Religious affairs correspondents the world over were astounded by the announcement – timed for December 8 – of the application by the Deutsche Bischofskonferenz for admission to the Anglican Communion.
‘It seemed to us the logical next step in our pilgrimage of faith,’ said spokesperson Dr. Hans Langendörfer SJ. ‘We asked what the doctrinal requirements for entry were, and when we discovered that there weren’t any, we decided to go ahead. German Catholics lay great emphasis on the exercise of individual conscience as opposed to slavish adherence to Church dogma.’
A spokesperson for Lambeth Palace said that the application was being seriously considered by the Anglican Consultative Council. ‘It’s not entirely true that there are no requirements for entry. Obviously, as a forward looking Church, we would hope to see a commitment to the equality of the sexes at all levels of ministry and the policy of welcome to gay and lesbian Christians, toward which we ourselves are working . The German Bishops have gone a long way to satisfying these criteria. The recent blessing of a gay marriage in Wetzlar Cathedral was a step in the right direction.’
The application is thought to be high on the agenda for the meeting in June of Pope Francis and Anglican Archbishop Justin Welby.
Naturalist and broadcaster David Attenborough said that the event was probably a unique example of rats entering a sinking ship.