Full circle for “an Anglican now in full communion with Peter”

This is for your Just Too Cool file.

From CNA:

Convert priest thrilled to host Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury
By David Kerr

Rome, Italy, Mar 9, 2012 / 06:29 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Catholic convert Father Peter Hughes prefers to describe himself as “an Anglican who is now in full communion with Peter.

“In a personal sense I have made this journey, and it has been both a fascinating and a demanding one,” said Fr. Hughes, the prior of San Gregorio al Celio monastery in Rome, in an interview with CNA.

Fr. Hughes was received into the Catholic Church in 2000, after many years as an Anglican vicar in his native Australia and in England.

This weekend he will experience his life come full circle as he hosts both Pope Benedict XVI and the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. The two religious leaders will pray Vespers together to mark the 1,000th anniversary of the monastic Camaldolese Order, which has overseen San Gregorio since the mid 1500s.


The venue of San Gregorio monastery comes with added significance for English Christians. In the late 6th century Pope Gregory the Great dispatched St. Augustine [of Canterbury, not of Hippo.] from the monastery to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, thus making them “not Angles, but Angels.” St. Gregory actually built the monastery on the site of his family home.


Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

We look forward to even more fruits from Anglicanorum coetibus.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Pingback: ‘An Anglican Who is Now in Full Communion with Peter’ « Fr Stephen Smuts

  2. EucharistLove says:

    Catholic convert Father Peter Hughes prefers to describe himself as “an Anglican who is now in full communion with Peter.” You are not longer an Anglican, Father Hughes. Let it go. You are now a Catholic. Why would you want to still be considered an Anglican anyway when you ostensibly have accepted the revealed Truth that is the Catholic Church? It seems you haven’t completely transformed.

  3. mariadevotee says:

    My family and I were eating Sunday lunch with our Catholic priest after I converted from being an Episcopalian and my former Episcopal minister came in. I introduced them, but felt pretty awkward about it, like I had run into an old boyfriend or something.

  4. Roguejim says:

    And what exactly is the real difference between Rowan, and wymyn priestesses, sacerdotally speaking that is…?

  5. MaryW says:

    My parish has a pastor who is a celibate former Anglican priest and the parochial vicar is a married former Episcopalian minister. Both entered the Church before Angelicanorum Coetibus, both very proud to be Roman Catholic priests.

  6. Tom Esteban says:

    I’m confused. Anglican in communion with Rome. So… not Anglican then? Though this is being picky, since I have seen a few Eastern Catholics identify themselves as ‘orthodox in communion with Rome’ and I never thought anything of it. So welcome home, I suppose, to Father Hughes!

    Hmph. Why our Holy Father insists on praying Vespers with a man who is no more a Bishop than I am makes no sense to me. It sends the wrong message, and seems to say to all those Anglicans taking advantage of Anglicanorum coetibus “Hey, you converted but I’ll just pretend that what you came from is pretty good too!”. Nevermind that the Anglicans are quickly taking a dive in orthodoxy even among anglican standards.

  7. Nicole says:

    So…the priest is a former Anglicanus and now just a plain Anglicus? hahaha!

    I, too, wonder why our Holy Father sees it fitting to pray Vespers “together” with a hedge-priest.

  8. Mundabor says:

    Catholic convert Father Peter Hughes prefers to describe himself as “an Anglican who is now in full communion with Peter.”

    Where’s the conversion?


  9. Sissy says:

    Nicole said: “I, too, wonder why our Holy Father sees it fitting to pray Vespers “together” with a hedge-priest.”

    As a former Anglican, I find it a little disconcerting, too, particularly given some of the really strange things Rowen Williams says sometimes. But, I also find it a bit uncomfortable when the Holy Father meets with Muslim leaders in a setting that seems to recognize them as fellow worshippers of the same God. I just chalk it up to his great kindness and courtesy (not having the requisite information or brainpower to fully understand his reasoning).

