A reader alerted me to the following story from the Telegraph:
Archbishop of Canterbury moves to flush out Anglicans plotting to defect to Rome
The Archbishop of Canterbury moved last night to counter secret plotting [!] among disaffected Anglicans who are planning to defect to Rome.
By Tim Ross, Religious Affairs Editor
In a surprise announcement, Dr Rowan Williams [Anglican Archbp. of Canterbury] said he wanted to establish a new joint group of Roman Catholic and Church of England figures to oversee the conversion process. [A joint commission? Cui bono? Would this commission help to… what… transfer property?]
The proposed group would be designed to enable smooth and less painful transition for those who want to leave the Church of England to become Roman Catholics in protest at the ordination of women bishops.
It would also bring into the open the negotiations between disaffected Anglicans and the Vatican which have been taking place in secret for months. [The title of the article suggests that this is the main purpose: identify in advance those who are thinking about transferring their flags.]
Dr Williams’s suggestion came in his first public remarks since a parish in Kent and a London bishop announced their intention to accept the Pope’s offer to convert to Roman Catholicism.
Last Friday, St Peter’s church in Folkestone and the Bishop of Fulham, the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, disclosed their plans to join the so-called English Ordinariate, a new body proposed by the Vatican as a home for disaffected Anglicans.
At least two more bishops are widely rumoured to be planning to join the Ordinariate when it is established next year, but their negotiations with Rome are taking place behind closed doors.
Neither Lambeth Palace nor the Roman Catholic authorities in England and Wales know the extent of the numbers of Anglicans who are likely to switch allegiance.
Under Pope Benedict XVI’s plan, Anglicans would be able to move into full communion with Rome while at the same time preserving some of their traditions and heritage. [Perhaps Dr. Williams is edging closer to issuing Romanorum coetibus?]
In an interview with The Hindu newspaper, while on a trip to India, Dr Williams spoke of his frustration at the Pope’s decision to announce the Ordinariate to the public with little prior warning a year ago.
“I was very taken aback that this large step was put before us without any real consultation. And it did seem to me that some bits of the Vatican didn’t communicate with other bits,” he said.
“It caused some ripples because I think there was a widespread feeling that it would have been better to consult. [Boo. Hoo.]
“As this is now being implemented, we are trying to make sure that there is a joint group which will keep an eye on how it’s going to happen. In England, the relations between the Church of England and Roman Catholic Bishops are very warm and very close. I think we are able to work together on this and not find it a difficulty.”
It is understood that neither the Church of England nor the Roman Catholic authorities in England and Wales have yet agreed to Dr Williams’s proposal for a joint group to oversee the Ordinariate.
In the interview, Dr Williams acknowledged that the ordination of homosexuals and women as bishops threatened to create “deeper divisions” within the world-wide Anglican Communion.
“I feel that we may yet have to face the possibility of deeper divisions,” he said. [D’ya think? When doctrine can be voted up or down, when prevailing societal trends are the wind in your sails, what else is going to happen?]
“I don’t at all like, or want to encourage, the idea of a multi-tier organisation. But that would, in my mind, be preferable to complete chaos and fragmentation. It’s about agreeing what we could do together.”
Perhaps such a joint committee could be useful in working out the details of transferal of ownership of property? I don’t know how those things get worked out in England, where the state church is the Church of England.