It’s been nearly 500 years since King Henry VIII split with the Vatican and formed the Church of England, and now Pope Benedict XVI has given Anglicans a way to come back to the Catholic fold while keeping some of their own traditions. The pope’s gesture at this particular moment is significant in that some Anglicans are upset about their church’s inclusion of gay clergy members and women priests. —KA
It said the decision was taken to respond “to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion.”
The most prominent recent Anglican convert to Catholicism was former British prime minister Tony Blair, who joined after leaving office in 2007.
The new regulations, due to come into effect soon, will not affect the Catholic Church’s ban on its own priests marrying. But they will continue the age-old practice of allowing a married Anglican priest who converts to remain married.