The PROS and CONS of the Personal Ordinariate
FROM THE DESK OF FATHER STAN SINCLAIR
502 – 1157 Fairfield Road
[Written to the Bishops and clergy of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada]
This is written to you as esteemed colleagues and friends in Christ about the matter of dialogue on the Ordinariate. Everyone would benefit from a presentation of the Pro’s and Con’s, and that is what has been done.
All the important and relevant information on both sides of the proposal should be set before all our members. They have a great stake in the outcome.
When several of us got together before the Archbishop’s visit to formulate questions—in the hope of saving time, duplication, and the possibility of unseemly emotions—it became clear how worried, confused and divided people had become. A number of clergy and laity have telephoned or e-mailed in recent weeks, many of whom I have never met.
The more people are asked not to discuss something like this, the more they do. Like it or not, they are taking sides.
You know the reservations which I have expressed about the Ordinariate proposal, but please remember that these are no reflection on the sincere motives and initiative of our bishops.
Originally, we thought “particular norms” would be forthcoming, and then later learnt that this was unlikely. So I sent suggestions to Rome. Monsignor Wells of the Vatican Secretariat of State has urged me to keep in touch with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and assured me of the Pope’s interest and prayers, a kindly exaggeration perhaps, but a sign of willingness to listen.
If in this document I have failed to be even-handed and honest in treatment of the issues, it is not for lack of trying, and I apologise in advance for any gaffes committed in the process.
The caveat is found in the text: that this is an independent, unofficial and unauthorized enterprise. My hope is that this will be a constructive contribution, to be followed by the public discussion and action that such a significant matter calls for.
Respectfully yours in Christ,
P R O /
C O N
P R O / C O N
PUTTING THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION
Cardinal John Henry Newman, long after his conversion from the C. of E., wrote a paper, Consulting the Faithful in the Matter of Doctrine  He pointed out that often the lay people have kept the Faith intact in troubled times and have their place in the “consensus” which the Church must have along with the bishops and theologians. We are all involved and have a voice!
Do you find yourself enthusiastically in favour of the proposal, or in a quandary, or opposed? The “pro” and “con” arguments here have been set forth in official documents, Anglicanorum Coetibus, and in other sources.
Here you will find the strongest arguments on each side.
Many clergy and laity have contributed towards this project, as you will see.
Please note: this paper is independent, unofficial and unauthorized.
Admittedly, this offers you a good deal of thoughtful reading to do! But is it not worth it, when the future of the Church is at stake, and our cherished beliefs?
Presumably there will be further discussion in which you may be heard, and then there are the Synod delegates: while voting their conscience, they must also have in mind the views of their parishioners.
The Apostolic Constitution is primarily a matter of “polity”—order and structure: just what the Anglican Catholic Church might become as an Ordinariate. But there are serious questions of faith as well.
Our Bishops, out of pastoral concern for us in the Canadian “continuing church,” no doubt care deeply about our response to this proposal. After all, they did not design it; it is what Rome has suggested. The ultimate choice will be made by the clergy and laity, just as we once chose to ally ourselves with the Traditional Anglican movement.
May the Holy Spirit guide us, and let charity and candour both prevail.
‘PRO / CON – PUTTING THE APOSTOLIC CONSTITUTION IN
The Apostolic Constitution has several important statements for us to consider. Where needed, biblical references are cited.
1 – CHRISTIAN UNITY What is it? Does this proposal advance it?
2 – THE PAPACY Should we be under the Roman Pontiff?
3 - THE CHRISTIAN FAITH The Catechism of the Catholic Church – what
does it contain?
The most controversial elements:
A) The View of the Church
B) The Dogma of Infallibility
C) The Dogmas about Mary
4 – MEMBERSHIP
A) Should some people be re-baptised and why?
B) What about former Roman Catholics in the Ordinariate?
5 – MINISTRY :
A) What about the celibacy of bishops and clergy?
B) Why the need for re-ordination? What are the issues?
6 - WORSHIP What about the Book of Common Prayer?
7 – STRUCTURE AND ADMINISTRATION
A) The Power of the Personal Ordinariate
B) What about the Synod?
C) What about parishes?
D) What about property?
8 – SOME OTHER CONTROVERSIAL POINTS
9 - FUTURE OPTIONS – CONCLUSION
I. CHRISTIAN UNITY
The Constitution states [par. 3, line 7; par. 4, p. 1] The communion of the baptized in the teaching of the Apostles and in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread is visibly manifested in the bonds and profession of the faith in its entirety, of the celebration of all the sacraments instituted by Christ, and of the governance of the College of Bishops united with its head, the Roman Pontiff.
This single Church of Christ, which we profess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic ‘subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter…
PRO: Christian unity is vital.
Christ prayed, “May they be one” [John 17.11] the night before He died. The Christian community is so fragmented instead. If we are to witness to the world and strengthen the Church, we ought to work together.
Anglican Church leaders, especially since the efforts of the Archbishops of England in the late 19th century, have sought some form of reconciliation with Rome, and the Anglican-Roman International Commission have had talks for 40 years—now going no place because of the changes in the Anglican Church.
Traditional Anglicans would be able to receive Holy Communion in any Roman Catholic parish, joined to the largest (1.2 billion ) church body in the world, under the most important spiritual leader in Christendom. We have this opportunity to bring Anglicanism back to its Catholic roots.
ARGUMENT: St Paul spoke of “One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism” [Eph. 4.5], and we confess our faith in “One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.” We are ready to accept the Roman Pontiff as the head of the Church.
CON: Jesus’s prayer is fulfilled by love between Christians.
“May they be one,” was a prayer for his apostles, who would be left after his departure and would need to stay united. By extension it would apply to all his followers, his prayer that we might love one another.
Christian unity is first of all a sense of solidarity in the faith among all the communions of Christians. Organic unity is desirable, but at what price? Attachment between Roman Catholics and Anglican Catholics leaves out the Orthodox, Lutheran and other churches with whom, in God’s time, we would hope to find further unity. And why must unity be a matter of structure?
The traditional Anglican view is that the “visible” Church is “the congregation of all the faithful [Christians] in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly ministered according to Christ’s ordinance…”
We have our universal authority, Jesus Christ, and to be connected to Him and to one another constitutes a form of unity with all Christians, just as our faith binds us to all Catholic Christians.
ARGUMENT: The “One Church” is the body of all baptised Christians. “Catholic” means “universal,” rather than a particular body of Christians, the Roman Catholic, for whom the Pontiff is the chief spiritual officer. This document naturally presents a strictly Roman Catholic concept of the Church.
PRO – Christian unity with Rome is a desirable goal, and the Constitution makes it possible..
CON - Christian unity is more than an institutional “merger.”
You must decide whether you regard this as the way to Christian unity.
II. THE PAPACY
The Constitution states [par. 1] “…the successor of Peter, mandated by the Lord Jesus to guarantee the unity of the episcopate and to preside over and safeguard the universal communion of all Churches….”
The papal representative to the Council of Ephesus  stated: It is undoubted that…blessed Peter, the…Head of the Apostles…was given the power of binding and loosing…Peter still lives and exercises judgment in his successors…to this day.
PRO: Peter was made the chief of the Apostles.
Our Lord said, “Thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church…. Whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. ” [See Matt. 16]
ARGUMENT: This should be reason enough to accept the leadership of the Pope as Christ’s vicar on earth, the universal pastor of Christians, since this is what Jesus said. His apostolic authority is a guarantee that the faith will not be corrupted as it has been in some other churches that lack this firm and absolute authority.
“The universal authority of the Roman Pontiff, witnessed throughout history, was proposed as a dogma of faith by the Council of Florence …” Father Rodriguez, EWTN.
The fact that the greatest number of Christians are united under the Papal authority strongly suggests that this unity is God’s will.
CON: It was the faith of Peter, not Peter himself, upon which the Church was built. This was the interpretation of the early Church Fathers.
After the Resurrection Jesus extended this spiritual and moral authority to all his Apostles, with the words: “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whosesoever sins you remit, they are remitted; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.” [See John 20] So Peter did not stand alone in this mandate.
St Peter was chosen to lead the apostles, but there is nothing in the New Testament to suggest that he assumed charge of all “operations.” St James presided at the first “council,” Paul was the leader of the mission to the Gentiles. Emperors presided at church councils for the next 500 years.
Long after St Peter was Bishop of Rome, gradually the power of the pope increased. In the mid 2d century AD a movement began to make the See of Rome the “centre of unity,” but not supreme.
St Gregory the Great asked in 590 AD that his title “Universal Bishop” be abolished, which the Emperor Justinian had decreed in 533.
But for hundreds of years the Church was a series of regional bodies, so-called Patriarchates—Jerusalem, Rome, Alexandria, Antioch [Ephesus before it], and later, Constantinople, each with its own liturgy, laws, customs, and holy days.
In other words, much like the various church bodies today.
The British Church was independent of Rome from the 1st or 2d century until united in 664 with the Anglo-Saxon Church founded in 597 by St Augustine.
By the 11th century, Pope Hildebrand had made himself virtual overlord of all the kingdoms of Europe., and from then on the Papacy was virtually supreme.
The Council of Florence was 14 centuries after Christ!
PRO – The Pope is the successor of Peter and leader of the Christian world, and it is logical to ally with him.
CON- The Pope is a great spiritual leader, but not the only authority.
Do you agree that we should be under the authority of the Pope?
III. THE CHRISTIAN FAITH
The Constitution states in item 5: The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate.
PRO: This Catechism gives us a secure source of sound Christian teaching, the Catholic faith in “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever.” [Hebrews 13].
The Bishops signed the Catechism, which is really an encyclopaedia of Christian teaching from the Bible, the Church Fathers, and the Councils. So it is a sound basis for the faith of the Church and therefore of the Ordinariate.
We know how in our time theologians of many Churches have been allowed to distort, dispute, and dilute the Christian faith, showing little regard for biblical authority. The Roman Catechism defines all the spiritual and moral teachings of Christianity, and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith acts as a positive guard over those teachings on behalf of the Pope.
ARGUMENT: It is not enough to have the Bible alone, because it has been interpreted in so many ways. In the end the authority of the Church must decide the Faith.
Guided by the Holy Spirit, the Church has added to the faith a fuller interpretation of the Gospel, as promised by Christ: “The Spirit…will guide you into all truth” [See John 14]. In the confusion of beliefs, the Holy Office or CDF provides us with sound doctrine.
CON: The original New Testament faith of Christians should be sufficient.
Most of this Catechism is a useful source of Christian doctrine; that is true. But it also contains some teachings which were not part of the Catholic faith until the 19th and 20th centuries.
For us Anglican Catholics the Faith is found supremely in the Holy Bible as interpreted by the whole, undivided Church’s councils (most of them in the lst-5th century) in the creeds: Apostles’, Nicene, and the Quicunque vult.
Until 1850 these were all the fundamental beliefs of the whole Christian Church, nearly all Protestants as well as Romans, Anglicans, and Orthodox. Until then, there was agreement on basic doctrines such as the Trinity, the nature of Christ, sin, redemption. Differences existed on the exact definition of the sacraments and on church order, since not all retained the Apostolic ministry of bishops, priests, and deacons.
That was changed by the addition of three new dogmas by the Pope.
ARGUMENT: Traditionally, the Anglican Church insisted that doctrine “necessary for eternal salvation,” required belief, must be clearly set forth by our Lord in the Holy Bible, as the accepted standard of faith for all Christians. [See Articles of Religion, XX]
Our Anglican tradition preserves the knowledge that we are saved by faith in Christ, as the New Testament teaches. We have had the faith as the Bible presents it, and the Church Fathers and Councils interpreted it.
The theological anarchy within many other Churches, regrettable as it is, does not involve any insistence that we accept new dogmas. The Roman Church has had many dissident theologians—most recently Hans Kung, and Gregory Baum; both of whom have been silenced. No Church is immune from controversial ideas.
PRO – The Catechism of the Catholic Church provides an excellent standard.
CON – The Holy Bible and in the Creeds alone should be the standard of faith.
THE MOST CONTROVERSIAL ELEMENTS:
A) THE VIEW OF THE CHURCH
PRO: The Roman Catholic Church alone is the true Church of Christ, led by the Roman Pontiff. The “separated brethren” of other church bodies do not possess the fullness of the Church, ministry or sacraments.
According to our teaching, the one and true Church is the assembly of men bound together by the profession of the same Christian faith, and by the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of legitimate pastors, and in particular of the one Vicar of Christ on earth, the Roman Pontiff. [St Robert Bellarmine, 1542-1621]
BACKGROUND: For almost 1,000 years the Roman Catholic Church under the Pope constituted the body of Christians, except for schismatics or heretics, that came and went, like the Arians. And until the 16th century virtually all western Christians were Roman Catholics.
ARGUMENT: Given these incontrovertible facts, the Christian Church ideally is a body all united under the Pope, who has succeeded in keeping most Christians together.
Christianity is under wide attack. Is it good enough just to exist in isolation? It would be much better if we were all united under the most powerful figure in the Christian world.
The Ordinariate is a means of remaining Anglican while entering into this close union.
This shows how far the Roman Church has come in ecumenism and the desire to help the cause of Christian unity.
CON: Our Anglican Catholic Church is truly Catholic.
The Christian community includes all who are baptised in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and the visible Church on earth consists of all Christians, even though divided by certain doctrinal differences.
The Catholic, meaning Universal, Church is made up of all those Christian bodies who are “bound together by the profession of the same Christian faith, the communion of the same sacraments, under the rule of legitimate pastors,” but not necessarily the Roman Pontiff. Who can doubt that Orthodox Christians and Anglican Catholics fulfill this description?
What is the Church? The family of God, the body of Christ, and the temple of the Holy Spirit. What do we say about the Church in the Nicene Creed? Answer. I believe One, Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. One…because it has one Lord, one faith, and one baptism…. Holy…because the Holy Spirit dwells in it…Catholic…because it is universal, and holds for all time, in all countries, and for all people, the whole truth as it is in Jesus Christ….Apostolic, because it received its divine mission from Christ through his Apostles, and continues in their doctrine and fellowship. [Catechism , Book of Common Prayer]
Why did the Church of England, the parent body of all Anglican churches, secede from the Roman Church? Was Henry VIII the only reason?
Henry used the ferment in the Church, in his desire for an annulment of his marriage, but many of the clergy and laity were greatly desirous of reform.
The chief reasons were this:
-ABUSE OF CHURCH COURTS.
Clergy were not ordinarily subject to the civil law. They were tried in church courts. And appeals over the King and Parliament could be made to the Pope, who could set aside their laws, in effect. This led to the so-called Laws of Praemunire under Richard II and Statute of Provisors (1351) under Edward III forbidding appeals to Rome, and appointment of aliens to church posts over the heads of English patrons. Henry VIII revived these.
-THE INSISTENCE UPON LATIN. Originally, the Scriptures had been in the common languages, such as Greek, Latin, etc. The people were ignorant of the Scriptures and only hazily understood the liturgy, leading to superstition.
The Papacy rejected the idea of liturgy in the language of the people, until the second Vatican Council, and also the idea of publication of the Bible for general reading until the Council of Trent, although the Wyclif Bible came out in the 14th century. He was declared “a stiff-necked heretic” by the Council of Constance.
-THE DECAY OF THE RELIGIOUS ORDERS. A dwindling number of monks and nuns controlled vast estates. Reform would have been best, but the sale of these properties supported two new dioceses, and the King’s schools, not just the king’s war chest.
-TRIBUTE TO ROME. The payment of Peter’s Pence and other levies encountered a growing opposition, just as the sale of indulgences as well.
-ALTERATIONS IN THEOLOGY, rather than simply adherence to the faith as expressed in the creeds set in the “Primitive” and undivided church.
So when Reformation came into effect in England, the Catholic creedal faith, the traditional liturgy simplified, the three orders of clergy, diocesan structure, seven sacraments (Holy Baptism and Holy Communion as the two “generally necessary for salvation”), simplified ceremonial, church year, remained. The Church believed that it had returned to the ancient ways, rather than abandoning many of these things as various other Protestant churches eventually did.
The word “Protestant” as used in the Anglican tradition is the original definition, a protest against abuses of the Papacy and in the Church, not the rejection of Catholic doctrine, ministry and sacraments.
PRO The Roman Catholic Church most truly fills the bill as the Church on earth.
CON The Anglican tradition is fully catholic as well as reformed.
MATTERS OF DOGMA
DOGMA is an article of faith “revealed by God” The Church’s Magisterium [papal] exercises the authority it holds from Christ when it defines dogma…in a form obliging the Christian people to an irrevocable adherence of faith…. [Catholic Encyclopaedia]
According to Vincent of Lerins  a dogma is that which “all, everywhere, and at all times, believed.” These are the two principals held in Christendom.
THE INFALLIBILITY OF THE POPE.
PRO: He is Christ’s Vicar.
In time this truth was revealed to the Church to guard the Faith and maintain the supreme position of His Holiness in the face of developments in religion and politics. “The [lst] Vatican Council declared as a ‘divinely revealed dogma’ that the Roman Pontiff, when he speaks ex cathedra—that is…as pastor and teacher of all Christians…defines, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, a doctrine of faith and morals to be held by the whole Church—by reason of divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter….” [Catholic Encyclopaedia]
The Dogma of Infallibility just means that there is one final authority, who proclaims the official teaching, “the last word” on the subject, always supported by the Bible and the Fathers of the Church; so the Pope is not an arbitrary figure. We need an absolute defender of our beliefs.
RESULTS: Through the centuries the Popes have spoken against heresies [false teachings; literally “opinions”] and defended the Faith.
CON: For us Jesus Christ alone is the final authority. Jesus never mentions infallibility.
The fact that St Peter was first Bishop of Rome does not grant to later bishops an infallible authority. For us Jesus is the final authority, and we find his words, his truths, in the New Testament, clearly set forth for us.
In the 7th and 8th century documents appeared, supposedly written by St Peter and Emperor Constantine. St Peter bequeaths his position as chief apostle to succeeding Bishops of Rome. The Emperor Constantine supposedly “donated” the territory of Rome and the region around it to the Papacy.
Roman Catholic scholars among others proved these were forgeries. Even discredited, the ideas became firmly established in the minds of faithful people that the Popes had this special position and power.
In 1870 Italy became an independent nation, and this ended the Pope’s political power. New heresies were sprouting up as a result of scientific enquiry. Declaration of the Pope as infallible by the Ist Vatican Council greatly strengthened the hand of the Pope.
