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Christian Unity

On Anglican Unity: “De Lisle’s Dream Come True”

Originally posted on Friar Blog:

On October 20, 2009, the day on which simultaneous news conferences were held in the Vatican and London, at which the promulgation of a new Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, was announced, that provides for the reception of members of the Anglican Communion into Full Communion with the Catholic Church in their own “Ordinariates,” Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, O.P., the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, asked us to convey to his Dominican brothers and sisters that this was the intention for which he had asked them to pray the “Litany of Dominican Saints” back in February 2009.  Archbishop DiNoia has now asked that a remarkable article, written by one of our Dominican confreres in England, the Very Rev. Leon K. Pereira, O.P., the Prior and Pastor at the Priory of the Holy Cross in Leicester, England, be shared with our readers.  In this article, it is made clear that the Ven. John Henry Cardinal Newman (to be beatified in 2010) had prayed for such a provision that might allow a greater number of his fellow countrymen to find their way back into Communion with the Holy See.  His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, a student and devotee of the thought and writings of Cardinal Newman, has been made aware of this article.  With the permission of Fr. Pereira, his article follows below.
 
Two hundred years ago an extraordinary man was born in Leicestershire, Ambrose Philips de Lisle. He was a scion of the ancient De Lisle family, and the founder of Mount St. Bernard’s Abbey. His descendants still come to Mass at Holy Cross. Ambrose de Lisle was a visionary ahead of his time. A convert to the Catholic faith, he dreamed of Christian unity. He wrote a pamphlet in 1876, voicing the idea of a corporate re-union of the Anglican Communion with the Catholic Church, whilst retaining Anglican juridical structures, liturgy and spirituality. When his friend Cardinal John Henry Newman read it, he wrote to him,

“Nothing will rejoice me more than to find that the Holy See considers it safe and promising to sanction some such plan as the Pamphlet suggests. I give my best prayers, such as they are, that some means of drawing to us so many good people, who are now shivering at our gates, may be discovered.”


The plan was doomed to be thwarted in De Lisle’s lifetime. To console him, Newman said:

“It seems to me there must be some divine purpose in it. It often has happened in sacred and in ecclesiastical history, that a thing is in itself good, but the time has not come for it … And thus I reconcile myself to many, many things, and put them into God’s hands. I can quite believe that the conversion of Anglicans may be more thorough and more extended, if it is delayed – and our Lord knows more than we do.”

In our own time, Pope Benedict XVI has rightly been called the ‘Pope of Christian Unity’. Two years ago, the Pope said that in the critical moments of the Church’s history, when divisions arose, the failure to act on the part of Church leaders has helped to allow divisions to form and harden. He observed, ‘This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.’

It is with this in mind, no doubt, that Pope Benedict has made this unprecedented and overwhelmingly generous response (N.B. the Pope is responding to a request, not enacting his own initiative) to the many requests submitted to him by Anglicans left in dismay within their own Communion. Already such Anglicans are being castigated as misogynist homophobes – an uncharitable, prejudiced aspersion. Some Anglicans see them as traitors; some Catholics see them as less-than-desirable for our Church.

The real issue is one of unity, genuine unity: that those who seek communion with the Barque of Peter should not be left to founder amidst the waves, but be brought safely aboard where Christ is not asleep, but Master of wind and waves, standing on Peter’s deck. The Pope has shown that real ecumenism is not about courteous disagreement trying to increase each other’s insipidity until one church cannot be distinguished from another in a cosmic-beige mélange. No, the call of the Gospel still holds: one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism. These are our brothers and sisters, shivering at our gates, to be received as brothers and sisters, and not as traitors or second-class Catholics.

The Dominican Order has a small role in all this. On 21 February this year, our brother Fr. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., then Under-secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, asked all Dominicans to pray the Litany of Dominican Saints from February 22 (the Feast of the Chair of St Peter) till March 25 (the Solemnity of the Annunciation) for an at-the-time undisclosed intention – it was for this intention. It is no wonder that in our history people have remarked, ‘Beware the Litanies of the Dominicans!’

Fr. Leon Pereira, O.P.

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Apostolic Constitution ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS Published

VATICAN CITY, 9 NOV 2009 (VIS) – The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith today published the Apostolic Constitution “Anglicanorum coetibus”, which provides for personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, and some Complementary Norms for the same Apostolic Constitution.

Both documents are dated 4 November, feast of St. Charles Borromeo, and are signed by Cardinal William Joseph Levada and Archbishop Luis F. Ladaria S.J., respectively prefect and secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

An English-language communique released by the congregation recalls how on 20 October, Cardina Levada “announced a new provision responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church.

“The Apostolic Constitution ‘Anglicanorum coetibus’ which is published today introduces a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing personal ordinariates, which will allow the above mentioned groups to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. At the same time, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is publishing a set of Complementary Norms which will guide the implementation of this provision.

“This Apostolic Constitution opens a new avenue for the promotion of Christian unity while, at the same time, granting legitimate diversity in the expression of our common faith. It represents not an initiative on the part of the Holy See, but a generous response from the Holy Father to the legitimate aspirations of these Anglican groups. The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church.

“The possibility envisioned by the Apostolic Constitution for some married clergy within the personal ordinariates does not signify any change in the Church’s discipline of clerical celibacy. According to the Vatican Council II, priestly celibacy is a sign and a stimulus for pastoral charity and radiantly proclaims the reign of God”.

The Apostolic Constitution contains thirteen sections which concern, among other things: the formation of the new ordinariates which possess, according to paragraph 3 of section 1, “public juridic personality by the law itself (ipso iure)” and are “juridically comparable to a diocese”; the power of the ordinary, “to be exercised jointly with that of the local diocesan bishop in those cases provided for in the Complementary Norms”; candidates for Holy Orders; erection, with the approval of the Holy See, of new Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; the “ad limina” visit of the ordinary, etc.

The Complementary Norms concern the jurisdiction of the Holy See; relations with episcopal conferences and diocesan bishops; the ordinary; the faithful of the ordinariate; the clergy; former Anglican bishops; the governing council; the pastoral council, and personal parishes.
CONST/ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS/LEVADA        VIS 091109 (490)


The Power of Prayer

Originally posted here:

“That they may be one” (John 17:21)
Posted by Fr. Brian Mulcahy, O.P. on October 20, 2009

On February 21, 2009, many Dominican priests, brothers, sisters and laity received an e-mail with an urgent prayer request requested by (then) Fr Augustine Di Noia, O.P., Undersecretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, asking all Dominicans to pray the Litany of Dominican Saints from February 22 (the Feast of the Chair of St Peter) through March 25 (the Solemnity of the Annunciation) for an at-the-time undisclosed intention. Today, we received an e-mail from Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, O.P., the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, with the following announcement:

“Today there was announced — at press conferences in Rome and London — the forthcoming publication of an apostolic constitution in which the Holy Father allows for the creation of personal ordinariates for groups of Anglicans in different parts of the world who are seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. The canonical structure of the personal ordinariate will permit this corporate reunion while at the same time providing for retention of elements of Anglican liturgy and spirituality.

When I asked the friars (and other OPs – Ed.) to pray the Dominican litany from 22 February to 25 March earlier this year, the intention was that this proposal would receive the approval of the cardinal members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which was necessary if the proposal of some structure allowing for corporate reunion was to go forward. Our prayers at that time were answered, and now that the proposal has become a reality we can tell everyone what we were praying for then.

Fraternally,

+Abp. J Augustine Di Noia, OP

This momentous news has already hit both the secular and Catholic press, but Archbishop Di Noia wanted all of you to know that your prayers were very effective, and that he extends his most profound fraternal thanks.


And on the Eastern Front…

Pope Benedict has said that healing the schism and uniting all Christians is a fundamental priority of his papacy. Standing on the shoulders of a giant, Pope Benedict seems to be pruning and reaping what the Servant of God John Paul II began. Pope John Paul II was the first pontiff to visit Orthodox Greece in 1,231 years, as well as the first pope to visit and Eastern Orthodox country since the Great Schism of 1054.

Quietly happening behind the scenes…
Theological discussions have been occurring in Cyprus between Catholic and Russian Orthodox representatives. Most recently on the agenda were discussion on Ecclesiology and the primacy of the Pope. Serious progress has been made since Patriarch Kirill was elected following the death of the more hard-lined Alexy II last January. He had headed the external relations department of the world’s largest Orthodox Christian church for nearly 20 years, making him point man for ties with the Vatican. In that capacity, he met with Benedict in December 2007. They share a mutual respect for each other and it is reported that Kirill is a big fan of Benedict’s writing.

Cardinal Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and leading the talks, said “The main problems that need to be addressed are the ones of Ecclesiology: what is the Church, where does it find itself? Who are its ministers? Apostolic Succession, etc. These problems have consequences in the Eucharist, for example, because the ordained person is the minister of the Eucharistic celebration.”

On September 18, Pope Benedict met with Russian Orthodox Archbishop Hilarion, president of the Moscow Patriarchate’s Department for External Church Relations. The private meeting took place at the pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo. AP reported on October 1st that Pope Benedict is planning a June 2010 trip to the island of Cyprus at the invitation of a Cypriot Orthodox archbishop, Chrysostomos II. Speculation abounds that Chrysostomos II’s meetings with both Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill indicates a Catholic/Orthodox Ecumenical Summit.

Perhaps today’s big news about the Anglican Personal Ordinariates has set the precedent for the canonical structure to reunite the Orthodox as well. Deo Volente!


New Bridge Over the Tiber

At a Holy See press conference this morning, Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Archbishop Di Noia O.P., secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, made a stunning announcement regarding the fruit of ecumenical efforts reuniting the Anglican Communion with Rome. Presenting a “note” they explained a forthcoming Apostolic Constitution defining a new legal structure–Personal Ordinariate–by which Anglican clergy and faithful can reunite with the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinal Levada explained “with the preparation of an Apostolic Constitution, the Catholic Church is responding to the many requests that have been submitted to the Holy See from groups of Anglican clergy and faithful in different parts of the world who wish to enter into full visible communion”.

An “apostolic constitution” is the form of document used by the Holy See to make the most significant canonical and disciplinary provisions for the Church. It is not, then, a simple “decree” (1983 CIC 29 etc), say, or an “instruction” (1983 CIC 34).

The establishment of a “personal ordinariate” will be something of an innovation in modern canon law, although this ordinariate is apparently going to be similar to “personal arch/dioceses” such as those used for the military (1983 CIC 368 and ap. con. Spirituali militum), or to personal prelatures (1983 CIC 294-297), with Opus Dei being the only example thereof to date. One wonders, though, why both of these structures were apparently found to be inadequate for the reception of Anglicans, and why a third way was invented? We’ll have to see. [from Canon Lawyer Ed Peters]

Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, who helped draft the new structure in his former capacity as under-secretary of the CDF, said: “We’ve been praying for unity for 40 years. Prayers are being answered in ways we did not anticipate and the Holy See cannot not respond to this movement of the Holy Spirit for those who wish communion and whose tradition is to be valued.” He said there has been a “tremendous shift” in the ecumenical movement and “these possibilities weren’t seen as they are now.” He rejected accusations that the new Anglicans be described as dissenters. “Rather they are assenting to the movement of the Holy Spirit to be in union with Peter, with the Catholic Church,” he said. Technical details still need to be worked out, and these Personal Ordinariates may vary in their final form, Archbishop DiNoia said. Full details of the Apostolic Constitution will be released in a few weeks but today’s press conference went ahead because it had been planned sometime ago.

Cardinal Levada stated “It is the hope of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that the Anglican clergy and faithful who desire union with the Catholic Church will find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to them and consistent with the Catholic faith. Insofar as these traditions express in a distinctive way the faith that is held in common, they are a gift to be shared in the wider Church. The unity of the Church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows. Moreover, the many diverse traditions present in the Catholic Church today are all rooted in the principle articulated by St. Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: ‘There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism.’”

Meanwhile in London…Catholic Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster and Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury affirmed that the announcement of the Apostolic Constitution “brings to an end a period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution”, which is a “consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. “With God’s grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consultation on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England’s House of Bishops with a focus on our common mission”.

“The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing co-operation”, the declaration adds. “The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.


New Rector of the Angelicum

The name of Swiss-born Fr. Charles Morerod o.p. has been submitted for approval to the Congregation for Education. General Secretary of the International Theological Commission and Consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, Morerod is Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and professor of Dogmatic Theology.

Fr. Morerod has also been charged with leading the discussions between the CDF and Bp. Bernard Fellay of the SPPX.