Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Benedict XVI welcomes Anglicans and mauls Anglican assets

Benedict XVI and the Opus Dei are so hypocritical in silencing the Jesuits like Jon Sobrino who work with the poor and censoring his book Jesus the Librator. And

Benedict and the Opus Dei - who covered-up the John Paul II Pedophile Priests Army have "embraced" the Anglicans in order to seize their financial and prime-land assets. Benedict XVI and the Opus Dei are the only Catholics who serve both God (Escriva) and mammon (money). The Vatican Trinity is at work again in their deceptive schemes to achieve the WORLD DOMINATION AGENDA of the Opus Dei.

Vatican’s Come-Hither to Anglicans: A Theological Scandal

By Mary E. Hunt
October 22, 2009

http://www.religiondispatches.org/archive/sexandgender/1936/vatican%E2%80%99s_come-hither_to_anglicans%3A_a_theological_scandal

While the Catholic Church is touting its warm welcome to conservative Anglicans, it’s also a simple union of those who reject gay and women’s ordination.



The Pope and Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams share a moment in spring of 2008. Photo: ACNS Rosenthal.

The Vatican’s new scheme to lure unhappy conservative Anglicans into the fold might have caught the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams off guard, but Catholics are not surprised by anything Rome does to shore up its market share. Conservative clergy, whose opposition to the ordination of women and LGBTQ people motivated them to split from the Anglican Communion, are now welcome to switch to Catholicism.

Let history record this theological scandal for what it is. Touted by Rome as a step forward in ecumenical relations with a cousin communion, it is in fact the joining of two camps united in their rejection of women and queer people as unworthy of religious leadership.

A forthcoming Apostolic Constitution will spell out the details: Anglicans against ordination of women and LGBTQ people (like Bishop Gene Robinson, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/03/us/03bishop.html?_r=2 for example) are in full communion with Rome. Why bother, then, with individual conversion requirements or superfluous paperwork? These Anglicans can even make the transition as congregations or whole dioceses if they choose. They will be Catholics, but like the Eastern Rite Catholics they will do it their way. They can bring their own smells and bells and their Book of Common Prayer; even their own priests and bishops who will head the “Personal Ordinariates” which will function like dioceses. Come as you are, welcome to discriminate to your heart’s content in the name of God.

Rome changes not one whit on the arrival of the dissident Anglicans. It keeps in place its celibate clergy while welcoming married Anglican men with gusto. I predict more than a little consternation in the Roman ranks on that score. Current policy allows Lutheran and Episcopal married priests to jump the fence with the family in tow. Yet Roman Catholic men who wish to marry, never mind Roman Catholic women who might even agree to celibacy, are prohibited from being ordained. No Roman Catholic official seems to be able to say in a straightforward way why this is the case. They mumble something about tradition and certain distinctions. But the rhetoric is increasingly thin as they defend the indefensible against their own practice. It is not pretty.

Rome maintains its liturgy and theology wholly intact. Theological education stays the same, with the addition of small formation groups for Anglican candidates for the priesthood who can appreciate their own “patrimony” while also getting a good dose of Roman thought. In no way does the Vatican engage the issues that led to the English Reformation in the sixteenth century. Rather, Rome pretends to be flexible and modern about all this, gracious and accommodating like a fox. When the property fights begin, I predict the niceties will give way to some serious struggles and we will see just how accommodating Rome can’t be.

Denominations are businesses, after all, and as such they pay as much attention to the bottom line as to their teachings. Maybe more so. In this case, the low-hanging fruit is British Anglicans who have not figured out how to reorganize themselves in light of their denomination’s changes. Early word from the US group led by the Rev. Martyn Minns of Virginia http://www.worldmag.com/webextra/14418 is that they are in fine shape, thank you, setting up their own structures so they will not need to convert.

One wonders how long they can resist Rome’s charms. Imagine the real estate opportunities as US Roman Catholic churches close and conservative Anglicans need buildings. Think of the brilliant solution to the priest shortage as guaranteed-to-toe-the-line Anglican priests replace the Roman boys as they die off and/or think for themselves. Conjure the sight of high mass with a raft of altar servers and incense so abundant it makes parishioners forget there ever was a Vatican II. For the more “Catholic” among the Anglican dissidents, it is a marriage made in heaven. But the more evangelical of the conservative Anglicans may well consider it their worst nightmare.

What is to prevent other denominations from following Rome’s lead? For example, what if the Anglican Communion set up a Catholic wing where those Roman Catholics who believe in the ordination of women and same-sex loving clergy could be Anglicans of the Roman Catholic Rite? The Mennonites might create a Catholic rite for those who follow them on peace issues, resulting in Catholic Mennonites. I doubt it. It is more likely that Rome might decide that one does not even have to be Christian; that discrimination against women and gays is enough of a common bond to create some Catholics of the Muslim rite, for example. The permutations are endless but the result is the same: a perversion of everything the ecumenical movement has stood for in the last hundred years. Ecumenical Christians have tried to learn about one another’s traditions and find positive places of agreement—not little pockets of shared prejudice.

I feel sorry for Rowan Williams if he did not know what he was up against when he engaged in bilateral relations with Rome, only to be subject to its treachery. Beleaguered on all sides in his own communion, he now presides over the potential exodus of some of his members who will find in the new dispensation a comfortable place to live out their outmoded ideas of humanity. I only hope Williams and company are consoled by the fact that they are in good company among ecumenical colleagues who respect one another’s traditions, understand the dynamics of internal struggles, and resist the temptation to profit from one another’s problems. Rome, on the other hand, is in a class—however low—by itself.


===

Vatican seeks to lure disaffected Anglicans have caught the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams off guard



by The Associated Press
3_Britain_Anglican_Catholic_Church.sff.jpg

Associated PressBritain's Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, left, from the Anglican church listens as Archbishop of Westminster Vincent Nichols, unseen, from the Roman Catholic Church speaks during a news conference in London, held in reaction to the announcement of a new church structure for Anglicans who want to join the Catholic Church, Tuesday Oct. 20, 2009. Pope Benedict XVI has created a new church structure for Anglicans who want to join the Catholic Church, responding to the disillusionment of some Anglicans over the ordination of women and the election of openly gay bishops.


1_Vatican_Anglicans.sff.jpg
Associated Press

Cardinal William Levada, right, the Vatican's chief doctrinal official, flanked by Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, speaks at a news conference at the Vatican, Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2009. The Vatican has made it easier for Anglicans to join the Catholic Church, responding to the disillusionment of some Anglicans over the election of openly gay bishops and the blessing of same-sex unions. Pope Benedict XVI approved a new church provision that will allow Anglicans to convert while maintaining many of their distinctive spiritual and liturgical traditions, Cardinal William Levada, the Vatican's chief doctrinal official, told a news conference Tuesday.


2_Britain_Vatican_Anglicans.sff.jpg
Associated Press

Britain's Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams from the Anglican church speaks during a news conference in London, held in reaction to the announcement of a new church structure for Anglicans who want to join the Catholic Church, Tuesday Oct. 20, 2009.

Pope Benedict XVI has created a new church structure for Anglicans who want to join the Catholic Church, responding to the disillusionment of some Anglicans over the ordination of women and the election of openly gay bishops.


VATICAN CITY October 20, 2009, 09:31 pm ET

The Vatican announced Tuesday it was making it easier for Anglicans to convert to Roman Catholicism — a surprise move designed to entice traditionalists opposed to women priests, openly gay clergy and the blessing of same-sex unions.

The decision, reached in secret by a small cadre of Vatican officials, was sure to add to the problems of the 77-million-strong Anglican Communion as it seeks to deal with deep doctrinal divisions that threaten a permanent schism among its faithful.

The change means conservative Anglicans from around the world will be able to join the Catholic Church while retaining aspects of their Anglican liturgy and identity, including married priests. Until now, disaffected Anglicans had joined the church primarily on a case by case basis.

"The unity of the church does not require a uniformity that ignores cultural diversity, as the history of Christianity shows," said Cardinal William Levada, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in announcing the decision.

The spiritual leader of the global Anglican church, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, was not consulted about the change and was informed only hours before the announcement. He nevertheless tried to downplay the significance and said it wasn't a Vatican commentary on Anglican problems.

"It has no negative impact on the relations of the communion as a whole to the Roman Catholic Church as a whole," he said in London.

