For the first time, a congregation of the Anglican Church of England has decided to join the Catholic Church. The case is particularly explosive because the parish is located in the territory of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Even a bishop plans the change.
According to British media reports from the weekend, the parish council of Saint Peter in Folkestone already decided at the end of September to break away from the Anglican Church after the establishment of a Catholic personal ordinariate for England. The community is said to include up to 40 believers.
Against the backdrop of the dissatisfaction of many Anglican Christians with liberalizing tendencies, Pope Benedict XVI had. In November 2009, with the constitution "Anglicanorum coetibus," the Congregation for Education created its own structures for Anglicans under the umbrella of the Catholic Church. Anglican faithful can convert to Catholicism but retain their own liturgy and tradition.
Protest against ordination of women bishops
The congregation decided to take the step in protest against the consecration of women bishops, it was said. The debate over the role of women and homosexuals in the Anglican Church has been a source of contention between the liberal and conservative wings of the communion for years. It is hoped this change will be "as easy as possible," even if it is difficult to leave the "diocesan family of Canterbury," a statement from the parish said.
At least three bishops of the Anglican Church of England also plan to convert to the Catholic Church soon, according to a newspaper report. According to the Times (Monday), Bishop Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet and Keith Newton of Richborough plan to defect soon. They protested thereby against the episcopal ordination of women. The Bishop of Fulham, John Broadhurst, had already announced his intention over the weekend.
According to the Times, the three bishops want to join a new personal ordinariate that the Vatican is setting up for Anglicans who want to convert.