Australian Traditional Anglicans moves to union with Catholic Church


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A total of four bishops, 40 priests and thousands of parishioners from the Australian Traditional Anglican Communion will petition the Vatican by Easter to be received into the Church.

Archbishop John Hepworth of Adelaide, primate of the TAC, said 26 parishes in Western Australia, Tasmania, NSW, Victoria, far north Queensland and South Australia hoped to be united with Rome by the end of the year, The Australian reports.

The news comes a few days after the leaders of the Traditional Anglican Communion in Canada sent a letter to Pope Benedict XVI formally requesting union. With approximately 60 bishops, the Traditional Anglican Communion has parishes in 13 ecclesial provinces across Canada, the Catholic News Agency has reported.

Australian Archbishop Hepworth, 65, who is married with three children, said the Pope had allowed for a continuation of Anglican practices, including a married clergy.

"In an age when the traditional family is under attack, the presence of a priestly family at the centre of parishes is a real gift," he said.

He said the motivation for the move to Rome was a desire for Christian unity and dissatisfaction with the secularisation of the Anglican church. This, he said, included the ordination of women and practising homosexuals.

"Under the process, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith accepts petitions, they are then referred to the local Catholic bishops' conference which gives advice, then an Ordinariate will be established," he said.

"I would like to think the process would be close to being finalised by the end of the year because the Pope wants results."

Once the Ordinariate is established, ordinary Catholics will be free to attend its Masses. Archbishop Hepworth acknowledged that some traditional Anglicans would opt not to join the Ordinariate "and they will need to be catered for", the report added.