Come Home To Rome

 Now that the full text of the Vatican’s “Apostolic Constitution” dealing with certain former Anglicans who wish to become Roman Catholics has been released, it is clear that what is being touted by some as an ‘ecumenical gesture’ may be understood as ‘pastoral’ but is not necessarily very ecumenical.

Even though Cardinal Walter Kasper has now given one newspaper interview, there has otherwise been a noticeable silence on the part of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity on this matter. This appears to be a unilateral action on the part of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which flies in the face of the slow, but steady progress made in the real ecumenical dialogue of over forty years.

This is “come home to Rome” with absolute clarity. Any former Anglican who has been ordained will not only have to be re-ordained as a priest in the Roman Catholic Church, not only re-ordained as a transitional deacon, but even re-confirmed as an adult member of the Body of Christ! Any one who does make this move is not an Anglican, nor an Anglo-Catholic, but a Roman Catholic convert. As we have said on numerous occasions, we commend with our blessing any Anglican who in good conscience wishes to become a Roman Catholic just as we welcome any Roman Catholic who in good conscience wishes to enter into full communion with the Anglican Communion.

But these decisions are to be made as individuals not as communities of persons. The Vatican may rest assured that we will never create “Roman Catholic Ordinariates” within the Anglican Communion for former, disaffected Roman Catholic converts. We will continue to welcome individuals, from the Roman Catholic Church or any other Christian communion, who desire to be in full communion with the See of Canterbury, and therefore with the Anglican Communion.

For our part, The Episcopal Church remains committed to genuine, ecumenical dialogue both on the national (Anglican – Roman Catholic Consultation in the USA) and international (Anglican – Roman Catholic International Commission) levels. We are encouraged by Cardinal Walter Kasper’s comment in Osservatore Romano on November 15 that these will, of course, continue. The recent “Apostolic Constitution” is a distraction, but likely only a minor one, from the real goal of ecumenical conversation between the largest (Roman Catholic) and third largest (Anglican) Christian communion in the world.

5 Responses to “Come Home To Rome”

  1. stillhere4u Says:

    According to http://deligentia.wordpress.com/2009/11/21/247/), the Catholic Church officials are not very happy about the way Rowan Williams contacted the Vatican when he heard the news.

  2. ecubishop Says:

    And believe me, Anglicans are not happy with the way Rowan Williams was disrespected in their announcing of the news!

  3. Flocks of Anglicans « Pro Unione Says:

    […] read on the internet. Bishop Chris Epting, National Ecumenical Officer of the Episcopal Church, has recently blogged about the issue; and the press has been following Archbishop Rowan Williams everywhere in Rome, so there is no […]

  4. Warren Anderson Says:

    Bishop Epting’s comments miss a simple fact: the Vatican merely issued a response to a request made by the TAC and other Anglicans seeking accommodation. The Vatican was never under the obligation to inform the CofE nor TEC of a decision affecting only those Anglo-catholics who, at least initially, petitioned Rome for consideration. Point of fact, and apparently confirmed by TEC and CofE ecumenical officers, Rome’s actions are not part of the ARCIC or it’s national equivalent in the USA. The prior actions of TEC and the CofE made Rome’s actions none of their business. Furthermore, having ignored anglo-catholics in their own midst, why should the TEC or CofE even care what Rome does?

    Quite frankly, Bishop Epting’s comments remind one of a petulant child who, having dismissed the attention of the other children (of the Lord) who are willing to get along and open a new discussion, now wants all the attention. Epting’s crude reduction of the issue to a numbers game (“… conversation between the largest and third largest Christian communion…”.) calls into question the integrity of the TEC with regards to its commitment to an ecumenism founded on the truth.

  5. Bishop Chris Epting Says:

    This last post reveals an astonishing lack of understanding of ecumenical protocol developed, and largely lived by, over the last forty years.

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