Cardinal Cañizares on the Supreme Importance of the Liturgy

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Big Ratzinger and Little Ratzinger

by Gregor Kollmorgen, NLM

The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, recently attended a conference in Barcelona. On this occasion, he was interviewed by Catalunya Cristiana. Here is an NLM translation of the parts of this quite inspiring interview, which concern the liturgy. I have taken the liberty to highlight the passages which speak to the supreme importance of the liturgy, a point sadly still often overlooked:

Soon it will be a year that you were appointed by the Pope as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship … How do you assess your debut in the Vatican Curia?

It is not for me to assess my performance. All I have to say is that it is a very important time for all, intense work is being done, a plenary meeting of the Congregation has taken place, proposals have been reached which the Holy Father approved and which constitute the plan of our work [NLM: this appears to refer to the “reform of the reform proposals” mentioned by Andrea Tornielli in August, cf. here]. The great objective is to revive the spirit of the liturgy throughout the world.

What have been the most pressing issues that you have had to attend to?

Urgent business there is every morning, referring to excesses and errors which are being committed in the liturgy, but above all, the most urgent issue that is pressing all over the world, is that the sense of the liturgy be truly recovered. This is not about changing rubrics or introducing new things, but what it is about, is simply that the liturgy be lived and that it be in the center of the life of the Church. The Church cannot be without the liturgy, because the Church is there for the liturgy, that is, for praise, for thanksgiving, to offer the sacrifice to the Lord, for worship … This is fundamental, and without this there is no Church. Indeed, without this there is no humanity. It is therefore an extremely urgent and pressing task.

How can the sense of the liturgy be recovered?

At present we work in a very quiet manner on an entire range of issues having to do with educative projects. This is the prime necessity there is: a good and genuine liturgical formation. The subject of liturgical formation is critical because there really is no sufficient education [at the moment]. People believe that the liturgy is a matter of forms and external realities, and what we really need is to restore a sense of worship, i.e. the sense of God as God. This sense of God can only be recovered with the liturgy. Therefore the Pope has the greatest interest in emphasizing the priority of the liturgy in the life of the Church. When one lives the spirit of the liturgy, one enters into the spirit of worship, one enters into the acknowledgment of God, one enters into communion with Him, and this is what transforms man and turns him into a new man. The liturgy always looks towards God, not the community; it is not the community that makes the liturgy, but it is God who makes it. It is He who comes to meet us and offers us to participate in his life, his mercy and his forgiveness … When one truly lives the liturgy and God is truly at the centre of it, everything changes.

So far away are we today from the true sense of the mystery?

Yes, there is currently very great secularization and secularism, the sense of mystery and the sacred has been lost, one does not live with the spirit truly to worship God and to let God be God. This is why it is believed to be necessary constantly to be changing things in the liturgy, to innovate and that everything has to be very creative. This is not what is needed in the liturgy, but that it really be worship, i.e. recognition of the One who transcends us and who offers us salvation. The mystery of God, which is the unfathomable mystery of his love, is not something nebulous, but is Someone who comes to meet us. We must recover the man who adores. We must recover the sense of the mystery. We must recover what we never ought to have lost. The greatest evil that is being done to man is trying to eliminate from his life transcendence and the dimension of the mystery. The consequences we are experiencing today in all spheres of life. They are the tendency to replace the truth with opinion, confidence with unease, the end with the means … Therefore it is so important to defend man against all the ideologies which weaken him in his triple relationship to the world, to others and to God. Never before has there been so much talk of freedom, and never before have there been more enslavements.

After so many years of teaching and episcopal ministry, how have you experienced the call to serve in the Roman Curia as “minister of the Pope”?

I accept it with great joy, because it means fulfilling the will of God. When one does the will of God one is very happy, although I must confess that I did not expect something like this. At the same time, the fact of working together with the Pope allows me to live intensely the mystery of communion. I feel very united to him, happy to help him in all he really is asking for. As is known, one of his principal concerns is the concern for the liturgy.

Rome-Bound?

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Australia's Cardinal George Pell

WHISPERS IN THE LOGGIA – B16’s weekend integration of Cardinal Peter Turkson into his top team was just the latest instance of this pontificate’s significant trait for drawing senior Curialists from among the ranks of diocesan bishops.

For the record, that’s Joseph Ratzinger’s keen commentary on a longstanding complaint of ordinaries the world over — namely, that the Roman Curia had enjoyed a too-heavy hand in the oversight of their local churches during the reigns of his recent predecessors.

