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, October 23, 2009

Church Times articles on announcement of "Personal Ordinariates"

The Church Times, a weekly newspaper for the Church of England, has a pair of articles about the recent announcement of "Personal Ordinariates" for Anglicans seeking full communion with the Roman Church.

Be Anglicans with us, Rome tells traditionalists, notes that:
The provision was the first time that a juridical arrangement had been made to accommodate groups of Anglicans who wanted to become Catholics, Archbishop Nichols said. The authority of the proposed Personal Ordinariate, which would probably be named after a saint and could appear “overnight”, would be “cumulative”, built on top of his own authority as the Ordinary.
Ex-Anglican clergy who chose to be under the authority of the new Personel Ordinariate, if and when it was set up, would come under his authority when they were working in “a major action of the diocese”.
The details would be worked out in close collaboration with the Bishops’ Conference. Any Anglican liturgical forms or books would have first to be approved by the Vatican.
The Archbishop said that the new structure was for groups, not individuals. Individuals were free to “knock on a door” and become Catholics in the traditional way.

Traditionalists "warmly welcome" Vatican move discusses reactions within Anglican circles, both in the UK and abroad, to the announcement this week. The story begins,
THE former Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali, who will address the National Assembly of Forward in Faith in London tomorrow afternoon, was among those to respond to the Vatican announcement.
Dr Nazir-Ali, who was a Roman Catholic in his youth, welcomed its “generosity of spirit”. But he questioned the preservation of Anglicanism under the new arrangement.
“If Anglican patrimony is to flourish, in the context of unity, what arrangements will be made for the study of its theological tradition, method, spirituality, and approach to moral issues?”
In the mean time, he said, “there is a need to build confidence in the evangelical basis of the Anglican tradition and to make sure that it survives and flourishes in the face of the many challenges it faces.” He said he was waiting for further clarification from the Vatican.
In May, Dr Nazir-Ali was asked whether he would become a Roman Catholic. He said that the Pope had “a right” to be a focus of unity for Anglicans. “To some extent it depends on how the Bishop of Rome and other Vatican officers behave,” he said (News, 15 May).

Read both stories in full for more on the reactions within the Anglican homeland to this initiative of Pope Benedict XVI.

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