Rorate Caeli

The Archbishop of Westminster
on the Personal Ordinariates

The Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, Vincent Nichols, writes for The Catholic Herald on the still-unnamed Apostolic Constitution:

21 October 2009

The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution has come as a surprise. So, too, has the generosity of its measures. It is important to understand its context as well as its content.

The Apostolic Constitution is the response of Pope Benedict to the approaches which have been made to the Holy See by groups of Anglicans, in different parts of the world, asking for full visible communion within the Catholic Church. It is, then, a response, not an initiative, by the Holy See. It is a response designed to establish a provision which will be equitable and uniform in whatever part of the world it may be taken up.

It has a particular purpose: to permit those who wish to live their faith in full visible union with the See of Peter to do so while also preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. So this is a response to those who have declared that they share the common Catholic faith and accept the Pope's ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. In the words of Cardinal Levada: "For them, the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion." As Archbishop Rowan Williams and I said in our joint statement: "The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church."

Much work now opens up, not only for those who hold such faith and will have to consider carefully the formal response of the Holy See, but also for the Catholic community. In approaching this work, some important perspectives have to be kept in mind.

First, this response does not alter our determined and continuing dedication to the pathway of mutual commitment and cooperation between the Church of England and the Catholic Church in this country. The foundations of all the joint work in ARCIC and the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission make clear the path we follow together. An Anglo-Catholic tradition will continue to be a part of the Church of England, nurtured by those who cherish this tradition while not ready to accept the current jurisdiction of the Holy See.

We also need to appreciate what this moment makes clear about the mind of Pope Benedict XVI. I believe this is another illustration of his desire to achieve reconciliation with those who are estranged from the Catholic Church and who show a willingness to be reconciled. This desire is clearly one of the priorities of his pontificate. As he has written: "In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God. Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognise in a love, which presses 'to the end' (cf John 13.1) - in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen ... So if the arduous task of working for faith, hope and love in the world is presently (and in various ways, always) the Church's real priority, then part of this is also made up of acts of reconciliation, small and not so small." (Letter to Bishops, March 10 2009). Reconciliation, then, is a part of the proclamation of the Gospel.

Pope Benedict, we have to remember, is also ready to allow the breadth of the expressions of Catholic life to find their place in the Church. In that same letter he wrote: "But should not the great Church also allow herself to be generous in the knowledge of her great breadth, in the knowledge of the promise made to her? Should not we, as good educators, also be capable of overlooking various faults and making every effort to open up broader vistas?"

The Holy Father clearly believes that legitimate diversity does not threaten the unity of the Church, a unity which is essentially of faith, expressed in visible communion and in the witness of life lived in conformity to the call of the Gospel. While this Apostolic Constitution establishes a single framework for the universal Church, clearly much detail will have to be established locally. Alongside the Constitution there will have to be agreements about the way forward and the practical steps by which Personal Ordinariates, if and when they are established, will be an integral part of the Catholic community, working in close unity with the dioceses of England and Wales. These matters are now to be considered both locally and in close consultation with the Holy See.

This is an extraordinary moment. It is a challenge and an opportunity on many fronts. I salute the courage and generosity of Pope Benedict who has again shown an open and loving heart, just as one would expect of a Holy Father.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

What Nichols and others are suggesting is an erroneous path. There should not be personal ordinariates for each region of the earth, embracing all incoming Anglican groups from that region. The much better way is that each incoming group should have a p.o. to embrace all its current parishes, wherever they may be in the world. I shall comment on this again later. These structures are personal, and it would be best if they were overlapping, not defined by region but by the character of each incoming group.

However, whichever way they go, this is a splendid provision for the future. I have been informed that the Holy See wants to devise a single liturgy for all these groups. That worries me a bit. We must pray ardently that not one single word of this liturgy be taken from teh Novus Ordo disaster.

P.K.T.P.

Peter said...

So His Excellency quotes the Papal letter to the bishops issued to explain the rationale behind revoking the decree declaring excommunications of the SSPX bishops.

His Excellency doesn't yell at the Holy Father for current unecumenical gesture.

It's probably a good sign. I think it may mean that the bishops began to see where the wind is blowing.

Anonymous said...

As Archbishop Nichols just made clear, so much for the "ecumenical-movement-is-dead...the-Anglican-unCommunion-was-slapped-down-and-discarded" interpretations yesterday from conservatives.

As the Archbishop made clear:

"First, this response does not alter our determined and continuing dedication to the pathway of mutual commitment and cooperation between the Church of England and the Catholic Church in this country.

