Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Invitation to Anglicans, With A Twist

David Gibson, an online columnist for Politics Daily in a column titled, "The Pope's Anglican Plan: Welcome Mat or Hostile Takeover?" wrote the following, "...Pope Benedict XVI and the Roman Curia did well by choosing Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the 77 million strong Anglican Communion, as the man to tweak with a provocative initiative to lure away a good chunk of Williams' flock. The plan, unveiled Tuesday at the Vatican, would allow Anglicans to join the Catholic Church without renouncing their Anglican traditions and beliefs. It would offer a tempting sanctuary to traditionalist Anglicans.....The plan represents an extraordinary concession by Rome. Even married clergy could bring their wives along and remain priests (though married bishops could not be Catholic bishops, just ordinary clerics). "
In today's NY Times in an article titled, "Pope's Invitation to Anglicans Raises Prospect of Married Catholic Priests," by Rachel Donadio, a Catholic commentator in London was quoted as saying, "If you get used to the idea of your priests being married, then that changes the perception of the Catholic priesthood necessarily....We face the prospect in the future of going to a Catholic Church in London and it being normal to find a married Catholic priest celebrating at the altar, with his wife sitting in the third pew and his children running up and down the aisle."
Thomas Reese, a Catholic commentator was quoted as saying, "Now we're opening up a whole structure within the Latin rite, within the Western rite, which will allow married priests to function." He goes on to say that this raises a series of interesting questions.
No one knows for sure where this will all go, but I have to give credit to Pope Benedict for a bold move. For those Anglicans who accept the Pope's invitation--Welcome!  
I was in the Tower of London in the summer of 2008. I visited the cells in the Tower where Catholic priests were imprisoned during the English Reformation. Many Catholic priests were tortured and killed during the English Reformation. While in London, I visited and prayed in the convent basement where many of their relics are kept. The Tyburn Convent which is home to Benedictine Sisters is a convent/monastery in London where the Sisters live, pray and are caretakers for the relics. It was fascinating to learn about, but very sad. 
And so now, this bridge of unity between the Anglicans and the Catholics, who were at one time in history enemies. Many suffered for that division, much pain and yet now hundreds of years later Pope Benedict brings some healing and an invitation. I view this as a sign of hope. 
To learn more about Tyburn, go to: