'Anglo-Lutheran Catholics' to Enter Catholic Church through Anglican Ordinariate
Pope Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity
Pope Benedict XVI has placed the commitment to the full communion of the Church at the forefront of his Papacy. This is evident in his love, respect and repeated overtures toward our Orthodox brethren, whom we recognize as a Church and whose priesthood and Sacraments we also recognize. However, this love is also evident in his outreach to the separated Christians of the Reformation communities of the West. I am not alone in calling Pope Benedict XVI the Pope of Christian Unity.
KANSAS CITY, MO (Catholic Online) - On Thursday I received an E mail from Archbishop Irl Gladfelter, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church entitled, "New Information About The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church." Readers of my articles on Catholic Online know I have written extensively concerning the Anglican Ordinariate. I mentioned this group of sincere Christians who desire full communion with the Catholic Church on July of 2010 in a piece entitled "Are Lutherans Next? Lutherans Seek Full Communion with Catholic Church".
In that article I wrote: "I am in a dialogue with Archbishop Irl A. Gladfelter, CSP, the Metropolitan Archbishop of the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church, a group of Lutherans who have embraced the Catholic Catechism and the teaching of the Magisterium. They are humbly knocking at the door of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith seeking a way into full communion. . .Some have said that their smallness and placement on "the fringes" of the Lutheran community makes them less representative. I recall that those were the same comments made about the "Traditional Anglican Communion" in their early efforts. They became the prophetic vehicle the Holy Spirit used to open up an historic breakthrough."
In a lengthy interview the Archbishop shared the journey of this group and their overture to Rome. I decided to write little about them to protect their effort. However, I did write: "To be Catholic is to enter into the prayer of Jesus for the Unity of His Church. In Pope Benedict XVI's first Papal message he signaled his commitment to this unity:
"Nourished and sustained by the Eucharist, Catholics cannot but feel encouraged to strive for the full unity for which Christ expressed so ardent a hope in the Upper Room. The Successor of Peter knows that he must make himself especially responsible for his Divine Master's supreme aspiration. Indeed, he is entrusted with the task of strengthening his brethren (cf. Lk 22: 32). With full awareness, therefore, at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome which Peter bathed in his blood, Peter's current Successor takes on as his primary task the duty to work tirelessly to rebuild the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers. This is his ambition, his impelling duty."
Pope Benedict XVI has placed the commitment to the full communion of the Church at the forefront of his Papacy. This is evident in his love, respect and repeated overtures toward our Orthodox brethren, whom we recognize as a Church and whose priesthood and Sacraments we also recognize. However, this love is also evident in his outreach to the separated Christians of the Reformation communities of the West. History is demonstrating that this Pope is making some very prophetic overtures toward that end. I am not alone in calling Pope Benedict XVI the Pope of Christian Unity.
On January 14, 2011,upon the Holy Father's return from his apostolic visit to the United Kingdom where he raised Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman to the altar, I wrote "Prophetic Gesture? First Priests of the Anglican Ordinariate to be Ordained." In it I wrote: "Toward the end of his historic visit to the United Kingdom where he presided over the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman, an Anglican convert who prayed for the reunion of the Anglican communion with Rome, Pope Benedict XVI gathered with all of the Bishops. At the end of the address he spoke these words:
"I asked you to be generous in implementing the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. This should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all. Let us continue to pray and work unceasingly in order to hasten the joyful day when that goal can be accomplished."
When I read the Archbishops letter Thursday I was moved to prayer and rejoicing! Let me share some excerpts:
"Good Afternoon, Deacon Fournier:
"On February 21, 2011, it became public that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has invited the Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church (ALCC) to enter the Catholic Church "through the provisions of Anglicanorum coetibus," and that the ALCC has officially and unconditionally accepted their invitation. I am writing to inform you that this information is correct. ...
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