Well the ordinariate for Anglicans to come over to Rome is on its way, in a couple of years Anglicans who want to have any claim of Catholicity will have no excuses left to them. I don’t expect the hotchpotch solutions of conservative/evangelical alliances to prevent Women Bishops to meet with any success.
Personally I think Anglo-Catholics probably left it a bit too long and should have gone over when women priests were voted in (strange thing that theological truth was decided by a vote). It is fairly inevitable that if you can see no problem with having women priests then how can you appose women bishops?
The ability to accept for so long the fractured and theologically compromised Anglican church, just so long as your priest isn’t ordained by a woman bishop, is quite astounding. Quite a lot of Anglo-Catholics were just staying in order to keep some form of Catholicism within Anglicanism, for some it was motivated by a great act of charity and forbearance. The Anglican Shrine at Walsingham springs to mind.
But for others I think it has been an amazing act of self delusion, the Anglican Church has been slipping into a morass of relativism for some time now. Perhaps it has been because of the Catholic Church’s unbending stance on contraception or homosexuality that some have been hesitant to come home to Rome. Issues that a hundred years ago the Anglican Church would have been in full agreement on.
Rome however has offered this last most generous chance to convert, to join the Catholic Church*, by far the biggest ‘ecclesial community’,without losing anything that was good about Anglican heritage. This is a stunningly generous offer and quite frankly I think you’d have to be mad to turn it down.
(*you know, that one linked to the Bishop of Rome, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Successor of the Prince of the Apostles, Supreme Pontiff of the Universal Church, Primate of Italy, Archbishop and Metropolitan of the Roman Province, Sovereign of the State of Vatican City, Servant of the Servants of God, Patriarch of the West, the holy father, Pope Benedict XVI) well if you are going to name drop 😀
The sad thing is that the assumption is that this ordinariate is being created only for High-Anglicans who are taking it as a last resort to preserve bells and smells liturgy and will only begrudgingly accept Papal authority. Really this is a great opportunity for all Anglicans to join the Catholic Church, with everything that entails.
This shouldn’t just be the last chance saloon for people to do what they should have done years ago, this is an opportunity for the courageous to realise that if there is no reason not to be Catholic then the moral imperative is to be united to the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church mentioned in the Nicene creed, that all Anglicans say they believe in every Sunday.
This is such an open invitation, it is yet another peace offering by the Catholic Church to Anglicans, and I can’t see how the Church could be more generous than it is, and the price of accepting it is becoming Catholic, something I can personally vouch for as being the best thing that could ever happen to you.
All it takes is to say “I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims to be revealed by God”. Quite a big one that, but not as difficult to accede to as you might think as a wily old protestant. Not anywhere near as tough to say as the old rite of reception for protestants. Which I’ve been struggling to find a link to. Though it certainly mentions being sorry for adhering to grievous error.
People have all sorts of strange reasons for not becoming Catholic, including its view on contraception, that it would somehow stop the aids epidemic in Africa for example as the Times and the Guardian would have everyone believe.
The sexually transmitted disease/infection rate in this country is horrendous despite the proliferation, excuse the pun, of condoms and all teenagers being solemnly told that contraception is a must by everyone from their teachers, parents, TV’s and their friends. So what is a answer? well have a look at this link there are plenty of other sources out there for people to have a look at, the Catholic Church is not mad.
This is true of every other issue that people have with Catholicism, if it was researched rather than blindly clung to then it would quickly fade. All it takes to place yourself firmly on the road to Catholicism, is a mind open to the possibility that the Church might be right, and the willingness to challenge one by one those few items which bar you from being Catholic.
It is perhaps difficult because finding authentic Catholic instruction is tricky these days, you might end up with a woolly jumper, sandles and socks wearing liberal, who is just as likely to tell you you don’t need to be Catholic, just be a good prot, or to shrug and say well its ok to object to Catholic teaching just like they do, because of primacy of conscience. You will have to search for authentic Catholic sources yourself or find someone you can trust who can point you in the right direction in order to challenge the sticking points you have.
The Catholic Church would be better off with all Christians in it, think of all the skills, gifts, vocations, which protestants could bring back to the Church, think of everything that we could accomplish if we were united as Jesus prayed that we should be in one of his last prayers on earth.
If you are worried that the Catholic Church isn’t doing a particularly great job in a specific area (you are probably not alone there are plenty of Catholics who are worried too), and that is your reason for not joining us, you are mad, join us and help us fix it! We want you, Jesus wants you to be Catholic!
I think I’ll end with the prayer for England:
O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother look down in mercy upon England, thy dowry, and upon us who greatly hope and trust in thee.
By thee it was that Jesus, our Saviour and our hope was given unto the world; and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more.
Plead for us thy children, whom thou didst receive and accept at the foot of the cross, O Sorrowful Mother, Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold, they may be united to the Chief Shepherd, the Vicar of thy Son.
Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith, fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with thee in our heavenly home.