The Rev. Canon Charles H. Nalls, SSM
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”
-Proverbs 3:5, 6
The waiting and speculation are over at last. The Roman Catholic Church has promulgated the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus aimed at “groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church.” Over the last few weeks, I have written several essays incorporating the work of the great Anglo-Catholic Bishop Charles Grafton to discuss the thorny doctrinal issues likely to arise in the awaited Apostolic Constitution.
As expected, claims that this document would be only an inter-communion arrangement in which Anglo-Catholics will share communion with the Roman Catholic Church have proven false. Indeed, Anglicans “swimming the Tiber ” will be a part of the Latin Church and will have to assent to the dogma, doctrine and discipline of that body. In fact, they will have to undergo the Sacrament of Initiation in which they will give public assent to such. As well, clergy will be reduced to the status of “candidates for ordination” subject to absolute ordination, if they pass muster.
Rather than interpret the text, we should let the document stand for itself. I urge a thorough reading of the Constitution and the Norms that follow to obtain a full understanding. By way of summary, I have set forth some “bullets” which reach to the fundamental issues, questions that may prove intractable for many.
This single Church of Christ , which we profess in the Creed as one, holy, catholic and apostolic “subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed by the successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside her visible confines. Since these are gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ , they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.”
Comment: The very definition of Church in the document includes the principle of Papal Supremacy.
· I. §§1-3 One or more Personal Ordinariates comparable to a diocese are to be within the confines of the territorial boundaries of a particular Conference of Bishops in consultation with that same Conference on an as needed basis.
Comment: There is a serious question as to how “need is to be established”. If there are insufficient numbers of former Anglicans, there will be an issue as to whether an Ordinariate will even be established.
· §5 The Catechism of the Catholic Church is the authoritative expression of the Catholic faith professed by members of the Ordinariate.
Comment: This is the statement of dogma to which all will have to give their full assent. It is not a cafeteria menu permitting a “pick and choose” approach.
· II. The Personal Ordinariate is governed according to the norms of universal law and the present Apostolic Constitution and is subject to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and the other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia in accordance with their competencies. It is also governed by the Complementary Norms as well as any other specific Norms given for each Ordinariate.
Comment: Among other things, the Code of Canon Law of 1983 will apply, and governance will be in accordance with it and the structure of the Roman Catholic Church.
· III. Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.
Comment: This must be read in the inverse. While there will be Anglican liturgy to be approved by Rome , this is not to the exclusion of the Roman Rite. Thus, clergy may expect that they will be directed to perform Roman Rite liturgy as needed within the geographical diocese in which they are located.
· While Ordinary appointed by the Roman Pontiff will exercise power that ordinary, vicarious and personal: this power is to be exercised jointly with that of the local Diocesan Bishop, in those cases provided for in the Complementary Norms.
Comment: The local diocesan bishop will not, therefore, be wholly precluded from interfering in the operation of the Ordinariate. The potential for mischief is obvious.
· VI. §1 Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church.
Comment: This is fleshed out in the norms (see below), but those who have irregularities, were formerly ordained Roman Catholic Priests, have marriage issues and/or do not meet the age and educational standards of the Canons, are not getting in the “clergy club”. As well, if you are over retirement age, you shouldn’t hold out much hope of ordination.
· §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.
Comment: Apparently, only celibate candidates for “new” priests will be admitted to Holy Orders. Married men may be admitted on roughly the same basis as those under the current Pastoral Provision. Thus, the document ultimately envisions a return to the celibate priesthood as normative, which is consonant with the recent comments of Cardinal Levada. So, farewell to a married priesthood over time.
· VIII. §1. The Ordinary, according to the norm of law, after having heard the opinion of the Diocesan Bishop of the place, may erect, with the consent of the Holy See, personal parishes for the faithful who belong to the Ordinariate.
Comment: Former Anglicans will not necessarily receive their own parish buildings. Offering services at existing Roman Catholic facilities would satisfy the requirements. Once again, those who anticipated a big, gothic stage on which to say Mass will be sadly disappointed.
· Article 3The Ordinary, in the exercise of this office, must maintain close ties of communion with the Bishop of the Diocese in which the Ordinariate is present in order to coordinate its pastoral activity with the pastoral program of the Diocese.
Comment: To reiterate, there will be a direct influence of the local bishop upon the Ordinariate.
