By Sarah Delaney
Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Five Anglican bishops have decided to join the Catholic Church and step down from their current positions with the Church of England, a Vatican spokesman said.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, confirmed to reporters a statement issued Nov. 8 by the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales welcoming the five bishops.
Father Lombardi said that a "constitution" that would govern the entry of former bishops of the Anglican Communion was being studied.
One year ago, Pope Benedict XVI established a special structure for Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage. The move was seen as a bridge to those unhappy with recent Anglican decisions on the ordination of women and the acceptance of homosexuality in some areas.
Father Lombardi said, "Regarding the declaration of five bishops until now belonging to the Anglican Communion who have decided to join the Catholic Church and who therefore are obliged by conscience to resign from their current pastoral duties in the Church of England, we can confirm that the constitution of a first ordinariate is under study, according to the norms established by the Apostolic Constitution 'Anglicanorum coetibus,' and that any further decisions regarding this will be communicated at the proper moment." ...
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Hat tip to Brother Stephen Treat, O.Cist. at the Anglo-Catholic blog.