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Anglican bishops receive a personal invitation from the Pope

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | Sep 17, 2010

With Anglicanorum Coetibus Pope Benedict XVI issued an invitation to Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church. Now he has repeated that invitation in person.

During his visit to Lambeth Palace, the Holy Father did not directly mention his apostolic constitution. He even made a point of saying that he did not want to discuss the difficulties that have dogged relations between Catholics and Anglicans. To raise such subject would have been impolite; after all he was the guest of the Archbishop of Canterbury. 

But when he spoke to a group of Anglican (and Catholic) bishops, and offered Cardinal Newman as a model for ecumenical actions, the Pope was making his point clearly enough. Any Anglican prelate who takes that suggestion seriously, and models his actions after those of Cardinal Newman, will very soon run up against an immovable fact. Cardinal Newman became a Catholic. If you want to follow him, you'll have to follow him to Rome.

The Pope stressed that Cardinal Newman made his move gently, politely, without breaking friendships, without recriminations, without renouncing his heritage—the same way other Anglicans might take the step today, under the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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