Cardinal: “Rowan Williams is the Antichrist”
In the past, Cranmer was in no doubt as to the identity of the Antichrist, and declared on that fateful day: ‘And as for the pope, I refuse him as Christ's enemy and antichrist, with all his false doctrine. And as for the sacrament…’ The speech was curtailed when His Grace was abruptly seized and dragged out to be… well, you know. It is best not spoken of.
While Archbishop Rowan Williams may indeed by averse to war, green, and ecumenically minded, he is no ‘angel of light’ (2Cor 11:14), in the way that Pope John Paul II manifestly was. Even Pope Benedict XVI has transformed his rottweiler tendencies in order to broaden his appeal. But appearances aside, what is interesting is the Vatican’s attack upon ecumenism. Cardinal Biffi said that the Antichrist ‘will convoke an ecumenical council and will seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one. The masses will follow him, with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants.'
Such anti-ecumenism is consistent with Cardinal Ratzinger’s document Dominus Iesus, issued in 2000, which ignored and even negated the progress toward reconciliation that had been made in over 30 years of ecumenical dialogue. For ecclesial communities which are deemed to have not preserved a valid episcopate or Eucharist, the Cardinal declared that such communities ‘are not churches in the proper sense’. The criticism was clearly directed to the Protestant Church of England and the worldwide Angican Communion.
Cranmer wishes to point out that while ecumenism has come to be concerned with promoting unity among churches or religions, ecumenical councils throughout history have been exclusively catholic affairs; indeed, oikoumenikos is in many respects synonymous with katholikós - both terms have the sense of ‘known world’, ‘the whole’, or ‘universal’. And if Cardinal Biffi knew anything about Church history, he would know that councils like those convened at Chalcedon or Nicea were precisely to ‘seek the consensus of all the Christian confessions, granting something to each one’. They produced political as well as theological declarations, which have since become fundamental catholic orthodoxy.
Yet Cardinal Biffi prophecies that all will follow the Antichrist ‘with the exception of small groups of Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants’. Could it be that these ‘chosen few’, faced with a common enemy, form an ecumenical alliance to resist the darkness, and the Antichrist succeeds in fulfilling the prayer of Jesus ‘that they may be one’?