transgendered, disagree with the pope, or are intrinsically disordered in some other way. NO ! . . . . Where two or three are gathered in my name there am I, in as much as you do to the least of these little ones, you do unto me, Yes I am with always - No conditions here.

The church is changing in many different ways. I can only repeat my earlier view that -

"the ECCUK, it appears to me, is a prophetic sign in this country, and indeed the world, of how the church of Christ could be. I thank you for your dedication and ministries and look forward to seeing lots of growth in your communities. Perhaps I too may seek renewed life there as I heed +Terry's invitation to "focus our wills and minds on discerning what it is that God wants of us in each and every moment of the day and of our lives individually and together."

A statement which in itself is proving to be prophetic in more ways than one.


B. said...

Jesus urged people time and again to repent - and he didn't say "Repent unless of course you are separated, divorced, gay.........."). His forgiveness is indeed offered to all but all are called to repent and turn away from their sins.

Far from being some wonderful new "prophetic sign of what the Church of Christ should be" the ECCUK sounds like just another replica of the Episcopal Church and countless other withering 'liberal' denominations. The world doesn't need another sect. It needs the one holy Catholic and apostolic Church to continue preaching tirelessly the demanding but life-giving Gospel of salvation, however counter-cultural that message might be. To continue preaching the truth in love (orthodox Catholics are admittedly often somewhat better at the "preaching the truth" bit that the "love" bit).

Don't you wonder why the young are turning to the more orthodox wings of the Church (which are also attracting the vocations)? They have no use for a 'liberal' church that no longer stands for anything, that has capitulated to the World. They want the truth, in all its radicality, however challenging it is.

Don't turn aside from the Catholic Church for the sake of this new, chimeric 'ideal church'. It's an illusion. We can't just design a new Church according to our own image. We need to stay within the living community of faith founded by Christ, reforming it from within by a renewal of hearts, allowing ourselves to be transformed by the Holy Spirit who dwells within it and adhering in humility to the Gospel the Church is charged with handing on.

Contemplative Catholic said...

Thankyou so much for your thoughtful comment. I completely agree. All people are called to repent, change their heart and renew their focus and place God at the centre of their lives. All have sinned and all are chosen. God’s heart is restless until we rest in it.

I still maintain thought that the ECCUK is a prophetic sign. It is prophetic because it challenges the practicalities of Roman Catholicism and offers some (not all) ways of how the RC Church might open itself in love.
It is evident that parishes are closing, priests numbers are reducing, less people are attending mass. I don’t like a numbers game but something is happening to Catholicism.

I do not believe it is all bad. I firmly believe this decline is part of God’s loving plan so that the RC Church might learn to love a little more widely. Once again churches like the UECCUK and the Episcopal Church you mentioned, use the freedom they have to explore the ideas and places that Roman Catholicism dares not to tread towards.

As for the counter cultural argument I believe it to be nonsense. How often in the history of the church has the vox populi been the voice of truth over the vox dei ? The Arian controversy ? The Slave Trade ? Anyone who has studied Church history would offer countless more examples.

Personally I do think that what the world needs is more of what you called sects ! I firmly believe they can point to other ways of being ‘church’, add richness, colour, taste and further reveal the presence of God in our world.

I also feel that the RC Church is rather like Jesus in the boat during the storm. However, instead of calming the storm the Pope is stood up shouting “what storm, where ?”

Anonymous said...

"They want the truth, in all its radicality, however challenging it is."

Indeed sir, and we are telling it.

Reverend Nicola Martin-Davis

Anonymous said...

A very interesting topic indeed. A few thoughts come to mind - Firstly one can only repent of SIN, the question therefore naturally follows "What is a sin and what is not?" So where does one look for advice?
Even the Roman Catholic Church says that the final arbiter of advice on that is the informed conscience of the individual.
What happened after the time of Constantine was that catholics ceased to have the right of conscience and became conditioned to someone else telling them in detail how to live their lives and what was good and bad. I agree with Nick's point about church history being littered with "good" that we now consider downright evil.
It is said that we need "The one Holy, Catholic and Apostolic church". I agree totally and whole-heartedly. The Second Council of the Vatican made clear that while Rome considers it has the "fullness" of that - she is not alone.
The UECC is part of the One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. All its bishops can trace their Apostolic Succession directly and within less than 100 years to Roman sources - including a recent pope.
All that UECC rejects is the negatives of imperial Rome - universal supremacy and infallibility of the pope, and exclusion on grounds of gender or sexual orientation, both of which are totally contrary to the truth of the Church before Constantine.
It is interesting that many Catholic writers over the centuries have stressed that each individual has their own unique path to God and yet the common fallacy of Roman apologists is to say that there is only one path - as the novellist called it "The Road to Rome".
Personally I think UECC and other Christian bodies offer a "Road to God in Christ" which is prefereable to a road to a human institution.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer said "Christ came to establish the Kingdom - instead we got the Church!" UECC is trying to bring people into the Kingdom, not it's own ambit of control.

Rome acts as a filter of those it considers worthy to enter through the gate of the sheepfold. UECC acts as a town crier telling people that the gate is open to enter if they will!

When I stand at the altar I include all who are called by Christ to be his brethren, without exception or exclusion. When Rome says the same then our paths will be as one and churches will again overflow with ardent worshippers.

Presiding Bishop, UECC

Contemplative Catholic said...

Thank you so much for that +Terry, your contribution is very much welcome.