"The foundations of all the joint work in ARCIC and the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission make clear the path we follow together.

"An Anglo-Catholic tradition will continue to be a part of the Church of England, nurtured by those who cherish this tradition while not ready to accept the current jurisdiction of the Holy See."

Anonymous said...

The Archbishop's smooth talking about ARCIC is just politics. False ecumenism is dead in the water.

Anonymous said...

Archbishop Nichols just poured cold water upon a great many conservative commentators who yesterday declared that Pope Benedict XVI's action was a "slap" Protestants (particularly the Anglican un-Communion) and the end to "useless" ecumenical dialogue.

On the contrary, Archbishop pushed vigorously the following reality:

1. "The Apostolic Constitution is the response of Pope Benedict to the approaches which have been made to the Holy See by groups of Anglicans...it is, then, a response, not an initiative, by the Holy See."

It is a response, a response, a response...not an initiative, not an initiative, not an initiative.

The Archbishop hammered the point that despite interpretations launched yesterday by conservatives, Rome is not remotely interested in breaking the Anglican un-Communion.

Pope Benedict XVI did not in any way "humiliate" Rowan Williams and the Anglicans as numerous conservatives claimed.

Archbishop Nichols made it clear that Rome and our bishops hold the Anglican un-Communion in high regard.

Unfortunately, hollow ecumenical activities with Protestants will continue full-steam ahead within the Church.

I sensed yesterday that we overreacted to conservative spin doctors.

Tim

John McFarland said...

Mr. Perkins,

They are joining the Novus Ordo, having sworn (so to speak) on the Catechism of the Novus Ordo.

Do you think that anything like this would have been permitted before 1962?

Anonymous said...

Nonsense. The Archbishop's smooth talking about ARCIC is not just politics.

Conservatives yesterday boasted that Archbishop Nichols is not a man to play nice-nice with Protestants for the sake of ecumenism.

Conservatives portrayed Archbishop Nichols as a man who dominated the supposedly "humiliated" Rowan Willaims during yestereday's press conference.

Archbishop Nichols just rejected yesterday's spin by Catholic (and even non-Catholic) conservatives who had the Anglican un-Communion dead and buried.

The hollow empty ARCIC "dialogue" and scheduled pointless ecumenical gatherings, at which Protestant "bishops" and "priests" are presented as legitimate, will continue.

Not only that, but those conservatives yesterday who refused to march in lockstep with the Rowan-Williams-was-beaten-down conservatives, will likely prove correct in their analysis that when the smoke clears...

...relatively few Anglicans will have joined the Church.

The major problems that certain conservatives with to overlook in regard to yesterday's news...

...what Liturgy would the former Anglicans use...

...and one other issue that the owner of this blog doesn't wish to be discussed here (and I will respect that as it's his blog) looms big-time.

Sorry, but Archbishop Nichols has dampened the "WHAT INCREDIBLE NEWS IT IS" conservative spin.

Tim

Jon said...

P.K.T.P.,

I pray the same, and was sure this was a piece of the reform of the reform,i.e., the English Missal and Anglican Breviary were going to be the basis of the Anglo-Catholic liturgy.

However,we may be in for an unfortunate surprise.

Hilary White did us a favor by asking: http://anglocath.blogspot.com/2009/10/but-what-about-liturgy.html

Anonymous said...

"He (Archbishop Nichols) held up a copy of the Book of Divine Worship and said that this was probably going to form the ground work for the new practices."

Well, yesterday's conservative hoopla just withered.

This reminds me of the Traditional-conservative over-the-top response to Summorum Pontificum...

..."here come the Latin Masses, the liturgical nightmare has just ended...the Pope and bishops will offer the TLM regularly..."

Sorry, but the Summorum hoopla faded rapidly...as will yesterday's hoopla.

Oh, well. We are simply years and years away at the earliest from just the beginning to the authentic restoration that the Latin Church need desperately.

Tim

rams said...

Aww... I sincerely hope they don't end up with the 1983 Book of Divine Worship. That would be devastating. It would really be a missed opportunity to impose a Catholicising change that would normally be very difficult/time consuming to implement. I hope their liturgy does not remain protestant.... After all, "ground work with the 1983 Book of Divine Worship" sounds like another Frankinstine Mass from the Novus Ordo family. I hope they can realize that they cannot fabricate a liturgy (as the 1969 missal has proven) and fall back on an existing CATHOLIC liturgy like the Sarum Rite, and perhaps modify it so that there is an option without so much pomp and solemnity- such that it can be performed with less ministers (as an option similar to missa cantata, or a low mass).

