Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

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Copernicus
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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by Copernicus » Mon Oct 26, 2009 12:48 pm

Southern Comfort wrote:This appears to be something of a departure from tradition, in the sense that a branch that split off is returning, rather than a branch growing out of the root

Surely there's ample precedent? All the eastern-rite Catholic churches (barring the Maronites, I think) are either reunited Eastern/Oriental Orthodox churches which were once separated, or, more commonly, breakaway factions from churches which are still separated. There are parallels, then, between the proposed acceptance of a branch of Anglicanism, and the reunification of (part of) the Russian Orthodox Church in 1596, which gives us today's Ukrainian Catholic Church.

Southern Comfort wrote:this initiative is a most charitable gesture

Nothing of the kind, I think. Pope Benedict wouldn't have extended a similar welcome to a breakaway grouping of Orthodox believers, because he believes that corporate reunion with the Orthodox churches themselves is a possibility to be worked for. (Note the hard time that, e.g. the Russian or Belorussian (Byzantine-Rite) Catholic Churches have had since emerging blinking from the catacombs in the mid-1990s - they've practically been suppressed by Rome, since they're a major diplomatic inconvenience for improved relations with the Russian Orthodox Church.)

So why is Benedict making this overture towards disaffected Anglicans? Because he doesn't believe there's any prospect of unity with the Anglican Communion. It's a smash and grab raid, before writing off the remainder of Anglicanism for future ecumenical endeavours. In future the C of E (and the wider Anglican world) will be lumped together with the Free Presbyterians and the Salvation Army in Rome's eyes, as far as the prospects of genuine unity are concerned.

Perhaps he's right?

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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by alan29 » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:12 pm

I wonder if it should be seen as an attempt to bolster the number of conservatives in the catholic church. It could perhaps be seen in conjunction with the loosening up over the extraordinary form, and the talks with SSPX.

NorthernTenor
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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by NorthernTenor » Mon Oct 26, 2009 1:20 pm

It's difficult to get to the root of the evident distress on the part of those who have posted hostile comments here, but there seems to be an element of fear - that converts might follow the Anglican habit of making Humpty-Dumpty statements of assent that don't have the meaning the Church would necessarily put on them; that there may be an influx of practicing homosexuals; that the conversions won’t be stable; that the liturgy will be further fragmented; and that Catholic theological and liturgical conservatism will be reinforced.

The extent to which the first two of these fears proves justified will depend on how the conversions and ordinations are handled, and by whom. It is true that the Catholic side of the ARCIC discussions has failed to understand the semantic problems inherent in formulating common statements of faith with Anglicans – this is a problem that has arisen out of hundreds of years of accommodation of all kinds of opinion, practice and behaviour within a national Church. However, we have reason to believe that the Holy Father and the CDF are aware of the difficulty, and to the extent that they are involved in arrangements and process, it is likely to be taken into account. Then, too, the point about the increasing estrangement of so many Anglo-Catholics from their Communion is that they mean what they say, and are no longer so inclined to accommodate. Those who are will define themselves as ‘continuing Catholics’ of one kind or another, and by definition they won’t be numbered amongst the converts.

The fear of instability has some basis in experience, but I believe it has been overstated. Conversion represents a significant discontinuity in converts’ lives and sense of identity, particularly in the case of clerics. It is not surprising, then, that the conversions of the 1990s provide some evidence of instability. The operative word, however, is ‘some’. On the whole, clerical and lay converts have settled in, at least as well as Catholics took on board the post-Conciliar reforms, which created a similar discontinuity and instability. This time round, assimilation is likely to be further enabled by Rome’s proposed measures.

The fear of liturgical fragmentation reflects a modern, centralising approach to liturgy that fails to take into account the correcting elements of the Second Vatican Council, and the rich history of liturgical diversity in East and West. As the Catechism puts it, “The mystery of Christ is so unfathomably rich that it cannot be exhausted by its expression in any single liturgical tradition” [1201]. I am sure that a number of those who comment on this board would be uncomfortable with the language and ritual in which many of those traditions are expressed. I am equally sure that few of them would advocate their ultramontane replacement by something more to their own liking.

