Jan 8, 2009

Welcoming Conservative Anglicans

I simply do not understand why Bishops in the Roman Catholic Church are not more aggressive in responding to the very difficult plight of conservative Anglicans and Episcopalians who are trying to hold onto traditional Christian values while vomiting the modernist slime that masquerades as Christ's teaching. Yes, Anglicans can enter the Catholic Church one by one, but why not encourage and welcome a mass crossing of the Tiber?

WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR ANGLICAN CATHOLICS IN ENGLAND? is the January 6, 2009 commentary published by VirtueOnline.org, the Global Voice of Orthodox Anglicanism.
Many of its members [Forward in Faith, a group of conservative Anglicans] have been sustained by the fantasy of a rescue operation from across the Tiber, oblivious to the failure of such dreams in 1992 when women priests became a legal reality. The Roman Catholic hierarchy in England mostly rebuffed those who had hopes of a fresh beginning with the See of Rome, including the Cardinal at the time, Basil Hume OSB, who had hopes of restoring some of the damage done during the English Reformation.

However, nothing has changed since. The English Catholic hierarchy has given many hints of its reluctance to take in Anglicans, for a variety of reasons. For public consumption, they say that opposition to women's ordination is not a sufficient reason to convert. Privately, they are fearful of a large phalanx of conservative clergy, more loyal to the Holy See than many of their own clergy and colleagues, upsetting what has become a remarkably liberal RC ecosystem in England, in which many clergy and bishops privately have no objection to women priests, or for that matter, gay priests, or various kinds of interfaith interface.

Even new Pope Benedict XVI, who has in the past shown himself strongly sympathetic to the cause of orthodox Anglicanism, has studiously avoided making any commitment for fear of straining tenuous relationship ties with Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Rome would prefer Canterbury to work out its own problems internally.

Even the aspirations of some, such as the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, Andrew Burnham, who have explicitly requested a Roman solution to the Anglican problem, have gone nowhere.

Furthermore, there is no sign that the Pastoral Provision being made for United States Anglicans will be extended to England or anywhere else. Despite numerous visits by various bishops and other leaders, including the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) archbishop to a number of Vatican secretariats, there is no hint of any alteration to the stone face shown to Anglicans by the Roman authorities in England and in Rome.

Options for Anglican Catholics in England are being closed off steadily as each stage of the Measure draws nearer to the statute book. There is no way out, around or through it. In February, the formal consideration of the worthless Code of Practice by the General Synod will cease, and approval by a large majority will be a foregone conclusion. As one editorial observed, "We need not hold our breath nor sit poised on the edge of our seats." How then will Forward in Faith respond when it meets the following day and looks into a mirror?
More importantly, how will the Roman Catholic Church look when its "stone face" is viewed in the mirror of God? Should the Church not welcome these separated brothers and sisters who cannot accept women and homosexual priests and bishops? Surely, surely, Pope Benedict XVI will have the courage to meet them and personally invite them in.

From what I see, many conservative Anglicans (and Episcopalians) will become far better and more faithful Catholics than current pew-sitters. Shouldn't these Anglicans be diligently pursued, giving them what has been provided at Our Lady of the Atonement in San Antonio, then work to resolve any remaining issues that remain divisive.


Anonymous said...

I am one of those Anglicans that converted in 2007. One difficulty that I can see just from thinking about my former pewmates is that although Epsicopalians and Anglicans that may not welcome female Priests and Gay marriage have no problems with divorce/remarriage, contraception and in some cases they are even pro-choice. All of these issues combined would make it difficult to blindly accept whole parishes in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

However that being said- I get up everyday and give thanks that I am truely Catholic now instead of feeling "almost" there.

Anonymous said...

A high church or Anglo- Catholic service is so Catholic on the surface that it is easy to forget the very serious issues that may divide us...

Anonymous said...

You have to keep in mind that "conservative Anglicans" are not monolithic. There are Anglo-Catholics and there are Evangelicals, the latter being thoroughly protestant.

True Anglo-Catholics will at some point realize that they simply have no where else to go but to Rome. They will do so, either individually (as I have nearly finished doing) or under whatever strucutre is set up for the Traditional Anglican Communion (yes, there will be something).

Conservative Evangelical Anglicans, despite their objections to priestesses, will not, I believe, swim the Tiber, either individually or collectively. They may merge with other, similar "continuing Anglican" groups, with whom they share evangelical affinity, but don't look for their road to lead to Rome.

