It would seem as though the invitation to join Rome has been accepted by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet. Andrew Burnham has been one of England's three 'flying bishops' who has looked after parishes opposed to the ordination of women. He feels as though the code of practice yet to be drawn up by the CofE to 'protect' men whose theological convictions have them refuse female leadership, will not go far enough. He has written in the Catholic Herald that he can not trust a code of practice which turned down the creation of 'super-bishops' and male only diocese. This is what he and many othe anglo-catholics and conservative evangelicals were hoping for. He wants to be able to remain in his existing Church, with Anglican prayer but will come under the leadership of a Catholic Bishop. It might be all more complicated than he thinks because Parishes can not convert en masse, individual conversions must be sought. Their chances of staying in their existing church is the decision of the Church of England. The Bishop of Richborough, the other Canterbury "flying bishop", is expected to follow Ebbsfleet's example. Bishops who are already married, like Burnham of Ebbsfleet will not be able to continue in episcopal orders because there is an absolute bar on married bishops in the Roman and Orthodox Churches. As the Catholic Herald reports:
So what might an agreement between Rome and former Anglo-Catholics look like? Here are some informed guesses: 1. Rome will set up an "apostolic administration" under a Catholic bishop to offer pastoral care to former Anglican priests and their parishioners. 2. The ex-Anglicans will form an umbrella organisation called something like the Fellowship of St Gregory the Great. The Fellowship, under the guidance of their new Catholic bishop, will consist of former Anglican priests who have been ordained into the Catholic priesthood. Their parishes, though open to anyone, will consist largely of ex-Anglicans. 3. Some Fellowship parishes will occupy their former church buildings, though this will require an unprecedented degree of co-operation with the Church of England. 4. Former Anglican communities may - if they wish - be allowed to use parts of the Book of Common Prayer adapted for Catholic use, as in a few American parishes. In practice, there will be little demand for this concession, I suspect. 5. Former Anglican priests will undergo an accelerated programme of study allowing them to be swiftly ordained. (Conditional ordination is unlikely to be on offer.) Marriage will be no bar to ordination, but no actively gay priest will be knowingly ordained, and this will be strictly enforced. 6. However there will be no question of married lay former Anglicans becoming priests, since this would effectively abolish the rule of celibacy in the Western Church. 7. There will therefore be no Uniate Anglican-Rite Church; there is not enough demand for it, and it raises too many questions about celibacy and jurisdiction.