By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Earlier this week, the Pope announced that Anglicans who are dissatisfied with their church could join the Catholic Church, yet still have parishes that celebrate Anglican rites and use the Book of Common Prayer. What makes this interesting is that the Anglican Church allows married priests, unlike the Catholic Church.
It's good that the Pope is reaching out to people of other faiths—even if it is only to those who are as traditional as he is. According to CNN, "The number of Anglicans wishing to join the Catholic Church has increased in recent years as the Anglican Church has welcomed the ordination of women and openly gay clergy and blessed homosexual partnerships, said Cardinal William Joseph Levada, the head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith." It's mostly the conservative Anglicans who want to join the Catholic Church, because they're upset with their own church over the ordination of women and homosexuals. And it's one of the most conservative offices at the Vatican—the one that deals with the Doctrine of the Faith, that the Pope headed when he was a Cardinal—that negotiated the deal.
There's an interesting article in today's New York Times which suggests that this agreement will pave the way for married Catholic priests. The Times story quotes Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University: "Now we're opening up a whole structure within the Latin rite, within the Western rite, which will allow married priests to function."
"We face the prospect in the future of going to a Catholic church in London and it being normal to find a married Catholic priest celebrating at the altar, with his wife sitting in the third pew and his children running up and down the aisle," Austen Ivereigh, a Catholic commentator in London, told the Times.
Think of how different the Catholic Church would be today if we had married priests on the altar, with wives and children in the pews. We'd have had fewer scandals and far different policies on a host of subjects...if only there had been wives and children involved in the decisions priests have made all these years.