Attendees at the gathering of conservative Episcopalians here in Dallas heard a surprise greeting sent to the convention Wednesday from none other than Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican’s chief doctrinal official. It’s buried in the ABC story I’ve linked to, but this is very big. It shows that at the highest levels, the Roman Catholic leadership is showing solidarity with the conservative Anglicans. It’s a big ecumenical back of the hand to American Episcopal leaders who have ratified the ordination of the gay bishop. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, is said to have politely been read the riot act by top Vatican officials last week, and told that if the consecration of Gene Robinson, the gay American bishop, is allowed to stand, relations between the Anglican Communion and Rome will be in trouble. The conservative Episcopalians here are on fire, and it’s going to be amazing to see what happens in England next week when the Archbishop meets with Anglican prelates from around the world. The Africans and others have already told him they’re having none of Bishop Robinson and the liberal American church that ratified his election.