Rome strengthens its presence in Britain as Anglicans defect
The Vatican will strengthen its presence in Britain with the ordination of three former Anglican bishops this coming weekend. According to a statement released by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, this enables “the establishment of a ‘Personal Ordinariate’ in England and Wales for groups of Anglican faithful and their clergy who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church.”
Commenting on this event, the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (cbcew), Vincent Nichols, stated, “This is a unique moment and the Catholic community in England and Wales is privileged to be playing its part in this historic development in the life of the Universal Church. We offer a warm welcome to these three former bishops of the Church of England. We welcome those who wish to join them in full communion with the pope in the visible unity of the Catholic Church” (cbcew press release, January 11; emphasis mine).
He continued by saluting “the desire which leads them to seek to live within the community of the Catholic Church under the ministry of the bishop of Rome. This is the faith we share.”
The system of “personal ordinariates” was established by the Vatican in November 2009 specifically to enable the absorption of Anglicans defecting from the Church of England to mother Rome, while allowing some compromise with liturgy and other practices to ease the process of integration into the Church of Rome. It is, in effect, a strategy initiated by Rome to hasten the process of garnering the leading Protestant denomination within the British Commonwealth back into its fold.
As we have previously pointed out, “There’s a long-held tradition in Catholic circles that England is ‘Mary’s dowry.’ The tradition holds that the Godhead gave England to Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a gift in all perpetuity as the mother of the church. Based on that tradition, the Vatican has sought to reclaim the dowry since King Henry viii severed the relationship between the church in England and the Church of Rome in 1536″ (Trumpet, January 2010).
This weekend, Rome moves one step closer to claiming that “dowry.”In this context, it is interesting to reflect on the bold prediction made by Herbert Armstrong 50 years ago when he declared, “Protestantism will be absorbed into the ‘mother’ church—and totally abolished” (Plain Truth, October 1961).