John McFarland said...

Mr. Perkins,

As regards your advice in a previous string that the Anglicans who take up the offer will be re-ordained, I'm pleased to be made a bum of.

But then what's this about conditional ordination? How can any of them be considered validly ordained?

Beyond that, let me remind you of something that you know, but which seems to be playing no role at all in your current thinking.

Charity not grounded in faith is no charity at all.

I am no monument of Christian charity, but I do have concern for those who take up the Vatican's offer. However, the nature of my concern in the first instance is the fact that they're being taken in with small to no concern as to whether they believe what the Church teaches.

Now to be sure, that doesn't put them in a much different position from most folks who think they are Catholic. But adding to the numbers of such people is grounds for trembling, not applause.

Without faith -- the whole, entire, integral and unadulterated faith, down to the last jot and tittle -- it is impossible to please God. To bring someone to the Church is to bring someone to that Faith.

To bring someone to the Church on any other basis is blasphemy and an abomination.

Jean said...

"...this response does not alter our determined and continuing dedication to the pathway of mutual commitment and cooperation between the Church of England and the Catholic Church in this country."

Well, it's better than either Tyburn or Smithfields. But realistically, how productive is that path ever likely to be? I think they all know it will never lead to C of E reunion, because the C of E does not exist as a fundamentally Christian body. Here's the dialogue that will ensue:

C of E: We want homosexuality approved in the church.

RC: No. Won't happen.

C of E: We want your approval of women priests and bishops.

RC: (sigh) No. Won't happen.

C of E: Will we be having reciprocal Vespers and Evensong between St. Paul's and Westminster Cathedral again during this year's "Week for Christian Unity?"

RC: I suppose so, that would be lovely. By the way, we really should say something together about the Islamic aggression in Indonesia, don't you think?

Etc....etc...etc...

As I said before, it's better than Tyburn or Smithfields by a long shot. But this will not pass for real ecumenism. The time for being on that path with the C of E is past.

Anonymous said...

Mr. McFarland mentioned "how can any of them be considered to have been validly ordained?"

That's precisely the point. There are many Anglican bishops who were not even ordained in the Anglican rite, but an orthodox or an old Catholic rite by one of those bishops. There were many who 'ordained' in an Anglican Rite with Orthodox or Old Catholic Bishops Bishops as co-consecrators.

Conditional Ordination, as such, is done when there is a clear moral doubt of ordination, but not 100% certainty.

In no way is the Vatican suggesting that they have been legitimately or validly ordained. In certain limited cases, conditional ordination might be used. Otherwise, I would expect an actual ordination.

For the sake of example, one 'Bishop' who was conditionally ordained was Dr. Graham Leonard, former Anglican bishop of London.

See: http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1141/is_n29_v30/ai_15409242/

Gideon Ertner said...

"The hollow empty ARCIC "dialogue" and scheduled pointless ecumenical gatherings, at which Protestant "bishops" and "priests" are presented as legitimate, will continue."

Yes, and so what? It will be just that - hollow and empty. Everyone present will know that the dialogue is really pointless, because the reconciliation between the Anglicans and Rome has already happened - though not in the way they would have liked it to.

dcs said...

Do you think that anything like this would have been permitted before 1962?

Bl. Pius IX received the Bulgarian Church en masse and allowed them to celebrate the Divine Liturgy in Bulgarian, which they had not been permitted to do when they were under Constantinople.

Anonymous said...

How can any of them be considered validly ordained?

Because many Anglican bishops have had Old Catholic co-consecrators somewhere in their succession.

Gideon Ertner said...

"...the nature of my concern in the first instance is the fact that they're being taken in with small to no concern as to whether they believe what the Church teaches."

Oh, like the pre-conciliar Church was awfully concerned with that detail when it accepted the mass conversion of the Franks, Visigoths, Saxons (with a bit of - what shall we say... persuasion?), and Vikings - all previously bloodthirsty barbarians who couldn't tell a thurible from a chamber-pot!

Jordanes said...

Archbishop Nichols just poured cold water upon a great many conservative commentators who yesterday declared that Pope Benedict XVI's action was a "slap" Protestants (particularly the Anglican un-Communion) and the end to "useless" ecumenical dialogue.

I don't recall any commentators, conservative or otherwise, claiming yesterday that "useless" ecumenical dialogue would literally come to an end.

On the contrary, Archbishop pushed vigorously the following reality:

It is a response, a response, a response...not an initiative, not an initiative, not an initiative.

So?

The Archbishop hammered the point that despite interpretations launched yesterday by conservatives, Rome is not remotely interested in breaking the Anglican un-Communion.

