Friday, 13 November 2009

church press covers Anglicanorum Coetibus

The Church Times has Vatican publishes text of Anglicanorum Coetibus

and a Leader, Checkpoint Charlie for Anglicans.

The Tablet has Vatican issues constitution for Anglicans by Robert Mickens

and What were they thinking of? by Nicholas Lash (2 more articles are subscriber-only for another week)

and an Editorial, The other path to Rome.

In response to a request from a regular commenter, here also are two items from the Catholic Herald:

Rome opens arms to world’s Anglicans by Anna Arco

and an Editorial, Pope Benedict has called the Anglicans’ bluff.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 1:11pm GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Anglican Communion | Church of England

Why do you only offer the Tablet articles, coming from a known liberal bent and not the Catholic Herald for balance?

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 2:06pm GMT

Happy to oblige, Ed.

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 3:05pm GMT

thank you! : )

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 3:19pm GMT

BBC News also have a piece on reaction in Sevenoaks, Kent. While Fr Ivan Aquilina of St John's is, as expected, overjoyed, one of his parishioners is less so:

"Jim Cheeseman, a parishioner of St John's and a member of the C of E's General Synod, finds much to criticise in the Vatican's plan. For example, the rules issued by the Vatican say that lay Anglicans joining the ordinariates must receive the sacraments of initiation. If that means submitting to a fresh ceremony of confirmation, he says, "to me that would be totally unacceptable". He is also worried about finance, church buildings and housing for the clergy - which the Vatican's rules say the Ordinary, who heads the ordinariate, must provide for. "How big's the ordinariate? How many people can it support?" he asks."

I suspect he is not the only layperson to think that way. An impassioned blog post by the sacristan of St Magnus-the-Martyr, London probably typifies what many Anglo-Catholic laity are feeling:

"My problem is this, and I'll phrase it as a question: Can those priests and bishops who have already accepted the AC in its entirety, and who desire to be reordained unconditionally as priests and bishops in the new Ordinariate, really do so with integrity? For I believe that to do so would be to turn their backs on me, and other faithful who have looked to them for guidance through our journey of faith, a journy that we have so far made together. To accept "conversion" to Catholicism, which is the faith they have been preaching from our pulpits for years, and to accept unconditional ordination, which is thereby to accept that their orders were invalid, is to say that every confession I have ever made, every Holy Communion I have ever received from their blessed hands, every confirmation and every Holy Matrimony was, all along, no more than a charade: "absolutely null and utterly void"."

I suspect some Anglo-Catholic clergy will accept unconditional ordination and try to pretend that somehow that act doesn't invalidate their previous sacramental ministry, when it quite blatantly does. And I also suspect the laity they ministered to will be less impressed.

Posted by: MJ on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 3:42pm GMT

Ah, good to see "Father" Ed Tomlinson, a man described as a bigot in the correspondence columns of today's edition of our local paper, The Kent and Sussex Courier, taking early exception to The Tablet. Presumably he can't even wait to become a Catholic to start attacking it.

Posted by: Stephen Bates on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 4:09pm GMT

"To accept "conversion" to Catholicism, which is the faith they have been preaching from our pulpits for years, and to accept unconditional ordination, which is thereby to accept that their orders were invalid, is to say that every confession I have ever made, every Holy Communion I have ever received from their blessed hands, every confirmation and every Holy Matrimony was, all along, no more than a charade: "absolutely null and utterly void"."

It doesn't matter one bit what those priests are saying or implying. The Church of England will continue to know that all those sacramental acts were valid. The parishioner in question needs to worry about them only if he himself wants to become Roman Catholic.

Posted by: Erika Baker on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 5:18pm GMT


Don't you believe that God completes what is humanly imperfect? (knock and the door will be opened, seek and you will find etc)

I have a serious issue with doctrines of salvation and sacrament which depend on human perfection or on human action being perfect.

I think some of the discussion of the Roman offer has a sense of human economy, rather than the divine economy of the Holy Spirit.

Posted by: Mark Bennet on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 6:09pm GMT

Ooh Stephen that was a bit below the belt!

Yes I was in the press again, the silly funeral thing being squeezed for the last dregs.

One letter - only one I might add- which is in the negative- and they print it with a whapping great photo and brand it bigot. Tabloid tactics if ever there were any!

On the other side I have recieved literally hundreds of messages of support for making a stand against secularism- mainly from those who took the time to read my actual words rather than the courier's twisted version of them.

But don't let that get in the way of a dig ; )

Posted by: Ed Tomlinson on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 6:53pm GMT

What I find fascinating about all this is the way the document treats bishops - they can only be reordained as priests, but can head an ordinariate as a reordained priest, can maintain "insignia," and can be a part of a bishop's conference with the status of a retired bishop. (All of this assuming no "irregular" marital status). Somehow, this all just seems odd to me........

Posted by: John (1) on Friday, 13 November 2009 at 10:08pm GMT

"I very much hope that Catholics in this country and elsewhere will warmly welcome into our communion the members of the new ordinariates. Nevertheless, in terms of the relations between Rome and the bishops’ conferences affected, the way in which these ordinariates have been invented is disgraceful."
- Nicholas Lash, The Tablet -

So, Roman Catholics in England are not at all pleased with the way in which this whole saga has been handled by the Holy office. Nicholas Lash's welcome to any Anglicans who might be intent on taking advantage of the ordinariates does not preclude him from roundly criticising the lack of collegiality involved in the Pope's offer of sanctuary to dissident Anglicans - not to mention his lack of consultation with local RC bishops.

One wonders what all the haste was - especially as the most likely people to take advantage of the Vatican's recent move are members of the so-called Traditional Anglican Church, whose prime mover towards the scheme of 're-union' with Rome
is none other than Archbishop John Hepworth, TAC, whose provenance includes the following:
a/ One-time Roman Catholic priest;
b/ One-time parish priest of All Saints Anglican Church in Brisbane, Australia;
c/ Twice married & once divorced.

One wonders whether Archbishop Hepworth will be welcomed into the Bishops' Conference adjacent to his newly-formed ordinariate in Australia by the local RC bishops as a 'retired bishop'?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 14 November 2009 at 1:12am GMT

"What I find fascinating about all this is the way the document treats bishops" - John on Friday

Well that's not too surprising to me. After all, the departing 'bishops' will themselves be admitting that they have never really been priests let alone bishops - before their move into the ordinariates. And if they are prepared to accept this as a fact, then why blame Rome for rubbing it in? No doubt, allowing these 'pretend' (forcibly retired) bishops to dress up as bishops will help to soften the blow for them.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Saturday, 14 November 2009 at 1:55am GMT

"Yes I was in the press again, the silly funeral thing..."

About which, as I recall, you were spot on. There's much (MUCH ;-) )that you write with which I don't agree, but there are occasional points of contact.

Posted by: BillyD on Saturday, 14 November 2009 at 2:52am GMT

I thought the cover of the Tablet was the best thing... a creature was depicted which is unclear whether it is a bird or a fish preserved in glass case. Speaks volumes.

Posted by: Robert Ian williams on Saturday, 14 November 2009 at 8:08am GMT

Fr Ron Smith wrote: "So, Roman Catholics in England are not at all pleased with the way in which this whole saga has been handled by the Holy office"

Speaking as one, don't take the Tablet as representative of our views!! Many of us are excited and exhilarated by this bold move of the Holy Father, and looking forward to welcoming Anglican brothers and sisters into full communion with the Catholic Church. Consultation would have killed this initiative stone dead or kicked it into the long grass years in the future. The successor of St Peter has full authority to act on his own, and Pope Benedict, a good listener, knows judiciously when to do so.

Posted by: Patrick Martin on Sunday, 15 November 2009 at 11:52am GMT

Cardinal Kasper has broken his silence (Osservatore Romano 15 Nov). Archbishop Williams phoned him in Cyprus late at night and was reassured that their ecumenical friendship continued as before.

