It’s been over 400 years in the making, but the Vatican finally got some modicum of revenge for the English Reformation this week. In a rather stunning piece of ecclesiastical politics, Pope Benedict XVI grabbed Archbishop Rowan Williams in the thigh and squeezed. Rowan was ashen faced as he announced what had only been told him a few days earlier, viz. that the Roman Catholic Church was to organise
within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.
In other words, Anglicans can become Catholics but retain their liturgical identity as Anglicans. Thinking Anglicans has all the links you need.
1. Mr. Ratzinger is quite the man. This is a bold, almost Darwinian move. Survival in the religious marketplace seems to require “sharp elbows” as one friend put it.
2. He may have done the Anglican communion a favour, or at the very least, forced the issue with regard to their conservative/liberal split. Conservatives can head to Rome, liberals can stay with Canterbury. (Not as easy as that, I know.) I would expect the ordination of women bishops in the Church of England to go ahead sooner now rather than later.
3. It is said that Pope Benedict wants to make “Christian unity” the hallmark of his papacy. Of course, it’s a Christian unity under Petrine authority Rome.
4. Can you imagine the LDS Church reaching out to others and saying, “Join us, but worship in your style”? Seems unlikely which is why it’s all the more interesting to see another conservative, exclusivist church do just that. Could the Utah church do the same for more traditionalist Midwestern Saints? Why or why not? On the flip side, would the Community of Christ ever make an approach to “liberal” Mormons?