Vatican in Bold Bid to Attract Anglicans





The Vatican said it will make it far easier for disgruntled Anglicans to convert to Catholicism, in one of Rome's most sweeping gestures to a Protestant church since the Reformation.

A newly created set of canon laws, known as an "Apostolic Constitution," will clear the way for entire congregations of Anglican faithful to join the Catholic Church. That represents a potentially serious threat to the already fragile world-wide communion of national Anglican churches, which has about 77 million members globally.

The Anglican Communion has been strained by fights over its relations with other Christian denominations and the church's growing acceptance of gay and women clergy and same-sex marriage. The 2003 election of an openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the movement, has sharpened those tensions.

The move comes nearly five centuries after King Henry VIII broke with Rome and proclaimed himself head of the new Church of England after being refused permission to divorce...

... The move comes amid disarray within the Anglican Communion, the world's third-largest Christian communion after Catholics and Eastern Orthodox. The 2003 election of Gene Robinson, an openly gay Episcopal bishop in New Hampshire, drove a wedge between conservatives and liberals in the U.S. that has inflamed tensions globally. Church leaders in Africa, the continent with by far the most Anglicans today, have openly criticized their counterparts in the U.S and called on Archbishop Williams to discipline them...


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