From the article by Giampaolo Mattei:

Kasper says: "La sua prossima visita in Vaticano (Abp Williams' visit) dimostra che non c'è stata alcuna rottura e rilancia il desiderio comune di parlarsi in un momento storico importante.... Abbiamo l'occasione di aprire una nuova fase del dialogo ecumenico che continua a essere una priorità della Chiesa cattolica e del pontificato di Benedetto XVI".

Sono giorni intensi sul fronte ecumenico. Il porporato racconta di avere ricevuto in piena notte una telefonata dall'arcivescovo Williams mentre era a Cipro per i lavori della commissione teologica mista con gli ortodossi: "Abbiamo parlato del significato della nuova Costituzione apostolica, e l'ho rassicurato sulla continuazione dei nostri dialoghi diretti, come ci ha indicato il concilio Vaticano II e come vuole il Papa. Mi ha risposto che per lui questa conferma è un messaggio molto importante". Secondo Kasper, sulla Costituzione apostolica "l'arcivescovo di Canterbury ha mantenuto un atteggiamento equilibrato fin da quando ne è stato informato. I nostri rapporti personali sono cordiali e trasparenti. È un uomo di spiritualità, un teologo. In realtà oggi gli unici ostacoli al dialogo ecumenico possono venire dalle tensioni interne al mondo anglicano".

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Sunday, 15 November 2009 at 2:30pm GMT

La Costituzione apostolica "si comprende proprio a partire dal concilio e dai dialoghi diretti che ha suscitato" evidenzia il cardinale. Sulla "possibilità di un riavvicinamento c'erano già allora grandi speranze anche perché nei contatti diretti si avverte che abbiamo una tradizione comune di quindici secoli". Aspettative andate però "un po' deluse, soprattutto di recente, per via di alcuni sviluppi interni alla Comunione anglicana. Si sono infatti susseguite l'ordinazione delle donne al presbiterato e poi all'episcopato, la consacrazione di un vescovo omosessuale, la benedizione di coppie dello stesso sesso: scelte che hanno provocato gravi tensioni interne al composito mondo anglicano. Per forza di cose si è allargato anche il fossato con i cattolici. Comunque la risposta critica a questi sviluppi non è venuta soltanto dagli anglicani filo-cattolici. Insomma, non tutti coloro che non sono d'accordo con quelle novità vogliono diventare cattolici, anche perché tra gli anglicani la maggioranza è d'ispirazione evangelica".

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Sunday, 15 November 2009 at 2:32pm GMT

Kasper denies that he was left out of the loop:

Kasper spiega senza giri di parole la genesi e il significato della nuova Costituzione apostolica a partire dall'esperienza diretta del Pontificio Consiglio per la Promozione dell'unità dei cristiani. "Stiamo ai fatti. Un gruppo di anglicani ha chiesto liberamente e legittimamente di entrare nella Chiesa cattolica. Non si tratta di una nostra iniziativa. Si sono rivolti prima al nostro Consiglio, e come presidente ho risposto che la competenza è della Congregazione per la Dottrina della fede". Il porporato tiene a spazzare il campo da equivoci "perché - sottolinea - in questi giorni ho letto tante ricostruzioni giornalistiche inverosimili": il Consiglio "è sempre stato informato dalla Congregazione per la Dottrina della fede e non è vero che sia stato tenuto da parte. Non abbiamo partecipato direttamente alle conversazioni ma siamo stati messi al corrente, com'è giusto. Il testo della Costituzione è stato preparato dalla Congregazione per la Dottrina della fede. Noi abbiamo visto la bozza e presentato le nostre proposte".

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Sunday, 15 November 2009 at 2:33pm GMT

'A group of Anglicans requested freely and legitimately to enter into the Catholic Church ...' well, I thought anyone could enter the Catholic Church, as indeed many Anglicans and others have over the years, but why does this group get special favors (as well as a bit of drag for the one-time bishops)? OR is of course the official Vatican newspaper.

