“We are profoundly moved by the generosity of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI,” said Archbishop Hepworth. “May I firstly state that this is an act of great goodness on the part of the Holy Father. He has dedicated his pontificate to the cause of unity. It more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition of two years ago. It more than matches our prayers. In those two years, we have become very conscious of the prayers of our friends in the Catholic Church. Perhaps their prayers dared to ask even more than ours.”
Archbishop Hepworth continued:
While we await the full text of the Apostolic Constitution, we are also
moved by the pastoral nature of the Notes issued today by the Congregation for
the Doctrine of the Faith. My fellow bishops have indeed signed the Catechism of
the Catholic Church and made a statement about the ministry of the Bishop of
Rome, reflecting the words of Pope John Paul II in his letter "Ut Unum Sint" …
Fortunately, the Statement issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury reflects
the understanding that we have gained from him that he does not stand in our
way, and understands the decisions that we have reached. Both his reaction and
our petition are fruits of a century of prayer for Christian unity, a cause that
many times must have seemed forlorn. We now express our gratitude to Archbishop
Williams, and have regularly assured him of our prayers. The See of Augustine
remains a focus of our pilgrim way, as it was in ages of faith in the past.
I have made a commitment to the Traditional Anglican Communion that the
response of the Holy See will be taken to each of our National Synods. They have
already endorsed our pathway. Now the Holy See challenges us to seek in the
specific structures that are now available the "full, visible unity, especially
Eucharistic communion", for which we have long prayed and about which we have
long dreamed. That process will begin at once.
In the Anglican Office of Morning Prayer, the great Hymn of Thanksgiving,
the Te Deum, is part of the daily Order. It is with heartfelt thanks to Almighty
God, the Lord and Source of all peace and unity, that the hymn is on our lips
today. This is a moment of grace, perhaps even a moment of history, not because
the past is undone, but because the past is transformed.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops also issued a statement welcoming the Vatican announcement.