Traditional Anglo-Papist

23 February 2006

Looking at the Roman Option

The Roman option takes three forms, which I will explore.
1. The reconciliation of individuals with the Church. That has been going on for over four centuries and the statistics are higher in certain eras than many Anglicans imagine. However, focussing on clergy, at his first meeting with “interested” Anglican clergy in Westminster Cardinal Basil Hume made it clear that Apostolicae Curae still stands, that there can be no bargaining about Orders. Whatever scholarly arguments may be raised about Anglican Orders, and the question is admittedly more complex than it was in 1896, the fact that women are deemed to be priests by most Anglicans and that within a few years some of these will be deemed to be bishops, has made the question of Anglican Orders academic, even irrelevant. In some instances, as in the case of Monsignor Graham Leonard, former Bishop of London, conditional ordination would be feasible, but that is a detail. Anglican clergy who are reconciled to Rome, who seek Orders, and succeed in their petition, are ordained absolutely.

2. The “corporate reunion” model of an ‘Anglican Rite”.  This is apparently what is being sought by the Traditional Anglican Communion. I am not privy to negotiations, and Archbishop Hepworth who is here today would know more about this. In no way do I wish to “put him on the spot”, because there seems to be much hope around that this might be possible. But a “corporate reunion” model logically applies only to an existing body, like the TAC, hence to clergy and laity who have chosen to join that body in the past and any clergy and laity who choose to join that body with a view to benefiting from a corporate reunion arrangement. However, there is a third option which involves smaller groups.

3. The reconciliation of a parish or group. Ever since the Caldey affair, nearly a century ago, there has been reticence among Catholic bishops about groups of persons being reconciled together. But, putting to one side cases like the parish of Bethnal Green,  the reconciliation of an Anglican parish, so that it retains its identity, is already an accomplished fact in the United States, in several instances.  Moreover, this has included a recognition of some Anglican liturgical usages, what is popularly termed an “Anglican rite”, although it seems more “Sarum” than Anglican to this liturgist!  Strictly speaking this concession involves a specific indult. A “rite” spelt with a small “r”, should not be confused with the formal establishment of a Rite in terms of a structure, involving a distinct hierarchy and ecclesial autonomy, as in the case of the existing Catholic Eastern Rite Churches.

from a paper given at Forward in Faith Meeting, All Saints, East St Kilda, Melbourne, February  11, 2006. FACING REALITIES, LOOKING AT OPTIONS by Rev. Msgr Peter J. Elliott


  • Fr Marco - great idea and I hope the blog grows. Msgr. Elliott has given an excellent outline of the 3 real options facing orthodox Anglicans who don't want to just build ghetto kingdoms.

    The first option can be viable but more so for laity than clergy, and it varies from one Roman parish to the next.

    The second option is perhaps our most ambitious, and the one which offers the most promise.

    The third option is at the mercy of local Roman bishops - and the Australian ones have so far shown little interest in even discussing it.

    SOOOO...let's pray for option 2, for Abp Hepworth and for the critics to either convert or go away and annoy somebody else.

    By Blogger Fr Nigel, at Thursday, February 23, 2006 8:24:00 PM  

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