Will a lifeline be accepted by struggling Anglicans

Great article about the possibility of Anglican communion with the Church.

Quote from the website:
At the centre of my friend’s Christianity is public worship, and (so far as I can judge from many conversations with him) the main reason he did not leave the Church of England is that he could not accept the claims of a Church which did not get its worship right. His objection was not to Vatican II, but to a casual approach to the celebration of Mass that made it harder to believe in the unique universal status of the Roman Church.

Does anybody see hope for Anglican communion? Will the Church breath with both lungs as John Paul the Great hoped for?

Damian Thompson is a leading Catholic journalist in Britain, and his article in the Catholic Herald (and his blog in the Telegraph online) to which you link has stimulated a lot of comment on the Internet.

There are tens of thousands of Anglicans worldwide who have received and live by Catholic doctrine and who look forward to full communion with Roman Catholics. Some of them, members of the official Anglican Communion, do feel as though they are swimming in the high seas of apostasy, moral relativism, and heteropraxis. For them “lifeline” is a pretty good description for what is needed.

Some other catholic Anglicans saw the tidal wave coming years ago, and moved away from the official Anglican Communion. They make up several worldwide small jurisdictions with ties to each other. For them it is not so much a lifeline as a gate swung open that is needed.

Among both sorts of Anglicans, His Holiness has only to give the nod to find them at his side. Will the whole of the Anglican Communion accept such an offer? No, they won’t. Will many accept such an offer? You can bet the farm and know you’ll keep it.

From fish90’s quote it seems to me that reconciling(or regularizing or whatever) the SSPX would go a long way. For the holdouts it seems that we have become too modern for them, for others I suppose we aren’t modern enough, though the former would cover all the ones we’ve already received and those we should look to get.

Perhaps dioceses could be welcoming by offering more Anglican Use Masses.

Perhaps the RCC could be more welcoming by accepting the offer of the Traditional Anglican Communion to be in full corporate communion with the RCC, even to accepting the complete catechism,

The only sticking points would seem to be discipline, and if that is truly keeping us apart, its time, after two years, for Pope Benedict to move on this important issue.

While I agree with the thrust of your post, not all Continuing Anglicans, including those of the Anglo-Catholic persuasion, would make the move, even given an opening from the Holy Father, under any scenario I could imagine.


Agreed. I should have unpacked my thoughts a little better when when I wrote:

“Among both sorts of Anglicans…Will the whole of the Anglican Communion accept such an offer? No, they won’t.”

The key word, of course, is “among”. Nor should I have used the term “Anglican Communion” in a loose sense.

There are Continuing Anglicans who would be reluctant to make a move of any kind, even into a uniate-type structure. Certainly they would not move into a personal prelature model of communion. My understanding is that while watching with interest, they are not a part of the current TAC initiative.

Damian Thompson, of course, was referring in the main to the rumor about Forward in Faith which he blogged about previously.

I apologize if the wording of my previous comments did not did not make that clear.

No apology necessary. As I view it, not even all of the TAC is part of the TAC initiative, in the sense that it is top-down driven. I know of a couple of TAC parishes that left, just over the possibility of something actually happening. Which, in my opinion, is not likely.

But yes, much of the Continuum is on the sidelines, as the TAC/ACA story plays out. Ever so slowly. Forward in Faith might be a different story, but I am reluctant to make predictions.


*Anglicanus-Catholicus, posterus traditus Anglicanus *

I think reconciliation between the churches will not take place for a long time. While I have been to both Catholic and Anglican services, and the basic structure of the liturgy is not too different (at least in Anglo-Catholic parishes) the churches of Rome and the England have been separated for about 400 years. Even with all the ecumenical ‘goodwill’ of recent times, there are profound differences in all areas of their respective faiths (including doctrine, morals, sacraments, who can be ordained to ministry, the structure of the church, how to interpret the bible, etc) and the changes which have developed over 400 years cannot be easily ironed over. While some Anglicans whose practices share a lot with the Roman church are probably attracted to the idea of re-unification, the powerful evangelical and ‘low’ sections of the church that are closer to the Reformation and its principles would be very unlikely to accept reunification with Rome.

I think reunification with Orthodoxy is more likely, but even the Orthodox have many reservations about Roman Catholicism (as can be seen in the forums here).

