I am happy to announce that Deborah Gyapong has rejoined the Staff of The Anglo-Catholic. Please join me in welcoming her to the blog!
Be sure to follow our Moderator at Eccentric Bliss, his personal blog!
UPDATE: Now I'm speaking German!!!!!
"The apostolic constitution was not meant to detract from ongoing ecumenical relations with the Anglican Church of Canterbury, which represents millions of people around the globe," Gyapong clarified.
She noted that there has been a "desire for unity" for many decades, explaining that "since the 1960s, there were huge hopes under Pope Paul VI and Archbishop of Canterbury Michael Ramsay that there could be a healing of the rift so that the 'sister churches' could be 'united but not absorbed.'"
The author explained that the Traditional Anglican Communion in particular "has come to see that the ministry of the Pope, the ministry of Peter, is essential, not only as a sign of Christian unity, but a needed juridical authority to ensure that the faith as received from the eyewitnesses of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is passed down intact from generation to generation."
She said, "Our bishops signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church on the altar Oct. 5, 2007 in St. Agatha's Church in Portsmouth, England, signifying, that 'we accept that the most complete and authentic expression and application of the catholic faith in this moment of time is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, which we have signed together with this letter as attesting to the faith we aspire to teach and hold.'"
"As a lay person, a journalist and non-theologian," Gyapong noted, "I make no claims to know everything that is in the [catechism], nor that I would understand everything in it."
"But I have come to see that I can no longer be a little pope in my own mind, choosing and deciding for myself which doctrines I will believe and which I will discard," she added. "So, I choose to come under the authority of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church for what I believe."
The author affirmed that "having an apostolic faith is crucial to our finding freedom in Christ and the freedom to live as we ought to live."
"Many Anglicans are in a difficult discernment process right now," Gyapong affirmed, "some adopting a 'wait and see' attitude to see whether they really will be able to retain their Anglican identity while being full-members of the Roman Catholic Church."
She continued: "But I believe the first ordinariates will be like mustard seeds that will blossom and grow and become increasingly attractive not only to Anglicans but to all Christians who find a beautiful liturgy prayed with meaning helps the whole congregation enter into the mystery of the once-and-for-all Sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
"The Ordinariates will be part of the liturgical renewal the Holy Father hopes for — but the beautiful liturgy will also be married to a full-hearted embrace of the Catholic faith, with teaching from the catechism by priests and bishops who believe what it says, without having their fingers crossed behind their backs, or reducing the supernatural Word of God to a metaphor."
Credete in ciò che dice il Catechismo della Chiesa cattolica? Cosa è per voi l'Eucaristia?
Gyapong: I nostri Vescovi hanno firmato il Catechismo della Chiesa cattolica, il 5 ottobre 2007, sull’altare della chiesa di Sant’Agata a Portsmouth, in Inghilterra. In questo gesto hanno dichiarato: “Accettiamo che la più completa e autentica espressione e applicazione della fede cattolica, in questo momento storico, si trova nel Catechismo della Chiesa cattolica e nel suo Compendio, che abbiamo sottoscritto insieme a questa lettera, come attestazione della fede che aspiriamo ad insegnare e a mantenere”.
Come persona laica, come giornalista e non teologa, non pretendo di conoscere tutto ciò che è nel Catechismo, né di comprendere tutto ciò che insegna. Ma sono arrivata alla conclusione che non posso continuare ad essere un piccolo papa di me stessa, scegliendo e decidendo da me quali elementi di dottrina accogliere e quali rifiutare. Gran parte della mia formazione nella fede, l’ho vissuta da adulta, come evangelica protestante, e gradualmente ho capito che invece di comprendere prima di credere era meglio seguire il consiglio di Sant’Anselmo che dice “credo per comprendere”.
Quindi scelgo di mettermi sotto l’autorità del Magistero della Chiesa cattolica in base a ciò che credo. Avere una fede apostolica è fondamentale per trovare la libertà in Cristo e la libertà di vivere come dovremmo vivere.
Non essendo teologa non posso spigare il mistero dell’Eucaristia, ma posso credere che Gesù è pienamente presente – corpo, mente, anima e divinità – nel Santissimo Sacramento e che Lui ci nutre e ci purifica e ci manda, uniti a Lui, per essere le Sue mani, i Suoi piedi, la Sua voce, per proclamare il Suo amore e la Buona Novella della salvezza ad un mondo in rovina.