Posted by: Sara MacVane on Sunday, 15 November 2009 at 6:40pm GMT

Thank you 'Spirit of V II' for your information on Cardinal Kaspar's response to the question of whether or not he was privy to the Pope's move on Anglicans. Unfortunately, the Anglican Church has not reverted to the pre-Reformation language of Latin, for either its liturgy or as a medium of communication, so most of us (unless educated at Oxbridge) will not be able to translate the 'Good News'. Perhaps you might be so good as to that for us?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 15 November 2009 at 11:17pm GMT

Spirit of Vatican II. I owe you an apology. The language spoken by Cardinal Kaspar (a German) in your disclosure was not Latin, but the language of the Vatican - Italian. How wonderful it must be to speak so many languages - even if one of them is a 'dead' language.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Sunday, 15 November 2009 at 11:24pm GMT

Sorry, time is short -- Kasper's remarks will no doubt be reported in English soon. I think his silence until now and his dramatic account of late-night calls from Canterbury to Cyprus give a clear sign that he is not entirely happy with recent events.

Posted by: Spirit of Vatican II on Monday, 16 November 2009 at 1:43am GMT

I find these sections of the Complementary Norms interesting:

Art. 5. §1. The lay faithful ... baptized previously as Catholics outside the Ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the Ordinariate.

(Meaning--anyone who was RC and wants to go back, has to belong to a non-Ordinariate parish. Will they be obedient to their new rules, or will they be obstreperous and continue attending the Anglican rite?)

Art. 6. §2. Those who have been previously ordained in the Catholic Church and subsequently have become Anglicans, may not exercise sacred ministry in the Ordinariate. Anglican clergy who are in irregular marriage situations may not be accepted for Holy Orders in the Ordinariate.

(Meaning--Any former RC clergy who have changed their minds will forever be laity. Any cleric married more than once for whatever reason will be in the same situation.)

Art. 7. §1 The Ordinary must ensure that adequate remuneration be provided to the clergy incardinated in the Ordinariate, and must provide for their needs in the event of sickness, disability, and old age.

(This says nothing about providing for the wives and children.)

Posted by: Mary O'Shaughnessy on Monday, 16 November 2009 at 4:24pm GMT

Mary, Anyone will be able to attend the Anglican rite. If they want to be a registered member of an ordinariate parish, however, they will have to have some Anglican connection as spelled out. Being a member of a parish is not a requirement for participation in worship or a lot of other activities. In Anglican Use parishes in the USA, it seems that many, if not most, of the attendees are Latin rite Catholics.

Secondly, if someone was originally baptized as an Anglican, it appears that they will be eligible for membership in the ordinariate, no matter where they went later. If they were originally baptized as an RC, then joined an Anglican Church, what then? I don't think that has been defined clearly, meaning there may be wiggle room.

Thirdly, it is not clear that the priest ordained in the RC who then becomes Anglican cannot go back to being a priest in the Latin Rite. But not in the ordinariate. However, if a priest is in a second marriage while a former wife from a valid marriage is still living is going to have to make some serious changes in living arrangements if he wants to be ordained in the ordinariate.

The RCC has put on offer what it has to offer. It is not up to the RCC to provide accomodation for each individual's circumstances. It is up to the Anglicans considering taking up the RCC's offer to consider whether it is best for them or not. It is not as though they were being forced.
And the Pope never promised anyone a rose garden.

Posted by: anthony on Monday, 16 November 2009 at 10:51pm GMT

Long live the Vicar of Bray, Sir!

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 12:34am GMT

Father Smith - Right on!

The best course for most people, clergy and laity, is to turn their wills and their lives over to the care of God and not move one inch without explicit divine direction.

