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Specialariate

2012 January 5
by Gordon Reid

How sad it is to see the Roman Church setting up a body they call an “Ordinariate” to persuade otherwise reluctant Anglicans to join their Church. For centuries they have denigrated Anglican liturgies and married clergy, and now they are saying “Oh these are fine; just join our Church and  you can carry on doing these things”.

And so they attract a dozen or two clergy and a few hundred laity. Meanwhile, the Anglican Church (or Episcopal in Scotland and the U.S.A.) has been receiving far more RC clergy and infinitely more RC laity, but with no blowing of trumpets or “R.C. Ordinariates”.

So maybe the time has come for the Archbishop of Canterbury to institute not an Ordinariate but a Specialariate for RC’s wishing to join the Anglican Church. They can keep their liturgy (goodness me, hundreds of Anglican churches in the UK already use it every day! ) and their priests can all be celibate, though if they would like to be real Anglicans, they could choose to be married either to a man or a woman!

The trouble is that R.C.s joining the Church (Oh sorry, that is very un-ecumenical; I mean, joining the Anglican bit of the Church) don’t want a Specialariate. They want to luxuriate in Choral Evensong sung daily in England’s forty-three Cathedrals. They want to practise contraception as a positive moral good. They want Bishops with wives and children. Some of them (most of them?) even want women celebrating the Mass. And very few of them would care a bit if they knew their parish priest was gay. And all of them want to live in a Church that allows all such questions to be openly debated and lived with.

Poor little Ordinariate! The Emperor’s new clothes will seem bulky in comparison.

 

43 Responses leave one →
  1. Sean W. Reed permalink
    January 5, 2012

    Despite all the “vast throng” of RCs coming to The Episcopal Church, TEC is still closing 2.5 parishes for every one they open, and loosing the equivalent of a small diocese a year according to the head of the Church Insurance operations.

    SWR

    • January 5, 2012

      I am aware of this, Sean, and some of it is caused by Liberal Episcopal Fascists, who are betraying true Anglican comprehensiveness by refusing to live alongside Conservative Anglican Catholics (or Evangelicals, for that matter) and therefore driving them out into dozens of small schismatic groups or to the Roman Catholic or Orthodox Churches. But the RC Church in many American cities has closed one third of their churches, and statistics show the main-line Protestant Churches declining at about the same rate as each other. So it is not just an Episcopalian problem.

    • J Giansello permalink
      January 9, 2012

      Bless you, Fr. Reid. This needs to be said. In decades of experience as a vestryman in Episcopal parishes blessed by refugees from the Roman clergy as parish priests, I know exactly what you are talking about. And, as far as the dyspeptic critics below are concerned, I would point out that there are hundreds of Episcopal parishes (I invite you to join us in our historic and almostl painfully beautiful church in Pottsville, PA), where the faith once delievered to the saints lives robustly on, where the sacraments are celebrated decently and in good order, and where, notwithstanding the sex of the clergy or the sexual orientation of the parishioners, the faithful repair humbly Sunday after Sunday to partake of the banquet of the Lord, accompanied by the full richness of the liturgy of our rite and go forth to attempt to manifest the light of Christ to the world.

  2. Graeme Lawrence permalink
    January 5, 2012

    Good Stuff Father!!In many ways it is a shame that it is so true .However the really sad thing is that many Roman Catholics just leave the Church totally.In Australiathere is very little growth in any denomination.

    • January 5, 2012

      You are quite right, Graeme, and it is a sad commentary on how little real teaching these people have had. This is why somehow the Anglican Churches have got to be bolder in our mission to show such ex-Romans that we have a more open and honest Catholic Church for them to continue their Christian pilgrimage in.

  3. Ethan Alexander Jewett permalink
    January 5, 2012

    Simply outstanding, Father! Yes, the first Episcopal/Anglican parish I joined, and for which I was originally sponsored for ordination, was made up of almost all ex-Roman Catholics, including the vicar, an ex-Claretian, who married an RC nun. And both our assisting priests were also former RC priests. Just goes to show you that it there’s any trumpeting to be done, the Anglicans could most likely outdo the Romans, but then again, that would be very vulgar of us. But to all Anglicans thinking of joining the Ordinariate, beware of what awaits you. For example, those who are used to the laity having a strong voice in the parish, particularly through the vestry, will be silenced and made to comply when this voice runs afoul of the parish clergy or the local prelate. Count your blessings! :)

    • Sean W. Reed permalink
      January 8, 2012

      Ethan wrote:

      “…For example, those who are used to the laity having a strong voice in the parish, particularly through the vestry, will be silenced and made to comply when this voice runs afoul of the parish clergy or the local prelate. Count your blessings! …”

      The local Prelate does not have anything to say about the affairs of how an Ordinariate parish is run. As to how parishes are run, it will not be terribly different, but will follow the model laid out by the Ordinary and the Complimentary Norms

  4. Jeff Ezell permalink
    January 5, 2012

    The increasingly reactionary and vicious tone of the RC hierarchy in the USA signals the perfect refuge for a handful of incorrigibly misogynist and homophobic former Episcopalians to shelter in opposition to the course of history. The Ordinariates, as likewise the “continuing” and “traditional” Anglican schismatics, are based on negativity and a longing after a receding past that has about as much to commend it as the RC condemnation of Galileo.

    • P.R. Cook permalink
      January 5, 2012

      It’s interesting that the US Conference of [Roman] Catholic Bishops seems so unambiguously socially conservative. It seems to me that the RC leadership in England is much more keen to stress the nuanced nature of the Church’s teachings on issues such as homosexuality. Vincent Nichols has gone out of his way to stress that the Roman Catholic Church does not necessarily oppose legal recognition of same-sex unions, but does not regard such unions as equivalent to marriage (a view, incidentally, shared by many if not most gay Christians I know — and being an Anglo-Catholic, I know a great many). Vincent Nichols is vastly more conservative than most of his compatriots, but he is not cast in the same mold as many of the American bishops.

      I wonder why this discrepancy should exist. My fist thought, which is probably unforgivably élitist, is that Roman Catholicism in England has always been disproportionately a religion of the aristocracy and haut bourgeoisie, despite the influence of Irish immigrants, and has attracted many upper middle class intellectuals in the past 150 years. Converts like Evelyn Waugh, although they tended to play the role of hyper-reactionary High Tories (in order, one presumes, to be seen as ‘wrong but wromantic’ by their intellectual peers), were hardly likely to support anything that seemed too puritanical. This seems to me to mark a significant contrast with American Roman Catholicism, which does not have the same intellectual-romantic current.

      The other explanation, which is simpler and thus probably to be preferred, is that English Roman Catholics are much more influenced by Anglicanism.

    • Sean W. Reed permalink
      January 8, 2012

      Jeff wrote:

      “… handful of incorrigibly misogynist and homophobic former Episcopalians to shelter in opposition to the course of history…”

      Speaking from the perspective of a parish who will be going into the Ordinariate, your name calling would certainly not apply to our parish and its members.

      Our path into fully Unity with the Holy See, and being part of the Roman Catholic Family, is based upon an affirmative belief in the teachings of The Church, and not a negative reaction to our former spiritual home of 137 years.

      We see it as a completion of our Catholic witness, and an opportunity for Unity – in belief, teaching, and governance, as we join the majority of all Christians on the planet Earth in unity with the Successor of Peter.

      I recognize you don’t see this as necessary, and prefer your current ecclesial community, and that is certainly your right, but name calling of others, about whom you do not know their motives and reasons for making changes, seems to be out of line and lacking in Christian Charity.

      SWR

  5. M Cornthwaite permalink
    January 5, 2012

    The Roman Catholic church does not sneer at married priesthood. The RC church is clear that the significance of clerical celibacy is pragmatic and not dogmatic, and it is therefore revisable. The 22 Eastern Rite Catholic churches have always had married clergy, and the Roman Catholic church has also in recent years received married Anglican clergy. Nor does the Roman Catholic church sneer at Anglican liturgy – the fact that it allows Ordinariate churches to use Anglican liturgy shows that it is held in high esteem as a liturgy of real beauty and worth. Plenty of Roman Catholics, as you point out, enjoy and envy the Anglican choral heritage.

