Everyone should be calling Benedict XVI "The Pope of Christian Unity".
His provisions for traditionally-minded Anglicans issued in the Motu Proprio Anglicanorum coetibus are concrete demonstrations of his desire to bring separated Christians into unity with the Catholic fold.
With my emphases and comments, look at the story in The Daily Telegraph:
Anglican bishops in secret Vatican summit
Leading traditionalist bishops in the Anglican Church have secretly told senior Vatican officials that they are ready to defect to Rome, taking clergy with them. [OORAH!]
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Published: 9:00PM BST 01 May 2010
In a move likely to raise tensions between the two Churches, [Remember… the traditionally-minded Anglicans approached first… they came to the Holy See.] a group of Church of England bishops met last week with advisers of Pope Benedict XVI to set in motion steps that would allow priests to convert to Catholicism en masse.
They are set to resign their orders in opposition to the introduction of women bishops and to lead an exodus of Anglican clerics to the Catholic Church despite Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, urging them not to leave. [Gee whiz! I bet that will convince them!]
It would be the first time for nearly 20 years that large numbers of priests have crossed from the Church of England to Rome, and [Wait for it….] comes only weeks ahead of a crucial General Synod debate on making women bishops.
The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that bishops travelled to the Holy See last week to hold face to face discussions with senior members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the most powerful of the Vatican’s departments.
The Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Rt Rev Keith Newton and the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, the bishops of Fulham, Richborough and Ebbsfleet respectively, are understood to have informed senior Catholic officials that Church of England clergy are keen [as in "eager, interested, enthusiastic"] to defect to Rome.
It is the first significant response to the Papal offer made last year, which opened the doors for Anglicans to convert while retaining key elements of their tradition.
[Get this…] The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, was unaware of the summit, which is likely to prove embarrassing to the Catholic Church ahead of the Pope’s visit to Britain later this year as it will rekindle fears that it is trying to poach Anglican clergy. [Remember: They approached the Holy See!]
One source close to last week’s discussions said that the Anglican bishops raised concerns with the Vatican officials that there is opposition to them defecting from Catholic bishops in England. [I take that to mean that they raised concerns with Vatican officials about "opposition from Vatican officials". And I believe that there is opposition in some sectors, from liberals who don’t like the idea of liturgically sound clergy entering the ranks!]
Nevertheless, they made clear they have become so disillusioned with the Church’s liberal direction that they are keen to accept the Pope’s offer if they can finalise plans to implement it. [Do I hear an "Amen!"?]
The Vatican summit will raise the stakes at the General Synod in July when the Church of England’s parliament will vote on how to treat traditionalist clergy opposed to the introduction of women bishops. [I would love to listen to that.]
Although the number of priests who have openly said that they plan to defect has been small so far, the group is likely to grow if they are not given adequate provisions.
A leading Anglican cleric said: "This will seriously embarrass the Pope. [HA! I think not. The Pope issued the provisions to those who approached him. Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.]
"It’s a plot within the Vatican [ROFL!] that they are desperate to keep quiet until they are ready to go public.
"Many will see this as proof that the Catholic Church is intent on poaching clergy from the Church of England despite its reassurances to the contrary."
This is great.
All along Card. Kasper communicated to Anglicans the position of the Holy See. If Anglicans go down this loony Protestant, and in the deepest sense anti-ecclesial, path of ordaining women as bishops, then the status quo will not be maintained.
Much is spoken today of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. By analogy, their symptoms can, at times, be found even in our own Christian communities. For example, when we live myopically in the fleeting present, oblivious of our past heritage and apostolic traditions, we could well be suffering from spiritual Alzheimer’s. And when we behave in a disorderly manner, going whimsically our own way without any co-ordination with the head or the other members ecclesial Parkinson’s.
I hope the Holy See presses forward to resolve their questions quickly.
See Damian Thompson‘s remarks.