Peregrinus Continues the Discussion

Here's Part Two of "Reluctant Anglicans" by Peregrinus. It appears on his blog, Peregrinations, and has been posted also on Fr Stephen Smuts' blog. Since there was a good discussion resulting from the posting of Part One, I thought our readers would like to continue with the series.

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Reluctant Anglicans (2)

The questions presented here in the first "Reluctant" post have caused quite a flurry of comment on other blogs. I will attempt to summarize some of the constructive comments since our purpose is to seek clarification for those sincerely seeking to respond to our Lord's prayer that we all may be one.

So, here is a partial summary with the caveat that any condensation will be incomplete and since, as repeatedly mentioned, this is a process which is unfolding over years there are no easy, much less permanent, responses apart from those which are made by the CDF and other agents of the Holy See.

With this in mind, here we go with a first attempt at summary.

1. Authority

A number of posts have raised concerns about "private judgement" in relation to questions of authority. Some have pointed out that, amongst others, J.H. Newman held that there was a role for and necessity for the Church to elicit the voice of the laity in the determination of many matters including the reception of doctrine.

As it applies to the Ordinariates there are a number of matters which affect how this role might be defined in the governance of parishes, sodalities and ordinariate structures generally.

Anglicanorum Coetibus outlines clearly that it is expected that the councils and committees which are to be part of the structure being erected will reflect the engagement and contributions of laity in oversight at various levels. This has been a developing part of Anglican patrimony which will continue in the Ordinariates.

For Newman consultation with and participation by the laity is an important aspect of faithful discipleship as it relates to the stewardship which we collectively share for the Church Militant. In no way does consulting the laity detract from the proper role of doctrinal development and definition through the Petrine office or the role of the Magisterium in governing. In fact, the role of laity was seen by Newman as complementary to the Magisterium and as a sign of a vibrant Church with an educated laity – something Newman stove for in his work to establish a Catholic university in Ireland and in other aspects of his ministry.

The role of the laity as an aspect of patrimony is not then to be confused with the issue of "private judgement" in matters of doctrine.


Due to time constraints, posts on this topic will continue at irregular intervals. For those interested there is much more discussion on the "The Anglo-Catholic" blog and Fr. Smut's blog amongst others.

Time does not allow a full digest of the constructive comments made there so discussion here will be selective but those who post comments to this blog will receive full consideration and, as stated, constructive comments will be posted here.

More to follow.

Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

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