The decision could undermine decades of talks between the Vatican and Anglican leaders over how they could possibly reunite. Although Levada insisted such discussions remain a priority, the Vatican move could be taken as a signal that the ultimate goal of ecumenical talks is to convert Anglicans to Catholicism.

Still, the decision confirmed Pope Benedict XVI's design of creating a unified, tradition-minded Catholic Church — a goal he outlined at the start of his pontificate and has been steadily implementing ever since.

This drive also involved a recent move to rehabilitate four excommunicated ultra-conservative bishops, including one who denied the full extent of the Holocaust, in a bid to bring their faithful back under the Vatican's wing.

Levada made the announcement hours after briefing Williams and Catholic bishops in London about the decision. Notably, no one from the Vatican's ecumenical office on relations with Anglicans attended; Levada said he had invited representatives but they said they were all away from Rome.

Austen Ivereigh, a former adviser to the Catholic archbishop of Westminster, called the Vatican announcement historic because it allowed for the "gradual absorption into the Catholic Church of huge numbers of Anglicans," who are conservative in their theology and liturgy.

Until now, Anglicans had been allowed to join the church primarily on an individual basis. With the new provision, groups of Anglicans from around the world will be able to join new parishes headed by former Anglican prelates, who will provide spiritual guidance to Anglicans who wish to be Catholic. Called personal ordinariates, they will be established within local Catholic dioceses.

The new provision also allows married Anglican priests and even seminarians to become ordained Catholic priests — much the same way that Eastern rite priests who are in communion with Rome are allowed to be married. However, married Anglicans cannot become Catholic bishops.

A model for the future exists in the United States, where a handful of such parishes function — including three in Texas — thanks to a 1980 Vatican decision to accommodate Episcopal faithful and priests who wanted to convert. These parishes use a Vatican-approved Book of Divine Worship, based on the Book of Common Prayer, that includes Catholic and Anglican rituals, said Monsignor William Stetson, who manages the initiative.

The new entity is also modeled on Catholic military ordinariates, special units of the church established in most countries to provide spiritual care for members of the armed forces and their dependents.

In addition, within the Catholic Church there are ancient communities in the Middle East and others in Eastern Europe that follow different rites and allow married priests while remaining loyal to the pope.

The new model doesn't create a new rite, but rather an Anglicanized liturgy within the Latin rite.

Levada said Tuesday's announcement was in response to many requests that have come to the Vatican over the years from Anglicans disillusioned with the progressive bent of the Anglican Communion. Some have already left and consider themselves Catholic but have not found an official home in the 1.1-billion strong Catholic Church.

Levada declined to give exact figures, though he said 30 to 40 bishops had been in touch, accounting for a few hundred would-be converts.

One group, known as the Traditional Anglican Communion, has publicly stated its desire to join the Catholic Church. The group, which split from the Anglican Communion in 1990, says it has 400,000 members in 41 countries, although only about half are regular churchgoers.

"This is a moment of grace, perhaps even a moment of history, not because the past is undone but because the past is transformed," the group's leader, Archbishop John Hepworth said in a statement welcoming the Vatican decision.

Anglicans split with Rome in 1534 when English King Henry VIII was refused a marriage annulment.

Since then, the Anglican Communion, which includes the Episcopalian Church in the United States, has fashioned itself as a kind of big tent of fellowship with a wide variety of worship styles and theological outlooks that include Anglo-Catholics.

It's not known how many Anglicans consider themselves Anglo-Catholic. However, the biggest impact of the Vatican announcement is likely to be felt in England, where the Church of England has been involved in a bitter battle over whether female priests can become bishops. British Anglicans opposed to the ordination of women simply leave and join the Catholic Church.

The announcement is likely to have far less impact in the U.S., where many Anglo-Catholics left the Episcopal Church more than a decade ago. More recently, four theologically conservative Episcopal dioceses and dozens of individual parishes broke away and formed a rival church in North America.

Still, no one expects a sudden mass exodus out of the Anglican Communion because of the Vatican announcement.

"We're not talking floodgates," said Paul Handley, editor of the Church Times a London-based weekly that covers Anglican affairs.
"There are a significant number of people who remain loyal Anglicans who will be seriously (tried) by this," he said, adding that they may want to remain part of the Church of England but will "feel increasingly exposed if their friends start disappearing to Rome."

