Thursday, August 14, 2008

Massive Exodus In Church Of England Reported

(Telegraph) - A group of 14 traditionalist bishops claim that there are "irreconcilable differences" over historic reforms that would introduce women as bishops without giving proper concessions to oponents of the move.

In a letter to 1,400 clergy who have indicated that they are considering defecting from the Church of England, they are highly critical of a decision by the General Synod - the Church's parliament - to ignore proposals for a compromise over the divisive issue....

read full story here
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: That's 14 bishops and 1,400 clergy within the Church of England itself, an entire diocese of the U.S. Episcopal Church (ECUSA), numerous local parishes in Anglican diocese all over the world, and countless Anglican-Use prayer groups popping up everywhere. This is no small defection. It's an EXODUS! The Anglican Communion has ended. It is now a relic for the history books, and these people coming out of it are spiritual refugees. They need our assistance and charity. We Roman Catholics must not fail them. In the coming weeks and months, the pope will do what he thinks is necessary to accommodate them, but in the meantime, we individual Catholics must do our part as well.

Five years ago a high-church Episcopalian friend of mine came to me during the crisis in the U.S. Episcopal Church (ECUSA), when the Episcopal Diocese of Newark voted to consecrate as bishop an openly gay man who divorced his wife, and left his children, to shack up with another dude. My friend was appalled and brought to tears. His wife was a Southern Baptist who was skeptical about anything to do with Catholicism to begin with, and this just confirmed everything she feared. Apparently, she was giving him some grief about it, while he was already distraught. Since he had just started going back to church again, after years of being a lapsed Episcopalian, what he didn't realize was that his church had changed dramatically while he was away. Now he was considering giving it all up again in the face of such an embarrassing scandal.

He and I had some long talks about it, and eventually he agreed to attend Catholic mass with me. He's been going with me ever since, even though he has no intention of converting at this time, and is waiting for the opportunity to come into the Church corporately, with an entire Episcopal parish, as soon as the opportunity arises. He doesn't mind being a Roman Catholic, but he also wants to retain his identity as an Anglican.

I suspect this story repeats itself millions of times throughout the world. If you, as a Roman Catholic, have any Episcopalian of Anglican friends who are frustrated by the current developments in the former Anglican Communion, now is the time to reach out to them with compassion and charity. They are spiritual refugees seeking shelter. The Catholic Church has what they need, and will probably be making more accommodations in the near future. The events in the former Anglican Communion can rightly be compared to a shipwreck. It's a catastrophe! Some of the survivors have abandoned ship and are swimming toward the Rock of Peter. We must reach out to them both corporately and individually. We must not let them down.