I will be taking a bit of a hiatus from The Anglo-Catholic. There comes a time when it is more important to pray than to blog, and this is one of those times — for me personally.
I also have many things to attend to before my schedule really becomes crazy in late September — stuff like getting my finances up to date, cleaning the fridge and the oven, the mundane things of life. I also will be taking some holidays and want to rest in the Lord rather than get caught up in all the speculation, which I fear is having a damaging effect on people and parishes.
I may from time to time put something up on my personal blog, but I don't usually write essays there, just put links to stuff I find interesting. But I expect that blog will also be light.
We had our annual parish picnic today at Bishop Carl Reid and his wife Barb's residence in North Gower, which, as in the ah-men, ay-men controversy is pronounced Go-er, like in go-cart, rather than gow like cow for the first syllable.
What I love about our small congregation is that it is like the bar on the television show Cheers, where everyone knows your name. We have two-year-olds up to a 98-year old who went sky-diving on his 95th birthday. In a culture where so often people are hived off into their age cohorts or peer groups, it is nice for old and young to mingle like a family.
Our parish picnic is one of our yearly traditions that includes a Thanksgiving Dinner, Epiphany Dinner, Shrove Tuesday pancake supper and we may have started a new spring tradition with the Ascension Eve dinner we had this year.
More pictures at my blog, and below the break.
At the outset, let me recognize Fr. Fleming’s personal contribution to the events leading up to the publication of the Apostolic Constitution. In a decade or a generation we can hope that the full story of its origins are told by historians crediting people like Fr. Fleming and the many others who have contributed to the genesis of the Anglican ordinariates.
Second, let me repeat what I have said in a comment on his post: Where I have erred, I hope that I gladly accept correction. I have tried to be very clear in all that I have written that I speak only for myself and from my reading of the official documents and their elucidation by members of the curia. I have gone out of my way to be clear that I make no claim to privileged information, which is something of a rarity among commenters on this issue. I have avoided judging or characterizing the motives of anyone involved in this process from any party and I believe I have been consistent in asking my fellow contributors and those who comment here to refrain from ad hominem attacks.
As to the substance of Fr. Fleming’s piece, in this post, let me deal with an important personal matter or two and also with the substance of the nature of the ordinariates as I understand them from my reading of the text.
First, I would like to address the last piece of Fr. Fleming’s article where he characterizes my response to Deborah’s piece titled “The Magical Ordinariates” as being unfair. Deborah wrote a hard-hitting piece putting forth her view of the ordinariates and used some provocative language phrases such as “gnostic” and “rainbows and unicorns” to describe opinions that I and others had expressed in previous entries. I wrote a piece that replied to her and also to some of the commenters on that thread and similar opinions from other areas. I made it clear in that piece that my argument was with substance, not with Deborah and my language was considerably more restrained than hers had been.
Deborah is a journalist of national standing in Canada who has worked in politics and is a published novelist to boot. She is very much a lady, but very far from a “little lady” who needs the gents to help her speak her mind. We were both readers of one another’s writing before we were on the masthead together at The Anglo-Catholic. We have corresponded extensively since those two articles were written and I think our relationship has only deepened.
Second, in several places, Fr. Fleming accuses me of being making “unsubstantiated assertions” or saying things that are “warrantless” or that “nothing could be further from the truth” than what I have said. I have been writing on this topic since last October, and, in that time, I have written at least 30 pieces on various aspects of Anglicanorum Coetibus. I believe anyone who had the interest in digging through those pieces would agree that I have been among the most careful and measured, if not perhaps the most exciting, writers on this topic. Several writers on Anglican and Catholic sites friendly to the ordinariates have been kind enough to say they have appreciated those efforts for unity and the care which I have taken. To my knowledge, the only place my work has received criticisms similar to those leveled by Fr. Fleming has been in places that are openly hostile to the Holy Father’s initiative. I am afraid that Fr. Fleming allows his passion to drive his rhetoric in his criticism of my writing rather than making a balanced assessment.
And now to substance:
Let me say at the outset some things I have said before to make my own position clear to new readers and to Fr. Fleming, who may not have read my past, more detailed comments on this subject. I do not have a dog in this hunt. Monastic celibacy is of a different theological origin than the discipline of celibacy practiced by the priests of the Western Church. I share the masthead at The Anglo-Catholic with a number of married priests whose lives admirably balance their vocations as priests, fathers, and husbands. When I have referred to this topic, it has been as an illustration of the dangers of getting hopes up in the absence of firm facts and of working ourselves into rigid positions before we know the lie of the land.
