So, here are two more updates on these issues:
- Up to 1/2 million Anglicans could come into the Catholic Church soon. They may even become a personal prelature, such as Opus Dei, that answers to the Pope directly.
- On the Vatican lifting the excommunications for the SSPX bishops, the Pope has something to say.
But, the Holy Father made clear today that the lifting of the excommunication is about one thing only: Church unity.
"In the homily delivered on the occasion of the solemn inauguration of my pontificate, I said that the 'call to unity' is an 'explicit' duty of the pastor," he said.
The Pontiff recalled how he reflected in that first of his papal homilies on the story of the miraculous catch of fish, and how Christians could now say: "Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it [the net] has been torn."
But, he continued quoting from his homily, "We must not be sad! Let us rejoice because of your promise, which does not disappoint, and let us do all we can to pursue the path towards the unity you have promised. … Do not allow your net to be torn, help us to be servants of unity!"
Weaving torn threads
Benedict XVI said that it was "precisely in fulfilling this service to unity, which determines in a specific way my ministry as the Successor of Peter," that he decided to lift the excommunication.
And, he clarified, "I have carried out this act of paternal mercy because repeatedly these prelates have manifested their sharp suffering in the situation in which they found themselves."
Furthermore, the Holy Father stated, there is the expectation of further steps from the four newly released bishops.
"I trust that following from this gesture of mine will be the prompt effort on their part to complete final necessary steps to arrive to full communion with the Church," the Bishop of Rome said, "thus giving testimony of true fidelity and true recognition of the magisterium and the authority of the Pope and the Second Vatican Council."