The leader of the ordinariate has issued an invitation to Anglicans following the Church of England’s vote to create women bishops.
Mgr Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, invited Anglicans “considering their future” to attend an “exploration day” in September.
“Having agreed to permit women priests in 1992, the Church of England’s decision to allow women bishops is the next logical step. What is undeniable is that both developments make harder the position of those within the Church of England who still long for corporate unity with the Catholic and Orthodox Churches,” he said.
“Benedict XVl’s decision to set up the ordinariates – allowing former Anglicans to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church, bringing with them much of the Anglican heritage and tradition – was made in response to repeated requests from Anglicans who longed for unity with the Catholic Church. It was a prophetic and generous ecumenical gesture because it demonstrated the possibility of unity of faith with diversity of expression.”
The exploration day, known as Called To Be One, aims to make the ordinariate more widely known and understood. Groups across the country will stage different events on September 6.
“Each event will be different – it may be Choral Evensong followed by refreshments and a presentation about the ordinariate or it might be a debate or a talk – but all the events will focus on the vision for Christian unity at the heart of the ordinariate,” said Mgr Newton.
“All who are interested – whether because they are considering their future or just because they would like to see more of what we are and what we do are warmly invited to attend.”
In response to the Church of England’s decision, Archbishop Bernard Longley, chairman of the Department for Dialogue and Unity of
the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said : “The Catholic Church remains fully committed to its dialogue with the Church of England and the Anglican Communion. For the Catholic Church, the goal of ecumenical dialogue continues to be full visible ecclesial communion.
“Such full ecclesial communion embraces full communion in the episcopal office. The decision of the Church of England to admit women to the episcopate therefore sadly places a further obstacle on the path to this unity between us. Nevertheless we are committed to continuing our ecumenical dialogue, seeking deeper mutual understanding and practical cooperation wherever possible.”
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