Almost five years since his election, nearly three-fifths of Benedict’s picks to head the global church’s 24 cabinet ministries — ten of the 17 he’s named — have come from the trenches… and with Turkson’s appointment now finally put to bed, one of Australia’s leading papers is running buzz that Down Under’s leading churchman could be next:

Catholic circles in Rome and Australia are abuzz with speculation that Pope Benedict XVI will shortly appoint Australia’s Cardinal George Pell to a prestigious job in the top echelons of the Roman Curia.

Cardinal Pell’s experience as Archbishop of Sydney and Melbourne, and his service on a range of Vatican organisations, is seen as an ideal background to take on a senior Vatican job.

Cardinal Pell, who was ordained in 1966, served as a member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith when Cardinal Ratzinger was in charge.

He is also a member of the Congregation for Divine Worship and president of the Vox Clara Committee, which advises the Vatican on English translations of liturgical texts used at Mass.

One possible senior job becoming vacant in Rome is the powerful position of Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, which helps advise the Pope on the appointment of new bishops across the world.

Its Prefect, Cardinal Battista Re, who has held the job since 2000, reached the retirement age of 75 this year.

Tip to Insight Scoop.

To be sure, speculation on a potential Pell-to-Rome move has been bandied about since the weeks following last summer’s World Youth Day in Sydney; talk linking the fiercely outspoken prelate to the Bishops post was reported on these pages last March. As one Oz op put it at the time, Pell “has done everything you could do here,” indicating that the 68 year-old cardinal — who once famously remarked that he didn’t “think a Christian can say ‘I’m a lover, not a fighter'” — isn’t one to rest on his laurels.

On a related note, only in recent days were the traditional post-WYD papal honors conferred on several of the top planners behind Sydney’s staging of the church’s “Olympic event.”

In its report, the Australian already took to proffering two potential successors to Pell at the helm of the 580,000-member Sydneyside church; Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Canberra, a former Melbourne auxiliary and lead player on the Roman Missal project, and the Oxford-trained Sydney auxiliary Antony Fisher, a onetime barrister, leading moral theologian and Pell protege long seen as a rising star of the English-speaking church worldwide.

That said, Fisher earned scorn during WYD’s first days by characterizing the family of a dead abuse victim who garnered a high profile in the event’s run-up as “dwelling crankily on old wounds.”

In the incident’s aftermath, the 50 year-old prelate maintained that he was taken out of context, terming the quote’s fallout “very hard.”

“It taught me not to criticise the media,” Fisher told a local paper, “because they’ll get you back.”

Since the internationalization of the Curia began in earnest under Paul VI, there is a history of Australians serving in top Vatican posts; a former archbishop of Melbourne — Oz’s largest diocese — Cardinal James Knox ran two dicasteries (including the Congregation for Divine Worship) before his 1983 death, and Cardinal Edward Cassidy held the influential post of Sostituto in the Secretariat of State before becoming head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in 1990. (Now 85, Cassidy chose to retire to his homeland.)

The latter’s successor at the ecumenical office, Cardinal Walter Kasper, is one of four Curial heads currently serving past the retirement age; alongside Re, Cardinals Franc Rode (prefect of the “Congregation for Religious”) and Paul Josef Cordes (president of Cor Unum, which handles humanitarian affairs) both turned 75 last month.

FSSP Tonsure & Subdiaconate 2009

On October 24th, His Excellency, Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln conferred Tonsure on 14 men and the Subdiaconate to one other from Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Lincoln.  This was truly a joyous day for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter as they also had 16 other men tonsured on the same day from their seminary in Wigratzbad Germany.  Below you will find pictures taken from the Tonsure and Subdiaconate in Lincoln, as well as a picture of all 30 men that were tonsured.  Please keep these men in your prayers as they continue their way to the Altar of Lord.

MEETING BETWEEN “ECCLESIA DEI” AND SOCIETY OF ST. PIUS X

 VATICAN CITY, 26 OCT 2009 ( VATICAN INFORMATION SERVICES ) – The Holy See Press Office released the following communique late this morning:

“On Monday 26 October in the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio, headquarters of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”, the study commission made up of experts from “Ecclesia Dei” and from the Society of St. Pius X held its first meeting, with the aim of examining the doctrinal differences still outstanding between the Society and the Apostolic See.

“In a cordial, respectful and constructive climate, the main doctrinal questions were identified. These will be studied in the course of discussions to be held over coming months, probably twice a month. In particular, the questions due to be examined concern the concept of Tradition, the Missal of Paul VI, the interpretation of Vatican Council II in continuity with Catholic doctrinal Tradition, the themes of the unity of the Church and the Catholic principles of ecumenism, the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions, and religious freedom. The meeting also served to specify the method and organisation of the work”.

OP/SOCIETY ST. PIUS X/…                                                        VIS 091026 (200)

Anglicans Return

ATHANASIUS CONTRA MUNDUM – There is some exciting news recently, as nearly 1,000 Anglican priests and some of their faithful will enter full communion with the Catholic Church. To facilitate this, the Holy Father is cardinal_newmanexpanding the already extent “Anglican Rite” to incorporate the Anglican Tradition.

Now this may give some traditional Catholics pause, but once we understand what this is, and what it represents historically it should pose for us but a few difficulties.

If one recalls correctly the history of the Church, the English Church had its own liturgy (Sarum Rite) and had for the most part its own ecclesiastical jurisdiction. For lack of a better term it was a western rite different from the Roman, much as the Ambrosian rite, or the Mozarabic rite in Spain. These rites enjoyed their own canonical status and their own rights and customs. If Henry VIII for example, had not left the Church to found his own sect, St. Pius V’s bull Quo Primum would have had no effect on the liturgical customs of England since those went back nearly 1000 years.

Thus to bring the Anglicans into the Church under their own rite with their own liturgy, provided they are re-ordained (or at least conditionally re-ordained where they can’t prove orders coming from valid Bishops today), is not an utter and complete novelty. It rather would restore a situation which was in place for a good part of the Church’s history.

NewmanNow if we look at more recent history, such as the union of Brest, what do we find? The formula for reunion between the Ukranian Orthodox and the Church was brought about by allowing them to retain all of their religious customs and rites, but requiring only professing all articles of the Catholic faith and being loyal to the Pope. The Clergy of the Eastern Rites which followed the Ukranians on the same model were allowed not only the traditions of the Eastern Church, but to retain the right of married clergy.

This presents one of the largest problems for establishing an Anglican Communion that accepts all Catholic teaching and Papal infallibility. It was not the tradition prior to 1531 to have married clergy, yet even amongst anglo-Catholics most clergy are married. This presents us with a problem. Does the Church acknowledge the tradition which persisted from St. Patrick and St. Augustine of Canterbury until 1531, in accord with the customs of the West, or does it follow the more recent custom since the revolt from the Catholic faith?

Cardinal Newman at work in his study.

Cardinal Newman at work in his study.

It seems to me that it makes the most sense that after those who wish to join now, the priests of the Anglican rite ought to be celibate, in accord with the millennial tradition of celibacy that persisted amongst English clergy, and also for greater conformity with the customs of the Roman Rite. This is also most beneficial for retaining that apostolic discipline, which in the west has realized itself in perpetual continency of the clergy in the Roman rite as well.

Now there is also an added benefit to this move, the vast majority of the clergy from the Anglican Church which will be coming home are high Church. This is one of the reasons the liberal stalwart of Westmisnter, Bishop Murphy-O’Connor, resisted such a move for so long. Since Newman’s time, the Anglican Church has suffered the full effects of modernism taken to its conclusions, nothing is true and tradition doesn’t matter. This is a blow to those in the Catholic Church who should like to see the same happen in the bride of Christ, who wish to have a man centered liturgy cut off from tradition.

p4_Cardinal Newman_1_One more thing useful thing has occurred as well. It is a blow to the Ecclesiology of those such as Cardinal Kasper, who claim that there is no ecumenism of return. He has been noted in the press in recent days only by his absence, because he can have no positive view of this development. All the more reason to welcome it.

However there is one thing which is disconcerting, especially as we witness further talks with the SSPX which may result in an apostolic administration of some sort. Those priests who have remained faithful to Rome, such as we see in the FSSP, ICKSP, and those many diocesan priests who have been scorned by the modernists for saying the Traditional Mass for years, they still have no apostolic administration of any sort, no bishops, and no priviledges which are now to be given to groups which were either schismatic, left the Church or persisted for hundreds of years out of full communion. What does that say about the virtue of fidelity? Not that this move should not be made to the Anglicans, because I think it ought, but that the same rights and priveledges to celebrate the sacraments of the Church’s immemorial tradition ought to be granted to those who have been faithful. Otherwise all one does is encourage disobedience.

Cardinal Newman's Coat of Arms

Cardinal Newman's Coat of Arms

Yet that has been the very thing encouraged by the Vatican for 50 years now. The faithful get punished, while the disobedient tacitly criticized, every once in a while publicly condemend (as we see with the SSPX), but privately tolerated and approved of. We see this as well with the Eastern Catholic clergy, who endured persecution and martyrdom to be Catholic and remain so, who for being faithful are ignored by Rome, while every move is made to pacify the Orthodox who have been out of communion for 1,000 years and hurled insults at Rome matched by only the worst schismatics of our day. What this move evinces is the need for interior unity in Rome both in terms of policy and in its behavior toward various groups in the Church.

Union of Brest-Litovsk, 21st Century Style…

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by Michael Hughes, Una Voce Carmel Webmaster

 

Today’s (yesterday) announcement of an Apostolic Constitution aimed at accommodating long-suffering Anglicans is welcome news.

 

Why?

 

Several reasons:

 

It is truly ecumenical, but not in the way most dreamy, fringe Catholics — like Cardinal Kasper — will understand. For most modernist Catholics, their definition of ecumenism is, “What ‘unnecessary’ aspects of Catholicism can we give up to be more like the people at Bob and Marge’s social club they call a church? They have such a good time at their services and the baby sitting co-op is to die for!” These are the “nice people” crowd…”As long as you’re a nice person, it doesn’t matter where you go to church!” Well, grab a dictionary and look up the word nice. You’ll note is originates from the Latin verb nescire, which means “not to know”. Now, that being the case, you won’t be so eager to hear someone say, “Jane, your kids are sooooooo nice!” or “You are the nicest person in our cul de sac, Fred!” will you?

Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for promoting Christian Unity.

Lastly, it puts the notion of ecumenism being Catholics and Orthodox changing to be like modernist, secular Protestants (God love them…) on it’s ear. Hopefully for good. Why even the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd doesn’t read the part of Lumen Gentium — one of the few dogmatic proclamations of Vatican II — that says, “This Church constituted and organized in the world as a society, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him, although many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside of its visible structure. These elements, as gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, are forces impelling toward catholic unity.”

It is counter-intuitive, and will throw most modernist Catholics, particularly the activist ones, off balance. In fact, I am already seeing “Crewman Norman” behavior from the expected mass media sources, including Time, New York Times, etc. If you don’t recall that beloved Star Trek episode, I, Mudd, where Norman melts down, refresh your memory at youtube. To summarize, if people think one thing is true, then have to deal with an opposite truth, well, they tend to melt down. Let me develop this line of thinking further…

Modernist proposition #1: “Ratzinger is der Panzer Papst.Panzers don’t finesse, they flatten. Benedict is a brilliant theologian and much more intelligent than his opponents in his own Curia, despite allegations of being politically naive by many. The solution that he has approved for the Anglicans seeking relief is, frankly, rather progressive. Rather than “parking Roman tanks on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lawn” and forcing any interested Anglicans to cross the Tiber on crocodiles’ backs, he and his closest advisers applied their knowledge of the Gospels, Tradition and Canon Law to find a charitable solution to a problem that nobody else could envision, namely, dedicated ordinariates for Anglicans. Allowing returning brethren to retain their liturgical practices and clergy, with the outstanding questions of how bishops and ordinaries will differ, of course, is not conversion by the sword.

Modernist proposition #2: “Since any Anglican priest who redeems this offer can be married, now they’ll have to allow married priests in the Catholic Church!”  This is an interesting one, since the Catholic Church already allows married priests. Yes, Georgia, there are hundreds of married priests in the Catholic Church, you just don’t know as much about your Church as you should. For centuries now, the Oriental Churches, also know as Eastern Catholics, have allowed married clergy. Yes, centuries. And yes, they are Catholic. I haven’t audited this article about Eastern Churches, but the info should be close enough for you to get the point. Further, nearly

HH Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday October 18, 2009
HH Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday October 18, 2009

30 years ago, John Paul II created a Pastoral Provision in the United States to allow for the acceptance and training of Episcopal clergy who wished to enter the Catholic Church. So this idea isn’t so new or radical, is it? You just weren’t paying attention, with us kicking the USSR’s tail in Lake Placid, were you? Most large cities have an Eastern Rite Church that holds Divine Liturgy every Sunday, but I see very few Catholics interested in married clergy seeking them out. I wonder why? The sacraments are the same and the communities are very welcoming to Latin Rite Catholics. Confession and Communion can generally be shared on your first visit and services are generally in English, almost exclusively, in fact.

Could it be that these persons are less interested in the diversity of Catholicism than the diversity of Modernism and its convenience? (hint, hint…) Again, it’s a free country, but if you are saying you want X, don’t reject X when it is in your midst. If you want Y, don’t let the door hit you on your way out to seek Y.

It is merciful. Mercy is not exclusive of giving people who have material needs material things. There are spiritual and corporal works of mercy, some aspects of which are reflected in this act. Specifically:

Instruct the uninformed: By putting this pastoral solution into the “marketplace of ideas” some will learn that the Church is truly a welcoming mother, not the spoiled queen she is often portrayed as. She welcomes all who will accept her embrace and the Truth she offers. If one person finds peace as a result this act, it is of inestimable value.

Comfort the sorrowful: Thousands of Anglicans have been cast aside by their denomination as being “out of date”, “not with the times”, “nostalgic” or even “stupid” because they truly believe the message of Christ as handed down from their fathers and their fathers before them, while the so called leadership of their denomination pursue policies built on sand, rather than rock.

Matthew 7:24-25 — “Every one therefore that heareth these my words, and doth them, shall be likened to a wise man that built his house upon a rock, And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and they beat upon that house, and it fell not, for it was founded on a rock.”

Modernism is worse than sand, it is more like a vapor. You can feel its presence when it arrives, but before you know it, it has passed and is gone.

It proves the wisdom of Galatians 6:8 — “For what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption. But he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting.”

King Henry VIII and his six wives
King Henry VIII and his six wives

For a time, Henry VIII, founder of the Church of England, was called “The Defender of the Faith” for his defense of the Church during the initial stages of the Reformation. His lust eventually separated him and his nation from the Church. This pursuit of the material world has logically run its course and spent itself, to the point where the overwhelming majority of those considering themselves Anglicans have lost any contact with the spiritual aspects of their faith and have unhesitatingly embraced doctrines preoccupied with the physical and sexual aspects of their being, just as Henry VIII did nearly five centuries ago.

Henry’s act created a generation of martyrs. I pray that this act may inspire a generation of saints.

Pax tecum.

Another Dramatic Move


 
The Vatican today made a dramatic announcement: Pope Benedict has authorized a bold new plan to bring Anglicans back into full union with Rome. But many questions remain unanswered

By Robert Moynihan, reporting from Rome

====================================

 
VATICAN CITY, October 20, 2009 — Dramatic news today — as dramatic as the decision earlier this year to “un-excommunicate” the four Lefebvrist bishops, as dramatic as the decision on July 7, 2007 (in the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum) to restore the old Mass.

Pope Benedict XVI is proposing a special Church structure for those Anglicans who wish to come into full communion with Rome without giving up many of the things they cherish as Anglicans.

The news, which came without prior warning this morning, was precisely coordinated between Rome and London.
 
On a cool, sunny, crystal clear day here, at 11 this morning, Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P.. Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, held a press conference to announce this unprecedented Roman initiative after almost 500 years of Anglican-Catholic division.
 
In London, at precisely the same hour, a parallel press conference was held by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, the head of the Catholic Church in England, and Archbishop Rowan Williams, the head of the Anglican Church.
 
“Rome is reabsorbing us, it’s as simple as that,” one prominent British journalist told me after the Vatican press conference, when I asked him what he thought this was all about.
 
That is too simplistic.
 
Rome is hoping to reunite with all those elements of the Anglican Church which still feel a deep connection with Rome and with the Catholic faith — and is willing to take considerable pains to make those Anglicans feel comfortable when they “come over to Rome.”
 
That is what is happening.
 
And quite a few people don’t want that to happen — and that explains some of the anomalies associated with today’s anouncement…
 
======================================

“New era begins”

 
In London, Damian Thompson, a religion writer for the Telegraph Media Group, wrote an excellent article today on this papal decision, headlined: “New era begins as Benedict throws open gates of Rome to disaffected Anglicans.”
 
“This is astonishing news,” Thompson continues. “Pope Benedict XVI has created an entirely new Church structure for disaffected Anglicans that will allow them to worship together – using elements of Anglican liturgy – under the pastoral supervision of their own specially appointed bishop or senior priest…
 
“In theory, they can have their own married priests, parishes and bishops – and they will be free of liturgical interference by liberal Catholic bishops who are unsympathetic to their conservative stance. There is even the possibility that married Anglican laymen could be accepted for ordination on a case-by-case basis – a remarkable concession.”
 
Thompson goes on to report that both Archbishop Nichols and Archbishop Williams “are surprised by this dramatic move.”
 
He writes: “Cardinal Levada, head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was in Lambeth Palace only yesterday to spell out to Dr Williams what it means. [Note: Levada flew back to Rome at midnight, and so, as one would expect, he was exhausted during this morning’s press conference. The Pope evdiently feels a deep urgency to get this done, or he wouldn’t be asking his cardinals to travel in this way.] This decision has, in effect, been taken over their heads – though there is no suggestion that Archbishop Nichols does not fully support this historic move.”
 
Thompson adds: “Incidentally, I suspect that Rome waited until Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s retirement before unveiling this plan: the cardinal is an old-style ecumenist who represents the old way of doing things. His allies in Rome, and many former participants in Anglican-Catholic dialogue, are dismayed by today’s news, which clears away the wreckage of the ARCIC process.”
 
He further adds: “The truth is that Rome has given up on the Anglican Communion. With one announcement, the Pope has given conservative Anglicans a protected route to union with Rome… Thousands of Anglicans who reject women bishops and priests and liberal teaching on homosexuality are certain to avail themselves of this provision.”
 
