There is quite a collection of comments over at Pontifications concerning a possible Anglican Uniat Church in communion with Rome.
My prophecy is that it will not come to pass. Anglo-Catholicism seems to be chiefly a clerical movement and from my experience there is not a potent Anglo-Catholic laity out there squirming for union with the Holy See. I know, I know – you can talk about the slum Anglo-Catholic parishes in England that were built for and by the people. But for the most part, Anglican laity are, well, Protestant.
If you stood outside the door of almost any Anglican church in the world and asked those leaving if they were “Protestant,” you would get a majority response in the affirmative. One of the unending questions from Rome in the 70s and 80s during ecumenical discussions was, “Where are your laity? A true work of the Spirit is sustained in the laity.”
Even with the TAC, I don’t think the folks in the pews are ready to say that contraception is sinful and that they need to pursue an annulment for their first (second/third/fourth?) marriages.
Rome’s experience in the past indicates that it is very difficult to even have an entire parish convert together – even when the priest is an enthused Anglo-Papalist. Of course, all things are possible through the Holy Spirit, but the possibility of an entire jurisdiction converting together is even more unlikely.
The future of ecumenism is not corporate reunion. I think we will see ecumenical success based around moral issues. You already see this with Evangelicals and Roman Catholics working together on pro-life ministries. I think this might be the locus of dialogue. It’s one of the reasons I’m involved in NOEL.
My wife and I just got home from a pro-life dinner at which were represented several denominations. We were united together about something without having to pretend that we really did agree about everything doctrinal. There is no need to hide behind agreements, joint-statements, etc. At the end of the day, I think these sort of things are more helpful than an ARCIC document that nobody reads. I sometimes think these ARCIC statements are produced solely to give the impression that we are “making more progress,” despite the increasingly embarassing Anglican deviations from the historic Christian faith.