Thank you, Father Tomlinson. Now let's dispel another myth: the myth that full communion can be achieved while dissenting from doctrine.
Here we are in the summer after Anglicanorum coetibus. One would think that, in the months that AC has been studied and discussed, it would be well understood.
Yet despite the clear intent of the apostolic constitution, and despite the self-evident implications of full communion for doctrinal unanimity, discussion continues, in this forum and elsewhere, suggesting that some who dissent from portions of Church doctrine should nevertheless seek membership through the ordinariates – as if accession to the ordinariates will not, or should not, require a profession of faith.
In drafting Anglicanorum coetibus, the Holy Father wisely anticipated so many questions. And now we can see the wisdom and foresight of Benedict in providing that the Catechism of the Catholic Church will be the standard of faith in the ordinariates (AC Section 5). The Holy Father anticipated the argument that, despite its internally contradictory nature, is now being played out.
What AC offers is the opportunity to come into the fullness of the faith without having to leave behind the beauty of the Anglican patrimony. What AC does not offer is a shortcut that would allow someone to claim full communion while rejecting, or worse yet, while declining even to consider what the faith teaches us.
In a comment elsewhere in this forum, Father Berry quotes the Catechism: “Involuntary doubt refers to hesitation in believing, difficulty in overcoming objections connected with the faith, or also anxiety aroused by its obscurity. If deliberately cultivated doubt can lead to spiritual blindness." (CCC 2088) Father Berry then goes on to say in his own words, “It is only this deliberate cultivation of doubt – this hardening of the heart against some teaching of the Church – this willful shutting off of one’s hearing from the teaching voice of the Church that is a problem.”
Many Anglicans who now find themselves being called to full communion through the ordinariates have confronted the crisis in Anglicanism and have identified it for what it is: the lack of a consistent, unified, and trustworthy magisterium. And yet, perhaps out of habit more than anything else, and even while acknowledging the primacy of Peter, some are not quite ready to embrace the Magisterium of the Church. Perhaps there is some Marian doctrine, or some question of Holy Orders, or some obscure theological point that is not immediately accessible.
This is an obstacle that must be overcome before full communion is possible. Father Berry rightfully refers to it as a hardening of the heart. Perhaps it is just an old habit.
I understand that habit, the habit of disobedience, and I understand it from personal experience. Most thoughtful people understand it. And sooner or later, most Catholics (Anglo-, cradle- or otherwise) must confront the crisis of obedience as we consider — seriously consider — what the Church teaches us. Embracing the discipline of obedience to Church teaching, and doing so willingly and as an exercise of one's own freedom, is the solution.
Embracing obedience to Church authority as a voluntary exercise of freedom may at first seem paradoxical. But an exercise of freedom is not a surrender of freedom, as every new day will bring a new opportunity to revoke the obedience, and willfully to fall into error. Thus there truly is no contradiction.
Willingly embracing obedience demands a difficult new discipline and spirituality for all who come to it for the first time as adults. (We independently-minded Texans in particular, come to it with particular difficulty.) But once arriving at the necessity to reconcile, we can reason that obedience is just an appropriate response to authority, that Christ founded the Church on authority, and that authority is necessary for the preservation of the integrity of the faith.
Coming to a place where we are willing to accept whatever the Church teaches, simply because it is being taught by Christ through legitimate apostolic authority, can be a liberating experience.
Is it possible that we may have not just equal freedom, but greater freedom, after voluntarily submitting to authority? Perhaps so. I am more free, rather than less free, if I can accept doctrine based on Divine authority. I am free from the need to process the question through the weak filter of my own individual theological expertise, or through a synod or convention that determines doctrine by popular vote (and changes its mind every several years), or through a minister whose only authority is a bible college diploma. And I am free from uncertainty.
To those who feel a call to reunion through the ordinariates, you are being called to full communion, which demands full acceptance of all that the Church teaches. Consider that submission to the truth might be liberating, and not a burden at all. Consider the possibility that Anglicanorum coetibus offers you a new level of beauty and of freedom in your relationship with the Truth that is Jesus Christ
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