The Archbishop of Canterbury has mounted a direct challenge to the Roman Catholic Church's stance against the ordination of women priests.
In a speech in Rome today, he made clear there could be no turning back of the clock on women priests to appease the Pope, the Catholic Church or malcontents in the Church of England.
He dismissed the Pope's plan to welcome disaffected Anglicans into the Catholic Church as little more than a "pastoral response" which broke little new ground in relations between the two churches.....
He damningly described the papal decree which outlined norms for a new Anglican Ordinariate to allow Anglicans to convert to Rome as creating a "chaplaincy" rather than a church.....
And in a significant departure from Anglican polity, he did not apologise for the ordination of women priests, the development in 1992 that derailed progress towards full unity between the two churches. Instead, he issued a direct challenge to the Catholic prohibition on women's ordination and said that refusing to ordain women could not enhance a Church communion.
"For many Anglicans, not ordaining women has a possible unwelcome implication about the difference between baptised men and baptised women," he said.
The Anglican provinces that now ordained women had retained rather than lost their Catholic holiness and sacramentalism, he said.
Acknowledging the divisions in the Anglican Communion, he said that the way Anglican leaders were dealing with division and dissent held its own lessons for Catholics. "Is it nonsense to think that holding on to a limited but real common life and mutual acknowledgement of integrity might be worth working for within the Anglican family? And if it can be managed within the Anglican family, is this a possible model for the wider ecumenical scene?"
h/T Mad Priest