Julia Duin: Anglicans wary of pope’s invite

Posted by Kendall Harmon

More than a week has passed since Pope Benedict XVI put out a call for disgruntled Anglicans to cross the Tiber after a nearly 500-year separation.

Some are calling this an open door. I see it as Pandora's box. It raises myriad tricky questions that hopefully will be answered with the Vatican's release of Apostolic Constitution, the document that will spell out the details of how whole congregations, even minidenominations along with their bishops, can transfer their allegiance.

Numerically, it's tough to tell how many may take the pontiff's offer. At the initial press conference, Cardinal William Levada, the Vatican's chief doctrinal officer, estimated 20 to 30 bishops along with groups of "hundreds" of laity would switch over. Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, who was also at the press conference, said the number of bishops was closer to 50.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalArchbishop of Canterbury Anglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Religion News & CommentaryOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

10 Comments
Posted October 29, 2009 at 7:31 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

Julia does a better job than most on surveying the Anglican scene, which is not confined—regardless of what you may have heard—to those on Rowan Williams’ “A” list and “B” list.

October 29, 8:56 am | [comment link]
2. CBH wrote:

Re:  Over the past decade I’ve talked with countless women priests who have felt so discouraged by opposition to them that they have felt like leaving. But after calm and prayerful thought, most have concluded that it’s better to stay – not to stay and fight for change, but simply to continue in their vocation and let their work speak for itself.
I will always wonder what if they had de-frocked themselves for the sake of the church and sought a vocation within the context of the traditional service of women which can in no way be diminished or marginalized in eyes of God.  I’ve known so many women who have served God in the highest order without a clerical collar.  I am grateful to them and respectful of them; but I do wonder why it was so necessary.

October 29, 12:55 pm | [comment link]
3. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Hmmm.  I’m sorry, Br_er Rabbit (#1), but I think this article isn’t up to Julia Duin’s usual high standards.  One the one hand, she’s right that there probably won’t be a stampede to swim the Tiber in America, even among the very conservative anti-WO Anglo-Catholic continuing church groups like the Anglican Catholic Church, the APA, and many FiF-NA folks.

But one place where there is unrestrained celebration is at large, thriving Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont (Philly), PA.  The rector of that historic Anglo-Catholic bastion (still in TEC technically), David Moyer, is one of the 38 TAC (Traditional Anglican Communion) bishops who petitioned Rome for this sort of special dispensation for Anglicans.  His reaction after hearing about the dramatic announcement from Rome wasn’t wariness, or suspicion, but relief, and tears of joy.

From what’s already been reported from the annual Fif-UK conference last week, it appears that at least three bishops in the CoE, John Hine (Chichester), John Broadhurst (Fulham), and Martyn Jarrett (Beverley) will be happily accepting Rome’s offer.  Given the strong pressure on anti-WO clergy in England, where it certainly seems that women bishops are soon going to be forced on them, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if hundreds of CoE clergy end up fleeing to the RC Church.

Which raises an interesting questions: why are things so different in the UK and in the USA?

David Handy+

October 29, 2:54 pm | [comment link]
4. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

Rev Handy #3 I am not sure where you are getting your information from - I think it is really important to listen carefully to the speeches of the FiF Conference itself and not to rely on press speculation here, which as usual has been an embarrassment or what others may be claiming.

In particular the Bishop of Chichester gave a very thoughtful speech in which he did not say that he will be happily accepting Rome’s offer.  His statement denying this report is here:
http://www.kendallharmon.net/t19/index.php/t19/article/26129/
http://www.diochi.org.uk/index.cfm?fuseaction=news.story&newsid=71&view=current
and the full text of his speech is here
http://www.diochi.org.uk/downloads/Bishop of Chichester/Adresses/2009 1023 FiF.pdf

and it can be listened to along with all the other principal speakers including Bishop Broadhurst of Fulham and Bishop Jarrett of Beverely who similarly gave thoughtful and reflective speeches.  The Bishop of Beverley in particular made the point that he had a duty to all those entrusted to his care, those who might go, those who might stay and those who were unsure.

The message I took from what I heard was that there was deep gratitude that the Pope had heard what our church cannot apparently but that it is sensible to see both the detail of the Apostolic Statement and the response of the Church of England to their concerns.

