by Christopher Pearson
October 24, 2009
ON Tuesday the Vatican unveiled a brand-new structure designed to facilitate groups of traditionally minded Anglicans entering into corporate communion with Rome, something many on both sides of the divide have aspired to for more than 40 years. On Wednesday the global primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion, Archbishop John Hepworth, gave Inquirer an exclusive interview.
Inquirer: In place of conventional dioceses, the new arrangements envisage "personal ordinariates". Are they akin to the military ordinariates for dispersed groups of personnel in the various branches of the armed forces?
John Hepworth: Yes, and they are at the heart of what the Pope proposes. They are similar to dioceses but are groupings of people rather than a territory. Under this arrangement the ordinary (who may be a priest or a bishop) will be the shepherd of the Anglican people within the Catholic communion in his area. There will probably be a considerable number of these groupings around the world.
Inquirer: How do the Pope's proposals mesh the Latin celibate discipline for all clergy with Anglicanism's longstanding acceptance of married priests and bishops?
JH: Bishops in the new Anglican structure will be unmarried. This is out of respect for the tradition of Eastern and Western Christianity. But priests who come from Anglicanism will be able to serve as priests in the new structure, whether married or not, after satisfying certain requirements. The truly radical element is that married men will be able to be ordained priests in the Anglican structure indefinitely into the future. It is anticipated that Anglican bishops who are married when they joined the new structure will still be able to serve as priestly ordinaries, exercising some of the responsibilities of bishops.
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