Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Randy Sly

6/7/2008 (7 years ago)

Catholic Online (

Is a Vatican decision on a full-communion request from the Traditional Anglican Communion coming after the upcoming Lambeth Conference?


By Randy Sly

Catholic Online (

6/7/2008 (7 years ago)

Published in Europe

WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) - In October of 2007 the College of Bishops for the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) unanimously decided to seek communion with the Roman Catholic Church and dispatched a letter to the Vatican verbalizing their request.

According to Bishop John Hepworth, Primate of the TAC, the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith received the official letter cordially when it was presented.

On Friday, David Virtue reported on that the Church of England Newspaper learned from Rome that decision concerning the TAC might come sometime after the Lambeth Conference, which will be held July 16 - August 3, 2008.

Speculation has been that the decision to wait until after the conference came from the recent talks held between the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. The Archbishop, however, has stated clearly that the issue of the TAC did not even come up in their conversation.

While the letter has been delivered from the Traditional Anglican Communion, no formal dialog currently exists between the TAC and the Congregation for Promoting Christian Unity - one of the main ecumenical arms of the Church. Further, no actual response from the Vatican to the TAC has been confirmed, leaving many to suspect that the TAC may be getting ahead of itself on how quickly such a request will be acted upon.

The imminence of a decision by Rome has been heralded on more than one occasion since last October underscoring the success with which the TAC is moving forward. These previous rumors and news articles circulating the web and diocesan newspapers did not prove accurate.

Various interpretations exist as to how this union would work out, but the basic request from the TAC involves full communion while maintaining their structure and liturgies as Anglo-Catholics.

One major sticking point for many who have reviewed the initiative is the request for "sui juris" (lit: "of one's own right") classification, which means that the bishops would maintain their authority and rights of their churches.

Those who have been watching this process unfold from the Catholic side indicate that the idea of maintaining the current polity and leaders of the Traditional Anglican Communion would be an unusual concession for many reasons, not the least of which is the issue of married bishops. "While a married priesthood is not unknown in the Church," one priest commented, "a married Episcopate is not found in either Orthodoxy or the Catholic Church."

In surveying of a number of blogs, even those within the Traditional Anglican Communion are not exactly clear on the process or end result. Some indicated that they would not be "absorbed but united" with the Church, so they really wouldn't be converting to the Roman Catholic Faith.

Still others see a fully formed Anglican Rite quite similar to the Eastern Rite Byzantines or Melkites. While yet another set of voices still take issue with some essential Catholic doctrines and dogmas, indicating that they are not yet sure about the whole idea of full communion.

The Traditional Anglican Communion was formed in 1990 by twelve groups from the "Continuing Church Movement" of separated Anglicans, with Archbishop Louis Falk, of the Anglican Church in America, elected as the first primate. Archbishop John Hepworth, of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, succeeded him as Primate in 2002. Currently, the Communion has over 400,000 members.

Those churches, which currently constitute the TAC, include:
• The Anglican Church in Southern Africa - Traditional Rite
• The Church of Umzi Wase Tiyopia (Africa)
• The Continuing Anglican Church in Zambia
• The Anglican Church in America
• The Anglican Catholic Church of Canada
• The Missionary Diocese of Central America
• The Missionary Diocese of Puerto Rico
• The Anglican Church of India
• The Orthodox Church of Pakistan
• The Nippon Kirisuto Sei Ko Kai (Japan)
• The Anglican Catholic Church of Australia
• The Church of Torres Strait (Australia)
• The Traditional Anglican Church (England)
• The Church of Ireland - Traditional Rite

This is only a small number of those denominations that currently exist and claim an Anglican heritage yet no official connection to the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Anglican Communion.

The Messenger Journal of the Traditional Anglican Communion published a letter sent to TAC people and Roman Catholics in several countries, which also contained excerpts from their letter from Rome:

Seventeen years ago, just after a group of Anglican refugees had banded together as the "Traditional Anglican Communion", its leaders met in Rome to talk unity with the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.

