Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Deo gratias

The anouncement earlier this week has left me singing God's praises .There are many good articles and commentaries available but I especially like the following:

"There was a T-shirt on the market last year
for converts to the Catholic faith. Emblazoned on the front were the words, "Member of the Tiber Swimmers Club." After today's amazing announcement from the Vatican, Anglicans no longer need to change into their swimming trunks. Trembling toes no longer need to be dipped in the chilly waters of the Roman river. Anglicans needn't take the plunge: Benedict has built a bridge.

What are the wider implications of this move? First of all, the Holy Father has effectively closed down the Anglican-Roman Catholic ecumenical discussions. Of course they will still go on, but the discussions will be like those days of detente where Americans and Russians met, drank tea, shook hands for the cameras, made a bland statement, and went home. Instead of "searching for ways to overcome obstacles," the pope has given a concrete way for the obstacles to be overcome.
Secondly, the personal ordinariate may provide a model for the reunion of other groups with Rome. It has always been Benedict's view that the way forward ecumenically is to replicate the existing structures that the Eastern Rite churches enjoy, and that this can be done with new flexibility and creativity. Pundits are already wondering whether this same model might assist the Society of St. Pius X to come into full communion, and once the Eastern Orthodox see it working well, they too might find ways to reunite with the ancient See of Rome.
Finally, what are the implications for the Catholic Church herself at the beginning of the new millennium? Not only is this Apostolic Constitution a rebuff to the old style of ecumenical discussions, it is a rebuff to liberal Catholics. The pope is giving a very clear message to those who wish to follow the historic Christian faith: "Let us be united in the One Faith, One Church, One Baptism." He is willing to take risks to welcome those who follow the historic Christian faith, although separated from full communion with Rome. On the other hand, he sees those who prefer the modern gospel of relativism, sexual license, and a denial of the historic Christian faith that have taken over the mainstream Protestant churches. He knows there are plenty of them in the Catholic Church, and to them Benedict is quietly saying, "There's the door."(extract from A Bridge Across the Tiber" by Rev.Dwight Longnecker)

and this:

"The canonical permanence of the Personal Ordinariates means that within a generation or so, when there are no real Anglicans left to convert, the best of Anglicanism will still be growing in the Catholic Church"(Atonementonline)

1 comment:

Kerry said...

Thank you so much for you kind words on my blog earlier this week (Ten O'Clock Scholar). And thank you also for this post! May Pope Benedict be blessed for his bridge. I hope some day to be able to walk across it. (If it were only me, I'd probably be halfway across already, but I have a hubby and children to bring, too.) But until that time, I am thankful for its presence and the affect it will have in my own church and my own life.