Comments: US Ordinariate is announced

Great news! I think there will much goodwill and support from the full spectum of christian communities. Such a fresh expression of faith is most welcome!

Posted by Jakian Thomist at Sunday, 1 January 2012 at 6:59pm GMT

A veritable lifeboat to the rock of Peter for our separated brothers and sisters. As Anglicanism further disintegrates theologically. Please come aboard.

Posted by Robert Ian Williams at Sunday, 1 January 2012 at 9:13pm GMT

Two married priests! What most Catholics of my acquaintance say the Roman Church needs most.

It is telling that the ordinariate is based in Texas, far from traditional Catholic and Episcopal centers.

I think the Episcopal Church will be little affected. Perhaps ACNA could be induced to join up too.

Posted by Andrew at Sunday, 1 January 2012 at 9:39pm GMT

While I can't wish this project success---a backstab (coup de grace?) to Vatican 2 ecumenical efforts---I do respect that they're not trying to steal property.

There will be those who leave TEC for the Ordinariate, but there were/are/will be MANY more (raw #s and %) who leave the Peter-wouldn't-recognize-it Roman Church, for TEC---where the Holy Spirit still Lives AND Moves.

All in God's Good Time, there will be unity. Not "under" anybody (least of all the Bishop of Rome!), but IN Christ. I no longer expect to live to see it, in the flesh (youthful me 30 years ago did, Le Sigh). However, Christ being SUPREMELY MERCIFUL (!!!!), I'll cheer the longed-for unity from the Larger Life...

Posted by JCF at Sunday, 1 January 2012 at 9:41pm GMT

This must surely be another blow to those U.S. Roman Catholic clergy who would dearly like permission to marry. Although the Ordinariate is a sort of 'Papal Peculiar', with it's own rules and regulations, it still owes it's existence to the Roman Magisterium, which forbids it's own clergy to marry!

No doubt, the Pope's elevation of Fr. Steenson - an ex-Episcopal Bishop - to the role of Head of the Roman Catholic Ordinariate in the U.S., will provoke more questioning of the R.C. attitude towards married clergy and the need for celibacy.

This follows on from the dissatisfaction of some English R.C. celibate clergy, who have had to work alongside ex-Anglican married priests in the U.K. - without any concession to their own request for a review of their own status as unmarried clergy.

Rome's pigeons - on this matter of the need for n enforced celibacy on the part of it's ministerial staff - will surely, sometime soon, come home to roost! Who knows, perhaps this new Ordinariate movement on the part of Rome may lead to a more humane outlook on the possibility of a place for married clergy in that Church? This might bring Rome more into line with Constantinople as well as Canterbury.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Sunday, 1 January 2012 at 10:40pm GMT

I feel for married catholic men who have an interest in entering the priesthood.

Posted by Brian Ralph at Sunday, 1 January 2012 at 10:51pm GMT

From what I know about the leading figures in the UK and US expressions of the Ordinariate, it strikes me the leadership of the American group conducted themselves with far more integrity. Steenson acted on principle and went to Rome. The UK ex-bishops held onto their sinecures right until their nests were feathered.

Posted by Malcolm French+ at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 12:35am GMT

As a former RC, who crossed the Tiber 36 years ago after my first 31 years within Rome (including 19 years of RC education), I wish those departing well. However, I think that any objective and honest person would find that many more are leaving Rome for Anglicanism than are heading in the opposite direction.

We all go where the Spirit leads, and I have ceased to contend that there is "one way" to God; what arrogance it would be to try to contain what God really wants of us.

My own belief continues to be that the Church envisioned by John XXIII, and Michael Ramsey, will ultimately prevail.

The narrow-minded and obnoxious will continue to say that there is but one way, whether the extremes of Rome or the extremes of Anglicanism or the extremes of Constantinople, but God is beyond that in ways that we cannot begin to understand.

