Anglican Body Invites Organic Reunion
This policy has been established in amendments to the Constitution and Canons of the Holy Catholic Church of West Glastonbury adopted at its International Synod which concluded yesterday, its head announced today.
This responds to requests from Romans isolated by the schism of Pope Pius V, who have expressed wishes to return to the fullness of the Catholic Faith, particularly as the Roman Communion continues to propagate guitars, praise music, mistresses of ceremonies, and numbers of persons in street clothes milling aimlessly about its altars.
An unknown number of Roman clergy and laity have made such requests.
These new provisions were announced at a press conference in Las Vegas today, offered by His Beatitude Metropolitan Maximilian Pickelhaube, Ethnarch and Primate of All Nevada.
A statement from the Ethnarch explained that with these amendments, “the Holy Catholic Church of West Glastonbury has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by permitting Roman Catholics to return to the Anglican Church from which they split 439 years ago, while preserving the organizational structures in which they have been worshipping, which will allow former Romans to reenter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Roman spiritual and liturgical patrimony.”
Initially, these groups of Romans will be overseen and guided through their existing dioceses and episcopate. Future leaders will be chosen according to the Apostolic model, by those dioceses’ clergy and laity. It is expected that many, if not all, of those future leaders will come from among former Roman clergy.
The statement from Ethnarch Pickelhaube explained that the Constitutional amendments “provide for the reception as Catholic priests of unmarried former Roman clergy without reordination. Although their ordinations since 1570 have been irregular, having been conferred in schism from the rest of the Western Church, once they return to communion with that Church their Roman Orders can nevertheless be recognized as valid under what is known as the Apostolic Cure.”
It clarified that “Scriptural reasons normally preclude the ordination of unmarried men as clergy in the Catholic tradition but historical and ecumenical reasons dictate a period of transition as former Romans recover the fullness of Catholic faith and practice Thus, the new provisions stipulate that the leaders of the former Roman dioceses remain in place but, upon their deaths, retirements, or resignations, that they be replaced by married clergy elected by those dioceses.
As to future clergy, the statement explained: “The seminarians and existing clergy in the former Roman dioceses will be free to remarry, thus accelerating the recovery of Apostolic practice. Seminarians may continue to be prepared in previously Roman institutions, which must immediately make provisions for married student housing. In this way, the Constitutional amendments seek to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Roman liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be reintegrated into the Catholic Church.”
The Ethnarch’s statement said the Constitutional amendments provide a “reasonable and even necessary response” to what he called a “worldwide phenomenon.”
It offers a “single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Romans in its universal application.”
Over the past 30 years, many individual Romans have already entered into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Sometimes there have been groups of Romans who have entered while preserving some “corporate” structure, the Ethnarch’s statement noted, offering the example of a Roman parish in Tadzikistan.
“In these cases, the Catholic Church has frequently dispensed from the requirement of marriage to allow those unmarried Roman clergy who desire to continue ministerial service as Catholic priests to be received into the Catholic Church,” the statement explained.
According to His Beatitude: “It is the hope of the Holy Catholic Church of West Glastonbury that the Roman clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Roman traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith.
“Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church. The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows….
“Our communion is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith.”