Whatever criticisms may be made about Rome, they are certainly not stupid. They have described a new constitution that will expand the Pastoral Provisions and so-called Anglican Use liturgies, strengthening these two things by taking local control away from Diocesan bishops after the model of military Ordinariates (which, by Anglican standards, is itself cause to be alarmed). The constitution will make it easier for Anglicans to become Roman Catholics by creating what is largely nothing more than an illusion that they have taken something of their own patrimony and heritage with them. I have explained why this is much less than what is being heralded by Anglicans caught up in euphoria and enthusiasm over the announcement.
With all due respect for Bishop Louis Campese of the Anglican church in America (a man with whom I have had only very friendly and enjoyable conversations), what Rome has already disclosed in Cardinal Levada's October 20, "Note" cannot amount to, nor even augment the potential for, "inter-communion." Writing on his own website, the bishop has written:
"This Papal Decree expresses sincere generosity toward Anglicans, while recognizing the ultimate goal of inter-communion, a goal the worldwide Traditional Anglican Communion, has worked so patiently toward...There are many more steps that we must take, many more decisions we must reach and many more prayers that must be prayed before we attain that final goal of inter communion, where we may all be unified once again in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church where God wishes us to be."
Rome has described its purpose in the new constitution, and that goal is not inter-communion, an arrangement in which two separate Communions or jurisdictions enter into an agreement for full recognition of each other and agree to full sacramental communion between them. In that arrangement the two jurisdictions respect each other's validity. Rome has clearly announced that their very poorly argued position of condemning Anglican Orders and seeing them as invalid, will continue. The new constitution will require full submission, and that without guarantee of even so much as a single provision that will make a succeeding generation possible. The weakness of the Pastoral Provisions and alleged Anglican Use remain.
Despite assurances from enthusiastic Anglican "kool-aid drinkers," the "Note" from Rome, worded by Cardinal Levada as their spokesman, reveals clearly that over time there will be no provision to ordain anybody who is married, belonging as a layman to one of these churches under Rome; Cardinal Levada made it clear that the terms of the existing Pastoral Provisions will be the most that will be offered. Only "former Anglican clergy" already married may be "ordained" after they enter the Roman Catholic Church. No one can, in reality, have a personal guarantee from the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) to the contrary.
Whatever the constitution may say, we know already quite a lot from Rome's official announcement. It is quite obvious that it will contain nothing to be excited about.