Follow Jesus, and not somebody's distorted institutional church version of His message.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 1:15am GMT

RIW said "As Anglicanism further disintegrates theologically." Anglicanism has never been a Church like Rome with one enforced theological position, often with a vengeance. Since its inception, Anglicanism has embraced many differing viewpoints, which is called "comprehensiveness' Some have called it genius. Anglicanism hasn't changed, even thought it has been able to embrace change as God's will and the Church has been greatly blessed. The gifts and the wholeness women bring to ministry cannot be anything but good and of God, which no one can doubt. The openness of Anglicanism to women as priests and acceptance of gay people as fully human and deserving of God's grace (instead of being called sick and sinful)doesn't sit well with those who cannot see that there may be room for God to move and for us to respond. The Roman Church, which stubbornly clings to giving women second-class status amd inciting hatred of gay people is no lifeboat,unless homophobia and mysogyny are the Gospel. In view of the severe crises that continue to rock the Roman Church and its priesthood, such hypiocrisy makes no sense. The Roman Church is moving further to the right and becoming more unpastoral, withdrawn, and self-centered. Grabbing disaffected right-wing Anglicans while its pews and seminaries are bleeding people is a short-term and rather tawdry attempt to take advantage of a situation that Rome itself cannot avoid forever.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 2:59am GMT

JCF has it right, IMO. I know many US Roman Catholics who have been joyfully received into the Episcopal Church...but I am unaware of any among my Episcopalian friends--even the most conservative--who have expressed any interest in crossing the Tiber in the other direction.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 3:53am GMT

"It is telling that the ordinariate is based in Texas, far from traditional Catholic and Episcopal centers."

???

I can't speak for Roman Catholicism first-hand, but my impression is that they have a very strong base in Texas, both Anglo and Hispanic. The Episcopal Church has always been very strong in Texas.

(Or do you just mean that Texas is geographically far from Washington DC and New York City? So?)

Posted by bi at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 4:01am GMT

Good. Give those sneering Catholics a place to go so some JOY can happen among us Episcopalians after they've gone.

Posted by Curtis at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 4:31am GMT

@Good. Give those sneering Catholics a place to go so some JOY can happen among us Episcopalians after they've gone.
Posted by: Curtis on Monday, 2 January 2012 at 4:31am GMT
The Protestant Episcopal Church must be a joyless sect if its happiness depends on only 1400 people leaving.
Joy after they've gone? I don't think so!

Posted by Locuste Iste at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 9:07am GMT

In point of fact, many of the 1400 left TEC long ago.

The willing departure of a few malcontents can make life much more pleasant for those who choose to remain.

Ask those who attended General Convention 2009.

Posted by Jeremy at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 12:22pm GMT

I imagine the numbers in the US ( and Canada?) will be more than in the UK not so much because some Episcopalians may join but because there are so many groups of ex-Anglicans to draw on that have had an independent existence for 30 or more years. We dont hear much about these groups in the UK ( though there is a small outpost of the Anglican Catholic Church here in Canterbury), are they likely to join the Ordinariate and what sort of numbers do they muster these days?

Posted by Perry Butler at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 1:20pm GMT

Locus Iste said "The Protestant Episcopal Church", so he is being clear on what he thinks of Anglicans/Episcopalians. The word "sect" is a clue. Curtis is going too far, but listening to conservative Roman Catholics who enjoy calling everyone else hell-bound heretics does get tiresome. Not exactly an attitude that comes from a sense of joy, unless that joy is feeling superior.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 3:05pm GMT

Yes, in spite of opinions by people such as Robert Ian Williams, the real spirit of the Second Vatican Council is most embodied in various branches of Anglicanism such as The Episcopal Church in America. The true reform that Vatican II began is being carried out in Churches that are NOT Roman Catholic. The right wing elements within Catholicism are fighting to the death. The Catholic Church of Vatican II no longer exists within the power structures of Rome. It is a dying "imperial" model of Church and it is not going to survive this century unless it has a radical reformation.

Posted by Chris Smith at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 5:14pm GMT

@Adam Armstrong:
With Episcopalian Curtis being so un-Christian about his fellow Episcopalian and Anglican Christians, I don't blame them for leaving for the Chair of St Peter where they will be welcomed Home.

