Pope: Anglicans, Liturgy, Welcome! UPDATED

As I and others guessed yesterday, the announcements coming out of Rome and London today are big but not all that surprising. Damian Thompson has the first threadbare report:

The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict is setting up special provision for Anglicans, including married clergy, who want to convert to Rome together, preserving aspects of Anglican liturgy. They will be given their own pastoral supervision, according to this press release from the Vatican:

“In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.”

This is very big. If this reconnection is well-facilitated, we may see the entire African arm of the Church of England (which is currently its most vibrantly-growing branch) cross the Tiber, and that will be a very interesting development, especially as Catholics are exposed to the Anglican-use liturgy, which will remind many of everything they loved about the Latin mass, but in the glorious language of the Anglican liturgy. This may accelerate the already-growing movement within the Catholic church to correct some of the liturgical excesses and errors we’ve seen in the last 40 years.

As I said earlier, as secularism and evangelical atheism gain in influence and power, we may well see the a new unity among Christians, ut unum sint, (that they all may be one). I have written before about the coming “schism” which will manifest itself here in America with the creation of an American Catholic Church:

…which will look quite a lot like the Church of England or the Anglican church – rites, rituals, “sacraments” etc, [plus female priests, gay marriage, divorce and a more pro-choice stance] and it will even have the imprimatur of the government insofar as it may – and it will be a church that the majority flock to; it will be seen by many as the “victory” over that stuffy old, stubborn Church of Rome. People will go on Oprah and say “I always loved God but I never felt accepted, but this enlightened American Catholic Church tells me what I need to hear, that God loves me and that divorce, abortion and all that stuff doesn’t matter as long as I am a good person, and I AM a good person, Oprah, I AM, and now I am accepted, and (weep, weep) I feel like God finally makes sense in the world!”

“That’s right,” Oprah will declare, “there is no sin, except the sinfulness of not loving the self! God doesn’t make junk!”

It would not surprise me at all to see Christians eventually forced underground.
That, paradoxically, will be a time of great strength and growth, as distinctions are made between the churches that teach the era throughout the faith, and those that teach the faith throughout the age.

Then again, Brian Saint-Paul says atheists are facing a schism of their own.

Instalanche! Thanks, Glenn! Updates below:

Forbes (Via AP’s Nicole Winfield):

Vatican creates new structure for Anglicans
The new church structure, called Personal Ordinariates, will be units of faithful within the local Catholic Church headed by former Anglican prelates who will provide spiritual care for Anglicans who wish to become Catholic.

“Those Anglicans who have approached the Holy See have made clear their desire for full, visible unity in the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church,” [Cardinal William] Levada said. “At the same time, they have told us of the importance of their Anglican traditions of spirituality and worship for their faith journey.”

. . .the Vatican’s archbishop of Westminster and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual head of the global Anglican church, issued a joint statement, saying the decision “brings an end to a period of uncertainty” for Anglicans wishing to join the Catholic Church. The statement said the decision in fact could not have happened had there not been such fruitful dialogue between the two.

“The ongoing official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing cooperation,” the joint statement said.

Damian Thompson notes that the Archbishop of Canterbury seems less than pleased

Joint Statement of the Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury.

UPDATE II: The indispensable John Allen (via equally indispensable New Advent has numbers and more details on how things will work: Vatican Revelas Plan to Welcome Disaffected Anglicans:

In a move with potentially sweeping implications for relations between the Catholic church and some 80 million Anglicans worldwide, the Vatican has announced the creation of new ecclesiastical structures to absorb disaffected Anglicans wishing to become Catholics. The structures will allow those Anglicans to hold onto their distinctive spiritual practices, including the ordination of married former Anglican clergy as Catholic priests. . . . the main American branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion. American Episcopalians are said to number some 2.2 million.

today’s move creates the possibility that bishops’ conferences around the world can create personal ordinariates, a special structure that’s tantamount to a non-territorial diocese, to accept Anglicans under the leadership of a former Anglican minister who would be designated a bishop.

. . .former Anglican clergy who are married may serve as priests in the new ordinariates, but they may not be ordained as bishops. Seminarians for the new ordinariates must be trained alongside other Catholic seminarians, though they may have separate houses of formation.

The details will be presented in a new apostolic constitution from Pope Benedict XVI, expected to be issued shortly. Popes issue apostolic constitutions in order to amend the church’s Code of Canon Law, in this case to create new legal structures.

The Vatican note described the new “personal ordinariates” as similar to the structures created throughout the world to provide pastoral care for members of the military and their families. The structures are in effect separate dioceses, presided over by a bishop and with their own priests, seminarians, and faithful.

You’ll want to read it all.

America Magazine’s Austen Ivereigh:

By creating a parallel jurisdiction which helps to safeguard their identity as Anglicans, Pope Benedict has dealt with many of their key fears — and allowed for a corridor to Rome which thousands will go through over the next few years, leading to a gradual diminution of the Anglo-Catholic element in worldwide Anglicanism.

The experience of the new emigres will be closely watched by other Anglicans — and will strongly affect the prospects of long-term Anglican-Catholic unification. History is being made.

UPDATE IV: Interesting question that is popping up in email: does this mean that men who cross the Tiber via this method will also be able to be ordained, even after they marry? That would make it “rubber to the road” time for a lot of young Catholic men who have said, “I’d be a priest, if only priests could marry…” As one correspondent writes: I was wondering the same thing. The Eastern churches can [they must be married before ordination -admin], but they have a history Anglicans don’t. But this appears to be a pretty generous provision, so who knows?

Another correspondent -an “in the know” priest- says “apparently the answer is ‘yes.’”


