By Hilary White
PORTSMOUTH, UK, October 25, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The splits in the Worldwide Anglican Communion over the church’s secularising trends and growing enthusiasm for homosexuality has led some to seek reunion with the Catholic Church after nearly 500 years apart.
The bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC)are reported to have met in Plenary Session in Portsmouth, England, in the first week of October 2007 and “unanimously agreed” to send a letter to the Pope seeking full, corporate, sacramental union” with the Catholic Church. The group has agreed not to give interviews until the Vatican has responded to their request.
The TAC boasts of some 400,000 members worldwide with at least 100 parishes in the US. It has been estimated that the TAC could have as many as 500 parishes supporting its goals in the UK.
TAC has been seeking for some years to establish some agreement with Rome that would see the entire body into the Catholic Church. In 2005, shortly after the election of Pope Benedict XVI, the head of the TAC, Archbishop John Hepworth of Adelaide, Australia, said, “We are looking at a church which would retain an Anglican liturgy, Anglican spirituality and a married clergy.” The TAC has retained a positive relationship with Pope Benedict since, as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, he was head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
In related news, a group of traditionally minded members of the Church of England has warned Dr. Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, that they would continue to resist the slide of the church towards secularisation. The group, called Reform, said that dozens of Anglican parishes in Britain will start ordaining their own clergy in defiance of their bishops who are overwhelmingly in favour of normalising homosexuality in the church.
Reform, a network within the evangelical wing of the Church of England is setting up structures to allow it to operate as a resistance movement within the Church. The Rev. Rod Thomas, Reform’s chairman, cited his church’s “increasingly pro-gay” agenda when he told members they must be prepared for “courageous action” in defiance of established systems. The Church of England is the officially established religion in Britain and as such, its head since the 16th century has been appointed by the Crown. A small number of its bishops still retain their seats in the House of Lords, a position that is widely opposed among the British public.
David Virtue, a conservative Anglican in the US who maintains an Anglican news service, wrote that the developments come at a time when the Church of England has made itself “largely irrelevant to British life”.
“A mere 2 million (out of 60 million) consider the church part of their life.” This is roughly the equal of the number of Muslims living and practising their religion in Britain.
Virtue wrote, “The C of E is a pale reflection of a once proud and vigorous church…New laws being implemented are increasingly and stridently anti-Christian and intolerant of any talk about the dangers of sodomy both medically and spiritually.”
By Hilary White