A recent Vatican invitation to Anglicans has been met with mixed reviews from the St. John’s Catholic community.
The announcement, made by Pope Benedict XVI on Oct. 25, means members of the Anglican church can now practice the Catholic faith and be allowed to keep their traditions.
Dr. Marian Maskulak, a professor of theology and religious studies, said there is a close tie between the two denominations.
“The biggest difference between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church is that the Anglican Church does not recognize the Pope as the primary leader of the church,” she said. .”Theologically, there’s a close tie between the two which makes most Anglicans find themselves more at home with the Catholic Church due to new arising issues among the Anglican Church.”
The Anglican church officially separated itself from Rome in 1534 with the Act of Submission of the Clergy. A primary difference between the two religious institutions is that the Anglicans allow clergy member’s the right to marry. “The Anglican Church broke away from Rome around the early 1530s under the reign of King Henry VIII, who ultimately wanted to divorce his wife, but the Catholic Church would not allow him the divorce,” said Maskulak.
Previously, Anglicans were only granted permission to practice Catholicism on a case-by-case basis.
Some people said they believe Anglican practices will conflict with Catholics.
“I believe that if the Anglicans have strong beliefs, then they should stick to their own belief,” said freshman Getoar Luzha. “Religion is losing its personal touch around the world and many should stay strong with their basic beliefs and unique qualities.”
Dr. Raymond Bulman, a St. John’s theology professor, said he felt the announcement was a positive move for both churches.
“I see it as an answer to a very practical problem,” he said. “The Anglican Church has rich, spiritual and liturgical traditions which they will bring with them and enrich the Catholic Church.
“The Roman Catholic church is known for incorporating traditions of other people,” he added. “Uniformity is not an ideal… diversity within unity is.”