The occasional, often ill-considered thoughts of a Roman Catholic permanent deacon who is ever grateful to God for his existence. Despite the strangeness we encounter in this life, all the suffering we witness and endure, being is good, so good I am sometimes unable to contain my joy. Deo gratias!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Anglicans Welcomed!!

What wonderful news! This morning the Vatican, by Apostolic Constitution, provided the means for Anglicans to be received into full communion with the Catholic Church. Although many expected something along this line to take place eventually, very few thought it would happen so soon, or so definitively.

As elements within the Anglican Church severed ties to orthodox belief and practice, many of its members began to turn with hope to the Catholic Church. The Traditional Anglican Communion had even formally petitioned the Vatican for entry in full communion. Today their hopes were realized when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued the following statement: “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.” Like priests in the Eastern Catholic Churches, those called to priestly ordination after marriage will be able to serve as priests. And again, as in the Eastern Churches, bishops will be selected from among the celibate clergy.

At a joint London press conference, Rowan Williams, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, and Vincent Nichols, Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, stated that , “Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church. Pope Benedict XVI has approved, 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. The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution."

Two Vatican congregations, both led by Americans -- Cardinal William Joseph Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, Secretary of the Congregation for the Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments -- will oversee the process of Anglican Christians entering into the full communion of the Catholic Church.

This event is absolutely extraordinary and will significantly alter the worldwide Christian landscape.

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