    As to “Anglicans in communion with Rome”, the creation of the Anglican Ordinariate appears to me to create a separate, acceptable (authorized) path for coming home. I chose to convert directly from Anglicanism to the Latin Rite, but some of my former Anglican friends are excited and happy about being able to convert and still keep the Anglican Use. I’m happy the Holy Father has been so generous with them and wish them well.

  10. Art says:

    As always, the conversion is in the heart. It sounds like Fr. Hughes is simply acknowledging his roots. There is a lot of beauty that is part of the Anglican patrimony that is compatible with the Catholic Church. If there wasn’t, there would be no need for Anglicanorum Coetibus or Anglican Use for that matter.

  11. taleger123 says:

    If I may add my two cents here: Maybe it’s just my own interpretation, but I think that those who are reading Fr. Hughes’ “Anglican in communion with Rome” comment as some sort of indication of a backsliding in the faith are reading a bit too deeply into it. I sincerely doubt that his statement was meant to be taken as some sort of “Anglican first, Catholic second” type of declaration. It is most likely either a statement pointing out the ability to keep the Anglican Use liturgy while still being in full communion with Rome or a statement that’s meant to emphasize the joyful new possibilities that are available for all Anglicans to now be in full communion with Rome. Either way, I tend to think his use of the term “Anglican” is more of a cultural or liturgical use of the word, not so much refering to the actual Anglican Communion.

  12. mamajen says:

    As a lifelong Catholic looking in, it has always been difficult for me to fathom that Anglicans want to be associated with Henry VIII’s destruction of the Church. I toured many ruins while I was in England, and it’s heartbreaking to know the history. How could anyone proudly carry on that tradition? As the wife of a convert, though, I can also see a different perspective. I know many (high church) Anglicans are very proud of their traditional mass, and the more modern Catholic masses they have seen really turn them off. They do not all agree with the liberal goings on within the Anglican Communion. I think for some perhaps “Anglican” means to them what “traditional Catholic” means to many of us. The actual term “anglican” dates well before Henry VIII and his break from the Catholic Church.

    My husband (from England) was raised Anglican, and the vicar he knew most of his life left to become a Catholic. I think that experience planted a seed in my husband which contributed toward his eventual conversion. Though my mother-in-law likes to say that her church is “more Catholic” than mine, my husband saw that the vicar felt differently, and after meeting me and talking things over he truly realized there was something more. My husband does call himself Catholic now, but I am grateful for his traditional Anglican upbringing.

    The fact that Father Hughes still chooses to identify himself as Anglican does not worry me. Henry VIII highjacked the English church, and perhaps God will use people like Father Hughes to win it back. I’m very happy for Father Hughes!

  13. Jason Keener says:

    I squirm a bit too when I see the Holy Father standing close to Dr. Williams all dressed up as a true bishop of the Church. Unfortunately, Dr. Williams is no more a bishop than I am. Having said that, it is probably the Holy Father’s prudential judgement that tolerating the errors of Dr. Williams for the time being and instead focusing on their basic common belief in Christ is the best way to bring Protestants to the fullness of truth. I think a case can also be made for a stricter approach towards the Protestants that does not allow for common prayer and openly asks the Protestants to abandon their errors. I have even argued at times, to the chagrin of some blog readers here, that a case can be made that Protestants like Dr. Williams are not true Christians at all because they reject many of Christ’s teachings. It would seem for someone to be a true Christian they must at least believe everything that Christ taught. Some readers of this blog say that people like Nancy Pelosi and Kathleen Sebelius are small “c” “catholics” because they reject essential elements of the Catholic Faith. I wonder why this same strictness is not applied to Protestants. If we are going to say that Nancy Pelosi isn’t a true Catholic because she rejects essential elements of the Catholic Faith, we could also probably say that Dr. Williams is not a true Christian because he rejects essential elements of Christ’s teachings such as the authority of the papacy, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, etc.

    In the end, ecumenism is a tricky subject and how it is carried out depends on if one is going to focus more on the truths of non-Catholics or the errors of non-Catholics. A balanced approach is probably best.