So?

Since the Anglican Communion is already breaking apart, Rome doesn't have to do anything to initiate any break-up of their communion. Their auto-demolition is proceeding apace.

Pope Benedict XVI did not in any way "humiliate" Rowan Williams and the Anglicans as numerous conservatives claimed.

Of course he didn't. Why would a Christian be interesting in humiliating anyone?

All the same, yesterday's glorious announcement was a humiliation for Williams and the Anglicans, even though it wasn't designed or intended as such.

Archbishop Nichols made it clear that Rome and our bishops hold the Anglican un-Communion in high regard.

As we hold all human beings.

Unfortunately, hollow ecumenical activities with Protestants will continue full-steam ahead within the Church.

For a while. Nobody said otherwise.

I sensed yesterday that we overreacted to conservative spin doctors.

What do you mean "we"?

The Archbishop's smooth talking about ARCIC is not just politics.

True. It wasn't even smooth talking.

Conservatives yesterday boasted that Archbishop Nichols is not a man to play nice-nice with Protestants for the sake of ecumenism.

Did they? I don't know why they would say such a silly thing.

Conservatives portrayed Archbishop Nichols as a man who dominated the supposedly "humiliated" Rowan Willaims during yestereday's press conference.

That's true, overall he did dominate the press conference with Rowan Williams. After all, yesterday's news was good for the Church, but bad from the perspective of Anglicans uninterested in converting to the Catholic Faith.

Jordanes said...

Archbishop Nichols just rejected yesterday's spin by Catholic (and even non-Catholic) conservatives who had the Anglican un-Communion dead and buried.

The Anglican Communion is not dead and buried -- it is more than half-dead, but not quite dead yet. It will be some time before the corpse stops moving.

The hollow empty ARCIC "dialogue" and scheduled pointless ecumenical gatherings

It's pointless only in your opinion. There's a difference between "futile" and "pointless."

at which Protestant "bishops" and "priests" are presented as legitimate, will continue.

You're wrong, Tim. The Church does not recognise the validity of their ordinations. The Anglicans are well aware of that fact.

...relatively few Anglicans will have joined the Church.

"Relatively few"? There are "relatively few" Anglicans on the planet, so of course "relatively few" will convert.

The major problems that certain conservatives with (sic) to overlook in regard to yesterday's news...

Who are the conservatives who wish to overlook these problems?

...what Liturgy would the former Anglicans use...

There is no way to tell which liturgy, or liturgies, those converting Anglicans will use.

Sorry, but Archbishop Nichols has dampened the "WHAT INCREDIBLE NEWS IT IS" conservative spin.

It obviously pleases you to think so.

"He (Archbishop Nichols) held up a copy of the Book of Divine Worship and said that this was probably going to form the ground work for the new practices."

Well, yesterday's conservative hoopla just withered.


Why would that wither what you call "yesterday's conservative hoopla"? Some Anglo-Catholic personal ordinariates could conceivably use the BDW, others might use something else. There's no reason to think Archbishop Nichols' prediction will pan out in every single case.

Oh, well. We are simply years and years away at the earliest from just the beginning to the authentic restoration that the Latin Church need desperately.

No, the authentic restoration began during John Paul II's reign. It won't be complete until long after we've all gone to our rewards.

Gideon Ertner said...

"Without faith -- the whole, entire, integral and unadulterated faith, down to the last jot and tittle -- it is impossible to please God."

You do realize there's something called material heresy, don't you?

Jordanes said...

They are joining the Novus Ordo, having sworn (so to speak) on the Catechism of the Novus Ordo.

No, they are joining the Catholic Church, having sworn on the Catholic Church's Catechism.

Do you think that anything like this would have been permitted before 1962?

Yes. It has been done many times in the Church's history.

Anonymous said...

Mr. McFarland may have a point. I am in close contact with some of their members. There is talk now about the Pope 'granting' one single Eucharistic Liturgy for all of them. This looks ominous to me. The last time that happened, they got that asinine 'Blessed are You [sic] Lord God of all Creation' nonsense imposed on the Anglican Use in 1983, with its Cranmerican reference to 'our spiritual drink'.

We must pray that not one single word of the Novus Ordo clown Mass gets imposed on them.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Tim:

While I worry about what is to come liturgically, I don't think that it will be the Book of Divine Worship. The B.D.W. is based on the *American* prayerbook of 1928. Most of these people are not Americans and don't really want anything from the U.S.A. Remember that each of their national churches(thanks to their Erastianism from Henry VIII) has its own liturgy.

