In the wake of the Holy Father's promulgation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (liberalizing the celebration of Holy Mass and the other Sacraments according to the liturgical books in force in 1962), liberal prelates rushed to issue "clarifying statements" and "local norms" designed to impede its implementation in their dioceses. The motu proprio represented a dramatic departure from past policy, guaranteeing to every priest in the Latin Rite the permission to celebrate the older rites without having to seek the consent of the local ordinary. Having resisted earlier papal initiatives to provide for traditionalists (in the circular letter Quattuor abhinc annos and the motu proprio Ecclesia Dei adflicta), modernist bishops believed (and many still do!) that they could continue to defy the will of the Holy Father. Summorum Pontificum was a dead letter in many dioceses, as bishops deliberately misconstrued the provisions of the motu proprio to maintain their power to frustrate the efforts of priests inclined to offer the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
Anglicanorum Coetibus is not the first attempt by the Holy See to accommodate those married Anglican clergy and congregations interested in entering the Catholic Church in a corporate fashion. In 1980, Pope John Paul II established the so-called Pastoral Provision in the United States to do just that, but the American bishops responded to requests from Catholic-minded Episcopalians with indifference and occasionally with hostility. Inquiring Episcopal clergy were often rebuffed or held in limbo for years on end awaiting ordination, and ultimately, only a handful of Anglican Use congregations were successfully established.
Now that Anglicanorum Coetibus has been released, addressing as it does all of the shortcomings of the Pastoral Provision and extending its reach worldwide, it is disconcerting to see many in the Catholic establishment seeking again to maintain the status quo.
The BBC News web site is carrying an interview with Monsignor Andrew Faley, Assistant General Secretary of the English and Welsh Catholic bishops' conference, and a member of the new commission established to coordinate the implementation of Anglicanorum Coetibus in England and Wales. The interview is filled with obstructionist "spin" and glaring misrepresentations of the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution. In fairness to Msgr. Faley, it is occasionally unclear whether the distortions are his or that of the reporter; nonetheless it is important that the inaccuracies be addressed. The entire article is reproduced below with my comments in red.
Anglicans thinking of Rome 'must not become a sect'
By Trevor Timpson
Discontented Anglicans who convert must not become a "sect" within the Roman Catholic Church, a senior Catholic clergyman dealing with church unity has warned.
This is the same sort of dismissive language liberals use to refer to traditionalists already in the Catholic Church. Being differentiated in any way from the modernist, "spirit of Vatican II" nonsense so prevalent in the mainstream Church makes one a 'sectarian'. This little backwards cult with their traditional liturgy and devotions must be made to conform.
Anglicans who object to plans for women bishops are considering the Vatican's invitation to become part of a special section – an "ordinariate" – within the church in England and Wales.
Catholic Anglicans are not simply running away from women bishops.
Monsignor Andrew Faley, Assistant General Secretary of the English and Welsh Catholic bishops' conference, told the BBC News website that ordinariate members would be expected to co-operate with their local bishop and the life of their local Catholic parish.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with cooperation with the local bishops and their dioceses. After all, this is what true communion is all about. But Msgr. Faley's 'cooperation' is really 'subordination'.
"They can't live separate from it… that would be a "sect" approach and that would not be tolerated within the Catholic understanding of the church," he said.
As well as dealing with inter-church relations for the bishops' conference, Mgr Faley is a member of the commission it has set up to "consider the next steps" following the Vatican's publication of an Apostolic Constitution on receiving Anglican converts.
"What it means to be a Catholic is a very important question and a question that anyone considering the ordinariate needs to be seeking answers to," he insists.
Absolutely, and that's why characterizing Anglo-Catholics as "disgruntled" or simply fleeing women bishops is demeaning.
"They become members of a Church which has the ministry of the successor of St Peter as its source of unity… unity for Catholics is central to their understanding of the Church."
Meanwhile, much still needs to be clarified about the application of the Apostolic Constitution, says Mgr Faley.
It is a pity that Msgr. Faley goes on to speculate on those very matters that require clarification.
The Vatican document provides that the ordinariate, headed by an "ordinary" with similar status to a bishop, and its parishes would be separate from the ordinary Catholic dioceses and parishes – but with many links to them at national and local level.
Members of the ordinariate would retain "those aspects of the Anglican patrimony that are of particular value". Some media reports have claimed this refers to the practice of allowing priests to marry.
A substantial number of married ex-Anglican priests are already Catholic priests, having crossed to Rome in the years following the ordination of women priests by the Church of England in the 1990s.
