Global South Anglican bishops politely decline pope’s offer

October 25, 2009

bibleConservative bishops who say they represent almost half the world’s Anglicans urged fellow believers on Sunday to reform the Anglican Communion rather than take up Pope Benedict’s invitation to join the Roman Catholic Church.

(Photo: A Bible, 20 Aug 2008/Simon Newman)

The “Global South” group, which last year seemed close to quitting the Communion, said those opposed to gay clergy and other liberal reforms should “stand firm with us in cherishing the Anglican heritage (and) pursuing a common vocation.”

Indirectly declining the pope’s offer to receive alienated Anglicans, the group called on the Communion’s member churches to adopt a “covenant” to coordinate policy in the loosely structured 77-million-strong worldwide Anglican community.

“The proposed Anglican Covenant … gives Anglican churches worldwide a clear and principled way forward in pursuing God’s divine purposes together,” said the statement posted on their website. Conservatives see this plan as a way to block liberal reforms in the United States, Canada and Britain.

A call to convert to Catholicism by bishops in developing countries, where the faith is expanding, could have dealt a body blow to the Anglican church, founded when King Henry VIII broke with Rome in 1534 to divorce one wife and marry another.

Read the full story here.

Read also our earlier blog posts on this story:

Vatican-Anglican: where in the details will the devil be hiding? — October 24th, 2009

How many Anglicans will switch to the Roman Catholic Church? — October 23rd, 2009

Pope makes it easier for Anglicans to switch to Rome — October 20th, 2009

Orthodox Anglicans skate around schism at conference — June 20th, 2008

Is Benedict planning to take in traditionalist Anglicans? — June 12, 2008

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One comment

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What a tremendous blow to Vatican policy! There is no doubt that Rome hoped for a large segment of African Anglicanism (which is mostly conservative) to come in from the cold. The fact that this did not happen is a testament to the still-vital character of Anglicanism on the African continent.

Now the rest of the Anglican world–that is another matter entirely. We shall soon see what kind of numbers take the plunge.