5 bishops, 50 priests… now for the people?

Fast upon the announcement that there are 5 Church of England Bishops poised to enter communion with the See of Rome through the Anglican Ordinariate, comes the announcement that as many as 50 priests may be accompanying them. Now for the lay-people!

This picture accompanied the story in The Age linked to above. The caption is a little “catty”. Since The Age sourced it from The Telegraph who sourced it from AP, it is hard to know who is to blame for the snide caption.

Hooroo to the Bishop Andrew, by the way. He has, on occasion, dropped by our table for a small glass of port.

About Schütz

I am Catholic, married to Cathy, father of Maddy & Mia. Since 2002, I have been the Executive Officer of the Ecumenical & Interfaith Commission of the Archdiocese of Melbourne. I was once a Lutheran pastor, but a "year of grace" and soul-searching led me into the Catholic Church. It was a bumpy ride, but with the support of my (still Lutheran) wife, I was finally confirmed on June 16, 2003.
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12 Responses to 5 bishops, 50 priests… now for the people?

  1. Matthias says:

    Rev David Ould -an Anglican minister- has a clip showing how the Anglicans are handling the above situation. which reminds me of the GREAT BANK ROBBERY where the police photoidentiki came up with a suspect -the ArchBishop of Canterbury. some could claim that waht is happening on his watch is a crime

  2. Peregrinus says:

    There was a piece by Dr Elliott in the TAC Messenger lately, suggesting that a two-stage process was envisaged for establishing the Ordinariate in Australia. Stage 1 is to be the reception (and normally re-ordination) of clergy, the idea being that this should be completed, and clergy should be in place to minister to the members of the Ordinariate, before the bulk of lay members come on board, which will be stage 2.

    If the same model is being followed in England and Wales, then it may be a little while before we know how many lay Anglicans will enter the Ordinariate. I seem to recall reading the figure of about 500 mentioned as the first wave; I suspect that’s more of a guesstimate than a count.

    I wonder whether we will see a phenomenon of Anglicans regularly worshipping with the Ordinariate, and participating in various ways, without actually being formally received into the Catholic church? There’ll be some, obviously, in canonically irregular marriages who either can’t or don’t want to have them regularised. There may be others who take the view that they are [i]already[/i] fully initiated into the Church catholic, and that nothing more is required. And there may be some drawn by more by a personal pastoral relationship with a cleric who joins the Ordinariate than anything else.

    One thing that will characterise Anglo-Catholics who are prepared to walk from the Church of England over women bishops or other issues is a certain independent-mindedness, a bolshie commitment to principle. They won’t necessarily be meek and biddable when enfolded in the embrace of Rome!

    • marcel says:

      Interesting pastoral points Pere. I understand a key part of the Ordinariate will be the registration process. This ‘registration’ will have same purposes as all normal parish records for Baptism, Confirmation, Weddings etc. In the case of the Ordinariates I guess there will be an extra dated column in the records for individuals to list the time that members actually ‘converted’ by accepting the Catholic catechism. I presume those who do not convert cannot enjoy the sacramental benefits offered by the Ordinarite’s clergy.

      • Peregrinus says:

        Hi Marcel

        You don’t convert “by accepting the Catholic Catechism”. The normal (and normative) rite by which an adult baptised in another Christian tradition is received into the church is by confirmation and first eucharist (celebrated on the same occasion, and in that order). The rite of reception does include a profession of faith (at the point where an unbaptised person would be baptised), but it’s the sacramental initiation which effects full participation in the church.

        I suppose it’s theoretically possible for an adult to make a profession of faith, and defer sacramental initiation until a later date, but I have never heard of such a thing and, without thinking too deeply about it, it strikes me as theologically and ecclesiologically inappropriate. Someone who believes what the Catholic church believes is not thereby a Catholic; sacramental initiation is of the essence.

        So, I don’t think the ordinariate parishes will have separate records of “reception”; they’ll record baptism, marriage (and convalidation of marriage), confirmation, first eucharist. The dates of the last two entries will identify the date of reception. (They may also record first reconciliation, which precedes confirmation and first eucharist, and is not part of the rite of reception.)

        There’ll almost certainly be some who participate in the ordinariate community, so to speak, but who aren’t received in the first wave – e.g. people who are in the course of having an irregular marital situation regularised, but who haven’t completed that. Great pastoral sensitivity will be needed; they won’t appreciate being separated out from the community with whom they have always shared the Anglican eucharist, and being told that they cannot share the Catholic eucharist with them just yet (or possibly at all). As for “not enjoying the sacramental benefits offered by the ordinariate’s clergy”, the canonical position is that they ought not to take the eucharist (except in extremis), but they can participate in sacramental reconciliation, they can I think marry in a Catholic ceremony, they can receive the sacrament of the sick, and they can have a Catholic funeral (though the latter is not, of course, a sacrament).

        • marcel says:

          The Catechism part was probably an aspect of the negotiations rather than the rights of intitiation into the Church.

          I hope the ceremonies give the new converts a chance to make an abjuration de formali of their heresies and renounce post-Henry Anglicanism.

