Vatican sets up a "home" for Canadian Anglican converts

Fri Dec 7, 2012 12:13pm EST
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By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican has approved a new church structure in Canada to administer to disaffected Anglicans there who convert to Roman Catholicism because they feel their own church has become too liberal.

Called a deanery, it will be headed by Father Lee Kenyon, a married Anglican priest from Manchester, England who converted to Catholicism in 2011.

The deanery will come under a structure known as the "ordinariate" for North America, roughly equivalent to a trans-national diocese, which is based in Houston, Texas and headed by Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, a married former Anglican bishop.

Steenson announced the Vatican approval in a joint statement on Friday with Cardinal Thomas Collins, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Toronto.

In 2009, Pope Benedict decreed that Anglicans who leave, many because they feel their Church has become too liberal, can find a home in Catholicism in a parallel hierarchy that allows them to keep some of their traditions, such as parts of the Anglican liturgy and the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

It was the boldest step by the Vatican to welcome disaffected Anglicans since King Henry VIII broke with Rome and set himself up at the head of the new Church of England in 1534.

Similar structures, which also prepare those who want to convert, have been set up in England and Australia and others are planned elsewhere.

Benedict's move in 2009 followed years of discontent in parts of the worldwide Anglican community over the ordination of women priests and homosexual bishops.   Continued...