ARGUMENT: St Peter functioned simply as chief of the Apostles, one leader among many, when they went about preaching in Palestine.
The Bible does not offer any concrete support for infallibility; no mention of Rome. Nor is this a dogma which has been believed “by all, everywhere, and at all times.”
RESULTS: The Catechism in effect forces us to give up a basic tenet of Anglicanism.
PRO - The Christian faith needs a guardian who may have “the last word.”
CON – Our infallible authority is Jesus Christ. The Dogma of Infallibility is a “modern” addition to the Christian faith, with no basis in the Scriptures.
Do you accept infallibility, as required by the Roman Catholic Church?
THE DOGMAS ABOUT MARY
These are stated and defined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
PRO: Mary had to be immaculately conceived to be the mother of Jesus.
“Immunity from original sin is [was given to] the person of Mary at the moment of the creation of her soul and body…. Mary was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin…and sanctifying grace was given her before sin could have taken effect in her soul…” [Catholic Encyclopaedia]
The Blessed Virgin Mary is “blessed above all women,” according to the statement which the Angel Gabriel made to Mary at the annunciation. He also called her “full of grace.” [See Luke 1]
It has been stated that the Immaculate Conception is necessary for the Incarnation of Christ, God made man, to be possible.
Our Lady’s very special status in the Gospel and the Church was stated once and for all by the Council of Nicaea in the 5th century: She is Theotokos, literally “Mother of God,” by which the Fathers meant that she was the mother of the incarnate Son of God.
For Mary to bear the sinless Christ, she must have been free from original sin herself, and so this Dogma, which was promulgated in 1850, is not in conflict with the much earlier statement of faith reached by the Fathers at Nicaea, which became the standard and official faith of all Christians.
Mary has been a great inspiration and consolation to those who revere her.
CON: We rightly honour the Blessed Virgin Mary based on the teachings of the New Testament as Christ’s mother. Nothing further is needed.
The Immaculate Conception tried to harmonise the special status of Mary with the doctrine of Original Sin. Some scholars said, “How could a woman born in original sin be the mother of God’s Son?” But the holiness of Mary is not in question: she was “full of grace” and “blessed above all women.”
The Conception of Mary (no mention of being “immaculate”) became a feast day in the Eastern Church—seven hundred years after Christ. But the Orthodox rejected the doctrine of immaculate conception. Not until the 12th century did it spread all over Europe. Thomas Aquinas was doubtful about it. The Franciscans later promoted the teaching.
Only in 1854 was it made a dogma, meaning that eternal salvation depends upon it! Yet the Christians of the first thousand years had scarcely heard of it, and for another 800 years no one was required to believe it to be a Catholic.
The biblical statements show that God chose Mary and considered her worthy to be the mother of Jesus, the Incarnate Son. There is no direct biblical evidence for the Immaculate Conception.
PRO - Mary as the Mother of Christ would be without original sin.
CON – This is a modern dogma, developed long after New Testament days, and it is not necessary to uphold the special status of the Virgin Mary.
Do you think the Dogma of Immaculate Conception must be believed?
THE DOGMA OF THE BODILY ASSUMPTION OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
PRO: This only declares that Mary occupies a very special place in heaven.
How can anyone think otherwise?
“The Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”-Munificentissimus Deus, issued by Pope Pius XII, 1950.
Jesus ascended into heaven, not as a disembodied spirit, but in his earthly body, according to the Gospels, after being raised from the dead. We read in the Old Testament Elijah went to heaven bodily as well, caught up in a whirlwind. Why would not the Blessed Virgin Mary also have gone to heaven intact, without death and decay, to reign beside her Son Jesus Christ?
The Dogma of Bodily Assumption was widely believed in the Church before Pope Pius XII proclaimed it , as the result of a vision of Mary which he had received. He, as the infallible Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, would not be misled about anything such as this.
Who can doubt that Mary is with her Son and the heavenly Father? Pope John Paul II relied on this text to explain the Assumption of Mary, body and soul:
[John 14] “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
CON: We believe that Mary like all good Christian souls is with Jesus in heaven. Jesus said all his followers would be received into the heavenly kingdom. This dogma is unnecessary and unbiblical.
The Immaculate Conception was unknown to Christians of the first three centuries and remained obscure for a long time.. A Christian theologian, Epiphanius, in 377 said that nobody knew what had happened to Mary!
In 459 Pope Gelasius condemned the document on which the bodily assumption is based. So did Pope Hormisdas in the 6th century.
Roman Catholics have only been required to believe this for the past 60 years.
There are three competing sites of Mary’s burial: Jerusalem, Ephesus, and Glastonbury. The idea that her tomb was found empty by St Thomas is not in the Bible and arose centuries later. And the story that he found roses is not in ancient literature. The biblical verse used to support this doctrine is Jesus’s assurance that he was preparing a place in heaven for all his disciples.
The Orthodox believe Mary died a natural death [Dormition] before her soul went to heaven. The Anglican Calendars include, as we do, The Falling Asleep of the Blessed Virgin Mary or simply a feast day of St Mary the Virgin.
The appearance in the Anglican Calendar is not an endorsement of the Dogma of Immaculate Conception.
According to Anglican tradition nothing can be “necessary to eternal salvation” which cannot be proved by Holy Scripture. Elijah in the whirlwind—whether it actually means assumption or not—is Scriptural. For this Dogma, no proof exists. It should not be required.
PRO – Pope Pius XII had a vision confirming this long-held pious belief that Mary was assumed bodily into heaven.
CON – Mary is undoubtedly with Jesus in heaven, but this particular dogma is from ideas long after New Testament times. There is no Scriptural proof.
Do you think we should be required to believe in the assumption of Mary “body and soul”?
This is my Body…this is my Blood….[Mt., Mark, Luke, I Cor.]
Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood you have no life in you…[John 6]
Christ is truly, really, and substantially present…under the appearances of bread and wine… [Dogma of the Council of Trent, 1551]
In the mind of the Church, Transubstantiation has been so intimately bound up with the Real Presence that both dogmas have been handed down from generation to generation….worked out in logical form by the three Eucharistic controversies [beginning in the 9th century]….[Catholic Encyclopaedia]
This dogma of the reality of Christ’s presence, body and spirit in the Sacrament is implied in Holy Scripture, referred to in the early Christian teaching, the Didache. By the 12th century this belief was widespread, further set forth in the Lateran Council of 1215; promulgated in the Council of Trent.
This is essential teaching to ensure that the absolute sacredness of the Blessed Sacrament is preserved, and Christians are made aware that Christ is really with us, and that “the Body and Blood of Christ “in Holy Communion is not just a figure of speech but a reality.
The Anglican tradition has always maintained the fundamental Christian belief that Christ is really present in the Sacrament of Holy Communion, as a mystery, no explanation being possible.
Jesus also said in John 6, It is the spirit that quickeneth: the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life…
Hence, Jesus’s words, quoted above, are to be understood in a mystical, not a corporeal sense.
The Eastern Orthodox Church does not agree to transubstantiation as a dogma, but insists as Anglicans have done that there is no way to explain what Jesus said in any philosophical form. We simply take his words on faith. In the 16th century a jingle, sometimes attributed to Queen Elizabeth as a children’s confirmation instruction, went like this:
Christ is the One who spake it;
He took the Bread and brake it;
And what His words do make it;
I do believe, and take it. [This is my Body…this is my Blood]
Before we take the Sacrament, we say the Prayer of Humble Access:
Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in Him and He in us….
The Catechism confirms this: A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace, given to us by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive this grace, and a pledge to assure us thereof…
The inward part, or thing signified…The Body and Blood of Christ…are verily and indeed taken and received by the faithful in the Lord’s Supper. [So the
Church has always been clear that we truly receive Christ. The Holy Communion is not just a memorial of Christ or a fellowship meal, though it is both, but above all the Mystical Presence of Christ comes to us, to give us all the benefits of his one perfect sacrifice.
Transubstantiation is a human explanation of how this happens. We maintain that we receive by faith, and not on the basis of some logical or philosophical formula, for which there is no biblical evidence.
PRO: This is a clear statement of Christ’s presence in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
CON: The Sacrament of Christ’s Body and Blood is and should remain a mystery, because no human explanation is possible.
Apostolic Constitution: Article 5 No. 1: The lay faithful originally of the Anglican tradition who wish to belong to the Ordinariate, after having made their Profession of Faith and received the Sacraments of Initiation, with due regard for Canon 845, are to be entered in the apposite register of the Ordinariate. Those baptized previously as Catholics outside the Ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the Ordinariate.
[This Profession of Faith: I…with firm faith believe and profess everything that is contained in..the Nicene Creed…I also believe everything contained in the word of God, whether written or handed down in Tradition, which the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium, sets forth to be believed is divinely revealed. I also firmly accept and hold each and everything definitively proposed by the Church regarding…faith and morals. Moreover, I adhere with religious submission of will and intellect to the teachings which…the Roman Pontiff or the College of Bishops enunciate….]
Canon 845 of the Roman Catholic Canon Law states: 1. Because they imprint a character, the sacraments of baptism, confirmation and order cannot be repeated. 2. If after diligent enquiry prudent doubt remains as to whether the sacraments mentioned…have been conferred at all or…validly, they are to be conferred conditionally.
There must be proof that someone has been baptised, and also confirmed; not only that, but validly baptised or confirmed.
The opinion of the Anglican Catholic Bishops is that no one baptised in the Anglican Church in the past 10 years has received valid sacraments. Oftentimes people baptised or confirmed in the Anglican Church have been accepted without being conditionally baptised or confirmed.
The membership in the Ordinariate must be of the same standard and validity as those in the Roman Catholic Church to achieve full unity.
Until now our bishops and priests and we have regarded our Anglican practise of Baptism and Confirmation to be entirely valid. There is no reason to doubt that they are.
There are some confusing elements to Article 5. The Article requires “the lay faithfully originally…Anglican” to make a profession of faith and receive “the sacraments of initiation.”
Will their Anglican baptism and confirmation be accepted?
Canon 845 of the Roman Church says sacraments cannot be repeated, which is also an Anglican tradition, but what will be the criteria for accepting the Anglican and Anglican Catholic administration of the sacraments? This seems to be in doubt, and uncertainty is no basis for Christian membership. Why should Anglican baptism or confirmation, especially received before, say, 1977, be questioned? The only real answer must be doubt about whether our sacraments are valid.
Some of our members began life as baptised Roman Catholics, but now are they ineligible to be in an Ordinariate when it is related to the Roman Church?
The Catholic concept of the Church held in the Roman, Anglican and Anglican Catholic Churches does not admit the idea of being initiated into a sect, but into the Body of Christ. So no re-baptism or re-confirmation is in order, when transferring from one Catholic body to another. This denies our sacraments.
The traditional Anglican view of Baptism is certainly orthodox: Baptism is not only a sign of profession, and mark of difference, whereby Christian men are discerned from others that be not christened, but it is also a sign of Regeneration or New-Birth, whereby…they that receive Baptism rightly are grafted into the Church; the promises of the forgiveness of sin and of our adoption to be the sons of God by the Holy Ghost, are visibly signed and sealed; Faith is confirmed, and Grace increased…. Articles of Religion, XXVII.
If the orthodox Anglican and Anglican Catholic sacraments are not accepted, then this is really just a process of becoming Roman Catholic.
PRO – The standards of Christian membership in the Ordinariate must be equal to those required in the Roman Catholic Church.
CON – Baptisms and Confirmations of the Anglican Catholic Church, and those prior to the past 10 years in the Anglican Church, should be accepted as completely legitimate, without conditional re-baptism or confirmation, which are meant to be unrepeatable sacraments.
Do you have doubts about the sacraments administered to you?
Apostolic Constitution, Article 5 No. 2 : Lay faithful and members of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, when they collaborate in pastoral or charitable activities, are subject to the Diocesan Bishop or the pastor of the place; in which case the power of the Diocesan Bishop or pastor is exercised jointly with that of the Ordinary and the pastor of the Ordinariate.
PRO: The Ordinaries and Bishops of the RC Church will work together.
Since this refers to collaboration, obviously the Diocesan Bishop or pastor must be in charge. But this can be done jointly with the Ordinariate. There is no problem here.
CON: The Ordinary will not have the full authority that a Bishop in the Anglican tradition exercises.
How would it work practically? We have here the makings of power struggles.
Do you agree that this is a constructive and practical way of governing the Church?
CELIBACY OF THE CLERGY
Apostolic Constitution, Article VI, No. 1: “Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests or bishops…may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church…. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy.
No. 2: “The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff…for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis.
Apostolic Constitution, Norms, Article 6, No. 1: … In consideration of Anglican…tradition and practice, the Ordinary may present to the Holy Father a request for the admission of married men to the presbyterate in the Ordinariate, after a process of discernment based on objective criteria and the needs of the Ordinariate.
Article VIII: Pastors of the Ordinariate are to be held to all the obligations established in the Code of Canon Law [of the Roman Church].
Apostolic Constitution, Norms, Article 11, No. 1: A married former Anglican Bishop is eligible to be appointed Ordinary. In such a case he is to be ordained a priest in the Catholic Church and then exercises…ministry within the Ordinariate….
PRO: Our clergy must be considered on a par with Roman clergy.
This will allow the choice of married men. Some Anglican priests have been ordained in the Roman Catholic Church in the past. Exceptions will be made “in consideration of the Anglican tradition.” This is a generous allowance on the part of a Church whose own clergy are required to be celibate.
Celibacy for the clergy is the historic practise of the Catholic Church, other than the Uniate Churches which have had their own separate tradition.
This also permits an easier deployment of men in the Sacred Ministry, and their dedication to the Church without any competing obligations. Many of the Anglican Catholic clergy are celibate. This will mainly affect future selection of men for the ministry, and exceptions will always be made under the conditions that have been given.
Since the Orthodox Churches require bishops to be celibate, and further unity and reconciliation are possible, it is important to abide by the disciplines of the two major Churches in this matter.
CON: Our tradition of married and single clergy has worked well and accords with the practises of the Church from the beginning when Peter and most of the Apostles were married men.
If you know how to give good gifts to your children…[Luke 11, in Jesus’s teaching on prayer requested by his apostles.
The deacon…the bishop should be the husband of one wife….” [I Timothy 3; Titus 1] Note: the Order of Priests grew out of the Order of Bishops, who had succeeded to the office of the Apostles.
The effect of this is to make Anglican or Anglican Catholic clergy into Roman Catholic bishops and priests in order to function in the Roman Church as well as the Ordinariate.
Celibacy is not required by the Anglican tradition, as the article states, and since it is not practised in Uniate Churches that are “embedded” with Rome, which should be the standard for the Ordinariate?
For the Church’s first 300 years bishops and priests were usually married, as were the first apostles. Peter had a mother-in-law healed by Christ.
The Second Lateran Council of 1139 declared clerical marriages invalid and absolutely forbidden.
Since clerical celibacy is a policy not a doctrine, this insistence, even with some exceptions being made, is unnecessary. The Roman Catholic Church has a shortage of candidates for the priesthood, and the requirement of remaining unmarried is one of the principal problems in recruitment. Surveys of Roman Catholics show they favour allowance for a married clergy.
Jesus said that …there be eunuchs…for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. [Mt. 19.12 in part] So this is a personal vocation given to some but not all men in Holy Orders.
Do you believe that our clergy should be required to be celibate?
RE-ORDINATION OF THE CLERGY
Apostolic Constitution, Article VI. No. 1 Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law…may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church….
PRO: This is necessary for “the fullness of priesthood.”
Archbishop Hepworth has stated that re-ordination is required. He has explained that this is to ensure “the fullness of priesthood” on a par with the Roman Catholic clergy and does not mean that Anglican orders are necessarily invalid—if they pre-date the period when women clergy were introduced.
There must be some common standard for all clergy.
It has been described as a new beginning, looking to the future. So priests must agree to re-ordination, or they cannot be admitted to the Ordinariate.
CON: Our clergy have been ordained by the laying-on of hands by bishops in Apostolic Succession, according to the most ancient Christian tradition.
“Fullness of priesthood” can only mean that Anglican orders are not fully
recognised, so that the sacramental ministry of even our Anglican Catholic clergy is in doubt at the very least.
Pope Leo XIII, under pressure from English Catholics, in the papal bull, Apostolicae Curae, denied the validity of Anglican Holy Orders. He stated that this “was final,” according to the Catholic Encyclopaedia—though during the reign of James I and Charles I, the Catholic Herald in England has reported, the Roman Church offered to welcome the Church of England back into the fold without reordination, its English liturgy intact.
Pope Paul VI commissioned the Jesuits to study the matter and report on the validity of Anglican orders. They found them valid, but their findings were never formally published. When the leader of a church is “infallible,” how can his rulings ever be rescinded without denying his infallibility?
Pope Benedict XVI, when still Cardinal Ratzinger, responding to a dubitum, specifically reaffirmed the 1896 condemnation of Anglican orders.
(The original condemnation was based on rather specious grounds.)
If Anglican orders, before the changes in the Church, and orders in the Anglican Catholic Church, are inadequate, invalid, not possessing the “fullness,” or whatever other term you like, then our sacramental ministry has been similarly ineffective, although the Catechism allows that there are “charisms” or graces in the ministries outside the Roman Catholic Church.
Intending no doubt to soften the starkness of the required re-ordination, the plan is to “back-date” the new act to the original date of ordination. This, then, becomes a legal fiction, and one that does nothing to change the position that Anglican orders are invalid.
Re-ordination will assure the regularity and fullness of the Holy Orders of the Ordinariate. The policy of celibacy must be retained, but exceptions are provided for.
CON – If our priests are not fully recognised, that is a practical denial of their sacramental ministry.
Do you think our sacraments have been invalid or questionable, and that our clergy should be re-ordained?
Apostolic Constitution, Article III: Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and other Sacraments…and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual, and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members…and as a treasure to be shared.
PRO: The Prayer Book will be retained!
BACKGROUND: A form of the Book of Common Prayer is found in the Anglican Rite Parishes of the Roman Catholic Church.
This statement assures traditional Anglicans that they can continue to worship in their accustomed way. Note that the Anglican liturgy is called “a treasure to be shared.” So the Anglican liturgy could be influential beyond the Ordinariate “within the Catholic Church.”
This, while Anglicans and Episcopalians in the old church structure are using contemporary services for the most part, some of which are of dubious quality and theology. This is a tremendous guarantee.
CON: So far there is no specific mention of our Book of Common Prayer.
The Apostolic Constitution casts a wide net: it is to apply to Anglicans and Episcopalians in the main bodies, as well as Anglican Catholics.
At present, then, there are the contemporary orders of service, and also many Anglo-Catholic parishes are using the Roman Rite. Others use the Anglican Missal, which combines the Prayer Book with other, largely old Roman, sources. Some churches are even using the 1548 rite, which was the “bridge” between the old Latin rite in England, and the Book of Common Prayer in 1549.
One of the major reasons why people joined the Anglican Catholic Church was to be guaranteed the use of the traditional Book of Common Prayer, widely considered one of the major classics of English literature, as well as a simple, beautiful, and scriptural act of worship.
While this does permit the continued use of Anglican liturgical books, it never specifies the Book of Common Prayer. We all know it exists in its 1662 edition, and in other versions in every Anglican province, and the American BCP is mainly contemporary.
The Book of Common Prayer began as a conscious return to the rites of the ancient Church, and set as they were in the language of the people (which had been Greek, then Latin). These simplified but still retained the basic elements of the Gregorian Sacramentary of the 6th-7th century. Cranmer had also incorporated certain features of the Sarum Rite version established by St Osmund in the 11th century, as well as the Communio of Cardinal Quinones of Spain.
How, then, can Anglican Catholics—who indeed treasure the Book of Common Prayer, in our case the 1962 Canadian book—be sure that the worship of the Church is not going to undergo further revisions? This article does not protect the BCP.
PRO - The traditional worship of the Church will be maintained in the Ordinariate.
CON – The broad strokes of this article do not guarantee that we may worship according to the Book of Common Prayer, which most of us firmly insist upon.
Do you wish to retain the 1962 Book of Common Prayer?
VII. STRUCTURE AND ADMINISTRATION
A) POWER OF THE PERSONAL ORDINARIATE
Apostolic Constitution, Article I: Each Ordinariate will be subject to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith [of the Roman Catholic Church].
Apostolic Constitution, Article II: The Personal Ordinariate is governed according to the norms of universal law, and the present Apostolic Constitution, and is subject to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
Apostolic Constitution, Article IV, par. 6: This power [of the Ordinary] is to be exercised jointly with that of the local Diocesan Bishop….
Apostolic Constitution, Article VIII, No. 1: The Ordinary…after having heard the opinion of the Diocesan Bishop of the place, may erect, with the consent of the Holy See, personal parishes for the faithful who belong to the Ordinariate…
Apostolic Constitution, Norms, Article 7, No. 1: The Ordinary must ensure that adequate remuneration be provided to the clergy incardinated in the Ordinariate, and must provide for their needs in the event of sickness, disability and old age.
PRO: Naturally, there must be a close working relationship between the Ordinariate and the Holy See through the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Ordinary and the Diocesan Bishops of the Roman Catholic Church.
But since the Constitution and Norms also set up a Governing Council and a Presbyterial Council for the Ordinariate—and even make the Ordinary and Presbyters eligible for membership in various bodies of the Roman Diocese in which they are located—this is a well-ordered structural plan. It also deals with matters of practical concern.
CON: This indicates that a degree of control over the Ordinariate is to be given the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the local Roman Catholic diocesan bishop. Our understanding at the outset of our Bishops’ application to Rome was that we would not be “absorbed.” That word can be interpreted in several ways, no doubt, but the general understanding was that we would continue as a Church and Communion under our own Primate.
BACKGROUND: One of the differences in the structure of the Church is shown by this comparison of the present constitution of the Anglican Catholic Church and that provided for the Ordinariate, which has a Governing Council with 6 priests.
The Affirmation of St Louis mandates a Church governed by a Holy Synod of three branches (episcopal, clerical and lay) under the presidency of the Primate of the Church.”
THE SELECTION OF BISHOPS
Proposed and seconded by Clergy Names selected by Governing
Clergy vote or a vote in 3 houses of Synod Name submitted to Vatican
Parishes endorse selection No lay participation
Name forwarded to Primate for CDF selects, gives name to Pope
approval by College of Bishops Pope must approve
These provisions sound reasonable, but in practise it could prove unworkable, especially considering the laissez faire atmosphere in which Anglicans and Anglican Catholics are accustomed to operate, unlike the very strict administration typical of Roman Catholic dioceses.
A major problem will be the arrangements for the pay and care of clergy, considering that most of our priests are unpaid, do not have a pension plan because of limited numbers, and because our congregations are small, it is unclear how more monies can be raised to meet these obligations. So now we encounter another major obstacle, this time a very practical one.
PRO – This provision ensures the proper administration of the Ordinariate.
CON – The power of the Diocesan Bishops as well as the Holy See will impinge upon that of the Ordinary. Nor do we have the resources to fulfill the financial demands set forth.
B) SYNODICAL GOVERNMENT
Note Only: There is no reference to a Synod in the Apostolic Constitution, rather the Pastoral and Governing Councils. So that matter may be dealt with at the coming Synod. Deaneries within the Ordinariate are provided for.
“The Ordinary, having heard the opinion of the Diocesan Bishop of the place [RC] may erect, with the consent of the Holy See, personal parishes for the faithful who belong to the Ordinariate. [Article 8.1, Anglicanorum Coetibus]
Note Only: It is assumed that all parishes which agree to enter the Ordinariate will continue to exist, although that will no doubt be clarified.
Notes only: Although a Financial Council is mandated, there is no reference in the Constitution to property rights.
At present all our parishes are separately incorporated and have title to their own property. Accordingly, they will have to vote whether or not to join the Ordinariate or not and make provision for future title. This may possibly be covered by a canon law of the Ordinariate. So the future title ownership will be dependent on the actions of individual parishes and the Synod, if the Ordinariate receives approval.
Are you agreeable to the structure and governance proposed by Rome?
VIII. OTHER CONTROVERSIAL POINTS
Apostolic Constitution, preamble: In recent times the Holy Spirit has moved groups of Anglicans to petition repeatedly and insistently to be received into full Catholic communion individually as well as corporately.
PRO: The Roman Catholic Church through the CDF has graciously offered a means for Christian unity to be realised.
Here is the telling evidence of why this Constitution has been put forward, giving traditional Anglicans exactly what they want, and this is exactly what the Congress of St Louis, in its famous Affirmation, which is one of the founding documents of the Anglican Catholic Church, has sought.
CON: This is not the model set forth in the Affirmation of St Louis for Christian unity.
The Affirmation of St Louis: Continuing Anglicans remain in full communion with…faithful parts of the Anglican Communion and shall actively seek similar relations with all other Apostolic and Catholic Churches, provided that agreement in the essentials of Faith and Order first be reached…
We continue to be what we are. We do nothing new. We form no new body but continue as Anglicans and Episcopalians….
That is what the Affirmation really said: “full communion,” not to become a part of the Roman Catholic or any other Church, because we “continue to be what we are.” We are Anglican Catholics, not Roman Catholics; but this Constitution very clearly states that we will be “within the Roman Catholic Church,” and in order to be so our clergy must be re-ordained, many of us must be re-baptised, various dogmas at variance with Anglican tradition must be adopted, and control will be vested in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. We thought we were to be “united, not absorbed.”
PRO – We have what we wanted: unity with Rome!
CON – This document goes far beyond unity.
Do you believe that this is the right path to Christian unity for us?
One of the expectations which emerged, after the Apostolic Constitution was published, was of “Particular Norms,” some modification of the proposal which would reflect the character and situation of the Traditional Anglican Communion.
Since that time several jurisdictions, including our own, have applied for Ordinariate status, so the process is underway, preceding the anticipated votes of parishes and then of the Synod. We hope that the Bishops’ trip to Rome will be productive of such Norms. However, we have been told not to expect them.
Private letters have been sent to the Pope and Cardinal Levada of the Congregation for Christian unity, in which these modifications have been requested:
SUGGESTED PARTICULAR NORMS
-Current bishops, married and celibate, to be Ordinaries, and the matter of the celibacy requirement deferred for later consideration.
-Clergy “incardinated” simply by the Ordinary, and that at most a Renewal of Vows would follow, with the Ordinary giving his blessing, as a sign of that “incardination.” No re-ordination.
-Members of the Anglican Catholic Church simply granted membership in the Ordinariate. No issue over former Roman Catholic membership.
-The Book of Common Prayer (1962 Canada) specified as our official Use.
-No requirement of specific acceptance of the Catechism of the Catholic Church; the Creeds a sufficient evidence of Catholic faith.
PRO: [Referring to those in favour of the Apostolic Constitution]
We have received our “deal.” We cannot expect their policy to change.
ARGUMENT: We should accept the terms that we have received. We have been granted a wonderful opportunity to carry on as Anglican Catholics under the broad “umbrella” of the Roman Catholic Church, which will provide safe haven for our beloved traditions, and probably much greater scope for our mission.
This could mean that we will attract far more people to our worship and membership in years to come.
The Roman Catholic Church has remained steadfast, the most powerful body of Christians in the world, and it would be wise to ally ourselves completely with the Holy See as our best hope. Since they have made the offer, naturally it must be on terms acceptable to them.
We will be fulfilling our Lord’s desire for unity. Let us not fail this test.
CON: [In favour of the Options, not the original Apostolic Constitution]
The “Particular Norms” outlined above would relieve the minds of most Anglican Catholics about the proposed Ordinariate, because it would really preserve essentials of Anglicanism. The Pope would be recognised as the “centre of unity” without our being asked to endorse Infallibility or other modern Dogmas. No reordination, acceptance in general of married clergy, and no immediate decision on celibate bishops would all ease the concerns of many people.
We are in favour of Christian unity, but this is only one means to that end, and it is seriously flawed. Nor does this achieve unity, because we will still be unrelated to half the Christians in the world, and shut out from the possibility of the gradual reformation of the worldwide Anglican Communion.
Other models are possible. One existed for a long time between the Eastern Orthodox Churches and the Anglican and Episcopal Churches, on the principle of Oecumene: Orthodox people were permitted to receive Holy Communion in Anglican Churches and take part in parish life. (This ended later when the women priest ordinations affected the relationship, and this policy was transferred to the Roman Catholic Church.)
OUR ORIGINAL DESIRE
We sought a chance to worship with Roman Catholics, and for them to worship with us as brothers and sisters in Christ: accepting one another for what we are meant to be, fellow Christians.
Another possibility was that of a Uniate status. For various technical reasons, it seems, the Roman Church chose not to adopt that option.
Unless Personal Norms alter the character of the Apostolic Constitution, very little of Anglicanism will remain, but in fact the Ordinariate will become an extension of the Roman Catholic Church, mostly bound by Roman canon law, and the authorities of the Roman Catholic Church. Likely, our TAC, after slow but steady growth, will fade away.
There you have it: the proposal, the arguments, the background material, and some of the results.
Which of these options do you prefer?
We look forward to the opportunity to be heard on this historic issue, since it alters our Church as it was upon our taking membership in it.
Before any vote or poll is taken, let us pray for guidance.
O Gracious Father, we humbly beseech Thee for thy holy Catholic Church; that thou wouldest be pleased to fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is rent asunder, make up the breaches of it, O thou Holy One of Israel. Amen.
O LORD, we humbly beseech Thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they which do lean only upon hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy power; and that I may faithfully service Thee in this thy Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
These were among the private prayers of Blessed William Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury in the reign of Charles I. He was martyred for the Faith. They were both adapted for the Book of Common Prayer later on.
In his time the Vatican offered to welcome the Church of England back to full communion after having excommunicated Elizabeth I and calling upon Catholics to overthrow her and re-take the Realm. This included the full acceptance of Anglican bishops and priests, the Prayer Book liturgy, and Anglican teachings. The negotiations had started in the time of James I, and moved slowly onwards until the Puritan uprising, Civil War, the execution of Laud and then of Charles, brought this proposal to an end.
Ultimately the choice is up to you, to join the Ordinariate or not.
In a free society, we expect to have both the right and the means to speak up, support, or object to ideas. As Christians we have “the liberty of the sons of God.” We must join that liberty to prudence.
There are so many “church choices,” when there is another Christian house of worship “just down the street.” No one is forced to deny their convictions. We want to be ecumenical as well as Anglican and Catholic. We must decide whether the Ordinariate is the best way to achieve the goal of Christian unity and uphold our cherished beliefs and traditions. If we do not have the consensus fidelium, the future is uncertain indeed!
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