Posted by Locuste Iste at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 6:19pm GMT

The Anglican Catholic Church in the UK ( a very tiny group) is very anti the ordinariate, as is its USA parent body.

So far there are 4 Episcopal parishes intending to join the Ordinariate with about 130 members in total..that is 4 out of 7,300.

At least 30 of these are former Catholics reconciled to the Church.

The vast majority of Mass attenders at the Anglican Use which will join the Ordinariate are former Catholics! They can't be registerd as Ordinariate members.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Monday, 2 January 2012 at 8:49pm GMT

Given the near universal scholarly acceptance of the gospel of Mark as the first gospel written and the large and growing rejection of Matthew 16:18-19 as an authentic Jesus saying, it's hard to imagine any longer a valid argument being constructed for the necessity of recognizing the Pope as head of the Church, let alone being infallible. Of course, such arguments were never valid to begin with, but it's getting harder for RC's to pretend these days.

If anyone feels it necessary to join the RCC, I suppose they've done themselves no harm, though.

Posted by Doug at Tuesday, 3 January 2012 at 12:19am GMT

The Ordinariate is a safe haven for orthodox Anglicans lost in the alphabet soup and will always be open for business. It has made a strong start in England and the news from America this week is very exciting. For many people is is a hard choice to make - with lots of reasons for staying. Many Anglicans in England, are attached to their buildings, thinking that a pre-reformation or old building somehow validates their orders and services. The new American Ordinary today quoted Pope Gregory the Great:
“For things are not to be loved for the sake of places, but places for the sake of good things.”
There is only one right way to go - but people must find that path in their own conscience.

Posted by Locuste Iste at Tuesday, 3 January 2012 at 12:36am GMT

@Locus Iste-You can hardly consider Curtis to be a typical Episcopalian and you certainly cannot attribute the desire to join the Ordinariate to him. Yes, he is uncharitable and I don't support his comment. However, he has not cornered the market on uncharitableness. There are many fine, loving charitable Christians in the Episcopal Church and, I would hope, in the Roman Church as well. Right-wing Romans who enjoy consigning people to eternal damnation for not belonging to the "One True Church" are hardly charitable either, but neither are they typical. One hopes.

Posted by Adam Armstrong at Tuesday, 3 January 2012 at 4:51am GMT

'...a strong start in England...'

Really? I thought I read recently that the numbers are 50 priests (how many of those are retired and drawing their CofE pensions?) and about 1000 laity. Then there are their well publicised financial difficulties, the recent appeal for money and the alleged purloining of the resources of the CBS. Of course there may be some more when the Women bishops issues is resolved and their perception of the satisfactoryness of the 'protection' afforded to the tradionalists. Nevertheless the Ordinariate in England is just a year old and it's a bit rich and a bit early to proclaim its success.

And I wonder who regards the news from America as 'exciting'. As in England I would have thought that a better word would be 'sad'.

Posted by Richard Ashby at Tuesday, 3 January 2012 at 9:19am GMT

From my own observations, on this and other blogs, the most visceral anti-Anglicans are those who were themselves once Anglican. I guess it's par for the course, but not very helpful - especially when they affect to be 'clued-up' on the present-day Church, offering outdated information on their previous faith community.

I suspect, too, that they do not inspire very much confidence in their new sodality, often being seen to disparage the defects of their new Church.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Tuesday, 3 January 2012 at 9:43am GMT

@Adam Armstrong:
Although a Catholic, I have happily never come across "Right-wing Romans who enjoy consigning people to eternal damnation for not belonging to the "One True Church"" and I totally agree that they are as uncharitable as Curtis.
I'm not sure what a typical Episcopalian is and only have models such as Curtis to study, although I understand that some Episcopalian bishops have been very kind and understanding to Ordinariate-bound Anglicans.
I sincerely hope that Curtis is not typical! He puts himself across as anti-Christian.

