NEW YORK, OCT. 21, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The Episcopal Church will continue as normal with ecumenical dialogue as it evaluates the implications of the Vatican’s move to help members of the Anglican Communion enter the Catholic Church.
Bishop Christopher Epting, ecumenical and interfaith officer of the Episcopal Church, revealed this in a statement Tuesday that responded to the Vatican’s announcement of a forthcoming apostolic constitution that would allow Anglicans to enter the Catholic Church through personal ordinariates.
The policy, which provides for the preservation of elements of the Anglican spiritual and liturgical tradition, responds to requests from Anglicans who have expressed wishes to become Catholic.
“We are in dialogue with Archbishop [William Rowan]’s office and will, in the coming days, continue to explore the full implications of this in our ecumenical relations,” the statement began.
The announcement “reflects what the Roman Catholic Church, through its acceptance of Anglican rite parishes, has been doing for some years more informally,” Epting noted.
“We in the Episcopal Church continue to look to the Holy Spirit, who guides us in understanding of what it means to be the Church in the Anglican Tradition,” he continued.
Epting affirmed that the Episcopal Church will continue to remain in dialogue with the Catholic Church through participation in the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Consultation (ARCIC) and the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the USA (ARC-USA).
The Episcopal Church is a member of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Earlier this year the church, which has its headquarters in New York, approved an openly gay bishop and same-sex unions. The current primate is Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, the first woman to hold that post in the Anglican Communion.