(CNA) Leader of Anglican ordinariate, former TEC Bishop, recalls the joy of his first year

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Almost a year after being appointed to shepherd Anglican communities seeking to join the Catholic Church, Monsignor Jeffrey N. Steenson says the past months have been showered with blessings.

“I think the real joys have been to see communities that have struggled with the decision of discerning whether to become Catholic and have made that choice, and they have come in,” he told CNA in a November interview.

He described “the joy on their faces” as they enter the Catholic Church and said, “That’s the thing that sticks in my mind the most.”

Read it all.

Filed under: * Anglican - EpiscopalEpiscopal Church (TEC)TEC Bishops* Religion News & CommentaryEcumenical RelationsOther ChurchesRoman CatholicPope Benedict XVI* TheologyEcclesiology

Posted November 28, 2012 at 10:02 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]

1. mlester82 wrote:

The ordinariate allows for entire communities to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church while retaining elements of their Anglican heritage and liturgical practices, such as the Book of Common Prayer.

As of Nov. 1, the ordinariate included 1,336 members. It contains 23 priests, 69 seminarians and 35 communities, including large groups in Texas, Maryland, Florida and Pennsylvania, and is growing in South Carolina as well. One group in South Carolina is already worshiping in Greenville while another is formed and knocking on the door in Charleston.

On Sunday evening, 9 December, Msgr. Steenson’s vicar general, Father Scott Hurd (another former Episcopal priest) will be in Charleston to speak about the Ordinariate to the public at the Church of the Holy Communion. Details can be found at http://www.charlestonordinariate.org

The Ordinariate is helping to shape emerging Anglicanism in the 21st Century by preserving the Anglican patrimony in perpetuity.

November 29, 8:54 am | [comment link]
2. Sarah wrote:

RE: “The Ordinariate is helping to shape emerging Anglicanism in the 21st Century by preserving the Anglican patrimony in perpetuity.”

While certainly an interesting—and seemingly rather desperate—bit of propaganda, that thesis is, frankly, ludicrous on its face.

Those entering the ordinariate are Roman Catholics [as in, those who are in full communion with Rome] and no longer Anglican—at least, in their *expression of commitment to the assertions of Rome* [I can’t see their hearts and of course, plenty have thought they were converting to Rome and then discovered that they didn’t actually accept the teachings of that church].

You can’t be both Anglican and also enter into communion with Rome.

The Ordinariate is, simply, allowing former Anglicans who recognized that they actually believe the assertions of Rome to move *together* as fellowships, with a few fairly symbolic but comforting externals, into full communion with Rome. 

That’s very very nice for those who believe the assertions of Rome and I am pleased for them. 

But bloviating about how the ordinariate is “helping to shape emerging Anglicanism” is rather grandiosely silly. Those who will “help to shape emerging Anglicanism” are those who are Anglicans. Such Anglicans will either end Anglicanism [which seems quite likely] or not, but it will be Anglicans who do so, not former Anglicans who now are RC converts.

November 29, 12:24 pm | [comment link]
3. mlester82 wrote:

Dearest Sarah,
Please forgive the error I committed in making false assumptions regarding your understanding of that which I had written. Allow me to be a bit clearer. Perhaps it would be more accurate had I stated “The Ordinariate is helping to shape emerging Anglicanism in the 21st Century by preserving those portions of the Anglican patrimony that are most beautiful and elegant, in perpetuity.”

Of course, now I have to explain what I meant by “most beautiful and elegant.” To me, and most who experience the high Mass to which I am accustomed, the patrimony of Anglicanism deserving preservation is that which surrounds our worship and works; our liturgy and community service. That which I am willing to forgo is the focus on truth as defined by each congregant or congregation. I am willing to exchange that for a focus on Truth as defined by Truth Himself. It really boils down to the answer to the question, “by whose authority?” As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

Of course that brings about a whole series of conversations far too complex to address in a blog response or two. Suffice it to say, Plato’s allegory of the cave dweller (Republic, Book VII), still rings true today; it is tough, potentially fatal, coming back into the cave to share Truth with friends with whom you’ve been raised - but always worth the effort.

November 29, 6:32 pm | [comment link]
4. Charles52 wrote:

Not grandiose, but simply inaccurate. Or rather, addressing Anglicanism as an ethos rather than an organized religion. The Anglican ethos (or perhaps, one Anglican ethos)  will persist in the Ordinariates, which will have no impact on institutional Anglicanism. Thirteen hundred souls, or thirteen thousand, is simply not enough people leaving TEC to make a dent.

I think I’ve said it before, but the real impact will be on the Roman Catholic Church. The Anglican ethos has a real chance of helping restore dignity to Catholic worship and community to parish life.  That’s assuming the whole thing isn’t an abysmal failure.

November 29, 8:19 pm | [comment link]
5. Sarah wrote:

RE: “I am willing to exchange that for a focus on Truth as defined by Truth Himself. It really boils down to the answer to the question, “by whose authority?” As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

I’m perfectly fine with your having made a private judgement to agree with the assertions of the Roman Catholic church about itself and as a result submit yourself to that church’s authority. That doesn’t trouble me in the least—though of course I disagree with those assertions and accept them as delusory.

But moving on to your main thesis—your slight rephrasing doesn’t help matters.

The Ordinariate is not helping to shape emerging Anglicanism—it is in fact irrelevant to Anglicanism, other than the fact that the Ordinariate is made up of ex-Anglicans who realized they were Roman Catholic.  It will have pretty much zero effect, though I am genuinely happy that groups of ex-Anglicans got to move *together* as fellowships and also keep some beautiful and elegant comforting externals in the process.

November 30, 11:34 pm | [comment link]
6. mlester82 wrote:

Re:#4 - Thirteen hundred, thirteen thousand, or thirteen, ... not enough to make a dent? I read somewhere there is much rejoicing in heaven for even one lost sheep brought back into the fold.

In “A Mainline Collapse: The Twilight of Liberal Christianity?” Episcopalian and author Eric Metaxas writes:

“In 2006, the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, Katherine Jefferts Schori, told the New York Times that Episcopalians were not interested in “replenishing their ranks by having children.” Instead, the church “[encouraged] people to pay attention to the stewardship of the earth and not use more than their portion.”
“Stewardship of the earth” and having children are not incompatible, but if Schori’s goal was a principled extinction, she’s about to succeed. The Episcopal Church, you see, is in a statistical free-fall.
Since 2000, the Episcopal Church has lost 23 percent of its members. At this rate, there will be no Episcopalians in 26 years.”

Read more here

The fact of the matter is this, one-by-one, one is declining and one-by-one, one is increasing. “Abysmal failure” may ultimately be an apt description of one, but not of the other.

BTW - Eric Metaxas came to town last year and gave a great talk on the subject of his best selling book “Bonhoeffer:  Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy”. He is also a featured speaker in the upcoming “Mere Anglicanism” conference in Charleston at St Philips in January.

December 4, 11:49 am | [comment link]
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