Vatican opens a door for Anglican dissidents

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VATICAN CITY (RNS) In a move with far-reaching ecumenical implications, the Vatican on Tuesday (Oct. 20) announced plans to open its doors to Anglicans upset with their church’s growing acceptance of homosexuality and women clergy. Citing “many requests” from Anglicans around the world, the Vatican said that Pope Benedict XVI would permit the establishment of […]

  • William Winston

    As for Roman Catholic ecumenical relations with anyone, including the Anglicans and Eastern Orthodox, the bottom line has always been conversion rather than intercommunion, so this move certainly does no essential damage to the two Churches continuing working together. At the same time, for as long as it has been welcoming dissatisfied Anglicans, the Roman Catholic Church has been skimming off from the Anglican Communion some of its most contentious folks, folks who’d rather fight than pray. I’m not sure who benefits most from that.

    As for the role of women and married men priests, I seem to recall that Pope John Paul II twice, a year apart, issued documents calling for the women and married men Roman Catholic priests of Czechoslovakia to cease and desist from their ministries; so there have been/are (indelible priesthood?) Roman Catholic priests who are women and married men. Is that not correct?

    In fact, this move seems to be the start of a treatment of Anglican Rite Roman Catholics along similar lines to the Eastern Rite Roman Catholics. In effect, it simply further clarifies the Roman Catholic ecumenical position of conversion rather than intercommunion.

  • William Winston

    Although I thought it went without saying, it was just pointed out to me that anyone joining the Roman Catholic Church because of homosexual clergy in their own Church/church was ironic.

  • Jesudas Athyal

    The “full and visible unity” of the Church is certainly a laudable objective, for the Church as well as for the ecumenical movement. It would, however, be a mistake to characterize the present step of Vatican opening its doors to dissident Anglicans as a step towards the unity of the Church. Unity is achieved by mutual dialogue and a shared perspective. Recent developments – among the Anglicans as well as among the Catholics – however, is typical of the traditional spirit of denominationalism where a group breaks away from the mother church over doctrinal or administrative differences and aligns itself with another group. There seems to be little of the spirit of ecumenism in these developments.

  • Jesudas Athyal

    The present developments seem to hold a message for the Catholic Church as well. During the last few decades, the Church has lost members in large numbers – especially in Latin America and Asia – to neo Pentecostal and evangelical groups. This process has often been dubbed as ‘sheep stealing’. The Church needs to approach its gains as well as its losses in a spirit of collegiality and mutuality.