The Deacon's Bench

The Deacon's Bench

Weigel on the Anglicans: “Theological shock-therapy”

George Weigel has now weighed in on the Anglican situation.

From the Washington Post’s On Faith blog:  

The first wave of reactions to the October 20 Vatican announcement of a new arrangement for receiving into the Catholic Church groups of Anglican clergy and laity who would retain distinctive elements of their spiritual and liturgical heritage tended toward the critical: Rome’s move, it was suggested, was a new obstacle to Anglican-Catholic dialogue, an act of ecclesiastical “poaching,” and a retreat from the ecumenical commitments of the Second Vatican Council. What the Vatican intended as an act of ecumenical hospitality, however, was also bit of theological shock-therapy: a moment of clarification in a situation that had begun to resemble an ecumenical Wonderland in which well-intentioned people taught themselves impossible things before breakfast. 


Many of the practical details of the new arrangement remain unsettled, for the text of the Apostolic Constitution that Benedict XVI will issue, creating “personal ordinariates” by which Anglicans can enter into full communion with Rome under the spiritual guidance of Anglican clergy who will be ordained as Catholic priests, has not been completed. Nonetheless, the announcement does mark the end of an era in Anglica-Catholic relations, which began with a pioneering ecumenical dialogue led by the Belgian Cardinal Desire Mercier and the British statesman Lord Halifax after World War I. That era reached its apogee at Vatican II in the mid-1960s, when corporate reunion between Canterbury and Rome seemed to many an achievable, short-term goal. 


As both Anglicanism and Catholicism sought to find their way through the cultural whitewater of late modernity, however, the theological premise on which an era of good feelings had been based – that Anglicanism and Catholicism both affirmed the binding character of apostolic tradition, which in turn led to a common understanding of the priesthood and the sacraments – began to seem less a given than a hope.

To find out why, continue reading at the link.

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posted October 22, 2009 at 12:06 pm

This makes me wonder just how far the Catholic church is willing to retreat from its own doctrines to get more converts.

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Dave in IA

posted October 22, 2009 at 12:40 pm

There have been no “doctrines” retreated from.
Some disciplines may be changed and and waive for certain
circumstances. There are similar allowances for “rites” of
the church including those from the East.
Long live, B16

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Deacon Greg Kandra

posted October 22, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Lauren …
The Anglicans in question will have to make a profession of faith, like all converts, assenting to the catechism of the Catholic Church and the primacy of the Pope. There’s no retreat here.
Dcn. G.

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Your Name

posted October 22, 2009 at 1:14 pm

Several bloggers have also noted the remarkable timing of Pope Benedict’s offer to the Anglicans–that of the feast of St Paul of the Cross.
The Catholic Encyclopedias entry on St Paul of the Cross explains how he prayed for over 50 years for the conversion and reconciliation Paul’s of England.
Perhaps the timing of this offer by the Pope on St Paul of the Cross’ feast day was intentional, given Paul’s fervent desire for the reconciliation with the Church of England.
I wrote a brief article concerning St Paul of the Cross and his desire for the reunion of the Anglicans. For those interested it can be found here:

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posted October 22, 2009 at 5:22 pm

For the life of me, I just do not understand why some people always assume the worst when it comes to the pope, the Church, or even the local parish. It’s like some freaky syndrome: if the pope said it or the Church did it, there must be some conspiratorial reason the purpose of which is to make everyone’s life miserable. For some, it’s always the radical Church seeking compromise with the world; for others, it’s the reactionary Church trying to push everyone back to the “dark ages”. Whatever it is, it couldn’t possibly have anything to do with a desire to serve the gospel and reach out to souls.

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posted October 23, 2009 at 2:45 pm

How ironic? The Catholic church loses members and revenues due to rampant pedophilia, and seeks to attract converts by advertising itself as the Church of Homophobia and Misogyny.

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