I will be updating this post as often as I can throughout the day [Last update at 10:01pm CDT]. I’ll be reporting on reactions and news concerning this groundbreaking development that came from the Vatican this morning. The Vatican issued a note explaining a new provision in an upcoming Apostolic Constitution that will allow for a structure to be in place to receive Anglicans and Episcopalians into the Catholic Church. Basically a corporate reunion!
To read the full text of this announcement from the Vatican click here.
To read the full text of the joint press release of the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Gerard Nichols, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, click here.
Reaction and news from around the world [all emphasismine]:
Last Update of the day at 10:01pm CDT (Earlier updates further down this post)
Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London. Offers a brief history of what transpired the last couple of years between Anglo-Catholics, and those inside the Vatican, both faithful and dissident Catholics.
“Rome has parked its tanks on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lawn[Interesting choice of words, but nonetheless accurate in my opinion] after manoeuvres undertaken by up to fifty bishops and begun two years ago by an Australian archbishop, John Hepworth [The leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion].”
1. There are massive leaks all over the Catholic blogosphere concerning a Papal Letter in regards to the SSPX. Pope Benedict XVI will release a statement expressing his disenchantment of the reaction among Catholics over the lifting of the excommunications of SSPX. His Holiness also explains that he will connect the Ecclesia Dei commission to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He also states clearly that the Church is not frozen in 1962, so the SSPX will need to embrace Vatican II. In addition Vatican II also “brings with it the the whole doctrinal history of the Church”, ie, the Church didn’t end at Vatican II either.
And now, we have a perfectly liberal Pope, my very dear brothers. As he goes to this country [the United States] which is founded upon Masonic principles, that is, of a revolution, of a rebellion against God. And, well, he expressed his admiration, his fascination before this country which has decided to grant liberty to all religions. He goes so far as to condemn the confessional State. And he is called traditional! And this is true, this is true: he is perfectly liberal, perfectly contradictory. He has some good sides, the sides which we hail, for which we rejoice, such as what he has done for the Traditional liturgy.
What a mystery, my very dear brothers, what a mystery!
As Fr. John Zuhlsdorf (What Does The Prayer Really Say?) noted at the time, Fellay’s remarks are indicative of a point he has maintained time and again: the greater dispute between the SSPX and Rome is not so much over questions involving liturgical reform (and the ‘reform of the reform’) — on which there is a great deal of room for agreement — or even the matter of the excommunications; rather, the chief problem hinges on the Society’s objections to Vatican II’s articulation of the principle of “religious liberty” and the relationship of civil and religious authority.
We have had a spate of exciting news these past two weeks. So much good news that I have noticed a certain pattern forming. That pattern usually comes in threes, so I’d like to introduce the Rule of Three theory. The Rule of Three is a theorem that states good news comes in threes.
I must confess that when I read yesterday that Pope Benedict had lifted the excommunications against the four SSPX bishops, my first thought was not rejoicing that this suggested that a million semi-schismatic Catholics around the world might soon be fully returned to the fold, but rather, “Oh brother, does this mean that Bishop Williamson is now our problem?”
Thus, I was encouraged to see that Bishop Fellay, the Superior General of the SSPX, has issued a statement saying, “I have forbidden Bishop Williamson to issue any public opinion on any political or historical matter until further notice.”
Now there’s something I can say Amen to. Perhaps we may hope that the SSPX will not only become fully reunited with the Church in the near future, but will fail to embarrass liturgically traditional Catholics in the process. Deo gratias.