A kind reader objects that statements from the Lund meeting WERE ‘disastrous’, to wit:
“Jesus Christ calls us to be ambassadors of reconciliation,” using stones for “building bridges so that we can draw closer to each other, houses where we can meet together and tables — yes, tables — where we can share the bread and the wine, the presence of Jesus Christ who has never left us and who calls us to abide in him so the world may believe.”
“Many members of our communities yearn to receive the Eucharist at one table as the concrete expression of full unity.”
It is true that these statements are foolhardy (and so characteristic of the loose talk we have grown accustomed to from this Pontiff). But platitudinous aspirations do not commit anybody to anything.
More significant in my view was the unscripted exchange on the airplane.
Asked about a future possibility of women priests in the Catholic Church, Francis cited St John Paul II to assert the irreformability of the doctrine. That surely sinks any possibility of eucharistic communion with churches who regard women’s ordination as an expression of basic human rights.
While the Catholic Church remains adamant on this and other issues (abortion and euthanasia, for example), the scope for Protestants to manufacture further causes of division is almost unlimited and practically guaranteed.