The Apostolic Constitution has been published to the delight of Anglo-Catholics. It allows married priests and, effectively, married bishops; it is clear that the Pope has, as Anglicans like to say, drawn the circle wide and thrown open the doors in his bid to attract Anglicans disgusted with their own denomination. Unlike Anglicans, though, he has managed to do this without the benefit of Conversation, Dialogue, the Listening Process or Indaba Groups: he just did it.
For the Anglicans who accept what the charitable view as a more than generous offer and the cynical as opportunistic poaching, I wonder how they will feel when the Pope acts – and he or his successor will – on something they don’t agree with. Presumably those who are tempted by the current offer were not sufficiently tempted by previous ones or they would already be Roman Catholic; which means they don’t believe that the Roman Catholic Church is the one true church. Or perhaps some of the RC specific dogma about Mary, the authority of the Pope or praying to the saints stuck in their craw. For the priests, maybe it was the prospect of losing Anglo-Catholic paraphernalia – which now they can keep along with their wives; if that was the case, though, it seems like a shallow reason (well, apart from the wives) for resisting the call which has now become so compelling.
I have a friend who used to be an evangelical and converted to Roman Catholicism – mainly because he became convinced of the truth of transubstantiation. I asked him how he copes with some of the RC beliefs that are quite opposed to his previous views. His answer was that he ignores them – after all nothing is perfect. True enough, but I wonder how long Anglo-Catholic euphoria will last once the “Anglo” part fades under the weight of the Roman Magisterium.