1st British Anglicans Headed to Rome

Leaders Note Excitement, Uncertainty

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LONDON, NOV. 9, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Anglicans who have sought communion with Rome are giving a positive initial reaction to the apostolic constitution released today that outlines how their personal ordinariates will be established.



In a report posted today on the Messenger Journal, the Great Britain province of the Traditional Anglican Communion said they are "the first to accept" the Vatican initiative.

The vote was unanimous including mail-in votes from those not present, and took place before the constitution was even released, the report explained.

"Significantly, this vote took place in the birthplace of the Anglican Communion," the statement added. "The synod was held at St. Catherine's Priory, a restored monastic house destroyed by Henry VIII."

Impressive

An initial reaction from the leader of the traditionalist Anglican group Forward in Faith called the constitution and norms "extremely impressive."

Bishop John Broadhurst wrote: "I had thought the original notice from Rome was extremely generous. Today all the accompanying papers have been published and they are extremely impressive.

"I have been horrified that the Church of England while trying to accommodate us has consistently said we cannot have the jurisdiction and independent life that most of us feel we need to continue on our Christian pilgrimage. What Rome has done is offer exactly what the Church of England has refused."

Way forward

Bishop Broadhurst did not hide that the way forward is complex.

"We all need now to ask the question 'is this what we want?'" the bishop said. "For some of us I suspect our bluff is called! This is both an exciting and dangerous time for Christianity in this country."

He noted that those who take the offer will need "to enter into negotiation with the Church of England about access to parish churches and many other matters."

"This situation must not be used to damage the Church of England but I do believe we have a valid claim on our own heritage in history," he wrote.

As to doctrine, the Anglican prelate noted that the "doctrinal standard demanded by Rome" is the Catechism of the Catholic Church, "which most of us use any way."

"We will all need to meet and talk," he remarked.  

"It is not my style to give a expansive analysis of a document that I have only received today," the bishop concluded, "nor will I answer the question 'What are you going to do?' That is something we need to work out together."