From Damian Thompson's blog Holy Smoke
[Update: A leading Anglo-Catholic source contacts me this morning naming several English Catholic bishops whom he thinks were in Rome for this summit. He confirms that "very few people on our side" (ie, the C of E) knew it was happening.]
A fascinating update on the Ordinariate story tonight from Jonathan Wynne-Jones: the Church of England bishops of Fulham, Richborough and Ebbsfleet have basically said yes to the Pope’s offer. They were at the Vatican last week to discuss the details, apparently. The RC Bishops of England and Wales are hopelessly divided on the Ordinariate scheme, so Bishops John Broadhurst, Keith Newton and Andrew Burnham have gone to the top. Very wise.
The Sunday Telegraph story says Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster was unaware of the Vatican meeting. That implies a serious collapse of confidence in the English Catholic hierarchy on the part of the Anglicans – you would expect +Vin to be in the picture even if his colleagues weren’t. But see update above: senior Anglo-Catholic sources reckon at least one member of the English hierarchy was in Rome, so that makes it inconceivable that Archbishop Nichols didn’t know...
Read the rest at Holy Smoke.
and the story from Mr. Wynne-Jones in yesterday's Telegraph:
Anglican bishops in secret Vatican summit
In a move likely to raise tensions between the two Churches, a group of Church of England bishops met last week with advisers of Pope Benedict XVI to set in motion steps that would allow priests to convert to Catholicism en masse.
They are set to resign their orders in opposition to the introduction of women bishops and to lead an exodus of Anglican clerics to the Catholic Church despite Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, urging them not to leave.
It would be the first time for nearly 20 years that large numbers of priests have crossed from the Church of England to Rome, and comes only weeks ahead of a crucial General Synod debate on making women bishops.
The Sunday Telegraph has learnt that bishops travelled to the Holy See last week to hold face to face discussions with senior members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the most powerful of the Vatican's departments...
You can read this in full at the U.K. Telegraph.
Mr. Wynne-Jones followed this with another story today: Bishops' defection: A major new blow to the Anglican church
Hat tip to Mary Ann Mueller for leads on the first two stories.