Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Saturday, December 5, 2009

On Retreat

Tomorrow, Sunday, after morning Mass, to Pluscarden Abbey. Back on Saturday.

Brentwood Vocations Website/Blog

A new vocations blog has been launched by the Brentwood diocese. This is another sign of a positive trend in vocations promotion. Please God it will lead a good number of young men to respond to a calling to the priesthood in the diocese of Brentwood and elsewhere.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pope Benedict Accepts Archbishop McDonald's resigntion

Southwark is once again Sede Vacante. Sadly, Archbishop Kevin has found it necessary to submit his resignation on health grounds.

From the Southwark Archdiocese website:

At 11am (GMT) The Holy Father accepted the accepted the resignation of Archbishop Kevin McDonald of Southwark in accordance with Canon 401 §2. The Archbishop submitted his resignation to the Holy Father having taken account of medical advice. The Archbishop has had a triple heart bypass and also suffers from severe osteoarthritis. This has already necessitated surgery and the Archbishop envisages further surgery in 2010.

Archbishop McDonald said,

“I feel great sadness at having to relinquish my post as Archbishop of Southwark. Although I have had to contend with illness over the last three years, this appointment has been a great grace. It has been a privilege to lead this great Diocese and I have received a wonderful response to everything I have tried to do. I have also been very appreciative of the prayers of so many people while I have been ill. The Diocese will continue to be very much in my thoughts and prayers in the time ahead.”

A Diocesan Administrator will be appointed soon and he will be in charge of the Diocese, until a new Archbishop takes possession of the Diocese.

The Archbishop's letter to the people of the diocesan can be found here. I'm sure we would all want to reassure His Grace that he will be very much supported in our prayers.

Further details of the canonical situation can be found at the Bishops' Conference website.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 9, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Lest we forget

A very moving Sunday Worship from Camp Bastion in Afghanistan thanks to BBC Radio 4.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Climate change: science or a con?

Am I alone in the Catholic blogosphere of getting really tired with the doom and gloom of the climate change lobby? This morning's edition of Radio 4's Farming Today - which I often have on in the morning whilst doing my ablutions - I'm not a farmer but I like hearing about countryside matters - lauds farmers who try to reduce the methane output of cattle by breeding animals that produce meat more 'efficiently' (and fart less) and so fewer animals are needed.

I'm all for reducing consumption of energy, but I'm just a bit suspicious when what is perfectly natural is considered a threat to the planet. The more human way is surely to seek to live a virtuous life by which we are moderate in our use of the goods of the earth. The climate change lobby instils fear. Christianity instils love and sobriety.

Parents with large (these days 3 is large!) broods of young children are accused of being selfish and destroying the planet.

Now, what about a conspiracy theory for good measure? What do readers think of this interview with Lord Monckton on the proposed Copenhagen Treaty and the prospect of a world government?

An appeal to the Holy Father for a return to truly Sacred Art

Sandro Magister carries news of an appeal promoted by the author Martin Mosebach (author of The Heresy of Formlessness - a superb book, you can order it from the Amazon link in the sidebar to the right). I've signed up (and it's where I got the idea of adding the MixPod giving you some nice Luis de Victoria music.

UPDATE: I have heard from the organisers of this petition who clarify that Mosebach is not the author of this petition but that it is the work of a team and is intended to be open to all Catholic faithful without distinction of position, thoughts, profession etc.

I do, however, recommend Mosebach's book.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ordination of married Anglicans

Thanks to Fr Mildew and Damian Thompson for drawing attention to the clarification issued today on the Vatican website. The language of the text makes it difficult to interpret.

What I think it means is:
  • that the current practice of ordaining former anglican ministers who are married and who are found eligible for ordination in the Catholic Church will continue;
  • celibacy is still to be the norm for laymen being ordained;
  • but married men who are currently seminarians can be considered for ordination.
Hopefully the final text will be clearer.

There has been widespread speculation, based on supposedly knowledgeable remarks by an Italian correspondent Andrea Tornielli, that the delay in publication of the Apostolic Constitution regarding Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, announced on October 20, 2009, by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is due to more than "technical" reasons. According to this speculation, there is a serious substantial issue at the basis of the delay, namely, disagreement about whether celibacy will be the norm for the future clergy of the Provision.

Cardinal Levada offered the following comments on this speculation: "Had I been asked I would happily have clarified any doubt about my remarks at the press conference. There is no substance to such speculation. No one at the Vatican has mentioned any such issue to me. The delay is purely technical in the sense of ensuring consistency in canonical language and references. The translation issues are secondary; the decision not to delay publication in order to wait for the ‘official’ Latin text to be published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis was made some time ago.

The drafts prepared by the working group, and submitted for study and approval through the usual process followed by the Congregation, have all included the following statement, currently Article VI of the Constitution:

§1 Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI Sacerdotalis coelibatus, n. 42 and in the Statement "In June" are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1.

§2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.

This article is to be understood as consistent with the current practice of the Church, in which married former Anglican ministers may be admitted to priestly ministry in the Catholic Church on a case by case basis. With regard to future seminarians, it was considered purely speculative whether there might be some cases in which a dispensation from the celibacy rule might be petitioned. For this reason, objective criteria about any such possibilities (e.g. married seminarians already in preparation) are to be developed jointly by the Personal Ordinariate and the Episcopal Conference, and submitted for approval of the Holy See."

