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Scott P. Richert

Pope Benedict to Anglicans: Come Home to Rome

By October 20, 2009

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October 20, 2009, will go down in history as a turning point in Catholic-Anglican relations. This morning, at 11 A.M. Rome time (5 A.M. EDT), the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith announced new procedures through which entire congregations of Anglicans can be reunited to the Catholic Church.

Late on Monday, October 19, after the CDF press conference was announced by the Vatican, rumors began to swirl. Most commentators thought that the announcement would involve the Traditional Anglican Communion, a group which represents 400,000 Anglicans in 40 countries worldwide, which had approached the CDF two years ago, requesting "full, corporate, and sacramental union" with the Catholic Church.

But today's announcement goes well beyond the TAC. William Cardinal Levada, the prefect of the CDF, and Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, announced that Pope Benedict has signed an Apostolic Constitution (which has not yet been released) that will allow the TAC and other disaffected Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church as discrete bodies:

In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.

As John Allen of the National Catholic Register explains, "personal ordinariates" are

similar to the structures created throughout the world to provide pastoral care for members of the military and their families. The structures are, in effect, non-territorial dioceses, provided over by a bishop and with their own priests and seminarians.

While the Catholic Church does not recognize the validity of Anglican Holy Orders, the new structure will allow married Anglican clergy to receive Holy Orders after formal conversion, and thus to serve as Roman Catholic priests. As John Allen notes, in keeping with both Catholic and Orthodox tradition, "they may not be ordained as bishops."

This new canonical structure will be open to all in the Anglican Communion (currently 77 million strong), including the Episcopal Church in the United States (approximately 2.2 million). The TAC will likely be the first to take advantage of the Apostolic Constitution, but more will undoubtedly follow. The Anglican Communion has been increasingly divided since the consecration of Gene Robinson, a open and practicing homosexual, as bishop in 2003, not to mention early controversies over the priestly and episcopal ordination of women and the blessing of same-sex couples.

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October 20, 2009 at 7:06 am
(1) Wolfwood says:

It will be interesting to see what the forthcoming Apostolic Constitution says about Anglican laity who want to “Swim the Tiber.” What will be needed for them to receive the sacraments at Roman Catholic parishes? How soon will it be possible?

October 20, 2009 at 7:19 am
(2) Semperlibre says:

“Pope Benedict XVI has created a new church structure for Anglicans who want to join the Catholic Church, responding to the disillusionment of some Anglicans over the ordination of women and the election of openly gay bishops”
I suppose it’s OK though when you’re a closet Catholic paedophile – just musn’t tell anyone.
And if you’re gay – why, just live a lie and pretend it never happened. And that’s what the church regards as moral? For shame!
Fortunately the Catolic Church is responsible for spreading the seeds of it’s own demise and the rest of us can just stand and stare in amusement.

October 20, 2009 at 8:00 am
(3) Matthew_DC says:

Yes, the “demise” of the Catholic Church has been predicted for centuries, no? It is what it is. If people don’t like it, they can place membership elsewhere.

October 20, 2009 at 8:22 am
(4) Tom says:

Semperlibre- If you think there are no pedophiles in YOUR ecclesial community, in your school district, in your community, etc., then you’re sadly mistaken. It’s a terrible problem associated with homosexuality, not clerical celibacy! The Catholic Church is made of living, breathing, human beings who are tainted with the effects of Original Sin, just like any institution. Sadly it happened. Thankfully it was exposed and eradicated as best as possible. Also thankfully they are holding the line on barring homosexuals from the priesthood. Welcome home all of the Anglicans who understand this and seek the same for themselves and their families!

October 20, 2009 at 8:55 am
(5) Robb says:

This Anglo-Catholic has already taken steps to be received
by the Latin Church. But this is fantastic news for my AC brothers and sisters. Thank you Lord for a godly and discerning
Bishop of Rome.

October 20, 2009 at 10:00 am
(6) ChrisS says:

One the one hand, allow female bishops and gays in the church. Allow priests to marry which they could do in the RC until the RC started to gobble up land and it was ‘inconvenient’ for a priest to have issue.

On the other hand, have closeted gays and pedophiles. Restrict birth control options.

One of the most evil things EVER as it causes untold hardship in poverty stricken nations.

Make the distance between you and God even greater by such as Mary and the Saints. Be forced to tell a priest your sins as you have no right to ask God for forgiveness in the RC. I could go on forever with the crap that is associated with the Roman Church.

October 20, 2009 at 10:13 am
(7) Eppers says:

Wow, it’s exciting isn’t it? We Anglicans get to become part of the stifling, stagnant, reactionary and increasingly irrelevant one holy catholic church.

October 20, 2009 at 10:23 am
(8) Stephen says:

This great news is not truly going to embrace the cat fights over sexuality, the role of women, gay Bishops etc. It is about FAITH. Millions of Anglicans worldwide have sat, praying, for decades, hoping the trend to abandon about every orthodox value in the Church for some knee-jerk “of the moment”type of renovation, will be a trend to die or reverse. That prayer has not been answered, but now a better answer has become real. Anglicans are Catholics. The Anglican and Roman Apostle’s Creed are letter perfect…identical. The Doctrine of Transubstantiation question (to do with holy communion) often produces the Roman Catholic answer from the Anglican, or the Anglican answer from the Roman Catholic. This for me is prof positive that truly the two Churches are much closer that envisioned by so many. Without bitterness or regrets, I will be one of the millions who walks into the Roman Catholic Church, embracing my Anglican upbringing, but confident that my faith wounds will heal, and my soul will again reveal the depth of my appreciation for the Cross, without the agony of being mis-managed by those who’s actions have brought the Anglican commune once again, to it’s knees. Alleluia!

October 20, 2009 at 10:44 am
(9) norris hall says:

I think this is an excellent move. By opening itself up to married priests the Catholic church will have taken a small step towards acceptance of married clergy.
If nothing else, the Catholic Church will grow accustom to the idea of having married priests and it will become harder to justify celibacy in the church as a whole.
I wonder if Catholics who are married but want to become priest could join this new Anglican wing and stay married.

October 20, 2009 at 10:54 am
(10) Char says:

I really don’t know what to think. what’s right? whats? wrong? The Church as we know it now has a lot of cloudy areas. There will be a breaking off from the Catholic Church and it will be very difficult to decide which side each of us falls on. Do you take a hard line for Traditon and scripture???? Dogma??? or do we cave to what the world wants us to do? My motto… do not teach your children what the world is today, teach them what we want it to be…. Even then we have such separation. How sad life is on earth.

October 20, 2009 at 10:57 am
(11) David says:

Amusing to hear an Anglican describe the Church as “stifling, stagnant, reactionary and increasingly irrelevant.” Is there any religious body in the world more stifling than Anglicanism (except to the completely p.c.), more stagnant (intellectually as well as in numbers), more reactionary (against any form of traditional Christianity), and less relevant (does any reporter ever bother to ask what the local Episcopal bishop has to say on an issue of the day?).

October 20, 2009 at 11:07 am
(12) Eppers says:

General Social Survey data shows that for every one Episcopalian who becomes a Roman Catholic there are two to three Roman Catholics who become an Episcopalian. And the younger the age group the greater the disparity. This new procedure is nothing for Anglicans to worry about. In addition, Jesus’ diciples saw in his teachings an inclusiveness that resulted in them welcoming Gentiles into the fold, even though Jesus had no Gentile followers and at times spoke harshly of them. That same sort of thing is happening today, first in the Anglican church and eventually in others. Fight all you want but the trend is irreversible.

October 20, 2009 at 1:08 pm
(13) Dave nelson says:

As a Roman Catholic I am accustomed to paedophilia being mentioned by someone when Catholicism is being discussed. I rarely bother commenting, as to do so each time would constitute a full time occupation.

However, the respondent who linked paedophilia and homosexuality is making a common error. I have worked as a child protection professional and can state categorically that there is no direct link.

The vast majority of child sexual abuse takes place within families, and is perpetrated by heterosexual males.

October 20, 2009 at 1:18 pm
(14) Michael says:

Tricky, Dave Nelson. Of course the majority of abuse is committed by heterosexual males (typically, by the way, live-in boyfriends, step-fathers, etc.) But homosexual and bisexual men commit pedophilic acts disproportionately often. There is a link.

October 20, 2009 at 2:06 pm
(15) Jeffrey Mark says:

Praise God,Let us all be One Faith in One Lord Jesus Christ,in Love,Joy,Fellowship and Peace In Jesus’s Heart!!!
Blessings Every 1,
Jeff Andrews……………

October 20, 2009 at 2:42 pm
(16) Dan F. says:

I’m very excited about this movement and I’ll eagerly await to see it’s fruits!

On a different note it’s amazing to me the stark difference between most of the commentators so far – either angry, bitter, divisive and dismissive or full of love, grace and joy. Of which group would you want to be associated?

October 20, 2009 at 4:48 pm
(17) Michael Carden says:

Michael, re your comment about a disproportionate number of gay and bisexual men committing pedophilic acts, do you have any figures to support that allegation? Dave Nelson is correct to state that sexual abuse of children most commonly takes place in families by heterosexual men against girl children primarily. I’ve not heard of any evidence to the contrary.

Re the new Apostolic Constitution. I can see how it would be exciting for the dissident Anglicans. I’m wondering if it might pave the way for the establishment of full communion eventually between the Roman and Anglican communions. That’s what I look forward to one day and also the full communion between the Roman and Eastern churches.

If this Constitution helps ot bring that about then I welcome it. If it served as an obstacle then I would not. Only time will tell. I am happy for the traditionalist Anglicans who’ve had their heart set on joining up with Rome. But I hope they bring with them the full depth of Anglican tradition and theology in all its richneess and not just a ‘traditionalist’ one. After all Roman tradition and theology is a very broad spectrum of which the ‘traditionalist’ is just a part too.

October 20, 2009 at 5:00 pm
(18) char says:

Scott~ What is your take on this? As I read the articles within the article … Is this an invitation for the Traditional Anglican Communion?? That would be more in line with the Church, rather than saying come on in all you practicing, woman priests and homosexuals… ??

October 20, 2009 at 6:16 pm
(19) Scott P. Richert says:

Char, yes, this is aimed at traditionalists within the Anglican Communion. TAC is the most obvious such group, but there are individual parishes and perhaps even entire provinces (dioceses) that may come in as well.

