Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Taylor Marshall

10/28/2009 (5 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As a former Anglican priest myself, I am profoundly grateful for our Holy Father’s generous proposal toward Anglicans, 'that they all might be one'

Taylor Marshall is a former Anglican priest and the author of 'The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity'.

Taylor Marshall is a former Anglican priest and the author of 'The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity'.

Highlights

By Taylor Marshall

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

10/28/2009 (5 years ago)

Published in U.S.


DALLAS, TX (Catholic Online) - On October 20, 2009, the Holy See made an unexpected announcement: the Holy Father will be issuing an Apostolic Constitution (the highest form of papal document) through which he will erect personal ordinariates for Anglican clergy and laity wishing to enter the Catholic Church. While rumors about this have been stirring since 2007, the recent decision came as a surprise to most Catholics and Anglicans.

Those who remember their high school history might recall that Pope Gregory the Great sent missionaries to England in the late sixth century to establish the Catholic Church in England. In A.D. 598, Pope Gregory the Great designated the township of Canterbury as the nation’s principal see. There were hiccups along the way (Norman conquest), but England remained under the pastoral oversight of the Pope until 1534 when King Henry VIII declared himself caput ecclesiae anglicanae “Head of the English Church.” Henry VIII never shook his devotion to the old rites. He demanded priestly celibacy, Latin Masses, and prayers for the dead. He did however have an appetite for the wealth of the monasteries. When Henry VIII died in 1547, he left his son Edward VI as king. As a Protestant, Edward approved a Protestantized English ritual which became known as the Book of Common Prayer in 1549.

The liturgies found in the Book of Common Prayer and subsequent editions reveal a careful blend of medieval Catholic piety mixed with subtle Protestantism. Henry’s daughter Queen Elizabeth fully realized this compromise between Catholicism and Protestantism—perhaps the cleverest grab for political power in history. As England colonized the world, she spread her national Anglican church. In America, she became the Episcopal Church. The new worldwide conglomerate of national churches became known as the Anglican Communion. Since those days, the Anglican Communion has been divided into roughly three camps: High Church (more Catholic), Low Church (more Protestant), and Broad Church (liberals who bless the political and cultural mores of society—something going all the way back to Henry’s desire for a second marriage, and then a third marriage, and then a fourth…you know the story).

In the last twenty years, the Broad Churchmen emerged as victors in the Anglican Communion as they secured the ordination of women in the 1980s and 1990s. The past decade has been embroiled in debates about homosexuality as it touches on marriage and clerical ordination. The disaffected conservatives (High Church and Low Church) are looking for options. Clearly, the High Church movement is open to the Catholic Church and many bishops, priests, and lay people have appealed to the Pope for help. The Pope has now provided an an answer: “Come home! Rome opens its doors to you!”

The New York Times, the London Times and almost every known newspaper has printed articles about this new announcement. The blogs are ablaze. However, there is a lot of misinformation churning around out there. I have collected five common misconceptions about the Holy See’s announcement. Each myth merits an informed and measured response.

Myth #1 The Pope is sheep-stealing

The Pope’s alleged “sheep-stealing” been the most popular subject within the secular media. To them, the Holy Father has launched a media campaign to kick the Anglican Communion while it’s down. The poor Archbishop of Canterbury is struggling to keep things together and then “Bamm!” the Pope surprises everyone with a bid for Anglican souls. However, we must remember that it was Anglicans who pursued the matter with the Holy Father—and we’re not talking about just one or two Anglicans. We are talking about thousands and thousands of Anglicans: bishops, priests, deacons, and laity. Anglican bishops from several nations have sent private letters to the Holy See. Much of this is confidential. They want a way out. They want to become Catholic. The Pope is responding to souls looking to him for guidance. The pope is not stealing sheep—He is holding out his pastoral staff to those sheep looking for protection.

Myth #2 Rome is preparing the world for a general married priesthood

The media also sunk its teeth into the fact that the new Anglican ordinariates would preserve the already recognized discipline of allowing married former-Anglican priests to be ordained as married Catholic priests. This is nothing new. Pope John Paul II approved this measure in 1980 as the “Pastoral Provision.” The new personal ordinariate structure does not change anything. In this regard, nothing is new. I have seen with my own eyes the CDF document from the mid-1980s penned by none other than Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger himself. The document clearly states that the Pastoral Provision is approved so long as it does not undermine the Roman discipline of clerical celibacy. Since the man who wrote that statement is now the Supreme Pontiff of the Holy Catholic Church, I doubt that he is prepping everyone for a change in clerical celibacy. Moreover, convert clergy from Anglicanism will be re-ordained, since Rome does not accept the validity of Anglican ordination.

