“The protest of Martin Luther is over. Tony Palmer, the Protestant who no longer wanted to protest
(Rome) In the last six months of this pontificate unexpectedly a man came to the stage, which was the Catholic public previously unknown. So fast seemed to be his star, he is also extinguished again. Reason enough to look a little closer, to understand what is happening around Pope Francis. This past July 20, died after a motorcycle accident in the UK and of futile hours in the operating room Anthony Joseph Palmer, Bishop Founded in 1995, Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches (CEEC), which belongs to the Anglican world community.Palmer was born in Britain, grew up in South Africa, was professionally initially worked in the insurance industry, married to an Italian, and was converted in adulthood to Christ. In the last six months of his life he became a “friend of Pope Francis’ international reputation. On Monday, July 28, he would have “secret” meeting of the Pope with Pastor Traettino of the Evangelical Church of Reconciliation should participate in Caserta.
Where today runs the break line?
“I understand Tony Palmer, because I went the same way,” Father Dwight Longenecker said a former American Protestant and former Anglican, now Catholic priest and the Internet, a well-known personality. “Growing up in a Protestant North American family, I have made myself on the search for the truly historic church and became Anglicans. This step has approached me to the catholicity and finally I was admitted to the communion of the Catholic Church. In this way, I have experienced the fullness of the faith of the Catholic Church and at the same time all the positive aspects of the Protestant and Anglican traditions. I do not deny the positive aspects, but it reinforced by my Catholic Will, “said Longenecker.
“For some time, the actual separation is no longer that between Catholics and Protestants, but between the Christians who believe in revealed religion and those Christians who believe in a relative religion. The real divide is now between the progressives who want to change suffered by Christ in the history of faith in the sense of a contemporary spirit and those who believe that the zeitgeist is challenge by the eternal and immutable truth of the Christian Gospel always new. Those who believe in a relative, progressive and modernist form of Christianity, despise the wonderful element of religion and think that the Church had to adapt to the needs of modern society completely on a sociological basis. ”
The evangelicals and charismatic Episcopal direction
In Tony Palmer to Father Longenecker recognized again. A young man who was really looking for Christ and in this way met the Pope. Palmer had risen to become a leading representative of the CEEC. Almost 20 years ago from the Convergence Movement emerged that a larger group of conservative American Protestants, evangelical direction and with a charismatic style of prayer resulted since the 1970s to rediscover the liturgical and Episcopal tradition of the Anglican world community. The self-designation “church” does not say anything about the size of the different communities, which can range from a handful of believers to several tens of thousands. From this emerged several umbrella organizations of different evangelical charismatic Anglican churches. Such a merger is the CEEC. First archbishop was Michael Owen, after John Kikuva, an Anglican bishop from Kenya led the transition to the Episcopal tradition. Other bishops Old Catholic or Oriental tradition join the CEEC. Through the Mission Archbishop Robert Wise, the CEEC experienced their distribution in Europe. In Italy, the community was founded L’Arca in Todi, which was founded by the British Tony Palmer, who is married to an Italian. Palmer was ordained as a community leader from the CEEC to the bishop. Palmers community is interested in a particular way to a Celtic spirituality and the Christian origins in the British Isles. However, Todi never belonged to the Celtic area in Europe.
Meeting with Pope Francis on January 14 in Rome
When and how the Celtic-Anglican Bishop Tony Palmer and the Catholic Pope met is not known exactly. Both Palmer and Wise regularly took part in ecumenical meetings especially with charismatic Catholics. However, the decisive moment for Palmer seems to have been the last January 14, when he, in his capacity of the leaders of the International Ecumenical Officer was received by the Pope of the CEEC. The official bulletin of the Holy See was recorded on that day among the audiences: “His Grace Anthony Palmer, Bishop and International Ecumenical Officer for the Communion Evangelical Episcopal Churches”. Palmer was (now expanded to C9) received Oscar Cardinal Rodriguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa and a member of the C8 Cardinal Council immediately before Archbishop.
What was discussed in detail here, is not known to within a point: the Charismatic Evangelical Leadership Conference , in February took place a few weeks later in Texas under the leadership of Kenneth Copeland, one of the most famous and influential representatives of the Evangelical-Pentecostal movement Word of Faith . Palmer is reported to the Pope of it and have underlined the importance of this meeting within the evangelical Pentecostalism. The Pope sent the Leadership Conference in any case spontaneously a video message that was received by Palmer with his smartphone in place (see separate report unusual correspondence from the Vatican ).
The Pope wanted to take the opportunity by doing something that no Pope had done. He came into direct contact (albeit at a distance) to leading evangelicals. Whether the video message is now part of the official or private Magisterium of the Pope, lawyers and dogmatists may employ. The private teacher unfolds in any case its effect.
Palmer’s speech in Texas
The spontaneous video was pretty unspeakable best homespun, showing a pope who stammers a few English words, then speaks Italian and can translate in english subtitles. It seems to play no role. With the Anglicans Palmer before the assembled in Texas evangelicals spoke in February, he was attentive ear. Palmer spoke on this occasion actually only about Catholic: about the charismatic Catholics about the Catholic Church, through its long-standing friendship with Archbishop Jorge Mario Bergoglio, about the conclave that chose this pope, about the emotions he felt when he saw those as the new Pope, which he considers one of his three spiritual fathers, about his Italian wife, who again took their Catholic faith and their children who are educated in the Catholic faith. And then, it seemed to not be denied, Palmer announced what was previously sure all present had thought impossible: a video message of the Catholic Pope to an evangelical meeting. The Protestant congregation watched and listened in amazement and silence. As it is said, is of the influential evangelicals present even someone who converted to the Catholic faith. Pope Francis talked about the “desire” for unity. A keyword that was well received in Texas. The message was there, does more than a thousand speeches ecumenical and inter-religious meeting. What does this mean on a dogmatic level, is difficult to evaluate.
Palmer had been under John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Shown sympathy for the Catholic Church. With Francis he wanted to work on the unity of the one Church. In Texas, Palmer told the evangelicals gathered there: “The protest of Martin Luther is over. And you? ”
The meeting on 19 June and Caserta
On June 19, Palmer was a member of the Evangelical-Pentecostal delegation was received by Pope Francis in the Vatican (see separate report Gimme Five between Pope Francis and tele-evangelist James Robison ). A meeting of the except of protocol took place. The Bulletin of the Holy See does not mention the encounter. A meeting, which has not officially taken place, was supposed to be just as the Pope’s visit last Monday in Caserta “private” as Vatican spokesman Father Lombardi stressed and therefore not part of the official acts of the Pope.
Nevertheless, the Holy See published now officially the Pope’s address before the charged in Caserta Evangelicals and Pentecostals. Thus, the visit will be charged subsequently made an official papal act.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: CEEC Italy