Of course, any female Anglican priest who desires to convert will be more than welcome. She just won’t be a priest any more nor, of course, eligible for ordination in the Catholic Church.

October 20, 2009 at 7:26 pm
(20) Claudia says:

I can’t even consider taking my blood pressure! Until recently, members of the Episcopal Church have pretended that their were never gay priests or bishops. Gene Robbinson was the first bishop whose “gayness” was made public prior to his consecration! I hope and pray that those “married” priests who leave for Rome, back their gay pride banners, and dresses so that they can come out in style at their (re) ordinations in Rome. This is evidence of a Pope running frightened and using his papal power to break rules that he has kept in stone from his own clergy (married priests). How will he justify this? This sounds more like “The bold and the beautiful” rather than a rational, Christ centered, faith based church. Have mercy on them!

October 21, 2009 at 12:56 am
(21) tomb says:

The Pastoral Provision is not new, and there are a handful of thriving congregations using an Anglican liturgy (with the Roman canon) in the US.

I remember reading an essay (I forget where, and I’ve tried to find it) analyzing why the PP hadn’t caught on more. Consensus was that it was because it required entire congregations to convert, and, more to the point, Catholic bishops were reluctant to admit them into their dioceses. As I recall, the salient point was that “no Catholic bishop wants to admit a congregation of battle-hardened heresy-sniffing Episcopalians into his diocese.”

I am reminded of the lyrics of “I’m an Ordinary Man” from My Fair Lady:

BUT, Let a woman in your life / and your serenity is through, / she’ll redecorate your home, / from the cellar to the dome, / and then go on to the enthralling fun of overhauling you…

Substitute “Catholic” for “Man” and “Anglican” for woman, and you pretty much have the scenario that I suspect keeps Catholic bishops up at night.

October 21, 2009 at 4:39 am
(22) Mary says:

I am shocked but not surprised by the prethora of hyppocritical horror expressed by some commentators. What did Jesus pray for on Holy Thurday before he proceeded to Gesthemane? When the time comes for Him to begin collecting His scattered sheep together, why the fociferous opposition? If the Anglican Church ignored the Scriptures and forgot the destruction of Sodom and Gommorah, the edict of marriage as stated in the Genesis and by Jesus Himself, what did you expect faithful Christ’s sheep in that fold to do? Definitely answer His call and follow Him. As for the wayward Nuns who are under investigations, they know the vows they took when they join the Church. If they are unabale to live by them and want to join the life of the world, the Church has a duty to protect the purity and fidelity to its teachings and demand the Nuns repent and obey their vows.

What of the hollering Catholics Priests? Surely when they decide to taker the Sacrament they make vows voluntarily, not to the Bishop BUT TO GOD HIMSEF!. Those vows are binding and if one cannot keep them, the way to follow is clear. Never ask a recommendation fo a divorced spouse freom the ex-partner- they will have nothing good to say about that partner. Disobedient Catholics cannot say anything good about the Vatican’s decision to respond with an invitation to the request sent to the Pope 2 years ago. As for how they will be integrated, the method is so clear. The Church has been doing it these 2 thousand years.

How did they deal with the polygamy issue in Africa? The monogamous Catholics they found in the Church welcomed them with joj and, once again, Heaven rejoiced. It is the same way the Church is admitting the Anglicans, with suitable conditions. |The Keys of Peter” gives the Pope the Authority to shepherd and guide the Church. And surely the Church is growing by leaps and bounds in Africa. God is Able. When the time comes for Him to Gather His flock, His Shepherd on the Earth will be shown the way to follow by the Holy Spirit who dwells and guides the Church. Let us welcome the unification of Christ’s Church and not oppose it. In any case, it is futile to oppose God, His Will Shall be done.

Zacheus was accepted by Jesus to the annoyance of the Pharisees. Jesus openly revealed He was the Messiah to the Samaritan woman not to His own people. She accepted unquestionably. The Anglicans are most welcome to come back Home and Heaven is rejoicing. Those Catholic Priests who are complaining that Anglican married Priests will join them should re-read the story of the Farmer who hired workers at different times and paid them the same wages. They vowed to remian celibate and that is binding. They have no right to ask their vows to be amended. God does not change His mind and is faithful even when we become unfaithful. If they are offended, too bad, join ex-Archbishop Milingo and leave Christ’s Church alone

October 21, 2009 at 7:13 am
(23) Paul Dale says:

I am a gay man who loves the Church and has returned to the Church with sacramental confession and Mass. Please can we have the love of Christ and stop attacking gay people, priests or otherwise. Jesus so loves us that he calls us, yes gays, straight, paedophiles, in all our divergent humanity to come to him, because we are sinners and He alone knows what is best for us. The Church’s teaching is right, of course it is right because it was given to us by the Triune God, and in particular by Our Crucified and risen Lord, who breathed on his apostles (the only occasion since he breathed on Adam). Let us know where the Church’s teaching stands and be guided by the Holy Father and the Magisterium of the Church but also let us abandon ourselves to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and allow His mercy to work in us. Do not attack and vilify me, because of who and what I am, because then you attack all sinners – Christ doesn’t, he loves me and ALL PEOPLE – but pray for the conversion of all sinners. My Lord starts everyday, throughout time, the call to “Come to Me” to every soul on earth, and true joy is given to them who respond to His Mercy. He loves us all and his love is unconditional and lasts throughout our earthly pilgrimage. Oh God may the example of Your Son melt the hearts of Your faithful people and all!

