This elderly Pope Benedict XVI has decided to make his last days on earth some of the most productive times of any Fathers of the Church. What a great blessing he is to the Church of our times. He has turned the outcoming tide of liberal pollution back into stale and stagnant waters. For a good illustration, read John L. Allen, Jr.'s article of October 9, 2009, Calling this week in Rome 'eventful' is an understatement.
What happened today is even more toasty warm with the decisive conclusion of Pope Benedict XVI to assist faith full Christians in the Anglican communion. The way has been paved for Anglicans to rejoin the Catholic Church and become full communicants, with an Apostolic Constitution that creates a "Personal Ordinariate" for them. Now, THAT'S a major event of a whole papal lifetime! Yet this event is only one of several major events of Benedict's short pontificate.
The current decision affecting Anglican entry into the structure of the Church reminds me of my brother-in law learning about that the birth parents and their families were coming to their son's wedding. He said joyfully, "The family's just become a little bigger!" What a beautiful thought of an enlarged family, and it also applies to Anglicans who are spiritually distraught and ill with the ordination of women and homosexuals in their old communities.
Will they accept all the teachings of the Church (e.g., divorce, contraception)? Probably not--that's the way it is with incomplete Christians who have heard only part of the truth. Yet I believe their hearts are good and they want to do God's will, and solid teaching is all that many will need to fully embrace the faith. They have been through a spiritual hell and the Pope wants to extricate them from that situation.
The Pope has not established a Personal Ordinariate for traditional Catholics who prefer the old Latin rite. However, local Bishops are beginning to permit more parishes to be formed to fully serve the Latin Mass folk. St. Anne's Parish in San Diego (with a seating capacity of over 300) is an excellent example of the fervor and commitment of Latin Mass communities.
St. Anne's was reestablished as a personal parish for the Traditional Latin Mass apostolate under the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter on October 7, 2008. One year later, they have four Sunday Masses and twice daily Mass during the week. It has helped that major repairs and re-construction were undertaken by the FSSP priests to restore St. Anne’s Church as a suitable House of God.
What about Personal Ordinariates for the SSPX Latin Mass communities? Fr. Z says "This [the Anglican agreement] could be important down the line also for SSPXers."