[An Honor and a Responsibility] Earlier this week I attended a talk which was given to the North Gloucestershire Newman Circle by Bishop Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet. He is one of the Anglican Provincial Episcopal Visitors known colloquially as flying bishops, originally appointed to minister to the spiritual needs of those Anglicans who do not accept the priestly ordination of women in the Church of England.
As we know, events have developed a good deal beyond that issue alone.His theme was, as one might expect, the implications of Anglicanorum Coetibus. This is not a full account of the talk: followers of the Catholic blogosphere are no doubt already well informed on the subject. But I thought I would record here a few snippets.
It was interesting to hear about the pilgrimage he made to Rome in 2008 with his colleague, the Bishop of Richborough. They made a tentative enquiry as to whether they might be able to call in for a brief visit at the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity. The idea was welcomed. They were then referred on for a visit to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which was the appropriate office in regard to individuals and groups as distinct from entire ecclesial bodies. On their return to England they informed the Archbishop of Canterbury of their meetings and of the matters discussed. Quite independently, the Traditional Anglican Communion had made its own approach to Rome. No one, either in the C of E or among the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, seems to have known until a short time before the issue of Anglicanorum Coetibus, that its provisions would be of such generous extent that they could be applied to Anglicans within the Church of England. I had read somewhere that our bishops seemed to have been kept out of the loop, but it was fascinating to hear it from such a prominent person involved in the matter.