The apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum Coetibus," published in November, offered a way for groups of Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church through the establishment of personal ordinariates, a new type of canonical structure.
In this way, they would be able to retain some elements of their liturgical and spiritual traditions while being unified under the Pope.
The petition from Canada, dated March 12, was sent to Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In it, the College of Bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (ACCC), a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion, expressed gratitude for the congregation's "positive response of December 16, 2009 to our letter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of October 5, 2007."
Leaders of the Traditional Anglican Communion, which has some 400,000 members worldwide, sent a letter to the Holy See in October 2007 to request full unity with the Catholic Church. They declared their adherence to Catholic doctrine, but expressed the desire to retain some distinct Anglican traditions.
The letter was received by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which responded in July 2008 with the promise to consider this possibility.
The next year, on October 20, 2009, the congregation's prefect, Cardinal William Levada, announced Benedict XVI's intention to create a way for these Anglican groups to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. A few days later, on November 9, "Anglicanorum Coetibus" was published.
In their petition, the ACCC leaders expressed the desire to "seek a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See, at once treasuring the full expression of Catholic faith and treasuring our tradition within which we have come to this moment."
"We have all read and studied with care the apostolic constitution 'Anglicanorum Coetibus' with the complementary norms and the accompanying commentary," they affirmed.
"And now," the Anglican bishops continued, "in response to your invitation to contact your dicastery to begin the process you lay out, we respectfully ask that the apostolic constitution be implemented in Canada."
They requested "that we may establish an interim governing council of three priests (or bishops) and that this council be given the task and authority to propose to His Holiness a terna for appointment of the initial ordinary."
The letter concluded, "It is our hope and prayer that these proposals may be useful in setting in train the process set out in the most welcome, gracious, and generous response of the Holy Father to our petition."
This petition, signed by the ACCC's leader, Bishop Peter Wilkinson of Victoria, as well as two suffragan bishops for different regions, Bishop Craig Botterill and Bishop Carl Reid, follows closely after the announcement that their U.S. brethren were requesting a Catholic ordinariate.
Leaders of the Anglican Church in America announced on March 3 the decision to formally request the implementation of "Anglicanorum Coetibus" in the United States.