Creative Minority Report continual updates and notes:

While this move is clearly in response to the TAC, it is not limited to it. This allows for any group of Anglicans who seek unity, whether Episcopalians or other Anglicans, to come into unity intact. This is potentially much much bigger than just the Traditional Anglican Communion.

Ruth Gledhill: UK Times Online: has more on the reaction of the Archbishop of Canterbury: Pope unity move ‘not act of proselytism or aggression’ says Rowan Williams

Rowan Williams says in the letter however that this should not be regarded as an act of proselytism or aggression by Rome.

He admits he only knew of this at a very late stage, which just goes to show he doesn’t read the newspapers as we all wrote last year that traditionalists were in talks with Rome about doing something like this. The flying bishops confess as much in their statement.

Damian is so excited, he’s written even more, and sort of addresses the question in update IV:

The Pope is now offering Anglicans worldwide “corporate reunion” on terms that will delight Anglo-Catholics. In theory, they can have their own married priests, parishes and bishops – and they will be free of liturgical interference by liberal Catholic bishops who are unsympathetic to their conservative stance.

There is even the possibility that married Anglican laymen could be accepted for ordination on a case-by-case basis – a remarkable concession.

Michael Sean Winters:

The most important point to stress is that the Vatican is responding to a request from others who wish to join the Catholic Church. They are not merely going out to pick some low-hanging Anglican fruit or, as Cardinal Walter Kasper put it, “We are not fishing in the Anglican lake.” . . .But, I worry, too, that some of these newcomers will also be nostalgists, anti-feminists, and anti-gay bigots.

Get Religion
notes this has been in the works for far longer than recent ordinations may indicate.

A joyful statement: by some Anglican Bishops and other reactions

Deacon Keith Fournier: waxes lyrical

DaTechGuy has a good round up
Fr. Z: Very “Inside Baseball” and instructive
Reuters: Pope makes it easier for Anglicans to convert
Midwest Conservative Journal
American Papist
Fr. Dwight Longnecker
Deacon Greg: Has A statement from Fr. George Rutler

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • http://themcj.com Christopher Johnson

    Got to tell you, Anchoress, that, Calvinist that I am and, as of this moment, will probably die, Benedict’s boldness is awfully impressive: Link

  • Patrick

    Joseph Marshall-

    Well, the problem was in your approach. It appears from your post that you weren’t seeking the Truth, but wanted someone to come to you. There is an aspect of outreach in the Faith, but if the person isn’t seeking the Truth, no amount of outreach matters.

    If the concern of those seeking to spread the Word of God (keeping this non-denominational for now) are concerned about “reaching out to others,” those reaching out often stumble into the mistake of tailoring the Faith for the sake of the potential convertees. Thus, you have Protestant churches like Saddleback, in California, that have Hawaiian dancers and such, in order to “get the message out.”

    This confuses and inverts the Faith. Instead of the individual conforming himself to the Faith, and abandoning his ego for the sake of Truth, he molds the Faith, or has it molded for him, in order to feel “comfortable” and to find a group who espouses/practices a “faith” that “speaks to him.” This is a typical Western egocentric methodology that so perniciously infects Western Christianity as to be normative.

    This problem, of course, has roots that go back over a thousand years in the West. These roots have also been the wellspring (to mix metaphors) of so much of the Western mindset that has given us the very problems so many decry within various Christian sects (progressivism, liberalism, etc.). The Western mindset has inverted the traditional Christian epistemology and this has had profound effects on both Western culture and Christianity in the West.

    As far as the announcement from Rome, it is intriguing, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Or, for that matter, if it has much of an effect at all. Westerns typically want to control their “faith,” and the idea that one has to subject oneself to absolutes, even in so-called conservative circles, doesn’t always “play well.” I guess we, like everyone else, will simply have to keep an eye open and watch what unfolds.

    the sinner,


  • Eric

    “It would not surprise me at all to see Christians eventually forced underground.”

    You are getting way ahead of yourself with the above. And you betray an anticipated thrill of becoming forbidden.

    An anchoress is not forced from society but removes herself with purpose. The purpose is not the thrill of exclusion, which would amount to the thrill of being an “outlaw.”

  • Jack

    A very deft move by Ratzinger. Leave it to Michael Sean Winters and American magazine to try to put some negative spin on such an ecumenical triumph. I’m sure the Jesuits had nothing to do with this development.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Joseph, I have to disagree. The secular Americans I’ve met have all been secular pretty much by choice. They know about religions—including Christianity—they simply do not like them. They find them restrictive, and too much of a damper on “fun.” They don’t learn about them, because they really don’t want to. And they actively hate anybody who attempts to do what they call, “preaching” at them.

    I think many of them would understand this blog. They just wouldn’t like it. In fact, many would hate it, as a challenge to their secular lives.

    As for Christians—again, it sounds to me like you really haven’t met too many. No, reading about them isn’t the same. You have to go out and meet them, live with them, attend services, actually talk to them. With an open mind. As for apologetics—do you know about C.S. Lewis? He’s an Englishman, just like Christopher Hitchens. There’s Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa, all of them Christian, and, at least some of them, known to the public at large.

    And, if many people are ignorant, and unable to find things out beyond the usual celebrity buzz, that’s as much, if not more, the fault of our secular educational system and attitudes towards knowledge in general, not Christianity per se.
    Again, I have to ask: have you really been looking? Or just getting your information from outside sources? And, if you have been looking, maybe your only letting yourself find what you wanted to find. (Ooooh, look, bad Christians!) Or, maybe you found something, but decided you didn’t really want it.

    By the way, I know about Hitchens, but don’t care about him in the least. Knowing really isn’t the same as believing. Or loving.

