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 11, 2011


This excerpt is from the middle of a long talk by Bishop Paul C. Hewett, SSC, of the Diocese of the Holy Cross, given at a festival of faith at St. Paul's Anglican Church in my hometown of Brockton, Massachusetts last week.

...What we have to offer the rest of the Body, in realigned, orthodox Anglicanism, has now been tested and refined by a wilderness generation that has wrestled long and hard with issues of sexual identity and family life in the light of Scripture and Tradition. Rome very much wants what we have to bring as a patrimony for all time, not lost by absorption, but protected and prolonged as a gift for the rest of the Body. They want a strong dose of our Benedictine family life. Our small parishes are family units. Their parishes are so large that they have to use the Ignatian model of the Church as the militia Christi, the army of God. A rectory is a barracks. They want a heavy dose of what we have. Our Book of Common Prayer is a Benedictine regula for the ordering of all life. There are many cues they want to take from us, such as restoring the Daily Office to their laity.

The Ordinariate, so much discussed of late, was set up by Rome as a specific response to a certain community of Anglicans who requested a place in Rome. Rome knows that 99 per cent of traditional, orthodox Anglicans, who number tens of millions, are not going to accept the Ordinariate. What Rome is asking of the bulk of us is first, to get our act together in the great re-alignment. This convergence has been accelerating since the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) in Jerusalem in 2008. First, we get our act together. Secondly, we clean up our act. Anglican dioceses that ordain women have to stop and reform and get it right on holy orders. The Federation of Anglican Churches in the Americas, comprised of six continuing bodies, is working to magnify the biblical office of deaconess. As the priestess door closes, the deaconess door opens. We can magnify women’s ministries based on Scripture and Tradition: deaconesses, catechists, nuns, Church Army officers, lay canonesses, and above all, wives and mothers. And we have to get it right on holy matrimony.

Rome has also asked us, through people like Aidan Nichols in England, to tell them what gift we bring to the rest of the Body. What is our patrimony? What things do we want to keep in a Church whose unity is visibly restored? What made us so great? How is it we put together the greatest empire the world has ever known, and how did the Anglo-American alliance win the biggest war ever fought? “We can read history books, but we’d like you to tell us in your own words.” The Anglican Association, a Forward in Faith think-tank in England, is working on this project. So we get our act together, clean up our act, say what our patrimony is, and re-build our friendship with the Greeks. Then, when the time comes, we go to Rome, with the Russians and Greeks. We stand tall, square our shoulders, sit at the table as equals, and say that we want the consensus of the first millennium. We want what the Russians and Greeks have already been promised: full recognition and autocephaly, self-governance...

Read the full address at The English Catholic.

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