Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Archbishop Vincent Nichols

10/22/2009 (6 years ago)

The Catholic Herald (UK) (www.catholicherald.co.uk/)

Pope Benedict is ready to allow the breadth of the expressions of Catholic life to find their place in the Church.

(Archbishop Vincent Nichols) 'The Apostolic Constitution is the response of Pope Benedict to the approaches which have been made to the Holy See by groups of Anglicans'.

(Archbishop Vincent Nichols) 'The Apostolic Constitution is the response of Pope Benedict to the approaches which have been made to the Holy See by groups of Anglicans'.

Highlights

By Archbishop Vincent Nichols

The Catholic Herald (UK) (www.catholicherald.co.uk/)

10/22/2009 (6 years ago)

Published in Europe


LONDON (UK Catholic Herald) - The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution has come as a surprise. So, too, has the generosity of its measures. It is important to understand its context as well as its content.

The Apostolic Constitution is the response of Pope Benedict to the approaches which have been made to the Holy See by groups of Anglicans, in different parts of the world, asking for full visible communion within the Catholic Church. It is, then, a response, not an initiative, by the Holy See. It is a response designed to establish a provision which will be equitable and uniform in whatever part of the world it may be taken up.

It has a particular purpose: to permit those who wish to live their faith in full visible union with the See of Peter to do so while also preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. So this is a response to those who have declared that they share the common Catholic faith and accept the Pope's ministry as something Christ willed for the Church.

In the words of Cardinal Levada: "For them, the time has come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion." As Archbishop Rowan Williams and I said in our joint statement: "The announcement of this Apostolic Constitution brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church."

Much work now opens up, not only for those who hold such faith and will have to consider carefully the formal response of the Holy See, but also for the Catholic community. In approaching this work, some important perspectives have to be kept in mind.

First, this response does not alter our determined and continuing dedication to the pathway of mutual commitment and cooperation between the Church of England and the Catholic Church in this country. The foundations of all the joint work in ARCIC and the International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission make clear the path we follow together. An Anglo-Catholic tradition will continue to be a part of the Church of England, nurtured by those who cherish this tradition while not ready to accept the current jurisdiction of the Holy See.

We also need to appreciate what this moment makes clear about the mind of Pope Benedict XVI. I believe this is another illustration of his desire to achieve reconciliation with those who are estranged from the Catholic Church and who show a willingness to be reconciled. This desire is clearly one of the priorities of his pontificate.

As he has written: "In our days, when in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel, the overriding priority is to make God present in this world and to show men and women the way to God. Not just any god, but the God who spoke on Sinai; to that God whose face we recognise in a love, which presses 'to the end' (cf John 13.1) - in Jesus Christ, crucified and risen ... So if the arduous task of working for faith, hope and love in the world is presently (and in various ways, always) the Church's real priority, then part of this is also made up of acts of reconciliation, small and not so small." (Letter to Bishops, March 10 2009). Reconciliation, then, is a part of the proclamation of the Gospel.

Pope Benedict, we have to remember, is also ready to allow the breadth of the expressions of Catholic life to find their place in the Church. In that same letter he wrote: "But should not the great Church also allow herself to be generous in the knowledge of her great breadth, in the knowledge of the promise made to her? Should not we, as good educators, also be capable of overlooking various faults and making every effort to open up broader vistas?"

The Holy Father clearly believes that legitimate diversity does not threaten the unity of the Church, a unity which is essentially of faith, expressed in visible communion and in the witness of life lived in conformity to the call of the Gospel. While this Apostolic Constitution establishes a single framework for the universal Church, clearly much detail will have to be established locally. Alongside the Constitution there will have to be agreements about the way forward and the practical steps by which Personal Ordinariates, if and when they are established, will be an integral part of the Catholic community, working in close unity with the dioceses of England and Wales. These matters are now to be considered both locally and in close consultation with the Holy See.

This is an extraordinary moment. It is a challenge and an opportunity on many fronts. I salute the courage and generosity of Pope Benedict who has again shown an open and loving heart, just as one would expect of a Holy Father.



