Clarity for Anglo Catholics

This message from Anglican Bishop Edwin Barnes is astonishing. Bishop Barnes was one of the so called Flying Bishops in the Anglican church. (He’s now retired) These men were appointed to minister to Anglo Catholic congregations and clergy who could not accept the ministry of women as priests. The Church Union is a confederation of Anglo Catholics within the Church of England.

Bishop Barnes speaks very clearly about the end of Anglo Catholicism. He recognizes that the Church of England establishment has spoken and that they want Anglo Catholics out. He says he ‘feels relief’ that this is so. He also calls on fellow Anglo Catholics to realize that the game is over and pleads with ‘our Catholic friends’ to offer a warm welcome.
I say this is astonishing because the Anglo Catholics are very good at staying in and fighting. They are very good at insisting not only on their own Catholic credentials, but the core Catholic credentials of the Church of England. They’re very good at insisting that they can be Catholic within the Church of England.
That one of their leaders speaks so clearly and firmly, saying that being a Catholic in the Church of England is impossible is truly amazing. I, for one, am being corrected. I thought the Anglo Catholics would just whine a bit, then get on with the job of doing things in a Catholic way in a Protestant Church. It looks like I was wrong, and that a good number of them plan to act on their consciences and come home to Rome.
The other intriguing thing about the events developing this summer is that what happens in the Church of England inevitably reverberates around the world. They are a small church, but a very important church. What the Anglo Catholics do in England echoes throughout the Anglo Catholic circles of the whole Anglican Communion. Furthermore, what the Anglican church does, invariably influences what other Protestant Churches do. If the Anglo Catholics can be successfully received into the Catholic Church it will influence the thoughts of Catholic minded Lutherans and Methodists.
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  • As an Anglo Catholic in Texas, I pray we can go to Rome! The Anglican Communion is steadily and quickly leaving the Bible and Christian teachings behind in favor of liberal, “if it feels good do it”, theology.

  • I wonder if the Anglo-Catholics would outnumber liberal Catholics in England…May St. Thomas More pray for them.

  • I converted to the Catholic Church back in 1963 when I was 15 years old. My parents (at the time worshiping in nondenominational Protestant services on our Army base) tried to steer me into the Episcopal Church, even to the point of getting me a copy of the BCP from the Episcopal chaplain. I held out, because I knew that only the Catholic Church could give me the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, and was conditionally baptized after a year’s period of Catholic instruction. I have been watching all the goings on in the Anglican communion for some time now, but always with a profound gratitude to the Lord that he got me into Christ’s true Church at a young age. I do pray for the traditional Anglicans to find their way into the Catholic Church. Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for them. St. John Fisher, pray for them. All you Catholic martyrs of England, pray for them. Blessed John Henry Newman, pray for them.

  • I wonder if the Anglo-Catholics would outnumber liberal Catholics in England…No. The liberals are going to be more numerous unless you only count those that go to mass. If you only count those who go to mass every Sunday and confession once a year then you have very few liberals left. This is the problem with deciding things by counting heads. There are many ways to count.

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  • As one who grew up in a continuing Anglo-Catholic parish, I’m so happy that I’m now Orthodox!

  • I would welcome the Anglo Catholics. In my youth, I attended an Anglo-Catholic parish in San Francisco as a compromise with my Protestant parents. Even though it was “higher than Rome,” it still wasn’t Roman. The Anglican Communion is in a melt-down and I think those who have hung on and on and on are finally recognizing that there is no way they can change the direction.

  • Hi Father, great site! And thanks for concentrating on the Church of England, right now. It’s so important to grasp the nettle. Only if action happens quickly will anything come of it. The longer they wait, the more likely it will all fizzle out. But a note of caution: Bishop Barnes is hot to trot; Richborough is ready; but Fulham is still sitting on the fence, talking about “finding a collective solution” and condeming Rome’s doctrine on the Anglican eucharist.

  • Two minor corrections, Father: it’s Edwin Barnes, and he’s a former “Flying Bishop” – the first Bishop of Richborough – retired in 2002, but still very active. (From time to time, when not engaged elsewhere, he comes and sits in my congregation. It doesn’t half keep you on your toes to know that any Sunday you may find yourself preaching to a bishop and former Principal of one of our leading Theological Colleges!)

  • Thanks. Post corrected

  • “Fulham is still sitting on the fence, talking about ‘finding a collective solution’.” Not quite fair to Fulham, who is in a tricky situation, not being a flying bishop. And isn’t a “collective solution” precisely what is being talked about by those who know most about what is going on?

  • Sioux, there are Anglican Use Catholic parishes in Texas. Why wait? Come on in!!!