· Article 5 §1. The lay faithful originally of the Anglican tradition who wish to belong to the Ordinariate, after having made their Profession of Faith and received theSacraments of Initiation, with due regard for Canon 845, are to be entered in the apposite register of the Ordinariate. Those baptized previously as Catholics outside the Ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the Ordinariate.
Comment: This clearly states that Anglicans will have to receive the Sacrament of Initiation and make profession—that’s absorption plainly stated.
· §1. In order to admit candidates to Holy Orders the Ordinary must obtain the consent of the Governing Council. 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.
Comment: Again, admission of married men to the presbyterate is not a foregone conclusion. It will be case-by-case, presumably on the criteria available in the United States or something similar.
· §2. Those who have been previously ordained in the Catholic Church and subsequently have become Anglicans, may not exercise sacred ministry in the Ordinariate. Anglican clergy who are in irregular marriage situations may not be accepted for Holy Orders in the Ordinariate. (emphasis added)
Comment: As noted above, if you have been a Roman Catholic priest or you have multiple living spouses, forget about it. You are not going to be a priest or deacon. This single clause poses a great barrier for those in many continuing churches as well as not a few in the Anglican Communion Churches.
· §1. The Ordinary must ensure that adequate remuneration be provided to the clergy incardinated in the Ordinariate, and must provide for their needs in the event of sickness, disability, and old age. §3. When necessary, priests, with the permission of the Ordinary, may engage in a secular profession compatible with the exercise of priestly ministry (cf. CIC, can. 286).
Comment: Non-stipendiary priests and working priests should not count on a “living”.
· §1. The clerics incardinated in the Ordinariate should be available to assist the Diocese in which they have a domicile or quasi-domicile, where it is deemed suitable for the pastoral care of the faithful. In such cases they are subject to the Diocesan Bishop in respect to that which pertains to the pastoral charge or office they receive.
Comment: Clergy will not be used solely in an “Anglican” setting. Given the priest shortages, clergy can pretty well expect to be used as the diocesan bishop in their geographic locale deems necessary.
· Former Anglican Bishops-Article 11 §§1-4. A married former Anglican Bishop is eligible to be appointed Ordinary. In such a case he is to be ordained a priest in the Catholic Church and then exercises pastoral and sacramental ministry within the Ordinariate with full jurisdictional authority. A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate may be called upon to assist the Ordinary in the administration of the Ordinariate. 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. 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.
Comment: Here is the sop to former Anglican bishops: they are able to keep their vestments and a modicum of dignity. This presupposes that these former bishops will pass the test to be admitted as clergy: i.e., can they pass the marriage test and do they meet the educational standards?
The Apostolic Constitution and its ancillary documents have not much to say about parishes within these Ordinariates, but seem to dwell on "Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life." The feeling I got in ploughing through the 20 pages of this material was that laity who become involved in this will be grouped into Institutes and Societies, with perhaps chapels in local RC parish churches.
There the members can reminisce together about the good old days before Anglicanism went wrong.
As Fr Nalls noted, these documents make it as clear as a day in July that "Apostolicae Curae" is emphatically reaffirmed; and for those Anglican clergy who pass muster, their Ordinations will be absolute and not conditional.
Generous, indeed. Inter-communion, my foot.
It is all like reading that refugees from Poland can come to America and become US citizens. As an added extra, they can join the Polish-American Club.
What a deal!
Dear Fr. Nalls,
What is the 'Sacrament of Initiation'? Is that Confirmation, or something different?
Why would there be such a problem passing the "marriage tests?"
In current RC palaver, the "sacraments of Intitiation" (note the plural) consist of Baptism and Confirmation. These days they do recognize our baptisms as valid, and therefore would not repeat them (though such repetition was common not long ago). However, they do not recognize our confirmations. Therefore every such "former Anglican" will have to be confirmed as though it had never been done.
We do have some clergy and laity who were once putatively married, whose marriages have been annulled, that is declared never to have been real marriages, and thus have been able to "remarry" since the second is judged to be the only true marriage.
However, these annulments may have been granted by Anglican tribunals whose authority Rome does not, and apparently will not recognize. Therefore, unless a Roman tribunal, considering the case de novo, comes to the same conclusion (and until such time as such a judgment is rendered), such a person is in an illicit marriage and not eligible even for Communion., let alone ordination.
No one without a very serious case of masochism who absolutely reveled in being publicly humiliated would endure such a farce.
