Friday, October 23, 2009

Traditionalists "warmly welcome" Vatican move

From The Church Times-

THE former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, who will address the National Assembly of Forward in Faith in London tomorrow after noon, was among those to respond to the Vatican announcement.

Dr Nazir-Ali, who was a Roman Catholic in his youth, welcomed its “generosity of spirit”. But he ques tioned the preservation of Anglican ism under the new arrangement.

“If Anglican patrimony is to flour ish, in the context of unity, what arrangements will be made for the study of its theological tradition, method, spirituality, and approach to moral issues?”
In the mean time, he said, “there is a need to build confidence in the evan gelical basis of the Anglican tradition and to make sure that it survives and flourishes in the face of the many challenges it faces.” He said he was waiting for further clarification from the Vatican.

In May, Dr Nazir-Ali was asked whether he would become a Roman Catholic. He said that the Pope had “a right” to be a focus of unity for Anglicans. “To some extent it depends on how the Bishop of Rome and other Vatican officers behave,” he said (News, 15 May).

The Vatican announcement had come as no surprise, said Prebendary David Houlding, a member of the General Synod’s Catholic Group, on Wednesday.

It did not mean that all Anglo-Catholics had to jump on the band wagon and suddenly disappear. “But they’re very excited about it, and we know there won’t be another offer as generous as this on the table,” he said. He said that the offer placed “an even greater obligation on the revision com mittee on women bishops to get the provision right. Far from not having to bother about it, we have to bother about it even more.”

Forward in Faith issued a state ment on behalf of the Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Andrew Burn­ham, and the Bishop of Richborough, the Rt Revd Keith Newton, in which they “warmly welcomed” the news. They said that they had chosen 22 February, the feast of the Chair of Peter, as a day when priests and people could decide if they wanted to explore the Pope’s initiative further.

“Some Anglicans in the Catholic tradition understandably will want to stay within the Anglican Communion. Others will wish to make individual arrangements as their conscience directs. A further group of Anglicans, we think, will begin to form a caravan, rather like the People of Israel crossing the desert in search of the Promised Land.”

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