Update on the Anglican Ordinariates

May 17th, 2012 | By | Category: Unity in the News

Rocco Palmo of Whispers in the Loggia recently posted some up-to-date information on the continuing formation of the Anglican Ordinariates, which are canonical structures within the Roman Catholic Church for Anglicans who wish to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining distinctive elements of their Anglican heritage.

Don’t miss the video (towards the end of the post) of Msgr Jeffrey Steenson’s “extensive briefing on the concept behind the Ordinariate project and the first steps of its American branch.” Msgr Steenson was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI to be the first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, which is the Anglican Ordinariate for the United States.

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  1. Msgr Steenson’s observations of what the Anglican Ordinariate is “all about” begin at the 18′ mark of the video. In particular, he discusses (a) the relationship of these newly formed communities with local Catholic dioceses, and (b) the “journey to Catholic fullness” that each of the Anglican communities involved has undertaken on its way to the Ordinariate.

  2. I’m Anglican (of the 39 Articles variety), and I’m actually glad that these “Anglicans” (who for years have really been Roman Catholic) are going all the way and admitting that they’re RC. Much of this movement to embrace the Ordinariate has been by the bishops and not the laity (though not entirely). I’m hoping that the Anglican Communion will eventually be cleansed of this romanizing influence and go back to its Reformation roots.

  3. Daniel,
    From their perspective, the roots they have found in becoming Catholic run a lot deeper than the Reformation.
    Don’t you think the liberalizing element in the Anglican Communion should raise more of your ire than the comparatively small “romanizing” one? I was a Presbyterian when the sodomite bishop was appointed, and I recall how sad and frustrated I felt for the Anglicans. It just seems to me that that is a far greater problem than the more traditional sort of folks who are crossing the Tiber. Surely you have more in common with traditionaly minded Catholics than you do a gay “bishop” and those who approve of him? I am just trying to find some common ground here.

    Peace,

    David Meyer

  4. David,

    I’m Anglican but I’m not ECUSA, so what has happened in the Anglican Communion angers and disgusts me. What concerns me about this ordinariate is that the wonderful apostolic truths of the Reformation are being exchanged for Roman medieval innovations, all because of the so-called “safety” offered by Rome. Yet Rome’s “safety” is only skin-deep. In what other church can you find such a raging scandal of pedophilia? And I can attest–having worshipped in the Roman communion for about 10 years–that the scourge of homosexuality plagues the priesthood. I would guesstimate that a good 30 percent conservatively of priests that I encountered were gay. Not a very safe environment to trust your children to.

  5. Daniel,

    You are welcome to discuss the doctrinal basis, ecclesial structure, and future prospects of the Anglican Ordinariates. However, the kind of discussion that we hope to foster cannot proceed by questioning-begging claims and unsubstantiated assertions based only upon anecdotal evidence (e.g., “guesstimations”). Good conversation is also undermined by arbitrarily changing the subject. This post is on the Anglican Ordinariates, not the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

    The relation between your comment and the subject of my post is tangential, based upon equivocations (i.e., on the words “safety” and “environment”). Those groups of Anglicans who are seeking to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church are perfectly aware of the sex abuse scandal and other problems within the ranks of the Catholic priesthood (including the seminaries). They are not deluded into thinking that the Church is impeccable, or even particularly healthy in every place and at every point in time (although there are here and now abundant signs of her recovering health). What they are coming to be convinced of, as Msgr Steenson makes clear in his talk, is that the Catholic Church is the Church established by Christ. In this sense, it is a “safe environment” in a way that no Protestant community can be.

    As you might know, the problem of the sexual abuse of minors has no ecclesial boundaries. Two years ago, Newsweek published an article which concluded with the following quote from Ernie Allen, president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children:

    Allen suggests a final reason we hear so much more about Catholic abuse than transgressions in other religions: its sheer size. It’s the second largest single denomination in the world (behind Islam) and the biggest in the United States. (Fifty-one percent of all American adults are Protestant, but they belong to hundreds of different denominations.) “When you consider the per capita data,” says Allen, “I don’t think they have a larger incidence than other faiths.”

