Monday, 9 November 2009

Anglicanorum coetibus: "Annexation", "theatricals" and "unintended consequences"

The Apostolic Constitution making provision for Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans who wish to enter full communion with the Catholic Church has been published. The English text, along with a press release, Complementary Norms and a commentary from the Rector of the Gregorian University in Rome can be found here, at the Vatican website.

The title of this blog coverage hasn't quite got the idea: Released: Apostolic Constitution addressing annexing Anglicans into the Catholic Church. It does give rise to a quiet chuckle, though.

Article 11(3) and 11(4) of the Complementary Norms seem to go in the opposite direction, with a suggestion of "high church theatricals":
§3. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate may be invited to participate in the meetings of the Bishops’ Conference of the respective territory, with the equivalent status of a retired bishop.

§4. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate and who has not been ordained as a bishop in the Catholic Church, may request permission from the Holy See to use the insignia of the episcopal office.
Article 6 (1) of the Complementary Norms:
In consideration of Anglican ecclesial tradition and practice, the Ordinary may present to the Holy Father a request for the admission of married men to the presbyterate in the Ordinariate, after a process of discernment based on objective criteria and the needs of the Ordinariate. These objective criteria are determined by the Ordinary in consultation with the local Episcopal Conference and must be approved by the Holy See.
seems to weaken article VI (2) of the Apostolic Constitution itself:
§2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.
It does this by recognising the Anglican tradition as being the factor underlying its provision for married clergy. I have already posted on my concern about the witness to celibacy ( and here) of the move towards Personal Ordinariates, and the denial of a change of discipline in this regard in the press release accompanying the Apostolic Constitution does nothing to counter the provisions of the Complementary Norms.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church is identified as the authoritative expression of faith professed by the members of an Ordinariate (I (5) of the Apostolic Constitution). If the Catechism is the norm of faith for those joining the Catholic Church from the C of E, can't it also be held up as the norm of faith for those who dissent from within the Catholic Church? And, though some paragraphs express teaching of the extraordinary magisterium of the Church, it is, in itself, and exercise of the ordinary magisterium. Ecclesial implications of this might reach beyond the Ordinariates.

The provision that clergy might in case of necessity undertake paid secular employment in addition to their priestly duties (article 7 (3) of the Complementary Norms) is also interesting. This might provide an interesting model for "worker priests" - whoops, sorry, the modern term should be "industrial chaplaincy". Now, I do think there are interesting possibilities here that could extend beyond the Ordinariates.

So we have "annexation", "theatricals" and some "unintended consequences".

PS: I wonder whether there will be the same debate over what constitutes a "coetibus" in this context as there was in the context of Summorum Pontificum?

PPS: The post at Catholic Analysis is a useful complement to my remarks above. Catholic Analysis has a different take on the celibacy question than I have:
Two points strike me as important: 1.) the embrace of legitimate liturgical diversity in the Roman Rite, as opposed to neo-Tridentine uniformity; and 2.) married clergy among the new Catholics, which we can term "clerical diversity." Both points emphasize that the "Benedictine" model of this Pope does not match that of the supertraditionalists.
PPPS: Further comment at Valle Adurni, which focusses in part on the question of celibacy. I had thought, too, to comment on the intention that the Ordinariates come under the supervision of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This makes sense if one views the Ordinariates as being akin to the situations of groups that formerly came under the remit of the Ecclesia Dei commission that has now been taken over by (sorry, subsumed into) the same Congregation. The provisions do, however, refer to the other dicasteries of the Curia having a role according to their competence.


Patricius said...

What's the betting Pope Benedict isn't just calling their bluff? I haven't yet figured out why they can't just be ordinary Catholics like the rest of us.

Joe said...

I was interested to see this comment from Forward in Faith, quoted in ZENIT's coverage of the Apostolic Constitution:

Bishop John Broadhurst wrote: "I had thought the original notice from Rome was extremely generous. Today all the accompanying papers have been published and they are extremely impressive.

"I have been horrified that the Church of England while trying to accommodate us has consistently said we cannot have the jurisdiction and independent life that most of us feel we need to continue on our Christian pilgrimage. What Rome has done is offer exactly what the Church of England has refused."

I am not sure that I have completely grasped the implications of this position. An Anglican Ordinariate is NOT about a Catholic version of an arrangement of the style of "flying bishops" in the C of E. It is about fullness of communion with the See of Rome. But do Forward in Faith really appreciate this?

Joe said...

The full text of Bishop Broadhurst's initial reaction is on the Forward in Faith website:

Interstingly, Patricius, it does include the phrase ... "For some of us, I suspect our bluff is called."

Useful explanatory comment again at Blog-by-the-Sea: