by Ruth Gledhill
The Vatican today held the line on priestly celibacy as it published the document which opens the door for hundreds of thousands of disaffected Anglicans to become Roman Catholics.
Pope Benedict XVI has made it as easy as possible for traditional and “continuing” Anglicans to convert to Catholicism while retaining key elements of their ecclesiastical heritage, observers commented.
The Apostolic Constitution even allows for married Anglican bishops to be granted the status of retired Catholic bishops, to become members of the local Catholic bishops’ conference and to be granted permission to use the “insignia” of episcopal office, such as the mitre, pectoral cross and staff, by the Holy See in Rome.
But after a hard-fought battle within the Holy See former Catholic priests who left the Church to marry and subsequently became Anglican clergy will not be permitted to return.