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

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Who can belong to the Ordinariates?

Especially for the already existing Anglican Use parishes, there has been some concern about whether they will also have the opportunity to become part of the Ordinariate(s) that are established in the U.S.
Fr. Phillips responds while on the tail-end of his Rome pilgrimage.
Response to questions...
Of all the aspects of the Apostolic Constitution, the section which seems to be the cause of most concern and questions is found in the Complementary Norms, Article 5 §1. The lay faithful originally of the Anglican tradition who wish to belong to the Ordinariate, after having made their Profession of Faith and received the Sacraments of Initiation, with due regard for Canon 845, are to be entered in the apposite register of the Ordinariate. Those baptized previously as Catholics outside the Ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the Ordinariate.

First of all, this is referring to future situations because at this point there is no Ordinariate. Therefore, every Catholic baptism, whether in an Anglican Use parish or in a territorial Latin Rite parish, is administered 'outside the Ordinariate.' Does this mean that the hundreds of people I've baptized at Our Lady of the Atonement over these past twenty-six years will be ineligible for membership in the Ordinariate? Obviously that would not be the intention expressed in the Constitution.

What about Catholics who have been baptized as regular Latin Rite Catholics whose children have received one or more of the Sacraments of Initiation at an Anglican Use parish? Obviously, the child is eligible for membership in the Ordinariate, and it's apparent that the parents would have that same eligibility.

Because there have been Anglican Use parishes in existence for many years, there are many people who have made attachments to these parishes. They've been married in these parishes; their children have been baptized in these parishes; their loved ones have been buried from these parishes. Do we think for a moment that the Holy Father, who has been overwhelmingly generous in this Constitution, would intend that these Faithful should not maintain their ties - indeed, their membership - in these parishes? Of course not.

What about an older couple, with no other ties to a parish other than the fact that they've attended for years and have made the parish their own? Would the Church tell them, 'Sorry, this isn't your parish any more.' I doubt it.

You can read the rest at his blog Atonement Online.

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