Comments


More Europe

'If Allah wills it': Algerian man nearly kills then rapes 25-year-old German student Watch

Image of The young woman (not pictured) was sprayed with pepper spray and beaten before being brutally raped in an alley (Wallpaperup).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The 37-year-old Algerian man, identified only as Rheda, was accused of following 25-year-old "Lara," as she walked home from a nightclub at 5 a.m. in Hannover, Germany. He beat her into submission, raped her while shouting "if Allah wills it," then asked if she enjoyed ... continue reading


Pope Francis in hot water? Pontiff receives angry call from German Chancellor Angela Merkel Watch

Image of Pope Francis's remark about Europe and barren women causes Merkel to respond ( L'Osservatore Romano/Getty Images Europe).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In 2014, Pope Francis delivered an address to European Parliament, in which he spoke of Europe's lack of connection among its people. He claimed the loneliness in the country led to an aging impression, like a grandmother who is no longer fertile. Now, two years later, ... continue reading


SCARY POLL: One in four Germans favors shooting illegal immigrants at borders Watch

Image of A political storm brewed last week after Alternative for Germany - or AFD party leader Frauke Petry [not pictured] advocated the right of border police to gun down migrants.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Growing weary of accommodating refugees from such trouble spots as Syria and Iraq, the German people have expressed a rather shocking sentiment in a recent poll. According to the survey - one in four Germans favors shooting illegal immigrants at their nation's ... continue reading


Seven suspects arrested in Spain for smuggling weapons to ISIS - disguised as humanitarian aid Watch

Image of Eighty-two suspects have been arrested in connection with suspected terrorist activities in Spain since the beginning of 2015.

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Seven people have been arrested in Spain and North Africa on suspicion of supplying bomb-making equipment to Islamic State leaders in Syria and Iraq - under the phony pretense of sending humanitarian aid. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Six men were arrested ... continue reading


REVEALED: Pope Pius XII's secret efforts to overthrow Hitler Watch

Image of In the late 1990s, debate over whether Pius XII did enough to counter the Nazis reached a high point with the publication of the deeply controversial book,

By Kevin J. Jones, CNA/EWTN News

Pope Pius XII's secret support for the attempted overthrow of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler is the subject of a new book that draws on wartime documents and interviews with the American intelligence agent who wrote them. Washington D.C. (CNA/EWTN News) - "This ... continue reading


Germany cannot take in 'all the world's needy,' Catholic Church says Watch

Image of The anti-Islamic group Periga has encouraged fellow Europeans to join them in marches for

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Charity has limits, church officials in Germany say. Taking in the majority of the world's Syrian refugees, representatives from the Catholic Church now say that resources are being stretched to the limits, and new refugees must be controlled. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Remains of St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina, St. Leopold Mandic arrive in Rome for Jubilee of Mercy Watch

Image of The relics of the two saints were welcomed to St. Lawrence with a large celebration and procession into the basilica (CNS/Reuters).

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

The partially incorrupt body of Padre Pio has arrived to Rome for the first time ever alongside that of another friar, St. Leopold Mandic, as a special initiative for the Jubilee of Mercy. Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - Urns containing the relics of Saint Padre ... continue reading


Seeking reconciliation, Pope Francis, and Russian Orthodox leader to meet in Cuba - for first time, ever Watch

Image of The meeting comes after years and decades of previous outreach efforts, which has prevented papal visits to Russia (AFP).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

In the hopes of repairing a schism within Christianity, that dates back as far as the 11th Century, Pope Francis will meet with the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church in Cuba. The two branches have been estranged because of disagreements over papal authority - as ... continue reading


Woman takes toddler to join ISIS Watch

Image of Tareena Shakil took her toddler to Syria to join ISIS (PA).

By Kenya Sinclair (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

Twenty-six-year-old Tareena Shakil told her family she would be vacationing in Turkey with her 14-month-old son. The next time her family heard from her, Shakil and her son were in Syria - and had joined the terrorist organization ISIS. LOS ANGELES, CA (California ... continue reading


Evidence of the Yeti? Footprints in Himalayan snow said to be of abominable snowman Watch

Image of Among the most elusive of all crypto-zoological creatures, the Abominable Snowman has had several eyewitness accounts. Some Russian fans here pose with an elaborate mock-up of the snowy creature (Lenta).

By Catholic Online (CALIFORNIA NETWORK)

The abominable snowman, or Yeti, remains one of the world's most elusive crypto-zoological figures. There have been many eyewitness reports of the hairy giant throughout the mountain ranges of the Himalayas for many years. A British man, on vacation in Bhutan, ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Subscribe to Catholic OnlineYouTube Channel

the FEED
by Catholic Online

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Isaiah 58:9-14
9 Then you will cry for help and Yahweh will answer; you will call and he ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 86:1-2, 3-4, 5-6
1 [Prayer Of David] Listen to me, Yahweh, answer me, for I am poor and ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 5:27-32
27 When he went out after this, he noticed a tax collector, Levi by name, ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for February 13th, 2016 Image

St. Catherine de Ricci
February 13: St. Catherine was born in Florence in 1522. Her ... Read More