On 9th October last I returned to Rome with Bishops Mercer and Wilkinson... This time we met with the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the body appointed by the Holy See to receive applications for "Corporate Reunion" from churches that are not in Communion with the Holy See.

This time, we carried to the Holy See a letter signed by the Bishops and Vicars General of the Traditional Anglican Communion in the venerable church of Saint Agatha in Portsmouth, England, where we had just completed a powerful Plenary Meeting.

The letter rehearses the long and frustrating history of attempts to unite (in the words of Paul VI) the "church of Rome and the church of Canterbury". It dwells on the reaction of those who dreamed that at last Anglicans were to become "Anglican Catholics" as the Anglican Communion took step after step to distance itself from the unity that had been promised.

(From the letter to Rome)
On Communion:
"a worldwide community of Anglican Christians has united under the name "The Traditional Anglican Communion" for three main purposes:
To identify, reaffirm and consolidate in its community the elements... conduct that mark the Church of Christ...
To seek as a body full and visible communion, particularly eucharistic communion, in Christ, with the Roman Catholic Church..
To achieve such communion while maintaining those revered traditions... that constitute the cherished and centuries-old heritage of Anglican communities throughout the world
On acceptance of the ministry of the bishop of Rome:
We accept the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, the successor of Peter, which is a ministry of teaching and discerning the faith and a "perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity" and understand this ministry is essential to the Church founded by Jesus Christ.

On acceptance of the catholic faith

"We accept that the most complete and authentic expression and application of the catholic faith in this moment of time is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church..."

And their appeal to the Church

"Driven by these realizations, which we must now in good conscience bring to the attention of the Holy See, we seek a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See, at once treasuring the full expression of catholic faith and treasuring our tradition within which we have come to this moment. We seek the guidance of the Holy See as to the fulfillment of these our desires and those of the churches in which we have been called to serve."

Anglican-Roman unity is not a new idea. In 1966 Archbishop Michael Ramsey met with Pope Paul VI to begin dialog at the Basilica of St. Paul Beyond the Walls. As a sign of the desire for unity the Pope took his papal ring and put it on the finger of Michael Ramsey. He also called the Anglican Communion "our dear sister church" and talked of Anglicanism being "united not absorbed."

The 1968 Lambeth Conference affirmed the Archbishop's actions and the work of the new Anglican - Roman Catholic International Commission. In the years since, however, the Anglican Communion has moved too far afield in women's ordination and other issues for the work of unity to continue.

The TAC may be picking up where earlier Anglicans have left off.


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'

Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2015
That human trafficking, the modern form of slavery, may be eradicated.
Evangelization: That with a missionary spirit the Christian communities of Asia may announce the Gospel to those who are still awaiting it.


More Europe

The unexpected thing one Syrian refugee did for Germany that will melt your heart Watch

Image of Syrian refugee Alex Assali fed the homeless outside Berlin's Alexanderplatz station in an effort to give back to the city that has helped him, and other refugees, so much (Imgur).


Amid fears of ISIS infiltration and Muslim takeovers, one Syrian refugee took a stand against prejudiced tensions and thanked the city of Berlin on behalf of all refugees. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Each Saturday, Alex Assali cooks and distributes food to ... continue reading

Concentration camps and Nazi language: Berlin guards caught on tape speaking unbelievably cruel about refugees Watch

Image of Berlin guards at the office for refugees have reportedly been recorded using Nazi language and suggesting refugees be sent to concentration camps (Markus Heine/ NurPhoto).


Videos have been released showing Berlin guards around the office for refugees using "Nazi language" and suggesting the refugees be sent to concentration camps. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Security guards working for private contractor Gegenbauer Security ... continue reading

SHOCK SHOW: Sacrilegious art exhibit in Spain uses 240 stolen consecrated hosts Watch

Image of Photos of the theft of the Hosts and their placement on the ground are shown in a public art gallery in Pamplona.

