Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Ft. Worth Anglo-Catholic Bishop Issues Cautious Endorsement of Vatican Provision

By Jack Leo Iker
October 20, 2009

I have read with great interest various reports concerning today's announcement from top officials in the Vatican about some new provisions being made whereby Anglicans may enter into full communion with the Holy See. For some time now I have understood that high-level discussions about this were taking place in Rome and that an announcement along these lines would be made before the end of the year. As today's announcement indicates, a new Apostolic Constitution is soon to be released which will spell out Pope Benedict XVI's response to Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

Many Anglo-Catholics will welcome this development as a very generous and welcoming offer that enhances the Pastoral Provision that has been in place for several years for those seeking reunion with Rome. Other Anglicans who desire full communion with the See of Peter would prefer some sort of recognition of the validity of Anglican orders and the provision for inter-communion between Roman Catholics and Anglicans.

The virtues of the proposal as I understand it have to do with maintaining certain aspects of the Anglican way of worship, spirituality, and ethos while entering into full communion with the Pope. But of course, not all Anglo-Catholics can accept certain teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, nor do they believe that they must first convert to Rome in order to be truly catholic Christians.

This option to choose different paths comes at a difficult time for us as together we face the challenges of the litigation brought against us by the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America. Rather than making hasty decisions or quick resolutions, we will continue to work and pray together for the unity of Christ's holy catholic church throughout the world.

----The Rt. Rev. Jack Leo Iker is Bishop of Fort Worth

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