Myth #3 Rome has reconciled itself to the Protestant Reformation

This myth is based on the liturgical norms accepted by Rome for use by Anglican converts. It goes like this: the Anglican Book of Common Prayer is a book of Protestant worship. Rome is now allowing use of its liturgies; therefore, Rome has capitulated to Protestantism. This argument fails to mention that then-Cardinal Ratzinger heavily oversaw the production of the Book of Divine Worship—the approved set of liturgies for Anglican convert parishes. Protestant elements were expunged (e.g. Thomas Cranmer’s consecration prayer), and good elements were retained. The Book of Divine Worship is a “sanitized” version of the Book of Common Prayer, and I suspect that future revisions will be even more traditional in their formulas.

Myth #4 The Anglican Personal Ordinariates will be like Opus Dei (or it will be like the Eastern Catholic Churches)

In canon law, Opus Dei is constituted as a personal prelature. A personal prelature is headed by a prelate (Bishop Javier Echevarria in the case of Opus Dei) and it does not have geographic limits (unlike a local diocese which does have geographic limits), but includes persons who are associated—this is why it's called “personal.” Moreover, it envelops both clergy and laity. It's not a religious “order” because it has a lay element.

A personal ordinariate, on the other hand, is similar but different. It is headed by an ordinary (who can be either a bishop or priest). It too is “personal” meaning that it does not have geographic boundaries like a diocese does. It can also include both clergy and laity like a personal prelature. A personal ordinariate differs from a personal prelature in that an ordinariate is reckoned as a “particular church.” This means that these Anglican ordinariates will not be a ritual churches like the Eastern Catholic Churches (e.g. Maronite or Melkite). The Anglican personal ordinariates will remain under the Roman Rite as expression of its liturgical diversity.

Myth #5 We already know everything about the Anglican personal ordinariates

We do not know much at all about the Anglican personal ordinarates. All we have is the press release from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Here’s really all we know at this juncture: 1) The Pope wants this to happen fast; 2) The Pope is issuing an Apostolic Constitution soon; 3) The Apostolic Constitution will establish the canonical structure of personal ordinariates; 4) The Pope wishes to continue to allow married convert-clergy to serve as priests; 5) The Pope values the “Anglican patrimony” of music, liturgy, reverence, and architecture. This sums up about all we can know at this point.

Here is what we do not know. First, is this a permanent or temporary solution to an ecumenical problem. Will the ordinariates be a ten year, twenty year, or one hundred year project? Related to this question is the concern for how future clergy would be educated and ordained. Would the seminarians training for the ordinariate attend a designated seminary? Moreover, who will serve as the “ordinaries” of the ordinariates if married priests cannot be bishops? Will former Anglican bishops be the first ones considered by the Holy See? What will happen to the current Anglican Use Catholic parishes? Will they be rolled into the new arrangement? And of particular interest to Anglicans, what will the liturgical norms look like? Can the current Book of Divine Worship be revised? The answers to these and other questions await the publication of the actual Apostolic Constitution.

This move by the Holy Father is simply a continuation of his work with Anglicans in the 1980s and 1990s. He understands them, and he is responding to them. We do not even know how many Anglicans will respond to the ordinariate proposal. It could be giant wave of world-wide conversions…or a trickle. Let us pray for the tidal wave.

As a former Anglican priest myself, I am profoundly grateful for our Holy Father’s generous proposal toward Anglicans, “that they all might be one” (Jn 17:21). My journey form Anglicanism to Catholicism has been difficult but it was at the same time a via mirabilis—a miraculous way, as John Henry Cardinal Newman described it. I know many Anglican friends who will take up the Holy Father on his offer. Sadly, I know others who will not. Regardless of how the cards fall, Catholics should recognize that the Holy Father’s announcement stands in full agreement with the ecumenical agenda that he articulated when he became Pope. In conformity to the Sacred Heart of Christ, he seeks to reconcile all who call on the name of Christ. Let us continue to pray with the Holy Father and encourage those Anglicans who seek a new home.

