Anglican Archbp. Williams speaks about Anglicanorum coetibus in Rome

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.]


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  1. Supertradmum says:

    Archbishop Vincent Nichols made this statement: ” Decisions and issues such as housing and locations would be made on a local basis and Archbishop Nichols denied the Catholic Church was “seeking to acquire property” in the form of buildings belonging to the Church of England.

    A statement issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said: “In responding generously and offering a warm welcome to those seeking full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church within the ordinariate, the bishops know that the clergy and faithful who are on that journey of faith will bring their own spiritual treasures which will further enrich the spiritual life of the Catholic Church in England and Wales.” (The Independent)

    Poor Archbishop Williams is beginning to panic. The fact that he used the phrase “jumping ship” is an unfortunate choice of words, as the metaphor refers to a sinking ship.

    As to the numbers, I have seen wildly different reports, but at least 50 priests and 600 people, most likely more.

  2. Tina in Ashburn says:

    How wonderful to see such a return to the Church. Welcome!!! I expect great things to come of this re-union.

    Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if the Church could have back all the churches, monasteries and art looted by the English- sure! We’ll take the church buildings back too!

  3. Martial Artist says:

    Perhaps I have been uncharitable to +Canterbury in the past. This seems to suggest that I was mistaken in thinking Abp. Williams to be completely out of touch with reality. Nevertheless, I can’t help but recalling that when he was first appointed to his See, I had a persistent tendency to refer to him by the wrong surname. The only surname which came to mind with the given name Rowan was Atkinson.

    Pax et bonum,
    Keith Töpfer

  4. AM says:

    For me “jump ship” means a crew-member to go absent-without-leave in the middle of a voyage, say in some foreign port. Not to jump into the water; perhaps to get a better berth on a ship back home: no stomach for this voyage, or captain, any more. There is an implication of cowardice, of at least failure of nerve, when you say someone jumps ship.

  5. MikeJ9919 says:

    Those numbers (500-600 Anglicans including 50 priests) have to be incorrect, and are most likely substantially higher, as Fr. Z’s source suggests. Think about it…the number that is likely to be most accurate is the number of priestly moves. Each priest is going to take a lot more than 10 Anglicans with him. So for a move of 50 priests, it has to be more than 500-600.

  6. Legisperitus says:

    They’re jumping ship so they can serve on one that has an anchor.

  7. Rich says:

    Dr. Williams has nothing to worry about. Once the C of E votes to have women bishops, there will be plenty of other vicars to take these bishops’ places.

  8. DavidJ says:

    “there are ways of being Christian in the Western church which are not restricted by historic Roman Catholic identity”

    Let us not confuse form with substance.

  9. LorrieRob says:

    I have to comment on the contrast in approach with Espiscopal Presiding Bishop Schori with that of ArchBishop Williams in respecting the decision of those leaving for reasons of conviction and working to accomodate sharing of facilities rather than declaring war. Williams’ personal theology is liberal but he has tried to keep the Anglican Communion together… though its continuing fracture is inevitable because as someone above noted…there is no anchor.

  10. chironomo says:

    Seriously?? Only 10 or so faithful for every PRIEST leaving the church?? More people leave a parish to follow a favorite priest when they are re-assigned. I would think that far more faithful (who have much less at stake than a Bishop or priest) would choose to “jump ship”.

  11. mike cliffson says:

    Numbers? Who shall say that but One alone may be through whom Almighty God works marvels, numbers games are for MSM. Obviously haleluya for each and every!
    Bottom line: how many souls ‘ll be saved, directly or indirectly, who might otherwise be headed for damnation? Not for us to know now- sooner, or later, we all will! but one can can make educated guesses. Just think of B. Newman. Fr Dwight Longenecker had a post which gave me pause for thought on 2nd inst. ( on Elgar’s setting of B.Newman’s poem “dream of Gerontius” which is about a man’s deathbed AND PURGATORY.
    When a yuf, I didn’t like it and so thought little of it- it’s everywhere UK, proms, choral societies, not the top 20 obviously but around all the time. In 1985 (I think) our present Peter, then C.Ratzinger, remarked on the big difference with Protestants :No purgatory, no prayers for the dead. Just that one work of Newman’s on the public square MAY have stopped the devil taking advantage of despair around death or on dying of one ? one thousand? one hundred thousand Brits? outside the visible confines of the fold. Through one odd moment,one tiddly aspect, of Newman. I underlined don’t know! But can it be for other than good? Does not God’s providence work much that way under the radar?
    Just the exvicars alone : Good and holy men all, I imagine, but even were they not, more Alter Christi now bringing the sacraments which they did not before is a VISIBLE doubleplus good.
    Just as , no eulogies, no cast-iron guarantees, but in my mother’s last agony months back and my father’s recent critical visit to the same hospital , the hospital chaplain is an exanglican priest, which given the shortages , there’d be a priest on Tuesdays in months with a “r” in them otherwise.
    All I know is when my time comes, as a weak and dreadful sinner, I sure want a priest with the sacraments handy, and if it should be in England, but for exanglicans already, I could whistle.

  12. Joe in Canada says:

    The numbers of the Ordinariate will be higher than the numbers of Anglicans leaving in the near future as it would include the members of the TAC in UK who have asked to join the Ordinariate when it is erected. The TAC in the UK is relatively small, but as you suggest, many others will probably wait until the inevitable occurs.

  13. Dr. Eric says:

    Dr. Williams is obfuscating the truth. The Anglicans were given the opportunity at least twice in the past to return to the Church while keeping everything as Anglican as possible except for the heretical beliefs of their ecclesial community. The Abp. of Canterbury was even offered the position of Patriarch.

  14. ghlad says:

    “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.

    That’s a terrible misunderstanding. “Not restricted by historic RC identity”?! The true history of the Church isn’t comprised merely of the accidents of culture that constitute the Church Militant here on Earth. As if that were the exclusive stumbling block keeping our brothers in Christ from fully joining in His Church. I had thought that anybody with a bit of thinking would be able to discern that Anglicanorum coetibus acts more as a convenience for exasperated souls that still value salvation than a radical and new-fangled loosing of “historic Roman Catholic identity.” Any Anglican bishops, priests or laity that make use of Anglicanorum coetibus are assumed into full communion with the Church, replete with the full extent of “Roman Catholic identity.” He just doesn’t get it.

    (Wild tangent!) I don’t understand why CoEs can’t take a moment, ponder the fact that their church careened from Rome on the basis of a bloodthirsty tyrant’s desperation to produce an heir and capitalized on the nascent Reformation and the spirit of contrariness to wrest the English bishops from Rome under threat of death. From that perspective, there is very little reason to remain divided from Rome. There is no need. Come back to the true faith! It’s as foolish as the Protestants who flap on about sola scripture and sola fide as reasons to resist Rome’s gravitational pull. Meanwhile they ignore the fundamental question: who established the canonical Scriptures? Why, Mother Church.

  15. Joe in Canada says:

    Dr Eric – can you give some more details? When was the A of C offered the position of Patriarch?

  16. HighMass says:

    Kudo’s to Legisperitus, PROFOUND STATEMENT, Yes Our Ship Does have an Anchor!
    Being Roman Catholic all my life I guess in all due respect to Dr. Williams, one wants to say in the kindest way they can “MAN UP”! Even with in our Church this feminism has done more than its share of damage……Thank GOD we have had STRONG Successors of PETER the Holy Fathers John Paul the Great and Our Beloved Pope Benedict!

