Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Home To Rome For Traditional Anglicans

In a surprising move, the Vatican has announced a new provision designed to allow traditional Anglican groups to come into full communion with the Catholic church while retaining much of their Anglican identity and liturgy - where it is compatible with Catholic teaching.

As someone who made the journey from Anglicanism to Catholicism some years ago, because the Anglican Church of Canada offers no provision for those with conscientious difficulties around women's ordination, I am thrilled by this move. All of my English friends stuck in the beleagured traditional wing of the Church of England will now have a safe harbour and an easier path to church unity. Traditional groups who left the Anglican church in other parts of the world will now be able to join me on the right side of the Tiber.

The move is a generous response to pleading from both the Traditional Anglican Communion, the largest 'breakaway' group and the special 'flying bishops' appointed in the Church of England to minister to those opposed to women's ordination. When women are consecrated as bishops in the Church of England, such special arrangements are likely to be removed, forcing traditionalists to either fully accept women's ordination or leave the church - and now they have somewhere to go.

For the Catholic church, the addition of the heritage of Anglican liturgy and music can only enrich us all. At its best, Anglo-Catholic worship offers the best of pre-Vatican II style 'bells and smells' combined with the welcome and warmth of today's church.