    If Benedict XVI had established the Ordinariate to poach disaffected High Church or Anglo-Catholic Anglicans, and if he (or others) thought that thousands would take up the offer, then it would be both calculating and misjudged. Many within the Roman Catholic church predicted that few would join the Ordinariate – not least because many of those who occupy the High Church/Anglo-Catholic end of the Church of England remain there because of their support for the rights of gay people and women, and their commitment to open conversation on these issues. I think, however, that it’s more accurate to understand Benedict XVI’s intentions in establishing the Ordinariate in the light of his attempts on another front to reconcile the Society of Pius X, and other sedevacantist groups. This is a pope who desires to gather into communion with Rome those he perceives to be on the margins for one reason or another, and to strengthen the internal unity of the Roman Catholic church itself.

    As you point out, many Roman Catholics who feel strongly about issues of married clergy, contraception and women priests do migrate to the Anglican communion. Research commissioned in the US suggests, however, that the majority of now Protestant ex-Catholics migrate not because of these doctrinal/practical issues, but because their ‘spiritual needs are not being met’ or they ‘do not like the atmosphere at worship services’. (See http://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2011/04/13/why-do-catholics-go-elsewhere/). What they seem to want on the whole is more engagement with the Bible and more charismatic/evangelical worship. So a ‘Specialariate’ along the lines you suggest might gain as few members as the Ordinariate has!

    I know that the unilateralist way in which the Ordinariate was established and announced has caused upset and offence within the Anglican church. An apology from me on behalf of the Catholic hierarchy bears no weight, but I am sorry: sorry that there was not dialogue beforehand, and sorry at the damage done to years of Roman Catholic/Anglican ecumenical talks. I hope and pray that, as the Roman Catholic church learns from the Anglican heritage in the Ordinariate, we might also learn the value of open conversation, courageous reform and valued diversity on a number of other liturgical and moral issues.

    • January 5, 2012

      Thank you for this very balanced and eirenical comment. There is also the point, which I forgot to make, that the Ordinariate was set up by the Pope not for Anglo-Catholics but for ex-Anglicans who were already out of communion with Canterbury, mainly those under the now unacceptable Archbishop Hepworth.

    • Luke Evan permalink
      January 6, 2012

      What about the “unlaterist” way in which various provinces of the Anglican Communion forged ahead with women’s ordination despite the clear indications that this would “do damage to years of Roman Catholic / Anglican ecumenical talks”? The Anglicans simply decided that this was the way they wanted to go, and they went. And the talks go on – there’s just no possibility now of intercommunion. Same with the establishment of the Ordinariate: it seems to me the Pope is saying, “Well, there is no chance now of intercommunion between our two Churches, and since you realize that and have asked to come into full communion and bring elements of your heritage that are compatible with Catholic doctrine and worship, here is a way for you to do that.” It’s actually quite broadminded it seems to me.

      “Courageous reform”? The first women ordained to the priesthood in the Episcopal Church “forced” the issue by an illegal action and dragged the rest of the Church along. “Valued diversity”? Have you seen how those who dare disagree with the Left in the Church of England are treated? Or how the TEC treats its dissenting AngloCatholics?

      Being polite is one thing, but let’s keep it real!

      • January 6, 2012

        Did you notice the RC Church consult anyone about the new doctrines of Papal Infallibility, the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption? O care about how this might hurt ecumenical relations? Is that not keeping it real?

        • Simmary permalink
          February 2, 2012

          May I recommend a very interesting book* by the Clifton (England) diocesan archivist Canon Anthony Harding entitled CLIFFORD OF CLIFTON.

          Bishop William Clifford was RC Bishop before and after the First Vatican Council. He was a man with a mind of his own as is evidenced by his correspondence. Clifford was one of the so-called “Inopportunists” who were not convinced that the definition of Papal Infallibility should stand separately from the infallibility of the Church, and left the Council before the vote. He only accepted the dogma later when he perceived the widespread acceptance in the Catholic world of this teaching which had been approved by the majority of the Bishops in Council – everything to the contrary notwithstanding!

          This book is not a full memoir, but a clear presentation of the situation of the 19th Century debates, of Clifford’s speech to the Council and his correspondence with other responsible persons, including Newman.

          *Obtainable through Book Depository or Amazon

        • Tim permalink
          February 22, 2012

          Canon Reid — Not sure if your comment is directed at mine. If so, I would respond by saying that I share your indignation about Rome’s one-sided (and short-sighted) recent redefinition of 19th-century doctrines that include papal infallibility, the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption. Not only do they perpetuate the rift with our Anglo-Catholic brethren, but they also discourage closer ties with our Eastern Orthodox brothers and sisters. That said, I wasn’t referring to doctrinal differences between Christian churches. I have no interest in Catholic or Anglican triumphalism. I was exploring at the relative attractiveness of Anglo-Catholicism to Roman Catholic communicants like me. In the process, I was addressing a road-block to my joining your denomination (as attractive as it might be in many ways) — and more importantly, I was (and still am) asking you to reveal something I might be missing. Maybe the block isn’t as insurmountable as I suppose. As a point of clarification: I’m interested in learning, not engaging or winning a debate.

  6. Luke Evan permalink
    January 6, 2012

    So the Roman Church responding to requests (yes, you probably wouldn’t believe anyone would want to leave a Church as wonderful as the Episcopal Church or its various Anglican variations) to become Roman Catholic whilst retaining elements of Anglican liturgy and governance is “setting up” to “persuade otherwise reluctant Anglicans”? Oh, Father, wouldn’t it be grand for you and what’s left of the TEC if that were the case!

    Meanwhile, back to reality: the Episcopal clergy I’ve known of who have decided to travel “from Canterbury to Rome,” if you will, have had to so down a road that requires them to leave behind salaries many times larger than anything they’re likely to find in Rome, not to mention pensions and insurance plans – no small “leap of faith” if you’ve a wife and children.

    Moreover, communities who have chosen to do this usually have also to duck out of the way of Presiding Bishopess Jefferts-Schori swooping in with her broomful of lawyers.

    On the other hand, every last one of the clergy traveling “from Rome to Canterbury” that I know of have done so down the “Boulevard of Broken Vows” – no longer willing or able to keep their lifelong commitment to celibacy, they’ve looked around for a Church where they can still do the only thing they’ve been trained to do, but on their terms. Most of the laity I know of have “gone Episcopal” because of the Catholic marriage laws.

    So why on earth would any Church (especially one whose membership has now sunk below 2 million, down from 3.5 million in the mid-60s) “trumpet” the fact that it’s a ready haven for anyone who can’t keep their solemn promises? And as for the gay priests and and married priests and Bishops with wives – you left out female Bishops with wives AND male Bishops with husbands – seems to me what you’ve got going in the Episcopal Church is not “questions openly debated and lived with” – but anything goes! It’s the old “all may, some do, none must,” which I was taught in Catholic high school pretty much summarized Episcopal doctrine.

    Nothing “specialariate” about that, Father!

    • January 6, 2012

      Sounds like you were once an Anglican. No RC school would ever teach “All may, some do, none must” presumably about the Sacrament of Penance. The correct Anglican version is “All may, none must, some should”. The correct RC version is “All must”.

  7. David O'Rourke permalink
    January 6, 2012

    O come now Father! You are being silly here! At the time when teh Immacualte Conception, Papal Infallibility and the Assumption were defined there were no ecumenical relations to hurt.

    It’s too bad you don’t supply us with specific cases of these Roman Catholic converts to Anglicanism. We all know that whether we agree with them or not, those Anglicans (especially priests) who have left their Anglican parishes to join the Ordinariate have gone out into very uncertain waters. They are making sacrifices but they are guided by faith. Tell us the heroic stories of the ex RC priests to whom you refer.

  8. Al Holland permalink
    January 6, 2012

    I have been a priest for thirty-three years and during that time I have known hundreds of people raised as Roman Catholics who have become Episcopalians, my mother among them. Some did so because they wished to marry a non Roman Catholic and needed a spiritual home that could accommodate differing theological views. Most however, were looking for a community focused on the sacraments without Rome’s authoritarian baggage. The sometime Episcopalians that I have known who went to Rome did so precisely because of that authoritarianism. I wish those who crave an authoritarian regime all the best and welcome those who seek an open and diverse Catholicism in the Episcopal Church.

  9. Jeff Ezell permalink
    January 7, 2012

    It’s not simply the lack of ecumenical regard that Rome’s peculiar doctrines represent, but rather the parochialism, legalism, and excessive definition that the doctrines represent. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, for example, is predicated on a peculiarly Western, Augustinian theology that defines the plight of humanity in a certain way – “Original Sin” – that doesn’t fit with the theology of the Orthodox churches of the East. There is, further, a marked difference between the pious opinion that Mary, by God’s grace, lived a sinless life, and the dogmatisation of such popular piety into a supposedly obligatory belief in a theologically elaborated and legalistically binding “Immaculate Conception”. As to papal infallibility – really expanded in practice past the strict limits of ex cathedra pronouncements – that novel doctrine entirely violates the historic principle of episcopal collegiality. In any event, papal infallibility was clearly a reactionary doctrine brought in to prop up Petrine authority in the wake of the loss of the Vatican’s temporal power and territories.

    • John permalink
      January 19, 2012

      @ Jeff Ezell That Apostolic succession is found in the Roman Catholic Church only. Pope Benedict is the direct successor of St.Peter. The Roman Catholic Bishops have a direct link back to the Apostles. The same cannot be said for Anglicanism. Many Anglicans who study this issue realise that they are on shakey ground and become Roman Catholics.

      What we have had with Protestantism is a massive splintering into sects and denominations all claiming to have the truth. Now they all cant have the truth. The Anglican Church seeks to accomodate its beliefs to the current norms of society. Consequently there is doctinal chaos within the Anglican church. How many Anglican Churches are there? The reality is that the Anglican Churches have drifted very far from their Christian roots in many cases. It is a sad day when we have Anglican priests even doubting the existence of God. There are ten Commandments.
      They are immutable. They are the Law of God. We are meant to live by them not by what is popular. The Law of God is clear also in relation to marriage.
      Legislators make laws on marriage. The fact that someting is legal does not make it moral.

      Lets analyse one point of disagreement between the Churches:
      The Roman Catholic position on contraception has been condemned here on this blog. Time has proven the Catholic position to be correct. Just look at the massive upsurge in extra marital sexual activity and rampant sexual promiscuity and disease. There has been a huge rise in teen pregnancies. Look at the massive spike in the divorce rate fueled by rampant infidelity aided by contraception. Easy availability of contraception has been followed by ready availability of abortion. The fact that many Catholics may disagree with the Church position on contraception is neither here nor there. The reality is that the Church is correct on the issue. Doctrinally the Roman Catholic Church is a rock in a sea of chaos. The Law of God cannot change to suit sinful man.

      Does anybody seriously believe that Jesus Christ favours the availability of contraceptives to engage in immoral sexual activity?
      The Roman Catholic position on abortion is correct. Abortion is wrong IN ALL CASES because it is the killing of the innocent unborn child in the womb. It is a murder irrespective of how the child was conceived. Even if child is conceived by rape it is murder to abort it. That is not to justify rape which is a heinous crime. Where does Anglicanism stand on abortion? Does it rule it out in all cases?
      And yes extramarital sexual activity is ALSO immoral. But will the Anglican Churches say so?
      Finally there are approximately 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world?

      @Al Holland. There are 1.2 billion (1,200 million) Roman Catholics in the world. There are approximately 75 million Anglicans whose churches are deeply split doctrinally. Anglicanism in the UK is losing adherents in droves because doctrinally it cannot make a stand.
      There is more to Christianity than ritual. To be a good Christian you must make hard choices. You must choose to live by the Ten Commandments. You are judged on this when you die. None of us knows our Judgement Day. We get one chance to save our souls. Failure means eternal damnation.

      This means that you may have to oppose some of the laws of your country if they foster immorality. To be a good Christian you may have to go against the grain. For instance Christians cannot in conscience support a pro abortion politician. it is gravely sinful to do so.
      It is not easy to be a good Catholic. Catholicism is not for the faint hearted if it is to be lived properly. But remember that Jesus has no time for the luke warm. He requiresd absolute commitment. On your death bed Catholicism is a great consolation.

  10. January 10, 2012

    I got a sense of where the ordinariate was headed when I saw some British headline of “hundreds” joining the Catholics through it. “Hundreds,” I thought,” in other words, a nadful of parishes.”

    One wonders, though, how many Anglican parishes are going to take up the new Mass translation, whose authorship would appear to be someone whose first language was Latin, and whose third language was perhaps English.

  11. David O'Rourke permalink
    January 10, 2012

    Do you not accept the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption as true, Father?

  12. David O'Rourke permalink
    January 10, 2012

    Do you not accept the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption as true, Father Reid?

  13. David O'Rourke permalink
    January 10, 2012

    Father Holland, an “open and diverse Catholicism” is no Catholicism at all. It is confusion! “Every man his own pope” is not a Catholic principle. It’s a quote from Martin Luther!

  14. January 11, 2012

    I really appreciated this. Here’s my take: http://liturgy.co.nz/launching-the-us-ordinariate/8352

    Blessings

    Bosco+

  15. Timothy Mulligan permalink
    January 12, 2012

    It’s quite possible that St. Clement’s will join the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter when your grip has been loosened, Mr. Reid. What a glorious day that will be.

    Oh, by the way. Insouciance, envy and bitterness are not theological virtues, Mr. Reid.

    • Stephen permalink
      January 13, 2012

      Mister Mulligan, I resent your sarcastic, snide and mean-spirited comments toward a wondeful man of God such as FATHER Reid!

    • Todd permalink
      April 19, 2012

      Timothy,

      I would not say that Father Reid’s comments are rooted in insouciance, envy and bitterness; rather they are an astute observation of current trends. I can confidently state, as a sitting member of the vestry, that my Episcopal parish has attracted many “Romans” over the past three years. Any prelate setting up a program to “steal” members from one denomination, such as that set up by the Holy See should look long and hard at itself.

  16. John permalink
    January 19, 2012

    @ Jeff Ezell That Apostolic succession is found in the Roman Catholic Church only. Pope Benedict is the direct successor of St.Peter. The Roman Catholic Bishops have a direct link back to the Apostles. The same cannot be said for Anglicanism. Many Anglicans who study this issue realise that they are on shakey ground and become Roman Catholics.

    What we have had with Protestantism is a massive splintering into sects and denominations all claiming to have the truth. Now they all cant have the truth. The Anglican Church seeks to accomodate its beliefs to the current norms of society. Consequently there is doctinal chaos within the Anglican church. How many Anglican Churches are there? The reality is that the Anglican Churches have drifted very far from their Christian roots in many cases. It is a sad day when we have Anglican priests even doubting the existence of God. There are ten Commandments.
    They are immutable. They are the Law of God. We are meant to live by them not by what is popular. The Law of God is clear also in relation to marriage.
    Legislators make laws on marriage. The fact that someting is legal does not make it moral.

    Lets analyse one point of disagreement between the Churches:
    The Roman Catholic position on contraception has been condemned here on this blog. Time has proven the Catholic position to be correct. Just look at the massive upsurge in extra marital sexual activity and rampant sexual promiscuity and disease. There has been a huge rise in teen pregnancies. Look at the massive spike in the divorce rate fueled by rampant infidelity aided by contraception. Easy availability of contraception has been followed by ready availability of abortion. The fact that many Catholics may disagree with the Church position on contraception is neither here nor there. The reality is that the Church is correct on the issue. Doctrinally the Roman Catholic Church is a rock in a sea of chaos. The Law of God cannot change to suit sinful man.

    Does anybody seriously believe that Jesus Christ favours the availability of contraceptives to engage in immoral sexual activity?
    The Roman Catholic position on abortion is correct. Abortion is wrong IN ALL CASES because it is the killing of the innocent unborn child in the womb. It is a murder irrespective of how the child was conceived. Even if child is conceived by rape it is murder to abort it. That is not to justify rape which is a heinous crime. Where does Anglicanism stand on abortion? Does it rule it out in all cases?
    And yes extramarital sexual activity is ALSO immoral. But will the Anglican Churches say so?
    Finally there are approximately 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world?

    @Al Holland. There are 1.2 billion (1,200 million) Roman Catholics in the world. There are approximately 75 million Anglicans whose churches are deeply split doctrinally. Anglicanism in the UK is losing adherents in droves because doctrinally it cannot make a stand.
    There is more to Christianity than ritual. To be a good Christian you must make hard choices. You must choose to live by the Ten Commandments. You are judged on this when you die. None of us knows our Judgement Day. We get one chance to save our souls. Failure means eternal damnation.

    This means that you may have to oppose some of the laws of your country if they foster immorality. To be a good Christian you may have to go against the grain. For instance Christians cannot in conscience support a pro abortion politician. it is gravely sinful to do so.
    It is not easy to be a good Catholic. Catholicism is not for the faint hearted if it is to be lived properly. But remember that Jesus has no time for the luke warm. He requiresd absolute commitment. On your death bed Catholicism is a great consolation.

    • Stephen permalink
      January 19, 2012

      John, Not to be rude , but it is ridiculous to say that only Pope BenedictXVI has this Apostolic Succession! Have you ever heard of the Coptic Pope? He occupies The See of St Mark in Egypt. How about The Ecumenical Patriarch at Constantinople and all of the Orthodox bishops in Communion with him? Not to mention Churches such as the Polish National Catholic Church which are in communion with the Old Catholic Church. If you deny that all of these entities have Apostolic succession and valid holy orders you are not only historically inaccurate, but you are in open disagreement with the clear pronouncements of recent popes such as John Paul II.

    • Richard permalink
      September 5, 2012

      I notice that most of those who defend the RC Church here are right-wing, doctrinaire, conservative Roman Catholics, who still think that attacking the validity of Anglican Orders and defedning Papal Infallibility are important. It isn’t apparent why they feel they need to vent their spleen on this blog, especially defending the Ordinariate. The endless attacks on Anglicanism and the Episcopal Church as being invalid, lacking authority, heretical and schimsmatic are boilerplate nastiness. One could get into arguments about Anglican Orders, etc., but it would be wasted here. Anglicanism has never been what they seem to find so disagreeable. It is not an institution that forces one view and one theology. It has always been comprehensive and tolerant as a compromise Church. The Elizabthan Settlement, the 1662 Prayer Book et al were about making Anglicanism able to be a church for everyone-a remarkable feat in post-Reforation and post-Commonwealth England. The posters here who make statements about “Archbishopess Schori and her broomful of lawyers” have nothing to contribute aside from a vicious hatred of women clergy and bishops. Rejoicing over the ‘decline” of Anglicanism is rich from a group that is closing hundreds of churches and can’t find any priests. One candidate (a Canadian, not a local) was ordained in the Archdiocese of new York this year and one in ten Americans is a FORMER Roman Catholic. Jesus did say something about specks and planks. Obviously authoritarian, homophobic, mysogynist Romans have something to learn before they lecture the rest of us-but, of course, heretics are unsaved anyway, so they needn’t bother.

  17. Al Holland permalink
    January 24, 2012

    My goodness, what a diverse group reads your blog Gordon!

  18. Jeff Ezell permalink
    January 25, 2012

    John, you say,”we get one chance to save our souls”: gosh, I thought it was Jesus who does that!

    Sorry, John, I just don’t buy a number of your premises, nor indeed your apparent emphasis on damnation and deathbed comfort. If that’s what the religion of Jesus is about, I don’t see it having much of value to offer. Call me invincibly ignorant, but hey!

  19. Tim permalink
    February 21, 2012

    A Roman Catholic with my theological/liturgical preferences might be enticed to join an Anglican parish such as St. Clement’s. Unfortunately, the breadth of disagreement among Anglican clergy about some of the basic tenets of the Christian faith prevents me from considering the possibility. The idea of belonging to a communion with a more open disposition toward theological debate appeals to me — as does the idea of belonging to a church that embraces married clergy, ordained women and contraception. But I don’t think I could belong to a church in which bishops/priests question or affirmatively reject the divinity of Christ or the doctrine of resurrection. Don’t misunderstand me: It’s not a matter of moral superiority. People of goodwill disagree on all sorts of things. But what is a denomination if its communicants don’t share core beliefs? If I believe what retired Bishop John Shelby Spong believes, what need do I have of an episcopal (small “e”) church? I could be a perfectly happy Unitarian. No?

  20. Tim permalink
    February 21, 2012

    A lot of Catholics don’t know much about papal infallibility — or that Catholics as prominent as John Henry Newman and Lord Acton lobbied against it’s being declared dogmatic (Vatican I).

    A lot of us behave as if it were always part of Catholic teaching. Indeed, few of us know what ultramontanism is and how relatively new it is.

