Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Giving new meaning to Anglo Catholic

Previously we addressed, though in scant details, the efforts of a particular caucus of traditionalists within the Greater Anglican Communion to seek full corporate reunion with Rome. Well it appears there has been a bit of a rumble lately.

The Church of England News (H/t Sunlit Uplands), which by its very associations with the notions of being English journalism makes it a tabloid of sorts despite its churchly focus, is reporting that an announcement on the status of the group in regards to reunification is due after Lambeth Conference.

Leaders of TAC, home to over 400,000 Anglo-Catholics who have left the Episcopal and Anglican churches over the past thirty years, have been in talks with the Vatican over creating an Anglican-rite enclave under the authority of the Bishop of Rome.

While the curia under Pope John Paul II had opposed attempts to bring Anglicans en masse into the Roman Catholic fold, under Benedict XVI the Vatican appears to have adopted a different line. Anglicans wishing to be received into the Catholic Church are welcome to do so, as individuals, rather than as part of a larger ecclesial body. The talks between TAC and Vatican , however, have focused on allowing whole groups to enter the Catholic Church while maintaining their own orders and liturgy.

The National Catholic Register reported that "discussions at the Vatican on devising a possible structure for [TAC] to come into communion with Rome are understood to be nearing completion." It added that during their May 5 meeting, Archbishop Rowan Williams asked Benedict that "any potential announcement be delayed until after the Lambeth Conference."

However, a spokesman for Dr Williams told CEN the report was untrue. The TAC issue "didn't come up with the Pope," a press spokesman for the Archbishop said.

The Rt Rev David Moyer, former president of Forward in Faith USA and a Bishop in TAC, also declined to comment on the negotiations with Rome , stating only that "We in the TAC are on our knees for something positive to happen.We remain very hopeful."

The Bishop of Fort Worth, the Rt Rev Jack Iker -- who is currently in Rome on study leave -- told The Church of England Newspaper "conversations with TAC - and others-have taken place at high levels in the Vatican and that it is thought that the Pope is sympathetic to the dilemma of traditionalists in the Anglican way."

However, no formal dialogue exists between TAC and the Congregation for romoting Christian Unity -- the Vatican agency tasked with ecumenical relations.

Speculation on a possible Anglican enclave within the Catholic Church comes amidst a tightening of views on women bishops within the Church of England. One raditionalist leader speculated that the House of Bishops' decision to go ahead with women bishops without providing safeguards for those opposed, may have been predicated on the calculation that the Catholic Church would resolve the women clergy issue for the Church of England.

Perhaps the most interesting notion from this release other than the flights of fancy that one should believe that any decision of Rome should come so soon (for you know not the hour... from Matthew comes to mind) is from the very first paragraph, Anglican Rite.

As far back as 2005 the blogosphere has been discussing the possibility of this idea. And why not? We've already established Eastern Catholic Churches that act as intermediaries between those who want to maintain their historical and liturgical integrity while acknowledging that the Roman Pontiff is "head of the Church." As such these institutions are only temporary until further efforts at full communion/reunification can be established: something we're well on our way to doing and for which we're seeing progress with the Eastern Churches at least.

So what would an Anglican Rite look like? I'd venture to say like a toned down version of the Sarum Rite that entails the continued use of 16th century idiom for its liturgical language. If you live in Columbia, SC, I suppose all one would have to do is visit the parish of Good Shepherd Episcopal. Would a separate Patriarch of the Britons be established? Based in Canterbury I wonder? Ought to be, as the Anglican Communion slips ever so precipitously into disunion and dysfunction and the new Archbishopric could serve as a bulwark to either shepherd Anglicans into the fold of the Roman cowl or give resiliency to Rev. Williams and the gang in their efforts to maintain.

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