The Anglican world is buzzing with news of the Apostolic Constitution, which will allow Anglo-Catholic Anglicans to come over to Rome, bringing with them their liturgical traditions--in essence, conversion without letting goods and kindred go.
On one level, I am pleased about this development. It will give those Anglicans who are functionally Roman already somewhere to go, and safe space to sing the Salve Regina in peace.
But wild predictions of whole-sale conversions are unlikely to be fulfilled, not least because, although the cultural obstacles to reunion are now overcome (or might be), the doctrinal ones remain.
Is the Pope infallible?
Is the Church of Rome the true Church of Jesus Christ?
Do we now accept the Roman definition of the Real Presence?
Is Salvation by Faith alone?
Assumption, Immaculate Conception, Perpetual Virginity of Mary?
Veneration of relics?
Latinisation of our most cherished and sacred formularies and traditions, the Prayer Book not excepted?
There will be some ready to do the Vatican Rag on these and other subjects--the Dom Gregory Dix school of thought, for whom Dr. Swift has a sneaking sympathy.
There will be many others who will not budge an inch.
Even some who might be attracted by Rome will stumble at re-ordination, clerical marriage, a hostile and liberal hierarchy, and all the other slips twixt cup and lip.
Let those who must go, go, with the blessing of the Lord.
And let those of us who stay pray even harder for the redemption of our Church, and the grace to maintain Christ's Truth.
O Gracious Father, we humbly beseech Thee for Thy Holy Catholic Church; that Thou wouldest be pleased to fill it with all truth in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it.
Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided and rent asunder, make up the breaches of it, O Thou Holy One of Israel; for the sake of Him who died and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus Christ, Thy Son, our Lord.
Bl William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Martyr.
Take it away lads, let them hear you!
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