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...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.

- Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Homily on the Occasion of his Formal Institution as Ordinary

Friday, November 27, 2009

Fr. Hunwicke examines Archbishop William's Rome lecture

Fr. Hunwicke has been doing a series of posts on the speech given by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams last week in Rome. His posts are always worth reading, but I point you to this particular post:
More Rowan
Rowan's Rome lecture articulates an ecclesiology which is profoundly orthodox. Hoi polloi talk about "churches" when they mean denominations or 'national' churches: the "Methodist Church"; the "Church of Scotland". But Rowan knows that "the retheologising of ecclesiology, especially in dialogue with the Christian East, has meant that we are now better able to see the local community gathered round the bishop or his representative for eucharistic worship not as a portion of some greater whole but as itself the whole, the qualitative presence of the Catholic reality of filial holiness and Trinitarian mutuality here and now". This is profoundly in line with the ecclesiology set out by Joseph Ratzinger in two CDF documents Communionis notio and Dominus Iesus. Church means bishop, presbyterate, diaconate, laos. In this particular church, the Katholike is fully present. In practical terms, Rowan has spelt this out in his assurances that individual American dioceses which are "Windsor-compliant" would not be severed from full communion with the See of Canterbury because of their entanglement with the rest of PECUSA.

Unlike his dim colleagues on the English bench of bishops, Rowan knows that this is why "A code of practice will not do"; pastoral arrangements designed with the discriminatory intent of ensuring that Mrs Bloggs never actually has to see a woman priest in her own church are worse than useless. Whether he has the clout to cajole his colleagues into consenting, even at this late stage, to a Third Province for us seems more than doubtful.

It is on the basis of this ecclesiology that Rowan makes a deft criticism of the 'Ordinariates' which has eluded the journalists but is uncomfortably closer to home than we might care to admit. "It remains to be seen whether the flexibility suggested in the Constitution might ever lead to something less like a 'chaplaincy' and more like a church gathered around a bishop"...

To read the rest, and the comments, many of which are also insightful, visit the blog Liturgical Notes.

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