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Carey says Vatican could have secured Anglican "go slow" on women

Former head of the Anglican Communion Archbishop George Carey has suggested that Anglicans might have been persuaded to "go slow" on the women's issue if the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had not "taken the steam out of the ecumenical movement".

National Catholic Reporter correspondent John Allen reports in his latest Word from Rome column on remarks Archbishop Carey made in a public address at the Oratory of St. Francis Xavier del Caravita in Rome last Tuesday. Carey, who stepped down in 2002 after more than eleven years as Archbishop of Canterbury, is in Rome as a guest lecturer at the Jesuit-run Gregorian University.

His reference to the Congregation for the Doctine of the Faith (CDF) concerned a 1991 response to the final report of the first round of Anglican-Catholic dialogue. The response appeared in the midst of a wrenching debate within the Church of England over the ordination of women.

Dr Carey suggested that Anglicans might have been persuaded to "go slow" on the women's issue if the CDF had not "taken the steam out of the ecumenical movement."

The National Catholic Reporter will publish a full article on the issue in its 2 April edition.

Archbishop Carey described his "anti Roman Catholic" upbringing in a cockney working-class family in London's East End.

Whenever someone from the evangelical wing of the Church of England preached, he said, "it was always anti-Roman."

His reaction? "Come on, they can't be that bad."

When the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, the formal body for dialogue between the two denominations, began issuing documents, Carey said the evangelical consensus was sharply negative. He defended its findings on the Eucharist and on ministry.

"I felt these were astounding agreements with which I could wholeheartedly agree," Carey said.

During Carey's term as Archbishop of Canterbury, he visited the Vatican six times, more than all his predecessors. He supported ARCIC's document The Gift of Authority in 1999, which proposed that a universal primacy (i.e., the papacy) could be acknowledged even before the branches of Christianity are in full communion. John Allen says he provided a model through his close relationship with John Paul II.

"There is a sense in which I saw him as a senior brother in Christ," Carey said. "I still do."

John L. Allen: Canonist criticizes U.S. bishops sex abuse norms; Martyrs of the Oriental Catholic churches in 20th century Europe; A conversation with the former Archbishop of Canterbury; John Paul's latest book (National Catholic Reporter 26/3/04)

Muslims dismayed by retired Anglican leader Carey's speech on Islam (Ecumenical News International 26/3/04)
Anglicans' ex-leader angers Britain's Muslims with criticism of Islam (International Herald-Tribune/AP/Reuters 27/3/04)

29 Mar 2004