Cardinal Levada said he anticipates the technical work on the Constitution and Norms will be completed by the end of the first week of November.

See also
Whispers in the Loggia

Altar Servers Trip to Rome

As mentioned earlier a group of altar servers and some of their parents went on a pilgrimage to Rome Tuesday to Thursday led by Father Stephen Boyle, the diocesan spiritual director of the Guild of St Stephen. The trip is kept at a budget price by spending just two nights but having three full days in Rome by taking the first easyJet flight out from Gatwick to Fiumicino on Tuesday morning and the last flight back on Wednesday night.

Day one consisted of a visit to the Vatican museums including the Sistine Chapel.

The group on the spiral staircase in the Vatican Museums.

This was followed by a visit to the Venerable English College for Mass celebrated by Fr Stephen. We were welcomed at the door by Southwark student Matthew O'Gorman. Following the Mass the rector, Mgr Nicholas Hudson who also is a priest of the Southwark Archdiocese, gave the youngsters a brief tour of the College, decribing the martyrdom of the priests who trained that the College during the reign of Elizabeth I only to return to Britain to face certain death. He recalled how, whenever news reached the College that another former-student priest had been martyred, the seminarians gathered to sing a Te Deum. He also said how a priest being executed would think of his brothers at the English College who would be singing the Te Deum when news of his martyrdom reached them.

Click on picture to see gruesome images of hanging, drawing and quaertering.

Mgr Hudson didn't fail to remind the youngsters that in the previous reign of Mary Tudor, protestants had been killed and that we must pray that Christians never do these things to one another again.

We were very pleased to meet some of our Southwark seminarians at the Venerable English College, including Luke dePoulford who is pictured below with Wonersh seminarian Samuel Davey and Fr Stephen.

Day two took us to St Peter's for the Wednesday audience with the Pope. We were the first of the English language groups to be mentioned.

Servers awaiting the arrival of Pope Benedict.

Following a brief shopping period and a welcome lunch, it was off to St Mary Major's for Mass celebrated by me and guided tour by Fr Stephen.

Following that, an evening visit to the Collosseum, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Piazza Navona. Take-away pizzas, ice creams, milk shakes, smoothies etc. were consumed en route.

An amazing event took place at the Trevi Fountains. One of our party had lost his wallet with money and NHS health card. Although we thought there probably wouldn't be any point in re-tracing steps, assuming the wallet had been taken by a pick pocket, we nevertheless went back and found that the wallet had been handed to the police who were still on duty there. We met the young man who had handed the wallet in, extremely appreciative of his honesty and integrity.

The group at the Trevi fountain.

Day three saw us getting up very early for Mass in St Peter's Basilica celebrated by Fr Stephen on the altar of Blessed John XXIII. I suggested - tongue in cheek - that it would surely be most appropriate to celebrate the Mass using the Missal which Pope John left to the Church in 1962, but that suggestion was not taken up. In the basilica, however, many priests were obviously celebrating Mass in the extraordinary form.

The Mass was followed by a visit to the grottoes of the Popes. The group then went up the cupola for fine views of Rome, followed by a short period of prayer in the by now crowded Blessed Sacrament Chapel and a tour of the basilica.

We then had a visit to the offices of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith courtesy of Mgr Patrick Burke (pictured left below) who took the group to the roof of the building for a close up view of St Peter's.

Then it was off to the catacombs of St Callistus and a slap-up lunch before returning to our hotel to collect luggage and transfer to the airport, and arrival back to London after 11pm. All tired, but having had a great trip.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Anglicanism has become a joke

It is not me who says this but a bishop of the Church of England: the Rt Rev John Broadhurst, the Bishop of Fulham.

Having been away I'm catching up on further developments since the announcement of a Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans wishing to come into full communion with the Catholic Church.

You can find a fuller report at the Daily Telegraph where it is revealed that the Bishop of Chichester, Rt Rev. John Hind might be preparing to join Rome:
"This is a remarkable new step from the Vatican," he said. "At long last there are some choices for Catholics in the Church of England. I'd be happy to be reordained into the Catholic Church."

While the bishop stressed that this would depend on his previous ministry being recognised, he said that the divisions in the Anglican Communion could make it impossible to stay.

"How can the Church exist if bishops are not in full communion with each other," he said.

H/t to Kate.

Important note: recognition of ministry is not the same as recognition of Orders. I gather that, when a convert Anglican clergyman is ordained a Catholic priest, prayers are included giving thanks for the ministry previously exercised.

Cardinal Murphy O'Connor appointed to Congregations of Bishops and Evangelisaion of Peoples

Pope Benedict has appointed Cardinal Murphy O'Connor to the Congregation of Bishops and the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. According to the press release from the Catholic Communications Network, he will have an important role in selecting Bishops for the many dioceses around the world.
In his new role, Cardinal Cormac will be directly involved in the appointment of Bishops for England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland, as well for countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and Oceania.
The press release says that these appointments illustrate the enormous esteem in which the Holy Father holds the Cardinal.
In a mark of extraordinary esteem, Pope Benedict XVI has appointed Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor to two important Vatican congregations that select bishops for most dioceses of the Latin-rite Catholic Church worldwide.
It is highly unusual for the pope to appoint a retired bishop or cardinal to such positions for the first time. That Pope Benedict has decided to name Cardinal Cormac to these two important posts is an indicator of the great respect and high esteem which he enjoys with both the pope and senior Vatican officials.
Pope Benedict has given him a role of great importance which will have an impact on the future of the Universal Church in many lands. It also takes him deep inside the corridors of power in the Vatican.
The Cardinal will hold these posts until he reaches his 80th birthday on 24th August 2012, unless the Holy Father's esteem is such that he asks him to remain in office.

Child Abuse: Bash the Catholic Church but respect 'religious sensitivies' of other religious groups

This from Zenit.
New York Busy With "National Pastime"
Archbishop Dolan Laments Anti-Catholicism on His Blog
NEW YORK, OCT. 29, 2009 ( Baseball is not America's only pastime, according to the archbishop of New York. Anti-Catholicism is another, and it's as prevalent as ever.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan reflected on anti-Catholicism in a post on his blog today, offering his readers an article that was rejected by the New York Times.

He contended that it "is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime."

"Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as 'the deepest bias in the history of the American people.' [...] 'The anti-semitism of the left,' is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic 'the last acceptable prejudice,'" the archbishop noted.

Making the news

He then cited four articles appearing in just over two weeks in the New York Times.

The archbishop wrote: "On Oct. 14, in the pages of the New York Times, reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. According to the article, there were 40 cases of such abuse in this tiny community last year alone.

"Yet the Times did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency. Instead, an attorney is quoted urging law enforcement officials to recognize 'religious sensitivities,' and no criticism was offered of the DA’s office for allowing Orthodox rabbis to settle these cases 'internally.'

"Given the Catholic Church’s own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so ... but I can criticize this kind of 'selective outrage.'"

"On Oct. 16," the archbishop continued, "Laurie Goodstein of the Times offered a front page, above-the-fold story on the sad episode of a Franciscan priest who had fathered a child. Even taking into account that the relationship with the mother was consensual and between two adults, and that the Franciscans have attempted to deal justly with the errant priest’s responsibilities to his son, this action is still sinful, scandalous and indefensible.

"However, one still has to wonder why a quarter-century old story of a sin by a priest is now suddenly more pressing and newsworthy than the war in Afghanistan, health care, and starvation-genocide in Sudan. No other cleric from religions other than Catholic ever seems to merit such attention."


Archbishop Dolan clarified that anti-Catholicism is hardly limited to the pages of the New York Times.

"Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues," he said.

The prelate went on to note inaccurate comments made by a Congressman regarding the Church's stance on health care reform, and a bill in the New York state legislature that will cost Catholic schools thousands of dollars.

"The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it," Archbishop Dolan said. "All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be 'rained out' for good." "I guess my own background in American history should caution me not to hold my breath," the prelate added. "Then again," he quipped, "yesterday was the Feast of St. Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes."

Full text of Archbishop Dolan's article.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Off to Rome tomorrow

with altar servers from various parishes of the diocese. Trip organised by my brother Father Stephen. It'll be a quick one: first flight out of Gatwick tomorrow, last flight back on Thursday. Your prayers for a good trip and the spiritual benefit of all concerned would be appreciated. Thanks!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Former Anglicans and Celibacy - good response on the Sunday programme

Unsurprisingly the Pope's latest provision for Catholic-minded Anglicans was featured on this morning's Sunday Programme. One of Roger Bolton's interviewees was Mgr Andrew Faley, assistant general secretary of the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales. Bolton tried to catch Mgr Faley out on the celibacy issue, but failed completely. Here's what was said (more or less):

Bolton: "You don’t have a choice as priest within the Roman Catholic Church"
Faley: "I did have choice. I made that choice when I was ordained."
Bolton: "Yes, when you were ordained. After you are ordained you no longer have a choice. Those who are coming over from the Church of England will continue to have a choice."
Faley: "They won’t still continue to have a choice because committed as they are within their vows of marriage to live that particular vocation to its fullness they have already made their choice and within that context the Church is recognising the richness of their ministry and that’s part of the invitation that the Holy Father has offered..."

I thought that was an excellent response.

You can listen here for a week. The above snippet occurs about 31 minutes into the programme.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Poor Clares of Ty Mam Duw

I've been sent link to this video of the Poor Clare Colletines of Ty Mam Duw and am happy to put it up here. It's good to pray for vocations to contemplative orders such as these. Sometimes it's difficult to get to know about these communities in the British Isles.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Tablet and the Personal Ordinariate

As expected The Tablet this weekend covers the latest response of the Holy Father to the requests made by traditional Anglicans.

The editorial is quite balanced but typically nuanced.
But this Vatican initiative will make the work of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity more difficult, for partners in dialogue could well be suspicious that the agenda of the Catholic Church, while seemingly about Christian unity, is otherwise.

Well, surely the agenda is unity and erecting structures that enable people to pass from a non-catholic community to the Catholic Church is an excellent way of achieving this.
It will also cause concern that the pontifical council (for Christian unity) is being left out of the loop on matters of huge importance affecting its dialogue partners, given that its officials were not kept up to speed on the issue by the CDF, and despite the fact that the council’s president, Cardinal Walter Kasper, is also is a member of the congregation.

Fr Tim Finigan appears to have some inside information about votes etc. when he writes:
The process leading to the new Apostolic Constitution has been an extraordinarily complex, in-depth study, involving widespread consultation, and including communications with sitting Bishops of the Anglican Communion who were in favour of some such arrangement. The Holy See could not simply refuse to talk to such parties clamouring for full canonical union with the Catholic Church. Naturally the process of consultation involved the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, whose Secretary (Bishop Brian Farrell) is a Consultor of the CDF, and whose President (Cardinal Kasper) is one of the 15 Cardinal Members of the CDF. Some elements within the Pontifical Council were obviously not too happy with the whole notion of corporate reunion, however, in the end they were outvoted.

The Tablet continues:
One Church’s loss is inevitably another’s gain. Few would deny that the influx of new blood brought many benefits to the Catholic Church last time. The requirement of celibacy was waived in the case of ordained Anglican clergy, which means there are now a significant number of married priests happily serving the Catholic community in England and Wales with no real problems. More of the same will no doubt sharpen the sense of anomaly concerning Catholic priests who have had to accept laicisation as the price of marriage. There are many things in Anglicanism from which Catholicism can profit, not least an enhanced role for the laity in church government and a rich liturgical heritage. What the Anglicans may gain, in return, is a deeper sacramentality. And they may even discover, once it ceases to be such a neuralgic point, that they can be more open to the ministry of women.

I don't think the erection of a Personal Ordinariate with married former anglican clergy being ordained as Catholic priests has anything to do with the theologically founded discipline of clerical continence which will always remain the norm in the Latin Church. Neither will the norms on the roles of laity and clergy in parish pastoral councils, finance committees etc. change. The current Code of Canon Law sets out clearly how laity can co-operate in the exercise of the Church's power of governance and lay people occupy incredibly influential positions in Schools Commissions, Finance Offices, etc, which were the domain of the clergy in the past. And will the Traditional Anglicans be looking to take on armies of women to carry outtraditionally clerical functions? I doubt it.

Parallels are drawn, not unsurprisingly, with Pope Benedict's overtures to the SSPX, made in the name of the same desire for the unity of the Church, but The Tablet goes too far in mentioning Tony Blair in the same sentence as John Henry Newman. The latter held firmly to the Catholic doctrines of the Fathers of the Church. The former does not, and many are still scandalised by his reception into the Catholic Church.
Earlier this year, in response to the lifting of the excommunications of four Lefebvrist bishops, Pope Benedict wrote: “Leading men and women to God, to the God who speaks in the Bible: this is the supreme and fundamental priority of the Church and the Successor of Peter at the present time” – a sentiment which will resonate with Anglicans accepting the Petrine ministry. The most important issue for all Catholics is that anyone of good conscience who seeks to join their Church, be they John Henry Newman, or Tony Blair, or the vicar of an Anglican parish or his flock, should be given a generous and hospitable welcome to their new home.

Archbishop Nichols is quoted in another article in the same edition of today's Tablet:
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.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Canonical reflection on the Personal Ordinariate for former Anglicans

There is already a reflection by Ed Peters at Fr Z's blog. Here are a few thoughts of my own.

An Apostolic Constitution is an instrument which the Holy Father has used for the erection of new dioceses. See some examples here. Apostolic Constitutions have also been used for the restructuring of the Roman Curia, the promulgation of the Code of Canon Law, etc. In other words, they are a very significant means of establishing something new.

The forthcoming Apostolic Constitution enables the establishment of Personal Ordinariates which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.

A Personal Ordinariate is not a Personal Prelature, which is already foreseen in the Code of Canon Law (Cann. 294 - 297) Personal Prelatures consist of presbyters and deacons to promote a suitable distribution of presbyters or to accomplish particular pastoral or missionary works. Lay people are not, properly speaking, members of personal prelatures [UPDATE: see clarification in the combox] but they can dedicate themselves to the apostolic works of the prelature by agreements entered into with the prelature in accordance with the prelature's statutes.

An Ordinariate of this nature I think has a temporary nature, which could develop in either direction. It could either become redundant, in which case the clergy and laity would become subject to the bishop of the diocese in which they have domicile, or it could develop into a personal diocese.

A Personal Ordinariate is akin to a diocese and people belong to it on account of the particular pastoral reasons for the establishment of the Ordinariate.

As with apostolic prefectures or vicariates apostolic or territorial abbacies, the Ordinary need not necessarily be a bishop, although he could be. Whether or not he is a bishop, the term 'diocesan bishop' in the Code would include him. It is interesting that the CDF's note states that the seminarians of the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, which would imply that the Ordinariate would not have its own seminary. We shall have to see, therefore, whether the Ordinary may incardinate priests to the Ordinariate, or what the title of incardination will be upon ordination of a candidate. We shall have to wait for publication of the Apostolic Constitution.