You can listen to it all here from the FiF UK site - it is worth the effort and of a consistently high standard of debate:
http://www.forwardinfaith.com/news/na09-10.html

October 29, 3:43 pm | [comment link]
5. New Reformation Advocate wrote:

Thanks, Pageantmaster (#4).  I’m sorry if I naively took some early reports at face value that were unreliable.  I’m sure you know much more about all this than I do.  I’ll listen to the speeches.  Thanks for the links.  It’s all too easy for someone on this side of the Pond to get it wrong.

David Handy+

October 29, 3:49 pm | [comment link]
6. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

Also Rev Handy in answer to your question:
“Which raises an interesting questions: why are things so different in the UK and in the USA?”

Separate specific provision could have been provided in respect of TAC, but it was broadened by the Vatican considerably.

There is no doubt in my mind that the Vatican had the Church of England specifically in mind:
1. Because people here had been to Rome to request it and we in our House of Bishops and then Synod ‘08 ignored the complaints of the Anglo-Catholics and perhaps still have not provided a proper provision; and
2. for the reason that we are the home church of the Archbishop of Canterbury and we are very much in the cross-hairs of the Vatican for that reason in the same way as we have been for GAFCON and FCA.  Both of them have pretty firmly indicated that they have given up on Lambeth Palace and the Communion to bring anything but more chaos through shilly-shallying and so we in the Church of England are considered fair game for their interference.

I personally believe we will be the poorer for the loss of the Anglo-Catholic witness although the liberal catholics and evangelicals don’t seem to see it as much of a problem, some are indifferent and some gleeful.  I am not sure they realise that they have brought the divisions of TEC and the Communion here with their actions.

We are coming to the point where we as a church are being forced to decide between the chaos of links with TEC or our traditional links with the mainstream Communion.

October 29, 3:55 pm | [comment link]
7. Pageantmaster ن [Repent Justin Welby] wrote:

#5 Thanks Rev Handy - I am sure you will enjoy them - the standard of debate was high and the issues and concerns were worked through by the speakers.

October 29, 3:57 pm | [comment link]
8. Br_er Rabbit wrote:

David, re:

someone on this side of the Pond,

I’ve been thinking about this phrase, which I have used frequently myself. I have noticed that I’ve never seen it used by a Brit, but only by an American talking to a Brit. I’ll wager that the phrase entered the American vernacular via some of the old black-and-white movies of the 1940’s, and hasn’t been heard from the lips of a Brit for over a generation. But I stand ready to be corrected.

On Julia Duin, I have not made a comparative analysis of this article with her other articles. What I did notice was that she acknowledged that there was such a thing as “various continuing Anglican groups”, whereas most reporters would be at a loss to know what “continuing anglican” meant. She also mentioned the ACIC, althugh she passed over the TAC, which held a povotal role in this development.

With acronyms like the AIC, the FACA, the REC, the APA, and my own province, the CEEC, it is not surprising that reporters avoid the thicket and go straight to the major names.

If not for the Africans, I have wondered if there may not be more Anglicans outside the Anglican Communion than inside.  It is gratifying that someone realizes we are out there.

October 29, 5:27 pm | [comment link]
9. advocate wrote:

You know, we have all been looking at this provision with an eye towards how many folks are going to be Tiber swimming in the coming months/year. But this ordinariate is going to be around a long time I suspect. And what will be very interesting will be, as things in TEC continue to fragment, and tensions mount as I think they inevitably will between the ACs and the evangelicals in ACIA, how many folks decide to start swimming in the next few years. What doesn’t look good now might look a lot differently after a few years.

October 29, 5:30 pm | [comment link]
10. archangelica wrote:

I know more than a few Anglo-Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Fort Worth who are rejoicing at the news and who have been advocating behind the scenes with both Rome and the RC Diocese of Fort Worth for quite sometime for this opportunity.
Many of them are more than ready to swim and many of their parishoners will go with them. Traditional Anglo-Catholics have always sought reunion with Rome so this is a dream come true for them, an incredible blessing for which they are giving thanks.
I predict many in the SSC will go too. Anglicanism’s loss is most certainly Rome’s gain. The priests who do go will be some of the finest, holiest and most erudite.
Thank you KJS for helping to make this miracle possible.

October 29, 10:00 pm | [comment link]
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