ANGLICANS were hoping that some way could be found for their church to be in communion with Rome without losing its own identity, the Anglican Bishop Dr. J. R. H. Moorman, of Ripon, said in a talk at the Pontifical Gregorian University at Rome last week.
He also expressed optimism over recent joint discussions between Canterbury and Rome, particularly those concerning Rome's recognition of Anglican Orders, Dr. Moorman was chief Anglican observer at the Second Vatican Council, and was also largely responsible for the opening in Rome of an Anglican Centre where there is a library of over 6,000 books on the history and theology of the Anglican church.
He said that Pope Paul's use of the phrase "sister church" when referring to the Anglicans during the Canonisation of the Forty Martyrs last month, was a tremendous step forward. It was only during the previous decade that they were looked upon as "separated brethren".
PAPAL BULL The joint commission is also discussing intercommunion of both churches, but it seems likely that little progress can be made here until Rome recognises Anglican Orders. These were denounced as fraudulent and null and void by the Bull of Pope Leo XIII in 1896; so that all Anglican churchmen are technically laymen, "including the Archbishop of Canterbury". Dr. Moorman thought that Rome would be able to find a way around this difficulty.
A number of Anglican prelates, including Dr. Moorman, are helping Vatican officials to prepare a document on the history of Anglican ordinations, and the reasoning and events which led to the Papal Bull. This document will be published early in the New Year.