By Catholic News Agency

Critics of Pamplona's city council say it deliberately attacked Catholics and broke Spanish law by using city property to display a sacrilegious art exhibit with more than 240 stolen consecrated Hosts. Madrid, Spain (CNA) - The Spanish artist Abel Azcona stole ... continue reading

French Hostage Situation: Two armed suspects engage in shootout with French police Watch

Image of French police engaged in a shootout with two suspects armed with Kalashnikovs (Not pictured).


Two suspects armed with Kalashnikov rifles engaged in a shootout with French police in Toubaix, France. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The suspects are believed to have taken a bank director and his family hostage, but very little is currently known.[media ... continue reading

Vatican corruption: Journalists stand trial Watch

Image of Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi must stand trial at the Vatican for publishing confidential documents (Reuters).


Following the publication of books claiming the Holy See was mismanaged and spoiled through corruption, five people went on trial at the Vatican on Tuesday. Two of the five on trial were Italian Journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi, neither of whom ... continue reading

Undercover reporter reveals secret FEMALE ISIS organization in Britain Watch

Image of One veiled ISIS sympathizer was filmed during the undercover investigation (Channel 4).


In a new British documentary titled The British Women Supporters Unveiled, one young female reporter goes undercover to infiltrate a secret Muslim organization designed to garner sympathy for the Islamic State. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The reporter, who uses ... continue reading

OUTRAGEOUS: Find out why The Lord's Prayer was BANNED from Just Pray movie theater ad Watch

Image of


An advertisement featuring the Lord's Prayer has been banned from movie theaters in England. According to the Church of England, the policy that prevents the prayer advertisement did not exist when they began production on the commercial. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic ... continue reading

Swiss farmer finds 4,000 extremely rare Roman coins in his orchard Watch

Image of The cache of coins is estimated to be more than 1,700 years old.


A Swiss farmer was tilling his orchard in Ueken, in the northern canton of Aargau, Switzerland, when he spotted something shiny on the ground. He had inadvertently stumbled across a treasure trove of Roman-era coins - 4,166 in all, some dating as back as 274 ... continue reading

Five people indicted by Vatican in 'Vati-leaks' scandal Watch

Image of Journalists Gianluigi Nuzzi and Emiliano Fittipaldi (pictured), had both recently published books, citing specific Vatican documents detailing waste, mismanagement, and greed.


A judge, rendering a decision in a scandal involving Vatican finances has indicted five people, which include two journalists and a Vatican monsignor. Information linking the Vatican to financial malfeasance, as well as related graft and corruption called ... continue reading

Massacre in France is a Piecemeal Third World War, and Jesus is the Path to Peace Watch

Image of With tenderness, Jesus looked out from the Mount of Olives and saw the Holy City of Jerusalem. How he loved - and still loves - that special City. Then, Jesus wept. The Word Incarnate, made a man like us in all things but sin, cried. He knew that the City of Jerusalem would soon be overtaken and destroyed by the armies of Titus. He wept the tears of Love - and revealed the compassion of His Sacred Heart

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Do we recognize the time of our own visitation? God is present in our world today. He wants to  speak, to lead, to serve, to heal and to save. He is not to blame for the mess we are in. We are!  Those who purport to be representing their "God"  as ... continue reading

All Europe News


Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

  • BIGGER THAN ISIS - There's a hidden power behind ISIS and it's so big ...
  • President likens Syrian refugees to pilgrims on Mayflower in ...
  • 'Black Friday' leaving bruises as shoppers trample each other for ...
  • The Miracle Prayer HD Video
  • St. Saturninus: Saint of the Day for Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • Daily Readings for Sunday, November 29, 2015
  • Prayer For Courage HD Video

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 33:14-16
14 "Look, the days are coming, Yahweh declares, when I shall fulfil the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 25:4-5, 8-9, 10, 14
4 DIRECT me in your ways, Yahweh, and teach me your paths.5 ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 21:25-28, 34-36
25 'There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars; on earth nations ... Read More

Reading 2, First Thessalonians 3:12--4:2
12 May the Lord increase and enrich your love for each other and for all, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 29th, 2015 Image

St. Saturninus
November 29: St. Saturninus Bishop of Toulouse and Martyr ... Read More