Magister gets it wrong on Bishop Robert Forsyth

One glaring error in Sandro Magister’s column on Kasper’s address to Lambeth is the description of Sydney bishop Robert Forsyth as “anglo-catholic”. He is most definitely NOT an “anglo-catholic”, but decidedly evangelical. Crikey.com has interesting comments on Forsyth’s speech to the Pope (full text here). Of special notice was the fact that he began his address to Pope Benedict (whom he called “sir”) with the disclaimer that

there are, and remain, very great and significant differences between us; differences which still matter today, including, if I may say so, even your very office.

He was at least gracious to acknowledge that he accepted the Holy Father “as a fellow Christian brother” – a acceptance which Pope Benedict certainly would have reciprocated, even if neither would have meant as a “brother in the episcopate”. He warmly acknowledged (and this is the point to which Magister was referring) that the Catholic Church has been

on many issues…a rock in the rapids that has actually helped the rest. Were it not for Rome’s strong insistence upon Christ as the only Saviour of the world, upon the “Catholic faith”, the nature of the Triune God, the divinity of Christ, the importance of sacred Scripture and of the objectivity of Christian morality, then the life of other Christian churches would have been so much more difficult, certainly for us here in the West.

The Crikey.com article noted that he did not point out the especial agreement between the Catholic Church and the Anglican diocese of Syndey over the matters of the ordination of women and homosexuals, but I think we can take what he said as referring to that. He was keen too on the Church’s “Year of Paul”, which, it should be pointed out, is being observed not only by the Catholic Church, but by many orthodox churches as well.

This report from CNA says that there were 15 leaders from other Christian communities present, including “Anglican…, Syrian Orthodox, Maronite Catholics [how were these included in an “ecumenical” meeting?], Indian Orthodox, Chinese Methodist, the Lutheran and Uniting churches”. This report adds that the AOG’s were represented and others report that there were Presbyterians there. That still leaves a few leaders unaccounted for. Does anyone have an exact list?

According to the same report

Youth representatives were also present at the event, where approximately fifty guests were present because of their involvement in the Ecumenical Council of New South Wales.

Several months ago, yours truly tried to talk his way in, but I never got beyond the initial and final answer “NO”.

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