But the overwhelming majority of Catholic priests in Britain are required to remain unmarried and celibate.
The Apostolic Constitution, by setting out the procedure for admitting married men to the priesthood within the ordinariate, has revived interest among some Catholics in the question of priestly celibacy within their church.
But Mgr Faley says there is no great change in the offing.
This is correct. The universal norm of clerical celibacy remains in effect. What will occur in the new Anglican personal ordinariates will not affect the discipline in the rest of the Western Church.
The mechanism for giving a dispensation to married ex-Anglican clergy to become Catholic priests will continue in the ordinariate, he says.
But a man in the ordinariate who wishes to be considered as a priest "would be ordained as a celibate priest; he wouldn't be allowed to marry."
Provided the man is unmarried at the time he is ordained a Catholic priest, this is correct. Clerics will not be allowed to marry once in orders. If this is meant to suggest that only unmarried men will be admitted to the presbyterate in the future, this is not true. See here.
And a married man who has not been an Anglican priest, could he apply? "No," says Mgr Faley, "A married man within the Catholic tradition cannot be ordained; the norm is celibacy."
Msgr. Faley appears to be speaking of ordinary Roman Catholic laity ("a married man within the Catholic tradition"). If this is the case, he is correct. Future clergy must come from within the personal parishes, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life of the ordinariates.
The Apostolic Constitution allows for a former Anglican bishop to head the ordinariate. If he were married – as are most of the bishops on the Catholic wing of the Church of England – he could not be a Roman Catholic bishop, but could be the ordinary, and a member of the bishops' conference.
Book of Common Prayer
However, Mgr Faley feels: "Within the nature of the bishops' conference as it currently stands it's almost certain that the ordinary of the ordinariate would be a celibate Catholic bishop."
The nature of the bishops' conference is immaterial. The Holy See erects the personal ordinariate and appoints the ordinary — not the local episcopal conferences.
Some commentators might be surprised by the idea that the head of the ordinariate would not be a leader from the present Anglo-Catholic tradition.
As much as the English Roman Catholic bishops may wish to advance one of their own, it seems inconceivable that an ordinary would not be, at least, a former Anglican (though perhaps received into the church a while ago). The TAC bishops certainly have been assured that ordinaries would come from their ranks.
"I really don't know," says Mgr Faley. "There is the possibility that he would be – but within the culture of the bishops' conference I think that's highly unlikely."
Msgr. Faley should have stuck with "I really don't know."
Another Anglican tradition many commentators have mentioned is the use of the Book of Common Prayer as the framework of church ceremonies.
But many Anglo-Catholic parishes in the Church of England do not use the Book of Common Prayer; they use the Roman Rite, as the Roman Catholics do.
Such congregations might be happier as mainstream Roman Catholics – or staying in the C of E, says Mgr Faley.
While the Book of Common Prayer looms large in our tradition, its exclusive use is not the sine qua non of Anglicanism. Obviously, Rome is well aware of the fact the the vast majority of English ACs worship according to the modern Roman Rite.
The ordinariate will not follow the Roman rite; it will follow "Anglican worship patterns" as approved by Rome following a revision to bring them in line with Catholic teaching, he anticipates.
There is absolutely nothing in the Apostolic Constitution that prescribes a particular Anglican liturgy, but it does say that the Roman Rite can not be excluded. English Anglo-Catholics largely decided to follow the liturgical reforms of the Second Vatican Council and who is to say that this is not a perfectly acceptable "Anglican worship pattern?"
In fact, says Mgr Faley, "What is meant by 'Anglican patrimony' will have to be explored thoroughly… will need to be very clearly stated and very clearly described."
He does not foresee legal battles over church buildings if groups of Anglicans do decide to convert to Rome in large numbers. Unlike North America, Anglican congregations do not own their own buildings, he says; the Anglican Church's relationship to its property is enshrined in law:
"There's no way in which a parish moving from the Church of England to the ordinariate would be allowed to take its parish property with it. That's just not possible at all."
This, of course, remains to be seen. But thanks for being so optimistic! The possibility certainly exists that AC parishes will secure long term leases of their buildings from the Church of England.
Sharing an Anglican church building might work in some "very particular" situations, he says, but "broadly speaking I think it's more likely that a parish in the ordinariate for worship purposes would share the local Catholic church or churches."
And another task for the commission, he stresses, is to "maintain a good working relationship which we already have with the Church of England".
The joint search for "the full unity of the Church" carries on, he says: "I think it's quite an important point, really."
Quite. As Cardinal Kasper has reminded us, there is still hope in ecumenism with the Church of England. Whatever.
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