Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Roman Catholic church to receive Anglicans

From the London Guardian-

More than half a million Anglicans are set to join the Roman Catholic church following an announcement from the Vatican today that Pope Benedict XVI had approved a decree setting up a new worldwide institution to receive them.

It will be the first time since the Reformation in the 16th century that entire communities of Protestants have reunited with Rome. The first group to take advantage of the new rules is expected to be the Traditional Anglican Community (TAC), which separated from the rest of the Anglican community in 1991 and has more than 500,000 members worldwide.

Reflecting the importance of Rome's initiative, the pope set out the new arrangements in a so-called apostolic constitution, the highest form of pontifical decree.

Benedict's chief theological adviser, the US cardinal William Levada, said the decree had been drawn up "to respond to the numerous requests that have been submitted to the Holy See by groups of Anglican clerics and believers from various parts of the world who wish to enter into full and visible communion" with Rome.

He said that, under the new arrangements, Anglican communities that joined the Catholic church would be able to keep their own liturgy while remaining outside the existing dioceses. Their pastoral care would be entrusted instead to their own senior prelates, who would not necessarily become Catholic bishops. This is a way around the problem that in the Catholic church, as in the Orthodox churches, married men are not allowed to become bishops.


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