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Friday, December 23, 2011

On the Other Hand...

The estimable Fr. Dwight Longnecker (an Episcopalian convert himself) writes, concerning the Anglican Ordinariate:
The establishment of the Ordinariate has clarified matters between the two churches. Benedict XVI has, if you like, called the bluff of all those Anglicans who kept on saying, "We are Catholics too you know...just not Roman Catholics." Then they would go on in pious phrases, "We do long to become Catholics and to achieve unity, but we do not want to give up our distinct patrimony."

OK. It's all possible now. Anglicans can come into full communion with Rome. They can keep their distinct patrimony. They have their own hierarchy. Their married men may be ordained. They can have their own religious orders, their own seminary and their own churches and their own form of church government. What else do they want? The numbers who take up the Pope's offer will be small, because they will have to launch out in faith.
There is no question there are those in the Catholic Church, some of them well placed, who want no part of the Anglican Ordinariate and will seemingly do whatever they can to derail it. Curious, that, since it is obvious the will of the Holy Father is this thing be done; how do they reconcile their behavior with Catholic obedience?

On the other hand, as Fr. Longnecker points out, the time has come for those Anglicans who profess and practice "Catholicity" to put up or shut up. The Holy Catholic Church has extended an unprecedented and generous offer to them to become one with the one true Church while maintaining their worship practices, which in the case of Anglo-Catholics, is not only pre-Vatican II but pre-Pius XII as well: essentially 19th century Catholic worship while using the Book of Common Prayer (and no doubt at the root of the angst and nay-saying among liberal Catholic bishops and priests).

Anglicans, particularly those calling themselves Anglo-Catholic, who decline the invitation from Rome are, in effect, declaring their lot with the Protestants (one commenter on Longnecker's post proclaims he will not budge until the Vatican allows use of the 1662 Prayer book and the 39 Articles!--good luck with that, fella). With the establishment of the Anglican Ordinariate, Anglicans who insists on defining themselves as "Catholic" will, over time, appear increasingly anomalous and, as the Anglican Church (and the Episcopal Church, especially) march further and further from orthodoxy, downright ridiculous. As Fr. George Rutler once wrote: "It must also be remembered that the continued existence of Catholic forms within Anglicanism does a disservice by confusing many." Indeed.

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