It was announced on the first of this month that after attending Evensong in St Peter’s Basilica and visiting an Anglican Church in Rome, the news from the Vatican is that Pope Francis is in secret talks with Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Wellbeing about converting to the Anglican faith.
Vatican spokesman Aprile Primera said that Pope Francis was drawn to Anglicanism for several reasons. He very much enjoyed Anglican evensong, admitting that the Anglican choir was much better even than the choir of the Sistine Chapel. Inside sources say that the Argentinian pope also enjoys many other aspects of the Anglican patrimony. Mr Primera said, “The Holy Father loves cream teas, jumble sales and chuckles over repeat showings of Keeping Up Appearances and Dad’s Army. Hyacinth Bouquet is one of the Pope’s favorites.” the pope’s spokesman added.
Archbishop Wellbeing’s office issued an official statement, “While details are being worked out with the Vatican, we are obviously delighted to welcome Mr Bergoglio to the Anglican Communion. We will be entering a period of discernment to decide when he might be re-ordained as an Anglican priest, and it has been suggested that a role might emerge for him as the Suffragan Bishop of Burnley.”
Evangelical and Liberal Anglicans were more cautious. The Revd Calvin John, Vicar of Upper Snorton and spokesmen for the Protestant Truth Society said, “This is no more than a Roman plot to take over our historic churches. Do we really think the pope can subscribe to the 39 Articles of Religion?”
Buckingham Palace greeted the news of the Pope’s conversion with its usual restraint, “While we welcome Mr Bergoglio’s interest in the Anglican Church, Her Majesty the Queen remains the Head of the Church of England. Speculation that the Pope will be appointed as Chaplain to the Queen and Privy Counselor are groundless.”
Catholic comment on the news was more muted. The Vatican Press Office issued a statement saying, “This Pope’s comments have been misunderstood. “Conversion” is not a word we use these days. Instead the Holy Father is remaining pope, but he is being received into full communion of the Anglican Church as a symbolic act of solidarity.”
The Vatican Secretariat for Christian Unity was more enthusiastic, “This is clearly a step forward for Christian Unity. The Catholic Church is often perceived as insisting that our separated brethren convert. We can now see that God moves in surprising ways to bring about unity.”
Matthew Michael– spokesman for the conservative group The Fragment said, “I’m not surprised. This pope has been a Protestant all along. Good riddance.”
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