Saturday, January 30, 2010
By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
Published: 9:00PM GMT 30 Jan 2010
Archbishop Nichols, pictured, attempted to allay fears over the motivation behind the papal decree when he talked privately with the Lord Chamberlain Photo: GEOFF PUGH
In a highly unusual step, Earl Peel, the Lord Chamberlain, asked Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, to meet him following Pope Benedict XVI's decree.
The Vatican's announcement last year shocked the Church of England and was widely seen as an act of aggression, designed to poach Anglican clergy.
Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said that at the time that it had been viewed as "a dawn raid on the Anglican communion".
The Queen, who is the Church's Supreme Governor, was not warned of the move, which has paved the way for priests to enter into full communion with the Holy See.
However, Archbishop Nichols attempted to allay fears over the motivation behind the papal decree when he talked privately with the Lord Chamberlain, who is the most senior official of the Royal Household.
The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that they met at Archbishop's House in Westminster in November, a fortnight after the Pope's offer was made.
The Archbishop reassured Lord Peel that Pope Benedict had only issued the decree in response to the requests of traditionalist Anglicans disillusioned with the liberal direction of their Church.
See also from Catholic World News, "Conservative Anglican group moving toward union with Rome."