Vatican briefed on how C of E hopes to ensure  its traditionalists to flourish

09 June 2017

Anglican Centre in Rome

Listening: the seminar at the Anglican Centre

Listening: the seminar at the Anglican Centre

A SEMINAR has been held in the Anglican Centre in Rome to brief Vatican officials on Church of England provision for traditional Anglican Catholics and conservative Evangelicals, and the work of the traditionalist Society under the patronage of St Wilfrid and St Hilda (The Society), after the consecration of women as bishops.

Three bishops of The Society led the seminar, for an invited audience of staff from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and other dicasteries, the British Ambassador to the Holy See, and other Roman Catholics prominent in RC-Anglican relations.

The General Synod’s deputy legal adviser, the Revd Alexander McGregor, explained the measures in the legislation and the House of Bishops’ Declaration; and participants included the outgoing and incoming Directors of the Anglican Centre.

The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Revd Jonathan Goodall, one of the bishops who belongs to The Society, said: “It has given us a valuable opportunity to set out for our friends and colleagues in Rome how The Society is responding, in an anomalous situation, to the challenges, on the one hand, of obedience to an ancient common ecclesiology we share with Roman Catholics, and, on the other, of confidence in those aspects of mutual recognition and witness we have with our fellow Anglicans.”

The provision made by Rome six years ago, under Pope Benedict XVI, to facilitate the reception of former Anglicans in England, Scotland, and Wales has been extended with the establishment of its first parish, in Torquay, under the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Its parish priest will be Fr David Lashbrooke.

It formalises the former Torbay Ordinariate Mission, begun by a group who seceded shortly after the Ordinariate was set up (News, 12 January 2011). Hitherto, the Ordinariate has comprised local groups and missions.

Other groups can now request a status as “personal parishes”, provided they fulfil certain conditions. They will be defined by common Anglican heritage rather than geographical area. The Torbay parish is using a former Methodist chapel bought by the Ordinariate in 2015. The Ordinariate’s website states that about 80 Anglican priests, with lay people from 40 Anglican parishes, have joined it. Three bishops seceded at the outset.

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