Posted by Locuste Iste at Tuesday, 3 January 2012 at 10:48am GMT

In the Canadian "National Post", a right-wing pro-Catholic paper (founded by a convert, the incarcerated Conrad Black), the following appears "The year 2011 offered the Catholic world a number of big news stories: the implosion of the church in Ireland; the first indictments of Catholic leaders, including a bishop, in the tragic clergy sex abuse saga; the initiation of reform movements by Catholics priests in Ireland, Austria, Germany, United States and Belgium; and the Vatican-forced impementation of the new Roman missal". The article is about the rift between conservative bishops and theologians, and the severe condemnation of a book by a nun Elizabeth Johnson "Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God". This introduction and article should tell Anglicans looking to unite with the "Chair of Peter" that the loss of the freedom they have as Anglicans and the real issues within the Roman Church should give them pause. A benign hierarchy offering refuge from women, gays, and other Anglican torments is an illusion. They are not "escaping the problems of Anglicanism", as they are fond of saying, to go to the safe haven of Rome. It is not so safe there and, if they want problems, they have gone to the right place.

Posted by Richard Grand at Tuesday, 3 January 2012 at 2:54pm GMT

@Locus Iste: well now, that depends on what you mean by 'orthodox Anglicans' doesn't it? Through the centuries most Anglicans have held that the only 'belief test' was the creed(s), not a magisterium or proclamations about events which the Bible knows not.

Posted by Sara MacVane at Tuesday, 3 January 2012 at 4:09pm GMT

"There is only one right way to go - but people must find that path in their own conscience." - Posted by Locuste Iste

FWIW, my (Scripture, Tradition, Reason-formed) conscience is telling me your "only one right way" is Wrong, Locuste. Anglicans don't submit to the Bishop of Rome. If they do, they cease to be Anglican.

[Now, a united church w/ the Bishop of Rome as First-Among-EQUALS *might* be another matter. I'm not sure that's the "only right way", however...and at any rate, I don't expect to live to see it. OCICBW.]

Posted by JCF at Tuesday, 3 January 2012 at 7:28pm GMT

I gather from a comment made on another blog, that Jeffrey Steenson was ordained an RC deacon by the disgraced, pedophile-enabling Bernard Law. Less fastidious about the church he has joined, than about the one he has left, it seems.

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Wednesday, 4 January 2012 at 1:36am GMT

"@Locus Iste: well now, that depends on what you mean by 'orthodox Anglicans' doesn't it? Through the centuries most Anglicans have held that the only 'belief test' was the creed(s), not a magisterium or proclamations about events which the Bible knows not."

Didn't someone once say, "I will make no windows into men's souls"?

Posted by Nat at Wednesday, 4 January 2012 at 1:57am GMT

For Locus Iste, who posted "There is only one right way to go - but people must find that path in their own conscience," I'm afraid that you are giving in to a human tendency to imagine that they can contain God.

You are very much, I contend, like those who feel that God created the earth and all around it in seven literal days. That is a human construct, and a failure -- or an inability -- to recognize all that God is and does.

Just as the human construct of seven days does not contain God's time, your construct of "one right way" is just as foolish as those who define God's creation as seven human days.

The breadth of God's right way is infinitely vast.

I do accept that there are better ways, and some may be more right than others, but there is a vast array of right ways.

As a former RC, and an Anglican for the past 36 years of my 67 year old life, I do believe in Apostolic Succession, and therefore consider the Anglican, Roman, and Orthodox churches as right, and sufficient for me.

Yet I also witness the faith, and the love, and the commitment in other branches of Christianity, and cannot consider them to be not part of the "right way." Yet, they would not be right for me.

It's a shame that you choose to be so narrow in your concept of God's right way.

Posted by Jerry Hannon at Wednesday, 4 January 2012 at 6:31am GMT

Now, a united church w/ the Bishop of Rome as JCF assserts "First-Among-EQUALS might be another matter. I'm not sure that's the "only right way", however...and at any rate, I don't expect to live to see it."

This is faundamentally flawed.. the eastern orthodox say exactly the same thing and can't even agree to have Christmas day on the same day!

The Papacy is a jurisdictional primacy or nothing at all.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Wednesday, 4 January 2012 at 7:37am GMT

@Richard Ashby:
There are something like 57 former Anglican priests now in the Ordinariate. There are also five former Anglican bishops - and a sixth is joining this coming Saturday. Not a bad crop for just the first year! My local Anglican vicar rejoices if he gets 25 people on a Sunday morning. He thinks he's done well!
"Ordinariate in England is just a year old and it's a bit rich and a bit early to proclaim its success". Well most people would say its a bit early to proclaim its failure too.
The Church of England has had almost 500 years since its founding with law enforcement, and look at the sorry state it's in today - its attendance only saved by Christmas / Easter.

Posted by Locuste Iste at Wednesday, 4 January 2012 at 9:16am GMT

I agree with Robert Ian Williams.

Posted by Prior Aelred at Wednesday, 4 January 2012 at 3:42pm GMT

What about the estimated 300,000 ex Catholics in TEC and the estimated 700 former Catholic priests serving as Episcopal ministers?

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Wednesday, 4 January 2012 at 8:01pm GMT

RIW:

The papacy is the bishopric of Rome. Historically, prior to the fall of the empire, it was never considered anything else. It became something more when the church picked up the reins of empire (wrongly, IMO).

As for differing as to the date of Christmas, the eastern church also differs as to the date of Easter most years. It hardly matters--both dates are completely artificial. For the former, it is far more likely (based on biblical evidence like the shepherds keeping their flocks in the field overnight) that Jesus was born in late spring than mid-winter. For the latter, shouldn't we be tying Easter to the annual date of Passover, rather than some arcane formula about the moon and the equinox?

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Wednesday, 4 January 2012 at 10:28pm GMT

Locus Iste said "look at the sorry state it's in today - its attendance only saved by Christmas / Easter". No Church is anywhere near perfect.
It's easy to be negative about the shortcomings of any church-it's really a cheap shot to comment on the "state" of the CofE based on attendance. There are probably more nominal Anglicans than nominal members of other churches in England, based on simple demographics. It is meaningless and crude to make a game out of comparing numbers of church attenders as a measure of which Church is "better". Some U.S. "megachurches" have huge numbers, but what about their theology? There are many factors affecting church attendance, but I have rarely found Anglicans, Roman Catholics, or anyone else saying that that they attend their church for its theology (some converts and fundamentalists may be the exception). If you were talking about the attendance of Roman Catholics in France, Quebec, and elsewhere where the RC is a majority church, you would have lots to be negative about. The "state" of the Church of England/Anglican Church is about the same as other "mainline" historic churches in the western world. If you want to start fault-finding, the Roman Church has more than enough problems of its own. (Ireland comes to mind.) Start thinking about some of those problems-remember the speck and the plank.

Posted by Richard Grand at Wednesday, 4 January 2012 at 11:36pm GMT


There is no mass exodus of Episcopalians to Rome, and there is no exodus of Catholics to the Episcopal Church. Due to the fact that the Catholic Church in the US is growing and the Episcopal Church loses more than 50,000 members per year.. for every 1 Catholic that comes to the Episcopal Church, more than 1000 Episcopalians leave for other churches.

Posted by Josh L. at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 4:59am GMT

"The Papacy is a jurisdictional primacy or nothing at all." - Robert I. williams -

Well you said it, Robert, you can't blame anyone else.

On the other hand - non-Roman Catholics recognise that the Pope has a jurisdiction - among those who claim to be subject to the Roman Magisterium. However, I submit that there are other Members of the body of Christ for whom the Pope has no jurisdictional authority. He is just another bishop - the Bishop of Rome. Plain and simple.

Jesus has ways of saving the world that do not depend upon the sanction of the Roman Pontiff - sad though that may be for ardent followers of Saint Peter's successor. There were 12 Apostles, and most of them did not run away from the scene of Christ's Crucifixion.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 8:15am GMT

@Ronald Smith:
Even the Bishop of London recently recognised the Pope as the Patriarch of the West in his recent plea for his priests to refrain from using the new Roman Rite.
Many Anglicans on here remind me of Stevie Smith's poem, "Not Waving but Drowning".

