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, June 19, 2012

On an Ordinariate Catechism...

While it is understood that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the standard for the Ordinariates, the Catechism itself is designed as a source for producing particular catechisms. With that in mind I point you to two considerations of this.

From Vincent Uher's Tonus Peregrinus, writing about a text of Percy Dearmer:
I hope in due course the Ordinariates together with the Anglican Use parishes will produce a new particular Catechism with Services of Instruction like those with which we were once familiar. Of course, they would need to be adapted properly to our Catholic life. It would be an excellent way to bring quotes from the Anglican worthies to bear upon questions of the faith by way of footnote or direct quotation in the text...
see "Percy Dearmer Speaks".

In the September 2011 Holy Cross embertide issue of Anglican Embers, we published an article about devising an Ordinariate-specific Catechism. You can read author Hugo Mendez's thoughts at "An Ordinariate Catechism: Prospects and Possibilities" on the Anglican Embers page of the Anglican Use Society's web site.


  1. An interesting suggestion and obviously part of the continuing need to answer the difficulkt question "What is Anglican Patrimony?" However I am convinced that "patrimony" is a secondary issue after "What is it to be Catholic"?
    The Catechism of the Catholic Church must be a universal document.
    When I became a member of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham I assented to the CCC in its fullness and without reservation or addition. My Anglican heritage is important but secondary to my identity as a Catholic - and a Catholic Priest.

  2. The CCC is a universal document. However, I am also convinced that as a catechism in the traditional sense it is far too unwieldy. My daughters were prepared for confirmation by our pastor who used the CCC as the text. The weekly meetings with him were great, but the text is really too much. There's a reason that the Compendium of the CCC was published, which is more like a traditional catechism.

    Preparing an Ordinariate Catechism (based on the CCC) would not prevent anyone from also referencing the CCC, but would be available as a teaching tool to use across Ordinariate parishes and missions. The CCC itself expects the creation of particular catechisms, as noted in its prologue:

    24 By design, this Catechism does not set out to provide the adaptation of doctrinal presentations and catechetical methods required by the differences of culture, age, spiritual maturity, and social and ecclesial condition among all those to whom it is addressed. Such indispensable adaptations are the responsibility of particular catechisms and, even more, of those who instruct the faithful:

    Whoever teaches must become "all things to all men" (⇒ I Cor 9:22), to win everyone to Christ. . . Above all, teachers must not imagine that a single kind of soul has been entrusted to them, and that consequently it is lawful to teach and form equally all the faithful in true piety with one and the same method! Let them realize that some are in Christ as newborn babes, others as adolescents, and still others as adults in full command of their powers.... Those who are called to the ministry of preaching must suit their words to the maturity and understanding of their hearers, as they hand on the teaching of the mysteries of faith and the rules of moral conduct. (18)

    Above all - Charity

    25 To conclude this Prologue, it is fitting to recall this pastoral principle stated by the Roman Catechism:

    The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love. (19)

    18 Roman Catechism, Preface II; cf. ⇒ I Cor 9:22; ⇒ I Pt 2:2

    19 Roman Catechism, Preface 10; cf. ⇒ I Cor 13 8.

  3. I don't think the the two are mutually exclusive.
    When #24 says "adaptation of doctrinal presentations and catechetical methods required by the differences of culture, age, spiritual maturity, and social and ecclesial condition" the key word is 'adaptation'.
    I would not want to think that there was anything intrinsically different about the Catholic Faith as believed and accepted in the Ordinariates from that in the Universal Church. So I would not want to refer to an 'Ordinariate Catechism'- there can never be any such distinct animal!