Australian Anglicans Taking Steps Toward Rome

Forward in Faith Group Requests Ordinariate

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SYDNEY, Australia, FEB. 18, 2010 (Zenit.org).- With a unanimous vote at a special meeting, an Anglican group in Australia has affirmed its gratitude for Benedict XVI's move to allow them to convert to Catholicism, and is directing its council to make it happen.



The Australia branch of Forward in Faith made this vote Monday, affirming its readiness and desire for an ordinariate to be established Down Under.

Ordinariate is the term established in the Nov. 4, 2009, apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus," which allows for groups of Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.

"It's the first step on the road, saying thank you, we are going to go along this particular track because the door has been closed to us by the Anglican Church of Australia over a long period of time," Bishop David Robarts, chairman of Forward in Faith, told the Telegraph newspaper.

"We're not really wanted any more [in the Anglican Communion]," he said, "our conscience is not being respected."

The Pope's apostolic constitution is an answer to just that type of experience, which many Anglicans have expressed as the Communion moves toward greater approval of homosexual behavior -- including openness to active homosexuals in ordained ministry -- and women bishops.

The path to establish ordinariates was the Holy Father's response to requests from disconcerted Anglicans.

Bishop Peter Elliott has been appointed as delegate of the Australian Catholic Bishops' Conference in the project to establish a personal ordinariate in the country.

"We're simply saying that we have been faithful Anglicans upholding what Anglicans have always believed [...] but we have been marginalized by people who want to introduce innovations," Bishop Robarts said. "We need to have bishops that believe what we believe."

The Forward in Faith Australia Web site lists 16 parishes in its directory, three of which are expressly affiliated with the group.

The group affirmed its commitment to continue "to provide care and support for those who at this time feel unable to be received into the ordinariate."