Fr. Fleming asks for examples of statements arguing for a different interpretation of celibacy in the ordinariates and for examples of corrections from the Holy See. The examples of Anglican leaders arguing for a liberal interpretation of the document are quite numerous, from Archbishop Hepworth’s statement at the October 2009 FIF assuring the assembly that they would continue to be able to have married priests by way of dispensations which would be given generously to the widely-reported exchange in July of this year between the Church of England Bishop of Richborough and the Roman Catholic Bishop of Nottingham. To my knowledge, the most recent corrective statement made to this view by a member of the curia was that by the Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts at the US Anglican Use Conference in June, which echoed previous statements to this effect by Monsignor Stetson, then US Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, and others.
The most interesting curial quote on the topic of course is the partial quote from Cardinal Levada that Fr. Fleming uses to accuse me of being less generous than the Cardinal. I wrote on this very quote on the day it was issued (story here). I said then that while exceptions may be made for seminarians who are already within the ordination process, the Cardinal’s statement seems to close the door to further ongoing exceptions. I am yet to see any statement in an official document or by a member of the curia that would lead me to hope that there will be provisions beyond these limited cases.
I think that some of the differences Fr. Fleming sees in our opinions are semantic. We are still developing the vocabulary to describe this new thing and terms do need to be sharpened, especially when we are attempting to describe an entity that does not yet exist as a fully-functioning organ of the Church. I do hope that this exchange will contribute to sharpening our language.
The most important of these semantic differences is over “groups” of Anglicans. In my writing, I have emphasized the parochial grouping as something that is likely to have visible continuity as congregations pass from present structures into an ordinariate. I have been more skeptical about the persistence of diocesan and church structures. I certainly agree with Fr. Fleming that churches and dioceses will often petition as a whole for the erection of ordinariates in their area. As he points out, we are already seeing it. My contention has been that we have no indication that these larger groups of Anglicans will persist but will instead will give way to the new structure of the ordinariates.
In his post, Fr. Fleming contradicts this view and for support gives this quote from Fr. Ghirlanda’s commentary that was issued by the Holy See along with Anglicanorum Coetibus and the Complementary Norms that “Anglican faithful who wish to enter, either corporately or individually, into full communion with the Catholic Church.” But this is as substantive a reference as there is to groups in Fr. Ghirlanda’s excellent commentary. As in the text of Anglicanorum Coetibus and that of the Complementary Norms, Fr. Ghirlanda makes no mention of an ongoing life for these predecessor bodies.
Given this, Fr. Fleming attacks my argument from another angle when he says:
He then speculates that it is because the “ordinariates have not created a rite or sui juris church”. That there is a lacuna here is true. That it means what Brother Treat says it means is conjecture. We must wait and see. This is simply not an issue before us. When the ordinariates have been set up and are functioning, such a structure may commend itself to the Holy See. Or it may not.
I find this argument weak on two counts. First, Fr. Fleming consistently attacks me for speculation then bases his counter argument on speculation. Second, Fr. Fleming’s arguments are largely built on quotations from the Ghirlanda Commentary, but in this instance he seems to have overlooked Fr. Ghirlanda’s statement near the opening of the commentary, which reads
These Personal Ordinariates cannot be considered as Particular Ritual Churches since the Anglican liturgical, spiritual and pastoral tradition is a particular reality within the Latin Church.
A variety of things are possible in the future, but in the present, the Church has declined a more expansive view of Anglican polity. This quotation from the Commentary also corrects Fr. Fleming’s seeming assertion of a difference between the Anglican ordinary and the diocesan ordinary when he refers to the later as the “Latin ordinary.” Both men, it would seem according to Fr. Ghirlanda, are Latin ordinaries.
In some cases, an ordinariate may well follow the contours of a former jurisdiction and even have the same leadership, but this will be a new body existing within the Catholic Church with a defined relationship with the CDF and also with a local episcopal conference. The ordinaries of these bodies, even if in some cases they are the same men serving the same territory, will have been appointed to a new jurisdiction with new governing structures outlined in Anglicanorum Coetibus and governed by general and particular norms that are not the same as currently govern various bodies though they certainly draw from Anglican polity in some places.
In some countries, things will be more complicated where multiple petitioning bodies with multiple hierarchies and traditions must be blended into these new structures. As I wrote previously, it seems that Canada might be taken as an example of the cleaner sort of case while the US may prove to be rather messier. And, let me note again, both of those examples are speculative.
The juridical nature of the ordinariates seems to be an area where Fr. Fleming and I have both semantic and substantive disagreement. My caution here has been that, at present, the documents we have do not create such bodies where ordinaries relate to one another as a group, much less have a personality in canon law. But the documents we have do emphasize the place of an ordinariate within its national episcopal conference. It seems prudent to concentrate on what we have and to be cautious if hopeful about what may develop in the future.
Fr. Fleming takes particular issue with my phrase, “the Holy Father did create individual structures within local Episcopal conferences where the Anglican Patrimony would be protected and nurtured.” I will agree here that a better phrase might be something on the order of “integrated with and complementary to local episcopal conferences.”
Let me be clear that I do not believe that the ordinary is in some way the “creature” of the local episcopal conference. The very name “ordinary” speaks of the extent of his jurisdiction and Anglicanorum Coetibus I §3 states that, “Each Ordinariate possesses public juridic personality by the law itself (ipso iure); it is juridically comparable to a diocese.” However, Article V qualifies the “comparability” of this power when it states, “This power is to be exercised jointly with that of the local Diocesan Bishop, in those cases provided for in the Complementary Norms.” In those norms, 16 of 39 paragraphs of the touch on this relationship. Some of the salient points include:
As an addendum to this post, I give the text of these 16 paragraphs in full, but I think this summary supports my reading that, while individual ordinariates will have their distinct identities guaranteed by their special relationship to the CDF, their day-to-day modus operandi is as an entity that is deeply integrated into the life of the national episcopal conference, the local diocese, and the territorial parish. The faithful and organizations of the ordinariates have their distinct customs protected but they are also very much part of the wider Latin Church.
I do not believe that this shared jurisdiction and hybrid structure is a limitation on ordinariates. On the contrary, I believe that the ordinariates will offer their members the best of both worlds. Fr. Ghirlanda sums this up well in his commentary:
The enrichment is mutual: the faithful coming from Anglicanism and entering into full Catholic communion receive the richness of the spiritual, liturgical and pastoral tradition of the Latin Roman Church in order to integrate it into their own tradition, which integration will in itself enrich the Latin Roman Church. On the other hand, exactly this Anglican tradition – which will be received in its authenticity in the Latin Roman Church – has constituted within Anglicanism precisely one of those gifts of the Church of Christ, which has moved these faithful towards Catholic unity.
In seeing members of diocesan parishes and the territorial parishes of the ordinariates working and praying together for the coming of the Kingdom, a wonderful step is being made toward restoring the unity for which Christ prayed in his High Priestly Prayer in John 17.
Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
May we all truly desire that unity and count the costs as small, whether we are already in the full communion of the Church or making great sacrifices to come.
Whatever the final shape of things, I will be rejoicing. I hope in the days to come we can spend more of our time taking up Fr. Phillips suggestion to let our light shine.
An Italian friend of mine alerted me to the fact that my personal reflections on Cardinal Ouellet were picked up by an Italian blog, Il blog degli amici di Papa Ratzinger .
La giornalista anglocattolica (TAC). Cool!
She beat me to it, having already posted a couple of times earlier today, but I am very pleased to welcome Deborah Gyapong to the staff of The Anglo-Catholic! Deborah is a communicant of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada, the Canadian province of the Traditional Anglican Communion, and a member of the Cathedral Parish of the Annunciation in Ottawa, Ontario. Her insights will add tremendously to the site, I am thrilled to have her on-board!
I'm delighted that Christian has invited me to join the roster of The Anglo-Catholic. Here's a little introduction.
I have been a member of the Traditional Anglican Communion's Ottawa Cathedral of the Annunciation for about ten years now. I have a rather bizarre and convoluted spiritual journey that began with my Russian Orthodox baptism as an infant. But I spent most of my teens and early 20s resisting spitefully any overtures from God. Here's a link to my testimony that appeared in the National Post a few years ago.
I did have some tenuous links to Anglicanism in my childhood. My father called himself a "mercenary Episcopalian" because he got paid to sing in some of the top Episcopal Church choirs in the Boston area. I would sometimes accompany him to the Church of the Advent but hanging around during rehearsals was a hardship and I was painfully shy around other children. But I grew up around the musical traditions of both the Russian Orthodox and the Anglican churches.
After my journey into apostasy, through various forms of Gnosticism and then into an "it's just me and Jesus" cafeteria Christianity, I found shelter in a seeker-friendly Baptist Church in the Ottawa area. It is there, in the evangelical world, where I began to develop my adult Christian faith. I am so grateful for the gentle shepherding I received at Kanata Baptist. Had I plunged right into the TAC, I would have suffered the spiritual "bends."
