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Traditional Anglicans welcome Vatican announcement with joy

October 21, 2009

Archbishop John Hepworth, primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, has issued a statement welcoming Pope Benedict’s decision to permit Anglican communities to join the Catholic Church as communities.

“We are profoundly moved by the generosity of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,” said Archbishop Hepworth. “May I firstly state that this is an act of great goodness on the part of the Holy Father. He has dedicated his pontificate to the cause of unity. It more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition of two years ago. It more than matches our prayers. In those two years, we have become very conscious of the prayers of our friends in the Catholic Church. Perhaps their prayers dared to ask even more than ours.”

Archbishop Hepworth continued:

While we await the full text of the Apostolic Constitution, we are also moved by the pastoral nature of the Notes issued today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. My fellow 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" …

Fortunately, the Statement issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury reflects the understanding that we have gained from him that he does not stand in our way, and understands the decisions that we have reached. Both his reaction and our petition are fruits of a century of prayer for Christian unity, a cause that many times must have seemed forlorn. We now express our gratitude to Archbishop Williams, and have regularly assured him of our prayers. The See of Augustine remains a focus of our pilgrim way, as it was in ages of faith in the past.

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. Now the Holy See challenges us to seek in the specific structures that are now available the "full, visible unity, especially Eucharistic communion", for which we have long prayed and about which we have long dreamed. That process will begin at once.

In the Anglican Office of Morning Prayer, the great Hymn of Thanksgiving, the Te Deum, is part of the daily Order. It is with heartfelt thanks to Almighty God, the Lord and Source of all peace and unity, that the hymn is on our lips today. This is a moment of grace, perhaps even a moment of history, not because the past is undone, but because the past is transformed.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also issued a statement welcoming the Vatican announcement.


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  • Posted by: John J Plick - Oct. 22, 2009 12:27 PM ET USA

    A time for music..., a time for singing... Like the Feast of Christmas..., which occurs at the darkest, coldest time of the year...

  • Posted by: Solzy2004 - Oct. 21, 2009 10:32 PM ET USA

    From "Confessions of a Convert" (1912) by Robert Hugh Benson p. 111 I turned and looked again at the Church of England and there was an extraordinary change. It was not that she had become unlovable. I love her even now as one may love an unsatisfactory human friend. She had a hundred virtues, a delicate speech, a romantic mind; a pleasant aroma hung about her; she was infinitely pathetic and appealing; she had the advantage of dwelling in the shadowed twilight of her own vagueness...

  • Posted by: Solzy2004 - Oct. 21, 2009 9:55 PM ET USA

    New Sister said "I sense their joy is more from permission to cling to an identity wrought by schism." They want to join us because they believe the male priesthood is RIGHT, gay is WRONG, and they see their former faith left them at the altar. They KNOW now we're right. I was very moved by his remarks. QUESTION: Will the Apostolic Constitution enable married priests always (tho not bishops) in their Anglo/Catholic community???

  • Posted by: Minnesota Mary - Oct. 21, 2009 9:15 PM ET USA

    This is good news indeed. May their tribe increase!

  • Posted by: New Sister - Oct. 21, 2009 12:52 PM ET USA

    God bless our Holy Father for this great step, but I admit ambivalence over the Anglican “joy” – if its provenance is rejection of the schism, the *honor* to submit to the authority of the Supreme Pontiff and Magisterium, and finally have valid priests feeding them *for the first time* with the Eucharist – then Deo gratias! However, I sense their joy is more from permission to cling to an identity wrought by schism.