(NCR) John Allen—No earthquake from overture to Anglicans

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Pope Benedict XVI’s 2007 decision to revive the Latin Mass is arguably one such case, as is a 2005 Vatican document barring homosexuals from seminaries. Both became an instant cause célèbre, yet, at least so far, most people would say that neither liturgical practice nor seminary formation has been truly turned on its head.

In the U.K., some observers believe a similar point might be made about the recent creation of a new structure, called an ordinariate, to welcome groups of former Anglicans into the Catholic fold.

When it was unveiled two years ago, supporters hailed the ordinariate as a way to end the ecumenical logjam between Rome and Canterbury. Critics predicted it would corrode relations with Anglicans, and that it would drive Catholicism to the right by embracing Anglicanism’s most determined opponents of women clergy and homosexuality.

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Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalAnglican ProvincesChurch of England (CoE)* Christian Life / Church LifeParish Ministry* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI

4 Comments
Posted August 31, 2011 at 4:20 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Charles52 wrote:

John Allen misses the point: if you look at the experience of the Anglican Use in the United States, I think you will see the future of the Ordinariates. They will remain relatively small, with numbers that won’t be missed in the Anglican Churches. However, they will be leaven in the local Catholic Churches, in ways more invisible than visible. If you look at the three major AU parishes - Walsingham in Houston, Atonement in San Antonio, and St. Mary the Virgin in Fort Worth - you will see significant change in all three of those dioceses toward more solid Catholic doctrine and practice. Did the AU parishes “cause” the change?  I certainly could not say that: all three diocese have gained bishops less in tune with the proverbial Spirit of Vatican II and more in tune with the hermenuetic of continuity. Those men are the obvious causes. But the Kingdom is often hidden from our eyes, a quiet heartbeat, that bit of leaven. and I believe the AU parishes are part of the inner heart of those changes.

The big difference, of course, is that the Anglican Use parishes are subject to the local bishops, and the Ordinariates are not. I can’t foresee how that will play out, and I certainly don’t want to presume upon the Lord’s designs: He will do as He wills, not as I expect. But I don’t look for high drama or mass conversions. I look for struggles, crosses, and failures, at least as the world sees failures. But 30-40 years from now, or 50-60 years, the seeds planted today will bear fruit. It would not surprise me if this is part of God’s plan to move us beyond the impasse of the last 50 years, the crisis of Vatican II.

And, btw, I think Allen is wrong about the Latin Mass as well. I’m not a devotee of Tridentine worship, but I do think it challenges the abuses rampant today. If you don’t believe that, note the tantrums of liberal Catholics about it.

Though I could be wrong.  grin

September 1, 1:31 am | [comment link]
2. Teatime2 wrote:

Charles52, you’re talking about Texas dioceses with a majority Hispanic membership that is already conservative and doesn’t make waves. I really don’t think that an Anglican Use parish in each of those dioceses has made one iota of difference in that regard.

The only difference they would make—and this may be important to some people—is to give non-Hispanics a good parish option. As a person of Anglo ancestry and raised in the Northeast, I never fully felt a part of things when I was an RC in the San Antonio diocese. The cult of Guadalupe was strong and meant nothing to me; bilingual Masses are a confusing jumble; and some of the cultural aspects that are tolerated and even promoted in Hispanic Catholicism (such as an acceptance of curanderisma, talismen, and magical candle-burning) disturbed me. So non-Hispanics who don’t want to “put up and shut up” would welcome Anglican Use parishes, indeed.

September 1, 2:00 am | [comment link]
3. guest wrote:

Vatican II was NOT a crisis. Its wilfully wrongful interpretation was and we must keep stating that fact. If one returns to the texts they in no way advocate liberalism or 70’s folk religion, indeed Latin was to be the norm! It is the yard people took when provided with an inch

September 1, 3:44 am | [comment link]
4. Charles52 wrote:

guest -

I would argue that not an inch of conciliar doctrine provides room for the crisis that has followed the council, although, as you note, people have taken the ball and run with it - but the wrong way down the field.

Nevertheless,  I meant “crisis” in the generic sense:

A crisis (plural: “crises”; adjectival form: “critical”) (from the Greek κρίσις, krisis) is any event that is, or expected to lead to, an unstable and dangerous situation affecting an individual, group, community or whole society.  More loosely, it is a term meaning ‘a testing time’ or an ‘emergency event’.

It’s hard to see how the post-conciliar period has not been unstable and dangerous, and, indeed “a testing time”.

September 1, 8:36 am | [comment link]
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