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Anglican Archbishop declares Anglo-Catholic converts not proper Catholics.

By Randy Sly
2/9/2010 (8 years ago)
Catholic Online (

Archbishop of York calls those who come into full communion Anglican émigrés, raising eyebrows among Anglicans and Catholics alike.

Archbishop Sentamu, no stranger to controversy for his remarks on a number of subjects, raised eyebrows among Anglicans and Catholics alike.

Archbishop Sentamu, no stranger to controversy for his remarks on a number of subjects, raised eyebrows among Anglicans and Catholics alike.


By Randy Sly
Catholic Online (
2/9/2010 (8 years ago)

Published in Europe

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Catholic Online) - Interviewed on the BBC Radio Ulster's "Sunday Sequence" program, Dr. John Sentamu, the Anglican Archbishop of York, stated that any Anglicans who chose to convert to the Catholic faith under the conditions of the new Apostolic Constitution are not proper Catholics.

William Crawley, the host of the Northern Ireland-based program, provided a section of the dialog he had with the prelate during the program on his BBC blog, "Will & Testament".

Archbishop Sentamu: "If people genuinely realise that they want to be Roman Catholic, they should convert properly, and go through catechesis and be made proper Catholics. This kind of creation [the Apostolic Constitution] -- well, all I can say is, we wish them every blessing and may the Lord encourage them. But as far as I am concerned, if I was really, genuinely wanting to convert, I wouldn't go into an Ordinariate. I would actually go into catechesis and become a truly converted Roman Catholic and be accepted."

William Crawley: "So those Anglicans who take advantage of the Apostolic Constitution, you're saying, would not be 'proper Catholics'?"

Archbishop Sentamu:"Well, I mean, I'd be very surprised --"

William Crawley: "What would they be if they are not 'proper Catholics'?"

Archbishop Sentamu: "They would be what they are: an Ordinariate of the Vatican."

William Crawley: "Anglican Émigrés?"

Archbishop Sentamu: "(Laughter) Well, if I was a Roman Catholic bishop and I had this group within my diocese being looked after by an Ordinariate whose reference was back to the Vatican, I'd have to ask a number of questions."

Sentamu, no stranger to controversy for his remarks on a number of subjects, raised eyebrows among Anglicans and Catholics alike.

Christian Campbell, Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Orlando, FL and author of "The Anglo-Catholic" blog, offered his opinion of this statement. The Cathedral and Campbell are affiliated with the Anglican Church in America, a part of the Traditional Anglican Communion.

"Thankfully, the Holy Father has recognized the beauty that subsists in the Anglican tradition, and he has provided a means for us to remain truly Anglican whilst being in full communion with the Holy See.

"The Vicar of Christ desires us to be Anglicans and Catholics. And despite Dr. Sentamu's provocative statements to the contrary, Anglican Catholics of the personal ordinariates, in union with the Successor of St. Peter and sharing a common faith with the rest of the Church, will be every bit as Catholic as the Pope himself -- and for the Archbishop of York to suggest otherwise is truly offensive."

Campbell questioned whether Dr. Sentamu is a "proper Anglican" in his actions and called for him to "apologize for these insensitive, ignorant, and grossly erroneous remarks immediately."

According to the London Telegraph, the archbishop's comments will likely draw strong criticism from other Anglicans when the General Synod of the Church of England meets this week.

"Anglo-Catholics are already dismayed," the Telegraph went on the say, "as they had hoped to decide after the meeting whether or not to cross the Tiber, once they found out what provision the Church would make for those who oppose the ordination of female bishops.

"But the revision committee drawing up the legislation will not now report back until July, after being swamped by proposals from both liberals and conservatives on how to implement the historic move."

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, had earlier dismissed to offer from the Vatican, also stating that the Pope should have talked with him about it before making the announcement. In a December with the Telegraph, Williams then labeled the invitation as "theologically eccentric."

One group that has responded positively to the invitation from Rome is the Traditional Anglican Communion, made up of what are described as "continuing Anglican Churches" from England, the United States, Australia, Canada.


Randy Sly is the Associate Editor of Catholic Online. He is a former Archbishop of the Charismatic Episcopal Church who laid aside that ministry to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in 2006.


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