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, June 25, 2010

Lifeboats and cargoes

Fr. Finnegan at his blog Valle Adurni notes a worrisome trend in education of CofE clergy that could have effects on any future ordinariate in England.
Having worried about those Anglicans with 80% Catholicism in their cocktail, let me now look at those a little lower down the scale. I mean those who would broadly identify with 'Affirming Catholicism' which retains what one might call Catholic Ornaments, being, however, liberal in theology (taking it for granted, for instance, that women can and should be priests).

Now, I suppose these people are entitled to their opinions, and if the doctrine of the Church of England is to be decided by a majority vote, then, I suppose, they have a right to run things as they choose.

But I have a fear; I think that they are shooting themselves in their feet. I have, for instance, noticed with alarm that provision for the education of the Anglican Clergy has again taken a nosedive. Even now it is not unusual to find an Anglican priest whose studies have consisted in two years' correspondence course. This is much less than Catholic dioceses would give a permanent deacon. Such people are usually ordained as non-stipendiary ministers, but (once ordained) in practice, (being both ordained and available) they are frequently appointed to curacies and even incumbencies. I understand that this practice is now being extended, no doubt to save money, to the regular clergy.

In the past, I have lampooned this inadequate training as majoring in not philosophy and theology, moral theology, scripture &c &c, but openness, wholeness, counselling and aromatherapy (or something of the sort). An Anglican priest friend commented that, although I was joking, I wasn't in fact far from the truth...

Do read the rest of his thoughts in "Lifeboats and cargoes", as well as those of Fr. Hunwicke, who notes this post and extends the discussion on his own blog Liturgical Notes.

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