Subdued reflection seemed to be the most common reaction from Catholics and Anglicans to the Vatican's plans to more easily welcome Anglicans into the Roman Catholic fold.
Seeming to welcome the announcement was Msgr. William H. Stetson, an Opus Dei priest from the Washington, D.C., area, who since the 1980s has personally supervised the conversion of approximately 100 Episcopal priests.
He told Religion News Service, "There's no structure like it in the modern history of the Catholic church. This is a historic moment."
Meanwhile Andrew Brown, a columnist for the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper called this "the end of the Anglican Communion."
"One of the things that this development means is that the Roman Catholic church is no longer even pretending to take seriously the existence of the Anglican Communion as a coherent body," Brown wrote. "Instead there are various sections of 'the Anglican tradition' (not 'church' or 'communion'), some of which are still properly Christian and so able to become Roman Catholic."
Brown writes that Pope Benedict XVI's message to Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury and the head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, is "So long and thanks for the priests."
But just how many Anglicans will take advantage of this offer remains to be seen. Making the announcement at the Oct. 20 news conference, Cardinal William Levada said that in establishing the new jurisdictions, Benedict was responding to "many requests" submitted by individual Anglicans and by Anglican groups--including "20 to 30 bishops" asking to enter into full communion with the Catholic church.
The main group seems …