What I do worry about is that horrid Offertory from the Novus Ordo. I'd almost rather die than hear it. I literally loathe it.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

On Mr. McFarland's comments about their faith:

I am sure that they want to attach themselves to the Catholic Faith. They do not know down to the last jot and tittle what that entails, just as most of us don't know. If they have a honest intention to believe and profess what the Church believes and professes, that is sufficient. I don't know the form of reception for converts but I somehow doubt that they have to swear to an encyclopædic list of articles (I swear further that the pain of separation in Purgatory is not to be compared to the pain of loss in hell; I further swear that ...). I know some of these people and my impression is that they know more, on average, about the Catholic Faith than do 99.9% in the N.O., including those who have been taught the Penny Catechism.

If they make a profession of faith and intend to believe what the Church believes, I am certain that many of them will end up believing everything Mr. McFarland believes. Others would too if they knew more. As for the rest, I somehow doubt that they'll be worse of than the average Catholic; and few if any of them will intend heresy. Those who were against the Church and have remained 'High Protestants' have long ago departed.

They will enter the Church by making a profession of faith, not be swearing to that C.C.C. As to the bishops who did swear to that, I can only wonder if anything in the C.C.C. is directly contrary to a teaching which must be held by divine and Catholic faith.

At this point, Pope Peter II gives place to Pope John McFarland I. (Actually, no need for the number, since he's the only pope of that name).

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

"You're wrong, Tim. The Church does not recognise the validity of their ordinations. The Anglicans are well aware of that fact."

I didn't state that they recognized Anglican orders as valid.

The fact is that post-Vatican II ecumenism has presented Catholic bishops and priests alongside Protestant "bishops" and priests" as equals.

As Pope Pius XI made clear, Catholic participation at ecumenical functions is a dangerous proposition that must be avoided.

My point is illustrated perfectly by the following:

http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2006/11/rome-and-rowan-williams.html#atuid-45f22ddb9c10035e

From the New Liturgical Movement

"Reports of the Anglican leader Rowan Williams’ liturgical celebration on Sunday in the Dominican Church of Santa Sabina in Rome seem to raise a number of issues.

"How can it be that an Anglican clergyman – with access to his own Anglican church building in Rome – can so publicly use a Catholic altar dressed in a chasuble and carrying a crosier?

And what of the reportedly extraordinary participation of Catholic curial officials -“Canadian Fr Donald Bolen, an official at the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity with responsibility for the Reformed churches, proclaimed the Gospel at the Mass after having received Archbishop Williams' blessing”?"

"Rowan Williams is an erudite man and surely knows the significance of this. And no doubt so too do those Catholics responsible for the celebration.

"But we are not in communion with Anglicans and it seems somewhat disingenuous if not scandalous so to blur the line between, a line defended over the centuries by the blood of the martyrs of England and Wales."

Nobody could possibly deny that the above demonstrates that ecumenism has led to situations during which Protestant "bishops" (Rowan Williams) was presented as a legitimate priest.

Tim

Anonymous said...

The hollow empty ARCIC "dialogue" and scheduled pointless ecumenical gatherings

Jordanes replied: "It's pointless only in your opinion."

at which Protestant "bishops" and "priests" are presented as legitimate, will continue.

Jordanes replied: "You're wrong, Tim. The Church does not recognise the validity of their ordinations. The Anglicans are well aware of that fact."

"No, the authentic restoration began during John Paul II's reign.

I don't understand your replies in light of the fact that you post SSPX declarations that reiterate my points.

Example: Your statement regarding Pope John Paul II is shattered by Bishop Fellay's statement that your blog features tonight.

["And the man-centered orientation of Vatican II was harped on by John Paul II."]

The remarks that you've featured tonight from Bishop Fellay declared:

"...the hour is indeed grave. Our holy Mother the Church is in the process of being transformed into a pile of spiritual ruins...

..."it has to be admitted that this subversion acquired an unexpected increase of efficacy on the occasion of the Second Vatican Council.

"It doesn’t take an advanced degree in theology to figure this out; today it is an historical fact.

"And the man-centered orientation of Vatican II was harped on by John Paul II."

Tim

Anonymous said...

Thank you to Mr. P.K.T.K for his responses to my questions/comments.

Thank you to Mr. Jordanes for his replies to my questions/comments.

I may agree or disagree with various replies, but either way, I thank everybody who has responded to my posts.

Tim

John McFarland said...

Anonymous 22:11,

I hadn't realized that Anglicans are still resorting to Old Catholic ordination. Thanks for the information.

