Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Swimming the Tiber


Image source: StJohnParish

It's sometimes referred to as "swimming the Tiber," that is, crossing over to Rome from another Christian ecclesial community. Well, Rome is building a bridge for Anglicans - wide enough for married clergy and their families to cross over en masse, so to speak.

Catholic News Service reports:
VATICAN CITY – Pope Benedict XVI has established a special structure for Anglicans who want to be in full communion with Roman Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage, said U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada.

The cardinal, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said a new apostolic constitution would establish “personal ordinariates” — similar to dioceses– to oversee the pastoral care of those who want to bring elements of their Anglican identity into the Catholic Church with them.

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 longstanding Catholic and Orthodox tradition of ordaining only unmarried clergy as bishops, Cardinal Levada said.

The cardinal announced the new arrangement during a press conference today at the Vatican. He said the pope’s apostolic constitution and norms for implementing were undergoing final revisions and would be published in a couple of weeks.

The new provision does not weaken the commitment of the Vatican to promoting Christian unity, Cardinal Levada said, but is a further recognition that many Anglicans share the Catholic faith and that Anglicans have a spiritual and liturgical life worth preserving.

(read the full CNS report)
Here's the full text of the Vatican report on this move.

-ConcordPastor

25 comments:

anne said...

A sound move I think but there are questions. What happens to RC priests who married and became Anglicans. Can they now cross back over the Tiber with their wives?

Anonymous said...

Anyone can return to the Church at any time. As for continuing in ministry, any Anglican returning will be considered for priesthood on a case-by-case basis. There is already a provision for Anglican priests to move into the Catholic clergy, with any necessary retraining and ordination, instituted by JP II.

This is good news, as Pope Benedict extends a hand in the tradition of ecumenism. All Catholics must join in Jesus's prayer for unity. As ruptures in the body of Christ are healed, the whole body is strengthened.

Irish Gal

Anonymous said...

lol..what are they going to do if any of the femals Anglican priests decide to apply?????

Anonymous said...

I must say, I don't think this is good at all. Many Anglicans come into the Catholic Church for the wrong reasons (the role of women in the church and the church's stance towards homosexuals). People should be converting to Catholicism for love of the church, not because they have a disagreement with their own church. I have met some of these "Anglican Use" types and they have no real love for the Catholic Church and have left the Anglican communion because of the issues mentioned above. In my experience, these people do not want to ever be part of us, but want only to continue using the Book of Common Prayer and are preoccupied with rubrics, liturgical garb, and other externals. Tis leaves me with a very bad taste in my mouth. I also think it's a step backwards for ecumenism. Lastly, I don't like that we are willing to relax the discipline of priestly celibacy for clergy converts but still require our own clergy to remain celebate.

Celtic Crone said...

Questions persist. Can a laicized Western rite Catholic priest who married and is still a Catholic (and still a priest forever) although he cannot by Church law legally administer the sacraments (except in cases of danger of death) now petition for full Catholic priestly privilege? And then there are those non-laicized who married and I believe are not even legally married in the eyes of the Church. What about them? And these are not all the questions -

anne said...

"People should be converting to Catholicism for love of the church, not because they have a disagreement with their own church.'

That is true but at the same time our doors and our arms should always be opened and welcoming. Hopefully by focusing on our core beliefs, such as Eucharist,social justice etc.(not only teachings about women and homosexuality) they will learn to love our church for the right reasons. My fear is that we are welcoming (which we should be)more and more conservative traditional types into a church that seems to be bent in that direction. That's not good. We need and want diversity.

Anonymous said...

Well, they simply wouldn't be ordained. Any clergy coming over has to be re-ordained.

I think this stinks. There is nothing I can think of that is at all positive about it. Nothing!!! I think it is insulting, presumptuous, arrogant.....deaf to the Spirit.....worse, stifling of the Spirit. How dare they?

They are trolling for conservatives in this instance, and investigating the nuns in the other instance. As Sr. Teresa Kane says "....they are impotent, incapable of leadership, coresponsibility, equality...."

And, others are right, this attracts all the wrong people for the wrong reasons. It sets ecumenism back.

ConcordPastor said...

It's difficult to know how the previous comment's tone, vocabulary and sweeping condemnation can help advance our understanding or contribute to informed debate.

Anonymous said...

How is bringing those separated from the church back into communion "insulting, presumptuous, arrogant?" Do you have a better line to the Holy Spirit than the Pope? Was Christ Himself "stifling the Spirit" when He prayed that all may be one?

