I'm a former Anglican/Episopalian priest who became Catholic in 2006. I'm thrilled by this news!
I was teaching Moral Theology this morning when I learned that the Apostolic Constitution for Anglicans had been officially announced by the Holy Father. I was so overcome with emotion that I had to leave the classroom. The Holy Father is so generous and desires so deeply "that they all might be one."
When I was working for Msgr Bill Stetson for the Pastoral Provision, I was there when he drew up canonical parameters for such a move. This has been in the works for years.
This new Apostolic Constitution is Pope Benedict's response to Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church.
The Holy Father has approved a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates (like the military) allowing former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony - liturgy, music, customs, etc.
England's Damian Thompson has the fully story.
This is astonishing news. Pope Benedict XVI has created an entirely new Church structure for disaffected Anglicans that will allow them to worship together – using elements of Anglican liturgy – under the pastoral supervision of their own specially appointed bishop or senior priest.Fr. Z. talks about it here: Personal ordinariates for Anglicans
The Pope is now offering Anglicans worldwide “corporate reunion” on terms that will delight Anglo-Catholics. In theory, they can have their own married priests, parishes and bishops – and they will be free of liturgical interference by liberal Catholic bishops who are unsympathetic to their conservative stance.
There is even the possibility that married Anglican laymen could be accepted for ordination on a case-by-case basis – a remarkable concession.
.... This is a decision of supreme boldness and generosity by Pope Benedict XVI, comparable to his liberation of the Traditional Latin Mass. The implications of this announcement will take a long time to sink in, but I suspect that this will be a day of rejoicing for conservative Anglo-Catholics and their Roman Catholic friends all over the world.
Check back. I hope to post more about this historic landmark in ecumenism.
See new video: The Pope's New Anglican Ordinariates