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, May 5, 2010

Can An Ordinary Roman Catholic Join An Anglican Ordinariate Parish?

An interesting discussion of a much disputed point in the Anglicanorum Coetibus.
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: A reader of 'The Catholic Knight' blog recently raised this question. While it is generally understood that all Catholics may receive the sacraments and meet their Sunday obligation within an Anglican ordinariate parish, the question is can a cradle Catholic from the general Roman Rite actually become a full fledged member of an Anglican ordinariate parish? The short answer is "yes," but let me explain how and why.

The confusion comes about because of some particular wording in Anglicanorum Coetibus, the apostolic constitution created by Pope Benedict XVI for the purpose of forming the Anglican ordinariates. The document specifically states that Catholics may not "ordinarily" become members of Anglican ordinariate parishes unless they either receive the sacraments of initiation through an Anglican ordinariate parish, or else come from one of the Anglican communities reconciling with the Catholic Church. On the surface, this sounds very restrictive, and there are plenty out there (both Catholics and Anglicans) who would like to interpret this in the most legalistic way possible. I'm not sure why some Anglicans interpret it this way, but I'm pretty sure I know why some Catholics, especially in England, might go for this kind of strict legalism. They're seeking to prevent an exodus of tradition loving Catholics to the ordinariates. Regardless of their reasons, their hermeneutic is flawed. The word "ordinarily" opens up a whole assortment of possibilities, and as Father Christopher Phillips pointed out in his blog entry on this topic, there is no such thing as a "wasted word" in an apostolic constitution...

Read the rest at The Catholick Knight.

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