Sunday, March 07, 2010

The Anglican Church in America

Last week, the big news was that the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America (ANA - belonging to the worldwide Traditional Anglican Communion) voted to implement the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus, which means they will join many others worldwide who have elected to enter full communion with the Roman Catholic Church. This group looks to include about 3000 members in 120 or so parishes. As they report on their website:
We, the House of Bishops of the Anglican Church in America of the Traditional Anglican Communion have met in Orlando, Florida, together with our Primate and the Reverend Christopher Phillips of the "Anglican Use" Parish of Our Lady of the Atonement (San Antonio, Texas) and others.

At this meeting, the decision was made formally to request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus in the United States of America by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The National Catholic Register has more:
The bishops of the Anglican Church in America have voted to accept Pope Benedict XVI’s invitation to bring their 3,000 members into the Catholic Church.

The unanimous vote of eight members of the House of Bishops, who met in Orlando, Fla., brings 120 parishes in four dioceses across the country into the Church.

Also present at the March 3 vote and in support of it were representatives of “Anglican use” parishes admitted on a one-by-one basis to the Catholic Church in accordance with the Pastoral Provision of Pope John Paul II in 1980.

The move is seen as significant for both the “AngloCatholics” in the Anglican Church in America and the worldwide Traditional Anglican Communion — and the Catholic Church.

“We are returning to the Roman Catholic Church as community with a common past and a common future,” commented Christian Campbell, a Florida lay member of the Anglican Church in America and coordinator of a blog called
There are those who have ignorantly sought to downplay the significance of Anglicanorum Coetibus, describing it as merely "an extension" of the pastoral provision already in existence. It's certainly rooted in that effort, but this is proof that what the pope has done here is truly something new, as we now have the means to implement meaningful structures to allow for significantly large groups of Anglicans to become Catholic. But I'm just glad that it looks like the Anglican Church of St. Mary of the Angels in Los Feliz, CA, will finally be Catholic. Several years back, it looked like the community was ready to join via the pastoral provision as an Anglican Use parish, but for several reasons (some trivial, some not), that fell through. Ut unum sint.

UPDATE: I just want to correct a point here. It is now my understanding that even though the Anglican Church in America has voted to implement Anglicanorum Coetibus, it is still the responsibility of each parish to vote on whether it will join the movement or not. Thus, it is not a fait accompli that all 120 or so parishes will automatically join the Anglican ordinariate that is set up.

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