If the Ordinariate can incardinate its own clergy, I would think that such an Ordinariate would enjoy the status of a particular Church as envisioned by Can. 368. (Personal Prelatures are not particular churches.) In accordance with Can. 372/2, particular churches distinguished by the rite of the faithful or some other similar reason can be erected. The similar reason in the current case is the liturgical and spiritual patrimony of those who are currently Anglicans.

It could be, however, that the clergy are incardinated into a currently existing diocese but are dedicated to the Ordinariate, rather like the priests in the military ordinariate in this country. They are diocesan priests who are destined (temporarily or for an indeterminate period of time) to the mission of the military ordinariate.

Importantly, these Personal Ordinariates will be formed in consultation with local Conferences of Bishops. It is the Holy Father who will establish the Ordinariates. The Conference of Bishops will be consulted, but the decision rests with the Holy Father.

The subjects of the Personal Ordinary will, of course, be Catholic. I would assume, therefore, that priests who are not members of the Ordinariate will be permitted to celebrate the liturgy according to the distinctive Anglican liturgical patrimony, e.g. if they are asked to supply in the case of a shortage of priests. Certainly I would imagine that there would be nothing illicit in concelebrating at such a liturgical celebration since the Code permits us to concelebrate at any Catholic celebration of the Eucharist. Likewise, the lay faithful may attend Mass in any Catholic rite. Perhaps there may even be a 'mutual enriching' of the Roman liturgy and the Anglican liturgical patrimony. The note says:
Insofaras as these (Anglican) traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church.

This is clearly a very significan moment ecumenically for it is a recognition that the Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony belongs to the Catholic Church.

The joint statement of Archbishop Nichols of Westminster and Archbishop Williams of Canterbury is quite amazing. I feel it must have taken a great deal of humility on the part of Williams to join in this statement. We should, I feel, keep him very much in our prayers.

UPDATE: Have just heard the headlines on the midnight news on Radio 4: The Pope has been accused of poaching clergy in allowing anglicans to enter the Catholic Church. Laughable!

UPDATE: Great posts on this issue by Father Finigan and Father Finnegan.

Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church

Here's the news from the Vatican:



With the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion.

In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be appointed from among former Anglican clergy.

The forthcoming Apostolic Constitution provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a world-wide phenomenon, by offering a single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application. It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy. Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop. The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony. In this way, the Apostolic Constitution seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church.

Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which has prepared this provision, said: "We have been trying to meet the requests for full communion that have come to us from Anglicans in different parts of the world in recent years in a uniform and equitable way. With this proposal the Church wants to respond to the legitimate aspirations of these Anglican groups for full and visible unity with the Bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter."

These Personal Ordinariates will be formed, as needed, in consultation with local Conferences of Bishops, and their structure will be similar in some ways to that of the Military Ordinariates which have been established in most countries to provide pastoral care for the members of the armed forces and their dependents throughout the world. "Those Anglicans who have approached the Holy See have made clear their desire for full, visible unity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At the same time, they have told us of the importance of their Anglican traditions of spirituality and worship for their faith journey," Cardinal Levada said.

The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. "The initiative has come from a number of different groups of Anglicans," Cardinal Levada went on to say: "They have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. For them, the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion."

According to Levada: "It is the hope of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that the Anglican clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith. Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church. The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows. Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: ‘There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (4:5). Our communion is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith."

Background information

Since the sixteenth century, when King Henry VIII declared the Church in England independent of Papal Authority, the Church of England has created its own doctrinal confessions, liturgical books, and pastoral practices, often incorporating ideas from the Reformation on the European continent. The expansion of the British Empire, together with Anglican missionary work, eventually gave rise to a world-wide Anglican Communion.

Throughout the more than 450 years of its history the question of the reunification of Anglicans and Catholics has never been far from mind. In the mid-nineteenth century the Oxford Movement (in England) saw a rekindling of interest in the Catholic aspects of Anglicanism. In the early twentieth century Cardinal Mercier of Belgium entered into well publicized conversations with Anglicans to explore the possibility of union with the Catholic Church under the banner of an Anglicanism "reunited but not absorbed".

At the Second Vatican Council hope for union was further nourished when the Decree on Ecumenism (n. 13), referring to communions separated from the Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation, stated that: "Among those in which Catholic traditions and institutions in part continue to exist, the Anglican Communion occupies a special place."

Since the Council, Anglican-Roman Catholic relations have created a much improved climate of mutual understanding and cooperation. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) produced a series of doctrinal statements over the years in the hope of creating the basis for full and visible unity. For many in both communions, the ARCIC statements provided a vehicle in which a common expression of faith could be recognized. It is in this framework that this new provision should be seen.

In the years since the Council, some Anglicans have abandoned the tradition of conferring Holy Orders only on men by calling women to the priesthood and the episcopacy. More recently, some segments of the Anglican Communion have departed from the common biblical teaching on human sexuality—already clearly stated in the ARCIC document "Life in Christ"—by the ordination of openly homosexual clergy and the blessing of homosexual partnerships. At the same time, as the Anglican Communion faces these new and difficult challenges, the Catholic Church remains fully committed to continuing ecumenical engagement with the Anglican Communion, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

In the meantime, many individual Anglicans have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. Sometimes there have been groups of Anglicans who have entered while preserving some "corporate" structure. Examples of this include, the Anglican diocese of Amritsar in India, and some individual parishes in the United States which maintained an Anglican identity when entering the Catholic Church under a "pastoral provision" adopted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope John Paul II in 1982. In these cases, the Catholic Church has frequently dispensed from the requirement of celibacy to allow those married Anglican clergy who desire to continue ministerial service as Catholic priests to be ordained in the Catholic Church.

