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

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

On the validity of the sacraments and charges of "unecumenical" behavior

One of the things that has irked people who have written negatively about the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus which Pope Benedict XVI recently published is that it insists that Anglican bishops and priests be ordained. This does not have anything to do with the value of their previous ministry, of course; if their ministry was not considered to have value, then these Anglican clergy would not be given any special consideration as ordinands in the Catholic Church; there would be no dispensations from the canon on clerical celibacy. But the leaders of the Church must ensure for the peace of all the faithful that there is no doubt about the validity of the sacraments offered by these ministers within the Church.

But of course, despite this, there will still be the complaint of a devaluing of Anglican or Episcopal ministry.

All I can say to respond to this is that some Anglicans have hardly been "ecumenical" in their statements about Catholics. Lord Carey, then Archbishop of Canterbury, infamously said in 1991, "The idea that only a male can represent Christ at the altar is a most serious heresy," thereby condemning both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches as heretical.

Now, we hear from Episcopal bishop of Washington John Chane, speaking about homosexual "marriage" that, "people who deny others the blessings they claim for themselves should not assume they speak for the Almighty." And so Bishop Chane dismisses from any true ministry not only the Catholic and Orthodox priesthood, but even Evangelical ministers who uphold traditional Christian teaching on marriage, and traditional marriage as it has exisited for all human history.

While I realize that validity of orders does not depend on a clergyman's ability to think clearly, it also needs to be kept in mind that this "defrocking" that some people claim the Catholic Church is practicing toward Anglicans clergy who enter the communion of the Church is far less insidious, far less public, than the one high ranking Anglican clergy have been visiting upon Catholic clergy for decades.


quote from Archbishop Carey from The New York Times
quote from Bishop Chane from Virtue Online

No comments:

Post a Comment