17 July 2008

It's not breaking news...

Damian Thompson of the Daily Telegraph wrote a story with the screaming headline, "Ex-Anglican communities to become Catholic, Rome confirms." The news shot around the world, and it sounded as though a new break-through -- a major Vatican decision -- had been made. Not so.

Mr. Thompson's attempt to bring "breaking news" to the world was based upon the keynote address given by Archbishop John J. Myers, when he spoke here at the parish to those who were assembled for the Anglican Use Conference. The archbishop wasn't delivering anything new to us. Rather, he was simply confirming what all of us already knew: that the Holy See had approved the Pastoral Provision in 1980 and had given us the Anglican Use liturgy in 1983. He expressed his appreciation for those parishes and communities which are using the liturgy, and spoke of the hope that it would be helpful and encouraging to those Anglicans who decide to become Catholics but who wish to retain elements of their liturgical and devotional life. It was a fine address, and quite moving. But it was no more than that, and it was not intended to be.

The Pastoral Provision and the Anglican Use liturgy exist in the United States. What will happen in England or in other countries, we do not know. But we certainly pray for our brothers and sisters who are struggling in a difficult situation. If the request is made for something similar to what we have, I would imagine the Holy See would grant the request. But at this point, any discussions are private. There is little point in trying to guess what is happening, and little good can come from taking a few paragraphs from a particular speech, given in a particular context, and attempting to extrapolate earth-shaking news from it.

UPDATE: Here's a far more balanced article from the Catholic News Agency.