Finally, it is understandable that some Catholics of a liberal theological inclination are concerned that the converts won’t think as they do, but that’s hardly the fault of the converts, or a reason not to make provision for them. As to the particular issue of Women priests: my own experience, both before and after conversion, confirms Presbyter’s impression that the chief objection for most Anglo Catholics is not that that Women can never be priests, but that the Church of England lacks the authority to make a unilateral decision on the matter.

All these fears are surmountable, with good will and care, and the effort required will be of benefit to all. As the author of the First Letter of John has it: “Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain”.

Or, as the potential converts might put it: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.”
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presbyter
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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by presbyter » Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:16 pm

NorthernTenor wrote:............it is understandable that some Catholics of a liberal theological inclination are concerned that the converts won’t think as they do.............


Or indeed, I venture to suggest, Catholics of any theological inclination. Indeed, I wonder if it is possible to develop a Catholic mind-set without being fully integrated into Catholic life...... and therein is a possible weakness in what is being proposed? The convert clergy of 10/15 years ago in this diocese lived (where possible) in presbyteries as well as undergoing a short seminary formation and while not wishing to go as far as SC's somewhat charged phrase "success story", I can understand what he means. All of our convert clergy to date, I'm sure, would wax lyrical on the benefits of the warmth of welcome they received and their introduction to Catholicism and it is an experience evident in their lives. These men have changed (and as regards seminary - they were all fascinated by the course in Fundamental Theology, that none of them had received in their formation as Anglicans) .

Where's a similar intensity of warmth of welcome and introduction to Catholicism going to come from for a Personal Ordinariate that, I suspect, will be seen my many of our faithful as a parallel Church and somehow not "proper Catholic" (or even "that weird lot up the road")? And there's the inevitable question that's going to be asked - that I myself cannot begin to answer because I find it impossible to take on an Anglo-Catholic mind-set - "Why don't they just become Catholics like us?"

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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by NorthernTenor » Mon Oct 26, 2009 4:18 pm

presbyter wrote:I wonder if it is possible to develop a Catholic mind-set without being fully integrated into Catholic life...... and therein is a possible weakness in what is being proposed?


I hope that's an issue that's carefully thought through. It has implications both for initial integration and the ongoing relationship of the 'Roman' and 'Anglo' Catholics. It has already been broached in the intention to have some degree of joint formation for seminarians of both traditions.

It also raises interesting questions for those of us who converted years ago, and who have learned to appreciate the strengths of the Church in E&W, and live with the things we think might be improved 8) *

*There isn't a grin and bear it emoticon!
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Southern Comfort
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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by Southern Comfort » Mon Oct 26, 2009 8:31 pm

presbyter wrote:and while not wishing to go as far as SC's somewhat charged phrase "success story", I can understand what he means.


I'm glad you understand. We have Roman Catholic priests in our midst who you would never know hadn't been Catholics all their lives, but we also have those who are still Anglicans in all but name.

The first group I truly believe are examples of the success not only of the "conversion" process but also of the grace of orders acting in the lives of people who always were, and still are, excellent pastors and human beings. They really are "success stories". There are others whose transition to a different form of life has, we must be honest, not been so successful. I wonder if that is because the kind of person they were was not as susceptible of being worked on by the Holy Spirit. If anyone finds that offensive, it's really no different from saying that some Catholic seminarians make brilliant priests, while others make lousy ones. Without wanting to put God in a box, perhaps it's the raw material that makes it more difficult to effect change in some people rather than others.

My point, as presbyter has wisely picked up, is that the kind of immersion in the ethos of being Catholic that is required to produce the "success stories" can vary from very little to decades or a lifetime, if indeed it ever works at all. A one-size-fits-all approach to "conversion of life" can never be the answer. That's one reason why I have strong misgivings about what BXVI may be proposing for our Anglo-Catholic sisters and brothers. I fear the ecclesiological sausage-machine, in the same way that I do not like the current approach to RCIA where people are put through a process from September to Easter that often ought to take at least three years (the duration of the Lectionary cycle) if not longer.

