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Rome Moves Toward 'Full Communion' With Orthodox Anglicans

Archbishop of Canterbury and Church of England excluded from talks in September


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In a historic step, the Vatican is working toward "full communion" with conservative Anglicans by recognizing Anglican holy orders and churches without requiring "amalgamation or conversion."


The union will be based on a Malta II proposal presented by the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA), that revives the Malta I report agreed upon by Pope Paul VI and archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Michael Ramsey in 1966.


According to the Malta I proposals, differences in matters like Petrine primacy, infallibility, and Mariology, would be overcome by ensuring that "neither Communion is tied to a positive acceptance of all the beliefs and devotional practices of the other."

There will be a lot of doubling down from people who do not actually want a united Church.

Unity and mutual acceptance of holy orders would be based on the recognition that each Communion "accepts the basic truths set forth in the ecumenical Creeds and the common tradition of the ancient Church."


Historical events and past decrees like Apostolicae Curae, which was issued in 1896 by Pope Leo XIII declaring all Anglican ordinations to be "absolutely null and utterly void," would be re-examined "only to the extent that they can throw light upon the facts of the present situation."


Significantly, the process of Anglican-Roman Catholic union would not be processed by the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity, but through the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith.  


OLD CATHOLIC PRIEST AND MEDIA CELEBRITY HAILS DEVELOPMENT


"I think it is fantastic to continue the conversations on ecumenism that arose through Vatican II," media celebrity and Old Catholic priest Fr. Calvin Robinson told Souls and Liberty. "I know ecumenism is a dirty word to some people but I think it's a good thing that the Church is looking for unity since every single denomination already prays for Christian unity."


"The ACNA has become the predominantly recognized Orthodox Anglican body in the US, and while it still has some issues to work through, as do all denominations, the fact that they are engaging with Rome shows that they are serious about providing a Catholic perspective to the Christian faith in America," Robinson commented.

I know ecumenism is a dirty word to some people but I think it's a good thing that the Church is looking for unity.

"There will be a lot of doubling down from people who do not actually want a united Church," Robinson warned. "They will say there's already the Ordinariate. Of course, the Ordinariate offers a very particular charism for very a particular demographic but it isn't a way to reunite the Church."


This correspondent learned of secret meetings between ACNA bishops and top officials at the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith earlier this year, and had first published a report of the historic meeting in the summer edition of Mass of Ages — the quarterly magazine of the Latin Mass Society.  


NEW REPORT CONFIRMS SECRET TALKS


The meetings have now been confirmed in an Ecumenical Relations Task Force Report released by the ACNA College of Bishops, who met at a provincial council from June 20-25, in Latrobe, Pennsylvania.


The report reveals that Abp. Foley Beach, then-primate of ACNA; Bp. Eric Menees, chair of dialogue with the Roman Catholic Church; and Bp. Ray Sutton, presiding bishop of the Reformed Episcopal Church, flew to the Vatican for meetings at the DDF in June 2023.

With our conciliar view of the Church, we see the failure of a Magisterium to maintain the integrity and unity of the Faith.  

The Anglican bishops held talks with Abp. Joseph Augustine Di Noia, then-adjunct secretary of the DDF, and his assistant, Fr. Andrew Liaugminas, seconded to the DDF by the Archdiocese of Chicago. 


In his report obtained by Souls and Liberty, Bp. Sutton said that although Pope Francis had changed the leadership of the DDF following the ACNA proposal submitted in August 2023, the new prefect of the DDF, Cdl. Victor Manuel Fernández, "with the Pope's support has approved our proposal."


"We are scheduled to begin our talks at the Vatican this coming September 26-27," Sutton announced. 


FIDUCIA SUPPLICANS BACKFIRES ON CHURCH UNITY


The dialogue had stalled after the Vatican issued its declaration Fiducia Supplicans, permitting informal and non-liturgical blessings for same-sex couples, this correspondent earlier reported.


"Part of our discussions will seek clarification on the statement Fiducia Supplicans from the Pope released after we submitted our proposal," the ACNA report confirmed. 


Bishop Sutton explained the problem orthodox Anglicans had with the document:

Fiducia Supplicans has resulted in conflicting interpretations of it, as well as polarization within the Roman Church. Cardinals, Archbishops, and Bishops have even opposed it. The USCCB has offered a "sic et non" ("yes" and "no") and mitigating statement in response to Fiducia Supplicans. With our conciliar view of the Church, we see the failure of a Magisterium to maintain the integrity and unity of the Faith.  

The ACNA report clarified that Bp. Eric Menees had been in touch with the DDF and had been "reassured that Fiducia Supplicans is actually an attempt to 'curb but not open up' the practice of homosexual behavior." 


The Roman Catholic Church "still prohibits homosexual practice and by canon warns of removal from the clergy for such behavior," he added. 


Bishop Sutton elaborated on how orthodox Anglicans were closer to Rome on the issue of homosexuality than the archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby: 

We have been informed that the Pope's and the DDF's statements do not agree with the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England's stated positions on the blessing of same sex unions. Though there is some similarity in language Rome's and the CofE's statements are different. 

In February 2023, the Church of England's national assembly voted to let priests bless same-sex marriages and civil partnerships, while continuing to ban church weddings for the same couples.


ROME'S UNION IS ONLY WITH ORTHODOX ANGLICANS


A high-level ACNA source told Souls and Liberty that "the door of union and mutual recognition of holy orders would remain open only for Anglican provinces that were orthodox and had not permitted the ordination of women or gay blessings/marriage."


"Rome has agreed to enter a separate dialogue with the ACNA and Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GFSA) / Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) part of Anglicanism. This dialogue will not include the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Church of England, the Anglican Church of Canada, or the The Episcopal Church," Sutton emphasized. 


The ACNA proposals in September will also suggest ways that GAFCON and GFSA could be included in a broader dialogue.

As far as the doctrine of the primacy is concerned, Rome must not require more of the East than was formulated and lived during the first millennium.

Earlier in June, the Vatican's Dicastery for Promoting Christian Unity published a historic document titled, "The Bishop of Rome: Primacy and Synodality in Ecumenical Dialogues and Responses to the Encyclical Ut Unum Sint," offering a roadmap for an "ecumenical papacy," Souls and Liberty reported.


The document agrees with the Eastern Orthodox Churches that the pope did not enjoy universal jurisdiction in the first thousand years of Christianity and quotes Cdl. Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI): "As far as the doctrine of the primacy is concerned, Rome must not require more of the East than was formulated and lived during the first millennium."


The document was released at a Vatican media conference which included a presentation by Anglican archbishop Ian Ernest, director of the Anglican Centre of Rome and personal representative of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Holy See. 


Dr. Jules Gomes, (BA, BD, MTh, PhD), has a doctorate in biblical studies from the University of Cambridge. Currently a Vatican-accredited journalist based in Rome, he is the author of five books and several academic articles. Gomes lectured at Catholic and Protestant seminaries and universities and was canon theologian and artistic director at Liverpool Cathedral.


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This smells fishy. What about stopping to pester the SSPX before attempting to join with schismatics and heretics?

Can something God-pleasing come from a Pope that laicized Frank Pavone, removed Bishop Joseph Strickland from his post, and all the other scandalous deeds?

  

   

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