Wednesday, 9 February 2011

"an entirely new and radical initiative "

Two items about the Ordinariate:
Firstly, an extract from Fr Christopher Colven's homily at the patronal festival of the TAC parish of St Agatha's Langport. Fr Colven, a former Anglican priest - in fact both a former Master of SSC and Administrator of the (Anglican) Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham - is now (Catholic) Rector of St James, Spanish Place, in London.

"......At risk of moving where angels fear to tread, I think I ought to say something about the idea of the Ordinariate which is on all our minds at present. It seems to me – and this a purely personal reaction – that there is an invitation here, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to allow much to fall into the ground and appear to die, in order that a greater harvest may be reaped. In thanking God for so much that has been achieved – and in this building we think of the pastoral ministry of Father Dolling and his like – we need to see where the example of the great witnesses to the Faith is pointing.
There is a legend of St Peter visiting St Agatha after dreadful torture to heal her wounds. Perhaps Peter is reaching out to us today drawing us closer to Christ and to one another. The Ordinariate is an entirely new and radical initiative – it cuts through so much that had been perceived as the ecumenical norms and says that if you see communion with the Successor of Peter as of the “esse” of the Church and if you can accept the Catechism as the norm of faith, then you are virtually free to write your own cheque and establish your own parameters. We have here a fresh model for reconciliation whose implications have yet to be tested and understood. May it help towards the fulfilment of Christ’s prayer that all should be one, that the world may believe.
That great English writer, Edith Sitwell, once said: “all in the end is harvest”. In Christ’s own way, in Christ’s own time, may that harvest become a reality for us all – aided by the example and intercession of St Agatha...."
Read it all at the Ordinariate Portal [here] The emphasis is mine.

And this is an article from the USA by Jordan Hylden on First Things, significantly from a transatlantic Anglican / Episcopal perspective: [again, my emphasis]
".....Catholics have long insisted that the Roman primacy is an integral and necessary part of the ecumenical movement toward Christian unity. And they have further insisted, as Pope John Paul II paradigmatically did in Ut Unum Sint, on the “power and the authority without which such an office would be illusory.” But this is precisely what Rowan Williams challenged in his Vatican address: whether instead it might be that shared theological understandings of primacy could coexist “alongside a diversity of canonical or juridical arrangements,” leading to a sort of communion of communions not united “juridically or institutionally” but instead by “lasting loyalty, shared theological method and devotional ethos.”

Primacy, in such a scenario, would not need to be constituted by a “centralized juridical office” and a “single juridically united body.” It would instead serve as the focus of unity within a communion of communions, each committed to sustaining a “mutually nourishing and mutually critical life” and each following mutually agreed-upon “protocols of decision-making.”
Williams’ proposal, as he himself indicated, sounded very much like that of the Anglican Covenant, of which he has been the principal proponent in recent years. The long-discussed Covenant, which by now has been approved by three provinces, in essence consists of the shared “protocols of decision-making” by which Anglicans worldwide would commit to walk together in faith and morals rather than apart.
The elephant in the room, of course, was and is that Anglicans have thus far failed spectacularly in bringing anything like the vision of ecclesial life Williams described to fruition. It is not at all clear that there exists among Anglicans anything remotely close to “lasting loyalty, shared theological method, and devotional ethos,” as the events that have transpired during his time at Canterbury have shown.
As such, the question raised by John Paul II remains open: Is it not the case that such a vision will continue to remain illusory without the power and authority held by the Bishop of Rome? As the former Episcopal bishop Jeffrey Steenson asked in a 2005 Anglican Theological Review essay, is not the authority of the Roman primacy just the “unopened gift” that Anglicans need? Then-Bishop Steenson thought so; he is now a Catholic priest."

Read it all here

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