7/16/2008

Rome plays the go Home card.

The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark and Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision as given a talk at at the Anglican Use Conference in San Antonio on 11 July 2008 in which he said this:

"Some great strides have been made in the last two years in improving the mechanics of the Pastoral Provision. We are working on expanding the mandate of the Pastoral Provision to include those clergy and faithful of “continuing Anglican communities.” We are striving to increase awareness of our apostolate to Anglican Christians who desire to be reconciled with the Holy See. We have experienced the wonder of several Episcopal bishops entering into full communion with the Catholic Church and we continue to receive requests from priests and laity about the Pastoral Provision. I also take this opportunity to thank the Anglican Use Society for their work under the Pastoral Provision, and for the invitation to address this conference."

The reference to Episcopal Bishops is to the recent decisions by Bishops Lipscomb, Steenson and Herzog to become Roman Catholics. As I understand it, they have entered "into full communion" not as bishops but as laity, so Archbishop Myers' note about entering into full communion is a bit of a stretch.

The reference to "continuing Anglican communities" seems to refer to the Traditional Anglican Communion. Damian Thompson of the Telegraph writes that "... the obvious interpretation of the Archbishop's words is that the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), a "continuing church" which has hundreds of thousands of members worldwide (though few in the UK), will eventually be given its own Catholic parishes which use a Eucharistic Prayer incorporating Cranmerian language."

The TAC move has been rumored for some time and this simply adds to its strength. The Archbishop does not by name mention the Traditional Anglican Communion, but that is the best bet as to what he is talking about. The TAC decided not to join the Common Cause Partnership some time ago and the thought then was that it was applying to Rome for inclusion in the scheme.

Thompson also says, "This is big news, and makes nonsense of the claim that Pope Benedict wants to dissuade Anglo-Catholics from converting." It is indeed, and all the more so because this talk, given on July 11, 2008 comes just before the Lambeth Conference and almost immediately upon the Church of England Synod meeting where the ordination of women to the Episcopate became a "not if but when" proposition.

The possibilities of some of the Anglo-Catholic crowd in England bolting to Rome and the others of the Evangelical crowd bolting to GAFCON and the new - revised - Anglican Communion - without - the - Archbishop - of - Canterbury continue as realities for the Church of England. In the US the possibilities that the Bishop of Fort Worth may rethink a move to the Southern Cone, or barring that, rethink the possibility of moving on to the Common Cause Partnership and the new GAFCON / FOCA North America Province. The attempted jump might be to the Southern Cone and then to Rome. It would be advisable either way - Rome or the new revised Anglican Communion - to carefully pack one's parachute. The fast lane is always full of wreckage and the landing is only as soft as the effective deployment of the chute and care with the drop.

Rome will exact its price and the FOCA business may collapse as a the "church within a church" on its way to being the NRSV Anglican Communion.

When all the nice words are over, what you very well can end up with is either some Archbishop of Nigeria telling bishops what meetings they can and cannot attend or the Pope telling you that life as a layperson is about your speed. Anglicans may not be tidy, but in a sort of rumpled way we can be Catholic and Protestant and free. Getting conned out of the birthright for a mess of pottage may be biblical but it doesn't conform to the practical rule of reason: fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

7 comments:

  1. But see this piece by Ruth Gledhill:

    "...as news emerged from the US of plans to extend the Anglican Use scheme in the to allow ecclesial entities to go over to Rome. Cardinal Walter Kasper of the Vatican's Council for Christian Unity is at the Lambeth Conference, and senior sources at the conference denied the story was accurate. Clearly they had not read Newark Archbishop John J Myers' speech. My earlier story highlighted some of the divisions that exist in the Vatican over how to respond to the Anglican crisis. Cardinal Kasper is speaking here on Saturday. Kasper doesn't want defectors encouraged because he doesn't want to exacerbate Anglican schism. Others in the Vatican believe the Anglican Communion is irrevocably ruptured and want to give the red carpet and even the red hat treatment to Anglican trads. Hence the imminent beatification of Newman that we wrote about this week. Cardinal Ivan Dias, who heads the Congregation for Evangelisaton, is here at Lambeth as an 'observer'. There are some suggesting that it's not the Anglicans he's observing so much as Cardinal Kasper."

    http://timescolumns.typepad.com/gledhill/2008/07/lambeth-diary-b.html

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  2. Thanks for the great post, Mark. You saved me a whole lot of time and discussed it better than I ever could have.

