Please see my earlier post updated – Free Church of England and the Union of Scranton. I have appended an official text sent to me by Bishop Flemestad of the Nordic Catholic Church.
This also was sent to a multi-addressee e-mail (therefore not private and confidential), primarily addressed to Dr William Tighe. What comes out of this is that the Free Church of England has been modifying its doctrinal positions and praxis for a long time and that they had become compatible with orthodox Old Catholicism.
Thank you for this. I am impressed by how updated you are on the FCE.
As I wrote in the previous email, there will be challenges for the FCE. Your word “bouleversement” is not off the mark. However, it is not just “polite words”. The realignment did not start yesterday. Already some years back a group of “Evangelical” parishes jointly broke with main church because of its Catholic reorientation.
Let me try to describe the situation in abstract terms. Social organisms – including religious institutions – are not static. Priorities and strategies may be changed according to the leadership’s private agendas, internal tensions and external exigences. Sometimes this leads to a radical reassessment. In religious terms, I suppose the prime example in our time would be John the XXIII and the Second Vatican Council. Perhaps the Oxford movement can be seen in the same perspective.
Scaled down, the FCE has gone through a similar reevaluation process leading up to the dialogue with the Union of Scranton. After talks on both sides of the Atlantic during which “documentation was presented and discussed” – to quote the statement – the leadership of the FCE has concluded that they can accept the Declaration of Scranton with doctrinal integrity. Consequently, the episcopal conference of the Union of Scranton “anticipates being able to work with the Free Church of England to build a Catholic jurisdiction in the United Kingdom”, to quote again from the statement.
Of course, the devil is in the details and this may take some time. Still, having invested a lot of time and energy in the dialogue, I am quite optimistic.