But as you can probably guess, this does the exact opposite of improving the warm and fuzzies quotient of my reaction to this whole business. It fits in all too neatly with the fact that the head of the traditional Anglicans is an apostate Catholic priest living with a lady not to be confused with his wife (if indeed the latter lady IS his wife in the eyes of the Church, whatever that might mean nowadays).

To put it bluntly: is Rome taking unto its bosom the Right Goofball wing of Anglicanism? Obviously I don't know this for a fact, but it certainly is not to be ruled out. Maybe this gives a further insight into why Dr. Williams is taking all this with such equanimity.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Ertner,

I am aware of the distinction between formal and material heresy.

But the appropriate way to deal with someone whose heresy is material is to convince him that the belief(s) in question is/are in fact heretical as a matter of fact.

You certainly don't treat him in a way that gives him the distinct impression that what he believes is OK, least of all if you are purporting to take him into communion with the Church. This is exactly the point at which you examine him, and shape him up if and to the extent necessary.

John McFarland said...

Jordanes,

When you reply to me, it would be useful if you could do a bit more than deny what I affirm, and affirm what I deny. Probably more people than I are curious to know exactly what lies behind your bold and categorical dismissals.

Jordanes said...

When you reply to me, it would be useful if you could do a bit more than deny what I affirm, and affirm what I deny. Probably more people than I are curious to know exactly what lies behind your bold and categorical dismissals.

Others had already adequately responded to your question, "Do you think that anything like this would have been permitted before 1962?" I need add nothing to what they have said.

You also claimed that the converting Anglicans are not becoming Catholics, are not becoming members of the Catholic Church, but instead are joining an entity that you call the Novus Ordo, and that they did not swear on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but instead swore on the Catechism of the entity you call the Novus Ordo.

One can reply to your latter assertion by referring to the Succesor of St. Peter's Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, which establishes that it was the Catholic Church who issued the Catechism on which they swore, not your "Novus Ordo" entity. If you have rejected the Catechism as a whole, you have separated yourself beyond question from the faith and teaching of the Church.

In reply to your other assertion that the converting Anglicans are joining the Novus Ordo instead of the Catholic Church, I am afraid no one has ever heard of anybody being admitted into the communion of "the Novus Ordo." It is the Catholic Church who receives them as members, not the ordinary form of the Church's Roman Rite.

Are you sure it's the SSPX to which you have attached yourself? You talk like a sedevacantist, and my understanding was that the SSPX is not a sedevacantist sect.

Jordanes said...

Tim,

Archbishop Williams should not have been allowed the use of the altar. It seems likely his priestly ordination is valid, but even so the Church's altars are for the Holy Sacrifice, not for well-meaning but scandalous gestures.

That said, when Catholics meet with Anglicans in ecumenical gatherings, Anglican orders are *not* being approved by the Church. It is a matter of courtesy only.

Much that goes on in ecumenism is of dubious value at best. The better, more authentically ecumenical thing to do is (as indicated yesterday by Cardinal Levada) for separated Christians to repent and convert to Catholicism, and for the Catholic Church to lovingly embrace them as they come back to their true spiritual home on earth.

Adeodatus said...

McFarland, while I don't even entertain doubt, as Jordanes does, of your sedevacantism, we're entering into some truly weird territory with your "jot and tittle" doctrine. Do you mean to say that if a man fails to have knowledge of a single doctrine, law or precept that he is unable to please God?

Faith is not the form of the virtues. Charity is the form of the virtues. You can look it up in Aquinas (a Papist... you'll probably hate him) if you doubt it.

Basil said...

Archbishop Nichols was quite happy to give a joint blessing with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Westminster Abbey last Friday.

Indeed there is a photograph of him doing so on the Westminster Archdioces web site.

Anonymous said...

Someone asked how many TAC priests there are in the world. An informant has suggested that the number is about 500. Nearly half of these are in India but a large number now are also in Africa. Fewer than 150 are in Western countries combined, such as Canada, the U.S.A., Europe, Australia, N.Z., and South Africa.

The TAC would appear to have about the same number of priests as does the S.S.P.X. But it has far more bishops! About 25 diocesans alone and perhaps another 15. They must have about 40 bishops.

P.K.T.P.

craig said...

From Fidei Depositum:

"The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved 25 June last and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church's faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, Apostolic Tradition and the Church's Magisterium. I declare it to be a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion and a sure norm for teaching the faith."

Peter has spoken.

Anonymous said...

John McFarland and Tim have my vote.

Somehow, I sense that this "reunion" will be the cause of more confusion in the Church (as if we don't have enough).