October 21, 2009 at 7:41 am
(24) Scott P. Richert says:

tomb, this goes beyond the previous “pastoral provision,” and one of the things it does is address the very problem that you raise. With “personal ordinariates,” an Anglican congregation won’t come into an existing Catholic diocese as a parish; it will become part of an alternative structure which, in most cases, will have a former Anglican clergyman as its ordinary.

October 21, 2009 at 9:18 am
(25) Char says:

Some of you ask not to be attacked as gays… I’m not sure if attack is the correct word. I know that I am a sinner, the only person/Being that I want to know my sins is our Lord Jesus Christ. If I know that there is an openly gay person coming into the church or a murder, adulterous etc… joinging our faith community, because I am human I am going to have some kind of a negative feeling towards that person (that would be one of my sins)its hard when you know someones sins and you know they continue to do those things, to just say welcome! When you see these people accepting communion and you know that it is against Christ… its very hard for some people to just say “we need to pray for them, and leave it up to Christ” WE ARE HUMAN, some people can not do that and then THEY need prayer.If you knew someone was a child molester, you would keep your children away from that person and even if you didn’t have children, you would still have some negative thoughts about them. Many people do not think of prayer first when a sin is exposed so outright. They first have their human reaction and then hopefully they will have their faith reaction. We need to look at other situations from all angles. We need to try and put ourselves in the other persons shoes and that means those that are gay to look at it from the religious point of view when they feel they are being attacked. How does that Catholic look at the person that is gay? It states it all over in the bible that it is wrong. Yes it may be your cross to bare and thats what those that don’t agree with it need to understand. Its probably those gays that are so against the church that give gays that want to follow what Jesus Christ taught a bad name.

We are all called to love one another. Hate the sin, love the sinner. I wish it were that easy. There is so much hate and anger. If we are all going to be in one church and someone that is gay wants to feel part of it, they need to be the one that is outgoing and get invovlved. You need to let people know who you are and that you love our Lord and help them understand you and not let the sins rule our heart but rather our Lord. Some of you may not like that you have to be the one to reach out but if you want people to understand your makeup, you will need to be the one to bridge the gap and hopefully you’ll find a Christ like love for one another.

October 21, 2009 at 10:20 am
(26) Epply says:

The point that most fail to get is that we Anglicans already consider ourselves to be Catholic, just not Roman Catholic. A person has to accept that the Pope is the head of the earthly Church in order to join the RCC. Even most of these breakaway Anglican groups no more believe that than the Orthodox. In the end all the RCC has done is make a mockery out of its claim that Anglican order are null and void. You blinked.

October 21, 2009 at 10:40 am
(27) Scott P. Richert says:

Two points, Epply. First, any Anglican priest who converts and wishes to serve as a Catholic priest will have to be ordained. There’s no blinking here—the Church continues to maintain that Anglican orders are invalid.

Second, the very structure of the personal ordinariate will address the question of papal primacy. The ordinaries in these personal ordinariates will be directly subject to the Holy Father. It hardly matters whether those who are willing to do so hold a mental reservation about papal primacy. As long as they act as if they believe it (which the structure will require them to do), such mental reservations are irrelevant.

October 21, 2009 at 11:08 am
(28) Paul Dale says:


All I ask is that you reach the out for the example of Jesus and forgive unreservedly and judge not by the look of people and judge not by the the world’s standards, as Jesus forgave Mary Magdelen. Let him who is without sin….. Our church is made up of sinners, God loves sinners. Do not assume that because I might look gay, sound effeminate that yours or the world’s judgement is heaped down on me, by associating me with a murderer or an adulterer, because therein lies another sin. There are many people who are gay who strive to lead a worthy catholic life in what the church teaches, as I strive. I know of a gay priest who is a friend of mine here in London, he is a good priest and he strives in his ministry to be a good priest. I pray for him every day as we are called upon to do. It is our daily cross to bear. We are people, souls, not labels, desirous of the grace of God, and serious in our struggles to do God’s will. A little less of the shrill name calling by labels and more prayer forgiveness and support will counter the godless gay, liberal culture. Let us start from where we are, the state of the world that we find ourselves in and reach out with understanding, prayer and forgiveness as Christ does from the cross everyday.

October 21, 2009 at 11:13 am
(29) Epply says:

Two points, Scott P. Richert, first, the mere full-court press on the part of the RCC to accept Anglican clergy clearly is at cross purposes with its technical requirement for reordination. You can make the technical argument all you want but it has less and less force now. It’s clear that the RCC doesn’t even half-heartedly believe anymore that Anglican orders are invalid, if it ever really did.

Second, my other point is that one who doesn’t believe that the Pope is the head of the earthly Church has no intellectual basis for joining the RCC. Simply suggesting that someone pretend to believe it is hardly much of a sales pitch for joining.

