By Frank James
Pope Benedict XVI is apparently trying to put together what English King Henry VIII put asunder, the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches.
Well, maybe not the two churches in their entirety. But the pope is opening the doors of Roman Catholicism to conservative Anglicans unhappy with the liberalizing tendencies of their church's leadership which has sanctioned same sex unions, homosexual priests and the ordination of women.
A noteworthy aspect of this extraordinary move by the pope is how it violates an understanding Christian churches have had not to poach on one another's members.
A snippet of NPR's Sylvia Poggioli Tuesday report on All Things Considered:
POGGIOLI: But veteran Vatican correspondent John Allen says the move breaks a longstanding gentlemen's agreement among divided Christian churches.
ALLEN: That they don't go fishing in each others' ponds. They don't proselytize one another's members.
POGGIOLI: Allen says the decision is symbolically important because the relationship between Catholics and Anglicans has always been a template for ecumenical relations and, he adds, there is widespread concern about what this could mean for Anglicans.
At the grass roots, there will be many Anglicans who will see this as the Vatican accommodating the dissident wing of the Anglican communion and thereby potentially contributing to the implosion of the Anglican communion