The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have set up a commission to help as many as 200 Anglican congregations join the Catholic Church under the new Apostolic Constitution.
John Broadhurst, the Anglican Bishop of Fulham and chairman of the Anglo-Catholic group Forward in Faith, said mass conversion was a real prospect, the Daily Mail reports.
“We have a thousand priest members in my organization and there are many others who agree with us,” Bishop Broadhurst said. “The main issue for many Anglican priests is now the ownership of parish churches.”
The commission may consider the possibility of church sharing or making 100-year leases of some Anglican buildings.
Apparently in response to news of Pope Benedict XVI’s provision for Anglicans who want to become Catholic, one Anglo-Catholic parish has been vandalized and its vicar has received a threatening phone call.
Fr. David Waller of St. Saviour’s Church in Walthamstow in North East London discovered the church sign defaced with the words “C of E No Pope” painted in white.
According to the Telegraph blogger Damien Thompson, the priest found a message on his answering machine threatening him with physical violence.
However, the message was distorted and “sounded drunken,” the Anglican priest reported, saying he didn’t want to “make too much of it.”
The parish is part of Forward in Faith.
Fr. Waller said that the parish has not made a decision about its future, but he is encouraged by the Pope’s offer of a Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans.
“The key players in the parish, including the churchwardens, are completely disillusioned with the Church of England and see the Ordinariate as the solution,” the priest told Thompson. “I can’t speak for all the silent folk in the pews, but a significant number of them are Eastern European Roman Catholics, so I don’t think it would be a problem for them.”