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, June 20, 2012

Archbishop Ireland

Mr. Uher reflects on a sad chapter in the history of the Church in the U.S.A. by way of warning that it not be repeated.

Those among the Catholic bishops who are currently inclined to thwart or stop the Personal Ordinariates arising from Anglicanorum coetibus would do well to consider the legacy of Archbishop Ireland of Minnesota, or like him they may wind up reviled and on the wrong side of history. Archbishop Ireland has his defenders citing several things, but violating Church Law and causing a schism eclipses everything else.  He was not alone among the Irish Catholic clergy to greet the Greek Catholics with contempt bordering upon hate, but he is remembered as the very worst.  Who wants to be seen in his company?

Archbishop Ireland is personally responsible for the biggest schism in Catholicism in the USA.  His poor decisions and belligerence with regard to the Greek Catholics, his violation of the Law of the Church that went unchallenged, all of these issues sent large numbers of Eastern Greek Catholics into the Orthodox Church where they contributed significantly to the birth of the Orthodox Church of America.  In fact, with tongue planted firmly in cheek Archbishop Ireland is called "the Father of the Orthodox Church of America".

The US bishops had sought and received from Rome a prohibition on married priests serving among or being ordained to serve  the Eastern Catholics in the USA.  They were wrong, and for their error the bishops have had to apologise in our time.   During the "Russian Greek Catholic Schism" the US Latin-rite Catholic bishops stood with Archbishop Ireland in his attack on the legitimate Canonical rights of the Greek Catholics.  They were wrong to do so.  They learned nothing from the experience, and later another 100,000 Greek Catholics would leave for the Orthodox Church under the Patriarch of Constantinople.  Similar situations obtained in Canada...

Has the Church not learned from the Portuguese disaster in India? from the Greek Catholic exodus in North America?  Will we really find Anglicanorum coetibus thwarted and blunted at every turn leading those who had wished to be loyal sons and daughters of the Church to make a telephone call to the Polish National Catholics or the Antiochian Orthodox for a chat?  Please, Lord God, let everyone wake up to receive the gift they are being given through Anglicanorum coetibus.  May they listen to the aspirations of the new clergy and laity and help them realise their goals so they can enter the mission field that is their own nation fully furnished with what they need to be that part of the Church that cherishes and makes use of the Anglican Patrimony.

Read the full post at Tonus Peregrinus.

Are there are bishops in the U.S., U.K. or Autstralia attempting to thwart the will of the Holy Father as expressed in Anglicanorum coetibus? I have seen no proof of this, but it is certainlly a possibility, given the way that Pope John Paul II's Ecclesia Dei was flat out rejected by many in the episcopate, and the way Pope Benedict XVI's Summorum Pontificum has been resisted by too many. A few years ago I wrote an article on the history of the Latin-rite bishops' relationships with the Eastern Catholics in the U.S. and also with the Polish Catholics. That article, Whither the Anglican Use? is available on the AUS site on the Anglican Embers page. It reviews the same history Mr. Uher refers to in his piece. My conclusion was that a canonical solution was needed to protect the Anglican Use parishes, and while I was not imaginative enough to come up with the idea of a Personal Ordinariate, the world was fortunate that the Lord saw fit to put someone with more imagination in charge! I have rejoiced to see Anglicanorum coetibus first announced and then implemented, because I felt it would give the legal protection needed. But it is also true, as Mr. Uher implies, that it is not enough to have the law on your side; you must use the law and the avenues it provides to defend and vindicate the rights that law establishes.

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