ENGLAND: Forward in Faith 'in talks with Vatican'
By Damian Thompson
July 28th, 2009
A well-connected Rome source reports that Forward in Faith, the umbrella group for conservative Anglo-Catholics in the C of E, is talking to the Vatican about corporate union. Here's the odd thing about the rumour: it claims that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna is meeting with Bishop John Broadhurst of Fulham at the suggestion of the Holy Father.
The model for the move to Rome could be the proposed reception of the Traditional Anglican Communion into the Catholic Church. But Broadhurst has very firmly denied that Forward in Faith is throwing in its lot with the TAC, a rebel Anglican group that has already submitted to the Magisterium.
Now, if there's one thing I know about Bishop Broadhurst is that he's a wily old fox. He blows hot and cold on the subject of Rome, perhaps because he was baptised a Roman Catholic. I'm sure he wouldn't dream of joining the TAC in any shape or form - but he'll be jolly interested in the details of any deal it does with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But why involve the Archbishop of Vienna, Count Christoph Maria Michael Hugo Damian Peter Adalbert von Schönborn? (OK, so he doesn't use his aristocratic title, but what a cool name.) I don't know. Perhaps it was just a suggestion that Vienna and Fulham should meet. But my source is close enough to high-level figures in the curia for me to be sure that there's something significant going on.
As there should be. For crying out loud, there is no future at all for theologically literate Anglo-Catholic opponents of women bishops in the Church of England. Some of the gutless ones can stick their fingers in their ears and pretend not to hear the resounding, overwhelming support for women bishops coming from the Church's ruling elite; they can build their own Wendy House "jurisdiction" that allows them to keep on claiming their stipend inside a liberal Protestant denomination.
The more honest ones face a simple choice: where do they go next? If they can't stand Catholics, they can become Eastern Orthodox. They can found or join an independent20Anglican Church (there are hundreds out there). Or they can seek union with the See of Peter, reasonably confident that the power of the trad-hating RC "Magic Circle" is waning and that the Pope is on their side.
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