The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark and Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision as given a talk at at the Anglican Use Conference in San Antonio on 11 July 2008 in which he said this:
"Some great strides have been made in the last two years in improving the mechanics of the Pastoral Provision. We are working on expanding the mandate of the Pastoral Provision to include those clergy and faithful of “continuing Anglican communities.” We are striving to increase awareness of our apostolate to Anglican Christians who desire to be reconciled with the Holy See. We have experienced the wonder of several Episcopal bishops entering into full communion with the Catholic Church and we continue to receive requests from priests and laity about the Pastoral Provision. I also take this opportunity to thank the Anglican Use Society for their work under the Pastoral Provision, and for the invitation to address this conference."
The reference to Episcopal Bishops is to the recent decisions by Bishops Lipscomb, Steenson and Herzog to become Roman Catholics. As I understand it, they have entered "into full communion" not as bishops but as laity, so Archbishop Myers' note about entering into full communion is a bit of a stretch.
The reference to "continuing Anglican communities" seems to refer to the Traditional Anglican Communion. Damian Thompson of the Telegraph writes that "... the obvious interpretation of the Archbishop's words is that the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), a "continuing church" which has hundreds of thousands of members worldwide (though few in the UK), will eventually be given its own Catholic parishes which use a Eucharistic Prayer incorporating Cranmerian language."
The TAC move has been rumored for some time and this simply adds to its strength. The Archbishop does not by name mention the Traditional Anglican Communion, but that is the best bet as to what he is talking about. The TAC decided not to join the Common Cause Partnership some time ago and the thought then was that it was applying to Rome for inclusion in the scheme.
Thompson also says, "This is big news, and makes nonsense of the claim that Pope Benedict wants to dissuade Anglo-Catholics from converting." It is indeed, and all the more so because this talk, given on July 11, 2008 comes just before the Lambeth Conference and almost immediately upon the Church of England Synod meeting where the ordination of women to the Episcopate became a "not if but when" proposition.
The possibilities of some of the Anglo-Catholic crowd in England bolting to Rome and the others of the Evangelical crowd bolting to GAFCON and the new - revised - Anglican Communion - without - the - Archbishop - of - Canterbury continue as realities for the Church of England. In the US the possibilities that the Bishop of Fort Worth may rethink a move to the Southern Cone, or barring that, rethink the possibility of moving on to the Common Cause Partnership and the new GAFCON / FOCA North America Province. The attempted jump might be to the Southern Cone and then to Rome. It would be advisable either way - Rome or the new revised Anglican Communion - to carefully pack one's parachute. The fast lane is always full of wreckage and the landing is only as soft as the effective deployment of the chute and care with the drop.
Rome will exact its price and the FOCA business may collapse as a the "church within a church" on its way to being the NRSV Anglican Communion.
When all the nice words are over, what you very well can end up with is either some Archbishop of Nigeria telling bishops what meetings they can and cannot attend or the Pope telling you that life as a layperson is about your speed. Anglicans may not be tidy, but in a sort of rumpled way we can be Catholic and Protestant and free. Getting conned out of the birthright for a mess of pottage may be biblical but it doesn't conform to the practical rule of reason: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.