ENS: Vatican proposal to welcome former Anglicans generates mixed reactions, commentary

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Daniel Herzog, who converted to Roman Catholicism after retiring as bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Albany, said in a telephone interview that he viewed the pope's offer as extending to Anglican clergy elsewhere in the world the option, previously available to U.S. Episcopal clergy, to become Catholic priests if they convert.

In the past, "Some Episcopalians who came in groups were allowed to retain a significant part of the Anglican liturgy and, except for the use of Roman eucharistic prayers, they would be able to use the bulk of the prayer book," he said, adding that he thought Anglican worship traditions would be "a great contribution to the life of the Catholic Church."

Herzog, who is a lay Catholic, said he expected former Episcopal clergy would be welcomed under the same process as the 1980 "pastoral provision."

"I think it's an openness to people who are already predisposed toward the holy see," said Herzog, noting that switching from being an Episcopal priest to a Roman Catholic priest is "not like changing a New York driver's license for a Connecticut driver's license.

"They're not just looking for people who are angry or unhappy," he said. "I think they're looking for people who are personally convinced of the primacy of the Holy Father and believe that ultimately for all Christians the center of unity is the see of Peter."

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)CoE BishopsEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

5 Comments
Posted October 28, 2009 at 5:00 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. the roman wrote:

”“When we get those buildings back, we’ll get a lot of those people back,” she added. “So what we’ve been trying to do is be as welcoming to them as we can be. They are welcome home at any moment.”

Ms. Sherrod believes parishioners are a pawn in the grasp of their rebellious clergy and all they really want is to make the same drive every Sunday? Can someone please enlighten me?

October 28, 6:53 am | [comment link]
2. tjmcmahon wrote:

Note how often TEC uses the word “former”?  In keeping with the HoB listserve line that the Vatican offer was only to people who had already left TEC or the Communion.  Now, I expect that the Apostolic Constitution will have little impact on TEC, because they have spent the last 30 years driving out every Anglo Catholic who did not leave with the signing of the Affirmation of St. Louis.  Still, I would expect quite a few clergy to take advantage a year or two after their retirement.  The long term impact on the Anglican Communion has yet to be seen, and will in large measure depend on how much ++Rowan’s revision committee and the JSC butcher the Covenant.  A weak Covenant (and it was already too weak) and any Anglo Catholic bishop or rector with a brain will be giving the Pope’s offer serious consideration.

October 28, 8:38 am | [comment link]
3. Sherri2 wrote:

My mind boggles at Sherrod’s comment. No wonder the TEC leadership is acting as callously as it is - they think, according to Sherrod, that the people in the pews are just lumps of unthinking flesh, attached to a pile of bricks like leeches and incapable of considering what goes on before their eyes and ears inside. You would think she might consider that there are people in the pews asking their clergy to do something - as evidenced by the many posters here and elsewhere who are not clergy. She can’t seriously believe this, so I question her motive in saying it.

October 28, 9:54 am | [comment link]
4. nwlayman wrote:

If the process is similar to the “Pastoral Provision” method of the last 29 years (75 clerics total!) then look to a glacier for an idea of how it will run, not a swift stream.  It didn’t provide many pastors, and treats them very badly.

October 28, 2:33 pm | [comment link]
5. austin wrote:

#4 I believe (from reliable reports) that the Holy Father is very well aware of how former Anglicans have been treated.  That is precisely why he has suggested the personal ordinariates.  That way, former Anglicans have jurisdiction, not the sitting Catholic bishops.

With regard to the Apostolic Constitution, there seems to be a fair amount of clergy enthusiasm—perhaps for that reason.  The question is whether any substantial number of lay people will sign on.

October 28, 3:24 pm | [comment link]
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