    It certainly takes one kink out of the ribbon, but perhaps adds a few more.

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  3. It just keeps getting curiouser and curiouser...

    Damian Thompson, the editor in chief of The Catholic Herald, has this to say:

    The Catholic Church will expand its provision of "Anglican Use" parishes in the United States in order to allow whole communities of traditionalist Anglicans into the Roman fold, a senior Catholic archbishop has announced.

    The Most Rev John J Myers, Archbishop of Newark and Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision, told a conference of ex-Anglicans on Friday that "we are working on expanding the mandate of the Pastoral Provision [of Catholic parishes using Anglican-inspired services] to include those clergy and faithful of 'continuing Anglican communities'.

    "We are striving to increase awareness of our apostolate to Anglican Christians who desire to be reconciled with the Holy See. We have experienced the wonder of several Episcopal bishops entering into full communion with the Catholic Church and we continue to receive requests from priests and laity about the Pastoral Provision."


    The rest is on his blog at The Telegraph's web site.

    BUT then there's this from today's The Independent
    Pope rides to Rowan's rescue

    In his first public comments on the Lambeth Conference, Pope Benedict XVI has warned Anglican leaders that they must find a "mature" and faithful way of avoiding "schism". On top of this the Pope has:

    * Sent three cardinals to the conference in Canterbury, including one of his top aides from the Vatican, to act as personal intermediaries between the two churches;

    * Let it be known that he does not support the defection of conservative Anglicans to the Roman Catholic Church;

    * Given behind-the-scenes support to the Archbishop of Canterbury's attempts to hold together the conservative and liberal wings of the Anglican Church, including at face-to-face meetings in Rome.

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  4. the "entering into full communion" part doesn't really tweak me. it's the normal word--always used--in canon law for exactly this: someone already baptized accepting the jurisdiction of the Catholic Church.

    the Catholic Church doesn't recognize Anglican orders, and it's not some kind of weird freaky horrid thing that they don't. it's a shame; i think it's incorrect, but it's not all that different from our attitude toward Methodist or Presbyterian orders.

    ministry is about those ministered to; there is no insult done to those bishops who have joined the Catholic Church in the non-recognition of their orders. so who has been insulted?

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  5. Mass swimmings of the Tibe have been a routine prediction for more than a century now. Leo XIII's condemnation of Anglican orders was issued in no small part due to the wishful advice of Vaughan, Mannning and Merry del Val that it would open the floodgates.

    I wonder is Leo was annoyed he'd been sold a bill of goods.

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  6. Deacon Charlie Perrin17/7/08 10:02 AM

    Damien Thompson wrote:
    "...the obvious interpretation of the Archbishop's words is that the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), a 'continuing church' which has hundreds of thousands of members worldwide (though few in the UK), will eventually be given its own Catholic parishes which use a Eucharistic Prayer incorporating Cranmerian language."

    This is fascinating considering that Cranmer's Eucharistic theology was "receptionist" and that he went out of his way, in the 1552 revision of the BCP to eliminate any thing that could be interpreted to support "transubstantiation."

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  7. The TAC has for some time spoken of seeking "acknowledgement" or "recognition" from Rome, without any clear sense of what "acknowledgement" or "recognition" might actually mean. Sometimes it has seemed like uniate status, and sometimes like autocephalous "orthodox" status. According to their releases over the past few years, that has included contacts in Rome.

    Rome has exhibited such a Canterbury- and Lambeth-centric (mis)understanding of the Anglican Communion that there really isn't contradiction between welcoming individual converts, or even such "separated brethren" as TAC, and still wanting the Anglican Communion (at least as they understand it) and/or certainly the Church of England to largely hold together. As averse as they are to fractures in their own ranks, they wouldn't want to appear to support wholesale fractures in the ranks of others. Groups like TAC, on the other hand, that have never officially been part of the Anglican Communion, are another matter.

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