.- The Anglican Church in America has decided to seek union with the Roman Catholic Church. If unification were successful, this would be the first post-Reformation church to reunite with Rome, reports journalist Ken Tatro from “keep me current” in Oregon.
The Anglican Church in America is part of the worldwide Traditional Anglican Communion, which consists of churches that split from the mainstream Anglican Communion in 1979 in opposition to the ordination of women clergy and to changes made to the Book of Common Prayer, which includes the basic doctrines and prayers.
Tatro reported that an international gathering of members of the Traditional Anglican Communion, including their highest-ranking cleric, Archbishop John Hepworth, met at St. Paul’s in Portland last week.
They voted in favor of starting a formal discussion with Rome and eventually creating what is called a “single Eucharist community.” This would allow members of the Traditional Anglican Communion and the Roman Catholic Church to take communion at each other’s churches.
The leaders hope to propose a formal plan to the Vatican by next year. It is unclear how long the process of reunification will take.
Despite unification, from a basic theological and operational standpoint, nothing will be different within the church, said Very Rev. Lester York, dean of St. Paul’s.
York told Tatro that St. Paul’s is gaining membership as the Episcopal Church ordains homosexual clergy and debates blessing same-sex unions. He said his church is attracting people who no longer find the liberalism of other Protestant faiths acceptable.
Formal unity with Rome would better reflect the sect’s doctrine, York told the reporter. He said his church’s beliefs are similar to Roman Catholic and has the same seven sacraments.
Traditional Anglican Communion leaders have been discussing unification with Rome for the past few years, York reported. These discussions have included former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI.