The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Fr. Rutler reacts: “It is a dramatic put down of liberal Anglicanism”

A producer in my office contacted well-known Anglican convert Fr. George Rutler to ask if he’d be interested in being interviewed on the big Anglican news.  

He wasn’t available, but he e-mailed this statement, which he’s releasing to the media: 

It is dramatic put down of  liberal Anglicanism and a total repudiation of the ordination of women, homosexual marriage and the general neglect of doctrine in Anglicanism. It basically interprets Anglicanism as a spiritual parimony based on ethnic tradition rather than substantial doctrine and makes clear that it is not an historic “church” but rather an “ecclesial community”‘ that strayed and now is invited to return to communion with the Pope as Successor of Peter.  


The Vatican was careful to schedule simultaneously with the Vatican announcement,  press conference of the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster and the deeply humiliated Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury to enable to enable the Anglicans to save some face by saying that this recognizes the spiritual patrimony of Anglicanism and that ecumenical dialogue goes ahead.  That is like George Washington at Yorktown saying that he recognizes the cultural contributions of Britain and hopes diplomatic relations flourish. The Apostolic Constitution is not a retraction of ecumenical desires, but rather is the fulfillment of ecumenical aspirations, albeit not the way most Anglican leaders had envisioned it.  


The press, often uninformed and sensationalistic in matters of religion, will zoom in on the permission for married priests. They will miss the most important point: that this reiterates the Catholic Church’s insistence that Anglican Holy Orders are invalid, and perforce so is their Eucharist.


These married Anglican priests have to be fully ordained validly by a

Catholic bishop. Following Orthodox custom, they are allowed to marry only before ordination and not after.  And no married man may become a bishop.  


(Thus, any Anglican bishop joining one of these “ordinariates” would no longer be recognized as a bishop. Under special provision, Anglican bishops would have some right to pastoral authority, but would not be bishops.)  

It remains to be seen how many Anglicans (Epscopalians in the USA) will be received into the Catholic Church under these provisions, but it is a final nail in the coffin of the rapidily disintegrating Anglicanism at least in the West are will radically challenge Anglicans in other parts of the world. 


Perhaps most importantly, it sets a precedent for reunion with Orthodox churches whose Holy Orders the Catholic Church alread
y recognizes as valid.

Comments read comments(18)
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posted October 20, 2009 at 12:51 pm

Fr. Rutler always tells it like it is. Thank you Fr. Rutler!

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Christoph Rebner

posted October 20, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Thank you, Father Rutler!

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posted October 20, 2009 at 1:59 pm

It’s not just a dramatic put down of liberal Anglicanism, but it is also a reaffirmation of the value of authentic Catholic tradition and worship. May God give many the grace to take advantage of the Vatican’s generous offer and come into communion with the “One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic” church.

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posted October 20, 2009 at 2:59 pm

The Lord works in mysterious ways – also bold!

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posted October 20, 2009 at 3:08 pm

The liberalism doesn’t need the Apostolical Constitution to put the nail down in its coffin, it will do this itself.

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Padre Steve

posted October 20, 2009 at 3:50 pm

This is amazing and will bear great fruit I am sure. Let’s continue to pray for more and more Christians to “come home” to Catholic Church! I pray that the Eastern Churches will return soon as well! Keep up the great work Deacon Greg!

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posted October 20, 2009 at 5:57 pm

I think I’d be a little insulted if I were still Catholic. For better or worse, being Catholic used to mean something beyond one’s position in the Culture War. Until now, to become a Catholic, especially as an adult, required that you do, in the language of theologeons “Catholic stuff.” Ie you had to demonstrate some sincere interest and knowledge of the faith that was grounded in a real desire to be part of it, not as a side effect of some other agenda. It’s been nigh on 25 years since I could be considered a member of the faith, but I distinctly remember that it had some deeper aspects than discomfort with gays and women.

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posted October 20, 2009 at 7:00 pm

In this year of the priest, my parish has been holding weekly (on Monday) benediction and holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament. Of course we all quietly pray for priestly vocations. Yesterday was my first time attending and I was, at times, fervent in my praying and meditations. What a beautiful answer today! A stroke of genius from the Vatican: drawing a line in the sand on several favorite liberal issues while extending a sure-to-be-taken by millions invitation. We all suspected this may come, but the timing was certainly surprising. I gather that JP2 and Ratzinger had something together to do with this for several decades.

