By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
The Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), which split from the worldwide Anglican community over issues relating to the ordination of women priests and practicing homosexuals, may soon be joining the Roman Catholic Church.
According to an article appearing in the Australian newspaper, The Record, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has decided to recommend that the 400,000 members of the TAC be accorded a personal prelature similar to Opus Dei, if talks aimed at unity succeed.
The TAC is a growing global community that took the historic step in 2007 of seeking full corporate and sacramental communion with the Roman Catholic Church – a move that, if fulfilled, is being hailed as the biggest development in Catholic-Anglican relations since the English Reformation under King Henry VIII. In April of 2007, at a meeting of the bishops of the TAC in England, they unanimously agreed to sign the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to seek full communion with the Church.
Talks have been ongoing and led to a decision in October, 2008 by the CDF not to recommend the creation of a distinct Anglican rite within the Roman Catholic Church, such as the Eastern Catholic Churches, but to make the TAC a personal prelature. A prelature is a kind of global diocese without boundaries, headed by its own bishop with its own clergy and laity. A prelature is a new juridical form of life in the Church that was achieved after decades of work with Opus Dei.
One potential problem for the Holy See is the fact that TAC bishops are married. Neither the Roman Catholic nor Eastern Catholic churches permit married bishops.
However, the TAC’s request is the closest any section of the Anglican Church has ever come to full communion with Rome, only because it set no preconditions and has submitted itself entirely to the Holy See’s decisions.
The Vatican has issued no announcement about when they expect to reach a final decision in this matter.
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