I think that nothing ever moves fast within the Catholic Church, but I would certainly like to see TAC’s proposal come into fruition. There was talk at the beginning of the year about TAC being accepted as a personal prelature, sort of like Opus Dei. That might be a good vehicle to use. I forsee whatever the Church decides with respect to TAC as serving as a template for other Anglican bodies to corporately rejoin the Catholic Church. If that is the case, perhaps the Vatican is taking so long because they wish to be sure to get the thing right. I also guess that other than the Eastern Catholic Rites, there is no experience for a corporate reunion. As a former Episcopalian, I’d very much like to see it happen though.

A local TAC priest I spoke with about a year back is opposed to communion with Rome, and indicated to me he and his parish would leave the TAC were it to happen.


The focus should not be on those who would not go along, but rather on those who would. And there are very many. Consider: If the unanimous will of all your bishops is to enter into full communion with Rome, then if you don’t go along, you simply show yourself to be schismatic, rebellious, and an unreformable protestant. This is completely at odds with the claim of being Catholic, even anglo-Catholic.

I know from personal experience that there are plenty of folks that are very excited about this, and wait in quiet prayer. Let’s keep the focus on them and not get bogged down in excessive negativity. The good folks at the Vatican will make the right decision - led by the Holy Father.

The problem is that The Anglo Catholic party in the US cannot all decide on being high church or low, or what missal to use, and fight over who in the Episcopacy is in better standing than the other.

In my view there would be some parrishes who would go to Rome but I doubt it would happen under this current Pope. A great many were coming in under John Paul II but upon his death, many of the eccumenical talks came to a grinding halt. It seems from my viewpoint that Benedict XVI is more of the old harline Roman Catholic and is a great deal stricter on doctrines that his predicessor.

I agree that we should not be bogged down with the negativity. I do feel that more of an olive branch should come from Rome as had under John Paul II if more Anglicans are going to come into the fold of Roman Catholicism.

What? I have exactly the opposite opinion. See here for why:

I wonder what the late Fr. Colin Stevenson who was the director of the Anglican shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham would have thought about these recent developments?

I still stand by this comment.
"The problem is that The Anglo Catholic party in the US cannot all decide on being high church or low, or what missal to use, and fight over who in the Episcopacy is in better standing than the other."
This has also been the problem that has plagued other groups that have fragmented from the Episcopal church, rather than seeking unity they fight.

I also agree with the earlier post that there has been over 400 years of differing ideology, however in speaking to Orthodox freinds unity with Rome will not happen as long as the Immaculate Conception of Mary doctrine holds, they have no problem with Christ being Immaculately concieved but not Mary. When I first heard this myself I thought, “how can Mary be born without sin when the Bible says ‘in sin was I born and in sin did my mother concieve me.’” IT was when I started researching the Immaculate conception doctrine that if you are a Protestant or Orthodox you cannot abide by this doctrine. I can see through studying the doctrine, the Catholic answers on this that the Roman Catholic church uses scripture like the angelic salutation of “Hail Mary FULL OF GRACE,” to emphacise that there was something different about her. So I am open to seeing their point. However, in my study of Biblical Greek the meaning of “grace” does not go that far in this case of the angelic salutation.

Well, This is kind of a funny argument on a Catholic website! It is not my job to defend Catholic Dogma - there are many others much more qualified than I. I would note in passing that the Orthodox have a very similar doctrine about Mary - that she was prepared in a special way by God. As with many of these `disputes’ between the Orthodox and the Catholics, I view them saying very similar things, but in a different style and from a different perspective. I view the two not as incompatible, but mutually enriching.

Coming back to the Anglican situation - you are missing the point. Of course the Anglicans as a whole (even the ones that broke away from Canterbury) are incoherent. That is the whole problem! The solution (God willing) is for Rome to make a further pastoral provision in the creation of a new structure with a Catholic-approved Anglican-style liturgy (such as the English missal). This will have the effect of cherry-picking the Anglo-Catholics (by self-selection) that are serious about unity and Catholic order, while leaving behind the Anglo-Calvinists. It will also create a new home for traditional Catholics in liberal Catholic dioceses.

Has no-one heard of Fr. Colin Stephenson? He wrote a auto-biography titled Merrily on High that was very popular in AngloCatholic “high” churches during the '70s.

Am I that old?

I am quite familiar with many Anglicans and I don’t know a single one of them to be interested in what Rome has to offer. Especially with the newly formed ACNA.

Taking the LOVELY liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer and tweaking a few lines, that would be an awesome alternative! I’d attend! You won’t find a more beautiful English liturgy ANYWHERE than the Book of Common Prayer, especially Rite II!

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.