Thursday, May 10, 2012

Catholics at the Reform

I was up at the Reform Club yesterday for a meeting of some of brightest and best clergy in the country, so many of them were friends, such an excellent priests!
It was a gathering to promote and support the Ordinariate, unfortunately I was held up by the Queen, because of her procession to Parliament for her speech I missed most of Mgr Newton's speech.
I caught the tale end where he spoke about Anglican Patrimony, he said basically "we bring ourselves, it is for others to judge precisely what is "patrimony"". There was talk about "receptive ecumenism", which is really ecumenism that is based on shared doctrine, that goes somewhere, rather than the old "you're ok, we're ok" ecumenism of the last 50 years.
There was a question and answer session; I was quite irritated by the first question, which was from a Welsh priest in which he rather angrily seemed to reflect the position one suspects of the Bishops of E&W want former CofE clergy just to fit in and make up numbers where they have failed to promote vocations, without anything distinctiveness, without bringing any "tension" with them. Apparently some bishop had expressed surprise that the Ordinariate had had its own Chrism Mass, rather than "mucking in" in the the dioceses in which they were resident. It is a failure to understand the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council that Pope Benedict is promoting, which is essentially unity in doctrine, diversity in practice or unity without uniformity.
The whole point of the Ordinariate, indeed the point of the "new movements" is to foment a certain tension within the Church by being "different", in the same way that religious orders in the past were "different". I was shocked by the story of an Ordinariate priest who caused uproar in a parish when he insisted on the Exultet at the Easter Vigil rather than "Shine Jesus Shine"! The thing is we are not ok, so many of the clergy of E&W would happily sign up with the quarter of dissident Irish clergy, who repudiate basic Catholic doctrine with encouragement of their bishops.
With the Ordinariate we have a group of clergy and laity, who are committed to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and who have made a great many sacrifices to become Catholic, they bring with them certain expectations that makes for a creative tension.
I know many Liberals hate the idea of a group of new Catholics coming into the Church, who actually believe and practice the Catholic faith and expect the Catholic Church in England and Wales to be... err, Catholic.

I really am convinced the Ordinariate has vital role to play in the evangelisation of both the Catholic Church and our country.


Terry said...

I couldn't agree with you more, Fr Ray. And a certain amount of tension is always good. It keeps people on their toes and not become complacent, which is not a bad thing.

umblepie said...

Thank you for this honest post Father. It seems that many of our Catholic bishops and clergy are unaware of the role of the Ordinariate, and as such are over-cautious and even hostile. It is not unusual for newcomers to any organisation to be regarded with a certain unspoken suspicion, but this is particularly regrettable in the Church. The other aspect of this is one you touched on, namely that the newcomers are zealous enthusiasts for the traditional teachings of the Church, and they do not support 'liberal' beliefs and practice, thus arousing the ire
of those who do.
A little off topic, but if you have time have a listen to this, I think you will enjoy it!

StevieD said...

Father, a quarter of the Irish priesthood HAVE NOT SIGNED UP WITH THE DISSIDENT ACP!! Their membership is claimed to be 850 but INCLUDES lay and religious who are the majority of members. The last time priest membership was mentioned by them, they claimed 200which is about 5% of the Irish priests but they are dishonestly failing to correct the impression that the media (including Catholic) have of the make up of their numbers. While demanding honesty, openness and frankness from the Church they apply lower standards to themselves.

JARay said...

So! A priest caused upset at a parish because he insisted on the Exultet at the Easter Vigil rather than "Shine, Jesus, Shine"!
Just how lax so many parishes have become. I can just see Jesus himself being rejected if he were to turn up in some parishes and tell them to "Do the red and say the black".

Pablo the Mexican said...

"...It is a failure to understand the ecclesiology of the Second Vatican Council that Pope Benedict is promoting, which is essentially unity in doctrine, diversity in practice or unity without uniformity..."

Diabolical disorientation.

Rome has lost the Faith.

It is up to the Holy Mother to correct the errors, heresies and Apostasy of Rome.

Flee to the protection of Our Lady.

Truth is not our making, but God's. And hence the Church in her history, due reparation made, has always welcomed the heretic back into the treasury of her souls, but never his heresy into the treasury of her wisdom.


georgem said...

Tension within the Catholic Church is not new. I guess it's helpful to think of it as creative tension from which much good will emerge. A kind of spiritual spring cleaning.
The members of the Ordinariate have been very diplomatic and British in keeping a low profile. Yet some people are determined to be upset. They'll just have to get over it.
The next tranche of ordinations will bring the number of Ordinariate priests to more than 80.
I tend to eschew the over-used word vibrancy but I can think of no other to describe what these men and our incoming brethren are bringing to the Church. We've seen nothing like it for many a year.
It seems that every time we've had a more conservative-leaning Pope, the number of conversions goes up. There's a lesson somewhere.
Just wait for the howls if (when, DV) the SSPX become mainstream.

georgem said...

