An Invitation to Cross the Tiber

In a response to the growing disaffection felt by many Anglicans with regard to recent decisions by their church bodies, the Vatican has announced that it will welcome clergy and congregations who wish to align themselves with Roman Catholicism. Special provision will be made to allow such churches to retain parts of the Anglican liturgy. Married Anglican pastors will be welcomed, as is currently the practice for any previously married clergy converting to Catholicism.

The joint statement announcing Pope Benedict XVI’s intent to invite these bodies into “visible full communion” is signed by Vincent Gerard Nichols, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster, and Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and titular head of the Anglican Communion.

Is this a case of two church bodies acting in unison to find spiritual homes for those who feel alienated by the lurch to the left by certain Anglican bodies (such as the Episcopal Church in the United States)? Is it a last ditch effort by Archbishop Williams to keep the Anglican Communion from further disintegration? Is it a “sheep stealing” maneuver by Rome? Some combination of these elements? It definitely appears to be a significant ecumenical shift by two church bodies that have been increasingly at odds over matters of human sexuality.

More information on the Roman Catholic/Anglican agreement is available here.


When necessary, the Pope has ten thousand divisions and several thousand independent strike groups. Of course he doesn't give orders to them but still: "And the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands."
Well, Jason, counting 400,000 Anglicans in the TAC, and riffing on Roberto's headline quote, we can finally answer Stalin's "The Pope! How many divisions has he got?" by saying "With the Anglicans, at least 15 new ones". Charge!
Some combination of the two. Most human policies are probably a combination of high and low motives and there is no reason for this to be an exception.
The best headline on the matter, in the Times of London, read "Rome Parks Tanks on Rowans' Lawn."

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