"What? No women priests?" "What? All this vain repetition?" "What? Creeds!" I would have been done in by the Athanasian Creed, I am sure. Thus I have great respect for the different ways the Lord woos us and am comfortable in a range of worship settings. And I hope no one keels over when I say this, but I am so grateful for a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
At a certain point in my spiritual journey, I shifted from being someone who had to understand before I could believe to adopting Anselm's Credo ut intelligam–"I believe in order that I may understand."
Thus came a yearning to have an Apostolic faith. It was not long after that a chance meeting after a lecture brought me to our idiosyncratic little cathedral parish and I found I loved the kneeling, the reverence, the language. I already had an intuitive belief in Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist.
And I loved the way our then Bishop Robert Mercer prayed the mass. Somehow, his focus and sense of recollection made it impossible not to be lifted to heaven, to hear every word, to pray with him. I started bringing friends and some of them stuck, too.
Every Saturday, we have breakfast after the Eucharist in our parish hall. What an opportunity for one on one catechesis that was.
When I joined the TAC around 1999-2000, I was still working as a television producer for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Then I did a little stint as a communications officer for the then Leader of the Official Opposition. Then I got fired when a new leader came in, and started my own little communications business. I also polished up a novel that I had hoped would become a best seller and bring me a huge income I could retire on. The Defilers won the Best New Canadian Christian Author Award and was published in 2006. But, alas, it has sold terribly, though people who have bothered to read it have liked it.
Work in my communications business strangely dried up in 2004 and I tried about eight months of "living the dream" of being a full time fiction writer. But the isolation of writing fiction full time proved to be not all I thought it would be. I confess, I like the idea of being a writer more than I like being a real writer. If you see any typos, you'll get my drift. (I don't see them even if I look for them, sorry). I love churning out first drafts. Polishing is a chore. And I needed to earn some money. So when I spied the notice of job opening with Roman Catholic papers to be the national correspondent for a cooperative called Canadian Catholic News, I applied.
Being a Roman Catholic was not a requirement. In my interview with several of the editors, I told them I loved the Catholic Church and I loved the Holy Father. "I'm more Catholic than 85% of the people in the pews of the Catholic Church," I told them. (Yet I didn't know even what a monsignor was. I had a steep learning curve ahead of me.)
The editors traded meaningful glances and left to discuss the matter among themselves. Then they offered me the job.
What an amazing ride it has been. I jumped immediately into covering the same-sex 'marriage' debate then raging in Canada. Within a few weeks, I was covering my first plenary session of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB).
Now I've covered six plenaries. I've seen some beautiful renewal in the Catholic Church in Canada even in my short time covering the Church. My position in the National Capital has been a great perch from which to observe the many signs of hope here. And I often wonder if there was anything providential in my being a member of the TAC writing for Catholic papers at this time in our journey towards union with the Holy See.
Case in point. When the Apostolic Constitution (AC) was announced, I fortuitously happened to be down in Cornwall, Ontario covering the last CCCB plenary. I had gone to my room on Monday night, checked my computer and people were Tweeting me (sending me messages on Twitter for those who don't use the site) that something was going to happen the next day that involved us. So I set my alarm early and first thing the next morning I checked my email and by 6:00 a.m. Eastern a friend of mine from Zenit had already sent me the texts of both news conferences. So I went off and got about a dozen copies printed off to pass around.
Who should happen to be at the plenary that morning but the Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada Archbishop Fred Hiltz! I dunno, if I wrote a novel with all those "coincidences" in it, my critique partners would tell me it was just not believable. Hiltz is a very nice man, but he didn't seem to think much of the AC. When I interviewed him later that day, he said he did not expect many Anglicans would avail themselves of it. The juridical authority of the Pope was the sticking point.
Last summer, I had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet Pope Benedict XVI. I had flown over on the Canadian Prime Minister's plane to cover his first papal audience. While the other journalists went off to cover the G8, I had to hang around in Rome for a few days. Poor me.
But a big scandal had broken back in Canada. The Prime Minister, an evangelical, was accused of pocketing the Host during a Catholic funeral prior to leaving for Italy. He didn't, of course. But it sure made my life busy. The meeting with Pope Benedict took place on the day we flew home to Ottawa. I brought him greetings from Bishop Peter Wilkinson.
So here we are.