Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Merger ... or Acquisition?

The following comes from http://thoughtfulcrab.blogspot.com, The Thoughtful Crab:


I thought my readers might find the following links of interest:

http://www.anglicanuse.org
http://www.bookofdivineworship.com/
http://www.walsingham-church.org/mass.htm

A couple decades ago, the Roman Catholic Church Church made a pastoral provision for some Anglican parishes to convert wholesale to Roman Catholicism and retain their priest (After reordination) and some elements of the traditional Anglican liturgy. The Book of Divine Worship is a reorganized version of the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer (With elements from both the 28 and the 79 prayer books), altered to reflect Roman Catholic theology. The liturgy is a cross between the traditional Anglican liturgy and the traditional Roman Catholic liturgy.Of course, like anything, there are some catches. One is that those in Anglican-Use parishes are required to assent to all elements of Roman Catholic teaching. The other catch, and this is a big one -- they can be forceably converted to the regular Novus Ordo Roman Catholic mass at any time. Apparently, in many cases, this has already happened. There are also few long term provisions for continuing the tradition -- once your priest dies, it seems as though you're kind of out of luck and the parish will be converted to the Novus Ordo and stripped of it's Anglican traditions, if it isn't done before that point by a jumpy Roman Catholic bishop.In some respects, this is a promising start. In the long run, though, I don't think it's wise for any Anglican parish to convert to Roman Catholicism on the premise that they'll be able to retain their heritage. There are no guarantees that they'll be allowed to continue as Anglican Use for long. In fact, the odds are against it.To have any assurance of being able to continue as Anglicans in any sense of that word, I think Anglicans interested in this sort of thing would have to be offered an "Anglican Rite" like the Eastern Rite Catholics -- complete with their own bishops, priests, seminaries, clerical discipline, and liturgy. A rite is something lasting that people can hang their hats on, to a certain degree. A rite will be there in a few decades or in, theoretically, a few hundred decades. A use is just a bridge intended to get people to the other side, that'll be cut off behind them when they cross it -- these "use" parishes seem destined to all eventually become Novus Ordo parishes, barring a change of direction.

3 comments:

Death Bredon said...

One problem is that English Rites are historically no more than Roman usages.

Anyhow, were I to go to Rome, I would just look for the most conservative parish nearby and cross the Tiber by night. Likewise for the East. But if I am going to expend time and energy maintaining and Anglican identity, then I want to a share of the deed, so to speak.

William Tighe said...

"The other catch, and this is a big one -- they can be forceably converted to the regular Novus Ordo Roman Catholic mass at any time. Apparently, in many cases, this has already happened."

There are, to the best of my knowledge, three such cases. The Las Vegas, NV Anglican Use Roman Catholic parish either collapsed or was suppressed after the priest encountered "personal difficulties" such that he could no longer exercise a priestly ministry -- or so I was told some four years ago; and I was not informed of the meaning of the euphemism "personal difficulties." The small and struggling Fort Worth congregation effectively collapsed after its priest accepted an offered appointment (whether as parish priest or asisstant I know not) to a Roman Catholic parish. Finally, the Columbia, SC, has spurned (or at least refused) any involvement with the other Anglican Use parishes and has effectively abandoned all of its distinctively Anglican characteristics in favor of the straight Novus Ordo Roman Rite ever since it was erected as an Anglican Use parish years ago -- this despite the fact that its (married) parish priest was originally Curate of the Anglo-Catholic ECUSA Church of the Good Shepherd in that city and led the majority of the active congregation of that church, first out of ECUSA into Continuing Anglicanism, and than to Rome.

William Tighe said...

"To have any assurance of being able to continue as Anglicans in any sense of that word, I think Anglicans interested in this sort of thing would have to be offered an "Anglican Rite" like the Eastern Rite Catholics -- complete with their own bishops, priests, seminaries, clerical discipline, and liturgy."

An Anglican Rite Church in communion with Rome (an "ecclesia sui juris" in Canon Law terms) is unlikely to be on offer unless there is a movement to Rome comprising both significant numbers of congregations and people, and a coherent presentation indicating just exactly what elements of the "Anglican Patrimony" they desire to preserve (and I strongly doubt that Rome would accept married bishops in any case). But, that aside, there are two alternatives between the current unique "Anglican Use" and an "ecclesia sui juris." These are a "personal prelature" (such as those for Opus Dei, on the one hand, and the Fraternity of St. Peter, on the other) and an "apostolic administration" (such as that of the Tridentine-Rite AA of Campos in Brazil). A personal prelature has the advantage of having no geographical circumscription, but the disadvantage that it requires the permission of the Ordinary bishop to function in any diocese, and the Ordinary can impose limitations on the way that it functions, while an apostolic administration, while it does not in any sense come under any other Ordinary bishop, exists within a geographically circumscribed limit.