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

Is ancient Greek tomb for Alexander the Great's friend Hephaestion? Debate continues Watch

Image of After his death in 325 B.C., Alexander the Great reportedly ordered that shrines be constructed throughout the empire. Hephaestion died less than a year before the Macedonian leader.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Archaeologist Katerina Peristeri declared that the mysterious Amphipolis monument is a tomb to Hephaestion, Alexander the Great's best friend who died less than a year before Alexander did.Fragmentary inscriptions link the monument to Hephaestion. Other archaeologists ... continue reading

10,000 copies of Germany's constitution was printed in Arabic to help nearly 800,000 migrants integrate Watch

Image of


Germany translated the first 20 articles of its constitution, which concerns basic rights such as freedom of speech, into Arabic for refugees to learn in an attempt to help immigrants integrate. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - At the moment, Germany struggles to ... continue reading

Segregation of Jewish and Muslim pupils in a French school echoes chilling Nazi segregation Watch

Image of


Jewish and Muslim students at the Piedallous primary school in Auxere, Burgundy were ordered to wear disks around their necks. The incident brought with it memories of Nazi segregation and caused an uproar. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA (Catholic Online) - Daily Mail ... continue reading

German refugee camps plagued with rape and child abuse Watch

Image of The European migrant crisis continues to grow. Rape and sexual abuse are already being reported inside German refugee camps.


Rape and sexual abuse is now becoming a major problem in several German refugee asylums as the country tries to cope with their migrant crisis. HOLLYWOOD, CA (Catholic Online) - Refugees are facing several problems inside overcrowded refugee centers across the country ... continue reading

OVERRUN AND OUT OF PATIENCE: Immigrants quickly wear out welcome in Germany Watch

Image of In Germany, there are a few terrorist agents mixed in with those who say they are fleeing the brutal persecution of Islamic State, when in fact they themselves are ISIS.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Germany was lauded by the international community for taking in the large influx of immigrants feeling violence in Syria and Iraq. However . this generosity has a heavy price. Many of these so-called immigrants have left their native lands to make their ... continue reading

Expert confident forensic remains of fabled 'Mona Lisa' found Watch

Image of Most everyone is familiar with the image of a young woman with an enigmatic smile, her hands folded on her lap.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa," perhaps the world's most famous painting, has cast a spell across the imagination. Lisa Gherardini, the wife of Florentine silk merchant Francesco del Giocondo, is thought to have been the portrait's model. Bone fragments have ... continue reading

British mother of six brutally assaulted in acid attack Watch

Image of Thirty-seven-year-old Carla Whitlock says that she is still trying to come to terms with how her life has been changed.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

In what is common in India - but most unusual in the United Kingdom, a 37-year-old mother of six is struggling to come to terms after suffering a vicious acid attack. Witnesses saw her face visibly melt, and doctors say she will probably lose the sight in one ... continue reading

EU holds summit to discuss migrant crisis Watch

Image of The migrant crisis has resulted in over 160,000 eligible refugees with no country to settle in.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

European Union leaders met in a summit Wednesday evening in Brussels to talk about reinforcing surveillance of the frontiers, particularly sea routes into Greece where hundreds of refugees die in the midst of attempts to reach Greek islands. LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA ... continue reading

Majority of migrants entering Europe NOT Syrian refugees Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The migrant crisis hitting Europe has driven headlines over the past month, tugging at the heartstrings of people wanting to help desperate refugees running from a war-torn country. However, new reports from Europe show that "only one in five migrants claiming asylum" ... continue reading

Hungarian officials approved for weapon use against migrants Watch

Image of Hungarian officials can now use non-lethal weapons against migrants trying to illegally cross borders.


Hungarian parliament have granted police and the Hungarian army the power to keep migrants out of their country. Fears of Europe being overran by migrants continue to increase. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban ... 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

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 4th, 2015 Image

St. Francis of Assisi
October 4: Founder of the Franciscan Order, born at Assisi in Umbria, in ... Read More