    The Vatican document on homosexuals and seminaries clarifies the Church’s position on the question of homosexuality and the priesthood.

    I don’t cite this material in order to provoke you to further tangential anecdotes and/or assertions, along this or any other line. In the future, such comments will not be approved on this thread. However, good form being observed, you are welcome to make further comments, including critical ones.

    Andrew

  6. Daniel,

    I’ve seen a few of your comments here on the site. Would it be fair for me to sum up your criticism of the Catholic Church with the statement, “There are weeds mixed in with the wheat?”

  7. Fr. Bryan,

    I would sum up my criticism of the Roman church with this statement: “There are weeds in the Roman church’s dogmas and practices.”

    Andrew (#5),

    Umm, I believe David (#3) changed the subject, not I.

  8. Daniel,

    David raised the issue of the ordination of openly and actively homosexual persons in connection with your comment about ridding the Anglican Communion of the “romanizing element.” The point, I think, was not to change the subject, but (a) to allow you to clarify just who, in your opinion, belongs in the Anglican Communion, and (b) to affirm that you have more in common with the “romanizers” that are departing than with the progressives who are staying, and have been transforming the Anglican Communion into something that is less and less distinctively Christian at all.

    Andrew

  9. Daniel –

    Then as Andrew already stated, perhaps our time would be better spent speaking about dogmas and Practices rather than accusing some of my brother priests of sin.

  10. Andrew,

    The people who belong in the Anglican communion are those who adhere to the 39 Articles and the Homilies. This would include most of the Global South. It would exclude Ms. Jefferts-Schori and those in sympathy with her.

    I feel for the traditionalists who are swimming the Tiber for “safety.” All that most of them want is simply to be in a communion where there is no threat any longer of losing their traditional Anglican values or beautiful liturgy or customs. They think linking up with Rome will provide them with this security, but they don’t realize that by doing so they will simply be subsumed into the Roman monolith, eventually having to make more and more changes to their liturgy and customs, having to give Rome their real estate and property, and finally having to have priests assigned to them who are mandatorily celibate. When that happens, they will find themselves dealing with the same problems that come with a mandatorily celibate priesthood.

  11. Daniel (re #9):

    You wrote:

    The people who belong in the Anglican communion are those who adhere to the 39 Articles and the Homilies.

    What about adhering to the Book of Common Prayer and the tradition of the “early and undivided Church”?

    You wrote:

    All that most of them want is simply to be in a communion where there is no threat any longer of losing their traditional Anglican values or beautiful liturgy or customs.

    This is not true of those Anglicans who are entering into full communion with the Catholic Church in the Ordinariates. Those who simply want to remain traditional Anglicans (and opinions about what that means are widely various) have other options. I encourage you to watch Msgr Steenson’s talk, to get an accurate idea of why these Anglicans are becoming Catholic.

    You wrote:

    They think linking up with Rome will provide them with this security, but they don’t realize that by doing so they will simply be subsumed into the Roman monolith, eventually having to make more and more changes to their liturgy and customs, having to give Rome their real estate and property, and finally having to have priests assigned to them who are mandatorily celibate.

    Since these groups will be entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, professing the faith and submitting to the authority of the Church, there will be definite changes in their lives, liturgy, and legal standing. They will be Catholic parishes. It is envisioned that eventually celibacy will be the rule for priesthood in the Ordinariates, because the Ordinariates are a part of the Latin Church, in which celibacy is the rule (though not without exceptions).

    You wrote:

    When that happens, they will find themselves dealing with the same problems that come with a mandatorily celibate priesthood.

    This is another example of what I earlier referred to as bad form. In this case, you are employing an argument by innuendo. Celibacy of the priesthood has been a great blessing in the Latin Church, not least in her missionary outreach across the globe. A married priesthood (such as one finds in the Orthodox Churches and in the Eastern Catholic Churches in their home countries) also has benefits, such as providing the priest with the companionship of wife and family, and providing the parish with the unique ministry that a pastor’s wife can offer. Both disciplines also have their drawbacks, of course. One man cannot enjoy both the good of marriage and the good of celibacy at the same time and in the same sense. But these “drawbacks” are simply inherent limitations, not insidious side effects of either marriage or celibacy.

