The president of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said this week that the publication of the apostolic constitution allowing Anglicans the option of entering into full communion with the Catholic Church “will have important consequences” in England.
The apostolic constitution, “Anglicanorum coetibus,” was issued by Pope Benedict last November.
In an interview with Vatican Radio in Rome, where the archbishop is with other English prelates for their ad limina visit, Archbishop Nichols said, “The reaction to this document is, in a certain sense, measured. There was a strong reaction at first, which was inflated by the media. Now we are in a phase of evaluation, reflection and prayer.”
In order for there to be a “complete assessment of the Pope’s initiative,” the archbishop said, “one must consider the important announcement of the start of the third phase of ARCIC talks, the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission. In my opinion, the two are related.”
“The response of the Holy Father has given a positive stimulus to ARCIC's debates,” he continued adding that the coinciding of the launch of ARCIC III and the apostolic constitution "Anglicanorum coetibus" is not a coincidence.”
“In our joint declaration,” Archbishop Nichols stated, “the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and I have said that this move by the Holy See will end a period of uncertainty, and consider this to be a positive contribution to a wider dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole, which will have important consequences for the country.”