October 21, 2009 at 11:27 am
(30) Scott P. Richert says:

Epply, there’s something lacking in your argument. If the Catholic Church does not believe that Anglican orders are invalid, then She wouldn’t require those Anglican priests to receive the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Period.

I’m not “suggesting that someone pretend to believe,” nor am I making “a sales pitch for joining.” I’m suggesting that someone who is willing to act as if he believes in papal primacy for all intents and purposes does, no matter what mental reservations he tells himself he has made.

October 21, 2009 at 11:31 am
(31) Char says:

Amen Paul Dale!!! :)

October 21, 2009 at 11:56 am
(32) Ray M says:

In my 20 year career and experience as an urban and suburban prosecutor, it is undoubtedly true, as one commentator stated, that homosexual pedophilia occurs at a far greater rate than heterosexual pedophilia. One need only consult US Census victimization data, which demonstrates that, while young female victims do outnumber young male victims, the ratio is perhaps only 60% female to 40% male. When discounting for the small number of female abusers, and accounting for the small percentage of homosexual males in the adult population as a whole, clearly homosexual males abuse male youths at a much higher rate than heterosexual males abuse young females, since such a small number of abusers account for 40% or more of the victims. This is supported by at least one study of which I am aware–Abel, Becker, et al. from 1987–which found that intra-family homosexual abusers victimized slightly more young boys than intra-family heterosexual abusers victimized young females, but that extra-family homosexual pedophiles victimized young males at a rate that was an astounding ten times that at which extra-family heterosexual abusers victimized young females, 155 males accounting for nearly 30,000 young male victims. (A 2007 Mayo Clinic study found similar rates of victimization–ten times the victims, and ten times the incidents–by homosexual pedophiles, as opposed the heterosexual pedophiles, and that pedophiles are actually many times more likely to be homosexual than heterosexual.) Clearly, by whatever count, homosexual pedophilia victimizes far more children than heterosexual pedophilia.

October 21, 2009 at 12:16 pm
(33) Epply says:

Scott P. Richert, I’d respond to your first paragraph, but we would end up just going around in circles.

As far as your second point is concerned, I usually let my mind determine how my body behaves, not the other way around.

October 21, 2009 at 1:25 pm
(34) Col. Parmenter says:

So Rome is still clinging to the demonstrable lies by a disaffected Anglican priest in the 19th century in denying the validity of Anglican orders. That is a pity. I would hope that the new Ordinariate would be the standard form for English-speaking Catholics, since we aren’t Italians.

I hope this signals a repentance from a demonic discipline (1 Tim 4) imposed upon those called by God to the pastorate on the part of Rome.

October 21, 2009 at 1:56 pm
(35) ff says:

so i guess we all be aloowed to divoece to marry our underage cousins like henry the 8 who started that gd church what next the jews

October 22, 2009 at 12:53 pm
(36) katezade says:

One problem: the Anglicans who come over to “Rome” will be coming over to a phony “Mass” that actually apes the Lutheran service. The real Mass is found in so-called “traditionalist” chapels.

If Anglicans want to convert to Catholicism they need to find a real priest who will hear their abjuration of heresy and conditionally baptize them. Then they need the true sacraments and the true Mass. What Benedict offers is a nutritionless counterfeit. Sorry.

October 23, 2009 at 1:53 pm
(37) Ruairidh says:

Katezade, you might benefit by reviewing the early writings, such as St Martin, regarding the structure and substance of the Mass. After that, you could revise your comments on the “roman” Mass, the Lutheran liturgy, and the so-called “traditionalist church” celebrations. Part of the appeal of the Roman church is not only it’s direct descent (apostolic succession), but also it’s relative consistency in form over the centuries.

October 24, 2009 at 1:58 am
(38) Johntheoptimist says:

A door hs been opened and many will seek to walk through but we do not yet know the what will be asked before admittance.

Don’t cry out against that which isn’t yet fully understood. Pray.

October 24, 2009 at 6:59 pm
(39) malcolm says:

Here in England I do not accept the oders of ‘priests’ not in communion with Canterbury. So why change?

October 26, 2009 at 11:34 am
(40) Epply says:

Enough with this “The Traditional Anglican Communion has some 400,000 members,” already. There’s no way they have anything even close to that number. They make no claims on their website. Wikipedia reports that they have around 100 churches in the U.S. with about 5,200 members (yes, 52 people per parish). They have about 25, 38, 19 and 49 parishes in Australia and New Zealand, Canada, Britain, and South Africa, respectively. And while they have parishes in Asia, Central America and other places, these are likely to be nothing more, in reality, than missions. Their membership couldn’t possibly be anything more than 50,000. And that’s probably stretching it. In fact, they lost some parishes lately to the Anglican Province in America.

October 26, 2009 at 11:39 am
(41) Scott P. Richert says:

Epply, take it up with the London Times:

Archbishop John Hepworth, the twice-married Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, who led negotiations with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, said he was “profoundly moved” by the Pope’s decision and would immediately seek the approval of the group’s 400,000 members worldwide to join.

400,000 former Anglicans worldwide seek immediate unity with Rome

October 26, 2009 at 4:39 pm
(42) Epply says:

That’s not a quote. It’s at best an interpretation of what he said. “Profoundly moved” is a quote. It appears as if someone got the wrong information regarding the size of the TAC and tacked it onto the story. In any event, given the number of parishes that they reportedly have it would be mathematically impossible for them to have anything close to 400,000 members. They probably don’t even have one tenth of that.

October 26, 2009 at 4:44 pm
(43) Scott P. Richert says:

And by reportedly, Epply, you mean “According to Wikipedia,” which is, as we all know, much more reliable than the London Times.

October 26, 2009 at 4:51 pm
(44) Scott P. Richert says:

As for the Traditional Anglican Communion making no claims about their membership:

The Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) is a worldwide association of orthodox Anglican churches, working to maintain the catholic faith and resist the secularization of the Church. Our member churches comprise more than 400,000 members on 6 continents.


October 26, 2009 at 5:06 pm
(45) Epply says:

Then they must have one heckuva lot of churches in Japan. Don’t believe everything you read, even if it’s in the London Times. In fact, especially if it’s in the London Times.

October 26, 2009 at 5:46 pm
(46) SamIam says:

It sounds that if the priests are allowed to recieve Holy Orders after conversion, the laity will be allowed to receive communion after their conversion.

November 4, 2009 at 5:04 pm
(47) Bruce says:

“The TAC will likely be the first to take advantage of the Apostolic Constitution, but more will undoubtedly follow.”


I can’t imagine it would be likely that we (I’m TAC) would take advantage. SInce most of our bishops (mine anyway) are married, we’d have to tell them to take a hike.

November 4, 2009 at 7:16 pm
(48) Scott P. Richert says:

Bruce, it was the TAC college of bishops that unanimously requested this of Rome two years ago—see my discussion of that in the post, which has a link to my article from that time.

As to how it will work, since married Anglican bishops will not be offered Catholic episcopal ordination, I do not know. However, there have been cases of Anglican bishops converting in the past and accepting ordination as Catholic priests, which they remain.

November 5, 2009 at 6:10 am
(49) Disillusioned says:

What spite and hate many of you harbor. Such is your supposed Christianity. Judgemental biggots.

November 5, 2009 at 9:58 am
(50) Bruce says:


I looked at an entry dated October 26, 2007, presumably the one you reference. It doesn’t say what the content of the letter from the TAC to Rome was and, as a layman, I certainly wasn’t told what was in it. So I’m not sure it it’s accurate to say that they “requested this.” Then again, we were told that they signed the Roman Catholic Catechism so maybe they knew this was the offer they’d receive and your interpretation is correct.

Not sure if you know who TAC is but their letter was not a recent reaction to W.O. and sodomite clergy. The TAC has existed since the 1970’s as part of the continuing movement and entirely separate from the Anglican Communion, having left the AC in the 70’s over W.O. and the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. They are not the “conservative” Anglican Communion groups that you’ve read about that have recently (last decade or less) placed themselves under the relatively conservative African bishops of the Anglican Communion. Conservative Anglicans went ahead and lost their church properties to the TEC back in the 1970s and started over.

I hadn’t seen Hepworth’s remarks quoted on Salt and Light Television in 2006. From a classical Anglican perspective, they’re very troublesome.

November 5, 2009 at 10:23 am
(51) Scott P. Richert says:

Bruce, as of October 29 (though it is apparently just being made public today), the TAC in Britain has accepted Pope Benedict’s offer. You can read more at Damian Thompson’s blog at the Telegraph online:

Pope’s Anglican offer accepted by Traditional Anglican Communion in Britain

According to an article quoted by Thompson, “Archbishop Hepworth of the TAC had stated that the motion would be placed before the Synod of the Traditional Anglican Church in the UK (and other Synods of the TAC) that the Apostolic Constitution of Benedict XVI be accepted and that its immediate implementation be requested.”

So it would seem that similar motions will be coming to other branches of the TAC worldwide.

November 5, 2009 at 10:28 am
(52) Scott P. Richert says:

As for “request[ing] this,” what I’m referring to is the TAC college of bishops request of Rome that they be allowed to enter the Catholic Church as a united body, rather than as individuals. The structure of the “personal ordinariate” offered by Pope Benedict was Rome’s response to that request.

November 5, 2009 at 10:37 am
(53) Bruce says:

Interesting. This is all happening fast and I can’t take it all in.

If Bishop Hepworth feels the way he does why doesn’t he just join Rome?

We’re not Anglican because we like the liturgy (though I do) or insist on praying like Shakespeare, in Elizabethan English. The Tridentine Mass is very beautiful.

November 5, 2009 at 11:02 am
(54) Scott P. Richert says:

Well, yes and no. It’s been in the works for two years.

Here is Archbishop Hepworth’s statement after the announcement of the Apostolic Constitution:

Statement From Archbishop Hepworth

It’s not simply a matter of Hepworth joining Rome; the vote among the bishops two years ago was unanimous.

In the statement, Hepworth notes that “I have made a commitment to the Traditional Anglican Communion that the response of the Holy See will be taken to each of our National Synods. They have already endorsed our pathway.”

Furthermore, he confirms that the bishops “have indeed signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church and made a statement about the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, reflecting the words of Pope John Paul II in his letter ‘Ut Unum Sint’.”

And he mentions at the very beginning that he spent the evening after the announcement “speaking to bishops, priests and lay people of the Traditional Anglican Communion in England, Africa, Australia, India, Canada, the United States and South America,” who “are profoundly moved by the generosity of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.”

In other words, it seems that the move may have broader support, both geographically and among laymen, priests, and bishops of the TAC, than you’ve ascertained so far, Bruce.

Yes, no member of the TAC should enter the Catholic Church without being able to assent to all of Her teachings, and I understand your doctrinal differences with Rome. But it appears that the bishops of the TAC have declared, through the signing of the Catechism and the accepting of papal primacy, that they no longer have doctrinal differences.

Of course, even if all the bishops enter the Catholic Church, each priest and layman will have to decide for himself whether to follow.

November 5, 2009 at 12:42 pm
(55) Bruce says:

Thank you Scott. I think the broader point that I had in mind beyond Hepworth and his actions was why don’t Anglo-Papists (forgive the phrase) just join the Latin Rite? If they fully agree with the Roman Catholic Catechism and recognize the Pope as who you say he is, then liking the BCP liturgy or Elizabethan language or the name “Anglican” shouldn’t have been sufficient reason to keep them in heresy for a single day.

November 12, 2009 at 2:43 am
(56) John Marcon says:

The structure of Roman Catholicism is hierarchical and exclusive acknowledging no other authority but its own and declaring the supremicy of papal authority over all other on earth. Moves to provide for other non-R.C.s to join demand total obedience to all R.C. doctrine as the validity of other expressions of Christianity is denied. Therefore whatever fancy accommodating words are used the bid is a straitforward call for Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism. Nothing of any substance from the Anglican heritage, church, structures or beliefs will be accepted or tolerated. The only possible exception is the acceptance of married clergy and bishops who must resighn their orders and may be accepted for training as Roman Catholic clergy. They will be a one-off group simply because it would be unreasonable and unnacceptable to ask Anglican clergy to separate from wives and children.

More significantly the very fact that there will be Catholic priests who are married with families and who will be fully accepted into the R.C. church gives the lie to the demand for celibacy as a condition of priesthood. There is no biblical warrant for such a restriction and the R.C. Church in its first centuries did have married clergy – until the monastries gained control of the papacy.
The practice owes more to internal politics and monastic power than to any spiritual cause.

And how long before the Roman Catholic Church recognises that God created woemen equally in the divine image and that there is no theological or practical reason to deny women their priesthood?

There are at least as many gay Christians within the ordained and lay church as in society – some 2 -3% whose resources and ministry have been accepted since the beginning. When the whole church accepts these folk also as God’s creation will the Catholics welcome the zeal of several hundred thousand fanatical Anglicans?

February 1, 2010 at 1:44 pm
(57) Glenn Drake says:

I used to be an Episcopalian. I haven’t attended in years because it has become so roman. This conversion movement is a shameful disgrace. I WILL NEVER accept the whore of babylon.

July 29, 2010 at 1:32 am
(58) Johannim says:

For the most part i feel the animos of the many greying Anglicans attending present day episcopal churches and the prospect of millions of Anglicans eventually converting to the Catholic faith. Even to the point of Catholic hating and Catholic baiting. In so many of these threads one can smell the reek of 19th century anti-Catholic bigotry worthy of the new york times. I chose not to respond to the most vitrolic Catholic hating threads as my response would be a hell of a lot more colourful than most of my Catholic brothers & sisters would prefer, mea culpa

October 13, 2010 at 2:33 pm
(59) U NO HOO says:


Married men may become priests in the Eastern Rites of the Papal Catholic Church:

“Canon 373 – Clerical celibacy chosen for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and suited to the priesthood is to be greatly esteemed everywhere, as supported by the tradition of the whole Church; likewise, the hallowed practice of married clerics in the primitive Church and in the tradition of the Eastern Churches throughout the ages is to be held in honor.”

November 7, 2010 at 11:42 pm
(60) William says:

As a Catholic Christian and a heterosexual male I take issue with this argument that more sexual abuse happens with heterosexual males. Of course that study will report that. What it does not report is in the study or in America how many people call themselves gay is it 3 -5 percent? Percentage wise there are more men who call themselves heterosexual males which means there are more of them to do the study on than the 3-5 percent. If in America there was the same amount for each I would think that it is a valid study? Also was the study done by a group with and agenda that is pro gay? Here is and interesting site for homosexuals be they men of the cloth or not http://www.narth.com.

January 16, 2011 at 1:00 pm
(61) John Mathew says:

Too bad that the breakaway church of the west in 1054, more for political hegemony of the old 4th century empire than for any valid theological reasons, mushroomed into all kind deformed ecclesial entities. In England officially, there are two religious groups, namely, Anglicans and no- Anglicans – whether you are Methodist, Buddhist, Muslim, Hindu, Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Orthodox etc. Her Majesty is the head of the C of E.
The Church east and south of Rome, founded in Antioch, where Peter was a presbyter or a bishop, will never recognize ordination in any of the western politically fractured denominations. The Roman Catholics will have to make peace with the original, apostolic, church first before extending such foolish gestures! I would argue Peter never made it to Rome – so much for the so-called Petrine foundation.
Benedict 16th was imprudent when he extended a phony invitation to the disillusioned Anglican traditionalists. The church that began in south west Asia is returning to its roots and the gravity of the Constantinian imperial church is in deep trouble.

