Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By

2/14/2012 (3 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Mass of Installation took place on Sunday, February 12 in Houston, Texas

It is surely no coincidence that this reconciliation should come at the very time Pope Benedict has put the new evangelization at the top of the Church's agenda.  To be converted and conformed to the image of Christ means that his Church will be transformed and renewed through and through. - Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson

Photo by Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle

Photo by Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle

Highlights

By

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/14/2012 (3 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Anglican Ordinariate, Chair of St. Peter, Steenson, Installation, Institution


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The following is the complete Installation Homily by Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the newly installed Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter for the United States (www.usordinariate.org): The Chair of St. Peter and Christian Unity

"Behold how good and joyful a thing it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1). 

With all our hearts, let us thank Pope Benedict XVI for this beautiful gift, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and let us pray that it may further the goal of Catholic unity.  When Cardinal Wuerl told me that the Holy Father would establish the Ordinariate under this name, I truly rejoiced, for it goes to the heart of what our mission should be.  And it helps us to understand why our Lord entrusted His Church to St. Peter in the first place.

So much ink has been spilled over the interpretation of these words of our Gospel, which Jesus spoke to Peter in Caesarea Philippi - "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church" (Mt. 16:18).  Of course, for Catholics, the authoritative interpretation was provided at the First Vatican Council.  But we must honestly acknowledge that Christians have read this text in different ways.  Even amongst the church fathers there was not unanimity over what "On this Rock" means precisely. 

The great Augustine himself said that the reader must choose - Does this Rock signify Christ or Peter?  (Retract. 1.20).  But Augustine quite properly would not have thought this a matter of either/or.  For Peter brings everything to Christ.  The trajectory is clear.  We are Christ's and Christ is God's (I Cor. 3:23). 

I am grateful that, over the course of my ministry, the teachings of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been so clear on this point - the Church exists to bring souls to Christ.  But, as our text plainly affirms, Jesus has invested Peter with a ministry of fundamental importance.  And he does so by employing three verbs in the future tense - I will build my church . the gates of hell will not prevail against it . I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. 

When Jesus speaks in the future tense, he draws all things to himself; we know then that this commission does not end with the historical Peter.  The whole life of the Church on earth until the end of time is anticipated in this moment.

In this context, listen to St. Anselm, the 37th Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps the greatest theologian ever to grace England's green and pleasant land:  "This power was committed specially to Peter, that we might therefore be invited to unity.  Christ therefore appointed him the head of the Apostles, that the Church might have one principal Vicar of Christ, to whom the different members of the Church should have recourse, if ever they should have dissentions among them.  But if there were many heads in the Church, the bond of unity would be broken" (Cat. Aur. Mt. 16:19).

The first time we find Matthew 16:18 specifically applied to Peter's successors, the Bishops of Rome, came amidst a controversy between Pope Stephen and Cyprian of Carthage in the middle of the third century.  At the risk of sounding pedantic, I hope that you will permit me to speak briefly to this, because it is very relevant to the Ordinariate.  In the Anglican tradition, the church fathers are held in high esteem; here is where we were taught to find our bearings on theological questions.

The third century popes are heroes to me, because they were courageous pastors who sought to restore those brethren who had broken or fallen away to the full communion of the Catholic Church.  At a time when many bishops were very severe and uncompromising about the purity of the Church, God gave us popes who understood that welcoming back the wandering and the fallen is of the very essence of the ministry that Jesus gave to the Apostles.  In the letters of St. Cyprian there is a remarkable and revealing correspondence from St. Firmilian of Caesarea about Pope Stephen (Ep. 75, ca. 255) - Can you believe it, Cyprian?  Stephen actually thinks that he sits on the chair of Peter as he orders us to accept the baptism of these separated groups!  He actually wants us to regard these people as Christians!

I think this is the important context in which to understand what Pope Benedict is saying to us in Anglicanorum coetibus.  Some will argue that the Catholic Church makes Christian unity a difficult thing to achieve.  Look at what is being asked of those who are considering the Ordinariate! - Anglicans have not only to be received but even confirmed, and their clergy ordained in the absolute form.  Is this not asking them to begin all over again?  Certainly not!  From Zephyrinus to Callistus to Cornelius to Stephen - these third century popes, most of whom laid down their lives as martyrs, who governed the Church at a time when it seemed as though the gates of hell really might prevail, threatening to destroy her essential unity - the Catholic Church simply asked that the bonds of charity be restored sacramentally by invoking the presence of the Holy Spirit.  These are brothers and sisters, returning home.

The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity.  St. Basil the Great, the Church's greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy.  He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort.  Like an old coat which is always being torn and is difficult to mend, the unity of the Church must never be taken for granted but requires great diligence and courage from her leaders (Bas. Ep.113). 

St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day.  This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.  I can't think of a better illustration for this homily than Bernini's great sculpture of the Chair of St. Peter in the apse of St. Peter's Basilica:  Peter's chair is upheld by the great fathers of the Church; and, hovering over it all, the luminous alabaster dove, the Holy Spirit, bathing everything in the radiance of God's love. 

There is so much to be celebrated about the patrimony of Anglicanism, its liturgical, spiritual, and pastoral traditions, which the Catholic Church welcomes as a treasure to be shared.  But let us be clear about our first principles.  So many people during the 477 years that Anglicans have been separated from Rome have prayed fervently and made great sacrifices for this day to come.  In obedience and trust they embraced whole-heartedly all that Jesus' prayer for the unity of his disciples requires (Jn. 17:21). 

It is surely no coincidence that this reconciliation should come at the very time Pope Benedict has put the new evangelization at the top of the Church's agenda.  To be converted and conformed to the image of Christ means that his Church will be transformed and renewed through and through.  I so much appreciate how our Chancellor, Dr. Margaret Chalmers, puts it:  "Our patrimony is people."  We thus open our hearts, in humility and love, to all Christians divided by culture and circumstance and misunderstanding.  We extend our hand in friendship to all who seek the Truth.  These are our companions along the way.  We begin with a strong faith that God has given us Peter, his hand firmly on the tiller, returning us to Jesus, "the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls" (I Pet. 2:25).

- Fr. Jeffrey Steenson

---


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


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More U.S.

Hurricane Katrina: Ten Years Later Watch

Image of Hurricane Katrina tore communities apart.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Hurricane Katrina left nearly 2,000 people dead and thousands more were homeless and wounded. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - In 2005, Hurricane Katrina caused America's most expensive natural disaster, with a repair bill of $150 billion. Entire roads were washed ... continue reading


PASTORPOCALYPSE - At least 400 church leaders to RESIGN Sunday after Ashley Madison accounts revealed Watch

Image of At least 400 pastors are expected to resign this Sunday.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

This Sunday could be a distressing day for millions of churchgoers across the country. As many as 400 pastors, some of them leading megachurch congregations, may resign following the Ashley Madison leak. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Hypocrisy can be found in ... continue reading


Christian man beaten to death by Muslim refugees in Maine Watch

Image of Freddy Akoa, the victim of a savage beating by three men.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An assumed Christian man was found dead in his apartment with a bloody Bible near his head. The murder is believed to have been committed by three Muslim refugees who attended a party at the dead man's home in Portland, Maine. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


St Augustine on a Personal Relationship with Jesus Watch

Image of St Augustine

By Deacon Keith Fournier

But we too can encounter Christ in reading Sacred Scripture, in prayer, in the liturgical life of the Church. We can touch Christ's Heart and feel him touching ours. Only in this personal relationship with Christ, only in this encounter with the Risen One do we ... continue reading


'We're going to get through this together': WDBJ stands together the day after the tragic live-shooting of reporter and cameraman Watch

Image of Colleagues hug during the moment of silence for their fallen team members.

By Kenya Sinclair (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

WDBJ-TV station grieves the loss of Alison Parker and Adam Ward the morning after their on-air murders.  Los Angeles, California (Catholic Online) - Thursday morning was emotional, as WDBJ-TV anchor Kim McBroom joined hands with anchor Steve Grand, who came in ... continue reading


Colorado movie theater assassin James Holmes will never step outside of a prison - ever Watch

Image of Obsessed with killing people since he was a teenager, James Holmes said he studied neuroscience in part to fix his own

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

On July 20, 2012, James Eagan Holmes, now 27, walked into an Aurora, Colorado movie theater during a late-night showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." He opened fire, killing 12 people and wounded 70. Holmes will never step outside a prison ever again - he was sentenced ... continue reading


Bizarre, twisted story trails behind Virginia TV reporter killer Vester Flanagan Watch

Image of Failed TV news anchor Vester Flanagan was notorious for his

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Stories have come forward regarding 41-year-old former TV news reporter Vester Flanagan, accused in the on-air shooting deaths of 24-year-old WDBJ reporter Alison Parker and 27-year-old camera operator Adam Ward. Flanagan, who committed suicide after the ... continue reading


Vatican did not consent to sponsor Palestinian flag initiative at United Nations Watch

Image of Only member states' flags are currently eligible to fly at U.N. headquarters.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

It seems that certain parties leapt to conclusions too readily... The Vatican has requested that the Palestinian U.N. mission to remove all references to the Holy See from a draft resolution. The Palestinians have put forth a formal request to the U.N. General Assembly ... continue reading


Now legal for police to fly drones armed with weapons in North Dakota Watch

Image of Police drone illustrating abilities to release tear gas from above.

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the last-minute push of pro-police lobbyists, it is now legal for the North Dakora law enforcers to fly drones equipped with "less than lethal" weapons such as tasers, pepper spray and tear gas. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - During a hearing in ... continue reading


Catholic hospital forced to bow down before ALCU, will perform sterilization - religious freedom dying in the name of convenience Watch

Image of A Catholic hospital in Redding, CA has been forced to agree to perform a sterilization procedure.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The ALCU has succeeded in forcing a Catholic hospital to perform a sterilization procedure in what is certainly a direct affront to religious freedom. More importantly, the case could be a predictor of how the larger issue of religious freedom will play out across the ... 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, Jeremiah 1:17-19
17 'As for you, prepare yourself for action. Stand up ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 71:1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 15, 17
1 In you, Yahweh, I take refuge, I shall never be put ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for August 29th, 2015 Image

St. Sabina
August 29: St. Sabina's feast day is August 29th. We know St. Sabina only ... 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