New canonical structure will allow union with Rome while preserving Anglican identity.
By Catherine Harmon
In an unexpected statement issued October 20,
the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict XVI will soon release an apostolic constitution establishing a formal structure through which former Anglicans can enter full communion with the Catholic Church.
The apostolic constitution—a formal document reserved by the pope for the most important declarations concerning canon law and Catholic practice—will allow the institution of “personal ordinariates,” according to the statement released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This new canonical structure will enable former Anglicans to join the Catholic Church “while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.”
The announcement was made at a press conference held in Rome with Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the CDF, and Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Notably absent from the press conference were any members of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, the council chiefly responsible for dialogue with other Christian denominations.
Discussion welcomed and encouraged.
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