Now, ecumenism that proceeds as far as overcoming bigotry, prejudice and hatred is all very commendable, and I understand that things have come a long way from the days when "No Catholic need apply" could be found in employment advertisements - but owing to a lack of any ecclesiology above the level of the congregation, and an entirely individualistic, simplistic concept of salvation ("Just me and Jesus"), many Protestants seem to think that having friendly relations between "denominations" (read "a thousand weltering sects") is enough, and that one can attend whichever church one likes - which is the indifferentism that has also infected many Catholics: that is the danger with ecumenism having achieved modest improvements in good manners, but no great reunification; and while among mainstream Protestants things like weekly celebrations of what they would term Holy Communion or the Eucharist have become much more common than before the ecumenical liturgical movement, there is really not much sign of a vast convergence in doctrine (with the most major achievement so far being the partial agreement on justification between Catholics and most Lutherans), and contrariwise the disastrous deviations in morals that have become increasingly permitted, even lauded ("their glory is their shame") among "mainline" Protestants have made the search for true Christian unity farcical. Add into the mix such oddities as priestesses, and it quite makes a Catholic glad that his own Church's fractured unity in faith, morals, liturgy and all else is holding up as well as it is!
But for all that, there is hope on the horizon - our hope in Christ, the One Head of the Church, Who we trust is by His secret grace, by His Divine Providence, and by His instruments, the hierarchs of His Church, the Pope and Bishops in communion with him, is gathering all into one. For this reason, I am very glad that it appears the Traditional Anglican Communion's application - without preconditions - to be admitted to Catholic Unity has been accorded a favourable hearing at Rome, and rumour has it (would that it were true) that Easter 2009 may bring the happy news. I recall that the great hope of Anglo-Catholicism was for corporate reunion with Rome. Would that the pontificate of Benedict XVI sees this accomplished - His Holiness is likewise attempting to heal the schism with the SSPX, after all.
Here in Launceston, I note that there is a local parish of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia (a member of the TAC), and I am going to try and make contact, with an eye to finding out what is happening on the local level. Who knows, if what is hoped for comes to pass I could join them at Mass! From their Directory online, here are the details:
Parish of the Annunciation (Anglican Catholic Church in Australia)Temporary location:Harry Abbot Scout Centre,St George's Square,LAUNCESTONSUNDAY:10.30a.m. Holy Communion (1st,3rd 4th and 5th Sundays in month);10.30 a.m. Morning Prayer on 2nd Sunday.
I may go along on the 2nd Sunday to reconnoitre... and in the meanwhile have emailed them.