  • http://www.bravelass.blogspot.com Kamilla

    Sadly, I don’t think this will result in the mass influx of African Anglicans the Anchoress anticipates. One teensy little problem is that a good number of the Anglican Archbishops in Africa are staunch proponents of WO.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    As for the a concentrated evangelization (what a thought!0 program by atheists—well, atheists such as Dick Dawkins have announced themselves that’s exactly what they want to do! You can’t really dispute it, when they admit it themselves.

    It’s also hard to explain something under the ever-present threat of getting slapped with a lawsuit because some sensitive soul is “offended” by your apologetics, or have the ACLU come after you for somehow violating the “separation between church and state.” Christmas trees, the very name “Christmas”, nativity scenes, Salvation Army bellringers—you name it, someone’s been offended by it, and tried to ban it. I remember when the first Narnia movie (a Christian story by Christian writer, C.S. Lewis, came out), and all the newspaper pundits were worried that it would warp the poor little kiddies’ minds! Was it too Christian? Would it cause the little ones to hate non-Christians? March off on a Crusade, somewhere? Was Lewis SAFE?

    (There was no such collective fretting when the atheist, “Golden Compass” came out.)

    In such an atmosphere, which is actively hostile to Christianity, and favorable to secularism, it’s difficult to get the message out sometimes. But not impossible. As I’ve said before, you’ve got to go out and meet actual Christians.

  • http://exultet.blogspot.com Roz

    I, for one, would be surprised at the establishment of a separated “American Catholic Church” unless public harassment were to create an economic downside for liberal Catholics, who will want to keep some traditions but still ‘hold their heads up’ in American society. I don’t see the dissidents holding strong enough positive principles in common to create an organizational center of gravity — only individual or small-group reactions and preferences (though my rather sheltered situation may blind me to the scope). As of now, dissident Catholics seem to feel entitled to support abortion, gay marriage, etc. without paying any penalties, so there doesn’t currently exist the pain for them that would initiate cohesion and change.

    Though schism would be a dreadful scandal, there’s something wrong with the current situation, to wit: I met a Catholic man the other day who professes to be pro-contraception, pro-gay marriage, pro-ordination of women, etc. yet states that he is in the mainstream of thinking in his diocese (which I doubt not) and is teaching catechism to 6-8th graders. Is there a gentle solution, short of schism, to make these people fish or cut bait about whether they are really Catholic? That, in itself, is such a common scandal that it doesn’t shock us nearly as much as it should.

  • http://www.lcweekly.com Margaret Evans

    Joseph Marshall, thank you for your honest and wise commentary. Rhinestone Suderman notwithstanding, I think you’re absolutely right. People are out there drifting. An intellectual person these days must work hard to learn about the Christian faith. He must seek it out, and often with very little support, often even incurring the wrath of friends and family. (I know this from experience.) Secularism is now the default mode. I pray every day that a new Lewis or Chesterton will come along. We are in desperate need of one.

  • Patrick

    Joseph Marshall -

    At this risk of echoing previous posts, I don’t think your statement that most American’s are secular by default is correct. That is, not *entirely*. By that I mean that, yes, our nation was founded on a version of Christianity that had been infected by the Western epistemological mistakes that have given us the culture that we live in today (secularized/humanistic/egocentric). In that sense, most people, even if raised as some form of, colloquially speaking, Christian, often have a basic operating platform that is, at its root, secular. Those with no religious upbringing are that much more secular, and by default.

    However, to say that there is no concerted effort to spread this secularization is untrue. There are those who proudly announce such efforts. I would also posit that there need not be secret meetings in smoke-filled rooms for there to be an “effort.” It is coordinated, if in no other way than that the various participants in such a movement all have the same goal: to turn themselves, others, and culture, in general, away from God. This can be achieved in any number of ways.

    That is why I disagree with you, to an extent.

    I am also not sure I understand your point regarding famous people who are Christians or who hold themselves out, or who are held out, as theologians. It appears from your post that the lack of “face time” of such people in popular American culture is the reason people don’t understand or follow Christianity.

    Woe to them that seek such cults of personality! I believe we have far too much of this already, especially in evangelical Protestant circles. I can attest that there is no true peace in such a methodology. I might also pause to add that such “guru-seeking” is even more prevalent in secular circles. Case in point: our current president.

    Again, this links to my previous post. That is, that people don’t seek the Truth, they seek a mirror to reflect what they wish to see. The egocentric epistemological methodology is typical of the West. Knowledge is only acquired through human wisdom and intellect, and the Faith has been reduced by the ontological dualism inherent in the Western epistemological model to extreme individualism.

    The result is that Western Christianity suffers from the same disease as Western culture: we seek “experts” whose opinions we can rely on. The Cloud of Witnesses is not a collective of experts or theologians, and though individuals may find a point of contact through such examples, such an entry into the Faith *still* relies on the individual seeking Truth and self-satisfaction.

    the sinner,


  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Bender’s Cheerleader(and Rhinestone’s, too)

    Wow, Roz, that was one beautifully written piece. You almost had me convinced, but I’m stickin’ to my guns. ;)

    Something has got to give with the dissidents and the disobedient – I just don’t see the selfishness in them letting this go; by that I mean, I don’t see certain factions giving up the fight for their ‘rights’ in church, like those Rainbow Sashers and the like.

    In any case, even if a full-blown schism never occurs, there is still a lot of disruption going on. Does that make sense?

  • Lily

    Well I, for one, am glad to hear that some of our separated brothers and sisters in Christ will be joining us.

    Welcome Home! I am so glad you came! We have missed you :)

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    Roz, speaking from my own experience, I don’t really know if there is any way to get these people to “fish or cut bait.” I saw a similar situation in the Episcopal Church. It ended with the more radical progressives (pro gay marriage, pro abortion, and so on) moving to the center, and pushing out the more conservative church members. And, the result, as the Anchoress has pointed out, is that a lot of those conservatives, on both sides of the Atlantic, now want join up with the Catholic Church.

    By the way, the large number of Catholics who consider themselves mainstream, yet support contraception, ordination of women and so on, is one of the many reasons reunion with the Orthodox will be difficult; maybe impossible.

  • Pingback: Welcome Home, Anglo-Catholics? : Currents

  • http://victor-undergo.blogspot.com/ Victor

    For what “IT” is worth, let U>S all pray that His Holiness of our days makes the right decisions.

    I would hope that He, His Holiness, bases all his dicisions on “Respect” for “Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” and to assume that He was really “God” and knew what He was doing in the beginning and at the end which is just a moment for Him.

    I’ve always believed in my heart that any amount of “Time” is but a moment for “The Blessed Trinity” and having said that, if Jesus had wanted woman and/or Gays in “The Priesthood” and other such changes in His Started Ministry, He did not need to be a rocket scientist to have got these things started.

    He basically instructed in so many Words “Men” to go and spread the good news that “The Judgement is at hands. Having said that, Jesus would always get the best He can for all of U>S usual sinners no matter what choice we make cause the last thing He wants is for sins to make slaves of His Loving Children for Eternity.

    Personally, I’ll follow whatever Our Holiness decides unless “The Blessed Trinity” talks to my heart and mind and makes “IT” very clear that I must voice my opinion against “IT” and I’m sure that’s all I would need to do cause His Angels would do the rest for little old me.

    I could go on and on but “Enough is Enough” don’t you think?

    God Bless,


  • Elaine

    Rhinestone: I would think a bigger obstacle to Orthodox-Catholic reunion would be the fact that the Orthodox allow remarriage after divorce (even though they do consider divorce sinful and, I think, require some kind of penance and absolution before a subsequent marriage can take place).

    Plus — anyone out there feel free to correct me if I’m wrong — I get the impression the Orthodox aren’t really all that opposed to contraception either; they take the “married couples should follow their conscience” tack on the subject.

    I suppose that for all practical purposes the Catholic Church has already done, and has been doing for centuries, for Orthodox what it’s doing right now for Anglicans, via the Byzantine Rite and other Eastern Rites.

    Still, it sure would be nice to get all of the Orthodox back, as I do have a strong appreciation for the Orthodox tradition (my husband has Greek ancestry) and think the Catholic Church in general could really benefit from it.

    However, Eastern Rite Catholic churches don’t exist where I live and if you want to attend a Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom an Orthodox Church is the only game in town.

  • Elaine

    I should clarify that my comments about how the Catholic Church “could really benefit” from the Orthodox tradition were meant to apply to its liturgy and its general approach to spirituality, NOT to the Orthodox stand on divorce or contraception.

  • http://runswithangels.wordpress.com/ Bender’s Cheerleader(and Rhinestone’s, too)

    Elaine, it’s not only the Orthodox who are not exactly against contraception. But here’s the thing I have a problem with – I have Catholic friends from different parts of the country who are quick to say that Sister So-and-So or Father Whozit said that it was okay to use birth control for awhile, for whatever reason.
    Who knows what was really said? It makes it even worse when some of the people they are ‘quoting’ are priests. It makes them look really bad. The sad thing is, I half-way believe most of them, especially when it comes to the Sisters.

  • Amy P.

    My personal belief has been that many folks desiring a more progressive form of Christianity have already migrated away from the Rome, to protestant sects that are more tolerant of gays, abortion, and the ordination of women; am I completely mistaken?

    Some have done the honest thing and left the Catholic Church. Others, however, realizing that such a defection would make them small fish in a big pond of like-minded folk stay in the Catholic Church to play – frankly – the part of martyr and to be a rebel that garners more media attention and adoration than the orthodox Catholic.

  • upnorfjoel

    If only Cromwell were here today. He’d get this sorted out!

  • http://theglobalnewsportal.blogspot.com/ Joseph Marshall

    This is a lot of Christmas packages to open up. I’ll try to get to them all, but if i miss one, just remind me about it again.

    First of all, some truth in advertising. I am a Buddhist and I have been one for 30 years. The
    Anchoress is my friendly political adversary and my fellow explorer of things spiritual. But I was a wide reader in my youth and picked up all sorts of random knowledge about all sorts of things, including Christianity.

    Now I think, Patrick, that you may not be that familiar with “Christian apologetics” or “Christian controvertialists”. In the same way that Hitchens or Dawkins seek direct controversy with every sort of theism, men like Chesterton and Lewis sought intellectual controversy with the secular of their day.

    And when I speak of respect for the opposing views, I am speaking of exactly the relationship between Chesterton and his main secular adversary, George Bernard Shaw. So, if you get the chance, I would encourage you read the long running intellectual controversy between these two men.

    There is no such equivalent today. As far as I know [which may not be far enough] no Christian of intellectual stature has attempted to directly engage Hitchens or Dawkins. It’s not easy. You have to understand your opponent’s point of view and why someone intelligent might hold it, even if you don’t.

    It’s far beyond the mere petulant and adolescent excuses described by Rhinestone Suderman: “They find them restrictive, and too much of a damper on “fun.” They don’t learn about them, because they really don’t want to.” What you hear speaking there is simple slackness of mind that in most cases wouldn’t be capable of the effort to intelligently oppose Christianity.

    Insofar as I speak of “secular by default” this is part of what I mean. These are minds who have not developed enough to even ask religious questions, let alone seek religious answers. Religion simply isn’t important to them, and will not be until some real crisis of pain, sickness, or death in their lives that finally forces them to ask real questions. You cannot even speak seriously to them until that happens.

    But the other part of what I mean are people who I suspect are like Margaret Evans was [I'm presuming she is Christian now] open and receptive, but drifting. It is people like this who need someone to assert and argue why Christian belief is better than non-belief. And not just one-on-one, but as part of the larger culture, as Dawkins and Hitchens are part of the larger culture whom they can discover accidentally on their own and feel the intuitive ringing of their own soul in response to this apologetic.

    That is how people like Chesterton and Lewis functioned for generations of Christian converts in the last century. Who functions that way now?

    “It’s also hard to explain something under the ever-present threat of getting slapped with a lawsuit because some sensitive soul is “offended” by your apologetics, or have the ACLU come after you for somehow violating the “separation between church and state.”

    Now, some more truth in advertising, I, myself, have been a member of the ACLU back when I could afford it. And I can say directly that this is largely projective fantasy whipped up by people writing on blogs to each other that it is so, or, whipped up by people like Bill O’Reilly as part of his constant need to attract like-minded viewers.

    You can go right now to the ACLU website and find two things. First, you can find out every legal action they currently have in process. There is nothing hidden and there are not “hundreds of suits filed by the ACLU” every Christmas. That is pure fantasy. It does not happen.

    You can also find a very clear and objective description of what “establishment” means under the current legal standards as defined by the courts and what activities the government is legally prohibited from doing by the non-establishment clause.

    And only the government, federal, state, or local is prohibited from violating the establishment clause. Not churches, not Christians, not Catholics, not Protestants. Their activities, and yours, are protected by the “free exercise” clause in the same Amendment in the Bill of Rights.

    Now I’m not going to tell you that frivolous lawsuits by individuals never occur. But I can tell you three things.

    First your right to free worship is far better protected here than anywhere else on earth, and has been protected for 220 years better here than anywhen else in history.

    Second, if you study what the courts have had to say about it, you will find they have bent over backwards to define “free exercise” as inclusive of almost every reasonable activity even remotely relatable to religion.

    Finally, you will find the ACLU aiding far more people whose free exercise rights have been violated than any work they do with the establishment clause. And, wonder of wonders, they often have to do this in opposition to all sorts of people and institutions who merely assume that they will be sued if they permit any reference to religion anywhere. If they bothered to either read or ask, they would find that this simply is not so.

    This whole business of “fear of offending” amounts to what someone once called “regulation by raised eyebrow”. There is no good reason why anyone can’t say about Narnia or anything else, “Yeah, it’s Christian. So what? If you don’t like it, don’t go see it.”

    Now as you might guess, I don’t let myself be regulated by raised eyebrow. And when anyone tries, I generally tell them to go climb a rope. And there is no good reason why any Christian American can’t do this too.

    If there is one distinct advantage our UK cousins have over us, it is that great majority of them don’t let themselves be regulated by raised eyebrow either.

  • Cromagnum

    The Reformation has ended.
    It has Failed.
    The Catholic idea of Ecumenism by dilution has ended.
    It too has failed.

    It is the Era of the ReKindle, where the Holy Ghost is drawing the Church back together, and building a fervor while the devil rachets up his attacks on the Church. Holy Mother Church triumphs best under persecution, it is the paradox we know all too well, the blood of martyrs becomes life force that envigorates our Faith.

    We see this today when a 475 year rift is being healed, and the fervant members of the Church of England are coming back into the fold.
    If they came back because of women priests and gay priests, then the devil is losing his battle. And any reformation religion is now on notice of what may happen if they walk down that path.

    I pray more healing like this occurs while God works his grace filled miracles.

    “Truth Exists. The Incarnation Happened.”
    – Warren H Carrol

  • Mary

    As a recent convert from the Anglican fold, I suggest Anchoress that your idea that the African Anglican church will turn to the Catholic Church is likely incorrect. They are solidly Protestant and have more in common with Baptists than Catholics. But I am delighted to see this development for so many of my brothers and sisters who have been wounded by the Anglican Church and its break with the tradition of the Christian faith.

  • Gina

    The Reformation has ended? I think you’re indulging in a bit of triumphalism. A few Anglo-Catholics do not the Protestant world make.

    I would also not be terribly optimistic about similar happenings anytime soon in Catholic-Orthodox relations. While important groundwork is being laid, the issues are much more complex and more deeply rooted between the Orthodox and the RCC.

  • http://maxedoutmama.blogspot.com MaxedOutMama

    I think Benedict’s move was just an act of mercy for some extremely startled Anglo-Catholics who have just found themselves placed gently but decisively outside the church.

    As far as orthodox Episcopalians go, there are two strains, most broadly differentiated by the attitude to the sacraments and the attitude towards women’s ordination.

    I am not sure how the very large and rapidly growing Episcopalian congregations in places like Indonesia and Africa fit in those groups.

    But I am sure that Rowan’s move to not recognize escaped dioceses and the recent moves in the UK pushed Benedict to offer an out. For many it will be a big relief, but for those with a more Protestant bent, the theological obstacles will remain.

    There is nothing new about the priesthood issues – Anglican and Episcopalian ministers have been allowed to convert and be ordained as priests even if they are married. They are not allowed to remarry if their wife dies.

  • Rhinestone Suderman

    I’m not optimistic about reunion between the Orthodox, and Catholics at all, at this point. As I said earlier, anything can happen, but at this point, it doesn’t seem likely.

    Joseph, I’m certainly glad you didn’t tell me that frivolous lawsuits never occur, because, as someone who works in the legal profession, I’d have said, “Baloney!”

    I certainly wouldn’t expect a former member of the ACLU to say anything other than that his organization was great, did wonderful work, and how could anybody possibly criticize it? Therefore, I’ll leave it at that. I do wonder about the ruthlessness with which Salvation Army bell ringers are chased away from businesses, and memorial crosses are demanded removed from public property, as well as the cross from the California seal, but, as I said, I’ll leave that.

    It’s rather hard to say, “Go hang!” to a lawsuit. Even if one does, the press will paint you as a Christian fanatic, lusting to see America ruled by a theocracy. Getting the message out these days, other than the internet, can be tricky.

    Turning it around, one could also say that “Go hang” could be one response to drifting secularists, too lazy, or too intimidated by seeming uncool, to get off their backsides and investigate religion for themselves. It’s nice having charismatic preachers, or brilliant apologists—but should adults be expected to do some investigating themselves, and not just lumber along, waiting for someone to push them into the spiritual life?

    In their times, both C.S. Lewis and Chesterton were widely criticized, and rejected by the intellectual elites of their day; Lewis’ defense of Christianity was deemed tacky, and not quite the thing by his Oxford college (and don’t tell me our U.K. cousins don’t use raised eyebrows, and other means of coercion, to bring those they disagree with into line!). His radio talks were well received by the public, but his popularity didn’t really soar until he began being published in America.

    Chesterton was mocked for his rejection of eugenics, which was considered the wave of the future by all the intellectuals of his time. Yes, both these men were great Christian apologists, but their influence was more of a slow-working, long-lasting thing, not something that simply bowled people over right away, or convinced everyone immediately.

    Other Christian apologists? Dietrich Bonhoeffer was hung by the Nazis, and his works became popular after his death. Corrie ten Boom survived a concentration camp. Their lives were all apologetics, and far grander than anything Hitchens, for instance, has ever accomplished.

    There are writers who have taken on Dawkins, and Hitchens—they haven’t gotten much attention outside the internet. And there are good books, such as “The Case for Christ”, and “DaVinci Decoded”, debunking the DaVinci code. A new Lewis, or Chesterton might well be out there. Like Lewis, and Chesterton, themselves, it just might take time for them to develop a following, and gain popularity.

    Meanwhile, there are many good Christians out there, working in soup kitchens, helping the poor, the disabled, visiting the sick, trying to live the Gospel; I know, I’ve met them. They are doing good work, and they aren’t invisible, and they aren’t hiding. You can meet them, any time. And, like Bonhoeffer, and Corrie ten Boom, their lives are their apologetics. So, again, I have to ask—if people don’t see this, maybe it’s because they don’t want to? Or they do see it, but can’t admit it to themselves? Or they see it, but don’t like it, because it makes them feel guilty, or makes demands of them?

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  • http://www.liturgy.co.nz Liturgy

    Just a point of clarification.
    The Church of England does not have an “African arm” – The Anglican Communion has something like 38 provinces – the Church of England is a province (well 2 provinces). Africa has several provinces. And these are in communion. You cannot view the Anglican Communion using Roman Catholic spectacles – it is quite a different way of being church.
    To suggest that the all the thriving African Anglican provinces might unite with Rome misunderstands the nature of many of those provinces – many are at the strongly protestant end of the Anglican spectrum. For decorum’s sake I won’t expand on what many would think of Roman Catholicism.
    Thank you for what you provide here. Your readers might find a balance here:

  • http://theglobalnewsportal.blogspot.com/ Joseph Marshall

    I do wonder about the ruthlessness with which Salvation Army bell ringers are chased away from businesses, and memorial crosses are demanded removed from public property, as well as the cross from the California seal, but, as I said, I’ll leave that.

    Well I do wonder about where the nouns are: who chased Salvation Army bellringers from what businesses where? Who demanded what memorial crosses to be removed from what public property? and so on…

    Would you happen to know where the nouns are?

    And that’s the problem. When you bother to find the nouns, and put the nouns back in, someone can check to see if it really happened.

    If it’s really anything more than hearsay.

    The rest of it doesn’t matter all that much, but I’ll repeat this:

    You are more free to practice your religion in the USA than anyone is anywhere else or than anyone has been in history.

    If you’re involved with the law you should know that already.

    But if you need more evidence of how free you are, take a trip to Saudi Arabia and see just how many references to Christianity, of any kind, you can take past customs. Beyond, of course, the ones that are merely in your mind and your memory.

    I must apologize since I have made this suggestion on an earlier post, but it’s still the quickest way I know to get a taste of real religious persecution first hand. After that, you’re better placed to understand the freedoms in worship [or not] that we all have.

  • Patrick

    Joseph Marshall -

    Well, I guess I’ll address the issue around Chesterton and Lewis first. I am very much aware of their interaction with the secularists, as you’ve “contextualized” it, I guess is the way to put it. I am very familiar with not only their novels/books/essays, but letters and debate papers. The problem is this: at this point in our culture, the secularists that you’ve mentioned, like Dawkins, aren’t looking for a dialogue, but a war. Different time, different manners, I’d say. Dawkins won’t debate, he’ll only argue. And if you don’t agree with him, you’re an “f’n idiot,” as he is fond of saying.

    I’m very familiar with the secularist arguments. Who can’t be, this day and age? Even the home-schooled can’t help but be inundated with the secularist message/belief system. The point that I am making is that the Western epistemological system is one that refuses to be examined, demanding blind allegiance and a steadfast refusal against inspection. So much of what is argued in the West doesn’t get below the starting assumptions drawn from the “everybody knows” pool of “wisdom” that it creates something of a Catch-22.

    That is, you can argue a point, but the parameters of the discussion are wrong to begin with. Thus, the discussion goes nowhere.

    I would also disagree regarding minds not being “developed” enough to ask religious questions. They most certainly are “developed” enough. They are just stunted by a culture in love with its own egocentrism, drowning in a lack of contact with the divine from which man has never (despite Calvin’s mistaken extrapolation of St. Augustine’s equally mistaken theology) been completely cut off from.

    My position, of course, is not one that is compatible with Buddhism (though I find the parallels the so-called “Tibetan Book of the Dead” has in relation to the far older concept of the Toll Houses, a much misunderstood and maligned view of the soul after death, fascinating). However, I do appreciate an honest soul such as yours who is obviously willing to discuss these issues.

    Still and all, I find that your approach, as outlined in the posts above, is genuinely reflective a Western, egocentric methodology. It is very much concerned with a view of reality that is based on the self, it is inwardly focused. It is not concerned with Truth that is independent from the self, but is determined by the self.

    You may not actually feel that way, but your posts surely seem to indicate such a methodology. You seem to be more concerned with “what speaks to you” than with Truth. I may very well be wrong, sir, so please excuse this sinner if I am. I am merely commenting on the posts as you’ve made them.

    To try to rescue this post from complete anarchy, I’ll attempt to state this position: that is, that, again, you lay emphasis on personalities and not the Truth, or lack thereof, of what they are representing. This is very true of the Western mindset. The strength of personality is the key – the “truth” one finds in the charisma of the teacher is more important than actual Truth, as it reflects the desire of the “seeker” to find a mirror that the seeker likes.

    I find this to be very true of the Buddhists I do know. But, then again, these are, for the most part, Western converts to Buddhism, who just “don’t like” Christianity’s “black and white” morality. They tend to consider themselves too “evolved” for such “nonsense.”

    But to judge Buddhism thusly would be a mistake, so I take it at its word and on its tenants. Just like Christianity, I’m sure there are tares amongst the Buddhist wheat. Still, I find it disconcerting that most Westerners don’t react the same toward Christianity. It has to “prove itself” and “speak” to people, as if faith was some sort of gameshow wherein different religions all competed for followers instead of each being actual truth claims.

    Ok, now I’m rambling. Got a four-month old and not a lot o’ sleep. Please forgive me.

    the sinner,


  • Patrick

    Oh, and to get back on topic: doesn’t this move smack of the Uniates? Instead of arguing the Faith it seems, to me, that once again Rome is attempting to steal “numbers.” Just a thought.

    And to Rhinestone Suderman: you’re right. I wouldn’t hold out much hope. If we weren’t willing to cave into the demands of Rome in the face of pressure from the Emperor, himself, and certain death at the hands of Islam (thanks to the ever-blessed St. Mark of Ephasus), I don’t think even the modern Ecumenical Patriarch’s desire for help due to the Turkish yoke and prosecution would be enough to drag the common believer into union.

    the sinner,


  • Patrick

    Where did my previous post go?

    the sinner,


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  • Andrew B

    “And only the government, federal, state, or local is prohibited from violating the establishment clause.”

    The above quote from Mr. Marshall says all that needs to be said about the current problems faced by believers in America today.

    The Constitution was written to constrain the powers of Congress, not state or local government. If the establishment clause is being used against any other level of government (and it is), it is being misused. This is the great failing of our system–we are governed by a class of people who cannot grasp the clear text of a document written to be understood by people with only basic education.

    An illiterate farmer was expected to know what the word “Congress” meant in 1790, but our judges and Federal lawmakers seem unacquainted with the term.

  • Noah D

    Perhaps I’ve missed something here. Doesn’t the Church already have an Anglican Rite? How does this differ?

  • http://maxedoutmama.blogspot.com MaxedOutMama

    Noah – the way it differs is that the Pope is authorizing a new diocesan structure for returning Anglicans. This is not a geographical diocese, but described as similar to the military arrangements.

    Local bishops (for example, in the US) can arrange to have a bishop supervising this sort of “floating” Anglican escapee diocese, and within that diocese, the rites, priests, etc would be those authorized.

    So while nothing about how Anglican converts are handled is new, what is new is the structure authorized. Right now none exists – it sounds like the bishops in an area would create it where they found it necessary, I’m sure in consultation with the Vatican.

  • Jack B. Nimble

    Joseph Marshall:
    No nouns, just facts:




  • http://class-factotum.blogspot.com/ class factotum

    Does this mean that we might be able to ditch the “Gather” hymnal and all that Marty Haugen drivel and sing the good music the Episcopalians do?

  • http://diddly.wordpress.com W Chase

    If some Anglican Priests become Roman Catholic, who is going to decide where they work? The Episcopal Churches have vestries comprised of laypeople who decide which priests they hire and terminate. RC CHurches have priests assigned to them by RC Bishops, who also sole authority over them. DO I have this right? It seems like a major issue that hasn’t been mentioned here.

    The vestry of a church presided over by a Anglican priest who is converting to Roman Catholicism would have to have the vestry on his side, and even if he did, the vestry constantly changes, and often not in the ways the said converting Priest would want. What I am saying is , many of these converting Priests would have to walk away from their churches, and where would they go? To an RC church that is going to start letting them use their Anglican rites now? Will they just be followed en masse by laypeople who also want to convert? I doubt it.

    I guess what I am saying is that this is still going to be a huge and life changing decision for any priest to make…not exactly smooth or easier than before. They just get to say some Anglican words in RC churches now. It doesn’t seem like a real major victory – more of a surface one in that they can still retain some Anglican luster – but I wouldn’t call it a way to retain their roots in any meaningful or lasting way. They are grafting onto the RC church which claims it is the only authentic root in terms of apostolic succession.

    If they already believed that the RC church was the only ‘real deal’ , the potential loss of this cultural ‘luster’ shouldn’t have held them back in the first place.

  • http://diddly.wordpress.com W Chase


    Your post, which immediately preceded mine, answers some of my questions. ‘floating diocese’. Why can’t the Anglican church so the same, let some more Progessive/Rogue RC churches and priests ‘float’ into the Anglican Communion? That’s the bargain I would have driven for if I were Rowan Williams.

  • Maureen

    The Anglican Use, you mean. It’s part of the Latin Rite.

    Re: the bishops

    Well, it seems clear that bishops _can_ request it, but also that it can be put into place in a country without consulting the bishops there at all. Hence all the “bypass” talk from Damian Thompson

    A country’s Anglican “ordinariate” would preferably be headed by a bishop as ordinary, but according to the announcement could also be headed by a priest (or an abbot, probably). Any ordinariate parishes in a country would answer to their national ordinary, and not to the bishop of their locality. (As with military dioceses and archdioceses.)

    Probably all the ordinariates will answer to some guy at the Vatican (probably a bishop or cardinal, or the head of a Curial congregation).

    The point of saying that the national ordinary doesn’t have to be a bishop is to make appointing ordinaries for very small ordinariates a lot easier, and probably to help with succession in case something bad happens to an ordinary. (Some of the conservative Anglican bishops in Africa have been threatened with assassination.)

    Also, since the note is insisting that all bishops will be never-married single men, as is the custom in the East and West, this allows the appointment as ordinaries of married ex-Anglican priests ordained under the “pastoral provision”.

  • JenniferL33

    Okay, I see a common thread in much of the coverage….ie – the hastiness of the announcement. Coming on the heels of the Queen’s supposed disgust w/the road the Anglican Church has been on of late and her affection for B16….are we being prepared for an even more monumental announcement along the lines of “THE QUEEN’S CROSSING THE TIBER???”

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  • bridgit

    This all reminds me of the St. John Bosco dream of the Two Columns. I think it is happening in our time!

  • Joey Williams

    While this represents a new structure for those Anglicans who convert from Roman Catholicism, it changes nothing with regards to the procedures necessary for Anglican clergy to serve as priests in the Roman Church. They must enter the RCC as laity, and after whatever training/education is deemed necessary to qualify them to serve as Roman priests, they are ordained. Not “re-ordained” – ordained, with the stipulation that they never were priests in the first place.

    This need to renounce one’s previous ministry is a major issue for Anglican clergy, and since parishes can’t really transfer “en masse” without their priests, their may be little likelihood of seeing large moves to Rome.

    Before doing a lot of celebrating, it may be well to consider how practical this offer is without doing something to ensure that Anglican clergy can be convinced to switch to Rome. Since there’s been a structure in place to do just that for years (the Pastoral Provision), it would seem that those who are sincere in feeling that they should be in the RCC will have already made the move. Those who have issues with Roman doctrines/theology and/or are unwilling to deny that everything they did at an Anglican altar aren’t going to be swayed by a simple change in the organization chart.

  • DaveW

    I’m pretty confused by this. However it occurs at a level (what I call church politics) that doesn’t interest me that much anyway. I am much more focused on my own shortcomings and managing that than anything else.

    Does anyone know if a confirmed Catholic (like me) would be able to attend Mass (?) at an Episcopal church as the result of this (IE, would Episcopalian Eucharist become valid)? Not that I want to attend an Episcopal church – I do not – but this seems to me to be where the rubber meets the road.

    The celibate/female priests thing concerns me a bit too.

    My presumption is that the Magisterium is smarter than me and the Pope knows what he’s doing, so I’ll let them worry about it.

  • Ian

    This very interesting but I think it is too soon to tell what the effect will be. There are a couple of nits I would like to pick, however. There are probably many disaffected episcopalians who will not fully accept the authority or infallibility of the pope. I can’t see any sincere way of entering the RC church unless you do.
    The other is with the liturgy – I can only dream of this meaning a return to the 1928 BCP (or earlier!) but they managed to wreck a lot of the beauty and majesty with the 1979 version currently in use.

  • Bender

    My understanding is that this development is NOT intended to apply to the Anglicans as a whole (or Episcopalians as a whole to the extent they still consider themselves Anglican) or the Church of England. Rather, it is intended to facilitate, at present, a very large number of Traditional Anglicans that have already specifically expressed, as a group, an interest in re-establishing ties to Rome. It is not a wholesale reunification of the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches.

    [That's my understanding as well, Bender -admin]

  • Bender

    So, DaveW, the answer to your question would seem to be that nothing has changed with respect to whether a Catholic may receive communion at an Episcopalian church.

  • http://www.savkobabe.blogspot.com Gayle Miller

    Like Joseph’s father, I think we should pop the fatted calf onto the barbecue and welcome our now returning family home. I do not find our hostess to be in any way disrespectful of other faiths pabarge and I find you to be somewhat disingenuous in your assertions that she is so. I have known this woman online for more than a few years and through more than a few terrors in my own life and have never found her to be anything but kind and loving and utterly Christian in her approach. You may be interpreting her words to fit your own scenario – that often happens and sometimes without our intention and we hear what we expect to hear rather than what is actually said. Like our hostess would do, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt which you may (or may not) deserve. Bottom line, if push comes to shove and our Christian faith must go underground for a while (I am a Catholic of the Byzantine rite – just to keep things clear), it will only strengthen us.

    And to those who are expecting the Church’s position on abortion and gays to change – sorry kids. Them has been the rules since Day One and God’s word isn’t about to change. Abortion is and always will be murder and as far as our gay friends, we love the sinner and hate the sin.