From Major Michael RobertsonYoung SIR I write with reference to the question: are Catholics free to acknowledge Anglican orders (Letters. November 7)? The concise answer to this question is that Anglican orders were declared invalid by Pope Leo XVIII in a Bull entitled Apostolicae Curae (September 13 1896) and declared that "ordinations performed according to the Anglican rite have been and are completely null and void".
The reason the pope assigned was that the ordinal of Edward VI (which was followed for 100 years) carried an essential defect of form in that it excluded all signification of the true grace and power of the priesthood and by this defect signified also a defect of the requisite intention to administer the true traditional Sacrament of Ordination. Quite simply, if the intention is to exclude the power to offer the Sacrifice of the Mass, so essential to priesthood. that, if the intention of conferring this power is excluded. no intention of conferring the priesthood remains.
Therefore under this judgment the present "Archbishop of Canterbury" is not a sacrificing Catholic priest and is not a successor of St Augustine. a Benedictine abbot, a Catholic and the first Archbishop of Canterbury, who was. Also therefore under this judgment the ordination of Anglican women and homosexuals is null and void and has not happened.
I hope this letter may help the many traditional Anglican ministers who are now considering transferring their allegiance and to return to Rome.
MICHAEL ROBERTSON-YOUNG Beccles, Suffolk