Anglicans to seek union with Catholic Church

  • March 11, 2010
{mosimage}OTTAWA - Anglican groups around the world are responding to Pope Benedict XVI’s offer to come into communion with the Catholic Church, with Canadian groups expected to make similar requests soon.

Anglican Church in America (ACA) bishops and Anglican Use Roman Catholic parish representatives announced March 3 they have jointly requested the establishment of a Personal Ordinariate in the United States. Requests have been sent from the United Kingdom, Australia and elsewhere.

In a statement, the ACA said representatives would “formally request the implementation of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus.” The move followed a two-day meeting in Orlando, Florida, that included eight ACA bishops, Archbishop John Hepworth, primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), and a representative from Forward in Faith in the UK, an Anglican group of priests and congregations still part of the Anglican Communion of Canterbury,  

Hepworth then travelled to Canada where he began a cross-country trip, meeting with bishops and congregations from the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, which is part of the TAC.  He was in Ottawa March 5.

“The TAC bishops around the world have clearly said this is being done in conjunction with all those other Anglicans who might wish this to happen,” Hepworth said. “There will only be one set of ordinariates for all of us.”

Hepworth and his advisors hope to meet soon with Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith officials in Rome to get some clarifications.

“There are a good many processes yet to be worked out.”

Congregation prefect Cardinal William Levada had written all of the TAC bishops, sending them a copy of the Apostolic Constitution and inviting them to make their request if they accepted the Holy Father’s offer.

The TAC has about 400,000 members worldwide, with about 200,000 regularly attending churches. Established in the early 1990s, the TAC now has 41 bishops, with eight in the United States, one bishop and two suffragan bishops (similar to auxiliary bishops), plus two retired bishops in Canada.

The Anglican Use parishes in the United States are already part of the Roman Catholic Church. They will make arrangements to leave their respective dioceses and join the Ordinariate once it is set up.

While TAC parishes and members will enter into a period of discernment, its bishops have the teaching authority to accept the Apostolic Constitution, Hepworth said.

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