By the way, Father, shouldn't your headline be "Catholics at the Reform of the Reform".

Dominie Stemp said...

Let us hope the SSPX finally do the correct thing - at least they agree on all the moral teachings like Humanae Vitae etc etc. They will add much needed orthodoxy. Time will tell where vocations come from - the ordinariate, the SSPX, Opus Dei, or the novos ordo route. it would be interesting to do a pie-chart, on where these young men or mature men are coming from. Dominie

FrBT said...

Pablo The Mexican

Are you after a glass or three when you write your comments?

Experience over the decades has taught me that the Laity does not always show how they should value the Sacred Priesthood.

Peter, Barnabas and Timothy open their arms to all who wish to be called the children of God. They also open their arms to the new teachers that they develop throughout the years. Openess, love of Jesus Christ, unity in serving God.

Are you all listening please?


gemoftheocean said...

The Ordinariate shows great promise, and much of the externals of their liturgies have a lot to be admired. Before my late husband, Quentin, converted to Catholicism towards the end of 2008 he had been a member of a *very* High church Anglican for most of his life. Raised a Methodist in his early years and went to Kingswood school. More or less 'the' public school to attend in England if one is Methodist. But he found it lacking and in his mid-teens one of the Methodist ministers told him 'Ah, I think you should see Fr. Bell[Anglican].' Quentin had always been interested in the bible and faith and was always searching for answers. He saw their liturgy and it immediately resonated for him. Early on in our relationship he mentioned that it was most fortunate at this period that it was the Anglican religion he had been enticed with. He said, 'thank goodness that was around, because you have to remember when I was questioning Methodism, the Catholic liturgy would NOT have attracted me.' Reason? The month? November. The year? 1970. He had just turned 15. This was precisely when the transitional mass went out and the full on NO came in. Devoid of most of the bells/smells and ritual that had so attracted him to the Anglicans in the first place. Because the particular Anglican parish he joined was very high (during the weekdays he tells me the Anglican priest did the service largely in Latin, save the readings) his experience was with the wing of the church that considers themselves to be practically another branch of the Catholic church-this strain considers the low church 'simply Protestants, my dear.' [Well, that's the way one high church Anglican friend of Q's referred to the broad church folks, much less the low church ones!]
Quentin told me that the Methodist fellow was very wise in directing him to the Anglicans, because he said 'in 1970 had I seen the NO I would have gone once, and never darkened the door again.'
It rather reminds me of you, Fr. Blake, when you mention you are struck by the numbers of younger men who are attracted to the EF. Because Quentin was in the very High Church strain right from the start things like women's ordination didn't trouble him much at first because 'my congregation would never do that.' But I gather when push came to shove the one thing that made him turn to the faith was the question of women being ordained bishops. I know that and the validity of Anglican orders in the first place were what finally pushed him over to the Church. But in his case jumping from Methodism straight to the NO would not have been the right path. Quentin, though far from a martinet, loved ritual in general-and a poorly performed ritual of ANY type of gathering that required certain pro forma acts did NOT sit well with him. [He'd have throttled the guy who ruined the boat race.] He was 'old school' in that he believed in 'form' as a sign of respect, good order and congenial fellowship, and God alone help the person who violated a code like that! He would go the to NO, but he was very selective, he much preferred the liturgies offered at the Brompton Oratory, or Blackfriars. I can see why he liked it - but frankly, I haven't been there since his death as the congregation drives me a bit nuts and it would all be a bit unbearable without him - because every nook and cranny of the place would remind me of him.

At any rate - I would love to see an Ordinariate Mass -- because I think it would have the robustness of the instant understanding of the liturgy without having to concentrate 100% to get the meaning but have the lovely externals and DIGNIFIED English rather than dumbed down 'we will assume you have the vocabulary of a five year old' English too common in the NO. [And still some nice hefty chunks of Latin too for the most common parts.] Tradition/grace/easy to understand without making you think 'they' think you are 5.

mikesview said...

I wonder how many Anglicans have had a yearning to swim the Tiber, only for it to be stifled by the idea of leaving behind a liturgy, with at best, something in common with the old Sarum Rite, and going to the 'liturgy' of the NO, or Ladybird Mass as I call it.
(Lifetime Catholic)

Jessica Hoff said...

Fr. Ray- having noted your lovely comment about Fr. Hunwicke on the Herald website, can I just say what a pleasure it is to read such a strong message of support for the Ordinariate?

After following you anonymously for a long time, I felt emboldened to sign up to tell you how much I appreciate your blog - and the help and education I get from reading it.

Laura said...

A priest caused upset at a parish because he insisted on the Exultet at the Easter Vigil rather than "Shine, Jesus, Shine"!

Maybe things aren't as bad in my parish as I thought!