That is revolutionary -- and unexpected from a pope like Benedict. It could encourage the view, which he and other conservatives say they reject, that all Christians are pretty much the same when it comes to beliefs, and the differences are just arguments over details.
And that could be the final irony. For all the hue and cry over last week's developments, Benedict's innovations may have glossed too lightly over the really tough issues: namely, the theological differences that traditional Anglicans say have kept them from converting, as they could always do.
The whole article is worth a read; take a look here.
Here's the thing - this accommodation has little to do with main issues dividing Catholics and Anglicans - but it has everything to do with the issues dividing Anglicans and Anglicans. Pope Benedict is extending a hand, or as I read elsewhere - sending them a rescue boat. The Anglican Church is imploding over women's ordination and openly homosexual bishops, and yet Gibson is claiming it's the Catholic Church that's softening on these issues. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
What the liberals call 'ecumenism' is what normal people call 'compromise'. To them, reaching out to our separated brethren means acquiescing on contentious doctrine in order to make the others feel happy and good about themselves, thus considering us Catholics as 'open-minded' and 'progressive'. But that's just a failure to stand on principle - it's a failure to act as Christ acted. They are extremely miffed that the Holy Father, The Pope of Christian Unity, has shown how theologically vacuous, as well as spiritually dangerous, such thinking is. And I think deep down, they realize the gig is up, and that Pope Benedict has no interest in wasting his time 'dialoguing' with them anymore. The liberal Catholics are stuck in a cul-de-sac of stagnation, and the Holy Father has driven on by.
There is no proof that the Church is ceding any doctrine or dogma with this development. In fact, AFAIK, Anglicans wishing to join the Church via this process still have to profess submission to Church teaching. Just because they'll be able to maintain their liturgical rites and such is not a sign that the Church is beginning to bend on the teachings of the Eucharist, or Mary, or any other doctrine.
Doctrines that include, by the way, the all-male priesthood. As well as the teaching that homosexuality is a disorder.
Nice try, Gibson, and thanks for the laugh!