Traditional Anglican bishops may convert to Catholicism
Forward in Faith, the largest conservative faction of the Anglican Communion, expressed disillusionment recently with the church’s stand on women clergy and said the changes may lead many conservative Anglicans to consider converting to Catholicism, the National Catholic Register said.
Forward in Faith has some 10,000 members globally and 1,000 clergy. Their chairman, Bishop John Broadhurst clearly stated that he personally is amenable to becoming Catholic under a new personal ordinariate by Pope Benedict XVI, the National Catholic Register said.
The ordinariate will allow former Anglicans to join the Catholic church en masse, at the same time retain aspects of Anglican religious faith and Eucharistic beliefs, the National Catholic Register said.
The divide began last month when the Church of England decided that in the next two years they would allow women to become bishops. At the Church of England’s General Synod in York, England traditionalists sought to amend a rule for alternative male bishops, the National Catholic Register said.
They wanted parishes who did not wish to have a women bishop to be able to avail of a male alternative who would have autonomy and joint jurisdiction. The amendment had the support of John Sentamu, archbishop of York, and Rowan Williams, archbishop of Canterbury, the National Catholic Register said.
However the synod voted against the amendment and said women bishops could decide on any alternative bishop provided they adhere to a code of practice when dealing with traditionalists, the National Catholic Register said.
Although the ruling will now stand before the 44 diocesan synods of the Church of England where it must have a two-thirds majority vote; then seek parliament’s approval and royal assent, the decision is in essence already passed as all these are simply formalities, the National Catholic Register said.
So far, only a small number of traditional Anglicans have expressed interest in the ordinariate from Canada, Australia, England and America, described as “an umbrella group” by a Vatican official, the National Catholic Register said.
The Vatican expressed puzzlement at the small stream noting that there were “repeated requests” for the ordinariate. Sources among the traditionalists say priests are already applying and the delay is because they are waiting for the votes from the dioceses and Parliament, the National Catholic Register said.
Another reason for the restraint is the pending visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the UK in September. But largely, the ordinariates still need to be established which must be done by the Vatican and which is currently being worked on, the National Catholic Register said.
In a separate development, the Anglican Communion has decided not to part ways with the Episcopal Church USA, calling the proposal “premature.” The proposal was made by a member of the Anglican Communion’s Standing Committee from South East Asia, NewsOK said.
The Episcopal church has been harshly criticized from fellow Anglican churches for consecrating openly gay bishops. It had already been removed from Anglican groups including a committee that decides upon authority and doctrine, NewsOK said.
In a statement, the Standing Committee that rendered the decision said, “Committee members acknowledged the anxieties felt in parts of the Communion about sexuality issues. Nevertheless, the overwhelming opinion was that separation would inhibit dialogue on this and other issues … and would therefore be unhelpful,” NewsOK said.