In the light of these developments, the Personal Ordinariates established by the Apostolic Constitution can be seen as another step toward the realization the aspiration for full, visible union in the Church of Christ, one of the principal goals of the ecumenical movement.


Dashing for a train to London - so must print it off and read it on the train. Might comment later.

UPDATE: See my canonical reflections.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A briefing concerning the Traditional Anglican Communion?

Tomorrow at the Vatican. Speculation rife in the blogosphere. Prayers tonight and in the morning for this intention.

And Damian Thompson has this from the Archbishop of Canterbury's Press Office:


(not for publication)

You are invited to a press conference with Archbishop Vincent Nichols (Archbishop of Westminster) and Archbishop Rowan Williams (Archbishop of Canterbury) on Tuesday 20 October at 1000. The press conference will take place at 39 Eccleston Square, London SW1V 1BX.

No connection?

An excellent blog on Holy Communion from the parish of St John the Evangelist, Horsham

Fr Terry Martin, parish priest of the above-mentioned parish, has put a very enlightening post about who can and can't receive Holy Communion for the benefit of his parishioners. It has provoked some very moving comments from his parishioners. Do read. H/t to Fr Míċeál Beatty.

Sir Ludovic Kennedy RIP

Sir Ludovic's death is widely reported today. Whilst wishing to be sympathetic and to assure anyone concerned of my prayers for the eternal repose of his soul, I was a little troubled at the reports of his campaigning for the legalisation of euthanasia. (He was president of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society.) So I'm glad to have read John Smeaton's post today.

Tutorial for the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form

I was recently sent a link to this website and found these video tutorials. As parishioners know I offer Mass in this form every Wednesday evening and on the 2nd, 4th and 5th Sundays of the Month in the parish.

Here are the videos. I thought I'd put them on my blog so I can find them easily and correct any errors I might be making. They might also be of interest to those who would like to learn something of the significance of the extroardinary form.

I would not want my publishing these here to be interpreted in any way as a non-acceptance of the ordinary form of the Mass which I celebrate daily (except for Wednesdays when I am in the parish.) In other words, I simply accept Pope Benedict's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum (and therefore feel that the celebration of the older form of the Mass can do much to re-root us in our tradition and to enrich the celebration of the newer Mass).

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bishop of Sioux City: 'hermeneutic of discontinuity' has wreaked havoc in the Church.

The Bishop of Sioux City R. Walter Nickless has written a 17 page pastoral on the authentic understanding of the Second Vatican Council.

He writes about the period that followed the Council:

Sometimes we set out to convert the world, but were instead converted by it. We have sometimes lost sight of who we are and what we believe, and therefore have little to offer the world that so desperately needs the Gospel. A pendulum effect began in the Church and has not yet stopped swinging. In the effort to correct exaggerations or one-sidedness in various areas, the reform often times swung to the exact opposite pole.

This pendulum swing can be seen in the areas of liturgy, popular piety, family life, catechesis, ecumenism, morals, and political involvement, to name just a few. It seems to me that in many areas of the Church’s life the “hermeneutic of discontinuity” has triumphed. It has manifested itself in a sort of dualism, an either/or mentality and insistence in various areas of the Church’s life: either fidelity to doctrine or social justice work, either Latin or English, either our personal conscience or the authority of the Church, either chant or contemporary music, either tradition or progress, either liturgy or popular piety, either conservative or liberal, either Mass or Adoration, either the Magisterium or theologians, either ecumenism or evangelization, either rubrics or personalization, either the Baltimore Catechism or “experience”; and the list goes on and on! We have always been a “both/and” people: intrinsically traditional and conservative in what pertains to the faith, and creative in pastoral ministry and engaging the world.

My brothers and sisters, let me say this clearly: The “hermeneutic of discontinuity” is a false interpretation and implementation of the Council and the Catholic Faith. It emphasizes the “engagement with the world” to the exclusion of the deposit of faith. This has wreaked havoc on the Church, systematically dismantling the Catholic Faith to please the world, watering down what is distinctively Catholic, and ironically becoming completely irrelevant and impotent for the mission of the Church in the world. The Church that seeks simply what works or is “useful” in the end becomes useless.

Our urgent need at this time is to reclaim and strengthen our understanding of the deposit of faith. We must have a distinctive identity and culture as Catholics, if we would effectively communicate the Gospel to the people of this day and Diocese. This is our mission. Notice that this mission is two-fold, like the Second Vatican Council’s purpose. It is toward ourselves within the Church (ad intra), and it is to the world (ad extra). The first is primary and necessary for the second; the second flows from the first. This is why we have not been as successful as we should be in bringing the world to Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ to the world. We cannot give what we do not have; we cannot fulfill our mission to evangelize, if we ourselves are not evangelized.

