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The Deacon's Bench

A producer in my office contacted well-known Anglican convert Fr. George Rutler to ask if he’d be interested in being interviewed on the big Anglican news.  

He wasn’t available, but he e-mailed this statement, which he’s releasing to the media: 

It is dramatic put down of  liberal Anglicanism and a total repudiation of the ordination of women, homosexual marriage and the general neglect of doctrine in Anglicanism. It basically interprets Anglicanism as a spiritual parimony based on ethnic tradition rather than substantial doctrine and makes clear that it is not an historic “church” but rather an “ecclesial community”‘ that strayed and now is invited to return to communion with the Pope as Successor of Peter.  


The Vatican was careful to schedule simultaneously with the Vatican announcement,  press conference of the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster and the deeply humiliated Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury to enable to enable the Anglicans to save some face by saying that this recognizes the spiritual patrimony of Anglicanism and that ecumenical dialogue goes ahead.  That is like George Washington at Yorktown saying that he recognizes the cultural contributions of Britain and hopes diplomatic relations flourish. The Apostolic Constitution is not a retraction of ecumenical desires, but rather is the fulfillment of ecumenical aspirations, albeit not the way most Anglican leaders had envisioned it.  


The press, often uninformed and sensationalistic in matters of religion, will zoom in on the permission for married priests. They will miss the most important point: that this reiterates the Catholic Church’s insistence that Anglican Holy Orders are invalid, and perforce so is their Eucharist.


These married Anglican priests have to be fully ordained validly by a

Catholic bishop. Following Orthodox custom, they are allowed to marry only before ordination and not after.  And no married man may become a bishop.  


(Thus, any Anglican bishop joining one of these “ordinariates” would no longer be recognized as a bishop. Under special provision, Anglican bishops would have some right to pastoral authority, but would not be bishops.)  


It remains to be seen how many Anglicans (Epscopalians in the USA) will be received into the Catholic Church under these provisions, but it is a final nail in the coffin of the rapidily disintegrating Anglicanism at least in the West are will radically challenge Anglicans in other parts of the world. 


Perhaps most importantly, it sets a precedent for reunion with Orthodox churches whose Holy Orders the Catholic Church alread
y recognizes as valid.


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