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Luke Coppen's Catholic Herald Blog

Six points Archbishop Nichols wants Catholics to grasp about the new provision

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Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster has written a commentary on the Apostolic Constitution for the Catholic press.

It’s clear that he wants the Catholics of England and Wales to grasp several key points about the new arrangement. They are:

1) “It is a response, not an initiative, by the Holy See.” In other words, it is not an aggressive attempt to “poach” Anglicans, as some news reports have suggested.

2) “This is a response to those who have declared that they share the common Catholic faith and accept the Pope’s ministry as something Christ willed for the Church.” The decree encourages people who are already Catholic in mind and heart to take the final step and enter into full communion with Rome.

3) “Much work now opens up, not only for those who hold such faith and will have to consider carefully the formal response of the Holy See, but also for the Catholic community.” This is just the beginning of a long and probably very complicated process.

4) “This response does not alter our determined and continuing dedication to the pathway of mutual commitment and cooperation between the Church of England and the Catholic Church in this country.” The new provision does not render local ecumenical efforts redundant.

5) “We also need to appreciate what this moment makes clear about the mind of Pope Benedict XVI.” Catholics must understand why the Pope has made this move. It is because of his urgent belief that Christians must be united in the rapidly secularising West.

6) “The Holy Father clearly believes that legitimate diversity does not threaten the unity of the Church.” In order to unify Christians, the Pope is prepared to give those who wish to be reconciled a possibly surprising degree of freedom.

Photo: Archbishop Nichols gestures during yesterday’s press conference in London (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 21, 2009 at 1:23 pm

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