Anonymous said...

There might be good reasons for pastoral discretion on the Catholic side. I'd believe that of the Holy Father.

On the other hand, if many English bishops are like many U.S. bishops - and my own bishop is most definitely not who I mean here - then the perception that they don't want a lot of very conservative, well-trained clerics entering the Church strikes me as being right on target.

Plus many of these men will be (happily) married, which would cause a whole lot of turmoil inside the Catholic Church if large numbers of Anglican priests came in.

Having said all that, I think this is only one area where the laity must take the lead, especially if bishops aren't taking it. I don't know how. I know that God did not give us a timid spirit!

And besides, if Our Lady of Walsingham is doing her part, how can we fail to do ours?

John Heuertz

Anonymous said...

> For public consumption, they say that
> opposition to women's ordination is
> not a sufficient reason to convert.

I'm not sure that this is merely for "public consumption," and I think such statements should not be made unless you are in fact privy to all the details of what is going on. On the face of it, I would agree -- opposition to women's ordination is not a sufficient reason to convert.

A desire to receive the Holy Eucharist is a reason to convert. A desire to enter the Eternal Holy Roman Catholic Church is a reason to convert. And both of *these* desires imply an understanding -- no matter how vague -- that there is a problem with your current situation.

In its essence, I believe, a desire to convert is a response to the gift of grace from the Holy Spirit. One should desire to convert because one believes (correctly) that the Catholic Church is
the Church identified in the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 16. And by converting, you are obeying God's Will; you are responding to His Love. You desire His Sacraments; you desire the Love of His Sacred Heart.

Anonymous said...

Anglicans have a big decision to make. They must decide what path they want to follow! Catholic or Protestant. I believe from all the research that I have completed, most Anglicans feel more Catholic than Protestant. (3/4)

It is time for all Anglicans to push for union with Rome to solve the 400+ year rift that never should have happened in the first place.

I have been in Anglican churches where the service is the same as the Catholic Church. Even Low churches maintain Catholic ritual. They realize that these are the historic practises of an ancient church.

King Henry 8th died a Catholic and never accepted a split from Rome. It hurt him until his dying breath. He referred to Luther as a heretic. For his strong defence of the "Holy Catholic Church" he recieved the title "Defender of the Faith". Its ironic that Anglicans still use this title, considering it was a title bestowed upon Henry by the Pope.

Anglicans return home. People all over Christendom would welcome the reunion.

Anonymous said...

Wow! That is a very interesting take on what happened. I'm a university History student and I agree with your analysis.

It is clear that Henry didn't agree what was happening in his own church. But, after all he was the one who was responsible for its demise.

I further concur with your comment that Anglicans feel more Catholic. I don't get much of a Protestant feeling when I enter a Anglican church.

I fully believe that if Anglicans go anywhere, it will be to Rome. They are their closest companion!

Tom, Ontario said...

Rome is Canterbury's only option!

Alexander, NL said...

I'm an Anglican from Newfoundland, Canada. There has always been a huge divide between Anglicans . and RC's here. However, after attending mass with some friends of mine, I realize I have much more in common with the Catholics than Protestants.

I have always thought Catholics were much different than us, but I was wrong. If the turmoil in my church continues I will convert to Roman Catholicism.

I have heard this comment from many of my fellow Anglicans as well. I hope the Pope will pray for us!

Connor, Ireland said...

This is certainly an interesting diuscussion. I'm a member of the Church of Ireland. I've always felt that my Catholic neighbors had a lot in common with us.

In all truthfulness, we have very little in common with the Methodists or the Presbyterians. In Ireland, we have already had 2 or 3 parishes leave for Rome and I feel soon many more will follow.

According to the news, the Catholic Church is about to accept 1/2 a million Anglicans back into the fold. If that happens, many more will follow. Anglicans of all backgrounds are looking for leadership.

It appears many of them think Rome is the only answer. Hope for unity in God's Holy Church certainly seems more possible now. May God bless all of us!

Michael, Mass, USA said...

The Lord said: "Peter, thou art the rock and upon that rock I will build my church". Rome was the center in the beginning and it will continue to be throughout the future.

Anglicans have been divided from Catholics for over 450 years. It is time for the rift to heal. As I see all the info worldwide, it is clear C of E, episco, etc want change. That will only happen with a return to Rome. Anglicans want guidance and direction and Catholicism under the Pope is the clear path forward.