          One element of this arrangment that makes me sceptical is that many of the souls joining the Ordinariate seem to be escaping abuses rather than embracing truth. There needs to be change of heart, a break with their past. The concessions from the Vatican have been so generous that I wonder if some of these candidates think the Ordinariate is more of a semantic change rather than a conversion. There’s probably a whole spectrum of views among those in the life boats crossing the Tiber. +Newman suffered much to go it alone with his conversion, and I cannot help but think that those who swam earlier showed greater fortitude and integrity, when this current crop were happy to put up with prestesses for the last twenty years.

          • Peregrinus says:

            The Catechism part was probably an aspect of the negotiations rather than the rights of intitiation into the Church.

            Baptized Christians who are received as adults into the Catholic church normally make a profession of faith in which they renew their baptismal promises, and then declare that they “profess and believe all that the Catholic Church teaches and proclaims as revealed by God”, or similar language. (I’m quoting from memory here.)

            There’s no explicit reference to the Catechism. But plainly the Catechism is a useful and authoritative resource for exploring what it is that the Church proclaims as divinely revealed, and it can serve as the framework for the catechetical preparation of those to be received. The encounter with the Catechism, therefore, is likely to come in the course of preparation, rather than forming part of the rite of reception itself.

            I hope the ceremonies give the new converts a chance to make an abjuration de formali of their heresies and renounce post-Henry Anglicanism.

            Oh, no, no, no. Christians from other tradition who are received into the church renounce Satan, all his works, all his empty promises, etc, but they are not asked to condemn the very traditions which introduced them to the Gospel, in some kind of neo-Stalinist show trial of self-accusation.

            And if that’s not part of the existing rite of reception, still less will it form part of any adaptation of that rite for the Ordinariate (if their is an adapted rite), where the context is one of welcoming Anglicans and affirming and incorporating all that is good and true in Anglican Christianity, not looking for things to demonise.

            One element of this arrangment that makes me sceptical is that many of the souls joining the Ordinariate seem to be escaping abuses rather than embracing truth. There needs to be change of heart, a break with their past. The concessions from the Vatican have been so generous that I wonder if some of these candidates think the Ordinariate is more of a semantic change rather than a conversion. There’s probably a whole spectrum of views among those in the life boats crossing the Tiber. +Newman suffered much to go it alone with his conversion, and I cannot help but think that those who swam earlier showed greater fortitude and integrity, when this current crop were happy to put up with prestesses for the last twenty years.

            Well, that’s a bit harsh. All that we know suggests that, far from being happy with women priests, these particular Anglicans were very unhappy with them.

            As for “escaping abuses rather than embracing truth”, my impression after a good number of years involvement with the initiation of adults is that only a small minority come to the church as a result of philosophical/theological enquiry, or a conviction about truth. The great majority come because they are seeking communion, and they are drawn to communion within the church, and in most cases this is because of personal relationships and connections. Typically they are drawn to the church, and have become involved in the life of the church (e.g. attending mass), and have decided that they want to participate at a time when they have only a hazy knowledge of exactly what the church teaches, or how its teachings differ from other denominations. They explore that, of course, as part of their preparation for reception, but it’s not the fundamental reason why they choose to become Catholics.

            And it will be the same here. The first wave of entrants to the ordinariate will be entering because other members of the ecclesial community in which they find communion are entering. Entry has to be a personal decision, of course, but it’s a decision that will be made because of, and in the context of, the journey that the particular community is on.

            It beggars belief to suggest that all those who enter in the first wave will suddenly and simultaneously have been convinced of the truth of, say, the arguments laid out in Apostolicae Curae about Anglican orders. I rather suspect most of them will struggle with this, and if they enter the Ordinariate they will do so despite this teaching; not because they are convinced of it, but because their need for eucharistic communion is greater than their unhappiness over it.

            As you say, there will probably be “a whole spectrum of views” among those entering, some of which will be conflicting and problematic. But what of it? The reality of the church is that there is already a whole spectrum of views among its members, some of which are conflicting and problematic. It was ever thus. That’s not a reason to give up on the Church.

        • Schütz says:

          I wonder whether we will see a phenomenon of Anglicans regularly worshipping with the Ordinariate, and participating in various ways, without actually being formally received into the Catholic church?… Great pastoral sensitivity will be needed.

          You are certainly right on both counts, Perry. This is a potential minefield for the pastors of the new communities.

  3. Peregrinus says:

    As for the snide caption, the article comes from the London Telegraph, but the headline, the photograph and the caption were lovingly assembled by the good people at Fairfax Media. The original Telegraph article is illustrated with a sober (and soberly-captioned) photograph of Archbishop Vincent Nicholls.

  4. Acroamaticus says:

    “Now for the laypeople”…well, don’t hold your breath waiting for hordes of Anglicans to make waves in the Tiber, David. Anglo-Catholicism has long been a corner of the Anglican communion dominated by clerics. Lot’s of chiefs (and wannabe chiefs), not too many indians. In fact, I’ve visited services where there seemed to be more ordained than non-ordained folk visible through the clouds of incense. That’s what hefty endowments will do to a religion – insulate it from the ordinary folk in the pews and their needs. Anglo-Catholicism was once a force to be contended with, and there was great spiritual power on display in the best of its exponents, but the centre of gravity in Anglicanism has long since shifted to the Evangelicals.

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