  21. Fr Gerard permalink
    March 10, 2012

    Fascinating to read so much anger. I find the article a little bit of an over-reaction to the setting up of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.
    I know RC priests who have joined the C of E but none of them expressed theological concerns until, perhaps, later. On the whole, they fell in love and married. Several wish they could come back, whilst one or two others have discovered theological positions never hitherto held.
    It is important to point out the very large numbers of Anglicans have joined the RC Church before the Ordinariates and will continue to do so on a parish level.
    My community is a quarter converts to the RC Church, mostly from the C of E.
    Interestingly, in 1994 I visited an episcopalian church in California which was massively Latino. As a Spanish-speaker, I asked a couple of people lighting candles before an image of Our Lady of Guadeloupe, whether they had always been Episcopalians. They looked at me as if I was mad and assured me this was Roman Catholic Church; indeed, there was nothing to suggest otherwise. The vicar, whom I had got to know in England, came and found me and hurried me away. Funny old world we live in.

    • Stephen permalink
      March 10, 2012

      Father Gerard, This reminds me of St Maron’s Maronite Rite Catholic Church in South Philadelphia. I’ve only had the honor of visiting there once, but I was told that it was mostly Italian Catholics from the area who went there and kept the place going. I suppose there aren’t many Lebanese people left in that area who would be the natural constituency of a Maronite Rite Church. The Roman Rite Catholics who attended there needn’t know much about the various rites and divisions within Mother Church’s household to know they were comfortable at St Maron’s and loved its Liturgy. I guess the biggest difference would be that Rome recognizes the Maronite rite as “uniate” where sadly, the same probably can’t be said about the Episcopal parish you mention in your post. It is sad how we humans let so many prejudices keep us apart! Even when it would seem to be against the explicit will of Our Lord!

  22. Fr Gerard permalink
    March 10, 2012

    PS I am the child of an Anglican convert.

  23. Michael Meehan permalink
    March 16, 2012

    I happened to run across this entry by accident of sorts – when I am in the city on a Sunday morning, I love to visit St. Clement’s, so I often like to look at the website to see what is happening there. It is a wonderful parish with many devout individuals and it is always a pleasure to attend the Holy Eucharist there.

    As a former Roman Catholic, who traveled the path of pilgrimage to Canterbury and is now an Episcopalian, I have thought quite a bit about the Ordinariate and those individuals who are leaving the Episcopal Church to join the Roman Catholic Church. Basically, these individuals have to deny their former heritage and that is somewhat puzzling to me. The Roman Catholic church does not accept Anglican orders as valid, therefore none of the sacraments that these individuals attended up until their conversion mattered – there were no masses, no confessions, no confirmations in their lives, only appearances of such. Fortunately, I did not have to deal with that when I converted.

    For me, my conversion came about through a long process of reflection and discernment. I always felt something missing when I was a Roman Catholic and I never knew what. I didn’t care about married clergy, contraception, gays in the priesthood – that was all very unimportant to me, so it really was not any of those issues which caused me any trouble. I could not pinpoint it until I came across the idea of scripture, tradition and reason as the source of authority in the Anglican Church. I realized that what I had been missing in the Roman Catholic Church was the “reason” portion of those three items. I was never taught that I was allowed to use my reason – I simply had to accept the teachings of the magisterium without question. It was then that I knew I had to travel the road from Rome to Canterbury.

    • Fr Gerard permalink
      April 17, 2012

      What, you must be joking. Who taught you to be a Catholic? I have always used my reason and the Catholic Church insists upon it. Have you not read the Church’s exhortations to combine faith and reason. I get constantly irritated by those who leave the Church due to their own perceptions rather than the reality of Church teaching. If you are unhappy with doctrinaire faith groups, what do you think of low-church Anglican Evangelicals and their fundamentalism?

  24. Cornelius Badger permalink
    April 24, 2012

    re: the Leadership Conference of Women Religious

    Good afternoon, all. There’s an interesting column in the most recent issue of The Nation magazine on the Vatican’s treatment, (and reprimand) of members of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

    It’s worth a look, and some contemplation and prayer. I personally believe that the work and the devotion of all “women religious” (in holy orders) is awe-inspiring, and worthy of the utmost respect and deference. And I hope that the Leadership Conference finds a way to continue its witnessing for social justice and God’s charity and providence.

    On background: http://www.thenation.com

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