Welcome to the Reading Room

Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Pope's bold invitation to Anglicans

by Phil Lawler

With a single, bold stroke that caught nearly everyone by surprise, Pope Benedict XVI has eased the way for tradition-minded Anglicans who wish to enter the Catholic Church.

The apostolic constitution that was announced at the Vatican today will create a hierarchical structure within the Catholic Church, allowing Anglican priests to become Catholic priests with a minimum of red tape, and providing for the appointment of former Anglicans as Catholic bishops. The "personal ordinariates" established under the terms of this apostolic constitution will ensure that Anglicans who become Catholics are not simply absorbed into the existing Catholic structures and then forgotten; they will be allowed-- and encouraged-- to maintain their own distinctive traditions.

Oddly, today's Vatican press conference announced the new apostolic constitution, but the Vatican officials who briefed reporters spoke about the document in the future tense. Cardinal William Levada, the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, discussed the impact of the "forthcoming" apostolic constitution. The document is not yet ready for publication; the Vatican did not even announce its name.

Ordinarily, the press conference would be convened only after the document was prepared, and the high Vatican officials would unveil the document at the same time that they explained its impact. In this case, apparently, the Vatican wanted to explain the document even before it appeared-- probably in order to prevent the sort of premature leaks that could give rise to misunderstandings and inaccuracies about the nature of the papal initiative.

In other words the Holy See rushed to explain this apostolic constitution before misunderstandings could arise. In a rare and welcome display of media savvy, the Vatican seized control of the story, giving its own explanation before the confusion set in...  Read the whole article. 

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.