Where do Anglo-Catholics go from here? An invitation.
by the Rt Revd Dom Alistair Bate, OSBA, M.A.Div.
- Presiding Bishop of the Holy Celtic Church
I say in theory because everything really depends on the goodwill of the bishops. According to most sources there is only one traditionalist bishop left among the College of Bishops, the Bishop of Chichester, so it will be up to the rest of the bishops, most of whom have been pushing hard for the consecration of women, to be as good as their word and consecrate more traditionalists to minister to the needs of the sadly reduced Catholic section of the church.
Since Pope Benedict XVI's Personal Ordinariate was established in 2009 in accordance with the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, several bishops, priests and parishes have been received into the Roman church whilst others have been received into the Orthodox Church or joined or formed small "Continuing Anglican" groups. The individuals and parishes, who have left for other churches have tended to be conservative as well as theologically orthodox/traditional; generally people who are just as much against gay clergy, for example, as they are against the ordination of women. But among those who have chosen to stay and fight their corner in the C of E are a huge number who hold liberal views on most "social teaching" issues yet are traditional when it comes to sacramental theology. In other words they hold much the same views as we do in the Holy Celtic Church.
For these folk we offer our prayers and our hope that your future will indeed be secure in the Church of England, but we would also like to offer you the fellowship of our community should you decide to jump ship. The independent movement is far from perfect (see previous article in this journal!) and an enculturation period would be essential, but there may be a few people out there for whom our little church is just right. You may be assured of a warm welcome and a simple religious life based on the essentials of prayer and service, unemcumbered by the material concerns of the mainstream churches. God bless and guide you!