(CEN) American Ordinariate accused of being ”˜insufficiently Catholic’

The American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate is insufficiently Catholic, critics charge, following the announcement the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter will not use the traditional Latin mass ”“ the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
Clergy who had been permitted to use the Latin mass by their Anglican bishops tell The Church of England Newspaper they are nonplussed in being forbidden to use the traditional rite now that they are Catholic priests.
On 30 July, Mgr Jeffrey Steenson, the ordinary of the Chair of St Peter and the former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, released a statement clarifying the Ordinariate’s liturgical formularies after some new converts claimed he was bullying them by forbidding the use of the Latin mass.

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Liturgy, Music, Worship, Other Churches, Pope Benedict XVI, Roman Catholic

26 comments on “(CEN) American Ordinariate accused of being ”˜insufficiently Catholic’

  1. m+ says:

    Viewing the article requires subscription.

  2. Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    This article has some seriously factual errors.

    First of all, the American Ordinariate priests can use the Mass of the Extraordinary form, but they have to do it in conjunction with the local Catholic bishop for training purposes. Steenson the Ordinary does not feel qualified liturgically to train priests in the use of the Latin mass.

    Secondly, I am also unaware of many Anglican priests, particularly in America, who where using the Latin mass. Many Anglo-catholic parishes in the Church of England tended to use the 1962 English Missal, but seldomly if ever the full Tridentine mass. But this is about the American ordinariate.

    Thirdly, the Latin Mass is still the [b]extraordinary[/b] form and not intended for primary use in most Catholic parishes. The [i]Novus Ordo[/i] is still the standard in American Catholic liturgy. This article needs to check some of its facts.

  3. PadreTampa says:

    The full text from the Ordinariate is located here:


  4. Teatime2 says:

    LOL, and so it begins. They didn’t really think they’d escape the usual resentments, backbiting, and then the “all is well” and “we’re really fine and on the same page” releases, did they? Rome probably requires a faster tap-dance on shorter notice than Canterbury did.

  5. MichaelA says:

    Well, there is certainly plenty of variation and disagreement among Roman Catholics – they are not and never have been a monolith.

    But like any church, they are entitled to set their liturgy through their own proper processes. For these priests, Msr Steenson appears to be their ordinary, so they will just have to take it up with him.

  6. C. Wingate says:

    Somebody out there is insufficiently clueful. Why-in-the-heck do they think there is an ordinariate??

  7. Charles52 says:

    While I can’t read the whole story, and specifically don’t know the situation in England, I do suspect this is probably from that part of the RCC for which nothing but the Extraordinary Form is “sufficiently Catholic”. This “part” is really a spectrum of folks, at the far end of which are sedevacantists and schismatics like the Lefebvrists, but some folks stay in the Catholic Church but regard the Ordinary Form as valid, though gravely defective.

    so it begins.

    It began a long time ago, in Corinth, Ephesus, and Galatia. It began with Peter and Paul, and has continued for 2000 years. This disagreement over the liturgy is not the only bit of insider baseball being played, and it won’t be the last kerfluffle either.

  8. Catholic Mom says:

    Why on earth would you want the Latin mass if you were in the Ordinariate? Isn’t the whole point of the Ordinariate to preserve the “Anglican patrimony”? Wouldn’t a massive part of that patrimony be the mass in the vernacular? This is just silly. Go off and join SSPX or something. These are probably people who have been “playing Catholic” for so long they forgot there’s such a thing as actually *being* Catholic. [Please note — I’m not saying Anglo-Catholics are “playing Catholic.” But there are definitely some people who are outside the RCC who are obsessed with Latin and monstrances, and lace surplices per se and I don’t doubt that such folks would be very disappointed to find out that all that is not actually central to Catholic faith and practice (or, in many cases, even a part of it anymore).]

  9. rugbyplayingpriest says:

    The Devil whips up a storm in a tea cup and seeks to sow division. Move along there is little to see here… the Ordinariate merely has to come to live amidst much resentment on both sides of the Tiber for various reasons leading to people hungry to sell bad news stories.

    Here in England our group moves from strength to strength and our status within the diocese is normative and welcome. But of course that does not sell papers

  10. Dan Crawford says:

    This was to be expected. Catholic Mom accurately describes that very loud but very small group in the RCC which seeks a return to the worst aspects of Tridentine Catholicism. My wife, who is Roman Catholic, has been teaching a class on Christ in Genesis at her parish church: She has had to endure people demanding to know whether the study will include devotions to Divine Mercy (the chaplet and other Faustinian pieties) and whether her study would be consistent with “orthodox litugy” – the “old” Latin Mass. Benedict and other Vatican officials recognized the treasure of the Book of Common Prayer and understood its value. I suspect Steenson will suffer even more at the hands of the “more Catholic than the Pope” Catholics. More’s the pity.

