Tuesday, 8 July 2008

News (maybe) Just In - Updated

The Rt. Revd. Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet

This from Damian Thompson of the Daily Telegraph....

"The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, is to lead his fellow Anglo-Catholics from the Church of England into the Roman Catholic Church, the Catholic Herald will reveal this week.

Bishop Burnham, one of two "flying bishops" in the province of Canterbury, has made a statement asking Pope Benedict XVI and the English Catholic bishops for "magnanimous gestures" that will allow traditionalists to become Catholics en masse.

He is confident that this will happen, following talks in Rome with Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Cardinal Kasper, the Vatican's head of ecumenism. He was accompanied on his visit by the Rt Rev Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough, the other Canterbury "flying bishop", who is expected to follow his example.

Bishop Burnham hopes that Rome will offer special arrangements whereby former Anglicans can stay worshipping in parishes under the guidance of a Catholic bishop. Most of these parishes already use the Roman liturgy, but there may be provision for Anglican prayers if churches request it.

Anglican priests who are already married will not be barred from ordination as priests, though Bishop Burnham would not be able to continue in episcopal orders, as he is married and there is an absolute bar on married bishops in the Roman and Orthodox Churches.

In his statement, Bishop Burnham explains why he is rejecting the code of practice offered to traditionalists by the General Synod last night. "How could we trust a code of practice to deliver a workable ecclesiology if every suggestion we have made for our inclusion has been turned down flat?" he asks.

"How could we trust a code of practice when those who are offering it include those who have done most to undermine and seek to revoke the code of practice in force for these last 14 years?

"What we must humbly ask for now is for magnanimous gestures from our Catholic friends, especially from the Holy Father, who well understands our longing for unity, and from the hierarchy of England and Wales. Most of all we ask for ways that allow us to bring our folk with us.""

Who knows? This is not at the moment the FinF line at least and this story seems to be based on hearsay, but the author is sure of his facts, it seems. How this would work is beyond me and I still feel that we should wait and see what provision is made for us in the current plan. Roman Catholicism in this country really could do without another X number of churches, as they are currently, in many areas, closing their own. However, we wait and we wonder. There will, I feel, be plenty more of these stories, so caution is the watchword, it seems.


From Fr. Kenyon: Fr. Dwight Longenecker, a former Anglican priest, now Roman Catholic priest, gives his assessment of this 'news' here on his blog Standing on my Head. He doubts the news, but is open to the possibility of some truth in it. The comments certainly make for interesting reading and, like those I found over at Fr. Z.'s blog post on this, found here, I am encouraged and uplifted to see so many Roman Catholics extending a welcome in such warm and appreciative terms. Many of the R.C.'s I come across on these forums seem to genuinely value the potential contribution orthodox Anglican clergy and laity might make towards revitalising the Roman Catholic Church as it continues to proclaim and defend traditional Christian faith and morals, not least in England itself. As Fr. Z. himself says: "I pray that these men, and the people who follow them, will have strength and courage to stand up to the pressure they will face now that they have made these statements. May they come to Rome."