Crux blog, the full article you can read by pressing here.
Progressives, both Protestant and Catholic, see Pope
Francis's encounter with Lutherans in Sweden as a new step towards full
reunion, while conservatives observed the smiles, the ceremonies and
the signatures with cynicism and reserve. Both sides are unrealistic.
When the reports are published, too often the only enthusiasm one
senses is on the part of the ecumenists themselves. Thrilled with their
progress, they fail to see that Christians in both Catholic and
Protestant pews are unimpressed.
Ordinary Christians on both sides are often more stark in their
assessment. They see the whole enterprise as being a talking shop for
the intellectual elite, and can’t see what the point might be.
Furthermore, many Catholics see the new obstacles that Lutherans and
Anglicans have put in the path of church unity and are understandably
cynical. “The pope told them ordaining women and having same sex
weddings would be a grave obstacle to unity and they just did it
My further astute comments: I do not use tea and crumpets as a metaphor of disdain. I like tea and crumpets and it is my kind of breakfast. I have had ecumenical relations with protestants and interfaith relations with Jews every since I was ordained. I have preached in Protestant Churches and Rabbis, Unitarian Universalists have preached in my parishes and I belong to ecumenical and interfaith clergy groups.
My parishes have worked with ecumenical outreach groups in every parish I have been to help the poor in very practical ways such as soup kitchens, pantries, day and night shelters, clothing, rent and the like.
Many of my parishioners are married to Protestants and there is real ecumenism in the home the best examples being those Catholics who do not compromise one iota on their Catholic faith but are respectful and supportive of their spouse's different kind of practice of Christianity.
Don't denigrate the tea and crumpets metaphor, but folks let's be realistic about ecumenism and where it truly counts, not in highfalutin academic discussions and show pieces but in rank and file parishes.