Pope Benedict makes it easier for disenchanted Anglicans to convert

Since the consecration of the openly gay Bishop gene Robinson in 2003 and the blessing of same-sex marriages in the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC), there was no turning back.  The wedge was set and hammered into the heart of the Anglican Communion across the U.S. and Canada.  Now it’s open season.

It is now easier for disenchanted Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism.  The new constitution will allow groups of disenchanted Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church while keeping some of its Anglican traditions—even some Anglican liturgy.  This openness from Rome will allow the appointment of leaders and bishops to oversee former Anglican churches.  It will even allow married Anglican priests to be ordained as Roman Catholic priests, except for bishops. Sorry bishops.

In response, Cardinal George said in a USCCB press release:

“Today the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has received word of the new Provision in the form of an apostolic constitution issued by the Holy See for the reception into full communion with the Catholic Church of groups from the Anglican tradition. The USCCB stands ready to collaborate in the implementation of that Provision in our country.

“This step by the Holy See is in response to a number of requests received in Rome from groups of Anglicans seeking corporate reunion. The application of the new Provision recognizes the desire of some Anglicans (Episcopalians) to live the Catholic faith in full, visible communion with the See of Peter, while at the same time retaining some elements of their traditions of liturgy, spirituality and ecclesial life which are consistent with the Catholic faith. full article…

Is this easy pathway the best for disenchanted Anglicans?  It’s an easy way to stick it to the Episcopal Church and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury but is the Roman Catholic Church the only place to turn to for protestants of the liturgical tradition?  Traditional Anglicans have nowhere else left to turn to right now because the Lutheran Church (ELCA) has become as liberal as the Episcopal Church.  But who wants to join a church that carries the name of an excommunicated Augustinian priest?  Anglicans still have a choice. Pre-existing Lutherans don’t.

It’s nice that Rome is so open to receiving disenchanted Anglicans but I wonder why Pope Benedict is so eager?    It almost seems like this is open season in the Roman Church…anything goes and everything is up for grabs.  He is becoming as anxious and eager as evangelical protestants in receiving new converts.  Evangelical churches, watch out.  Rome is coming and competing with evangelicals in converting the converted.  Pope Benedict really knows what he’s doing.  He’d make evangelicals proud because he’s outdoing the evangelicals in evangelism in typical evangelical-style.  It seems like the only church that isn’t doing much evangelism to Episcopalians is the Episcopal Church, which will be sliced and chopped apart.  Oh, but we can’t forget about the other evangelical Anglican churches competing for disenchanted Anglicans (e.g., ACNA).

Is it going to be so easy for Anglicans to recognize the pope as their leader?  The risk for the Roman Catholic Church is that it may even reopen the issue of celibacy in the priesthood.  I wonder what deacons in the RCC think about this?

Cardinal George Responds to Vatican Announcement on Anglican Groups Entering Catholic Church


(Hat tip for video: Tim).

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Author: Kevin S.

A follower of Jesus, a husband and a father. Hobbies include biking, keeping fish if they don't die on me, blogging when I can, theologizing and ministry, and pondering about world affairs.

6 thoughts on “Pope Benedict makes it easier for disenchanted Anglicans to convert”

  1. For me the debate is not “Is it going to be so easy for Anglicans to recognize the pope as their leader?” but rather how could the orthodox remnant of the Episcopal Church not still see the need to remain protestors to Western heresy? Has the need for the protestant movement ceased?

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  2. Kevin,

    I will be interested to read the Constitution when it is signed by the Pope to see what the details are. In regards to the celebacy issue, you have to keep in mind that there are already married priests in the Catholic Church. The most obvious examples are those Eastern Rite Catholics who have continued the Eastern tradition of having married clergy. Of course, neither the Eastern Rite Catholic Churches or the Eastern Orthodox Churches allow married bishops.

    There has also been a provision, granted during the time of John Paul II, for some Protestant clergy to be ordained to the priesthood as well as being married. This has been done on a case by case basis.
    So, while the majority of Catholic priests are celibate, primarily in the Latin rite, there is a small, but sizable group of married Catholic priests.

    In regards to the Pope receiving new Christians into the fold, I think this does have a lot to do with the ecumenical relations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church. For good or for bad, (I think mostly good), the two churches have been involved in some steady and serious ecumenical discussions over the past 30+ years. However with that being said, I do find it interesting that the Archbishop of Canterbury released a joint statement with the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster about this new provision for Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church. At the very least, it seems that it has occured through much prayer and discussion. It will be very interesting to see how this all turns out.

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  3. @Mark: thanks for stopping by. You asked two great thought-provoking questions. “…could the orthodox remnant of the Episcopal Church not still see the need to remain protestors to Western heresy? Has the need for the protestant movement ceased?”

    I do hope most Anglicans do see themselves as protestants in the true sense of the word. Some Anglicans will, of course, see themselves as Anglo-Catholics because King Henry was not part of the same protestant movement as Luther and Calvin. I wouldn’t be surprised that a small part of Anglo-Catholics see themselves as “protestants” in the true sense of the word since Anglicans never protested against the RCC in the same way the followers of Luther and Calvin protested over the theological issue of justification.

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  4. @Tim, I would like to see the constitution myself too. I didn’t find anything on the Vatican website.

    It’s really interesting how a some of RCC clergy are married and some are not. But it doesn’t seem so inequitable that the RCC allows married priests since the both the Latin and Eastern traditions also allow it. But I think it will definitely become a bigger issue as more protestant clergy move over the RCC. I wonder how many will in the near future?

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