  11. Sarah says:

    Catholic Mom is spot on. I have the feeling that there are plenty of AngloCatholics who really really thought they were RC — but aren’t. Instead, they’re really really AngloCatholic. ; > )

    And unlike the propaganda of some, the two things are not the same at all.

    That doesn’t mean that there aren’t also some AngloCatholics who *really are* RC. And in that case, the Ordinariate will be a great place for them.

  12. C. Wingate says:

    The issue behind the issue is the likelihood of pressure to become “normal” Catholics (where of course normality depends on the individual Catholic). I’ve always figured that the ordinariate is as likely to have an effect on the quality of RC liturgy about as strong as previous Tiber-crossers, which is to say, almost none.

  13. Catholic Mom says:

    My take on this is as follows. (Note, I may be the only person on earth with this take — just my own thoughts).

    It seems to me there are three ways in which people tend to define “Roman Catholic.”

    1) There are those (usually Protestants) that define being a Roman Catholic as “by complete and total coincidence happening to agree with every single item of the Roman catechism” (as in “I’m a Presbyterian because my personal beliefs match up very closely with everything Presbyterianism teaches”). Now, it IS true that if you reject the catechism (or more importantly, the authority of the Church to *have* a catechism) then you’re going to be a poor Catholic. But it’s unlikely that every Catholic agrees with every sentence of the catechism, and even less likely that most Catholics even know what most of it says. But they agree that they’re not going to dispute it or challenge the authority of the Church to teach it. So…Anglo Catholics are “really” RCs not if every item of their personal belief happens to match up with the catechism, but if they agree to accept the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church. If not, not. (Same for SSPX.)

    2. Then there are people who think that “real” Roman Catholicism means certain prayers and practices. These folks are just wrong. The RCC is not equivalent to its liturgy, language, vestments, architecture, music, or devotional practices — all of which could be changed on a weekly basis if it was felt necessary.

    3. Last of all, there are the folks who think that being a Roman Catholic means belonging to a Church which 1) has a catholic (as opposed to national, regional, diocesan or congregational) form of governance 2) has persisted as an organization for the last 2,000 years (or so), 3) is in communion with the greater part of all Christendom and 4) is led by (who they believe to be) the successor of St. Peter. Now, if you are an Anglo Catholic, you are, by definition, NOT this sort of Catholic, so if you want to be this sort of Catholic, you would be well advised to hie you hither to the Ordinariate. But don’t come if you want to be a Roman Catholic as defined by your own attachment to historical practices or if you don’t understand your obligation under definition #1 to accept the final and authoritative rulings of the Magisterium.

  14. Sarah says:

    RE: “So…Anglo Catholics are “really” RCs not if every item of their personal belief happens to match up with the catechism, but if they agree to accept the teaching authority of the Roman Catholic Church.”

    And to do that, they have to accept Rome’s assertions about itself. In this way, I agree with what you’ve stated above — if AngloCatholics accept Rome’s assertions about itself, then they should go to the Ordinariate, for they are not AngloCatholics at all.

    I just suspect that some AngloCatholics *think* that they accept those assertions — [or very depressingly have never even paused to contemplate them and/or do not know of them, which is hard to believe but I’ve learned to be “no longer amazed”] — and then when they experience the practical *consequences* of their acceptance of those assertions, decide they didn’t believe those assertions as they thought they did.

    RE: “Now, if you are an Anglo Catholic, you are, by definition, NOT this sort of Catholic, so if you want to be this sort of Catholic, you would be well advised to hie you hither to the Ordinariate.”

    I’d actually put this under category 1. If you’re an AngloCatholic that believes the things in category 3, then you’re *not* AngloCatholic, you’re RC, and should trundle right over to the Ordinariate, so that you can keep a few of the old comfortable “forms and tropes” of your former life.

  15. Catholic Mom says:

    I suspect that Anglo-Catholics DO know what Rome teaches about herself (which would make the concept of “a Catholic outside the Catholic Church” an oxymoron) but *some* (please note qualifier) have managed to convince themselves (I have never understood how, but I also don’t understand how people can hold the teachings of Jesus Christ and of John Calvin in their heads together for more than five minutes without their heads exploding) that they are *actually” somehow (spiritually speaking) a part of the Roman Catholic Church, without being, you know, actually a member. Or rather, that they and the Roman Catholic Church (and possibly the Eastern Orthodox and some other Churches as well) are all part of an even *bigger* “Catholic Church” so it really doesn’t matter which branch you happen to find yourself in at the moment. This has the special advantage of being able to do/believe whatever you feel like and still call yourself a “Catholic.”

    So the Pope is the “Holy Father” and the successor of St. Peter (in the sense that the Archbishop of Canturbury is the successor of St. Augustine) but you don’t actually have to do anything he says. And there is a Catholic “deposit of faith’ but you get to decide what it is. Kind of like you get to call yourself an American citizen but you don’t pay taxes. (If there is an Ordinariate for that, though, I would definitely be interested.)

  16. MichaelA says:

    [blockquote] “My take on this is as follows. (Note, I may be the only person on earth with this take—just my own thoughts).” [/blockquote]
    In my experience of Roman Catholics (including a dozen or so in the ‘uncles aunts and cousins’ category plus various friends and colleagues) you aren’t alone, but there are also plenty of RC’s who would give different classifications. I have known quite a few cradle catholics over the years who seem to hold the same views that you set out in #15. Once I accepted that the RCC is a very broad church indeed, it all became much easier to understand.

    But as an Anglican, who am I to point the finger? :o)

  17. Catholic Mom says:

    When you have over 1 billion people you often find that there are more than 2 or even 3 different viewpoints. 🙂 I think what is important about being a Catholic is not that everybody has to think alike but that everyone agrees that we are not free to hijack the Church for our own purposes.

  18. driver8 says:

    Liturgically non-modernist Anglo Catholicism has, perhaps due to its marginal position within and beyond the Canterbury Communion, been a bit of a free for all. There have been those who have used some form of the Lain Rite (Sarum or Tridentine). I believe Archbishop David Hope was curate at such a church in Liverpool. Other have used an English liturgy formed by translating Sarum or Tridentine masses and combining the result with 1662 (the various English or American Missals). Others, perhaps especially in England, have been using Novus Ordo and still others BCP 1979 in the US or Common Worship in England.

    It was always going to be tricky to find a single rite that would not ruffle some feathers.

  19. driver8 says:

    The Anglo Catholic chap I was deaconed with came from a parish that used the Novus Ordo. I remember him laughing that the only time they used the ASB was for the Bishop’s annual visit. Of course the Bishop knew what they were doing and turned a blind eye (they ministered amidst a huge, and very demanding area of deprivation).

  20. Sarah says:

    RE: “I suspect that Anglo-Catholics DO know what Rome teaches about herself . . . so it really doesn’t matter which branch you happen to find yourself in at the moment.”

    Well — I just don’t see how the two things are possible.

    I honestly think the folks in the latter category of “it doesn’t really matter” just don’t know — cannot comprehend or wrap their arms around — the claims that Rome makes. And then they’re shocked/shocked/shocked to learn otherwise.

    I don’t think we can underestimate the ignorance of people who believe themselves to be informed [and I include me in that category — it’s a human condition and not one that applies to just a segment of AngloCatholics].

  21. Catholic Mom says:

    Well, I do not underestimate the ignorance of peole who believe themselves to be informed. I have learned long ago that when someone in conversation says something I absolutely, positively, and definitely know is wrong, I should not correct them until I check wikipedia because I may be stunned to find out they are actually right. It has happened. Repeatedly.

    That said, I find it hard to believe that anyone who has the slightest interest in Roman Catholicism, even just to reading “Catholicism for Dummies” is unaware that the words “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic” are considered to be synonymous with “those Churches in communion with the See of Peter” (with the possible unstated exception that the EO may count as well — however, they don’t need to be thought about very much due to the fact that there is very little visible geographic overlap in the West).

    My own opinion is that it is more a matter of being able to hold two mutually contradictory ideas in the mind at the same time, which is practically an art form with our species.

  22. MichaelA says:

    Catholic Mom at #17, good answer! :o)

  23. Sarah says:

    RE: “My own opinion is that it is more a matter of being able to hold two mutually contradictory ideas in the mind at the same time, which is practically an art form with our species.”

    Well, you could be right. The re-re-reconversions to TEC that I’ve seen from purportedly devoted AngloCatholics have made me lose a lot of respect for their intellect and discernment.

    Oh well. Not really a big deal anyway.

  24. Charles52 says:

    RE: #12 –

    I became RC just a few years after the Pastoral Provision created the Anglican Use and in all these years, I have seen a change in liturgical discussions among Catholics, tending towards a more serious concern for reverence and dignity. I’ve seen the Extraordinary Form allowed, and not promoted. Most recently, that has meant we have a new, and overall better translation of the Mass. There are also rumblings about re-implementing the proper antiphons and psalms where we now sing hymns. My parish and diocese (especially hospitable to the Anglican Use and now the Ordinariate) have enjoyed notable improvement in our worship.

    Cause and effect? I can’t prove it. Correlation doesn’t prove causation, certainly, but there has been a correlation between the movement of Anglicans into the Roman Catholic Church and a movement beyond the silly season of the 70s. The numbers aren’t large (and never will be), but the amount of yeast that leavens the loaf isn’t is also small.

  25. Charles52 says:

    not promoted

    should be: now promoted. JPII allowed the Traditional Latin Mass and B16 has promoted it in Summorum Pontificum.

  26. MichaelA says:

    Charles52, another factor in support of your possible correlation: proportionately. the number of clergy going to Rome under the Anglican Use has been significantly greater than the number of parishes/parishioners. I forget the numbers, but I think it is about 80 priests that went to Rome under the Pastoral Provision, mostly very experienced, and mostly put immediately to good use. So their influence is likely to have been greater than the mere number of parishioners would suggest.