The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Catholics and Anglicans may share churches

Pope Benedict’s historic outreach to Anglicans continues to make history — and make waves:

Anglicans who defect to Rome in protest at plans to ordain women bishops could be allowed to continue worshipping in their Church of England buildings, a leading official said today.

Hundreds of priests and parishioners are expected to take up the Pope’s offer to convert to Roman Catholicism and join a new body for Anglicans who disagree with the ordination of women bishops when it is established next year.

Church authorities have insisted that defectors will not be able to retain their parish buildings when they leave the Anglican family.


But today the Church’s most senior official, William Fittall, raised the prospect of a historic compromise.

Mr Fittall, secretary general of the General Synod, said it would be “entirely possible” for those who convert to Roman Catholicism to be allowed to share their former churches with Anglicans who remain in the Church of England.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of the General Synod, the Church’s “parliament”, later this month, Mr Fittall said: “It would be a matter for the local Anglican bishop concerned whether he was content for that to be the case.”

Church buildings in some areas are already shared with other denominations, such as Baptists and Methodists, he said.


Many Anglican churches were originally built centuries ago as places of worship for Catholics. In some cases, sharing facilities could allow Roman Catholics to worship in historic English churches for the first time since the Reformation.

The move could also provide necessary financial help for parishes that decide to lease churches to Roman Catholic congregations for a fee. More than 12,000 Anglican churches are listed and many struggle to raise funds for essential maintenance.

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Eugene Pagano

posted November 2, 2010 at 4:43 pm

It really is not that unusual for non-Roman Catholic churches to host other denominations’ services. My Episcopal parish does so, and another Episcopal parish nearby even hosts a group of ex-Roman Catholics. I have read that in England some Anglican and Roman Catholic congregations already share churches.
Just watch out that Latin Rite Catholics may decide that they prefer to attend the half-Anglican liturgy that the Ordinariate will use!

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Hammer of Heretics

posted November 2, 2010 at 5:40 pm

Eugene, it won’t be a half-Anglican liturgy, it will be fully orthodox and not heretical. Also, why would it matter if Latin Rite Catholics attended Anglican Ordinariate…we are Catholics no matter what. lol There are plenty of different rites in the Holy Church. Try not to let your anti-Catholic emotions cloud your heart and your thought!

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Hammer of Heretics

posted November 2, 2010 at 5:46 pm

And furthermore, the reason why this is so amazing is that these “Anglican” Church sites are really just Catholic churches that were defaced, desecrated and stolen during the Protestant “Reformation” in England. Don’t you love how God works, surely but slowly returning these once Holy temples back to the Mother Church. Deo Gratias! On another point, the reason why Protestant denominations share Church buildings is because there is nothing sacred in them! They are just buildings. Protestants, for the most part do not believe in the real presence of Our Lord in the blessed Sacrament. There are some exceptions such as these brave Anglo-Catholics who are making the final conversion to Rome and the Orthodox would never let there churches used for Protestant worship, especially if the blessed sacrament is present.

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Bill Wilson

posted November 2, 2010 at 6:50 pm

This act of Rome, which would be called a corporate raid in the secular arena, is disgraceful. The message is; if you don’t like women and gays, come on over.
Sure Henry VIII and Cromwell stole these beautiful churches and then proceeded to pillage and diface them. It is ironic that they will now possibly become once again places of worship for adherents of the Roman church as it move further back to pre-Reformation rigidity.

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posted November 2, 2010 at 9:27 pm

there’s something here that I don’t get. Will there be an “anglican rite”, like the eastern rite in the catholic church?
and is it convenient for us catholics to “share” the building with anglicans who still adhere to the Church of England?

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posted November 2, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Bill Wilson,
It would be best for you read the actual Vatican statement rather than making broad presumptions about motives. statement

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Hammer of Heretics

posted November 2, 2010 at 11:21 pm

Belen, I believe it will in a sense be an Anglican “rite”. I believe in areas such as the United States, these new Catholic parishes will be under the jurisdiction of their own, Rome-approved Bishop, not necessarily the bishop of the diocese that they happen to be located in.

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posted November 3, 2010 at 7:26 am

“This act of Rome, which would be called a corporate raid in the secular arena, is disgraceful. The message is; if you don’t like women and gays, come on over.”
Well for years the Episcopal Church has been receiving disgruntled Catholics who were divorced and wanted to get married a second time or couldn’t accept the Church’s teaching on sexuality and a whole host of things. Is that disgraceful too? I don’t hear you complaining about that!

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