I do hope these people come to their senses. And by that I mean the Anglicans contemplating such nonsense; 99 and 44/100's of those who are still Romans will never be able of managing that.
Apparently, despite all the flowery language of some writers (and Archbishops!) people still seem unable to read a Vatican document without missing something.
Not all Anglicans will be subject to some kind of sacramental coversion process according to this Constitution.
"Article 5 §1. The lay faithful originally of the Anglican tradition who wish to belong to the Ordinariate, after having made their Profession of Faith and received the Sacraments of Initiation, with due regard for Canon 845, are to be entered in the apposite register of the Ordinariate."
Canon 845 says:
"Can. 845 §1. Since the sacraments of baptism, confirmation, and orders imprint a character, they cannot be repeated.
§2. If after completing a diligent inquiry a prudent doubt still exists whether the sacraments mentioned in §1
were actually or validly conferred, they are to be conferred conditionally."
So, while some Anglicans may have to submit to some kind of sacramental initiation, not all will. Part of the problem with unity is that both sides of any union have to be satisfied that true equality exists. Hence, one can hardly blame Rome for wanting to assure their people that Anglican orders and initiations are valid and thus intercommunion can occur at all levels. Thus, there's going to be a lot of talk about sub conditione in the coming months I suspect.
Having said that...it still looks a lot like absorbsion to me.
God bless you all.
So, while some Anglicans may have to submit to some kind of sacramental initiation, not all will.
Let us get right down to the brass tacks. Rome will not accept any Confirmation by an Anglican bishop, period! The only former Anglicans not needing "initiation" would be those returning to Roman Catholicism, having been confirmed before they had become Anglicans.
Fr. Hart wrote:
:Let us get right down to the brass tacks. Rome will not accept any Confirmation by an Anglican bishop, period! The only former Anglicans not needing "initiation" would be those returning to Roman Catholicism, having been confirmed before they had become Anglicans."
You are making a blanket statement that you are unqualified to make.
In the process of reviewing clergy on a case-by-case basis, the Holy See will look particularly for Post Reformation Apostolic Seccession from a See recognized by them.
Should that be found, in those cases, ordination will either be conditional or in very clear cases, they will simply be received.
If this determination has been made, then prior confirmations by them would not be questioned as in the Roman Rite is is permissable, with proper faculties, for a priest to Confirm.
While I understand your great dislike for this most generous offer, you are engaging in speculation. Each of these matters will be determined on a case by case basis, and that is something that you and I can only speculate as to the outcome.
It is the "case-by-case" judgement that I find very problematic. To accept that approach is to accept Romes mistaken judgment as to Anglican Orders, and to admit that, if there be any validity in Anglicanism, it is only by happy exception -- that the rule is invalidity. While that may be helpful to some individuals, it isn't really very expressive of corporate reunion.
Merrily on High wrote:
You are making a blanket statement that you are unqualified to make.
In the process of reviewing clergy on a case-by-case basis, the Holy See will look particularly for Post Reformation Apostolic Seccession from a See recognized by them.
Once again I must be the bearer of bad news and ruin somebody's day. Obviously, poor fellow, you do not know my ecumenical credentials, my place in publications, and my association in the theological major leagues, if I may be so blunt. I am perfectly qualified to explain exactly what Rome means, and to add that this is not simply my opinion, but objective fact.
Case by case basis means only that some former Anglican clergy may be ordained conditionally rather than "from scratch" so to speak. That is all that it means. Under no circumstances will Rome simply receive any Anglican clergyman in his orders (unless, of course, Rome someday has the good sense to rescind their rejection of our orders). No Anglican confirmations, therefore, are or will be accepted by Rome. That is all there is to it; and you may take my words to the bank and cash them.
If anyone has told you otherwise, even if that someone is a Most Rev. So & So (especially one who is warning his clergy not to believe this blog), he is selling you a bridge. I hope you will stay with us, because you need the truth, and this is where you will get it.
Our friend said:
"It is the "case-by-case" judgement that I find very problematic. To accept that approach is to accept Romes mistaken judgment as to Anglican Orders, and to admit that, if there be any validity in Anglicanism, it is only by happy exception -- that the rule is invalidity."
Make no mistake- Rome does not regard all "Anglican" orders as valid- some are at best regarded as irregular. However, many Continuers don't have "Anglican" orders, do they?
There seems to be a difference of interpretation. As I pointed out, Canon 845 is mentioned in the Apostolic Constitution. The mere mention of it is indicative that Rome is well aware that many within the Anglican Continuum have worked out their ordinations in such a manner as to eliminate any doubt over the validity of orders. This has been done by a few channels, for example Old Catholic orders and so forth.
Therefore, common sense as well as careful reading clearly shows us that Anglicans with invalid orders (and some of those are even regarded invalid by Continuers!) will need to do some ordinal house cleaning to ensure that there is a clear message to the laity on both sides of this arrangement that everyone is "kosher".
You can't just blame "Rome" for this. Many Continuers would insist that a man ordained by a bishop who ordained homosexuals or women was invalidly ordained, and in such a case would at bare minimum require sub conditione sacramental ordination.
I think the point here is obvious- many Anglicans (whether Continuers or not) already admit readily that there are currently invald orders within the Canterbury communion.
Why one would then see this logical and necessary regularisation of orders as a concession to Apostolicae Curae is beyond me. Since that document, many changes have occured- there have those who, although not agreeing with Apostolicae Curae, have nonetheless worked to remove all doubt about their orders and those who have completely destroyed any claim to their own sucession at all by introducing new unorthodox ministries into the church.
The real issue is whether or not this Apostolic Constitution offers any future for the tradition, or whether the better idea was to recognise organisations as they stand and come to a more uniate-style arrangement.
I think it fails on those points, and all the arguments about reordination fail because regularisation of orders can only be logical and fair due to the irratic state of Anglican orders at present.
Fr Robert Hart said:
Under no circumstances will Rome simply receive any Anglican clergyman in his orders (unless, of course, Rome someday has the good sense to rescind their rejection of our orders).
I think this kind of misses the point, and I think the point is what "Merrily on High" might have been getting at.
I don't think you are wrong, but I think it's just not the case. Rome believes it has ground to reject "Anglican" orders. But who has purely "Anglican" orders amongst the Anglican Catholics of the various denominations that are seeking communion with her? Surely there might be a percentage, but surely it is not the majority, especially among the younger clergy that are home grown in those communions.
While I doubt very much that there would be any reception of Anglican Catholics without some kind of conditional sacramental reception etc., you can't rule out a possibility in some instances. I doubt it will happen, but there may be grounds for it "case-by-case".
I wouldn't take anyone's comments "to the bank" either- because more irelevant, smarter men than us have been wrong about such things. After all- people on this thread don't believe in Papal infallibility, so I can't possibly believe in the infallibility of people on this thread.
I happen to know (first hand) that a cleric who must accept a fresh ordination from Rome (re-ordination) is not likely to take the Pope's offer. I think that's something that is also a deal breaker and may hurt the Apostolic Consitution's offer.
I don't think this is about where we get our information. It's not. It's about interpretation of that information. Sorry- I know because I'm involved in all this mess. I get information from people directly involved with the people that matter. I am not relying on something I got while studying in a seminary years ago- I have found that to be merely a ratther fallible framework to go by. I've heard every spin on this since the 90's and I continue to hear every spin on this. Your take is not new, or unique, but neither is it the only one claiming to be right.
So, while I don't doubt your credentials (not to say that they make's one arguments true), or your booksmarts, with due respect- it's your interpretation that seems to be at odds (in the minutae- we hardly disagree on this if you read my words carefully) with Roman authorities I have on quickdial on my telephone.
One thing you should remember when it comes to Rome- they seem to know how to navigate their own rules quite adeptly. Their canon lawyers have acumen second to none. Despite one's opinion of oneself, I don't think either of us could qualify as authoratative interpreters of Roman canon law or even this Aposttolic Constitution.
Then again- is this AP to be trusted? Is today's interpretation going to be tomorrow's? I doubt it very much.
Where are you getting your information from? You are very poorly informed, and seem to be substituting facts with what seems logical to you. Your understanding of Rome's position is terribly mistaken.
1) Rome does not accept any Anglican Orders as valid. The word "irregular" does not apply at all.
2) The most Rome concedes is a possibility of conditional ordination for some whose OC orders may be (as in may) be considered.
3) Even though point 2 should apply to all male Anglican clergy, only Graham Leonard, and to date one more, have been granted conditional ordination.
4) We have no doubts about the full validity of classic Anglican orders; but we reject the validity of dubious Anglican orders in the Anglican Communion since Sacramental Intention was compromised by women's ordination in 1976.
And, of course I am not infallible; but, on this subject you can be assured that I am completely right. I am right, also, that 2+2=4,and would be quite willing to teach that sum were I an arithmetic teacher.
By the way, no Anglican Catholics (if by that you are naming my affiliation) have anything to do with this whole Roman constitution business.
I use "Anglican Catholics" to mean Anglican Catholics found within a lot of various denominations. I thought that was inferred in my posts. It's not just about the denomination you personally might belong to.
What you have stated is simply impossible. This is about accuracy, not interpretation. Your information is inaccurate; at best it presents an ideal or even what some may consider a goal. And, you would be quite surprised to know just how "high up" my contacts are, if that matters.
I have no idea where you are going with this. You've stated nothing in your summary post that I am not already basically in agreement with (except the details of point 3, but that's not important), a point which I thought you would have gathered well before your response. Perhaps a review is in order on your behalf.
However, if you think something I have said is "impossible", I can't really comment on that, because I've not stated absolutes anyway. I haven't said anything at all that essentially disagrees with your basic presmise, so if it's "impossible", it's an impossibility of minutae, assesed through tthe process of your informed speculation. Why worry about that?
The bottom line is that you are not a Roman Catholic canon lawyer- am I right? I think that's important. As an Anglican, you obviously think that Roman canon laywers get it wrong from time to time. Roman Catholics might agree. However, at the end of the day, only their interpretation- whetther we deem it right or wrong- will be implemented. What I'm saying is that while you think you are 100% "right"- only their interpretations will be 100% "right"- so it's a waste of time to speculate further than your pay level, so to speak. This is why I'm not terribly worried about such minor points of interest.
Why does this concern you anyway if it means nothing to you?
You have sparked my interest as a former investigator. Someone has sold you a version of Rome's position that is soft and cuddly, and warm and fuzzy when compared to the facts. My interest is in confirming or eliminating my theory as to who that party may be.
Such a coy game!
I am still waiting for the ACA to show their cards. Rome has called.
The Anonymous Known as "T" made a reference to "Anglican Catholics of the various denominations...."
I must take exception to that comment. "Anglican Catholic" IS the proprietary name of one existing Communion, so it would make as much sense to refer to "Roman Catholics of the various denominations" as it does to refer to "Anglican Catholics of the various denominations".
The generic term for Anglicans of more-or-less Catholic sensibilities is "Anglo-Catholic", NOT "Anglican Catholic".
John A. Hollister+
Hi Fr. Hart,
You said: "You have sparked my interest as a former investigator. Someone has sold you a version of Rome's position that is soft and cuddly, and warm and fuzzy when compared to the facts. My interest is in confirming or eliminating my theory as to who that party may be."
I'm not sure how you came to such a conclusion. I don't really have a "soft and fuzzy" view of Rome, but I do have a charitable one as is befitting my faith.
In fact, as I read over our conversation, I'm not sure how you come to such conclusions about my position when the way I read it we are essentially in agreement.
Anyway- if it helps you, I'm sure it won't take you long to work out who is spreading such "warm and fuzzy" notions about Rome. My question is this- if you think they are not "warm and fuzzy", then what is your opinion of them?
I've posed a few questions in this that have gone unanswered- and that's ok. It's your perogative and I will respect you and your learning either way. I don't insist on an answer.
You have the mistaken notion that Anglican clergy may simply be received with their orders into the RCC. This is simply not true. RCC insists on some sort of re-ordination; the word "irregular" has no application whatsoever. They are wrong; but, they do insist.
Ah- Fr Hart,
I see what you are getting at (finally). I agree that it is highly unlikely- and very clearly already said so. Scroll up my good man. However, because no one has any clue on how this will actually pan out, I'm not prepared to make a "definitive" statement one way or the other, which is where we differ.
If things were taken with a little more care that should have been more obvious. Perhaps it is my fault, as I don't believe in blaming the listener when he appears to have literacy.
As an aside- you should know very well that the word "irregular" is very much in the tone of the AC in regards possible ordinations. I don't think it is a term they are using in regards the overly emphasised (by a few Anglicans) succession issue, but absolutely in regards to marriages and so forth. If I'm not mistaken this term is used even in the AC, and is very much used in the supporting canon law. So, yes, there is a reason to discuss what is and what is not regular, in my humble opinion.
As an aside- you should know very well that the word "irregular" is very much in the tone of the AC in regards possible ordinations.
But, the term has nothing to do with Anglican orders, that is, by Rome's absurd definition.
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