Implications of the PO

1. The Personal Ordinariate cuts across the powers of liberal, ignorant and unimaginative bishops. Those of us who work with convert clergy can tell horror story after horror story of how they are ignored, sidelined and dismissed by Catholic bishops who either do not understand, do not want ‘dangerous conservatives’ or simply cannot figure out what to do with convert clergy.

2. The PO establishes a new precedent in Church governance. This could mean that the church is freeing herself from strictly geographical boundaries of governance. With the Eastern Rite Churches and military and religious orders this has already been the case, but now the Church is validating this arrangement for a particular tradition in a fresh and possibly future-oriented way.
3. If the PO establishes this precedent for Anglicans why could it not also work for high church Lutherans? Could it work for High Church Methodists? Could these other two groups eventually be welcomed in through the Anglican Use? They’re close enough in many ways. With proper training and catechesis many Methodists and Lutherans could easily belong to an Anglican Use parish.
4. The PO could be a great boost to Anglicans in the developing world. There Anglicans and Catholics exist side by side already. This could simply formalize the relationship and help both bodies to grow together in unity.
5. The PO is a slap down to liberals in both the Anglican and Catholic churches. By validating the traditionalist Anglicans Pope Benedict is saying to Christians everywhere–”These are the people with whom we can do business.” A great sorting is going on. You can almost hear him saying, “The Anglicans who are really Catholics are coming home. Now why don’t you Catholics who are really Anglicans decide where you belong as well?”
6. Despite all the fine words, the PO is a rebuke to the old established ecumenical movement. The Pope seems to be saying, “That was all well and good as far as it went, but it went far enough. Now here is the fruit: a step towards real unity.”

  • Rachel B

    These are really good thoughts. They make me excited for things to come.

  • johnkgibson

    Father,actually the problem is that the Catholic church has no ideas what to do with converts at all. It isn't just the convert clergy that get ignored and sidelined… The lay converts get the same treatment too.

  • Paul Smith Jr.

    Am I wrong in thinking this is also a slap in the face to the Anglican Communion since it would seem to be an official statement that they are not part of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church as many of them claim?

  • Brian Walden

    I'm wondering if this could also help Latin Rite Catholics who are dissatisfied with the way the liturgy is celebrated in their own parish.

  • Just another mad Catholic

    Is father becoming less cynical about this move by the Holy Father?

  • Steve

    Some very uncharitable things are being said about the Pope's motives by 'liberal' Christians and atheists in the British press. They really cannot grasp that his motives just might be pure and his offer a generous response to heartfelt pleas by the Anglo Catholics. I don't think any religious commentator has acknowledged that the Holy Spirit might also be involved here.

  • flyingvic

    Perhaps the Holy Spirit was "involved" in the Reformation…

  • akira0238

    Well, sure it was.. on the other side. ;)

  • Fr Longenecker

    The Holy Spirit was involved in the Counter Reformation.

  • flyingvic

    So is it your suggestion that the Holy Spirit was involved in all the ecclesiastical faults and abuses that sparked the Reformation?

  • samurfer

    No, Vic, the suggestion is that the "Counter Reformation" is more accurately the Catholic Reformation, ie the Real Reformation. The Protestant "Reformation" is more of the same character of the pre-Reformation era abuses, and not of God.

  • flyingvic

    samurfer, you've lost me there. Could you explain for me, please, precisely what you mean by 'The Protestant "Reformation" is more of the same character of the pre-Reformation era abuses…'?

  • Fr Longenecker

    flyingvic you are correct. The Holy Spirit was not involved in the abuses that led to the Protestant Reformation.The abuses were on both sides. Power hungry prelates and popes etc.I like to compare Martin Luther's response to a corrupt and venal church to St Francis'Francis reformed the church through submission to the Pope. All Luther did was divide the church and foment rebellion.

  • flyingvic

    "The abuses were on both sides." I thought there was only one side before the Reformation? Luther fulminated, inter alia, about the sale of indulgences; elsewhere the church was hounding to prison and death those who dared to work on translating the Bible into the vernacular. Most people today would agree, I think, that these were both quite wrong.My question about the activity of the Holy Spirit was a warning, as you correctly supposed, against a too convenient ascription of the Spirit's activity to one particular interpretation of human history.

  • Fr Longenecker

    Check out Francis. He countered abuses with holiness, not rebellion.

  • samurfer

    "elsewhere the church was hounding to prison and death those who dared to work on translating the Bible into the vernacular"That is simply a vicious slander, and has been known as such for a long time. The Catholic Church already had the Douay-Rheims decades before the KJV, just for starters."St. Thomas More commented that searching for errors in the Tyndale Bible was similar to searching for water in the sea. Even King Henry VIII in 1531 condemned the Tyndale Bible as a corruption of Scripture. In the words of King Henry's advisors: 'the translation of the Scripture corrupted by William Tyndale should be utterly expelled, rejected, and put away out of the hands of the people, and not be suffered to go abroad among his subjects.'""The Church did not oppose faithful vernacular translations but heretical additions and distortions to the Bible. The Church prohibited these corrupt Bibles in order to preserve the integrity of Holy Scripture. This action was necessary if the Church is to preserve the truth of Christ's Gospel. As St. Peter in his Epistle (in the Bible) warns us, the ignorant and unstable can distort the Scriptures to their own destruction [2 Peter 3:16]"

  • flyingvic

    Vicious slander? Harsh words! Remind me, what did happen to Tyndale? King Henry's comment (and Thomas More's too, I suspect,) both came from that period when they were trying to get the Pope to agree to Henry's divorce, and were, therefore, unlikely to want to rock the boat. In due course a very large proportion of Tyndale's work was adopted into the King James Version, and that seemed to stand the test of time quite well!Of course, there will always be those who try to distort history as well as scripture…

  • flyingvic

    The Douay-Rheims translation that you mention, samurfer, was not published until 1582 (NT) and 1609/10 (OT) – a little too late to affect the situation at the time of King Henry and the Reformation!But of course you knew that, didn't you?

  • Rehoboth

    Interesting–Francis responded with holiness instead of leaving. My husband and I just watched "Saint John Bosco" and he also responded with holiness instead of fracture. We've been discussing the implications that response. And then, there's the American Revolution. Could that have been resolved similarly?

  • Dozie

    I personally do not know what to think of converts to the Catholic Church who seem not to understand or respect Catholic culture and tradition.

  • Chip

    What will become of RCIA candidates? The question they are asking, "Will Anglican laity have to go through some kind of RCIA program also? After all, they also did not believe in the "Real Presence." They do not/did not believe in Transubstantiation. Will RCIA candidates be given the opportunity to profess belief in "all things Catholic" and be accepted as Catholics? Lots of uncertainty out here.