From the Scotsman:
Kirk and Catholic Church strengthen ties:
21 May 2010
By CRAIG BROWN
THE Kirk and Scottish Catholic Church are enjoying improved relations, which members of the General Assembly consider to be the best in 20 years.
The two faiths, historically divided along sectarian lines, have taken what the Kirk has described as "a monumental step in inter-church links" by creating a "joint-liturgy" for the reaffirmation of baptismal vows.
As a result, Scotland has the first Protestant church in the world to form such a bond with the Catholic Church. The two churches will also join together to mark the 450th anniversary of the Reformation later this year.
The Kirk's Committee on Ecumenical Relations, which fosters links with other churches, said such a document "could not have been written 20 years ago" and it was the fruit of long-term discussions, debates and the creation of "deep friendships" between the two bodies.
Former moderator and secretary of the committee the Very Rev Sheilagh Kesting said the agreement was a spur to greater bonds. "It takes us a whole step along a journey of agreement, and it puts pressure on us, because if we say 'we have a common understanding of baptism' and are able to renew our vows together, what does that say about our understanding of the Church and of Communion?"
Though the Kirk's relationship with the Catholic Church may be thriving, attempts to foster better relations with the Free Church of Scotland were seriously damaged last year by the controversy surrounding the appointment of openly gay minister Scott Rennie.
The Ecumenical Relations report said that, following meetings in September last year, talks between the two churches had stalled. However, Ms Kesting said the Kirk's relationship with the Catholic Church was strong enough to survive the controversy.
"At the official and local level, we are at a stage where there is really quite deep friendships between people and trust, and what that means is that, while there are some deep differences of opinion, it doesn't interrupt our relationship," she said.
"So when we come across difficult issues, such as some of the ethical issues that are around just now, they become part of the agenda that we discuss, rather than becoming blocks."
Ms Kesting said the decision to hold a joint ceremony in St Giles' Cathedral, in Edinburgh this year to mark the 450th anniversary of the Reformation – which saw the creation of the Presbyterian Church when it split from the Catholic Church – was a public statement of the strength of their relationship.
"I think that's a very important statement," she said.
"We're going to do it together, so that we can say very publicly we are not in the same position now that we were 450 years ago; that we can speak together about what happened at the Reformation; we can recognise the continuity of the pre-Reformation and post-Reformation Church and that whole journey through to the Scottish Renaissance. I think that is quite an important thing."
Ms Kesting said that the strengthening of connections was also part of the two churches' efforts to combat sectarianism.
However, the report acknowledges that there are "continuing divisions" between the Church of Scotland and the Roman Catholic Church.
Peter Kearney, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland, said: "This is a significant and seminal moment in Scottish church history.
"While the emphasis in the Catholic Church is more about commemorating the event, rather than celebrating, it is still a moment in history that had an impact that must be debated and discussed.
"We should not be afraid to tackle it, and we very much want to be involved in the debate about what happened 450 years ago."
Mr Kearney said that, while there were differences between the two churches, worshippers from both denominations were "part of the body of Christ".
He added, in an increasingly secular world, Catholics and Protestants had more in common than what divides them''
Time for us Scots to celebrate Culloden eh? This article infuriates me, I don't know where to start. Peter Kearney states that both 'churches', are part of the 'body of Christ', that is heresy. This is from our spokesman! Pope Pius XII stated, 'The doctrine of the Mystical Body of Christ, which is the Church, was first taught us by the Redeemer Himself'. Ecumenism must have the aim of conversion to the Church founded by Christ, its not about a willingness to open up and make friends. Again he warns, ' Another danger is perceived which is all the more serious because it is more concealed beneath the mask of virtue. There are many who, deploring disagreement among men and intellectual confusion, through an imprudent zeal for souls, are urged by a great and ardent desire to do away with the barrier that divides good and honest men; these advocate an "eirenism" according to which, by setting aside the questions which divide men, they aim not only at joining forces to repel the attacks of atheism (or secularism), but also at reconciling things opposed to one another in the field of dogma. And as in former times some questioned whether the traditional apologetics of the Church did not constitute an obstacle rather than a help to the winning of souls for Christ, so today some are presumptive enough to question seriously whether theology and theological methods, such as with the approval of ecclesiastical authority are found in our schools, should not only be perfected, but also completely reformed, in order to promote the more efficacious propagation of the kingdom of Christ everywhere throughout the world among men of every culture and religious opinion.'
Is the Church of Scotland willing to set aside its erroneous view on the Eucharist? Those who belong to the Barque of Peter certainly can not reject this divinely revealed teaching.
Are they willing to abandon their doctines of sola fide, sola scriptura, or any other heretical belief?
Will these meetings enable them to accept the fullness of Christianity or will it lead to religious indifference?
This has gone too far. I think I may send a letter to His Eminence. Let us pray for our shepherds that they may see their errors and cling to Catholic Truth.