Breaking News: The leader of Traditional Anglicans has declared that the process of reunion with Rome “will begin at once”.
Earlier today, we had been astonished (though not surprised, surely, given the many rumors that had swirled about for years) by the announcement in the Vatican and in England that Pope Benedict XVI will issue an Apostolic Constitution setting the juridical structure for Anglicans returning to the Catholic Church, which the Note of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith said will involve the erection of personal ordinariates. A Joint Statement was also prepared by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the Church of England, and the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster acknowledging that the Constitution was a response to Anglicans who will “accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church”
Now, in a very moving message, “Traditional Anglican Communion Responds to Pope’s Offer of Ecclesiastical refuge,” posted (here) on Virtue Online, Archbishop John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, called the announcement of the Apostolic Constitution “an act of great goodness” and generosity. “It more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition of two years ago, ” he declared, “It more than matches our prayers.” The sentiment was accompanied by a simultaneous appreciation for the response of Archbishop Williams, which “reflects the understanding that we have gained from him that he does not stand in our way”.
In his message, Archbishop Hepworth confirmed that Traditional Anglican bishops had indeed signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church and were already long on the road to communion with the Holy See. He said that the Pope’s action would be taken to each of the TAC’s national synods, and declared that the said process would begin “at once”.
Two words: Deo gratias!