The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Can we be Catholic? Please?

More Anglicans may be headed our way.

Following up on the report a few days back, a group from Ireland now wants to join the homecoming:

Parishioners from three Church of Ireland parishes have joined traditional Anglicans from 12 other countries in requesting that the Catholic Church receive them into full communion.

If approved by the Vatican, the move would allow 400,000 traditional Anglicans worldwide to be admitted into the Catholic Church.

The decision to petition for the move “seeking full, corporate, sacramental union” was made during an early October plenary meeting of the Traditional Anglican Communion, the umbrella organization for traditional Anglicans, in Portsmouth, England. The move, requested in a letter to the Vatican, would see the entire parish communities received into the Catholic Church.


It is extremely rare for entire Anglican communities to seek corporate communion with the Catholic Church whereby every member of the parish becomes Catholic and the parish effectively becomes part of the Catholic Church.

At the Vatican, officials would not comment on the letter, although they confirmed the doctrinal congregation had received it.

While the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity is the Vatican’s lead office for official unity talks with the Anglican Communion, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith deals with the situation of former Anglican priests who want to become Catholic priests and with groups of former Anglicans who want to become Catholics together. The situation of individual Anglicans wanting to become Roman Catholics is considered a matter of conscience and not primarily an issue in the ecumenical dialogue.


Pope Benedict XVI and top Vatican officials have expressed their hope that the Anglican Communion would find a structure able to keep Anglicans united while strengthening the faith and doctrinal heritage they share with the Roman Catholic Church in order to continue moving Roman Catholics and Anglicans toward full unity.

The Traditional Anglican Communion describes itself as a worldwide association of orthodox Anglican churches, working to maintain the faith and resist the secularization of the church.

The traditional rite of the Church of Ireland (Anglican) emerged in 1991 after the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland decided to start ordaining women. Traditionalist Anglicans decried the move as a “defiance of both Scripture and tradition.”


A spokesman for the traditional rite declined to comment further, insisting that a decision had been made “not to give interviews at this stage.” Besides Ireland, the parishes are located in Africa, North America, Asia and Australia.

Question: with numbers like that stampeding the Tiber, why would the Church give serious consideration, at all, to ordaining women?

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Deacon John M. Bresnahan

posted October 25, 2007 at 6:17 pm

One of the best things that would come about if these Anglicans enter the Catholic Church is that it will give added support to those in the Catholic Church defending Traditional Catholic morality and Traditional Catholic doctrines.

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posted October 25, 2007 at 10:29 pm

yeah.. i can’t wait to see whether the pope will approve it or not..

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posted October 26, 2007 at 12:14 pm

I’m confused by your comment Greg. Was a potential influx of members the only reason to consider women’s ordination?I don’t see how the two are linked.Grace and Peace,Joe

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 26, 2007 at 12:35 pm

Joe … Sorry I was unclear. The estimated 400,000 Anglicans coming into the Church are doing so primarily because they disagree with the Anglican stance on women’s ordination. Dcn. G.

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posted October 26, 2007 at 4:31 pm

This Irish group is part of the same movement, not a different one. (Just to clarify.)

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Brendan McGrath

posted October 27, 2007 at 3:41 am

I’m very happy to hear about all the people who want to become Catholic; it’s always something that gives me hope.As for the question asked at the end: “with numbers like that stampeding the Tiber, why would the Church give serious consideration, at all, to ordaining women? Well, one answer is that only the Catholic Church (and the Orthodox Churches) would be able to ordain women, because the Anglican Church can’t ordain them, just as it can’t ordain men — i.e., the Anglican Church’s orders aren’t valid from the perspective of Catholicism. If the Church were to ordain women, it would be offering something that Anglicans can’t get in their own church.There are so many other answers to this, but one that comes to my mind is a story I once heard about something a girl at her Confirmation said to the bishop; whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter. The bishop, in quizzing the kids, etc., asked, how many sacraments are there? The girl replied, “Seven for boys, and six for me.”That, to me, says it all. Tell me, how would you explain to that girl why God, in establishing the plan for salvation, didn’t set it up so that women could be priestesses? Would it not have been possible? Is the inability of women to be ordained a mystery like the problem of evil, so that all we can do is cry out to God like Job? Just stepping back and thinking outside the box, wouldn’t it hypothetically be more glorious if God had established a Church with both priests and priestesses? At least from the perspective of that girl in the story, it seems that to say that women don’t have the capacity to be ordained is to take away from the glory of God, the glory of the Church, and from the dignity of woman, made in God’s image. It seems an insult to Mary, too.If the Church is correct in saying that it simply doesn’t have the power to ordain women, because God hasn’t given it that power, well, shouldn’t we pray to God to give the Church that power?Let me ask you: if, hypothetically, it would have been equally fitting/possible/etc. for God to establish a Church with both a male and female priesthood, wouldn’t you want that to be the Church that He established? And if not, why not?

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posted October 29, 2007 at 11:46 am

Thanks for the clarification Greg, that makes sense.Grace and Peace,Joe

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