Daily Archives: October 22, 2009

(Times) Letters: It is a long way from Canterbury to Rome

Here is one:

Sir, The Anglican bishops of Ebbsfleet and Richborough flew to Rome to negotiate a special deal for their followers, apparently without the knowledge of the Archbishop of Canterbury (reports, Oct 21 and 22; letters, Oct 22); and Edwin Barnes, a former Anglican Bishop of Richborough, says that “the Church of England must transfer churches to us” (Thunderer, Oct 21).

The mind boggles. The Church of England has taken, by its proper procedures, some decisions about gays and women in its ministry that a minority do not like. Members of that minority are free to leave and join a church of their choice. By what principle do they demand that they take some Church of England assets with them?

A hundred years ago, in Scotland, the courts were dragged into a similar dispute. When they awarded the assets of the Free Church of Scotland to a minority faction, the result was so absurd that it had to be reversed by legislation. I doubt whether the courts would make the same mistake again in either England or Scotland.

Of course people should follow their consciences. But conscience does not look so good when accompanied by demands for money and assets.

Professor Iain Mclean
University of Oxford

Read them all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

RNS–Celibacy a deal-breaker for some Anglicans

But the provision for married clergy, which the Catholic church has made on a limited basis since at least the 1980s, remains a qualified one. Only unmarried men will be eligible to serve as bishops in the new dioceses, the Vatican said, consistent with a “long historical tradition” in both the Catholic and Orthodox churches.

Other details of the new rules remain unclear pending their still-unscheduled publication, but Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, suggested on Tuesday that the new dioceses will not ordain married men unless they have already started their preparation in Anglican seminaries, or permit unmarried priests to take wives after ordination.

For some potential converts, those qualifications are a deal breaker.

“I find the lack of a permanent provision for a married priesthood to be a serious obstacle to unity,” said Anglican Bishop Jack Iker of Fort Worth, who has considered joining the Catholic church in the past.

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Fort Worth

Independent–Why is the Catholic church offering a home to congregations of Anglicans?

What changed?

For years Catholic bishops in England were reluctant to open the door wide to traditionalist Anglicans, partly because their “more Catholic than the Pope” smells-and-bells churchmanship was out of step with modern Catholicism. They also did not want to upset Church of England bishops with whom they had developed strong ecumenical relations.

But then last year the Church of England’s General Synod voted to allow women to become bishops. More importantly it also voted for no special provision to be put in place to allow traditionalists to bypass a woman bishop and seek episcopal oversight from a man. The decision radically shifted attitudes in Rome.

So whose initiative is this?

It began with Anglican dissidents for whom women bishops were the final straw but who were already alarmed by women or gay priests.

Two years ago an Australian archbishop, John Hepworth, leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion which claims to represent 400,000 worshippers worldwide, went to the Vatican to seek terms for his flock to be accepted into full communion with Rome. Part of the Roman Curia received him sympathetically, but the dominant group of Vatican bureaucrats were against him.

But then came the Synod vote.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

In Ohio Episcopal clergy await details on Vatican plan

The Rev. John Kimble, a retired Episcopal priest in Toledo, believes the Vatican is being deceptive with the proposal, calling it “a subtle attack on Anglicanism.”

“If they were really interested in Anglicanism and coming together, they need to acknowledge that we have women priests and people who are homosexuals,” he said. “What undergirds this statement is a subtle attempt to reinforce the biased, prejudicial, and sectarian stances” of the Catholic Church….

Father [Charles] Singler said the Vatican’s intent is to meet the spiritual needs of people in crisis, not to steal members from another Christian body. “It shows the church’s desire to provide a place for those who are trying to find a spiritual home. ”¦ It’s a way to provide an option for people trying to find some sense of stability and tradition,” he said.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

NPR: What Does Vatican Plan Mean For Celibate Priests?

The Vatican is welcoming Anglicans to return to Catholicism centuries after their ancestors left. The Vatican said it will permit married Anglican priests to become ordained Catholic priests. John Allen, senior correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, talks with Steve Inskeep about how this week’s announcement calls into question a long-held Catholic tradition of celibacy in the priesthood.

Listen to it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Ministry of the Ordained, Other Churches, Parish Ministry, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Ottawa Citizen: Anglicans welcome Pope's overture

Pope Benedict’s overture to disaffected Anglicans created shock waves among Ottawa church officials Wednesday as they weighed the meaning of the historic event.

Many welcomed the Vatican’s decision to create a new structure within the Catholic Church that will make it more comfortable for conservative Anglicans to join.

Earlier this week, the Pope announced he will permit Anglicans who share the same essential beliefs as Catholics to maintain their traditions within the embrace of the Roman Catholic Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

With his daring scheme for Anglicans, Benedict XVI fulfils the hopes of Cardinal Newman

Was Pope Benedict XVI inspired by Cardinal John Henry Newman, whom it is hoped he will beatify in England next year, when he suddenly threw open the gates of Rome to disaffected Anglicans on Tuesday morning?

