I have always been interested in the plight, and victories, of Anglicans/Episcopalians who "swim the Tiber". The late Msgr. Richard Schuler, of St. Agnes Church in St. Paul, MN, was instrumental in helping the first Anglican priests come over to Rome (literally, he took them to meet Card. Seper of the SCDF) and I met some of them during their visits to see him, I have several good lay friends who have become Catholics, I have a few priest friends who were Anglican clergy before coming over, I have great respect for their liturgical and musical tradition, etc.
However, the Anglicans are committing religious suicide and the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict has a Marshall Plan. They are losing their identity and we are recovering ours.
So, I was very interested to read that some Irish Anglicans, Church of Ireland, may be making the move.
My emphases and comments.
300 Anglicans defect to Rome after row over women priests
By John Cooney Religion Correspondent
Thursday October 25 2007
UP to 300 Irish Anglicans could soon be joining the Roman Catholic Church to the traditional hymn tune ‘Faith of Our Fathers’.
A report in today’s ‘Irish Catholic’ newspaper claims that three Church of Ireland parishes are Romeward-bound, and may soon be received by Pope Benedict into full communion with the Catholic Church.
This change of denominational allegiance is part of a long-standing doctrinal feud over the ordination of women. [I think it’s more than a feud. A "feud" suggests there are good positions on both sides and that the origin of the conflict is becoming more obscure.]
All three parishes broke away from the mainstream Church of Ireland in 1991 after the House of Bishops of the Church of Ireland decided to start ordaining women, a move which they condemned as "a defiance of scripture and tradition."
Two of the parishes are in the North and one is in the Republic.
Newtownards in Co Down, Eskra, outside Omagh, in Co Tyrone, and Stradbally in Co Laois, are members of the so-called traditional rite within the Church of Ireland.
These traditionalist members, who do not have a national profile, were not listed in a separate box about religious identity in the recent census. But they say that they are true Anglicans. [I am guessing this means "Anglo-Catholic".]
In total, they claim to have 400,000 members belonging to the worldwide 78 million Anglican Communion. So their defection to Rome could have a dramatic effect.
Earlier this month, they sent a letter to the Vatican seeking "full, corporate, sacramental union" with the Catholic Church under the authority of the Pope.
While only a few hundred Anglicans in Ireland will be involved in converting to Rome, the move, if approved by the Vatican, will see 400,000 Anglicans worldwide admitted into the Catholic Church.
Last night, Michael Kelly, deputy editor of the ‘Irish Catholic’, said it was extremely rare for entire Anglican communities to seek corporate communion with the Catholic Church. [Here’s part of the problem. The progressivist Catholics won’t want to help these far more liturgically traditional folks into the fold! That was part of the problem in the USA.]
"But individual Anglicans frequently convert to Catholicism," he added.
Only last week Anita Henderson, wife of the Church of Ireland Bishop of Tuam, Killala and Achonry, was received into the Catholic Church at a private ceremony in the chapel of Catholic Bishop John Fleming, in Ballina, Co Mayo.
The prospect of three whole parishes shifting their loyalties — and churches — under the papal flag will come as a further shock to the Church of Ireland, which has been enjoying a growth in its membership, mainly of new immigrants but also of former Catholic priests. [HA! More power to e’m!]
A spokesman for the traditional rite based in Northern Ireland confirmed that a decision had been made "not to give interviews at this stage".
However, the spokesman did confirm that the members of the traditional rite of the Church of Ireland fervently hope to be received into "full communion with the See of Rome". The decision to petition Rome was made earlier this month at a plenary meeting of the international body known as the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), their umbrella organisation.
According to a statement: "The bishops and vicars, general unanimously, agreed to the text of a letter to the See of Rome seeking full, corporate, sacramental union.
"The letter was signed solemnly by all the college and entrusted to the primate and two bishops chosen by the college to be presented to the Holy See," the statement added. [Imagine the emotions at that moment of signing….]
A spokesman for the Australian-based Archbishop John Hepworth, primate of the worldwide traditionalist communion, said the letter was cordially received at the congregation for the doctrine of the faith in Rome.
– John Cooney Religion Correspondent
UPDATE: 1640 GMT 26 Oct 07
Someone alerted me to a discussion at an Anglican blog germane to this entry. On that blog, Fr. Jay Scott Newman wrote an interesting comment which I reproduce below with my emphases:
20. Fr Jay Scott Newman wrote:
“Both schools are asking themselves what the future of Anglicanism is going to look like. And the return to a biblically faithful, traditional Anglicanism isn’t just about our Bishops coming to agreement. It involves the whole Church–including its organs of theological education.”
This was the comment offered by the Reverend Martha Giltinan, Trinity’s Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology. That an ordained woman and seminary professor can talk about the return to a biblically faithful, traditional Anglicanism without any irony is an index of how far gone the Anglican communion is from any form of Christianity which is biblically faithful and traditional. Friends, this is the camel’s nose under the tent, and until and unless it is driven back out into the desert, every manner of tempest will sweep in through that gap. To put it most simply: if a woman can be a presbyter, there is no coherent argument left against two men marrying each other. And given that even Nashotah House, the once proud flagship of American Anglo-Catholicism, has accepted this profoundly unbiblical and untraditional distortion of the Church’s sacramental life, there remains no hope (that I can see) of Anglicanism in the States being restored to biblical and traditional Christianity.
Fr. Newman: Rem acu tetigisti! This is very well said.