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Deacon Roy

posted October 20, 2009 at 7:02 pm

Deacon Greg and all: What ramifications might this dramatic change have for Roman Catholic deacons? If a large number of Anglican married priests are ordained as RC priests, how might married permanent deacons feel? I think there is lots of room here for some challenging dialogue.

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posted October 20, 2009 at 7:49 pm

So it looks like the Anglicans will be dumping their right wing fanatics on us. How is this any sort of thing to be happy about? Will these people carry along with them the 39 articles? The Book of Common Prayer? Many will happily ignore these issues because they are committed to discrimination against women and gays.
But maybe, they can introduce us to some of their great music.

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 20, 2009 at 7:59 pm

Deacon Roy…
Good question.
The teaching of the Church has been that the two vocations, deacon and priest, are separate callings, with separate dimensions and purposes and theologies. (Though the “theology of the diaconate,” I think, is still very much a work in progress.) That’s one reason why very few unmarried permanent deacons are later ordained to the priesthood.
Truth be told: a deacon who in his heart pines to be a priest should probably seriously reconsider his own calling. The Church is not enriched by deacons who are frustrated priests. (Of course, it’s not helped, either, by priests who are frustrated bishops…)
Dcn. G.

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 20, 2009 at 8:19 pm

DML wrote: So it looks like the Anglicans will be dumping their right wing fanatics on us. How is this any sort of thing to be happy about? Will these people carry along with them the 39 articles? The Book of Common Prayer? Many will happily ignore these issues because they are committed to discrimination against women and gays.
As someone once noted: “See how these Christians shove one another.”
It’s a big Church. And getting bigger. Rejoice!
Dcn. G.

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted October 20, 2009 at 8:33 pm

I wish that I could see it through the same optimistic lens that you do Deacon Greg. If only it were as simple as a big church. Perhaps it is.

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posted October 20, 2009 at 9:28 pm

Deacon Roy:
As you know, the rules are that deacons may not marry once they are ordained. If they become widowed, they cannot re-marry. If they are single when they are ordained, they cannot marry.
I assume the Holy Father will require these Anglican converts to follow the same rules. The creation of special “ordinariates” may be an effort to segregate them as a special class from the regular Roman clergy, for the time being.

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posted October 20, 2009 at 9:58 pm

I was so excited about this that I hardly slept last night. Right now pretty bleary-eyed from all the updates. Don’t pretend to understand all the ramifications, but feel celebratory. So I pulled out our DVD of “A Man For All Seasons” and we watched it this afternoon.
It’s easy to trace some threads that Papa B has been working on for quite some time. He really does believe that the fullness of Christ’s Church dwells here.
Every Holy Thursday, when the RCIA catechumens and candidates are at Dismissal for the final time, we always read aloud to each other John 17 in its entirety. Then I ask them about the verse that most describes their heart. Those who come from non-Catholic backgrounds invariably choose 17:21 “so that all may be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.”
It’s not a Catholic superiority-complex that evokes that verse — it’s knowing in your heart that Jesus wishes it to be so… May our Advocate and Guide continue to prompt our humble servant, Papa B, and Cardinal Levada.

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posted October 21, 2009 at 1:29 am

So all of those who wanted out of the existing Anglican because of women priest, gay clergy and special rights, and other liberal issues being forced onto them now have a path to a Church that still holds these positions as non negotiable. Maybe the catholics who voted for Obama can find a clear path over to the religion these people want to leave. Kind of like a big trade between two teams that have disgruntled team members. It will certainly strengthen the conservative movement in the Catholic Church toward the real meanings of Vatican II and a restoration of many wonderful Catholic Church traditions.

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Fran Rossi Szpylczyn

posted October 21, 2009 at 7:27 am

A basic tenet of the theology of the Holy Trinity is that there is unity in diversity.
Well, we see where that has led us! God have mercy on everyone either dancing on supposed graves or who want to take their toys to a new sandbox.
Imagine if everyone reacted with such vigor the moment the last nail went into the Cross of Christ.
Quoting Aquinas, hardly a “liberal,” allow me to add:
“Incorporeal things are not in place after a manner known and familiar to us, in which way we say that bodies are properly in place; but they are in place after a manner befitting spiritual substances, a manner that cannot be fully manifest to us.” [St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Supplement, Q69, a1, reply 1]
Why are we so fixed on a “fixed” church? Whatever is alive is always in flux and change.
And what is more alive than the Body of Christ?

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posted October 22, 2009 at 3:01 pm

I’m an Episcopalian. Where do i sign up! What is the process for an individual to “come home”?

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