10 November 2009


As you probably know, the Vatican announced last month that it was preparing a document in response to Anglicans wanting into the Roman Catholic Church. That document, called Anglicanorum Cœtibus, was released yesterday. This has also been called the Apostolic Constitution for an Anglican Personal Ordinariate. Yes, you may need a dictionary.

I offer some initial thoughts, not simply on the document and its prospects, but on the responses from several Anglican commentators. Several men have quickly commented that certain points of Cœtibus, being "crucial to me [them]," do little to improve upon what is already in place with the Pastoral Provision, aka the Personal Prelature. Some further point out that this new structure is not an "ecumenical advance."

First, this offer from Benedict XVI is not up for me to scrutinize on an individual level. There will be no revision to the arrangement except from within. It is fruitless to point out key statements that don't satisfy our aggravation that Rome still does not recognize us for what we claim to be. I think that many misapprehensions were due to the misguided hopes that Benedict would create a Uniate Anglican Church with an Anglican Rite liturgy. He has done neither. Those who accept the offer will become Roman Catholics allowed to retain much, definitely not all, of their Anglican heritage within the structure of the Roman Rite. It is different than the Personal Prelature, but I'll leave that do another post to describe.

Second, this offer is not directed, in the case of nearly every detractor, at those who never longed to be Catholic. In other words, this offer is a response to those that HAVE wanted [including numerous appeals to the Holy Father] to be Catholic but chose not to convert for several reasons. The offer is surprisingly wide enough to include some detractors, but is primarily directed at those that have made appeals to Rome for a structure rather than converting individually. Here is a short list of their reasons for not converting yet. Please tell me if there are other substantial reasons for them not converting [albeit desiring so], and whether the new offer doesn't appease them.

If I convert as an individual from my Anglican Church to a Roman parish I will...
  • lose many dear friends because they may not join me
  • lose my Priest who has been my confessor and director
  • lose my congregation because they might not follow me (in the case of Priests)
  • leave my congregation to someone else that could damage their souls (in the case of Priests)
  • lose the right to practice as a Priest (in the case of Priests)*
  • lose the numinous power of Anglican liturgical patrimony
  • lose my wonderful building (still true in many cases)
For those who never longed for unity with the See of Rome there really isn't much sense in responding. You did not plead with Rome for a quiet pool to be carved beside the restless waters. That image of the Shepherd is what I believe the Pontiff has done.

*Some will be allowed to be ordained as Catholic Priests

1 comment:

Jared Nelson said...

One would also lose the important doctrine of justification by faith alone. I think it would be hard to turn one's back on Cranmer, Latimer and Ridley who died for their confession of the gospel. One should certainly have a better understanding than Newman of what they are rejecting as ignorance, error, and heresy on the part of these martyred saints.