Anglican 'First Fruits' for the 'Pope of Christian Unity'
The old adage has so often proven to be an accurate assessment of reality, the 'best Catholics are converts'.
The authentic ecumenical mission, the full and visible unity of the Church, was at the heart of Pope John Paul’s pontificate – and is at the heart of Pope Benedict’s - because it is in the center of the heart of the Lord.
Damien Thompson wrote the following in a piece entitled “Pope's Anglican offer accepted by Traditional Anglican Communion in Britain":
“The UK wing of the Traditional Anglican Communion – a group of rebel traditionalists who have left official Anglicanism – has voted to accept Pope Benedict XVI’s offer of a Personal Ordinariate. The TAC has only a few small communities in Britain, but the Pope will be pleased by this development.
Hat-tip to Fr Tim Finigan, who says on his blog: “I hear a lot of sceptical comments about the Holy Father’s offer of Personal Ordinariates, with the conventional wisdom being that it will not really attract many people. So it is good to hear news of twenty or so parish communities that will be interested. The TAC asked for the provision in the first place so it is to be expected that they would be first off the mark; but I think that there may well be plenty more to follow in due course.”
Here are more details, from the Signum blog:
The Traditional Anglican Communion in the UK voted last Thursday (October 29) to request that they form part of the proposed Ordinariate in the UK.
During the Forward in Faith conference Archbishop Hepworth of the TAC had stated that the motion would be placed before the Synod of the Traditional Anglican Church in the UK (and other Synods of the TAC) that the Apostolic Constitution of Benedict XVI be accepted and that its immediate implementation be requested.
The website of the TAC in the UK is now reporting that the following resolution was passed:
That this Assembly, representing the Traditional Anglican Communion in Great Britain, offers its joyful thanks to Pope Benedict XVI for his forthcoming Apostolic Constitution allowing the corporate reunion of Anglicans with the Holy See, and requests the Primate and College of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion to take the steps necessary to implement this Constitution.
That this Assembly is of the respectful opinion that Bishop Robert Mercer CR might be considered for the position of Ordinary in Great Britain.
This is not unexpected as the TAC was the group that had approached Rome and Archbishop Hepworth had publicly stated that the offer of the “ordinariates” exceeded their expectations.
The TAC in the UK numbers about twenty parishes (they also have one in France). Some of these parishes would be more accurately described as mass centres rather than parishes in the full sense of the word.
This is good news as it is the first indication that the Pope’s offer is being accepted.
I’m sure readers will be lining up in the comments section to point out that the TAC is an insignificant body in Great Britain, though its supporters worldwide run into the hundreds of thousands. Also, I’d be very surprised if a TAC bishop were to be made the Ordinary for England and Wales. But perhaps the group might be granted its own Ordinariate; until the Constitution is published we really don’t have enough information to speculate. Still, as I say, the Vatican will be pleased by this news.”
We followed the formal request of the Traditional Anglican Communion for full communion with the Catholic Church from the beginning. We persisted in doing so even after many other news sources dismissed the possibilities that such a request would ever bring a positive response. We did so because we are dedicated an authentically Catholic vision of ecumenism which recognizes the need for visible unity,with legitimate diversity, within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
In fact, the overture received more than a favorable response, it far exceeded the TAC's expectations and surprised some observers. The TAC request, along with many unknown other requests, received a warm, pastoral, prophetic and visionary response from the “Pope of Christian Unity”, Pope Benedict XVI.
We have also closely covered the movement of Anglican Clergy and lay faithful toward the safe harbor that is found in the Bark of Peter as their own Christian community has been torn asunder with a rejection of both orthodoxy and orthopraxy. It is this writers' long held conviction, as a “revert” to the Church myself, that the influx of other Christians into the Catholic Church is also a great gift to the Catholic Church.
The great beauty and depth of faith, life and worship within the Catholic Church is sometimes not understood or fully embraced by many of her members. The old adage has so often proven to be an accurate assessment of reality, the “best Catholics are converts.”
As a Deacon, I offer a series of talks at my own Parish entitled “Catholic by Choice” which is geared toward instructing those who are often called “Cradle Catholics”. The term is inaccurate because no-one is born a Catholic. One is baptized into the Catholic Church, the Body of Christ, and then the lifelong process of conversion begins. It is God’s great gift which invites our continuing response.
I believe that our new Catholics from the Anglican world will be a source of great inspiration and encouragement to us. They may indeed be leaven that helps to leaven the whole loaf of the Catholic Church helping us us to be faithful to our mission by being faithful to our identity. We are called to feed the hungry with the "Bread of Life" and witness through both our words and our deeds to the truth of the Gospel as lived out in its fullness within the full communion of the Catholic Church.
I encourage all of our global readers to pray for this group of "first fruits". Pray that these become the first fruits of a coming harvest of return. Reach out and welcome them and the many, many more who will soon join us at the Eucharistic Banquet. Pray also for our beloved Pope Benedict XVI who is increasingly - and properly - being called “The Pope of Christian Unity” for a very good reason.
In an article I wrote two weeks ago entitled “Pope Benedict’s ‘Impelling Duty’: Rebuild the Full and Visible Unity of the Church” I wrote these words:
“The authentic ecumenical mission, the full and visible unity of the Church, was at the heart of Pope John Paul’s pontificate – and is at the heart of Pope Benedict’s - because it is in the center of the heart of the Lord. “I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me." (John 17: 20, 21)
May this same duty become our passion as well!
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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