The Church of England bishop Tom Wright has made a disturbing claim that English Catholic Bishops have personally complained to him about one of the major elements of Pope Benedict’s pontificate – the establishment of an Anglican Ordinariate in the Catholic Church.
This is what bishop Wright states:
‘Many of the Roman Catholic Bishops that I know in England were not terribly happy at the thought that they might have to administer this kind of whole extra wrinkle on top of the complicated structure they’ve already got, and I did hear one Roman Catholic priest – how representative I don’t know – saying we’ve got quite enough traditionalists in our own Church without having all yours as well.’
Protect the Pope surmises that one of the reasons for Pope Benedict’s eagerness to undertake a state visit to the UK, apart from the beatification of the Anglican convert Blessed John Henry Newman, was to encourage the creation of the Anglican Ordinariate. This is what Pope Benedict said to the bishops of England and Wales about the matter at Oscott:
‘The other matter I touched upon in February with the Bishops of England and Wales, when I asked you to be generous in implementing the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. This should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all. Let us continue to pray and work unceasingly in order to hasten the joyful day when that goal can be accomplished.’
Protect the Pope comment: In the light of the obvious importance that Pope Benedict gives to the Anglican Ordinariate it is a disgrace that some English Bishops have complained about it to a Church of England bishop. This is a personal act of betrayal against the Holy Father. Its one thing to moan about it among themselves, but to complain to an outsider is appalling. Looking at the photograph of all the smiling Bishops standing around the Holy Father taken at Oscott College I can’t help wondering which smiles are false.
Lets be frank, this isn’t the first sign of dissent from Pope Benedict’s pontificate among the English Bishops. If there are English Bishops who are secretly, or openly, opposed to Pope Benedict’s vision of the Church as the successor of St. Peter, they should do the decent and honourable thing and resign instead of undermining him so publicly. What must Pope Benedict think after seeing first hand the enthusiasm of ordinary Catholics to learn that some of his bishops are rubbishing him to members of the Church of England?