British Papal Visit & Anglican Talks Updates

Westminster Cathedral

Westminster Cathedral

by Edward Pentin,  NCR

An official announcement of a historic papal state visit to Britain is now not expected until toward the end of this year, the Register has learned.

News that Pope Benedict XVI would travel to the British Isles, probably in September 2010, was leaked to the media last week, but contrary to speculation, there is no likelihood of a visit to Northern Ireland this time around. That is more likely to take place in 2012, according to an informed source.

Any such visit to Britain would come at a time when the country has fallen further into a culture of death. John Smeaton, the U.K.’s director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, writes on his blog:

When the Pope visits Britain next year, the country he will find is the valley of the culture of death. In Britain, the government organises secret abortions on schoolgirls behind parents’ backs. The chief prosecutor has today [Sept. 23] issued rules tolerating assisted suicide, under which the disabled will be treated as second-class citizens. The leaders of the major political parties all voted for sinister destructive experiments on embryonic children. I hope that Pope Benedict will issue stern reminders to church leaders and Catholic parliamentarians of their absolute duty to place the right to life from conception to natural death at the top of Britain’s moral and political agenda.”

The Holy Father’s trip to Britain will be timely for positive reasons, too. As well as possibly coinciding with the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, thousands of traditionalist Anglicans are expected to come into communion with Rome sometime in the near future, perhaps around the same time as the Pope reaches Britain’s shores.

Talks between the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) and the Vatican stepped up recently, and a viable structure to accommodate them is said to be taking shape. Sources say it will probably resemble something between a personal prelature and an apostolic administration, with the end result looking similar to a rite, however nothing has yet been confirmed.

Talks with the Vatican have been taking place for many years following the TAC’s split from the Anglican Communion in the early 1990s over the Church of England’s decision to ordain women. The TAC claims to have around 400,000 members worldwide, and the corporate reception of so many Anglicans into the Catholic Church would be unprecedented in the Church’s history.

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