Some Anglo-Catholics who have not yet left the Anglican fold could choose to stay for a variety of reasons, including a desire to avoid lengthy and expensive battles over parish property. Others may oppose the ruling that married Anglicans cannot become Catholic bishops.

The Rev. Christopher Stainbrook, pastor of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church, an Anglo-Catholic parish that is part of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth, Texas, said it was far too soon to know the implications for his parish or others like it in the U.S.

Indeed, Levada made clear that the next step — publication of the pope's Apostolic Constitution outlining the new provision — would be the start of a lengthy process of consultation with Catholic bishops around the world about how to implement the change.

Still, Stainbrook and other traditionalist Anglican groups were elated by the Vatican announcement.

While some Anglicans will want to remain in the Anglican Communion, others "will begin to form a caravan, rather like the People of Israel crossing the desert in search of the Promised Land," said two traditionalist Anglican clerics in Britain, Bishop Andrew Burnham of Ebbsfleet and Bishop Keith Newton of Richborough.

The Anglican Communion has been divided for decades over interpreting the Bible on many issues, including ordaining women. But the rift blew wide open in 2003 when the Episcopal Church consecrated the first openly gay bishop, V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire.
Williams has struggled ever since to keep the church from splitting, frustrated by moves by churches in the United States, Canada and elsewhere to bless gay relationships.

At least four conservative U.S. dioceses and dozens of individual Episcopal parishes have voted to leave the national denomination, with many affiliating themselves with like-minded Anglican leaders in Africa and elsewhere.
———
Associated Press writers Rachel Zoll in New York and Gregory Katz and Robert Barr in London contributed to this report.



Friday, October 23, 2009

Mary Hunt on Vatican's Come-Hither to Anglicans: A Perversion of the Ecumenical Movement

I'd like to add another article to the list I compiled yesterday of valuable commentary about Benedict's embrace of Anglican dissidents. Mary Hunt published a brilliant statement yesterday at Religion Dispatches, entitled "Vatican's Come-Hither to Anglicans: A Theological Scandal."

Though lots of centrist types are trying to dance around the misogyny and homophobia that are driving Benedict's warm welcome of Anglican dissidents (and more on that below), Hunt is unambiguous about what this initiative is all about:

Let history record this theological scandal for what it is. Touted by Rome as a step forward in ecumenical relations with a cousin communion, it is in fact the joining of two camps united in their rejection of women and queer people as unworthy of religious leadership.

As she also notes, the way in which Rome has proceeded with this announcement is a betrayal of the Anglican communion and of ecumenism--a stab in the back to Rowan Williams and the worldwide Anglican communion, which does not place the Catholic church in an admirable moral light:

The permutations are endless but the result is the same: a perversion of everything the ecumenical movement has stood for in the last hundred years. Ecumenical Christians have tried to learn about one another’s traditions and find positive places of agreement -- not little pockets of shared prejudice.

I feel sorry for Rowan Williams if he did not know what he was up against when he engaged in bilateral relations with Rome, only to be subject to its treachery. Beleaguered on all sides in his own communion, he now presides over the potential exodus of some of his members who will find in the new dispensation a comfortable place to live out their outmoded ideas of humanity. I only hope Williams and company are consoled by the fact that they are in good company among ecumenical colleagues who respect one another’s traditions, understand the dynamics of internal struggles, and resist the temptation to profit from one another’s problems. Rome, on the other hand, is in a class, however low, by itself.


I highly recommend Mary Hunt's article, and encourage readers to read the entire text.

Meanwhile, I'd like to note that Jamie L. Manson, whose National Catholic Reporter piece about the recent Roman initiative I recommended yesterday, is under heavy attack at the NCR blogsite on which she published her fine statement. I have to say, I anticipated this attack.


I've noted a troubling tendency of male critics to pile on when a younger woman writer makes a courageous statement like this at the NCR site. Even one of the big names of American religious journalism, a figure not known for his sympathy for gay causes and gay rights, has logged in to question the credentials of Jamie L. Manson.


Which tells me that her truth-telling has hit a nerve--and I intend to try to contact her to tell her that and to offer her support. It's fascinating that many male religionists, including big-name and purportedly "objective" ones, seem unable to hear this kind of plain truth spoken by women, and, in particular, by younger women writers. The old boys' network is clearly rattled when women get out of their places.


I wonder why that is.

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