Ut Unum Sint!

Incredible good news from The Record, a weekly publication of the Western Australian Catholic Church:

History may be in the making. It appears Rome is on the brink of welcoming close to half a million members of the Traditional Anglican Communion into membership of the Roman Catholic Church, writes Anthony Barich. Such a move would be the most historic development in Anglican-Catholic relations in the last 500 years. But it may also be a prelude to a much greater influx of Anglicans waiting on the sidelines, pushed too far by the controversy surrounding the consecration of practising homosexual bishops, women clergy and a host of other issues.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to recommend the Traditional Anglican Communion be accorded a personal prelature akin to Opus Dei, if talks between the TAC and the Vatican aimed at unity succeed, it is understood.

Full article here.

To paraphrase Churchill, this development does not mark the end of the English Reformation and the Elizabethan Settlement. It is not the beginning of the end. But it is the end of the beginning. Indeed, it is not hyperbole on the Record’s part to say that, God willing, this development “will be the biggest development in Catholic-Anglican relations since the English Reformation under King Henry VIII.”

The Record further reports that an announcement is expected sometime after Easter this year, and that Pope Benedict XVI, who has taken a personal interest in this cause, is determined to achieve this joyous and long-sought reunion in this, the year of St. Paul, the Church’s greatest missionary.

In his quiet humble manner, Pope Benedict XVI has paved the way for 400,000 faithful orthodox and long-suffering Anglicans to be reunited with “all [their] own ancestors, all [their] ancient bishops and kings, all that was once the glory of England — the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter,” in St. Edmund Campion’s immortal words. Once this is a fait accompli, we can expect the floodgates will open and thousands more demoralized Anglicans will likely follow their brothers and sisters on the journey home.

The Record article also mentions that the TAC’s Primate, Adelaide-based Archbishop John Hepworth has informed the Holy See that he would like to bring all the TAC’s bishops to Rome for the beatification of Cardinal Henry Newman. Newman’s beatification has not been announced, but seems likely to many and would be especially fitting on this glorious occasion, as this is Cardinal Newman’s victory as well as ours.

It is also the victory and vindication of the Anglo-Catholic Oxford Movement and of the great 20th Century Anglican converts, Msgrs. Ronald Knox and Robert Benson, who rejoice with us this day. It recalls the suffering and sacrifice of St. Thomas More, Chancellor of England, and St. John Fisher, Cardinal of England, who were among the first beheaded for the faith, and of all the English martyrs, battered and beaten en route to the gallows at Tyburn.

“The expense is reckoned, the enterprise is begun; it is of God; it cannot be withstood. So the faith was planted: So it must be restored.”

Thus boasted Edmund Campion in his famous Brag on his clandestine mission to the persecuted Catholics of England, hunted and harried and hounded for his efforts until his forseeable capture at Lyford Grange near Wantage in Berkshireon on 17 July, 1581.

Indeed today’s glad tidings represent Edmund’s Campion’s victory as well, a victory dearly bought with blood spilled at Tyburn, a few drops of which fell on the cloak of one Henry Walpole, who promptly took up Campion’s cause and cross, and crossed the channel to be ordained, and returned to his country where he too was martyred for the Faith.

Thus St. Peter’s barque, which once nearly sank in the Lake of Gennesaret after a huge catch of fish, will soon overflow with a much greater catch of souls, but her nets remain strong because God who is Love preserves her, and Love never fails.

Hat tip to my friend Steve Lawrence who forwarded this story from The American Catholic

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