Vatican invitation to Anglicans has worldwide implications for religion

Friday, October 30, 2009 | 8:55 a.m. CDT; updated 4:24 p.m. CDT, Friday, October 30, 2009

 Stuart Loory, Lee Hills Chair in Free-Press Studies, Missouri School of Journalism: The Vatican, the other day, invited conservative Anglican priests and laity to join the Roman Catholic Church. In doing so, Pope Benedict XVI appeared to be taking advantage of a split that had developed in the Church of England with its 77 million members throughout the world over ordination of a handful of gays and women as bishops. The Vatican’s invitation to the Anglicans has focused more attention on the Roman Catholic Church, already under examination for the sexually deviant activities of several priests in the United States and elsewhere, failure to attack corruption among national leaders who worship as Catholics and failure to undertake programs to help oppressed women and the poor of the world. There is also a serious shortage of priests throughout the world, particularly here in the U.S., where membership in the church is shrinking rapidly. Does the pope's offer to Anglicans have any chance of healing a rift between two denominations that is now more than 500 years old?