-----

Taylor Marshall is a former Anglican priest and the author of The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity. He is currently a Doctoral Student and Instructor of Philosophy at the University of Dallas.
(please visit: www.taylormarshall.com) His book is available on Amazon.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for February 2015
General Intention:
That prisoners, especially the young, may be able to rebuild lives of dignity.
Missionary Intention: That married people who are separated may find welcome and support in the Christian community.



Comments


More U.S.

Obama spends an alarming $3 billion on Obamacare WITHOUT Congressional approval Watch

Image of President Obama's administration is being accused of illegally spending money on Obamacare without Congressional approval.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The U.S. Treasury Department may be moving forward with Obamacare regardless of Congressional concerns and a lack of funding, approving a $3 billion payment to health insurers despite the fact that Congress has not authorized any payments in annual ... continue reading


Obama Administration as Global Advocate for Radical LGBTI Agenda

Image of Randy Berry

By Keith A Fournier

Robert Reilly is right. The Obama administration is doing profound damage to the very understanding of human rights. We have fundamental human rights precisely because we are human persons. No-one should support the denial of truly fundamental human rights for ... continue reading


Climate change - WHERE IT HURTS: Scientists say warming will hit nation's agricultural heartland Watch

Image of The climate change panel's verdict came as a bit of a surprise: Greenhouse-gas emissions played a substantial role in Europe's misery, but not so much in California.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There are very few positive things to result from climate change. Researchers now say that warmer temperatures will hit America where it counts: the nation's agricultural heartland. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Researchers presented their latest findings ... continue reading


WITCHES ARE BACK: Witchcraft reappears in today's popular mainstream culture in unexpected ways Watch

Image of Witches are seen in both religion and as a feminist symbol.

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The idea of the witch is making its rounds through history again. Females, both young and old, are embracing the power that comes with the feminist witch in today's society. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In a recent twitter post, popular female rapper, Azealia ... continue reading


Alaska lights up as it become the third U.S. state to legalize marijuana Watch

Image of Twenty-three states still prohibit cannabis outright. The other U.S. states have either legalized medical marijuana or decriminalized marijuana possession.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The state of Alaska is lighting up in celebration... following Colorado's lead, Alaska has become the third U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana use. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Voters passed the Alaska Marijuana Legalization ballot measure last ... continue reading


The Air Force pulls a B-52 from the 'Boneyard,' and you won't believe what they did with it next Watch

Image of A B-52, one of the largest and most effective bombers in the world.

By Matt Waterson (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

For the first time in aircraft's history, the U.S. Air Force has brought a B-52 bomber back to life from the Boneyard of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tucson, Arizona. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Nicknamed "Ghost Rider," this 53-year-old bomber had ... continue reading


Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas on the Chair of St. Peter and the Role of the Pope

Image of

By Fr. Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

The doctrine of infallibility, then, is derived from the principle of apostolic succession and from the fact that Jesus Christ promised His presence to His apostles when He sent them forth to teach all the nations (cf. Mt 28:20).  The Pope and the bishops in ... continue reading


'I don't know' whether Obama is a Christian, Governor Scott K. Walker of Wisconsin says Watch

Image of Governor Scott Walker declined to weigh in on Rudolf Giuliani's characterization of the president's patriotism and background.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

When reporters asked Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker about U.S. President Barack Obama's religious affiliation, he said, "I don't know." Considered a possible Republican candidate for the presidency in 2016, Walker said he was not aware of Obama's faith.  ... continue reading


Fifty Shades of Madness: No Gray Area Here

Image of

By Jennifer Hartline

I can't say it any better than the Dowager Countess of Grantham: Have we all stepped through the looking glass? Yes, I'm afraid that collectively, as a culture, we have indeed. We no longer seem to recognize the plainly absurd as absurd. Up is down; out is in; ... continue reading


15 'mortifying disasters' every '90s girl experienced Watch

Image of

By Abigail James (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Growing up in the '90s was full of iced-tips, crop tops, died hair, Spice Girls and boy bands. Being a girl growing up in the '90s, certain disastrous things could happen that would leave you "mortified." LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) With some help from BuzzFeed, ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

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

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
4 I pleaded with Yahweh my God and made this ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 116:10, 15, 16-17, 18-19
15 Costly in Yahweh's sight is the death of his ... Read More

Gospel, Mark 9:2-10
2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James ... Read More

Reading 2, Romans 8:31-34
31 After saying this, what can we add? If God is for ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 1st, 2015 Image

St. David
March 1: According to tradition, St. David was the son of King Sant of ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter