By Rick DelVecchio
Archbishop [of San Francisco] Salvatore J. Cordileone is in London for meetings Jan. 16-18 on developing an historic new liturgy for members of the Anglican Church who are choosing to come into communion with the Roman Catholic Church under an initiative by Pope Benedict XVI.
The archbishop is a member of the Subcommission on the Liturgy for the Anglican Ordinariates, a Vatican advisory group that is in the second year of a three-year effort to create proposals for final action by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship. Archbishop Cordileone contributes canon law expertise to the group, which includes other prelates as well as expert advisers.
The rites for Mass, marriage, funerals and seasonal prayers will be implemented by newly formed Catholic ordinariates – similar to dioceses, but with national jurisdiction – for Anglicans joining the Roman church. The Catholic Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, based in Houston, was formed Jan. 1, 2012, and now has 1,500 laypeople across the U.S. and Canada, 35 communities and 24 priests. Ordinariates also have been established in England and Australia.
The liturgies under development are designed to respect Anglican traditions and spirituality while conforming to Catholic norms. Worshippers in the new ordinariates will have a choice of following the Revised Roman Missal or an amended Anglican Order of Holy Mass.
“There’s diversity among Anglican liturgies,” Archbishop Cordileone told Catholic San Francisco. “We’re trying to have a more unified form. They can always use the current form of the Roman Missal, but also they’ll have a more traditional form that’s Anglican.”
The Anglican order of Mass has similarities both to the pre-Vatican II Catholic Mass and to the Liturgy of the Word in the current form. But there are important differences, including a prayer said by the Anglican celebrant at the foot of the altar during the introductory rites and a section called “The Comfortable Words,” where the deacon or priest faces the people and recites one or more sentences from Scripture. In addition, the Anglican penitential rite takes place before the offertory.
In the Anglican Church there is diversity not only in liturgy but also in opinion about doctrine and theology, notably concerning the divinity of Christ, sexual morality and ordination. Women have been ordained in the Anglican communion since the 1970s.
The Anglican communion allows a wide variety of opinion, and diversity over doctrinal matters has grown in the past 50 years, Archbishop Cordileone said. Anglicans who want to join the Latin church are “looking for clarity with regard to teaching,” he said.
“There weren’t Christians who, before the 1960s, didn’t believe Christ was divine, didn’t believe he rose bodily from the grave,” he said. “It really wasn’t that much of an issue. Now that it has become, I think these more traditionally minded Anglicans lament that many of their fellow believers don’t hold to these traditional Christian beliefs and they see that the Catholic Church is. So they want to be in union with the Catholic Church because of those beliefs but they want to retain their Anglican worship and spirituality.”
From January 18, 2013 issue of Catholic San Francisco.
Hat tip to Rev. Kendall Harmon blogging at Titus One Nine