FaithWorld

How many Anglicans will switch to the Roman Catholic Church?

levadaDisaffected Anglican Dioceses in Papua New Guinea, the United States and Australia might consider switching to Roman Catholicism under a new constitution offered by Pope Benedict, according to Forward in Faith (FiF), a worldwide association of Anglicans opposed to the ordination of women priests or bishops. About a dozen bishops from the Church of England, the Anglican mother church, are also likely to convert, it says. (Photo: Vatican Cardinal William Levada announces offer to Anglicans, 20 Oct 2009/Tony Gentile)

The Church of England could not comment on numbers likely to convert, with one source adding: “It’s all guesswork.” But Stephen Parkinson, director of FiF, said a figure of 1,000 Church of England priests, reported in the media, was “credible.” Read our news story on this here.

Estimates of laity are “much harder,” Parkinson said.  “Inevitably if you say 1,000 priests you are then talking about several thousand laity.”

But he said he “would not be at all surprised at a dozen” bishops in England switching. However, in England, bishops were likely to move individually rather than take their entire dioceses, which tend to have diverse views, with them. Some Anglican clergy anticipated numbers would not be great, pointing to the early 1990s when about 500 switched over the ordination of women priests. Some later returned to Anglicanism.

Outside the Anglican Communion, a breakaway group called the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) looks keen to join the Catholic Church along with its 400,000 followers. Archbishop John Hepworth, the Australia-based head of the TAC, posted a delighted reply to Pope Benedict’s offer on his website. The TAC petitioned the Vatican to be received into the Church two years ago.  Archbishop Hepworth wrote:

from The Great Debate UK:

GUESTVIEW: Proposed legislation on women bishops falls short

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- Reverend Dr. Miranda Threlfall-Holmes is Chaplain and Solway Fellow of University College, Durham. The opinions expressed are her own. -

A controversial decision by a committee drawing up legislation to allow women bishops has been met with criticism from women who are seeking equal representation at the highest levels in the Church of England.

Women have been ordained as priests in the Church of England since 1994, but cannot currently become bishops.

Anglicans, in row, may cut women bishops’ powers

schoriThe Church of England could restrict the powers of some women bishops under a plan designed to end a rift between traditionalists who want to keep the all-male senior clergy and liberals demanding equality.  The proposal has reignited the long-running debate over a supposed ecclesiastical “stained-glass ceiling” that stops women from attaining the most senior roles in the church.

The Church of England body reviewing the law on women bishops, the Revision Committee, has voted to change the rules to remove certain powers from female bishops in dioceses where they face opposition from traditionalists. Specially-appointed male bishops would assume those powers and the new system would be written into British law, the committee said in a statement. (Photo: Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori of the U.S. Episcopal Church, 4 Nov 2006/Jonathan Ernst)

While Anglicans in the United States, Canada and Australia already have women bishops, conservatives in many other parts of the Communion strongly oppose them. They say there is nothing in the Bible or church history to support women bishops. Liberals, who argue that women should be treated equally, said the latest proposals to allow women bishops, albeit with reduced powers in some areas, risked creating a two-tier church.

from UK News:

“You don’t have to be booted and suited” to go to church

BRITAINThe Church of England should shed its "booted and suited" middle-class image, a British bishop says.

"Even today I meet people who think you have to be highly educated or suited and booted to be a person who goes to church" the Reverend Stephen Cottrell, Bishop of Reading, in southern England, said.

The comments come as Christian churches throughout the UK and other parts of the world launch a week-long "back to Church Sunday" campaign, an attempt to encourage people of all social classes to go to church this Sunday.

First ACNA archbishop strikes evangelical tone

Robert Duncan, installed on Wednesday night as the first archbishop of the new Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), struck a decidedly evangelical tone in the sermon he delivered at his installation service. (You can see our coverage of the ACNA’s initial assembly here and here.)

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The ACNA is mostly composed of conservative dissidents who have left the Episcopal Church — the main U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion — over thorny issues like gay clergy. It says it has 100,000 followers in 700 churches in Canada and the United States.

Like other mainline Protestant denominations, the Episcopal Church — which is estimated to have more than 2 million members — has been shrinking while evangelical Protestant churches often have seen explosive growth (though some like the Southern Baptist Convention are also facing decline. We blogged on that issue earlier today). The ACNA seems to be in some ways emulating the evangelical movement by sticking to conservative principles (it would argue this means scriptural authority) and by stressing a renewed drive of evangelism.

from UK News:

Unchristian comments about BBC’s new head of religion?

The BBC is coming in for flak about its religious coverage, much of it centring on its incoming head of religious broadcasting.

The publicly funded broadcaster has appointed Aaqil Ahmed from Channel 4,  a move that has dismayed a Church of England member who is proposing to discuss the matter at the church's General Synod, the church's parliament.

Nigel Holmes, a former BBC employee and lay member of the synod, has tabled a private members' motion for the upcoming meeting in July.

from UK News:

Synod avoids cataclysm over women bishops

So the Church of England opted for safety when it met to discuss the next stage in the ordination of women bishops, avoiding the cataclysmic result of a 'no' vote.

More than 280 members of the General Synod, or governing body, voted in favour of sending draft legislation and a code of practice to a revision committee, ensuring its continued progress.

The church will still take its time over the legislation, with no woman bishop likely to be installed before 2014.

Will sport ever be clean?

Church of England ministers have opposed what they call the “pragmatic” approach taken by some authorities to sex and sport, which ignores the sometimes prevalent link with human trafficking.

The emergence of the “mega-brothel”, facilitated by some German cities during the 2006 football World Cup to meet the demands of the estimated three million fans at the tournament, horrified the dioceses of Winchester and Newcastle.

Signs of the same thing happening at the South Africa football World Cup in 2010 prompted the dioceses to table a motion at next month’s General Synod calling on the British government to prevent such a thing happening at the London Olympics 2012.