27 October 2009

Not all Anglo-Catholics want to go to Rome (except for maybe a holiday)

Whilst I've been offline, the Pope has thrown a helpful hand-grenade into the Anglican Communion; just when we needed one!

It seems that yet more Anglican Priests will be offered the chance to join the Roman Catholic Church, albeit in a very special way!

I have a lot of Roman Catholic friends, some of them priests. If I was in their shoes, I would be mightily unimpressed with this. For those who have made an often difficult decision to lead a celibate life, I can imagine that this arrangement may be most unsatisfactory.

Mike Peatman gives the matter some consideration on his blog here, and he makes me wonder about the practicalities of the proposal. What if an entire congregation wants to go to Rome with their Parish Priest? Do they all go? And what about the buildings? Don't they belong to the Church of England and its trustees? Sounds like a nightmare to me.

The other big issue in all of this is the usual balance approach taken by our media. There is an assumption that all anglo-catholics are conservative traditionalists. Thinking Anglicans had this press release from the Society of Catholic Priests (a Society of Anglican Priests - I know its confusing) and Affirming Catholicism (another group of Anglicans). It says this, and I heartily agree:

To suggest that the departure from the Church of England of those who hold more conservative views will remove the catholic wing and tradition from the church is entirely wrong. Churches and parishes which have a catholic tradition and are served by priests, both male and female, are growing and flourishing and look forward to the future with enthusiasm.

We welcome the offer made by the Pope to those of our brothers and sisters who no longer feel that the Anglican Communion is their spiritual home. We hope that this will not impede swift progress in the Church of England towards the ordination of the first women bishops in this land. 

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