In case you’ve not checked the religious news this morning, a rather surprising announcement was made this morning in England that will have ramifications for Anglicans and Episcopalians all over the world:
“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.”
Thinking Anglicans has pretty comprehensive coverage here.
Just a some quick thoughts about this in no particular order:
- This is going to have subtle effect on dioceses and Anglican provinces. Now that there’s a real option for Anglo-Catholics, some folks may make the transition.
- This is probably going to have a bigger effect on the ACNA – why would the Forward in Faith folks remain as fellow travelers now?
- I wonder what the effect will be on Roman Catholic priests who no longer feel called to celibacy? For many of them the Episcopal Church was a prime option. Will they be able to transfer to another this Ordinariate rite now?
- The only existing Personal Ordinariate at the moment is Opus Dei. Apparently this category of canonical existence will allow the creation of separate seminaries, etc. It really does allow the creation of a church within a church.
- I think the real effect of this announcement won’t be obvious for a couple of generations or so. But I wonder how history would have been different were this to have been enacted back in 1900 or so when the possibility of reunification between Rome and Canterbury seemed like such an option.