Sentamu queries proposed conversion process
The Anglican Archbishop of York has poured cold water on the conversion process proposed for traditionalist Church of England members seeking full communion with Rome through the new ordinariates announced by the Vatican last October.
Archbishop John Sentamu told the BBC, “If people genuinely realise that they want to be Roman Catholic, they should convert properly, and go through catechesis and be made proper Catholics.”
He added, “As far as I am concerned, if I was really, genuinely wanting to convert, I wouldn’t go into an ordinariate.”
He said that rather than coming under the pastoral care of a senior clergyman known as an Ordinary, and retaining parts of their Anglican heritage such as prayer books, if they wanted to be in full communion with Rome they should follow the same rigorous education in their new denomination that other converts do.
When asked on the BBC’s Sunday Sequence programme what the former Anglicans would be if not ‘proper Catholics’, the Archbishop replied, “They would be what they are: an ordinariate of the Vatican.”
So far, the only group that has indicated that it intends to convert is a breakaway group known as the Traditional Anglican Communion. It is reported to have few followers in Britain.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has described the Vatican’s Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, as “theologically eccentric” and predicted that few will take it up because Anglicans struggle to accept the authority of the Pope.
The Church of England’s governing body, the General Synod, is meeting this week and will discuss the Vatican’s decree for disaffected Anglicans who wish to join the Catholic Church.
The Anglican Church’s revision committee is drawing up the legislation but will not now report back until July. It has been inundated with proposals from both liberals and conservatives on how to implement the historic move.
Traditionalist Anglicans have expressed their disillusionment with the liberal direction of the Church of England over issues such as women bishops and gay clergy.