The Anglican Synod in York has voted to accept women into its episcopacy, long after the Episcopal community in the US did so, and about year after the Church of Ireland appointed its first woman bishop. The move was inevitable, regardless of what critics within the Anglican Communion said. Once women could be accepted for ordination as deacons there was no way they could be excluded from the other orders. Traditionalist and orthodox members of the Anglican Communion now have to consider their position and they are not be envied: these are hard times for them.
As Fr Z says on his blog, the Catholic Church is ready to welcome them. Thanks to Pope Benedict's founding of the Anglican Ordinariates, they can come and bring their traditions with them. We might all just offer a prayer for them at this time. Mgr Newton, Ordinary of the English Ordinariate, has issued an invitation to Anglicans to come into the Church.
As for Anglican reunion with the Catholic Church, that may well now be impossible, although the Bishops of England and Wales are still hopeful. That said, we have an obligation to maintain good relations with members of the Anglican Communion as they too are baptised and are counted among the followers of Jesus Christ, and we must find ways to work with them as brothers and sisters. Of course reunion with the Orthodox Churches is possible and to be desired. They have held to the faith, they have a valid episcopacy and priesthood, valid sacraments and we share much in common with them. Let us continue to pray for unity there.
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