A special provision allowing Episcopal parishes converting en masse to Roman Catholicism to keep their Anglican traditions and liturgy has found few churches taking Rome up on the offer, according to a report in New Oxford Review magazine (November).
The arrangement, called Anglican Use parishes, was established by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to make provision for Anglican clergy and parish members to be in communion with Rome while retaining a modified form of Anglican liturgy and other traditions, including a married clergy. The article notes that many expected there would be widespread interest in the initiative among dissenting Episcopalians who were unhappy with the liberalism in their church.
But only a handful of Anglican Use communities have formed, and some that were started have since disbanded. Even in Britain where many recent defections have taken place from the Church of England to Rome over the ordination of women, there have been few requests for the provision (partly because high church Anglicans were using Roman liturgies before the Anglican Use was introduced).
But the article notes that even if the number is small, some of the Anglican use parishes have shown growth. Our Lady of the Atonement, the first AU parish, has grown from a handful to nearly 1,000 attending Mass.
(New Oxford Review, 1069 Kains Ave., Berkeley, CA 94706)