From The Telegraph:
Churches lose their vicars as Anglicans “jump ship” for Rome, warns Rowan Williams
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has warned that parishes will be left without vicars as hundreds of Anglicans “jump ship” for Rome.
By Tim Ross, Religious Affairs Editor 2:24PM GMT 18 Nov 2010
Dr Williams acknowledged that traditionalists who cannot accept Church of England plans to ordain women bishops were in “considerable confusion and distress”.
But the Pope’s offer to accommodate disaffected Anglicans would leave the Church with “practical challenges” as vicars resign and churches lose worshippers, he said.
Dr Williams’s comments came in his first media interview since The Daily Telegraph disclosed that five Anglican bishops were to join a new section of the Roman Catholic Church established by Pope Benedict XVI.
In an interview with Vatican Radio, Dr Williams insisted that there was “no ill feeling” between him and the five bishops leading the exodus of Anglicans to Rome.
“Obviously my reaction to the resignations is one of regret but respect – I know the considerations they’ve been through,” he said.
For the first time, the Archbishop suggested that worshipers who join the Ordinariate could be allowed to stay in their Anglican churches under a plan to let Roman Catholics share Church of England facilities.
“I think the challenge will come in working out shared use of churches, of how we as Anglicans ‘recommend’ people and also of course there will be some parishes without priests,” he said. [It wonder if that wouldn’t result in even more Catholic converts over time.]
Dr Williams suggested that the Pope’s offer to allow converts to retain some of their Anglican traditions within Roman Catholicism represented a significant shift in approach from the Vatican.
“Here is the Roman Catholic Church saying there are ways of being Christian in the Western church which are not restricted by historic Roman Catholic identity,” he said. [Hmm. The Pope is not suggesting that one of those ways is to have female bishops.]
About 30 groups from across the country are believed to have registered an interest in joining the Ordinariate. This would mean an estimated 500-600 Anglicans, including about 50 priests, will be in the first wave of converts to join the Ordinariate when it is established in the first half of next year. [A well-placed person I saw the other day told me numbers that were much higher.]