Wesley Hill on being an Anglican

I view my Anglican confession of justification by faith as, in this sense, a gift to the Church Catholic. I want, precisely as an Anglican, to continue to hold it before Rome and the East and to commend it as the clearest way I know of articulating the singularity and finality of Christ’s person and work. I want it to affect future ecumenical discussion, and I want it to be included, in whatever transformed way, into the confessional bedrock of a future reunited church…. I’d want to write my tale of modern Canterbury pilgrimage in such a way that my distance from Rome could be seen — precisely so that I might speak a Reformational word that I hope can benefit the cause of a future visible union with Rome. Talking about what makes Anglicanism distinctive, such as I understand it, can be an ecumenical gift rather than an impediment, if done in a spirit of charity and of hope.

Here. I think this is beautiful and correct, and it’s an encouragement to me. Over the years, I have written a good deal about Christian unity (click the “ecumenism” tag at the bottom of this post for a sample), and have worked within local communities to try to build cooperation,  but I have to admit that I have become completely discouraged and don’t plan to pursue such matters any further.

This discouragement is probably a sin, and I expect that some day I will need to repent of it, but it feels like simple exhaustion (compounded by the exhaustion that arises from a decade of dealing with serious health issues in my family). I have never been able even to encourage rival factions in Anglicanism to be more charitable towards one another, much less get Catholics interested in the idea that Anglicans might have something to contribute to Christ’s Church.

It is quite possible, indeed likely, that my failure to make any progress in these ecumenical endeavors is a result of character flaws that I cannot now see but that will be revealed to me on the Last Day. Perhaps more winsome and charitable people like Wesley Hill will be able to make the difference I hoped but failed to make. This is my prayer!