Getting us back closer to the topic of this thread, I also fear the danger of a supercilious approach to liturgical diversity which in fact we are already seeing with those using the Extra-ordinary Form ─ a kind of "our liturgy is better/nicer/closer to the Church's tradition/whatever than yours" attitude. This must be far from what BXVI envisaged or hoped for. What will it be like when there are not two but three streams of liturgical practice in one territory?

I compare this with the archdiocese of Milan, where the Ambrosian Rite is happily used (and within the past two years recently been further revised and updated) and there is no competitiveness or feeling that theirs is in some way "above" the Roman Rite ─ merely an acknowledgement that it is different from the Roman Rite and a desire to preserve their own particular traditional forms. It's very comfortable for a visitor being in Milan. No suggestion of superiority, just "Our way of doing things happens to be different, and we'd like to keep it that way." Here are two rites co-existing peacefully alongside each other, but not in the same territory. It makes a difference.

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contrabordun
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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by contrabordun » Mon Oct 26, 2009 9:31 pm

Well, if it's bait, I'm rising.
NorthernTenor wrote:As the author of the First Letter of John has it: “Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain”.

No he doesn't. He wrote in Greek: the Greek of his own age, moreover. Some 16th scribe chose those words, as being the language of his time. What's so wrong with contemporary idiomatic English?

Or, as the potential converts might put it: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.”

You're probably right.
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presbyter
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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by presbyter » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:27 pm

NorthernTenor wrote:Married Anglo-Catholics currently training for the Anglican Priesthood who convert will be ordained (presumably after further study and formation). Unmarried Anglo-Catholic priests who convert and are ordained will not be permitted to marry.


How about our former seminarians who left to get married - can they now continue their formation for the priesthood but for the Anglo/Roman Rite?
What about the many ordained priests who left active ministry and married? Will they be able to be incardinated in this personal Ordinariate and function once more as celebrating priests? Has Rome said anything about this? (I can just hear the possibility of anger welling up and a huge outcry from some married priests who - if in my congregation - could presently celebrate the continuation of Mass only in extreme emergency - e.g. if I passed out/dropped dead at the altar and no other priest was available)

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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by NorthernTenor » Tue Oct 27, 2009 9:31 am

contrabordun wrote:Well, if it's bait, I'm rising.


:-)

contrabordun wrote:
NorthernTenor wrote:As the author of the First Letter of John has it: “Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain”.

No he doesn't. He wrote in Greek: the Greek of his own age, moreover. Some 16th scribe chose those words, as being the language of his time. What's so wrong with contemporary idiomatic English?

Or, as the potential converts might put it: “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment.”

You're probably right.


There’s nothing wrong with it, as such, but sacral language can add deeper, subtle resonances for those who haven’t coarsened their ears or determined to stop them; hence the English-speaking Church’s inconsistency over the translation of the Lord’s Prayer and the Marian prayers (I’ve seen attempts to update the latter, but they haven’t taken with the Faithful). I recognise that there’s a wide-ranging and stimulating debate to be had here, and I’m sure you do, too. Given that, I would ask you to respect the integrity of those who think differently to you, in this case those whose deep-felt traditions the Holy Father and the CDF recognise as worthy of maintenance.
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NorthernTenor
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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by NorthernTenor » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:17 pm

SC,

There's an interesting discussion to be had here, and several commenters have contributed to it. Unfortunately, your recourse to worst possible hypotheticals and generalised character assassination are no more helpful than your confident assertions of fact that on examination prove questionable or just plain wrong. I like to think that your approach is no more typical of Catholic opinion in England and Wales than the wilder shores of traditionalism.
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monty
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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by monty » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:20 pm

Given that, I would ask you to respect the integrity of those who think differently to you,


DITTO.

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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by NorthernTenor » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:58 pm

monty wrote:
Given that, I would ask you to respect the integrity of those who think differently to you,


DITTO.


