Pope Benedict XVI to evangelize Anglicans
I'm not sure the headline is the most precise way to phrase it--but traditionalist Anglicans are looking to leave the Church of England, and go home to Rome.
According to the Times of London:
Benedict XVI, whose inaugural mass as Bishop of Rome today is expected to be attended by half a million people, has held meetings with representatives of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), according to Archbishop John Hepworth, the group’s primate.
The TAC represents more than 400,000 Anglicans around the world who have either left their church or are protesting against its liberal policies. It is estimated that 400-500 Church of England parishes may support the group in the long term.
“We are looking at a church which would retain an Anglican liturgy, Anglican spirituality and a married clergy,” said Hepworth, a serving Anglican bishop in Adelaide, Australia. “We dream of this happening soon.” One such community exists in America but so far there are only 14 parishes.
This is in fact long overdue. TAC represents one of the last remnants of the Anglo-Catholic movement begun by John Henry Newman in the 1800s: Roman Catholic in all but name, they exist uneasily with the Church of England. More skilled leadership on either the Anglican or Roman side would probably have brought these believers into the Catholic fold a century ago.
Nor is Ratzinger's interest in bringing these sheep into the Roman fold news. Anglican convert to the Catholic Church William Oddie wrote a book about this in 1998, The Roman Option. Oddie presented Ratzinger as strongly as interested in bringing this about, and disappointed in the lack of apostolic zeal in the English Catholic bishops.
Chances that an Anglican rite will begin within the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI: excellent.
I suggest that an Anglican rite with married priests and Anglican liturgy would likely grow rapidly, and would become a boom sector for Catholicism within the United States, the UK, and the English-speaking world. So that having evangelized the Anglicans, Catholics would gain a powerful strategic position for evangelizing the rest of Britain, North America, and other English-speaking regions.