It is a story that will not just wane. A year ago, having moved to London from Glasgow, together with my catholic neighbours, i went to the local church for a Sunday service expecting not more than just a sermon.
Being the only blackman in the 300 seater cathedral, i got the chance to shake hands with the presiding priest who i came to know as Fr. Steven. Now that was lame! Having been brought up in a conservative parish deep in Uganda where i grew up, i knew Steven as a name that belonged to protestants. You see, we were made to believe then, that some names belonged to given religions and if you had to be a true catholic, it was wise to avoid them. (names)
Fr. Steven was smart, loving and caring. He had delivered his sermon with such precision and competence that i wondered if it was because he was white or just a question of being one of those talented preachers.
Turns out, Fr. Steven was indeed a talented former Anglican Reverand married with 3 children. Now, that was even odder! Curious and shaken, i asked to know if it was even legal for a married person to say mass. Having missed out on joining Kitabi Seminary to train as a priest myself, i had more reasons to demand answers.
You see, my parents had passed away when i was a young kid–just 1 year old. Fr. Celil Mbura, the then vocations priest at my local parish in Uganda had ruled that because they (my parents) had passed away without wedding in the church, i had no moral right to join a seminary later on become a priest.
But here was a married man, with kids and a wife who was seriously delivering goods and serving the holy communion. I was confused. I asked Fr. Steven about it and he told me there is no law that bars married people from becoming priests. In fact his interpretation of the rule was that a priest is not allowed to marry. Meaning any married person could become a priest but no priest would marry and still serve. Even more confusing but i understood it. I cursed the day i was denied access to priesthood and swore never to forgive Fr. Celil Mbura.
But that is a story for another day.
Today, the world is awash with a new story. Rome or The Vatican as we know it appears to have got this one right. With the Anglicans confused over whether their church should ordain and consecrate women Bishops, Rome appears to have found a way of winning back those it feels can be won. The rule book will not matter as long as the interpretation suits the interest of The Vatican.
The situation is so serious that the Archbishop of Canterbury has had to express his concerns to the Pope over the way His Highness is welcoming disaffected Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church.
In the private meeting at the Vatican with Benedict XVI, Dr Rowan Williams made clear he had been put in an ‘awkward position’ because he had been given so little warning about the proposals to entice Anglicans to Rome by letting them keep many of their traditions.
But he insisted that the tone of the meeting had been ‘very friendly’, and relations between the two Churches were still strong. The Vatican also described the meeting as ‘cordial’.
Some Church of England leaders have accused the Vatican of discourtesy in failing to consult Dr Williams. The Archbishop was distressed when the proposals were sprung on him last month with barely two weeks’ notice.
Many believe the Pope is deliberately trying to poach Anglicans dismayed at the liberal drift of their own Church, undermining years of efforts to improve relations between the denominations.
A smart move of course given the circumstances.
The Vatican says its invitation came in response to pleas from Anglicans unhappy about the imminent consecration of women bishops
But should the Pope have consulted the Anglican church? Of course the Pope should not have consulted the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Me thinks the choice is purely a personal decision of the individual anglicans based on the terms offered by the catholic church!!!!
The Archbishop of Canterbury had his say when he allowed women priests. That was when he lost many anglicans support and any decsions they take has absolutely nothing to do with him now.
So I say back off and keep out, the irretrievable damage has been done and you and the anglican church are the losers
You tell me!