    Ordinariate country will be mission country, with low salaries (in some cases no salaries) and perhaps heavy travel commitments. A married priest is tied to the things of this world in such a way that he cannot devote himself wholly to the things of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:32-34a). This double responsibility is not illegitimate (as witnessed by its being both provided for in Scripture and a long-standing tradition in the Eastern Churches), but it is limiting. A celibate priest is free to devote himself entirely to the things of God, in his service to the Church.

    (For more on the gift of consecrated celibacy, including its biblical basis, see the post, Consecrated Celibacy: Sign of the Eschatological Kingdom.)

    If celibacy becomes the rule for priests in the Anglican Ordinariates, then there will definitely be a period of adjustment. But this can also bring a blessing, for those who submit to the Church, even if they don’t agree with the Church’s decision. (You know the old proverb: “When I submit, so long as I agree, the one to whom I submit is me.”)

    Andrew

  12. Daniel,

    Assuming the weeds you see are weeds, why leave the weeds of one church to go grow weeds elsewhere? Jesus all but promised corruption and leaders of the one Church when he gives Peter the Keys, and then immediately shows Peter rejecting God’s will (“Get behind me Satan”). Are weeds in fractured Christianity preferable to weeds in a unified Christianity. With One Church we won’t have “oh I’m a 39 Article Christian” or a this or a that. There has always been heresy within the Church, and we must weed from within the Church.

  13. Andrew (#11),

    What about adhering to the Book of Common Prayer and the tradition of the “early and undivided Church”?

    The traditional Book of Common Prayer is in conformity with the 39 Articles and the Homilies, which indeed expound the tradition of the early and undivided church.

    It is envisioned that eventually celibacy will be the rule for priesthood in the Ordinariates, because the Ordinariates are a part of the Latin Church…

    I am sure you are right, and how very sad it is that in this issue of priestly celibacy the Scriptures are not even given a hearing:

    Therefore, a bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he take care of the church of God?

  14. Daniel,

    You referred to the “traditional” BCP. The authority of the Prayer Book, along with the 39 Articles and the Homilies, is only so good as the authority of the body who promulgated those items. That would be the Church of England, and, by extension, the Anglican Communion. Therefore, it is inconsistent to accept the authority of a “traditional” version of the BCP while rejecting other versions (e.g., the 1979 American version) that are promulgated and/or accepted by the same body that issued the “traditional” versions (which usually includes, for folks who use that phrase, the 1662 English and 1928 American revisions).

    Your last reply suggests that you accept the authority of the early and undivided Church. In that case, I encourage you to read some of the posts here on the teaching of that Church, which are collected in the Index under the rubric “Church Fathers.” If you do indeed accept the teaching of the Fathers, then you are much closer in doctrine to the Anglicans who are departing for the Catholic Church than many of those who remain in the Canterbury Communion. One important difference is that the Anglicans who are entering the Catholic Church have concluded that the early and undivided Church is still alive, and undivided.

    Finally, if you read my post on consecrated celibacy, then you will have seen that the Scriptures are indeed given a hearing on this issue. One difference between the Catholic reading and your reading of 1 Timothy 3:1-5 is the question of where one places the bold print (which is an imposition from outside the text, by the way). The Catholic Church teaches that St. Paul’s instructions about candidates for the episcopacy are not intended to exclude unmarried and/or childless men from the episcopate, but rather to exclude from Holy Orders twice married men (and to prevent the remarriage of bereaved clergymen) and those unable to manage their own households. Thus, celibate men, or married men without children, were legitimate candidates for Holy Orders, provided that they met the criteria enumerated, according to their station in life.

    Eventually, the Catholic Church decided, in accordance with the power given to her by Christ, that the ideal of celibacy would become the norm, or rule, for the episcopacy, and eventually, in the Latin Church, for the presbyterate. This rule does not contradict St. Paul’s instructions to Timothy, but it appeals to his more exalted view of celibacy (as expressed in 1 Corinthians 7), as well as the teaching of Our Lord (Matthew 19), in order to promote a more excellent form of clerical life and service in the Church.

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