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

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Anglicanorum Coetibus: The Duty of the Clergy of The Traditional Anglican Church (TTAC)

January 19, 2010
by Father Michael Gray

1. This unofficial note considers the situation in the United Kingdom. Circumstances are very different elsewhere.

2. It is the policy of TTAC to be positive about the papal initiative. The clergy are accordingly under an obligation to commend it. At the very least, they should inform their congregations about it and commend study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This will remain true until there is a new decision by the Assembly. As was made clear at the last Assembly, we are not a body in which every priest and congregation does what is right in their own eyes and ignores lawful authority. One of the fruits of the Affirmation of St. Louis and the TAC constitution was to abandon the chaos of the Church of England for a more Catholic order.

3. That said, any cleric with a cure of souls has a duty to his people. If it is certain that they will not as a body accept the initiative, then the cleric will have to minister to them, at least until some other provision can be made.

4. More often, unfortunately, the people will be divided. Much depends on the size of the majority and minority, but in some cases this may mean no change, if it is possible to preserve the congregation only in that way. Again, the cleric will have to minister to them.

5. In my opinion, the choice has to be seen in the widest possible context. It is tempting to make judgements as if the alternative is to go on as we are. This is probably not the case. If some congregations accept the initiative (and TTAC is powerless to stop them), then TTAC is weakened. Even if the whole of TTAC rejects it, does TTAC have a future? Our fifteen years of experience are not grounds for optimism. We have not solved our problems. Even without the initiative, we might be questioning what future God has for us...

Read the rest of Fr. Gray's exploration of options now before clergy of the Traditional Anglican Communion at The Anglo-Catholic blog.

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