And if people feel that the denomination they are currently in has lost its way -- if they are attracted to the truth as set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and are willing to acknowledge the primacy of the Pope as head of the Church ("Thou art Peter, and upon this Rock...), how on earth can you say these are the "wrong people" entering for the "wrong reasons?"

As for the nuns, if they have indeed heard the call to go beyond Jesus, as a keynote speaker urged, why should they maintain they are loyal members of the Catholic Church, and pretend to speak for it? "A house divided against itself cannot stand."

Irish Gal

Anonymous said...

To try to put a brighter spin on this latest development:

Perhaps, the inclusion of married Anglican priests with families will help Rome to see that this is a positive step for our Church and will hasten the day when married Roman Catholic priests will be asked to return to the fold and when men who feel they are being called to two vocations (marriage and priesthood) will be allowed to become married Roman Catholic priests.

Rosemary

anne said...

"There is nothing I can think of that is at all positive about it. Nothing!!!"

Anon. Do you not see hope and transformation by what we celebrate on the altar?

Anonymous said...

I think there could be a silver lining - seeing more and more married Anglican- turned -Catholic priests may open the eyes of the Catholic hierarchy that married clergy is attainable and healthy.

On the other hand, men leaving a religion due to their views on women/gay priests welcomes the very conservativse the Catholic seminaries are producing these days. Seems like the ole boy network to me.

Anonymous said...

As a "non-laicized" married priest why would I ever want to come back to this church when I have so many other ministerial options open to me? The issues that I left the ministry for years ago (and, no, I didn't leave to get married) are even more valid today. I honor those like Concord Pastor who still give their life energy (because of their deep commitment to the faithful catholic community) to an organization that is self-destructing. By the time Rome gets around to allowing a married priesthood frankly it won't make much difference in things. It will be too little, too late. For me, the train has already left the station... I have been called to ministry in a new and Spirit-filled places. There is no going back for me.

Anonymous said...

Question: Is it true that when the Anglican/Episcopal priests become Catholic priests, they may retain their wives/families but must remain celibate? That is what I hear from an Episcopal priest

ConcordPastor said...

In reply to:

Question: Is it true that when the Anglican/Episcopal priests become Catholic priests, they may retain their wives/families but must remain celibate?

No, it is not true.

First of all, celibate means, by definition, unmarried so the notion that anyone might remain married and celibate is self-contradicting. If the question is whether such a priest would be required to refrain from a sexual relationship with his wife, the answer is no.

Anonymous said...

wait, that doesn't make sense- at least I don't think it does- when you say "remain celibate", that is not accurate, is it? because if they are married and have a family, they weren't celibate- correct?
(I did look up celibate/celibacy)

ConcordPastor said...

The comments above from "anonymous" are a good example of how much clearer things would be here if folks would use a screen name instead of "anonymous."

Anonymous said...

sorry- I was responding to "anonymous"'s question before you responded Concord Pastor-
I see how confusing "anonymous" is and agree to use a screen name in the future

ConcordPastor said...

Dear "Anonymous for the last time" -
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
:-)

Anonymous said...

I did not mean to say "remain celebate"...I meant to say that they must become celibate after their transfer to Catholic priesthood,

I spoke to an Episcopal priest about this and he said they are asked to become celibate if they become Catholic priests. Maybe they have changed this law - but it used to be.

And I will now use another name myself - it IS confusing. Sorry!

Cam

ConcordPastor said...

Thanks for adopting a screen name, "Cam" - I can only hope this is the beginning of a trend!

Again, there needs to be attention to how the word "celibate" is used. I suspect your Episcopal priest means is "continence," refraining from all sexual activity even when married. I have no knowledge that the Roman Catholic Church has ever required this of Anglican priests coming into communion with Rome - certainly not in the time of the pastoral provision of which this week's action is an outgrowth.

Anonymous said...

John Allen in National Catholic Reporter has a terrific follow-up article to this new development in the "swimming the Tiber" world.

Rosemary

Flit said...

I just read--catholiceducation.org--and found the fact that LIBERAL CATHOLICS can keep on moving----just what is a LIBERAL CATHOLIC? Is it one who thinks for himself? Is it one who believes in a loving Lord-and not a punishing Lord?Will our Church NOT welcome gays and lesbians? This whole announcement, I fear is not to bring us all into the one true church---but a ONE SUPPOSEDLY PERFECT body--no sinners=not even Chris did that

ConcordPastor said...

Flit: Unfortunately, the simple, sweeping divisions you make in your comment lack any nuance or acknowledgment of the complexities of the issues involved.

ConcordPastor said...

Flit: Unfortunately, the simple, sweeping divisions you make in your comment lack any nuance or acknowledgment of the complexities of the issues involved.