Monty,

This thread is entitled 'unity with liturgical diversity'. Some commenters have attempted to examine the recent developments within the wider context of liturgical diversity accross time and place. SC, unfortunately, clearly dislikes the idea of converts who aren't prepared to become clones of right-thinking English (or Welsh) cradle Catholics. He has:

* Cast aspersions on their character and spirituality.
* Described them as "cuckoos in the nest".
* Carelessly accused them of using unauthorised liturgies.
* Described commenters elsewhere who take a different view to him on this topic as "almost wetting themselves".
* Questioned the integrity of those Anglicans whose argument against female ordination is based on authority.

My criticism of SC's comments, unlike those comments themselves, are specific and based on readily examined evidence. I have raised these points because the comments I have noted are the antithesis of civilised, constructive and enlightening discussion. Change the perspective and they would be more at home on 'Holy Smoke'.
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presbyter
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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by presbyter » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:09 pm

Keep calm folks - Liturgy Matters
Well it does to the people who post here... dispassionate and reasoned debate, with a good deal of humour thrown in for good measure.

No point in getting hot under the collar .... we're all equally perplexed by Rome's response.

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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by festivaltrumpet » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:41 pm

NorthernTenor wrote: SC, unfortunately, clearly dislikes the idea of converts who aren't prepared to become clones of right-thinking English (or Welsh) cradle Catholics.
And is he not entitled to express that opinion, if in fact he holds it?

NorthernTenor wrote: He has:
* Described them as "cuckoos in the nest".

His exact words were: "There will be people with whom we feel thoroughly at home, but there will also be others who will feel like cuckoos in the nest." There is nothing here that suggests he considers 'them' collectively as cuckoos in the nest. It is not even clear whether Southern Comfort means that they themselves will feel out of place, or whether cradle Catholics will feel them out of place.
NorthernTenor wrote: He has
* Described commenters elsewhere who take a different view to him on this topic as "almost wetting themselves".

Actually his post did not specify whether those who were verging on the incontinent held views differing from his or not. We do not know precisely which comments or commentators he was referring to in order to judge the veracity of the statement.
NorthernTenor wrote: He has:
* Carelessly accused them of using unauthorised liturgies.

If I read the thread correctly, he suggested some specific Pastoral Provision parishes (again not 'them' globally) used elements of the 1662 BCP. On the website of one of these parishes it says
The text used for the Evensong is sung using the ancient texts from the Book of Common Prayer of 1662

I do not know whether this is unauthorised liturgy, but Southern Comfort's 'accusation' that elements of 1662 are used seems not without foundation.

NorthernTenor wrote: My criticism of SC's comments, unlike those comments themselves, are specific and based on readily examined evidence.
They are specific, and readily examined, and for the three I examined, unfounded or unprovable. I second Monty's post.

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presbyter
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Re: Unity with Liturgical Diversity

Post by presbyter » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:49 pm

John Ainslie wrote:
At the press conference in Rome announcing the new Apostolic Constitution, the CDF Prefect, Cardinal William Levada, said that Anglican priests who are married will be ordained Catholic priests, although married Anglican bishops will not be able to function as Catholic bishops in keeping with the long-standing Catholic and Orthodox tradition of ordaining only unmarried clergyas bishops. Married men now in seminary formation will be ordained and can function as presbyters. But priests must be celibate.

Would someone mind explaining to me how the last two sentences can be reconciled? Are not presbyters ordained priests, albeit of the second rank (behind bishops but ahead of deacons)? :?


ZENIT wrote:As to future priests, the statement explained: "The seminarians in the ordinariate are to be prepared alongside other Catholic seminarians, though the ordinariate may establish a house of formation to address the particular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony. In this way, the apostolic constitution seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical and spiritual patrimony and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be integrated into the Catholic Church."


On the one hand - I am viewing these statements as a mighty piece of obfuscation and equivocation - and sympathise with John's plea for reconciliation.

On the other hand - I might be just plain thick.

If and when the Anglo-Roman-Catholic Rite is set up and running, will the future seminarians be required to be celibate? The above refers to married seminarians in formation now in Anglican colleges, not to those candidates who apply for seminary in the future.

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