UPDATE on Rome/Canterbury post

I recently posted a link to John Allen's report on the Vatican's move to facilitate the welcoming of disaffected Anglicans into communion with the Roman Catholic Church.

(Interested in learning more about the Anglican communion? Here's their website.)

Margaret Steinfels at Commonweal also linked to John Allen and you might want to read the interesting comments on her post, especially Robert Mickens' thoughts (scroll down the comments on Steinfels' post).

In the combox on this page, Irish Gal posted this link to Fr. Dwight Longnecker's blog, Standing on My Head, regarding the same topic.

Looks like we'll have to wait until the Apostolic Constitution on this topic is published before we understand what's happened and what's at stake ecclesiologically, liturgically and ecumenically.



  1. I have not been here all week and such busy week, church wise too. Lots of good posts and as always, interesting comments.

    Just reading and saying hello- no real comment. I just think it is all too soon to tell how this will work out and if it is a good thing or not.

  2. I cannot understand how a papal initiative to make it easier for a group of people to join the "One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church" could be a *bad* thing. I'd like to hear an explanation.

    Irish Gal

  3. Haven't had a chance to read all of the articles and commentary, but I just had a thought....has anyone mentioned whether Queen Elizabeth was consulted in all of this? She is the titular Head of the Church of England and I would think would have at least wished to weigh in on this matter which impacts her subjects!


  4. This story predates the past week's announcement from the Vatican on Anglican/Roman matters but it's related and offers a partial response to Rosemary's musing about the Queen.

  5. I'm sorry. I can't help it. I'm selfish by nature.

    As an orthodox (lower-case "o") Roman Catholic, I grieve along with others like me over the banality of progressive liturgies and such. Now! Now--just think! The tradition-loving Magisterium-loving Anglicans join our ranks. Do all those Catholics who are like me realize what this will mean for us? For US? We will have more priests now who dress, talk, act like real priests. We will have liturgy that allows us to feel that we are in the Presence. We will have the Catechism reigning in our churches. We may even--glory be to God--have churches that look like real churches.

    I'm sorry. I said it already--I'm viewing this whole thing from such a selfish point of view and I know it.

  6. As a Roman Catholic who prefers a more traditional and conservative (in the real sense of the word) liturgy, I am hopeful by all this. I go to Boston's Church of the Advent a few times a year to satisfy my desire for a liturgy that values mystery, awe, transcendence, and beauty. The Church of the Advent is an Anglo-Catholic church on Beacon Hill and boy do they take worship seriously. They also take the corporal works of mercy seriously, lest anyone think that these people are all about the smells and bells. Yes, there are plenty of smells and there is no shortage of bells, but they also feed the hungry every week and have been doing so for a great many years. This is a community who places emphasis on the right things, in my opinion, and if we can look forward to some of that in our Roc O'Connor and Marty Haugen parishes, I for one welcome it.

    I really am not intending to be provocative here. Many people lament how in "the old days," the priest had his back to the people. I wonder why we don't choose to look at it as both the celebrant and the people facing the same direction. Despite the popular wisdom, the way we do it now is very clerical. When the priest faces the people, it places undue emphasis on the priest. It appears as though the priest is there as a talk-show host...with the chair positioned in such a way as he can make constant eye contact with everyone. And it is not unusual for the priest to sound, appear, and act as though he is speaking to the people during the Eucharistic Prayer, rather than speaking to God on our behalf.

    At the Church of the Advent, there is no question that something very special is happening at the Eucharistic Prayer. It's not just the tolling bells and the swinging thuribles as the priest elevates the sacred species, but it's the entire ambiance of awe and mystery that permeates the church. This is sacred space. This is not the same thing as going into any other space. This is God's house where we whisper and behave ourselves, not out of fear or some old fashioned sense of manners, but out of reverence and respect. No spiritual master ever taught, "You want to know how to encounter God? Talk as much as possible. Be noisy." No, the world is plenty full of noise and over-communication; church should be different. Church should be a space where people have a legitimate right to a certain amount of silence. One of my earliest memories is of being brought to church (usually a middle of the week, mid-afternoon visit to St. Anthony's in Revere) and how we would whisper, my grandmother and I. My grandmother conveyed to me a sense that we were in holy space. We knelt, we whispered, and we talked, not so much to each other right then, but to God. As a means of contrast, some years ago I attended the Easter Vigil at a church in a college town known for good liturgy and before the Vigil began, rather than the dark silence that should have characterized the space, the church was a beehive of activity and excitement. My companion said, "I wonder if they'll be selling tee-shirts at intermission." It all felt so self-congratulatory to me. What it didn't feel like was worship.

    If we can learn something about worship from our Anglican brothers and sisters, I say, welcome aboard.

    I really don't mean this to sound like a rant, but I'm afraid it will.

  7. I understand the Eucharistic to be the sharing of a meal at God's Table. As such, I would rather have all members of the Feast facing the Table than having one with his back to me. I am sure that reverence and respect are demonstrated in churches of many denominations. Church of the Advent may be one of those-I thought so when I have attended it- but so is, for example, Holy Family Parish where both liturgy and works of mercy are taken seriously.

  8. Perhaps "Church of the Advent Anonymous" would like to join members of Holy Family Parish for mass on All Saints Day! Our sung Litany of the Saints is always very beautiful. We are blessed to have a pastor whose knowledge of and appreciation for good liturgy permeates our services. In the celebration of mass, the celebrant, alter servers, lectors, Eucharistic ministers, musicians, cantors, choir, congregation that sings(!) - all bring to their roles a reverence that weaves itself into a seamless whole.


  9. What they say about beauty being in the eye of the beholder applies here, too. A liturgy in which many may find sacred space, sacred ritual, sacred song and sacred time may be one in which others find very little of the same. What the Church calls the ordinary form of the Mass is ballyhooed by many in the blogosphere by citing examples of very poor liturgy. What the Church calls the extraordinary form of the Mass is rejected by many others on the basis of the the direction the priest faces and the language in which he prays. Neither approach does the other justice - worship in the RomanCatholic tradition admits of both worlds - even officially.

    Are reverence and sacredness then "in the eye of the beholder?" No, that's too subjective. But reverence and sacredness have many expressions - within the embrace of the Roman Catholic tradition.