Friday, January 29, 2010
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
This is only the first chapter in the coming reunion of Christ’s One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Archbishop John Hepworth in Africa where the Traditional Anglican Communion is strong.
CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) – In a beautifully written, theologically astute, historically significant and warmly pastoral letter written to the faithful of the Traditional Anglican Communion, Archbishop John Hepworth invites them to enter into full communion by following the Apostolic Constitution and Norms offered by the Holy See. He concludes his letter (which we reprint in its entirety as a related story below) with this stirring summons:
“I believe with all my heart that this is a work of God and an act of great generosity by Pope Benedict. The Anglican tradition that we treasure will only survive, I believe, across the generations yet to come if it discovers the protection of apostolic authority. It is my cherished wish that each of us can stand at the altar with our fellow Christians and receive the same Eucharistic Christ. That is the ultimate test of unity. In the centuries since the church in the West became fractured there has been no offer such as the one that is now before us.”
When history records this moment, Archbishop John Hepworth of the Traditional Anglican Communion will be a vital part of the story. Men of prophetic stature are never perfect, they are humble and holy. They simply show a willingness to be perfected by the Lord whom they love. They allow the mistakes and difficulties of life to become the tutors of time. They respond in their brokenness to the invitation of history being written by the One who broke into history to transform it from within. Archbishop Hepworth has done that throughout this historic process.
I have followed the formal request of the Traditional Anglican Communion for full communion with the Catholic Church from the very beginning. I persisted in covering it after many news sources, including Catholic ones, dismissed the possibility that it would ever bring a positive response from Rome. We are dedicated to an authentically Catholic vision of ecumenism which recognizes the need for visible unity, with legitimate diversity, within the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.
Well, the overture received more than a favorable response; it opened up the front door of the House. Such a welcome surprised many observers. Reading Archbishop Hepworth’s letter provides insights into why the Holy Father, inspired by the Holy Spirit, responded in such an historic manner. The original petition to Rome for full communion has never been released. It has now been made available by the Archbishop. We include the full text as a related article below this story. The petition was a work of the Holy Spirit, an example of humility and an act of love for the Lord and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church by these Christians of the Traditional Anglican Communion.
"Full Text of Archbishop Hepworths Letter"
"Apostolic Constitution: 'Anglicanorum Coetibus'"
"Norms for the Apostolic Constitution"