Pope Benedict and Anglicans
The news that Pope Benedict has made special provision for Anglicans seeking union with Rome is worth examining in full:
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as is the joint statement by the Archbishops of Westminster and Canterbury:
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Commenting on the issue to a private correspondent, Abba Seraphim today observed:
I should imagine that Forward in Faith and other kindred bodies will have no reason to delay further any move and that we should see a mass exodus of Anglo-Catholics to Rome once the Ordinariates (what a horrid word !) are established. It is effectively a form of corporate reunion as espoused by de Lisle and Lee and other 19th century Anglicans, so it is quite a historic achievement, which owes much to the present Pope. Presumably there will be mass conditional ordinations and one wonders how they will provide for elderly priests with no active ministry. As this clearly has the full support of Pope Benedict - whose several actions to date have been those of a healer and reconciler - there are signs that they will be charitable.
One hopes that personal and practical considerations among Anglican clergy will not overrule issues of principle and conscience, so that those who fear to lose their Anglican stipends, or bishops who are married, will be willing to make personal sacrifices ! My view has always been that once women were ordained as deacons (and later as priests) there was a departure from the historic Christian ministry, which was the time for those supporting the apostolic tradition to leave the Anglican communion. I have always felt that those who have remained have allowed themselves to be compromised. Let's hope this opportunity marks a clearer division. However, this provision will not satisfy the anti-Catholic evangelicals so it will not bring peace to the Anglican communion. I fear that one of the negative results will be an Anglicanism markedly more Protestant or Liberal with a bitter struggle between those two factions.
Whether this will prove beneficial to the Roman Church is another issue. I
do not doubt that there are many devout and sound clergy and laity who will use their Christian commitment and faith to good effect, but there is a type of Anglican mindset which is subversive and divisive and one hopes that it will not surface and prove destructive.
It will be challenging time on all sides and I pray that Pope Benedict will
be granted length of years and good health to see this reunion firmly