Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pope plans recruitment drive among disaffected Anglicans

Timesonline Christopher Morgan
THE POPE, who is this week meeting the Archbishop of Canterbury, is drawing up plans to welcome disaffected Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church.
Pope Benedict XVI is keen to reach out to conservative Anglicans who have been antagonised by their church’s stance on women priests and homosexuality. Senior Vatican figures are understood to have drawn up a dossier on the most effective means of attracting disenchanted Anglicans.

The recruitment drive is a potential embarrassment for Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is travelling to Italy for his meeting with the Pope.
It is understood that Fr Joseph Augustine di Noia, undersecretary of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the most powerful of the Vatican’s departments, has led a team analysing the current schism in the Anglican world.
The ordination of the openly gay priest Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 caused outrage among some Anglicans. It threatened to cause a split in the church, which has 70m members worldwide.
In America, some of the 2.5m Anglicans have already left the church and become Catholics. In some cases, entire parishes have “defected”, but they have been allowed to continue with some of their Anglican traditions and prayers.
John Myers, the Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, who has been involved in supporting former Anglicans who have converted to Catholicism, has been helping di Noia with his recruitment dossier. He travelled to Rome last month to suggest ways of appealing to Anglicans.
The Pope’s enthusiasm for bringing traditional Anglicans into the fold was expressed powerfully three years ago when as Cardinal Ratzinger he sent greetings to a group of conservative churchmen meeting in Texas in protest at the election of Robinson.
Williams was involved in a controversy last week when it was reported that he had suggested the church might reconsider the issue of women priests. He insisted he had been misquoted.
While the Pope is keen to welcome any conservative Anglicans, he is also keen to forge good relations with Williams. “The Vatican will do nothing to undermine Williams at such a precarious moment in Anglican history,” one source said.
Despite the friendly overtures, the Pope believes the Anglican Church faces a difficult future.

Graham Leonard, the former Bishop of London and now a Roman Catholic monsignor, said: “The Pope’s view is that theologically Anglicanism has no guts in it.”


ffn said...

What is a disaffected anglican?suely none other than a dissident Catholic, they join us because they dont like women priests,women vicars, gay vicars etc!unless they embrace THE ONE TRUE CATHOLIC CHURCH, they should p*** off and stay where they belong and on the road to where they are heading to.

Anonymous said...


"...they should p*** off and stay where they belong..."

with an attitude like that perhaps I'll see you on that road you mention.


Henry said...

The only thing that separates many Anglicans from us is the issue of authority. Their dissidence related to issues which have arisen solely because the Anglican Church does not accept the authority of the Magisterium, and it is this that brings them to the realisation that the Catholic Church is where they belong. Of course we should welcome them.

Incidentally, the Church of Sweden is going the same way, but since it is doctrinally closer to the Catholic position than the Anglicans are, there is a steady influx with the result that the Catholic Church there is growing quite nicely, helped by a full programme of educational and social activities. It is probably the only Catholic Church in Western Europe that is growing as against being in decline.

Augustinus said...

Henry - is that why the Swedes have sent their auxiliary (Bishop William Kenney, an Englishman) back to the UK, as auxiliary of Birmingham? Maybe to show us how to increase our numbers?

Henry said...

Of course I do not know why Bishop Kenney has been brought back, but they are certainly doing something right there. After Sunday mass in Gothenberg they serve smörgåsor with the coffee in the parish centre. This keeps people around for an hour or two and then they get to know each other. Thus the church helps people to build up their social networks in a country where a lot of people live on their own in cities, thereby filling an important gap.

This does not happen by itself - there are four catering teams on a rota.

If there were people willing to do it at St Mary Magdalen's the logistics would be quite simple - all it consists of is rolls sliced in half with a slice of ham or cheese on top and a slice of tomato or cucumber. Given the proximity of Waitrose it would be possible to get fresh ingredients. And it raises money too.

Anonymous said...

do it Henry

roydosan said...

"The only thing that separates many Anglicans from us is the issue of authority."

Erm, hello? What about the 39 Articles - which every Anglican clergyman must assent to at their ordination. Also most Anglicans reject transubstantiation and accept only two sacraments not seven.

There is much more that divides us than unites us. FFN is right - opposition to women priests etc alone is not enough. There must be an acceptance of Catholic doctrine as well.

Chris said...

roydosan: As an Anglican convert to Catholicism, I do hear what you're saying. And I think most Anglican converts would agree that they don't become Catholics just for negative reasons. But sometimes the negative things do act as a catalyst and make one think seriously about difficult issues.

As for ffn's comments, it seems to me that oftentimes converts have a better grasp of the teaching of the Church and more readily embrace her. And, if you know anything about the Book of Divine worship, you'll know that parishes who use this provision are faithful to Rome and have very beautiful and reverent liturgies. Don't be so quick to judge!

Anonymous said...

Chris, Pretty liturgy is one thing but it is Christian living that matters. If you can live with women at the altar and men in bed, then one is far from Catholic truth.

Chris said...

The communities I was referring to are Catholic, and so, presumably, do not have women at the altar (though I'm afraid I'm not able to verify the latter accusation!).

The point I was making, really, regards the fact that Rome obviously thinks some of the (particularly litrugical) elements of Anglicanism worth preserving. As far as I can see, Catholic living should encompass worship as well as the everyday...