January 16, 2011 at 1:53 pm
(62) Scott P. Richert says:

Out of curiosity, John Mathew, are you a native Orthodox or a convert?

January 17, 2012 at 9:01 pm
(63) The good father gts says:

As a “cradle Roman Catholic” born in the 1950′s, I “came home” to THE Catholic Church when I was received into the Episcopal Church in the early 1980′s, much to the chagrin of my Irish-Roman Catholic mother and Italian-Roman Catholic father!. I was received into a Church that honors and respects the value of women and men (gay or straight) in ministry to the Gospel and adheres to the two Great Creeds of the historic Catholic faith: The Nicene Creed and the Apostle’s Creed; celebrates the seven Sacraments of the Catholic faith; ordains servants of the Gospel to the three Orders of deacon, priest and bishop. Anglicanism, contrary to a popular characterization as “Catholic Lite” is actually CATHOLIC WITH A LIFE!. I have been an ordained Episcopal Priest now for almost 13 years and love the Lord.! My parish, and every parish I have served in my years of ordained ministry have ALL been populated with no fewer than 50% former Roman Catholics happily celebrating their Catholic faith in the Anglican Communion!!!
The recent INNOVATIONS by Pope Ratzinger regarding the Ordinariate program are a deceitful ploy to appeal, mainly, to the Church of England, presently in the midst of debate about electing women to the Episcopate (woman bishops) Newly elevated cardinal Wurel of Washington said it best when he disclosed that although non-celibate Anglican clergy could be, eventually, ordained as Roman Catholic priests to serve these mostly “HOMOPHOBIC” parishes, he said that eventually these married clergy would DIE OUT and a celibate clergy would be, again, the norm!!. Roman Catholic popes will never understand that Christian Unity doesn’t mean Christian UNIFORMITY.!! Ecumencial involvement with the Roman Church, from our perspective, is ON HOLD, indefinitely. Jesus Christ is Lord.!

April 23, 2012 at 12:11 am
(64) prasad says:

It’s certainly a great news, and a visible result of prayers of millions of people that all Christians be one mind and heart in the Universal Church – CATHOLICISM. Christ continues to work and the unity of all Christians is fast approaching. We are all same members of Christ’s Body. Let’s turn our minds to EVIL in the form of Islam which poses a great threat to the TRUTH alone but to the very existence of the world, as its’ doctrine is fundamentally sick and harpers evil. An Evil ideology can only be defeated with TRUTH – CHRIST. Certainly Jesus has conquered the world with His death and Resurrection, He now spurs us on to do part to live Heroic Catholicism and Christian living and become partners in the task of giving fulness of LIFE to the World.

Let’s not worry about the pedophilia instances that have come to light by certain Christian leaders, in fact it was well orchestrated to expose it when the enemy has no other evil. Certainly Christ continues to renew His Church, which is made up of human beings. And the best thing is that the stern action taken by the Church against those erring priests, several have been suspended and it took every action to condemn it.
Well, the issue of pedophilia is universal and it is simply evil, and the Catholic Church has condemned it to its tooth and nail and especially by the leaders who are suppose to exemplify in moral code of conduct.

The beauty is the Church is constantly at renewal, and that makes it ever vibrant, dynamic, significant and higly relevant. That is the beauty of the Catholic Church. There are millions of Saints in the Church, leading holy lives. Thanks to Jesus.

May 7, 2012 at 5:16 am
(65) Thamsanqa says:

It is with great sadness that after all these years Christians are still fighting over who is better than who. Methodists and other denominations do not attack each other like how the Anglicans attack the Catholics and visa versa. What is up with this unnecessary competition? We all know the history of the church, Jesus Christ sent Saint Peter the Apostle to establish his Church (the Catholic Church of Rome) so why did everyone else think that they have the right to establish their own forms of Christian chruches. The Anglicans seem to forget that their church was established on the basis of some stupid King in England that thought he could divorce a woman after matrimony of 24years. This competition that Anglicans have with Roman Catholics is annoying. Accept it no other church will ever reach 1billion adherants, so it is absolutely despicable that comments are thrown in all directions at the Catholic Church. Protestants (Pentecostal Movement Churches) on the other hand are not Christian churches, all that these churches are, are just cult movements. Christianity is not a business, Jesus was not married so why must Priests marry? Are they not Apostolic Successors of Christ?

If Anglicans soo claim that they are Catholic, the only way to prove the validity of their Catholicism is to swallow the English Pride harboured inside themselves and convert to the Roman Catholic Church. Its no use slandering the Primitive church simply because your church is failing to convert people. God is not stupid, and the gates of Hell will never prevail over the initial Christian Church.

Jesus spoke about one church not many churches, and this belief of Pentecostals directs anyone and everyone from true Christianity. In heaven we won’t speak in the rubbish you call “tongues of the holy spirit”. Nobody can tell us that is tongues because what is actually being said is ancient African Ancestral Worship not praise to God.

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