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The Anglican provision: a press round-up

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The Apostolic Constitution is the front-page story in the Times today. It is headlined “Papal gambit stuns Church”.

The Times’s editorial deplores the move:

There are genuine pastoral reasons behind the Holy See’s actions. But the solution and the manner by which it has been derived are a direct challenge to the integrity of the Anglican tradition. Dr Williams has made immense efforts to maintain the unity of the Anglican Communion and advance the ecumenical movement. He has been undermined. He now faces the unenviable prospect of an increasing fragmentation of Anglicanism and a severely attenuated state of Anglican-Catholic relations…

The Church of England’s witness to the life of the nation is a valued and historic civic resource. Its position has been dangerously weakened.

A commentary by Tim Bradshaw claims that the initiative “will harm dialogue and weaken the Church of England”. An analysis piece by Ruth Gledhill says desperate Anglican traditionalist bishops have “invited Rome to park its tanks on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lawn”.

Riazat Butt, in the Guardian, notes that “the Anglican archbishop of Canterbury and the Catholic archbishop of Westminster sat side by side on the top table in a show of unity, but the choice of location [the Catholic Church’s HQ] reflected the shift in power”. And Andrew Brown argues that Pope Benedict has told Rowan Williams: “So long and thanks for all the priests.”

The Telegraph’s editorial says the Apostolic Constitution “offers a half-way home to those who will never be reconciled to the liberal reforms in the Anglican Communion”. Jonathan Wynne-Jones says the move has left the Archbishop of Canterbury’s plans “in ruins”. And George Pitcher insists that the Pope has “thrown a lifeline to the Church of England for women bishops”.

Across the pond, Peter J Boyer examines yesterday’s events for the New Yorker. Michael McGough, writing in the LA Times, predicts that “a lot of cradle Catholics … will be sneaking off to ‘Anglican Use’ parishes on Sundays”. And Jeff Israely at Time magazine says the decision “reveals more about the growing internal rifts within each of the two churches than any sign of real hope for reuniting the fractured Christian communion”.

In Canada’s National Post, Fr Raymond J de Souza salutes the move. And the Sydney Morning Herald finds an interesting Australian angle on the story.

Photo: Cardinal William Levada, pictured at yesterday’s news conference at the Vatican (AP Photo/Domenico Stinellis)

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Written by Luke Coppen

October 21, 2009 at 10:07 am

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