With respect to the liturgy, what I wrote in today's 'Desktop' in the parish newsletter might be of interest to readers:

Last Saturday a good number of parishioners enjoyed a lovely day at Aylesford as we joined between seven and eight thousand faithful in honouring St
Thérèse of Lisieux and in venerating her relics. St Thérèse is a ‘Doctor of Love’ in the Church, and the peace and harmony of everyone gathered in Aylesford was a testimony of the love of God that binds us as faithful Christians from so many parts of the world to one another.

Many non-Catholics attended too: one of our own group, spouses married to Catholics, and the driver of our bus Tony. Tony joined the queue of those venerating the relics and said at the end of the day how he couldn’t help but enter into the spirit of such a joyful pilgrimage. He told me that, although not a regular church goer, whenever he finds himself tired after a stressful day, he puts some Gregorian chant on to listen to and soon finds himself relaxed and at peace.

Gregorian chant CD’s have become chart-toppers in recent years. Seeing the commercial potential of this beautiful music, record companies engage communities of monks and other choirs in recording contracts to enable people with or without faith to experience this music in the comfort of their homes. But where is the proper ‘home’ of Gregorian chant? It is the Sacred Liturgy which is celebrated in our churches day in and day out. Is it not ironic that as Gregorian chant increases in popularity in the charts, there are those who resist or even resent its use in its proper setting: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? As children fed on a diet of burgers and chips would find more healthy food unpalatable, it is understandable that those who have been fed on a liturgical diet of ‘Kum ba yah, my Lord’, ‘Bind us together, Lord’ and the ‘clapping Gloria’ might find the rather richer diet of Gregorian chant difficult to digest. However, according to the Second Vatican Council, the chant ‘should be given pride of place in liturgical services’ and, as a recent teaching document of the Church states, ‘Such chant has a great power to lift the human spirit to heavenly realities.’

Since the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict have all asked that the faithful in ordinary parishes not be denied access to this rich liturgical heritage but, on the contrary, be helped to participate in it. I would ask those parishioners who choose not to attend the 10am Mass on those Sundays when we sing some Gregorian chant to reconsider. I wish to congratulate our choir on the Communion antiphon they chanted last Sunday and to encourage all our parishioners to either actively join in the singing of the chant as best they can, being patient if at first they find it unfamiliar, or passively allow themselves to be raised up by it.

After Mass last Sunday morning a couple from Norwich introduced themselves to me as visitors. She was born and raised a Catholic and said how nice it was to hear the Latin chant. Her husband had only been received into the Church last Easter. He too appreciated the opportunity to experience it. In the words of Psalm 51(50), we can pray: ‘O Lord, open thou my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy praise.’

The full text of the pastoral letter can be read here.

H/t Lifesitenews. Also covered in depth at Te Deum Laudamus (1) and (2)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Vote against assistued suicide


H/t Fr Tim, Fr Ray, Catholicmomof10

Big anti-abortion rally in Spain

'Cada vida importa' (every life matters) was the theme of the manifestation.

The BBC reports. On the radio news bulletin this evening, of course it was presented as a flexing of muscles of the 'traditional Catholic right'! Well, whatever. One million people is a massive show of popular opinion.

Television espanola reports it here. A picture speaks a thousand words, but if you can understand Spanish, watch and listen:

Arranca la manifestación contra la reforma de la Ley del Aborto

El pais reports tens of thousands. Comments in the combox following the news item put the number at 2 million according to organizers.

Here's a great photo from the El Pais website:
The poster reads: If you were born, let us be born! (I can recognise a caricature of ultra-socialist, anit-life, pro-homosexual-marriage Prime Minister Zappatero.) More pictures.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Priest of the Day

Today pray for Father David Caine, Dean of Thanet and Parish Priest of Our Lady Star of the Sea, Broadstairs.

You can find our daily prayer here.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Continue your prayers for Bishop Sample

(see yesterday's post) who is getting a rough time from the letters page of his local paper.

UPDATE: Applause from this Christian website. (Apologies for nicking the gif).

'PM' acknowledges the unborn child

You can listen to PM here. Just after 5.15pm we heard Eddie Mair's concern for the unborn child when a pregnant woman is afflicted with 'flu. Hopefully society will move to respect all unborn children as subjects in law with rights.

International Call for the Rights and Dignity of the Human Person and the Family

If you haven't signed this Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute petition to the UN, please do so here. The aim is to get a million signatures asking Member States of the UN to interpret the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as protecting the unborn child from abortion. It also calls for special protection for the family!

Daily Prayer for Priests

The Archdiocese of Southwark's director of vocations has sent out a prayer calendar together with a prayer card so that we can pray for a different priest of the diocese every day for the remainder of this Year of Priests.

Today we are praying for Canon Michael Bunce, parish priest of the church of St Thomas of Canterbury, Canterbury, and Dean of Canterbury, the deanery in which this parish is situated. Perhaps you would say the following prayer for him today.
O Jesus, our great High Priest
Hear my humble prayers on behalf of your priest
Canon Michael Bunce.
Give him a deep faith
a bright and firm hope and a burning love
which will ever increase
in the course of his priestly life.
In his loneliness, comfort him
in his sorrows, strengthen him
in his frustrations, point out to him
that it is through suffering that the soul is purified,
and show him that he his needed by the Church,
he is needed by souls,
he is needed for the work of redemption.

