Coming Events Cast Their Shadows Before

View of nave of Iona Abbey from the sanctuary.
View of nave of Iona Abbey from the sanctuary.

To the most superficial observer it is too apparent that Ritualists cannot remain in their present abnormal position. They cannot possibly continue to minister in the Anglican Establishment, which naturally has no sympathy at all with their so-called Romanistic proclivities. They must of necessity, if consistent, either walk in the broad way of Anglicanism, or in the narrow way of Catholicity. They must, if consistent, hold by the Establishment of the sixteenth century, or enter into the communion of that one — that only true Church of Christendom which is coeval with the existence of Christianity — which is Catholic and Roman — which walks under Apostolic guidance — which attaches a meaning to every rite, and which breathes the breath of life into the least as well as the greatest act of religion. Apart from this Catholic Apostolic Roman Church, these mystic rites are dead — these religious ceremonials are devoid of vitality — these gorgeous vestments are a snare — these confessionals are a sham — these celebrations are a delusion of the wicked one, and the whole system of sacramental acting in the present Ritualistic Churches is an egregious hallucination which may please but not satisfy; which may amuse but not console — which is superficial and not substantial — which is a painted cobweb devoid of all reality — which perhaps may not unhappily be assimilated to those deceptive apples which grow with such luxuriance on the banks of the Dead Sea, that are beautiful without, but utterly empty within! This indeed is a most disastrous state of things for immortal souls. Prayers earnest and persevering have been long offered to bring about a change — that change, blessed be God, has come. The dove with the green branch of hope has returned to the ark, signifying that the deluge of heresy, which for 300 years had inundated the whole island, is rapidly subsiding. The times, therefore, are full of augury — “Coming events cast their shadows before.” An altar for Iona, and High Mass in Westminster Abbey! J. Stewart M’Corry, D.D., The Monks of Iona; in Reply to “Iona, by the Duke of Argyll”; London (1871).

When Their Time Comes

I often think about the still-Anglican members of that Working Party, and my other friends in the priesthood and episcopate of the provinces of Canterbury and York, with great affection, mingled with sadness at the thought of how much fun, how much sense of real purpose, they are missing out on; how much real talent is being wasted on a dead end; how very much some of them could offer to the great project outlined by Aidan Nichols, of repatriating to Catholic Unity all that was good in Anglicanism. So far, we haven’t attended to much more than the liturgical side of things; I claim that I am doing my humblest best but there’s work here for dozens (especially, but by no means only, those with academic skills). And there are others … Fr Brooke Lunn; Fr David Holding; many more … who have spent decades talking about Unity with the See of Peter … what is one to say …

I ought to make it clear that I am not ‘proselytising’. I do not have in mind younger clergy who have, with a good conscience, discerned a particular ministry to be completed within the Church of England. I am not thinking of those who are not and never have been ‘papalists’; those for whom going to Rome is as problematic (or even more so) than staying. I have in mind solely those who, when we were together, by their words and body-language, made clear that Rome, ‘the rock from which we were hewn’ as one of them repeatedly put it, was the answer to our pressing need; those who cheerfully said to a PEV ‘Give us the lead, Bishop, and we’ll follow’; those who told us that they would just put in the few more years necessary to secure their pensions and then join us; and, inexplicably, have been nowhere to be seen since the publication of Anglicanorum coetibus.

Of one thing I am sure. When their time comes, it must be made easy for them (and indeed also for those ex-diocesan bishops, if only they can be man enough and humble enough). There must be no unpleasant nonsense about how they missed the opportunity when the ‘terms’ were easy. Men who have spent 50 years in the Sacred Priesthood, who are priests to their fingertips, must not be told that they are “too old” for the presbyterate of the Ordinariate; that never again can they expect to stand at an altar holding in their hands the Adorable Sacrifice, that vocation which in the Mind of the Eternal was theirs before the ages began. There must be no subtle (or unsubtle!) systems of discouragement. The spirit of Benedict’s gracious intentions must be honoured to the full. The doors must be widely and generously and permanently open. These are good and able men, fine priests, who are called by God to give service in His Vineyard. To treat them in any way otherwise would be very wicked. Fr. John Hunwicke.

Deo Gratias!

Finally, some superb news about the future — and hopefully permanent — Eucharistic Liturgy of the Anglican Personal Ordinariates! Following on Msgr. Andrew Burnham’s address at the recent Sacra Liturgia Conference in Rome, there is very strong evidence that indeed the established Liturgy of the Anglican Personal Ordinariates erected under the auspices of Pope Benedict XVI in his motu proprio Anglicanorum cœtibus, and currently being developed by the interdicastrial group Anglicanæ traditiones and reportedly being auditioned in four Ordinariate parishes around the world, will incorporate much from the Vetus Ordo, the so-called Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite — and the Anglican Missal tradition. The prayers at the foot of the Altar, the Last Gospel, the traditional Offertory, &c…

Stay tuned and keep praying!

The Ordinariates Unnecessary?

Here’s a snippet of a story emailed to me by a friend. I’m not sure what, if anything, can be made of this, or even that the report of a former Anglican bishop can be trusted. Anyway, it’s posted here for what it’s worth. h/t to my moderator friend at Rorate Caeli.

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But in addition to the official reports, Greg Venables, former Anglican Archbishop of the Southern Cone and based in Argentina, offers a look at what Bergoglio “is really like.” He writes:

[Bergoglio] is much more of a Christian, Christ centered and Spirit filled, than a mere churchman. He believes the Bible as it is written.

I have been with him on many occasions and he always makes me sit next to him and invariably makes me take part and often do what he as Cardinal should have done. He is consistently humble and wise, outstandingly gifted yet a common man. He is no fool and speaks out very quietly yet clearly when necessary.

He called me to have breakfast with him one morning and told me very clearly that the Ordinariate [creating by the Catholic Church to accommodate alienated Anglicans] was quite unnecessary and that the church needs us as Anglicans.

I consider this to be an inspired appointment not because he is a close and personal friend but because of who he is In Christ. Pray for him.

Diaconal Ordination

This morning I attended the ordination of William “Doc” Holiday, a former Anglican priest and good friend, to the Catholic diaconate. The ordination took place at Incarnation Catholic Church, in Orlando, Florida, formerly the Anglican Cathedral of the Incarnation, for which, as Rector’s Warden, I had the honour of organising the process by which the parish entered the Holy and Apostolic Church via the Personal Ordinariate erected under the auspices of the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum cœtibus.

John Noonan, the Bishop of Orlando, performed the ordination on behalf of the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson. The ordination and Mass were conducted in accordance with the modern Roman Rite (Novus Ordo). Mass was celebrated ad orientem, as of course, the Anglo-Catholic church’s altar abuts the east wall. Everything was done decently and in good order, though obviously the “Ordinary Form” of the Latin Rite is not at all my cup of tea (to put it very mildly). In the spirit of Christian Unity, I will refrain from commenting on the liturgical vestments supplied by the Diocese.

As the event was only announced recently, and it was conducted at nine o’clock on a business morning, there were few in attendance (the bishop’s entourage was more numerous than the parishioners). Bishop Noonan spoke briefly about the ministry of the deacon in the Church.

Deacon Holiday will be ordained to the priesthood on this coming Saturday, at Incarnation Church, at nine o’clock in the morning. Every indication is that he will, at some point, assume the rectorship of the church, as the first and likely last native Anglican-turned-Catholic priest in the community. Please pray for him as he prepares for the fulfilment of his ministry as a Catholic priest.

The Failure of the Ordinariate?

From a recent comment by Fr. Phillips of Our Lady of the Atonement on Rorate Cæli:

When our parish was established a little over twenty-nine years ago, it was the first of the “Anglican Use” parishes. Although we would like to be part of the Ordinariate in this country, we will be waiting until it is more closely conformed to Pope Benedict’s vision. Speaking for myself, I’m not interested in returning to a form of Episcopalianism, even if it is in communion with the Holy See.

This is exactly what I said at the inauguration of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. The Ordinariate, as it is evolving, is not, according to the letter or its spirit, a faithful reflection of the Holy Father’s express will in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum cœtibus. I am not happy to have been the first to make the observation that the purpose of this Ordinariate seemed to be to recreate The Episcopal Church circa 1990, simply without women — or (at least openly) homosexual — bishops. The Ordinary seems a thorough Modernist and is an avowed enemy of Catholic Tradition. While the Rorate Cæli post suggests that Cardinal Wuerl is pulling the strings, I am certain that the Ordinary need not have been unduly pressured to adopt the same positions. After all, it should not be forgotten that Monsignor Steenson is on record as saying that it was only possible for him to become Catholic because of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council!

With respect to the law, the Ordinariate has adopted positions that not only contradict Anglicanorum cœtibus but also the Holy Father’s 2007 Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum liberating the traditional form of the Roman Rite. The Mass of the Saints is banned from the venues of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Monsignor Steenson’s priests are using the Novus Ordo Missæ, as opposed to even the Book of Divine Worship, but the TLM has been eliminated.

Just a few short years ago, Monsignor Steenson was a bishop in an Episcopal House of Bishops with supposed women bishops, in a “church” that had canonised contraception and abortion, and all manner of perversion. Certainly it was right that he resign his Anglican orders and convert to the Catholic Church — if only to remain a Christian — but his meteoric rise to power in his new ecclesial home is proving (for the faithful) to have been an unwise decision on the part of the cabal of American bishops with a vested interest in the Ordinariate and who groomed him for the role as Ordinary.

And where pray tell is the Anglican Patrimony in all of this?

It is tempting to ask the question of whether or not the Ordinariate is a failure. From the hopeful perspective of the many thousands of faithful Anglican Catholics who looked to Anglicanorum cœtibus to preserve and propagate the riches of the Anglican Patrimony, yes, the Ordinariate is an abject failure. But something leads me to believe that there was a different, opposing, agenda from the very beginning, and judging the Ordinariate by this purpose and standard, perhaps the whole project is actually a resounding success!