"The Preachers chiefly shall take heed that they teach nothing in their preaching, which they would have the people religiously to observe and believe, but that which is agreeable to the Doctrine of the Old Testament and the New, and that which the Catholick Fathers and Ancient Bishops have gathered out of that Doctrine." A proposed canon of Elizabeth I, 1571

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Location: Bedford, Texas, United States

I am a presbyter in the diocese of Fort Worth, Texas (Anglican Church in North America). I serve as Chaplain at St. Vincent's School and as a canon of St. Vincent's Cathedral Church in Bedford, Texas. In addition to my parish duties and teaching Religion classes in the school I am also the Middle School Social Studies teacher.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

George Conger Reports that the Vatican Will Not Create a Special "Enclave" for Anglo-Catholics

George Conger is reporting that the Vatican is not interested in creating any kind of special new "enclave" for Anglo-Catholics to come into union with the Holy See more easily. The usually-reliable Conger's report is based upon an article in a Rome-based Jesuit publication, and I am in no position to assess that source's credibility. Consequently, I believe this report should be read with a sizable grain of salt. For what it is worth, Conger's full story may be found here (hat tip to Transfigurations). A sample:

The Vatican will not create an enclave within the Roman Catholic Church for Anglicans opposed to women clergy and the ‘gay agenda’, Rome’s La Civiltà Cattolica predicts.

In an October article entitled Catholic Anglican Relations after the Lambeth Conference (La Relazione tra Cattolici e Anglicani dopo la Conferenza di Lambeth) the semi-official Jesuit bi-weekly stated the “corporate unity” under discussion between the Vatican and traditionalist Anglicans “will not be a form of uniatism as this is unsuitable for uniting two realities which are too similar from a cultural point of view as indeed are Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics.”

“The Holy See, while sympathetic to the demands of these Anglo-Catholics” for corporate reunion, “is moving with discretion and prudence.” Opposition to the ordination of women to the ordained ministry and to gay bishops and blessings “is not enough,” the newspaper said. Anglo-Catholics should be motived not by a rejection of Anglicanism but by the “desire to join fully the Catholic Church,” Fr. Paul Gamberini SJ wrote.


Blogger Doni M said...

This is not a reflection for or against the article from the Jesuit publication, but merely my own “two cents’ worth” (or perhaps "four cents'"):

There is much that Anglo-Catholics believe in or do that is similar to Catholicism, but sympathy to Catholicism isn’t what it is about. It’s not about being culturally similar, or sharing some of the doctrine, or about claiming apostolic succession. (Forget the so-called “Branch Theory.”) It comes down to authority. It comes down to complete submission to the Bishop of Rome and the Magisterium. Anglo-Catholics don’t really want that. They like the idea of being in communion with Rome, but they’d rather keep their own bishops and beliefs, prayer books and liturgy. (In other words, they want to have their cake and eat it too.)

Here’s the thing. For a union between the two groups to take place, either the Anglicans or the Catholics would have to compromise, and the Catholic Church is not going to do that. (For which I am thankful!) The only option is for Anglicans to come into the Catholic Church on the Vatican’s terms. And Anglicans just don’t go for that kind of thing. It’s against their nature. They like to choose which bishops are above them, and they like to choose the rites they use and the doctrines they’ll accept. That may be fine for Anglicanism, but it’s not the way the Catholic Church works.

Remember, too, that in the eyes of Rome, Anglican orders are invalid. Anglican sacraments are invalid, except for baptism and marriage. (My own 2001 confirmation at St. Vincent’s Cathedral is null and void. When I am received into full communion as a Catholic next April 11, I will be confirmed again.) The first step for any Anglican clergy to be validly ordained in the Catholic Church (if they are at all) is to become a Catholic.

If Anglicans wish to become Catholic, as individuals, as a group, they have to BECOME Catholics. The Catholic Church isn’t a “safe haven” for Anglicans who are trying to escape the Episcopal Church or the Anglican Communion. It doesn’t work that way. Running away from the Episcopal Church isn’t how to embrace Catholicism. You must be running TOWARD the Catholic Church as the one Church established by Christ on earth. The only way to be in full communion with the Catholic Church is to believe this, and to accept her teachings and authority 100%. That is an awful lot for most Anglo-Catholics to swallow.

11:14 PM  
Blogger Mark in Spokane said...

I think that it is appropriate for the Catholic Church to insist that Anglicans who are considering conversion actually do convert and give full assent to the doctrines and disciplines of the Catholic Church. Union with Rome absolutely must be done on Rome's terms -- anything else lacks theological integrity. Anglicans who had hoped for an easy path to conversion, one that would not require such a full assent, need to embrace that hard truth.

That said, I do think that there is something that the Catholic hierarchy needs to embrace as well: a charitable approach to Anglicans who are sincerely considering conversion, but who wish to keep certain customs and traditions of their own. From a Catholic perspective, there is much in Anglicanism that is wrong. But this is also much that is true, and good, and beautiful. To require Anglicans who want to convert to Catholicism to give those us may be within the rights of the Holy See, but simply because somebody has the right to do something doesn't mean that the thing itself should be done. In those areas where Anglican devotion and practice are compatible with the Catholic faith, I would prefer to see a generous latitude given to Anglican converts to Catholicism.

I have a small prayerbook of of devotions by Cardinal Newman, published by Ignatius Press. The first devotion in the book, a devotion that Newman prayed his entire life (even after his conversion to Catholicism), was the devotions of Lancelot Andrewes.

I think that kind of approach would be a salutary one. Yes, for those things that cannot be kept because of heresy and error, discard. But look at what can be kept, and let people keep it.

1:32 AM  

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