A New Structure for Anglicans to Find a Home Within the “Church” of Rome
But now, Benedict XVI has gone on the offensive, and has come up with a plan to make it easier for conservative Anglicans worldwide, disillusioned with their “church’s” stance permitting female priests, sodomite bishops and the blessing of “same-sex” unions, and permitting many of its bishops to deny such doctrines as the bodily resurrection of Christ and the virgin birth, to join the Roman Catholic “Church” while still maintaining their beloved Anglican spiritual and liturgical traditions, via new ecclesiastical structures. These will be called Personal Ordinariates, and will be established within local Roman Catholic churches, headed by former Anglican prelates who will provide spiritual care for Anglicans who wish to become Roman Catholics. They would resemble Roman Catholic military ordinariates, which are special units of the “Church” established in most countries to provide spiritual care for Roman Catholic members of the armed forces.
Rome does not permit its priests to marry, whereas Canterbury does. However, married Anglican priests, and even seminarians, would, according to this new canonical provision, be allowed to become Roman Catholic priests. This would be similar to the way “eastern-rite” priests in communion with Rome are permitted to be married. Married priests are already permitted to become Romish priests, but only on a case-by-case basis. This new structure would for the first time permit groups of married Anglican priests to join Rome. However, married Anglican bishops would not be allowed to become Roman Catholic bishops. When asked at the press conference where Rome’s new tactic was announced whether or not a married Anglican bishop who becomes a Roman Catholic could become a married Roman Catholic bishop, Levada replied, “This does not provide for married bishops, respecting the long historical tradition of both the West and the East in which bishops were celibate. As for priests, many are asking, if these married Anglicans can be [Roman Catholic] priests, what about us? The Church has now, over the past number of years, dispensed [in the case of married Anglican priests who become Roman Catholics] from the discipline that only unmarried men can be Catholic priests. When the Church deals with these cases, it is an exception”. In other words, at this stage it would permit married Anglican priests to become Romish priests, but not married bishops.
Rome’s Strategy: to Absorb Traditionalist Anglicans
Truly, as Austen Ivereigh, a former advisor to the Roman Catholic archbishop of Westminster, said, the Vatican announcement was historic because it allowed for the “gradual absorption into the Catholic Church of huge numbers of Anglicans”. This most definitely is the objective. Damian Thompson, a religion writer for the Telegraph Media Group put it like this: “New era begins as Benedict throws open gates of Rome to disaffected Anglicans.” He wrote, “This is astonishing news. Pope Benedict XVI has created an entirely new Church structure for disaffected Anglicans that will allow them to worship together – using elements of Anglican liturgy – under the pastoral supervision of their own specially appointed bishop or senior priest…. In theory, they can have their own married priests, parishes and bishops – and they will be free of liturgical interference by liberal Catholic bishops who are unsympathetic to their conservative stance. There is even the possibility that married Anglican laymen could be accepted for ordination on a case-by-case basis – a remarkable concession.”
Remarkable indeed. In fact, everything about this papal step is remarkable, and a clear indication of just how badly Rome wants to draw Anglican elements under its wing. This is very important to it, as a major step in the direction of eventually controlling England once again.
Thompson also wrote: “The truth is that Rome has given up on the Anglican Communion. With one announcement, the Pope has given conservative Anglicans a protected route to union with Rome…. Thousands of Anglicans who reject women bishops and priests and liberal teaching on homosexuality are certain to avail themselves of this provision.” He is wrong in thinking that Rome has given up on Anglicanism – it is more a case of Rome being frustrated at the increasingly liberal bent of Anglicanism and therefore deciding to move faster; but ecumenical attempts to re-absorb Anglicanism will continue. Thompson is right, however, when he says that this opens up an easy path for disaffected Anglicans, perhaps in their thousands, to come into union with Rome.
The fact is, the worldwide Anglican institution is in deep, deep trouble. It has become extremely liberal, extremely politically correct, jettisoning many of its doctrines, ordaining women and sodomites as priests, etc. It is, truly, unravelling, as I showed in my article, The Anglican Institution Continues to Unravel – and Rome Benefits. This is exactly what Jesuit moles within the Anglican institution sought to accomplish, and they have succeeded. And now along comes Rome, looking to the blinded masses as if it is rock-solid and steady, never changing, and offering the traditionalists a home. It is an extremely clever move.