LONDON – The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans believes it could be the key to preventing a split in the Church of England.
FCA Chairman the Rt. Rev. Paul Perkin said the organization could be the “glue” needed to hold the Church together.
His comments follow the announcement this week by the Vatican of a new structure to allow orthodox Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Roman Catholic Church.
After decades of dialoguing on unity between the two Churches, the document makes it possible for orthodox Anglicans to join "personal ordinariates" and enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while “preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony."
Perkins commented: “There are now apparently two options for Anglicans concerned about the liberal revisionist drift: leave and go to Rome, or stay and work together with Lambeth for an internal solution: a single provision to cover a range of concerns.
“The Fellowship of Confessing Anglicans, which some thought was a group which could split Anglicanism, after this week’s announcement, could really help the Archbishop of Canterbury to keep Anglicans together.”
The FCA was launched in Westminster in July in opposition to liberal shifts within parts of the Anglican Communion relating to authority of Scripture and the uniqueness of Christ. Its supporters include Bishop of Chichester the Rt. Rev. John Hind, Bishop of Lewes the Rt. Rev. Wallace Benn, and former Bishop of Rochester the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali.
In a letter to orthodox Anglicans in the United Kingdom and Ireland this week, the Primates Council of the FCA said that appropriate oversight for those who want to remain Anglican was an alternative to the proposal from the Roman Catholic Church.
“We are encouraged by your commitment to work for an internal solution that can address these deep concerns. Steps taken early enough to make provision to address them can preserve good order. We firmly support your efforts to ensure the provision of appropriate oversight, and if this is not forthcoming, to provide it,” they said.
Perkin said he “strongly” hoped that the Archbishop of Canterbury would continue dialogue with orthodox Anglicans who wish to stay.
“If he is determined to keep faithful, orthodox Anglicans within the Church, then FCA could offer a tangible solution for unity. The offer is there,” he said.
The Vatican's "Apostolic Constitution" was announced on Tuesday by Archbishop of Canterbury Dr. Williams and Archbishop of Westminster the Most Rev. Vincent Nichols.
They said the document was a response to requests over the years from Anglican groups wanting to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church. Despite differences in the Anglican Communion about the consecration of women and homosexuals as bishops, Williams dismissed the idea that the constitution reflected problems among Anglicans.
"I do not think this constitution will be seen as in any sense a commentary on Anglican problems offered by the Vatican. It is a response to this range of requests and inquiries from a very broad variety of people, either Anglican or of Anglican heritage," he said. "In that sense it has no negative impact on the relations of the Communion as a whole to the Roman Catholic Church as a whole."