As a former Anglican priest myself, I am profoundly grateful for our Holy Father’s generous proposal toward Anglicans, 'that they all might be one' (Jn 17:21)....
Myth #1 The Pope is sheep-stealing
The Pope’s alleged “sheep-stealing” been the most popular subject within the secular media. To them, the Holy Father has launched a media campaign to kick the Anglican Communion while it’s down. The poor Archbishop of Canterbury is struggling to keep things together and then “Bamm!” the Pope surprises everyone with a bid for Anglican souls. However, we must remember that it was Anglicans who pursued the matter with the Holy Father—and we’re not talking about just one or two Anglicans. We are talking about thousands and thousands of Anglicans: bishops, priests, deacons, and laity. Anglican bishops from several nations have sent private letters to the Holy See. Much of this is confidential. They want a way out. They want to become Catholic. The Pope is responding to souls looking to him for guidance. The pope is not stealing sheep—He is holding out his pastoral staff to those sheep looking for protection.
Myth #2 Rome is preparing the world for a general married priesthood
The media also sunk its teeth into the fact that the new Anglican ordinariates would preserve the already recognized discipline of allowing married former-Anglican priests to be ordained as married Catholic priests. This is nothing new. Pope John Paul II approved this measure in 1980 as the “Pastoral Provision.” The new personal ordinariate structure does not change anything. In this regard, nothing is new. I have seen with my own eyes the CDF document from the mid-1980s penned by none other than Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger himself. The document clearly states that the Pastoral Provision is approved so long as it does not undermine the Roman discipline of clerical celibacy. Since the man who wrote that statement is now the Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Catholic Church, I doubt that he is prepping everyone for a change in clerical celibacy. Moreover, convert clergy from Anglicanism will be re-ordained, since Rome does not accept the validity of Anglican ordination.
Myth #3 Rome has reconciled itself to the Protestant Reformation
This myth is based on the liturgical norms accepted by Rome for use by Anglican converts. It goes like this: the Anglican Book of Common Prayer is a book of Protestant worship. Rome is now allowing use of its liturgies; therefore, Rome has capitulated to Protestantism. This argument fails to mention that then-Cardinal Ratzinger heavily oversaw the production of the Book of Divine Worship—the approved set of liturgies for Anglican convert parishes. Protestant elements were expunged (e.g. Thomas Cranmer’s consecration prayer), and good elements were retained. The Book of Divine Worship is a “sanitized” version of the Book of Common Prayer, and I suspect that future revisions will be even more traditional in their formulas....
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