On March 12, leaders of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) in Canada sent a letter to the Holy Father formally requesting to become unified with the Catholic Church. This initiative, says a leading bishop, is what he believes to be part of a “worldwide movement.”
Bishop Peter Wilkinson of the TAC Diocese of British Columbia, who authored the March 12 letter, discussed Pope Benedict XVI's publication of the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum coetibus” with CNA in a phone interview on Monday. The document was released last year and addressed measures planned by the Vatican to allow Anglican communities to enter into communion with the Catholic Church.
When the Pope's document first came out, said Bishop Wilkinson, “I had Lutherans calling me saying, 'how do we get in on this?' And Orthodox (Christians) saying, 'how do we get in on this?'”
“It is a worldwide movement largely brought about by the vision of John Paul II” and “the wonderful, gentle firm, intellectual vision of Pope Benedict, who is such an inspiration to us,” noted the Anglican bishop.
Referencing a previous letter written to the Holy See which spoke of unifying with Rome, Bishop Wilkinson wrote to the Vatican on March 12. “Please allow the College of Bishops of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) to express our gratitude to you for your positive response of December 16th 2009 to our Letter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of October 5th 2007 in which we expressed our desire to 'seek a communal and ecclesial way of being Anglican Catholics in communion with the Holy See, at once treasuring the full expression of catholic faith and treasuring our tradition within which we have come to this moment,'” the letter said.
“We have all read and studied with care the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus with the Complementary Norms and the accompanying Commentary,” the bishop added. “And now, in response to your invitation to contact your Dicastery to begin the process you lay out, we respectfully ask that the Apostolic Constitution be implemented in Canada; that we may establish an interim Governing Council of three priests (or bishops); and that this Council be given the task and authority to propose to His Holiness a terna for appointment of the initial Ordinary.”
“It is our hope and prayer that these proposals may be useful in setting in train the process set out in the most welcome, gracious, and generous response of the Holy Father to our Petition,” the letter concluded.
Other signatories of the letter were The Rt. Rev. Craig Botterill Suffragan Bishop for Atlantic Canada and The Rt. Rev. Carl Reid, Suffragan Bishop for Central Canada.
With approximately 60 bishops, the Traditional Anglican Communion has parishes in 13 ecclesial provinces across Canada.