The official website for Newman’s Cause hinted as much when it greeted the announcement with a reminder of Newman’s support for a proposal to establish an Anglican Uniate Church for converts, similar to that provided for Byzantine-rite Catholics. The plan was conceived by Ambrose Phillips de Lisle and Newman rightly guessed that it would be unworkable. But if it could be made to work, he said, he was all in favour. As he wrote to de Lisle in 1876:

“Nothing will rejoice me more than to find that the Holy See considers it safe and promising to sanction some such plan as the Pamphlet suggests. I give my best prayers, such as they are, that some means of drawing to us so many good people, who are now shivering at our gates, may be discovered.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Church of Central Africa, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

CSM: Will Vatican lure Africa's Anglican bishops to Roman Catholic church?

Since the Vatican launched its bold bid Tuesday to make it easier for Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church, the question on everyone’s mind has been: How many will convert?

Will the much ballyhooed Anglican divide over the Church’s moves to accept openly gay and female clerics now cause hundreds of thousands of conservative Anglicans ”“ mostly in Africa and parts of the US ”“ to flock to Catholicism?

Early indications from African bishops are that most Anglicans, despite their fierce opposition to homosexuality, will be saying “thanks but no thanks” to Rome’s new offer, largely because of the autonomy that they enjoy within the Anglican church.

“I don’t think that priests in Uganda are going to leave and join the Roman Catholic church,” says Bishop Stanley Ntagali, head of an Anglican diocese in the east African country of Uganda. “Uganda is [already] a separate region from the Church in Canterbury. They are able to do things their way, and we have to do things our way.”

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Africa, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of Nigeria, Church of Uganda, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Irony in Catholic outreach to Anglicans

The Vatican’s just-announced effort to recruit unhappy Anglicans away from a church that has embraced female priests and elected an openly gay bishop provides the Catholic Church with a way to deal with its shortage of priests – without allowing Catholic women to be ordained and without ending the celibacy rule.

If Anglican clergy and seminarians are among those who convert, the Vatican potentially gets more married men in its ranks of priests while continuing to forbid Catholic priests and seminarians to wed.

In fact, this very thing has been happening on a small scale for years. Since the early 1980s, dozens of former Episcopal priests, a good many married with children, have become Catholic priests in the United States. Published reports put the number at about 200 by now.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Episcopal Church (TEC), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

WSJ: Pope's Wooing of Anglicans Challenges Archbishop Williams

For several years, Archbishop Williams has attempted to unify an already divided global community of Anglicans. Internecine battles over same-sex marriage, the consecration of women bishops and the authority of Scripture threaten to splinter the world’s third-largest Christian group.

But unlike Pope Benedict — who has singular authority over 1.1 billion Roman Catholics — Archbishop Williams lacks many tools to force cooperation among his church’s factions. He can cajole and persuade, but in the end the many churches within the Anglican Communion have a great deal of autonomy, including the Church of England.

“What is he going to do? That’s the $64,000 question,” said Stephen Parkinson, director of Forward in Faith, an Anglo-Catholic advocacy group within the Church of England that has reacted warmly to the Vatican’s move. “Does he try to hold it all together, or does he simply say bon voyage to those who want to take the Vatican’s offer?”

Read the whole article.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Fr. George Rutler discusses Vatican's Anglican provision

It is a dramatic slap-down of liberal Anglicanism and a total repudiation of the ordination of women, homosexual marriage and the general neglect of doctrine in Anglicanism. Indeed, it is a final rejection of Anglicanism. It basically interprets Anglicanism as a spiritual patrimony based on ethnic tradition rather than substantial doctrine and makes clear that it is not a historic “church” but rather an “ecclesial community” that strayed and now is invited to return to communion with the Pope as Successor of Peter.

The Vatican was careful to schedule simultaneously with the Vatican announcement, a press conference of the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster and the deeply humiliated Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury to enable the Anglicans to save some face by saying that this recognizes the spiritual patrimony of Anglicanism and that ecumenical dialogue goes ahead. That is like George Washington at Yorktown saying that he recognizes the cultural contributions of Britain and hopes diplomatic relations flourish. The Apostolic Constitution is not a retraction of ecumenical desires, but rather is the fulfillment of ecumenical aspirations, albeit not the way most Anglican leaders had envisioned it.

The press, uninformed and always tabloid in matters of religion, will zoom in on the permission for married priests. They will miss the most important point: that this reiterates the Catholic Church’s insistence that Anglican Holy Orders are invalid, and perforce so is their Eucharist. These married Anglican priests have to be fully and validly ordained by a Catholic bishop. Following Orthodox custom, they are allowed to marry only before ordination and not after. And no married man may become a bishop. (Thus, any Anglican bishop joining one of these “ordinariates” would no longer be recognized as a bishop. Under special provision, Anglican bishops would have some right to pastoral authority, but would not be bishops.)

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecclesiology, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic, Theology

Keith Ray Putman on his recent experience at St. Luke's Anglican Church in La Crescenta

The morning of October 11, 2009, all of St. Luke’s Anglican Church, La Crescenta were to worship in our original building for the last time before it was confiscated and handed over to the L.A. Diocese of the Episcopalian Church. It was sure to be an emotional time for all of us ”“ maybe even gut-wrenching.

Personally, I had many reasons to be angry and sad over losing the building. This was the place where I had met my wife, Kathy. This was the sanctuary where we were wed. This was where my Godson and his little sister had been baptized. This was where I had experienced the Spirit in worship for the first time after a long dry spell elsewhere. And I am only a member of five years ”“ how much more a loss for those to whom the beautiful stone and wood sanctuary and grounds had been a home for up to five generations!

Yet, that Sunday, as we began to sing familiar songs and speak the liturgical words, I did not feel anger or sadness. I did not witness people wailing and clinging to the walls. Instead, I found myself joining in with loud, strong voices of praise to our faithful God. There was strong emotion all right, but it wasn’t lamentation or mourning ”“ amazingly, as we left the building, the lingering emotion was joy.
Maybe this feeling was on account of the fact that we’d spent so many months letting go already (including the many notes of remembrance that members had posted around the grounds and were now collected in a Book of Testimony). Maybe it was a sense of release from the legal suspense. Maybe it was the word shared by Fr. Rob from Hebrews, Chapter 10 that rang so true and truly prophetic (read the entire chapter and be amazed). It was probably all those things. Most of all, though, the joy was from the living Spirit of Christ Our Savior, present with us in such a way that, afterwards, a member of the press was heard to say that he’d never heard worship quite like what he’d witnessed that morning. Even my 3-month-old boy, Jake, had been compelled to join in, shouting out during each chorus of “Lion of Judah.”

As we all gathered afterwards to check out our new worship space — and again as we had our first service there this past Sunday ”“ I was struck by the full reality of what had before been a concept: the Church, including our little St. Luke’s, is not a building. We had lost the beautiful building, yes. Yet, here was my wife. Here were the smiling faces of the ladies who had coordinated our wedding. Here was our baby boy, to be baptized next month. Here was my Best Man and his lovely wife; my Godson; my pastor; my buddy who had helped me to finish my last short film; so many friends who had brought Kathy and I meals and other support when we brought our baby home. Here was my spiritual family. Here was the Body of Christ.

I’d mentally assented to the concept before, but now I have experienced the reality anew: the Church is God living in and amongst all those peculiar and particular people who love him and are called according to his purposes. So, whether we win or lose legal battles over property, no judge and no religious authority can ever confiscate the Church.

Or our Joy.

Thanks be to God, hallelujah, hallelujah,

Keith Ray Putman

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Parish Ministry, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: Los Angeles, TEC Departing Parishes

Father Steenson: Policy Reflects Pope’s Passion

Even as he studied at the Pontifical Irish College in Rome last year, the Rev. Jeffrey Steenson did not know just how much the Vatican was preparing to widen its arms to Anglican pilgrims like himself.

Fr. Steenson, as he is now known again, served as Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande from 2005 to 2007, when he resigned to join the Roman Catholic Church. He now teaches theology at the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.

“I was certainly aware that there were very significant conversations going on at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, but I didn’t know the scope of things,” Fr. Steenson told The Living Church.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

SMH: Rome's Anglican option may change both churches

GREAT movements of faith and ideas that have survived for five centuries do not suddenly implode. But something strange happened in London this week, when the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, meekly left Lambeth Palace, his official residence, and crossed the Thames to Eccleston Square, where the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Nichols, has his office. The pair made a joint announcement concerning the future of both the Catholic Church and the worldwide Anglican Communion, which Archbishop Williams leads. At least, Archbishop Nichols made the announcement while Dr Williams sat at his side, apparently endorsing what his counterpart had to say, but, as the journalists reported, looking increasingly uncomfortable. At least one reporter, perhaps more used to covering exchanges in the nearby House of Commons, described what had happened as a power shift.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, - Anglican: Latest News, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

Washington Post On Faith Blog: The divisiveness of Christian unity

Pope Benedict’s bold move to embrace disaffected Anglicans paradoxically opens a path for Christian unity while also reemphasizing the doctrinal difficulties in bringing Christian denominations closer together.

While the new Apostolic Constitution is part of a larger Catholic strategy, it does not appear to be strategic in the way many commentators have suggested. The statement by William Cardinal Levada, as well as the joint appearance by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Catholic Archbishop of Westminister, made it clear that both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion wish to avoid a sectarian battle. But while the new Apostolic Constitution is certainly not part of the strategy to undercut the Anglican Communion, there is a larger goal that informs and shapes the Vatican’s move.

Read it all and check out the comments as well.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Religion News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Ecumenical Relations, Orthodox Church, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic