Thursday, January 29, 2009

Big News for Anglicans & Roman Catholics

Anglican Mainstream is reporting that the Bishop of Rome (i.e., the Pope) is preparing to offer the Traditional Anglican Communion a personal prelature. (The full article can be read here.) What that apparently means is that the TAC would be a kind of semi-autonomous, global diocese without boundaries. It would retain its own clergy and laity and be headed by its own bishops, but it would be in full-communion with Rome.

The report indicates that this would be the most significant ecumenical event in Anglican-Roman Catholic relations since the English Reformation when King Henry VIII brought about the Church of England's split with Rome.

There are a couple of points that need to be clarified in this report in order to understand more fully what is going.

First, this is not a "done deal," as of yet. The main sticking point may be the issue of married bishops. That is to say, while Rome does not ordain married priests, they have accepted married priests who have joined the RCC. However, Rome has never accepted married bishops. On the other hand, the TAC has set no pre-conditions to their being accepted by Rome. They apparently have been willing for their clergy, not only to receive "conditional ordination," but outright re-ordination. They apparently have not set any preconditions concerning the acceptance of their married bishops. All they have wanted is the possibility of having and intact Anglican identity while being in communion with Rome (exactly, it seems, what this personal prelature would provide).

Second, the Traditional Anglican Communion is NOT the same thing as the Canterbury based Anglican Communion (i.e., the "official" Anglican Communion). Rather, they are a group of some 400,000+ traditional Anglicans that broke with Canterbury over issues such as women being ordained as priests and their further consecration as bishops and over issues of homosexual practice. They are, obviously, Anglo-Catholic in orientation. Their United States member is the Anglican Church in America.

This really is a huge event and could have repercussions throughout the Canterbury based Anglican Communion, including repercussions in the Church of England, the newly forming Anglican Church in North America and Anglo-Catholics around the world.
***A further article has been posted by Anglican Mainstream, here.


Pastor Steven said...

That is big news, especially for Anglo-Catholics. It's hard to keep up with Anglicans these days they are so diverse and there are so many different types of Anglicans.
I'm sure the Reformed branch of the church would have a much harder time coming into full communion with Roman. When I was a teenager we lived in England for four years and so I got to experience traditional Anglicanism in it's purest form. Or maybe I'm just a bit nostalgic.



liturgy said...

It's on the internet.
So it must be true.
Pass it on.