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

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Former TEC Anglo-Catholic Bishop Explains Why Traditionalists are not Accepting Ordinariate

By David W. Virtue
February 11, 2011

The Pope's offer of a Personal Ordinariate for Anglo-Catholics around the world is now open for business. In January, an Ordinariate was set up in England and Wales. VOL spoke with Bishop Keith Ackerman, VIIIth, Bishop of Quincy (Episcopal Church) (ret), and President of Forward in Faith-North America. He is a member of the College of Bishops in the Province of the Southern Cone and ACNA and Episcopal Vicar of the Diocese of Quincy.

VOL spoke with him about this situation and asked him what the implications are for Anglo-Catholic bishops like himself and what he would do if an Ordinariate were set up in the US and Canada.

VOL: The recent announcement by Pope Benedict XVI of a Personal Ordinariate in the form of an Apostolic Constitution (Anglicanorum Coetibus) for Anglo-Catholics around the world raises serious issues for Anglo-Catholics in North America. Did this take you by surprise?

ACKERMAN: No, not at all. Just a clarification, David, the Personal Ordinariate is not in the form of the Apostolic Constitution, but rather is provided for as a general normative structure for those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church in a corporate manner. This is another pastoral response of the Roman Church to the request of certain Anglicans that has been evolving for many years due to the requests from bishops, priests, deacons and the laity of the Anglican Communion. Pope John Paul II instituted what is called the "Pastoral provision", and placed it under the jurisdiction of the Sacred Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith. Since 1980 the "Pastoral Provision" has provided a means for Anglican Clergy, married or celibate, seeking to come into the full communion of the Roman Catholic Church, to be considered for Ordination in the Roman Catholic Church, retaining elements of the Anglican Liturgical tradition. As a person who has been aware of these conversations ecumenically, this evolution is not surprising.

Read the rest of Bishop Ackerman's thoughtful and thorough responses in his interview posted on Virtue Online.

Hat tip to Mary Ann Mueller.

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