Breaking: Vatican welcomes Anglicans into Catholic Church with Apostolic Constitution
So let's begin with what the Vatican is saying:
"Today’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.
Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.
The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution." (VIS)
UK Telegraph reporter Damian Thompson (and "British Papist") is the man to read at this hour:
This is astonishing news. Pope Benedict XVI has created an entirely new Church structure for disaffected Anglicans that will allow them to worship together – using elements of Anglican liturgy – under the pastoral supervision of their own specially appointed bishop or senior priest.Also to read at this early stage: Deacon Keith Fournier (for more implications of this decision) and BBC News (to get an early sense for how the British press views this move). I will be updating this post as time permits today.
The Pope is now offering Anglicans worldwide “corporate reunion” on terms that will delight Anglo-Catholics. In theory, they can have their own married priests, parishes and bishops – and they will be free of liturgical interference by liberal Catholic bishops who are unsympathetic to their conservative stance.
There is even the possibility that married Anglican laymen could be accepted for ordination on a case-by-case basis – a remarkable concession.
.... This is a decision of supreme boldness and generosity by Pope Benedict XVI, comparable to his liberation of the Traditional Latin Mass. The implications of this announcement will take a long time to sink in, but I suspect that this will be a day of rejoicing for conservative Anglo-Catholics and their Roman Catholic friends all over the world.
*At this time the text of the Apostolic Constitution is not available online.*
- Damian Thompson: Archbishop of Canterbury criticises Rome for springing this announcement on him
- Fr. Z. Commentary on Note of the CDF about personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church
- John Allen: Vatican reveals plan to welcome disaffected Anglicans
- Associated Press: Pope Approves Plan to Bring Anglicans Into the Fold
- Catholic News Service: Pope establishes structure for Anglicans uniting with Rome
- The Anchoress is following the story closely, and I'm pleased to see she is mindful of the huge implications of this move for more traditional Anglicans in Africa
- New York Times: Pope Approves Plan to Allow Anglicans Into the Fold
- [You have to laugh at National Catholic Reporter's take: "Pope okays new structures to absorb disgruntled Anglican conservatives"]
- Canon Lawyer Ed Peters: First thoughts on an Anglican ordinariate
- AmP follow-up: Anglo-Vatican announcement has important American/African dimension