Washington, D.C. Newsroom, Apr 20, 2023 / 12:13 pm
About 50 Anglican clergymen, who are not in communion with the Catholic Church, took part in religious services at the highest-ranking papal basilica in Rome on Tuesday, April 18. The Vatican later released a statement of regret, attributing the incident to a failure in communication.
The clergymen, who were accompanied by Bishop Jonathan Baker of the Church of England, are part of the Anglican Communion, which broke away from the Catholic Church in 1534 amid King Henry VIII’s frustration that he could not receive an annulment for his marriage. The Catholic Church does not consider Anglican holy orders valid and does not recognize Anglican orders as valid, which means they cannot validly celebrate Mass.
The Anglican service was celebrated at the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran in Rome, which is the oldest basilica in Rome and the official seat of the bishop of Rome, the pope.
In a statement issued Thursday, Bishop Guerino Di Tora, who serves as the vicar of the archpriest of the Lateran Basilica, said the incident was the result of a “failure in communication” and that he “expresses deep regret for what happened.”