  14. NoTambourines says:

    Those who are troubled by his calling himself an Anglican might want to take a gander at Fr. Longenecker’s blog, Standing On My Head, linked in the right sidebar here. Fr. Longenecker started out at Bob Jones University, became an Anglican priest, and was finally received into the Catholic Church. Along with Fr. Z, he’s one of the two priest bloggers I follow regularly.

    It’s worth remembering that the tradition of the Church in England precedes Henry VIII’s schism, notably in the Sarum Rite. The term “Anglican” can refer to much more than the Protestant schism.

    This posting may help put things into context:


  15. Nicole says:

    Mamajen – “high church anglicans” do not have a mass since they do not have priests.

  16. mamajen says:

    @Nicole – I realize that, however some do use the terminology themselves. My use of the term was not intended to imply that they have valid sacraments, but you’re right–I should have known better and chosen my wording more carefully.

  17. mamajen says:

    @NoTambourines – I enjoyed that link. Thank you.

  18. AnAmericanMother says:

    Guys, hang on a minute!
    I was a sixth-generation “high church” Episcopalian who converted back in 2003-4.
    You have to realize that the Anglicans/Episcopalians are a continuum, not a single denomination. The mainliners (‘broad church’) and the aggressively Protestant evangelicals (‘low church’) by and large are not converting and have absolutely no interest in doing so. Their theology (such as it is) is incompatible with Catholicism. The ‘high church’ folks — who owe our existence not to the Protestant Reformation but to the old Catholic traditions of the English Church from St. Augustine of Canterbury to Bl. John Henry Newman and the Oxford Movement — have been working our way back to Catholicism for nigh on 200 years. Some of us are later than others. Please be patient.
    And the English Church tradition from before the Reformation has much to offer the Church as a whole — because the Anglicans never abandoned what the Catholics (American Catholics especially) sold for a mess of pottage.
    The music and the liturgy in the Catholic Church were a barrier and stumbling block to my conversion. I came from sophisticated Latin and English motets and chant (Sarum or Anglican) to music that made you want to flinch or put your fingers in your ears — and after the measured, manly beauty of Cranmer’s prayer book (and its fidelity to the Latin original – except of course the parts that Edward’s minions meddled with), the old liturgy was like fingernails on a chalkboard. When you spend half the Mass saying to yourself, “Hey! That’s not what it says!” it tends to distract you and lead to sinful thoughts.
    And this is in the South, an area where Catholics tend to be much more orthodox and traditional.
    Far too many Catholics are stuck on “Glory and Praise” and Haugen/Haas. They will not accept Latin, chant, or traditional Latin polyphony all at once, the rot has been in progress for far too long and has struck in too deeply.
    The obvious cure is to lead them back to good music and liturgy through sensible incorporation of the English prayers and music. Once they have been gently led (or prodded) along through the English anthems of Tallis and Byrd and Farrant (and the moderns as well like Howells and Vaughn Williams), they will be willing to accept the Latin anthems by English composers, and then Latin by the great European masters like Palestrina and Victoria . . . and Sarum chant, and then Gregorian.
    So please don’t poor mouth the Anglicans-who-are-now-Catholic. We may be able to help rescue the Church from its extremely poor music and language choices of the recent past.

  19. irishgirl says:

    Amen to that, An American Mother! (How are your puppies?)
    I watched the Vespers service from San Gregorio with the Holy Father and ‘Rowan Cantuar’ via EWTN. It was very well done (liked the choir from the English College-better than the Sistine Screamers). But I do get a bit perturbed about the fact that the Holy Father and the Archbishop of Canterbury have been seen a lot together lately.
    Rowan is no more a bishop than I am.
    Makes me wonder if and when, down the road, there are ‘bishopesses’ in the Church of England, will a future Pope meet with a female archbishopess of Canterbury? Or will there even be an Anglican Church at all, the way things are going?

  20. Cathy says:

    I saw on the news that Rowan Williams is stepping down from his role as Archbishop of Canterbury and will resume teaching at Oxford. Coincidence?

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