The Sunday Telegraph in Britain reported yesterday that several Anglican bishops met with Vatican officials to discuss the process of converting to the Catholic Church.
Despite the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams reportedly urging them not to leave the Church of England, several bishops are looking to leave the Anglican Communion over their opposition to the introduction of women bishops and priests.
According to the Sunday Telegraph, Bishops John Broadhurst, Keith Newton and Andrew Burnham, from the Dioceses of Fulham, Richborough and Ebbsfleet respectively, all met with senior Vatican officials last week.
Meeting with leaders from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Anglican bishops discussed the possibility of becoming Catholic, in accordance with Pope Benedict's recent invitation. The Holy Father's “Anglicanorum coetibus,” a motu propio which was released in Nov. 2009, offered Vatican guidelines for Anglican groups to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.
The Associated Press released an article on Monday quoting Bishop Broadhurst, who confirmed that the trip had taken place yet declined to comment on what was discussed.
“I don't want to be drawn on it,” he told the AP, saying that the issue “can damage both the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.”
Bishop Newton added that the visit consisted of "nothing more than exploratory talks."
Church of England officials refused to speak publicly about the issue.
Lambeth Palace told CNA on Monday that Archbishop Rowan Williams has not issued a statement in response to the Anglican bishops' meeting with Vatican officials. If the Church of England does offer a reaction, it will not happen until after May 3, which is a national holiday in Britain.