(by Edward Pentin, Register Correspondent, National Catholic Register, December 24, 2005 [c/o a reader and missionary in the Middle East via Virtue Online, 24 Dec 05])
As the Anglican Communion threatens to break up, one large group of Anglicans is blazing a trail to Rome, and another could follow suit.
The Traditional Anglican Communion, an autonomous group of 400,000 clergy and laity separate from the Anglican Communion, has drawn up detailed plans on how to come into full communion with the Holy See.
After 12 years of consultations, both internally and informally with the Vatican, the group - with the help of a Catholic layman - is preparing a "Pastoral Plan" asking the Vatican for an "Anglican Rite Church" that would preserve their Anglican heritage while allowing them to be "visibly united" with Rome.
The Traditional Anglican Communion's worldwide primate, Archbishop John Hepworth, hopes the group's College of Bishops will approve the plan at a possible Rome Synod in February 2006.
The church's members are so far reported to be unanimous in their desire for full communion. If formally agreed, the proposal would then be presented to Vatican officials.
If Rome approves, the Traditional Anglican Communion, a worldwide ecclesial body based in Australia, could become the largest Anglican assembly to return to the Church since the Reformation. ...
For Anglicans like Archbishop Hepworth..., it is a question of not if by [sic] when the Anglican Communion will fracture. But even if they're right, the Vatican is not inclined to work out precise plans for receiving large groups of Anglicans. Each case is likely to be different, which precludes forward planning.
The Vatican is, however, understood to be urging those groups wishing to come into communion with it to demonstrate they are comfortable with Church teaching, and that they aren't motivated soley by disillusionment with the Anglican Communion.
I like that last clause.
Wow, this is big news. I always love to hear of such reunions. The Ruthenian Catholic, Coptic Catholic, Greek Catholic, Chaldean Catholic, etc. -- all witness to the slow but sure power of Christ's prayer "that all may be one". Let us pray for this Anglican mend.
One Lord, many nations! The Church is many, the Church is one!