Skip to comments.Bishop says fleeing Anglicans must join church for positive reasons
Posted on 07/12/2005 12:47:41 PM PDT by sionnsar
LONDON (CNS) -- A Catholic bishop said Anglican clerics opposed to the ordination of women bishops should not be received into the Catholic Church for "negative reasons."
Bishop Declan Lang of Clifton, one of England's leading Catholic ecumenists, spoke amid rising speculation that the vote taken by the Church of England July 11 to remove legal obstacles to the episcopal ordination of women would lead to mass defections of traditionalist clergy.
Bishop Lang, co-chairman of the English Anglican-Roman Catholic Committee, a group that meets twice a year to promote ecumenical projects and the joint study of theology, said mechanisms existed within the English Catholic Church to receive married Anglican ministers and even to ordain them as Catholic priests.
"When there was the ordination of women in the first place there were some Anglicans who applied to be received into the Catholic Church, and the same provision is there at the moment," he told Catholic News Service <http://www.catholicnews.com/index.html> July 12. "But there is an understanding that you don't come into the Catholic Church for a negative reason.
"Those Anglican priests who were received into the church were received for positive reasons -- for example, that they accepted the teaching authority of the church," he said.
About 400 English Anglican clerics converted to Catholicism after the General Synod of the Church of England voted to ordain women in 1992, and a number of them -- married and single -- became Catholic priests.
The vote for women bishops has led to predictions of more defections, with Anglican Bishop Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet telling The Sunday Times newspaper July 10 that he would join the Catholic Church along with about 800 Anglican ministers if the Church of England failed to provide a "third province" with an all-male clergy.
The two provinces in the Church of England are Canterbury and York, established during the Anglo-Saxon period by St. Augustine and St. Paulinus. A third province would require an archbishop and would be totally autonomous from, but in communion with, other Anglican churches throughout the world.
Bishop Lang said he did not think the decisive vote by all three houses of the General Synod of the Church of England, meeting at York University, would harm relations between the Catholic and Anglican churches.
"Our conversations will continue," he said.
Anglican Bishop Tom Butler of Southwark said during the debate that the Church of England should not be deterred by its relations with Catholics.
"The Church of England, catholic and reformed, has before acted prophetically for the wider church: The vernacular liturgy, married clergy, have all been pioneered by our church and have proved to be a blessing to other communions also," Bishop Butler said. "The same I believe will be true of women's orders, which we are pioneering."
The vote means that women could be ordained bishops in England within seven years.
Fourteen of the world's 38 Anglican churches already have decided to allow women bishops.
The Rev. David Houlding, leader of the Anglo-Catholic group of the General Synod, told the British Broadcasting Corp. radio July 12 that he feared the unity of the Anglican Communion would be damaged as a result of the vote.
"We need proper provision for people who do not agree with that decision to stay within the Church of England," he said.
But Christina Reese of the campaign group Women and the Church told the same program that such a move would result only in an "ecclesiastical ghetto."
"We have had women priests for over 11 years, and it's normal now for people to see women as part of the clergy," she said.
William Oddie, author of "The Roman Option," a 1997 book about the defections from the Church of England after women began to be ordained in 1994, told CNS July 11 that it was "ludicrous to say you can't have women bishops" if it was accepted that women could be ordained as priests.
Oddie, a former Anglican minister who converted to Catholicism in the 1980s, said that in the 1990s some disaffected Anglicans made contact with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, head of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, about a possible "parallel jurisdiction," and the future Pope Benedict XVI was said to have been sympathetic.
Such a parallel jurisdiction, Oddie said, would mean that the former Anglicans would be in communion with the Catholic Church but would be under the authority of their own bishop.
"This pope might accept a separate body which is outside the jurisdiction of the English Catholic bishops," Oddie said, adding that he thought the vote would mean many Anglican ministers would be "coming to Rome one way or another."
"They have been asking for a third province, and it is possible that they could be offered that rather than go to Rome," said Oddie. "Personally, I think Rome ought to outbid them (the Anglican bishops) and say 'Come to us, we are here for you.'"
Yeah, right! What about the Orthodox Church?
These deluded revisionists need to lose their "enthusiast" nonsense about being "prophetic" and "pioneering", and get back to orthodox catholic bedrock truth!!!!