Posted by: anthony on Tuesday, 17 November 2009 at 8:06am GMT

Here's an English report of what Kasper said

Posted by: Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 9:45am GMT

"The cardinal said Williams “has maintained a balanced attitude since he was informed. Our personal relations are friendly and transparent. He is a man of spirituality, a theologian. Actually, today the only obstacle to ecumenical dialogue comes from internal tensions in the Anglican world.” - re: Cardinal Kaspar -

It should be noted that this is the very same Cardinal Kaspar who, when invited to the last Lambeth Conference, made it quite clear that his Church (Roman Catholic) was most concerned about the prospect of Anglican female bishops. This concern surely must be based on the reality of the fact that the C.of E. already validly ordains women priests, and that the Vatican already knows about this.

Then why all this duplicity about the RC view of Anglican Orders as being 'invalid'? And, if there is no such thing as valid Orders in the Anglican Church, why are Cardinal Kaspar and the Bishop of Rome concerned about a 'non-Ordered Church' ordaining a few invalid bishops who have been invalidly priested? It all seems too mysterious.

Another thought about all of this is why should the Roman Catholic Church want to have anything at all to do with an Anglican Church which does not have validly conferred Holy Orders? And what was all that ACRCIC talk about common agreement on the importance of the Eucharist?

Of course, when Pope Paul VI gave to Archbishop Michael Ramsay his own episcopal ring, there could not really have been any ecclesiological significance in the gesture? Then why did he do this? I guess his detractors never forgave him for this slip of RC etiquette.

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 10:21am GMT

Kasper has a real cheek ! the 'only' obstacle is Kaspers and his own denomination with its arrogant self-aggrandizing and totalitarian tendencies-- oh, and of course, Jo Ratzinger himself.

One has to wonder why Christianity is so strongly drawn to dogmatism and authoritarianisnm-- present company ( C of E etc) included !

None of us 'know' 'the truth' and yet we tend to carry on as if we did, and go into such detail over minutiae of doctrine and practice, when even *the Christian basics* themselves are a matter of faith and hope

and hopefully, lashings of love in practice !

* However defined by you and you and you and ....

Posted by: Rev L Roberts on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 8:34pm GMT

Anthony--there are very clear answers to your question, and anyone looking for "wiggle room" in canon law should seriously review their truthfulness in going to Rome.

Your question, "If they were originally baptized as an RC..." is answered in my quote from Art. 5. §1. They are *not* eligible for membership in the ordinariate, unless they are members of a family whose other members are.

Canon 1364 in the Code of Canon Law specifies that "an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic incurs a latae sententiae excommunication" and follows on with canon 194, specifying the loss of office of a priest. Also see Canon 293: "A cleric who loses the clerical state cannot be enrolled among clerics again except through a rescript of the Apostolic See." So, an excommunicate priest cannot resume non-Ordinarite ordained ministry without the consent of the See.

Posted by: Mary O'Shaughnessy on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 at 8:37pm GMT

Mary, my interpretation of these rules differs slightly from yours, but I am not a canonist, and I am willing to suspect that you may be, so I defer. However, when you interpret canon 1364, I speak pragmatically from long experience of the RCC: nothing is forever, except sacraments. Rules have exceptions, and appealing to Rome for exemptions is easily and frequently done.

Still, exemptions cannot be presumed. Everyone who is contemplating this move, especially clergy, should consider all the angles realistically (no pun intended), same as they would when getting married, or even buying a house.

It is not wicked of the RCC to define its ground rules without the approval of General Synod.

Posted by: anthony on Thursday, 19 November 2009 at 12:20am GMT

Anthony, I agree completely with you on "exemptions cannot be presumed." Anyone who is basing their spiritual future on being treated as a permanent "special case" is walking on thin ice. I also completely agree that the RCC has no obligation whatsoever to bow to General Synod.

Posted by: Mary O'Shaughnessy on Thursday, 19 November 2009 at 10:26pm GMT

" I also completely agree that the RCC has no obligation whatsoever to bow to General Synod."
Mary O'Shaughnessy -

I presume, Mary, that you are talking about the Church of England General Synod, and not any Synod of Bishops in the RCC? By the way, on the topic of jurisdiction; who actually bows to whom in the RCC hierarchy?

Posted by: Father Ron Smith on Friday, 20 November 2009 at 8:21am GMT
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