21 Oct 2009

Vatican offers way for discontented Anglicans to join church

11:56 am on 21 October 2009

Pope Benedict XVI is making it easier for members of the Anglican church to convert to Roman Catholicism.

The move is aimed at those Anglicans who feel that their church has become too liberal.

The BBC reports there is growing discontent in some parts of the worldwide Anglican communion over the ordination of women priests and gay bishops.

The Vatican said the new rules follow requests from Anglicans wanting to join, but retain their liturgical heritage.

The measure, known as an Apostolic Constitution, was shown to leaders of the Church of England two weeks ago.

Under the terms announced by the Vatican, groupings of Anglicans would be able to join "personal ordinariates".

The BBC reports this would allow them to enter full communion with the Catholic church, but also preserve elements of the Anglican traditions including the possible use of Anglican prayer books.

Cardinal William Levada, of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the constitution was a response to "many requests" from groups of Anglican clergy and worshippers wanting to enter into full communion with the church.

Two senior opponents of women bishops said they would announce their reaction to the Vatican move in February.