Will this really affect “thousands” of Anglicans?
 
Cardinal Levada seemed to think the number will be fewer, just a few hundred.
 
“‘Many’ is, of course, a relative term,” Levada said. “If I had to say the number of [Anglican] bishops [who may come over to Rome], I would say that is in the 20s or 30s. If I had to say individual [Anglican] lay people, I would say that would be in the hundreds.”
 
How will this work out, practically, in England?
 
Anglicans will have to request their own “Personal Ordinariate.”
 
Thompson says he suspects that the “most pro-Roman Church of England bishop,” the Right Reverend Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, could submit a request to Rome.
 
He would then be ordained a Catholic priest (as Anglican orders are not recognized by Rome) and might himself be made “ordinary” (bishop in all but name) of ex-Anglican clergy and lay people who have been received into the Catholic Church together.

 

Thompson concludes: “This is a decision of supreme boldness and generosity by Pope Benedict XVI, comparable to his liberation of the Traditional Latin Mass… I suspect that this will be a day of rejoicing for conservative Anglo-Catholics and their Roman Catholic friends all over the world.”
 
 
==================================
 
Strange proceedings
But I must say that today’s press conference was among the strangest I have ever attended at the Vatican.
 
Why?
 
Because many things either didn’t make sense, or were not explained.
 
For example, the “missing person.”
 
Who was missing?
 
German Cardinal Walter Kasper, head of the Council for Christian Unity, the man who has been nominally in charge for many years now of the decades-long Catholic-Anglican dialogue.
 
According to all usual protocol, Kasper should have been at this conference, but was not (he is in Cyprus for a few days carrying on a dialogue with the Orthodox).
 
Cardinal Levada said: “I invited both Cardinal Kasper and Bishop Farrell (Kasper’s second-in-command), and both looked at their calendars and said they were committed elsewhere.”
 
Levada added that the matter has increasingly come under his doctrinal congregation, and less under the ecumenism office headed by Kasper.
 
Another oddity was the strange haste to hold this press conference.
 
Why do I say “strange haste”?
 
Because the normal time-frame for advising all journalists of an upcoming Vatican press conference was not respected.
 
Normally, the Vatican gives a week’s advance notice for a major press conference. (This was confirmed for me today at the press office.)
 
But today’s conference was announced via a cell phone text message frrom Press Director Father Federico Lombardi, S.J, sent to journalists’ cell phones at only 5 pm yesterday — just 18 hours before the event, less than one day.
 
Journalists at the conference said the short notice was unusual for a document, something that was not an obvious emergency, like a accident or an assassination.
 
Finally, it seemed quite odd that the text of the document that the press conference was held to present was… not presented!
 
The document detailing all aspects of this new iniative was announced, but no copies were given out, and so no one knows yet what it really will say because… it isn’t finished — even though officials as recently as yesterday evening thought that it would be finished for today!
 
Cardinal Levada told journalists that the document wasn’t ready because “some questions of canon law need still to be clarified,” without expalining what those questions are or how long it may take to clarify them.
 
So these are mysteries….
 
What is going on?
 
Why the evident haste to make this announcement?
 
Why go ahead and hold a press conference about a document before the document is finalized?
 
Is someone is trying to “steal a march” on someone?
 
It would seem so.
 
But who is hurrying, and why?
 
Is it the Pope himself?
 
If so, why?
 
I don’t know. 
 
Does it have to do, perhaps,with the Pope’s age, that he wants to move on these questions now, while he is vigorous, rather than waiting even a week or a month, or longer?
 
Or is the question of married priests the difficulty? Are there perhaps potential “Trojan horses” for a married priesthood within the document that the Pope has only just noted, and has at the last minute decided to remove, even if it means delaying the document’s publication?
 
Or are there financial and political consequences of these ecclesial developments — much very valuable ecclesial property could be involved in future Anglican conversion en masse to Catholicism — which demand that “the thing be done quickly”?
 
A journalist asked: “To what extent does this step weaken the Anglican Church?”
 
“I wouldn’t even hazard a guess,” Levada replied. “I think it would be inappropriate.”
 
Journalist Robert Mickens of the London Tablet said he was “flabbergasted” that no one from the Council for Christian Unity was present.
 
“This is all rather vague,” Mickens said. “What type of numbers are we talking about here? And, who was involved?”

“If we have been vague, then so be it,” Levada replied.

 
A journalist from France asked what would happen if a maried bishop in the Anglican Church becomes a Catholic. “Could he become a married Catholic bishop?” she asked.
 
“This does not provide for married bishops,” Levada said, “respecting the long historical tradition of both the West and the East in which bishops were celibate. As for priests, many are asking, if these married Anglicans can be [Catholic] priests, what about us? The Church has now, over the past number of years,  dispensed (in the case of married Anglican priests who became Catholics) from the discipline that only unmarried men can be Catholic priests. When the Church deals with these cases, it is an exception…”
 
In sum, an announcement of such importance would ordinarily have been made with greater solemnity. The split between Rome and London since the time of King Henry VIII is one of the great fractures in the history of the Church, and its healing is one of the deep longings of all English Catholics and of many English Anglicans, who come out of the Roman tradition and consider themselves the heirs of that tradition.
 
But the announcement was made in an almost off-hand way, at a last-minute press conference, announced without any  description of its content, at 5 pm yesterday, allowing no time for journalists to prepare questions, and without the presence of any Anglicans who might have answered questions from their perspective, and with the text itself still unfinished.
 
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Unease in England
 
The haste I sensed in Rome seems to have been felt in England as well.
Thompson has just added another note on his blog, saying that the Anglican archbishop, Williams, has written a letter to the Anglican clergy of England to express his feelings about this annoucnement.
 
Williams sounds “humiliated – and, I suspect, furious that the Vatican sprang the plans to welcome ex-Anglicans on him ‘at a very late stage,'” Thompson writes.
Here is the text of the emotional Williams letter (with emphasis added):
 
“The Vatican has announced today that PopeBenedict XVI has approved an ‘Apostolic Constitution’ (a formal papal decree) which will make some provision for groups of Anglicans (whether strictly members of continuing Anglican bodies or currently members of the Communion) who wish to be received into communion with the See of Rome in such a way that they can retain aspects of Anglican liturgical and spiritual tradition.

I am sorry that there has been no opportunity to alert you earlier to this;  I was informed of the planned announcement at a very late stage, and we await the text of the Apostolic Constitution itself and its code of practice in the coming weeks. But I thought I should let you know the main points of the response I am making in our local English context– in full consultation with Roman Catholic bishops in England and Wales – in the hope of avoiding any confusion or misrepresentation.

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The View from Australia
 
My friend and colleague, Australian journalist Andrew Rabel, just filed this to me:
 
“At joint conferences today in both London and Rome, provisions were announced that will permit Anglicans with a Catholic bent, to enter the Roman Catholic Church, maintaining elements of Anglican liturgy (based on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer derived from the Sarum Rite) and discipline, such as married priests.

“Archbishop John Hepworth, the worldwide head of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) received a special briefing beforehand, and it is likely that the new structures have been created, because of a recent request of theirs to formally join the Catholic Church in 2007, although they will be confined to this body and will encompass other conservative Anglican movements such as Forward in Faith, as well.

“This group consists of 16 member churches throughout the world with approximately 400,000 members, with a particularly large proportion from Africa, in nations like Zimbabwe and Tanzania. There are about 5,000 members in the USA, with about 1,500 members in Australia, the country of Archbishop Hepworth.

“An apostolic constitution was announced that will facilitate the integration of disaffected member of the Anglican Communion. But today’s announcements indicate that this movement only in the embryonic stages, as it will be up to individual bishops conferences to implement the strictures of the constitution.

“At the conferences, reference was made to the Anglican-Catholic dialogues pursued over the last 40 years, beginning with the visit of Archbishop Ramsay to Pope John XXIII.

“This is also an interesting situation coming with the visit of Pope Benedict to Britain in 2010, and the beatification of John Henry Newman, one of the founders of the 19th Century Oxford Movement, that was pushing for a greater Catholic revival in the Church of England, because of the onset of liberal ideas.

“These ideas have further developed in 20th Century Anglicanism, with the ordination of women and homosexuals, denial of Christ’s Resurrection, and a permissiveness regarding practices like abortion. Many Anglicans, both clergy and laity who previously had never had much sympathy towards Rome, fond themselves alarmed at the denomination they were in.

“Up until the present moment, procedures to incorporate disaffected Anglicans, have been largely temporary such as the Anglican Use in the USA, but the structures announced today will be permanent, though technical details are still to be worked out.

“One unexpected problem with this may be, with the movement towards married priests very much discouraged in the Latin Rite, an exception will appear to have been made to a group outside. How this will play out is unclear.”

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The Text Announcing the Decision 
NOTE OF THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH ABOUT PERSONAL ORDINARIATES FOR ANGLICANS ENTERING THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
 
With the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion.
In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Under the terms of the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be appointed from among former Anglican clergy.

The forthcoming Apostolic Constitution provides a reasonable and even necessary response to a world-wide phenomenon, by offering a single canonical model for the universal Church which is adaptable to various local situations and equitable to former Anglicans in its universal application. It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy. Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop. The seminarians in the Ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the Ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony. In this way, the Apostolic Constitution seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on t he other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church.

Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which has prepared this provision, said: “We have been trying to meet the requests for full communion that have come to us from Anglicans in different parts of the world in recent years in a uniform and equitable way. With this proposal the Church wants to respond to the legitimate aspirations of these Anglican groups for full and visible unity with the Bishop of Rome, successor of St. Peter.”

These Personal Ordinariates will be formed, as needed, in consultation with local Conferences of Bishops, and their structure will be similar in some ways to that of the Military Ordinariates which have been established in most countries to provide pastoral care for the members of the armed forces and their dependents throughout the world. “Those Anglicans who have approached the Holy See have made clear their desire for full, visible unity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. At the same time, they have told us of the importance of their Anglican traditions of spirituality and worship for their faith journey,” Cardinal Levada said.

The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. “The initiative has come from a number of different groups of Anglicans,” Cardinal Levada went on to say: “They have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. For them, the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion.”

According to Levada: “It is the hope of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that the Anglican clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith. Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church. The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows. Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: ‘There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (4:5). Our communion is therefore strengthened by such legitimate diversity, and so we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith.”

Background information

Since the sixteenth century, when King Henry VIII declared the Church in England independent of Papal Authority, the Church of England has created its own doctrinal confessions, liturgical books, and pastoral practices, often incorporating ideas from the Reformation on the European continent. The expansion of the British Empire, together with Anglican missionary work, eventually gave rise to a world-wide Anglican Communion.

Throughout the more than 450 years of its history the question of the reunification of Anglicans and Catholics has never been far from mind. In the mid-nineteenth century the Oxford Movement (in England) saw a rekindling of interest in the Catholic aspects of Anglicanism. In the early twentieth century Cardinal Mercier of Belgium entered into well publicized conversations with Anglicans to explore the possibility of union with the Catholic Church under the banner of an Anglicanism “reunited but not absorbed”.

At the Second Vatican Council hope for union was further nourished when the Decree on Ecumenism (n. 13), referring to communions separated from the Catholic Church at the time of the Reformation, stated that: “Among those in which Catholic traditions and institutions in part continue to exist, the Anglican Communion occupies a special place.”

Since the Council, Anglican-Roman Catholic relations have created a much improved climate of mutual understanding and cooperation. The Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) produced a series of doctrinal statements over the years in the hope of creating the basis for full and visible unity. For many in both communions, the ARCIC statements provided a vehicle in which a common expression of faith could be recognized. It is in this framework that this new provision should be seen.

In the years since the Council, some Anglicans have abandoned the tradition of conferring Holy Orders only on men by calling women to the priesthood and the episcopacy. More recently, some segments of the Anglican Communion have departed from the common biblical teaching on human sexuality—already clearly stated in the ARCIC document “Life in Christ”—by the ordination of openly homosexual clergy and the blessing of homosexual partnerships. At the same time, as the Anglican Communion faces these new and difficult challenges, the Catholic Church remains fully committed to continuing ecumenical engagement with the Anglican Communion, particularly through the efforts of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity.

In the meantime, many individual Anglicans have entered into full communion with the Catholic Church. Sometimes there have been groups of Anglicans who have entered while preserving some “corporate” structure. Examples of this include, the Anglican diocese of Amritsar in India, and some individual parishes in the United States which maintained an Anglican identity when entering the Catholic Church under a “pastoral provision” adopted by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Pope John Paul II in 1982. In these cases, the Catholic Church has frequently dispensed from the requirement of celibacy to allow those married Anglican clergy who desire to continue ministerial service as Catholic priests to be ordained in the Catholic Church.

In the light of these developments, the Personal Ordinariates established by the Apostolic Constitution can be seen as another step toward the realization the aspiration for full, visible union in the Church of Christ, one of the principal goals of the ecumenical movement.

(Source: http://212.77.1.245/news_services/bulletin/news/24513.php?index=24513〈=it)

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“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.”Blaise Pascal (French mathematician, philosopher, physicist and writer, 1623-1662)
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A Talk by Dr. Robert Moynihan on CD

“The Motu Proprio: Why Latin Mass? Why Now?”

In order to understand the motu proprio one must understand the history of the mass. Dr. Moynihan gives a 2000 year history of the mass in 60 minutes, which is clear and easy to understand. Dr. Moynihan’s explanation covers many questions, like:

–  How does the motu proprio overcome some of the confusion since Vatican II?
–  Is this the start of the Benedictine Reform?
–  The mind of Pope Benedict: How can the Church restore the presence of God in the Liturgy?

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Special Announcement: Please join me in Rome during Holy Week in 2010. For more information, click on the image below: