An exchange of letters between Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Archbishop John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion shows warming relations between the two Churches as they begin to consider proposals for corporate reunion.
Archbishop Hepworth, writing in the Messenger Journal, has announced that he has responded to a letter “of warmth and encouragement” he received on July 25 from Cardinal Levada. The archbishop said the entire Traditional Anglican Communion should be encouraged by Cardinal Levada’s letter, which was written to assure the archbishop that the Congregation is giving “serious attention” to the “prospect of corporate unity” raised in a 2007 letter from the Anglican primate.
In his letter, which was dated July 5, Cardinal Levada told Archbishop Hepworth that the Congregation has studied the proposals Archbishop Hepworth presented on behalf of the House of Bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion. The proposals had been presented during the archbishop’s October 9, 2007 visit to the Congregation’s dicastery offices.
“As the summer months approach, I wish to assure you of the serious attention which the Congregation gives to the prospect of corporate unity raised in that letter,” Cardinal Levada wrote.
The cardinal noted that the situation within the Anglican Communion in general “has become markedly more complex” since the archbishop’s visit. He wrote that the Congregation will inform Archbishop Hepworth as soon as the Congregation is in a position to “respond more definitively.”
Cardinal Levada closed the letter with a blessing, saying “I assure you of my continued prayers and good wishes for you and your brother bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion.”
In a July 25 message released to the Traditional Anglican Communion College of Bishops, Vicars General, and others assisting the Traditional Anglican Communion to achieve unity with the Holy See, Archbishop Hepworth distributed a copy of the cardinal’s letter and described his own reply to it.
“I have responded, expressing my gratitude on behalf of ‘my brother bishops,’ reaffirming our determination to achieve the unity for which Jesus prayed with such intensity at the Last Supper, no matter what the personal cost this might mean in our discipleship,” Archbishop Hepworth wrote in the letter published by the Messenger Journal.
He said Cardinal Levada’s letter should encourage “our entire Communion” and “friends who have been assisting us.”
Archbishop Hepworth said he was “particularly thankful” to Cardinal Levada for his “generous mention” of corporate reunion. The archbishop wrote that corporate reunion was a path “seldom travelled in the past” but one “essential” to fulfilling Christ’s desire for Christian unity.
He said his flock should be spurred to renewed prayer for the Holy Father, for Cardinal Levada and his Congregation’s staff, and for all their own clergy and people “as we move to ever closer communion in Christ with the Holy See.”
According to the Anglican Church in America’s website, the Traditional Anglican Communion claims 400,000 members worldwide.