O loving Mother Mary, Mother of Priests,
take to your heart your son who is close to you
because of his priestly ordination,
and because of the power which he has received
to carry on the work of Christ
in a world which needs him so much.
Be his comfort, be his joy, be his strength,
and especially help him
to live and to defend the ideals
of consecrated celibacy.

+ John Joseph, Cardinal Carberry (d.1998)
Archbishop of St Louis 1968-1979

Archbisop Ranjith issues liturgical norms

Thanks to New Liturgical Movement for drawing attention to Archbishop Ranjith's circular letter concerning various religious movements and services.

The Archbishop, formerly Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, speaks of a sacred theology and tradition handed down to the apostles by Our Lord which do not yield to individual and private interpretation with a reminder that no one may alter, add or subtract anything from the liturgy of the Mass. So the priest may not add to the Mass, nor should choruses be included at points when they are not prescribed. So, for example, there shouldn't be any Hosannas or Alleluia's added to the Eucharistic Acclamation.
It is the Lord who gave us the liturgy and no one else; therefore no one else has any right to change it.
Naturally, the Church speaks with the authority of Christ Himself, so that legitimate changes may be made by the Church, if necessary.

The Archbishop speaks very sensitively about the adherents of other religions in Sri Lanka. Muslims and Hindus do not create any commotion in their worship. Their culture of worship is noted for its sobriety, so that praise and worship type singing, loud music, clapping etc, associated more with fundamentalist protestant communities, should be absent from the Mass.

He asks that where the practice of self-communion has been allowed, this should be discontinued. He recommends to all faithful, including religious, to receive Communion reverently, kneeling and on the tongue.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Bishop Sample of Marquette tells Bishop Gumbleton 'don't come to my diocese'

On the phone to Fr Owl just now, he tipped me off about my very good friend (we studied Canon Law together at Rome) Bishop Alex Sample's press release concerning his request that retired Detroit Auxiliary Bishop Gumbleton, renowned for his views that priests should be allowed to marry, that women should be ordained priests and his promotion of homosexuality in the Church should not come to his diocese where he had agreed to address meetings organised by the Marquette Citizens for Peace and Justice to speak on how the Bible calls for peace and on the abolition of nuclear weapons.

Now, I'm sure we'd all agree that it is a good thing to preach peace. But a Bishop always acts in the name of the Church. He cannot simply go into another diocese as a private individual. Since his publicly expressed opinions on fundamental dogmatic and moral matters conflict with those that Bishop Sample promotes for the good of his flock in total fidelity to Christ and His Church, Bishop Sample acted with the greatest responsibility for the welfare of his flock in asking Gumbleton not to come to his diocese.

There is no infringement of the right of an individual to speak. The only right a pastor in the Church has when it comes to speaking is to proclaim the truth, and always with the at least presumed consent of the proper pastor of the local Church.

You can read more (for and against) at:
Lifesite news
Te Deum
Fr Z
a local Upper Michigan website
Curt Jester
Fr Tim Finigan
The Mining Journal.

Bishop Sample is a pastor who is much loved by faithful Catholics, as I witnessed when I stayed with him last August. This stand he is taking will cause him to suffer but he will be greatly consoled by the support he will receive from people in the US and around the world.

I think the words of Pope Benedict in his inaugural homily at the beginning of his papacy are apt:

My dear friends – at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love his flock more and more – in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another.

Please support Bishop Sample with your prayers and your messages of support.

Bishop Sample's 9th October statement follows:
“I attempted to handle this matter in a private, respectful and fraternal manner with Bishop Gumbleton. It is unfortunate that what should have remained a private matter between two bishops of the Catholic Church has been made available for public consumption.

I want to first of all say that my decision to ask Bishop Gumbleton not to come to Marquette had absolutely nothing to do with the group who invited him to speak, Marquette Citizens for Peace and Justice, nor with the topic of his publicized speech, since the Church is a strong advocate of peace and justice. I am sorry for the negative impact this has had on those planning this event.

There is a common courtesy usually observed between bishops whereby when one bishop wishes to enter into another bishop’s diocese to minister or make a public speech or appearance, he informs the local bishop ahead of time and seeks his approval. Only on October 9 did I receive any communication from Bishop Gumbleton, after this situation had already become public.

As the Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, I am the chief shepherd and teacher of the Catholic faithful of the Upper Peninsula entrusted to my pastoral care. As such I am charged with the grave responsibility to keep clearly before my people the teachings of the Catholic Church on matters of faith and morals. Given Bishop Gumbleton’s very public position on certain important matters of Catholic teaching, specifically with regard to homosexuality and the ordination of women to the priesthood, it was my judgment that his presence in Marquette would not be helpful to me in fulfilling my responsibility.

I realize that these were not the topics upon which Bishop Gumbleton was planning to speak. However, I was concerned about his well-known and public stature and position on these issues and my inability to keep these matters from coming up in discussion. In order that no one becomes confused, everyone under my pastoral care must receive clear teaching on these important doctrines.

I offer my prayers for Bishop Gumbleton and for all those who have been negatively affected by this unfortunate situation.”

UPDATE 15th Sep: keep the bishop in your prayers who is getting a rough time from his local paper.


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