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

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Anglican Patrimony: Good Preaching

It seems that today is Anglican day. I was touched this morning to receive an email from Fr. Michael Monshau, O.P., professor of liturgy, homiletics, and spirituality at the Angelicum. Fr. Michael was our retreat master this summer and is one of the very few Catholic priests in the world to hold a Ph.D. in homiletics, which he received from Vanderbilt.

Father passed along this article he wrote for L'Osservatore Romano, which particularly looks at Anglicanism's strong tradition of preaching. Fr. Michael, not surprisingly, is a very gifted preacher himself, which can be seen in the degree of demand for his services as a retreat master. We were most fortunate to have him here with us and I'm glad he passed this piece along, which resonates with my own experience. I may have to cut back on my Dominican jokes.

* * *

Even before the Holy Father had provided a title for the recently-published Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, providing for personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the See of Peter, many anticipated the numerous ways in which the incorporation of these new members would be beneficial to the Church. Cardinal Levada remarked “It is the hope of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that the Anglican clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith. Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church.”
One might well wonder what concrete form a sharing of those gifts with the wider Church could assume. Whereas it would be proleptic to attempt to catalogue the many and diverse blessings the arrival of these anticipated new members will bring to the Church, one thing is certain. Even the most “high church” among them will have been sufficiently influenced by the Protestant sensibilities of Anglicanism to bring with them a great reverence and a high standard for liturgical preaching.

Read the rest at Brother Stephen's blog Sub Tuum.

No comments:

Post a Comment