John McFarland said...

Adeodatus,

I believe that Pope Benedict XVI, having been duly elected and all but universally accepted as such, is indeed the Pope. I therefore am not a SVist.

But perhaps the real point by yours lights is roughly as follows. A heretic cannot be the Pope. McFarland believes that the Pope is a heretic. Therefore McFarland either believes or should believe that Josef Ratzinger is not the Pope.

As for the general principles governing the issue in the abstract, you might start by looking up the piece on SVism on www.sspx.org. As it indicates, the notion that a heretic cannot be the pope is very far from the dominant view among theologians.

Furthermore, there is no one on earth with the competence to judge whether or not the Pope is a heretic. Angelus Press has a little book on SVism by the priests of the SSPX's Italian district that goes into some detail on this and related reasons demonstrating that the whole notion of a heretical pope is pretty much a classroom rather than a real-life issue.

But I don't really think the point is SVism, I'll deal with the real point separately.

John McFarland said...

Adeodatus,

The fact that charity is the form of the virtues does not mean that you can have charity before you have faith. You can't love what you don't know. Hence the order in the Baltimore Catechism's explanation of the purpose of man's existence: to know, love and serve God in this world...

John McFarland said...

Adeodatus,

No one knows every jot and tittle of Catholic doctrine. Faith is to accept the whole of it on the word of God revealing, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

But when baptizing an adult, those in authority must test the quality of the catechumen's belief. See in this connection the article in ST III about delay of baptism.

I would have thought it obvious that the same should hold in the case of the admission of schismatics and heretics, only more so; since they have been, after all, schismatics and heretics.

Sid said...

The good part of the Anglican tradition is the liturgical part. I've written elsewhere that a better solution than the Anglican usage work is to take the 1549 prayerbook -- a monument in the history of the English language--, purge it of Cranmer's memoralism, and add Roman elements.

Anonymous said...

It didn't take long for our Episcopal "Church" "friends and ecumenical partners" to trash Holy Mother Church in response to Pope Benedict XVI's proposal to admit members of the Anglican un-Communion to the True Church.

The following excerpts come from the following New York Times blog:

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/22/liberal-episcopalians-unimpressed-by-vaticans-bid/

Liberal Episcopalians Unimpressed by Vatican’s Bid

By A.G. Sulzberger

But that point was made even more clear when Bishop Lawrence C. Provenzano, who represents the 146 congregations in the Episcopal Diocese of Long Island (including Brooklyn and Queens), dashed off a response giving his take on the Tuesday announcement.

“At the heart of all of this is the reality that the Roman Church is willing to welcome angry, reactionary, misogynistic, homophobic people,” he wrote.

"So while it remains to be seen if the Vatican will be successful in luring Anglicans elsewhere, local leaders and experts say they expect any defections in New York to be minimal.

“I could say with some confidence that I don’t know of one parish in my diocese that would be taking advantage of this offer,” Bishop Provenzano said in an interview.

The Rev. Nell Archer, of the St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, called the furor “international back noise.”

"She said that the range of opinions within her congregation on issues like gay rights or the role of women in the church had not led to division.

“I’ve had people tell me that they don’t approve of the ordination of women, but it hasn’t stopped them from worshiping here,” she said.

Tim

Anonymous said...

"That said, when Catholics meet with Anglicans in ecumenical gatherings, Anglican orders are *not* being approved by the Church. It is a matter of courtesy only."

On paper, the Church doesn't recognize the validity of Anglican orders.

But actions speak louder than words.

During the past 40 or so years, Catholics have been subjected to ecumenical gatherings that before their eyes have presented Protestant "bishops and priests" offering liturgies, blessings and various religious acts alongside Catholic bishops and priests.

Catholics churches and altars, even in Rome (as the Rowan Williams incident in question demonstrates), have been turned over to Protestant "bishops and priests" with Catholic Churchmen participating in Protestant-led liturgies.

Does anybody actual wonder why millions of Catholics believe that all "churches"...all religions are equal?

Does anybody wonder why many Catholics participate in non-Catholic religious services?

What the Church places on paper regarding Protestant orders is one thing...

...what our Churchmen do in actual practice alongside Protestant "priests" is another matter.

Sorry, but it's undeniable that in actual practice, any amount of ecumenical gatherings have given Catholics every reason to believe that Protestants possess vaild orders.

Tim

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. McFarland:

No offence, but I sometimes wonder if you're wet behind the ears. The TAC people have for some years held to ALL Catholic dogma, even the primacy of the Pope, although they insisted on the branch theory, which is an error but not a strict heresy. Essentially, they said that they were part of the Church to begin with but it's just that they Pope didn't know it. It sounds a bit like a certain other group I might name.

