Tuesday 9 November 2010

Embracing the Anglican Church

Today's openness of the Catholic Church towards the Anglicans in offering, with the Ordinariate, an extraordinary path by which they can have full communion in the Catholic Church, is an expression of a long-held deep desire to enable the unity of the Church in the UK. At the Canonisation Mass of the Forty Martyrs in 1970, Pope Paul VI, at the end of his homily spoke these words - which in the light of recent events, seem quite prophetic:
May the blood of these Martyrs be able to heal the great wound inflicted upon God’s Church by reason of the separation of the Anglican Church from the Catholic Church. Is it not one - these Martyrs say to us - the Church founded by Christ? Is not this their witness? Their devotion to their nation gives us the assurance that on the day when - God willing - the unity of the faith and of Christian life is restored, no offence will be inflicted on the honour and sovereignty of a great country such as England. There will be no seeking to lessen the legitimate prestige and the worthy patrimony of piety and usage proper to the Anglican Church when the Roman Catholic Church - this humble “Servant of the Servants of God” - is able to embrace her ever beloved Sister in the one authentic communion of the family of Christ: a communion of origin and of faith, a communion of priesthood and of rule, a communion of the Saints in the freedom and love of the Spirit of Jesus. Perhaps We shall have to go on, waiting and watching in prayer, in order to deserve that blessed day. But already We are strengthened in this hope by the heavenly friendship of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales who are canonized today.

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