Posted by Locuste Iste at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 10:53am GMT

"Due to the fact that the Catholic Church in the US is growing and the Episcopal Church loses more than 50,000 members per year.. for every 1 Catholic that comes to the Episcopal Church, more than 1000 Episcopalians leave for other churches."

The RC church in the US is growing through immigration from the Catholic countries of Latin America, not from attracting converts from other religions or the unchurched. If the US had large-scale immigration from the UK or Australia or any other nation with a large Anglican population, then you'd see the Episcopal Church growing the same way. Given the way second- and third-generation immigrants give up the traditions of their parents and grandparents, I fully expect to see the children and grandchildren of today's RC immigrants in the US become the same kind of "Christmas and Easter" attendees that most of their Irish and Italian and Polish neighbors have become in their college years and later.

Posted by Pat O'Neill at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 11:30am GMT

That is an interesting point you make there. I think the Gospels are clear than beneath the cross of Jesus were John, Mary and some other women. So in fact, most of the apostles did run away. It is also interesting because to imply that the papacy is somehow invalid because of the sins of the first pope sounds to me like Donatism. To quote your own articles of religion “ The sacraments are not rendered ineffectual by the unworthiness of the minister” If anything, the papacy is incredible because of the weaknesses and sins of the first pope and his brothers to follow. I think it was Paul who gave us that beautiful line in 2 Corinthians 12. 9 “for my power is made perfect in weakness”.

Posted by maark wharton at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 12:11pm GMT

Josh said "Due to the fact that the Catholic Church in the US is growing". The growth of the US Roman Catholic Church is due to immigration, especially due to Hispanics, who will soon be the majority of Roman catholic attenders. In the former bastions of the RC Church in the northeast and midwest, the Roman Church is closing large numbers of parishes and many are id dire straits. It is also true that large numbers of "cradle" Catholics move elsewhere or drop out-the largest denomination in the U.S. is "former Roman Catholics". Whether or not people leave the Episcopal Church due to its theology, many leave the RC Church for that reason. Dicorced Catholics come to mind. The Episcopal Church in the U.S. grows mostly through converts, since there are fewer "cradle" Episcopalians and immigration is seldom from countries where the Anglican Church is large.

Posted by Richard Grand at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 2:52pm GMT

Pope Benedict has officially ended using the title patriarch of the West.

If you look at the statistics of the Episcopal Church you will see that they receive about 3 to 5 catholic priests and thousands of laity officially every year. The latter are put under the category, receptions.

Posted by Robert ian Williams at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 5:40pm GMT

Brings to mind a story of my father's about his eldest sister bursting into the kitchen, excitedly shouting "There are thousands of cats in our back yard!"

"Thousands?" asked her mother.

"Well, there's ours and another."

Posted by Lapinbizarre at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 6:38pm GMT

The Papacy is a jurisdictional primacy or nothing at all.

Posted by: Robert ian Williams on Wednesday, 4 January 20112

oh dear, well it certainly ain't the former !

'Nothing at all' seems a bit harsh though.

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 8:09pm GMT

the sins of the first pope '

One simply must challenge the unbelievable assersion that Peter was 'the first pope'. Next you 'll be telling us the other disciples were his cardinals !

Posted by Laurence Roberts at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 8:16pm GMT

"2 Corinthians 12. 9 “for my power is made perfect in weakness”." - Mark Wharton -

Precisely, Mark! This is why the claim of supremacy made for the Roman Patriarchate - through people like RIW here - cannot be based on reality, but rather the weakness common to us all. Perhaps this is why the Pope calims to be The Servant of the servants of God - other parts of the Church.

Posted by Father Ron Smith at Thursday, 5 January 2012 at 11:30pm GMT

Father Ron Smith : "From my own observations, on this and other blogs, the most visceral anti-Anglicans are those who were themselves once Anglican."
There is nothing new under the sun. All of the fanatical haters of the Catholic church at the time of the religious revolution of the 16th century were former catholics.

Posted by Stan Zorin at Thursday, 1 March 2012 at 3:00pm GMT
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