The evangelical "Church of England Newspaper" in the UK has described the recently mooted "gift" of authority from the Roman Catholic Church as "too much too soon".
    "The Gift of Authority" is a statement released last week by the joint Roman Catholic-Anglican Commission (ARCIC). It recommends that church unity demands more visible structures, and the Anglican Church would benefit from "the universal primacy exercised by the Bishop of Rome".
    The evangelical paper balked at union with a Roman church "that regards Anglican ordinations as invalid and refuses to allow Anglicans to receive the Eucharist in Catholic services." It also expressed reservations about Pope John Paul II's devotion to the Virgin Mary and his revival of ``indulgences'' for pilgrims coming to Rome next year.
    But while the Right Rev. Mark Santer, Anglican bishop of Birmingham and co-chairman of ARCIC, admitted that the churches had still not agreed on the authority of the pope, he said: "that unity which is God's will, will entail acceptance of a particular ministry for the maintenance of unity, to be exercised by the bishop of Rome.''

3:35pm 21/5/99 / AP


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