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

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Anglicans received into full communion

In Canada, this Divine Mercy Sunday sees two former Anglican bishops, Peter Wilkinson and Carl Reid received, with members of their congregations, into full communion with the Catholic Church, in accordance with Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 Apostolic ConstitutionAnglicanorum coetibus, which provides a structure for welcoming Anglicans into the Catholic Church. The ceremonies of reception will be held at special Masses, one in Ottawa, the nation’s capital; the other in Victoria on Canada’s west coast.

“We’ve tried to respond to a request from a certain group of Anglicans, who wish for full communion now,” said Catholic Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa. “And we also realize that we have to continue to work for the full unity of the Church in whatever way Christ would like that to be, however He wants to bring it about with the remaining Anglicans.”

Archbishop Prendergast spoke about Sunday’s liturgy: “I’ve learned how to celebrate Mass in the Anglican tradition that’s been approved for this group of Anglicans to come over, and I’ll be celebrating their liturgy on Sunday afternoon. And the priest who’s has been working with them has also learned their liturgy as well, so I think that will encourage them and comfort them.”

He also put the event into a larger, ecumenical context: “I think anything that will strengthen unity among Christians is going to be a positive sign for others. One of the great scandals, of course, in our world is that there are so many Christians who believe in Jesus Christ and all that He has brought to us and yet that we go about it in such different ways. Our disunity is a countersign to the evangelisation of our world, and I think anything that will bring us closer together that recognises unity in diversity is going to be rich blessing for us and a help to evangelisation.”

Listen to the full interview of Archbishop Terrence Prendergast with Christopher Wells: RealAudioMP3

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