Sunday, March 7, 2010

Conversions to Rome

March 7, 2010

You may have read about Anglican parishes converting to Rome. There was an article last week in the Telegraph under the headline “100 US Anglican parishes convert to Roman Catholic Church.” You have to read quite a way into the article before discovering that this group is part of something called ‘The Traditional Anglican Communion’ whose members, many of whom are in Australia, separated from other Anglicans in 1991. The American branch (called the Anglican Church in America or ACA) has joined their Australian branch in accepting the Pope’s invitation to traditional Anglicans to come to Rome en masse. This group, who mostly follow traditional Anglo-Catholic liturgical practice and interpretation of the Thirty Nine Articles, separated themselves for the most part over liturgical innovation and the ordination of women. The American branch which claims 100 congregations was itself an attempt to unite ‘continuing Anglican churches’ in the US, but as is often the case, people who agree about not liking something (in this case TEC) have a hard time agreeing about what they do like. The only parish in Georgia appears to be in Columbus.

There area host of these breakaway groups which you can try and sort out by looking here. There are also conservative ‘fellowships’, some of whom continue within Anglican churches in communion with Canterbury such as ‘Forward in Faith’. In England, this group is also exploring conversion to Rome.

From everything I can tell, this move makes complete sense for the ACA and has integrity with respect to their own belief, practice and history. It appears that the Roman Catholic ‘invitation’ grew out of negotiations with this group in particular.

1 comment:

Mark Siegel said...

I personally have no problem with Anglicans moving to Roman Catholicism or with Roman Catholics joining the Anglican Communion.

I think we are each living out the Catholic faith, but in different forms. The only real differences, to me at least, are where authority is located. In Roman Catholicsm, it radiates out from the center. In the Anglican Communion, it radiates from the periphery into the center. And as Geoffrey has rightly pointed out, Roman Catholicism places more emphasis on doctrine, while Anglicans focus more on relationships.

Each approach has its positives and negatives, but they are two sides of the same coin.

Mark Siegel