I sympathize. Neither of the cases cited is in fact an innovation by the English church but were restorations of conditions prior to late Medieval Roman decisions. That is, Innocent (III?) declared that the Western clergy must in all cases be celibate. That was not the universal case before his day. As for the vernacular, well, Latin WAS the vernacular when the Mass was developed.
Bish, me old mate, as a British Catholic, I'm not complaining.
Here's hoping BXVI cleans out the bishop's palaces of the world, because it is the bishops who have single handedly imposed unacceptable changes, blocked the reform of Vatican II, and protected every raving queen among them and are directly responsible for the fact that there are virtually no ordinations in Western countries. The priest is essentially the delegate of the bishop, who is appointed by the Pope to be the head of that Christian community - but who among us would want to be the delegate of the average US or European bishop??? (Hint: Only the raving queens who couldn't get a job at Starbucks because they don't like to get up that early. And their customer service attitude stinks, so they wouldn't make much in tips.)
I think he is wrong. There are many reasons to flee to Rome. The RC Church gives you an entire year of RCIA to grapple with your decision. It's not his call to examine reasons -- if the Lord calls you, you go.
"but this "they can't leave just because their church has become even more heretical" argument has been used by Modernist Catholic bishops for years to keep out Anglicans."
I wouldn't call Declan a "Modernist Catholic Bishop" simply for the reason that he is not a Catholic. He is well known as being among the most liberal of bishops who opened his Cathedral and hosted a "Wimmin's Ordination Conference" where he presided alongside a female Lutheran "bishop".
He doesn't want any of these Anglicans converting because he is fully behind the ordination of wimmin in the Catholic Church. His was another class appointment of the last pontificate which encouraged at least one priest I know of to join the SSPX.
I remember reading the Crockford's File, where William Oddie wrote some very insightful things about Orthodoxy, especially in the context of a trip he made to Greece.
I met Oddie at a meeting in the late 80's -- fascinating guy. It was clear that he was leaning toward Rome. I find it interesting that Oddie would be talking about a parallel "Anglo-Catholic" jurisdiction in England under Rome even today. One wonders what the point would be, and why B16 would be sympathetic to the idea...
Would it be temporary or permanent? Would "regular" Catholics and "Anglo-Catholics" be allowed to go back and forth freely between the "rites?" All very interesting.
Thanks for the ping, sionnsar!
The bishop makes an excellent point and one that has concerned the church as it witnesses the flood of emigrants paddling across the Tiber. This must be a choice based on agreement with catholic catechesis, not on the ordination of women to bishop.
Please freepmail me if you want on/off this list
Declan isn't even a Catholic any more. He's an evil heretic! Is anyone listening?
Siobhan, in full banshee mode
As far as I'm concerned, the Anglicans can't get here soon enough.
As far as I'm concerned, the Anglicans can't get here soon enough.
Positive reasons give someone something to build on rather than to be filled with spite and hate. Must agree with the bishop.
Yes, dearie, we hear you loud and clear.
Salvation, I agree with you about the importance of being positive, but I don't think we can assume that the Anglicans are full of spite and hate. I think the separation from Rome has always been an artificial one, and I think that many Anglicans have been put into a very bewildering position with the changes taking place in the Anglican Communion. I think they have the same right to be in the Catholic Church as I do, and I would rather see a bishop welcoming people.
As I understand it, Anglicans would likely go through a year long RCIA class, and it will take positive reasons for people to maintain the commitment to doing that.
It seems to me that a lot of Anglicans have done a much better job of being Christian and working to maintain principles in the face of adversity than I have.
Right. Like everyone who presently calls themselves a cradle "Catholic" accepts the teaching authority of the Church. How about applying this standard to everyone within the Catholic Church, not just the new entrants? I'll accept these converts any day over some of the homegrown malcontents and heretics who presently infest the Catholic Church.
Maybe we could do a trade.
We'll take all of the Anglicans who've had it wiv wimin in clerical dress and in return, we'll ship them as many of our own pro-wimin's ordination, pro-abortion, pro-homosexuality AmChurch whackos, as they want.
This is what I call real ecumenism.
All those men and women of good will who desire sound doctrine and wish to submit themselves to the Vicar of Christ will thus end up in one place and those who prefer a do-it-yourself approach to Christianity will likewise be happy in their own lunatic asylum.
It sounds like the Anglicans are getting ready to swim the Tiber. All we need to do now is to convince the likes of Card. Mahony to officially leave and swim in the opposite direction and everyone should be happy.
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