As Pope Benedict's visit to his German homeland draws to a close, this screen grab of Mass being celebrated in the Olympic Stadium illustrates how insignificant we appear from above. Despite that, the intensity of debate continues as we strive for unity. Lutherans in particular had been hoping for a gesture to mark the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. The Pope acknowledged that there had been talk that his visit would produce an 'ecumenical gift' but said that it was a 'political misreading of faith and of ecumenism.' Emphasising the point he said, "A self-made faith is worthless. Faith is not something we work out intellectually and negotiate between us. It is the foundation for our lives."
Compare that statement with the report of his meeting with Orthodox Christians when Pope Benedict said, "the Orthodox are theologically closest to us; Catholics and Orthodox both have the same basic structure inherited from the ancient Church. So we may hope that the day is not too far away when we may once again celebrate the Eucharist together".
So where does the Anglican church stand? The position is neatly summed-up in this Blog but undeterred, the Anglican church has chosen relativism over unity. Depressing though it is, all is not lost. Closing his homily for electing the Supreme Pontiff, the then Cardinal Ratziger said, "At this time, however, let us above all pray insistently to the Lord that after his great gift of Pope John Paul II, he will once again give us a Pastor according to his own heart, a Pastor who will guide us to knowledge of Christ, to his love and to true joy. Amen." Unbeknown to him, that prayer was to be answered in Benedict XVI himself and in answer to Christ's prayer for unity the Ordinariate will be his legacy for Anglicans, hopefully to be followed by communion with the Orthodox church, God willing.