I have seen this story lurking around for the last few days. Apparently, the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), a traditional independent off-shoot of the Anglican communion, which boasts of some 400,000 members worldwide has sent a letter to the See of Rome seeking full, corporate, sacramental union. The letter was signed solemnly by all the College and entrusted to the Primate and two bishops chosen by the College to be presented to the Holy See. This letter was apparently received by the CDF. The TAC has decided, prudently I would suppose, to keep its collective mouth shut until they hear from Rome. As to the why, TAC Primate John Hepworth wrote this last year:
Why are we doing this? Our communion with the Anglican Communion in most parts of the world was shattered by the ordination of women to Holy Orders. In this ultimate of schismatic acts, the Anglican Communion betrayed its claim to share a common Apostolic Ministry with the churches of East and West, which had undergirded its claims to be authentically catholic since the Reformation.
In the same step, the great doctrines of Creation, Incarnation and Redemption are denied. The sacramental life of the Church, by which Jesus brings the saving grace of redemption to each of us, becomes an object of suspicion and uncertainty. Placing a woman priest in a diocese is always “communion breaking”, since it makes the very act of communion impossible.
At the same time, the ordination of women fractured one of the most solemn agreements ever made by an Archbishop of Canterbury. Michael Ramsey, when he signed the agreement to create “full and organic communion” with the Holy See, acted upon the urging of the Lambeth Fathers since the “Bell Resolutions” of the Lambeth Conference just before the Second World War, and the enthusiasm of the earliest Conferences for discovering a basis of unity with Rome. And the Pope, in agreeing to this unity that he described as “united but not absorbed”, determined to end five centuries of often-bitter division.
This all makes for a very interesting case. With quite a few parishes (over 100 I think) here in the States, this could be an extraordinary implementation of the rarely invoked Anglican Use.
What might be the impact of such a thing? Has any protestant Christian body ever sought reunification with the Church as an entire body? What psychological impact might this have? What would the regular Anglican communion think? (Not that they are likely fond of this bunch in the first place.)
While I do not pretend to know the details or obstacles that may stand in the way of this communion, I must admit that my interest is piqued.
Now if we can only get the Catholics in this country to seek full communion with Rome.