    Don’t the people who sit on the fence get it????? People are tired of the Feminism in the Church’s

  17. asperges says:

    It’s pure (Anthony) Trollope – I recommend Barchester Chronicles to anyone who hasn’t read it (apologies to those who haven’t). Mr Harding expresses to view to the Archdeacon (Dr Grantly) that he has to resign. Dr Grantly has little time for pious religious view:

    Sir Abraham Haphazard: You should sleep on this, Mr. Harding. Make no hasty decisions.
    Rev. Septimus Harding: I have slept on it. I have done more than sleep upon it, I have lain awake on it, and that night after night. … But now – now that I have made my decision, I think I shall sleep again. I shall sleep tonight.
    Susan Grantly: What are you going to live on?
    Rev. Septimus Harding: God that feedeth the young ravens will take care of me also.
    Archdeacon Grantly: Pish! If the ravens persisted in refusing the food prepared for them, they wouldn’t be fed.

  18. TJerome says:

    Well, Archbishop. You could stop the insane lurching to the left of the Anglican Church. But I hope you don’t. We could use these fine, tradition minded folks in the Catholic Church

  19. Athanasius says:

    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.

    I don’t know where he gets that, unless he means in the last 40 years. Historically you have things like the union of Brest and the reunions which followed it, whereby Eastern Christians retained their worship and identity within the Catholic Church by accepting the Pope’s authority and Catholic teaching. Anglicanorum Coetibus does more or less the same thing. If anything it is a rejection of the false ecumenism which has been preached by many [sic] in the last 40 years and a reaffirmation of the Church’s mission, to bring every human creature under her fold.

  20. Random Friar says:

    The Sarum Rite greatly preceded Trent, so more ancient rites had always been allowed. Anglicanism would’ve borrowed from these forms, at least in its catholic revivalism.

  21. nanetteclaret says:

    After almost 500 years, Our Lady of Walsingham’s Dowry is finally returning.

  22. Sixupman says:

    Another ‘hobby-horse’ of mine. I live in a ruralish area with a CofE church some 400 yards distant. The E&W Bishops’ Conference, a few years ago, issued a document stating that I could fulfill my Sunday & Holyday duties, by attendance at that local church, or even a non-conformist chapel.

    Such was [is?] the mind of the hierarchy, and BXVI has circumvented their attitude and policies, as evidenced in a recent contribution, inter alia, of clergy not wanting more ‘Trad’ elements in the Church.

    It is an undisputable fact that an Anglican service is likely to be celebrated with a great deal more decorum than your average NOM Catholic Mass these days. Whilst kicking my heels, waiting a train connection, I visited a CofE church, of some age, in Bristol, St. Mary Redcliffe. Behind the high altar is a ‘Lady Chapel complete with tabernacle and lamp [I will not comment on what will or will not exist within] but someone passing the same genuflected with great reverance.

    No doubt there will be teething troubles, but if they can avoid the wiles of the Bishop’s Conference, all will be well. In BXVI we have a very wise pastor and that wisdom has come from reflection upon what has occurred since VatII.

    Let him now neuter [or exterminate] the bishops’ conferences and their burgeoning bureaucracies!

  23. asperges says:

    @ Sixupman “The E&W Bishops’ Conference, a few years ago, issued a document stating that I could fulfill my Sunday & Holyday duties, by attendance at that (Anglican) local church, or even a non-conformist chapel. “

    Had they taken leave of their senses? How can you fulfill the obligation to hear Mass where there is no Mass? Is this document traceable on the Internet? Did Rome ever see it, one wonders.

  24. Dr. Eric says:

    Joe in Canada,

    I cannot find the link. I was surprised as I bet many of us would be when I read about it. The article was posted when the Holy Father issued Anglicanorum Coetibus last year. I put it on my facebook page, but I don’t know if the link still exists.

  25. Dave N. says:

    I think AC makes a ton of sense in places like the U.S., but I’m not so sure about how this is going to go over in England in the long run. My English Roman Catholic friends wonder about all this structure and accommodation being made for certain clerics who weren’t willing to take the plunge and become Catholic before, but who are now willing to be Catholic–but only on what amounts to their own terms. (Their ideas, not necessarily mine; though I can see their point I guess.) I hope the Brits who have been faithful Catholics all along–not historically an easy path-don’t end up resenting those who decide to enter the “special” ordinariate.

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