It is true that their signature of the St. Louis Affirmation back in the 1990s was not 100% Catholic. But they have long ago given up the Lutheran doctrine on justification, which they never imposed but only allowed. From a doctrinal point of view, in their case, it comes down ENTIRELY to the matter of papal primacy and the branch theory. That means that they are now schismatics, not heretics, just as the first Anglicans were schismatics but not heretics (from 1534 until the doctrinal changes under Edward VI, 1547-53).


All sorts of people get accused of schism these days, you know. Their view would be that the Pope was mistaken but woke up two days ago and offered them a recognition that he was bound to offer all along, at least objectively.

While I don't share their view, it is a theological error which falls short of formal heresy, and they are mistaken schismatics, not heretics. Pray that they shall come to realise this after they have the grace of being part of the One True Church. I was raised to believe that being part of the Church imparts GRACES. Well, these were not available to them. That is about to change. And I, for one, think that a few of them will end up, ironically, as S.S.P.X supporters. Most of them will be good Catholics, unlike a goodly number who attend the N.O.M.

As you told me re Bishop Lahey, pray on it, since there's nothing more to be done about it.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

Some fool wrote this:

"John McFarland and Tim have my vote.

Somehow, I sense that this "reunion" will be the cause of more confusion in the Church (as if we don't have enough)."

And somehow I just know that I shall win $10,000,000 in the lottery, even though I never buy a ticket.

It really amazes me how people who know next to nothing about this matter are so quick to judge the facts. Incredible.

This should be a joyous occasion. We are welcoming them home. Have a heart.

P.K.T.P.

Anonymous said...

On heresy, papacy, and McFarlandry:

The general view is that a pope can be a material heretic but not a formal one. Senior cardinals can not judge him but they can declare that he has fallen into formal heresy if he stubbornly refuses to retract a teaching which must be held by Catholic Faith. Of course, the authority of their declaration will be limited. Ultimately, the informed conscience of each of us must judge honestly. Benedict XVI has never been asked by a Prefect for Doctrine or leading cardinals to retract such a teaching.

Some do think that the present Pope is a material heretic, which is a very serious charge but not one which would remove him from the papal office.

P.K.T.P.

John McFarland said...

Mr. Perkins,

It is certainly true that you know a lot more about these folks than I do; and for all I know, what you know about them is true.

But my basic slant on the matter does not require me to be encumbered by much knowledge.

The notion that people accept the Catholic faith, and refuse to join the Church except corporately in order to retain Anglo-Catholic usages that can't be have any earlier pedigree than the 19th century, strikes me as scandalous, and makes me very suspicious of the judgment and Catholic sincerity of those who take that position. To be sure, I have no more than suspicions; but I have suspicions.

Nor do I consider Mr. Hepworth's track record a simply ad hominem matter. Having such a guy as your Primate -- indeed, their having a primate at all -- is not a good fact. I worry that it's all not much different than the monarchism that you share with some few of the TAC folks: with all due respect, just a hobby. From long and bitter experience, I know that protestations of sound belief are often an affectation, and sometimes a racket.

A further problem is the married clergy. Let me put it bluntly: priests and deacons who live with their wives as husband and wife are an aberration and an abomination, and I think it a bad thing to give it any more purchase in the Church than it already has.

The Novus Ordo is already showing signs of devolving into a collection of cults (think of Opus Dei or the Neocats or Focolare) in as much union with the Pope as they feel like having. I'm afraid that this is just going to be one more. The notion that Rome in its current state will provide much adult supervision is not plausible.

My hope is that those who count in the TAC will decide to keep paddling their own canoe, leaving the individual communicants to vote their conscience.

If suppose what it all boils down to is that I can't conceive of much good coming out of the actions and activities of occupied Rome until ceases to be occupied.

Jordanes said...

The latest edition of "The SSPX Proselyter" says:

But my basic slant on the matter does not require me to be encumbered by much knowledge.

That ought to lead one to consider that there may be something seriously wrong with one's "basic slant."

priests and deacons who live with their wives as husband and wife are an aberration and an abomination

The Catholic Church doesn't seem to agree with you about either the aberration or the abomination part.

But of course your "basic slant" serves as a convenient prophylactic against the Church's contemporary magisterium, or even against her perennial magisterium where that may clash with your opinions (or rather with the SSPX's slant on things which you parrot). You need pay no mind to "occupied Rome."