5 October 2010

Apostolicae curae today

The previous posts on this subject (this is the end of the series) have deliberately avoided going over the old questions in all the old polemical books and pamphlets. I have tried to edge into greater prominence both forgotten details ("idem caput disciplinae") and bigger questions of context, as well as historic developments since Leo XIII. I hope to have written enough to give some background to what Fr Aidan Nichols said in a paper which, most appropriately, he read at Littlemore (in 1993):

" ... the state of the question has shifted from an outright determination of the invalidity of Anglican Orders, in the bull Apostolicae curae, to the tacit admission, in the open letter from Cardinal Willebrands to the Co-Chairmen of ARCIC II in 1985, of a doubt about the invalidity where more recent ordinations are concerned. Unlike a doubt about validity, which has the (positive) presumption of validity as its background, a doubt about invalidity has the contrary negative presumption behind it, and so it does not license conditional, as distinct from absolute, ordination. However, those Anglican clergymen who feel morally certain of the sacramental reality of their Orders can draw consolation from the fact that, whereas the practice authorised by Apostolicae curae still continues (since the teaching of that bull remains the thesis in possession), the applicability of its teaching to their own Orders today is not unconditionally proposed by the contemporary Roman church." [Italics of the author.]

I would also contend that the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus points in the same direction. As you know, it provides that the Ordinary, even if only in priest's orders, may ask the Holy See for the right to wear pontificals ... well, actually, it doesn't say anything of the sort. If the Ordinary was merely a presbyter in his Anglican days, there is not the hint of a suggestion that he can ask for the jus pontificalium. It is Ordinariate clergy who were Anglican bishops who can make this application, whether they are Ordinaries or not. In other words, the right to seek a grant of jus pontificalium is totally unrelated to the status of a man within the Catholic Church; the right arises solely from the fact of his Consecration as a bishop in the Church of England. It is blindingly irrelevant to point out that there are categories of presbyter in the RCC who have the jus pontificalium, such as Abbots or Monsignori. Because what Anglicanorum coetibus means is this. In the Ordinariate, Fr Bob, a married priest formerly a PEV but not now an Ordinary, has come (at the Ordinary's direction) to sing a Pontifical High Mass and to do a Confirmation. He is formally presented with Holy Water in the same way as on his last visit, and led to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel for prayer. Having vested, he enters the church - while the choir sings Ecce sacerdos magnus - wearing the same zucchetto stuffed under the same mitre, the same dalmatic to make him sweaty under the same chasuble, the same ring and pectoral cross, as when he came to do the same jobs in the old pre-Ordinariate days. Quite possibly, his same daughter may be in the congregation wearing the same rather striking coat that is exactly the shade of Dad's zucchetto. "Thanks for coming to see us again, Bishop", say the same Churchwardens as the 'bishop' and his wife (same one) and daughter drive off afterwards in the same car.

If our Holy Father really does now continue to expect Ordinariate Anglicans to subscribe heart and soul to the complete applicability in current circumstances of the findings of Apostolicae curae, that Anglican Orders are completely null and utterly void, he has devised a most extraordinarily bizarre and counter-indicative way of manifesting this expectation. Come off it. Anglicanorum coetibus constitutes a deliberate and considered refusal to rub our noses in Apostolicae curae. If such an attitude is good enough for the most learned Sovereign Pontiff since Benedict XIV, why isn't it good enough for some Roman Catholics?

A completely different, and final, point. The old cry of Anglican Catholics, that Apostolicae curae ought formally to be declared of no effect, has now been completely overtaken by events, and it is the very height of folly to persist with it. We are now in a position of having profound doubts too about the Orders of many Anglican 'priests' ... well, doubts does not put it strongly enough. Given the percentage of women priests in the Anglican churches, and the growing numbers of men 'ordained' by women bishops, campaigns to vindicate the validity of Anglican Orders as a category: that is to say, the Orders of ALL who have received Anglican Ordination, are anachronistic to the point of complete folly. An increasingly large percentage of them are completely null and utterly void from our point of view too. As every year goes by, every decade in which the cancer of the new religion spreads it its lethal influence, the amount of clear blue water between us and Vatican praxis gets tinier. We are joining the ranks of those who demand "You must be ordained because your Anglican 'Orders' are invalid"! We will increasingly incur the same hurt anger that until recently was reserved for proponents of Apostolicae curae! Remember what an outraged uproar there was in General Synod when it was explained that if a priest ordained by a woman bishop wished to work in one of our parishes, he would have to be reordained!

The Roman Magisterium, the General Synod, and the March of History, have joined forces to make the question of the status of Apostolicae curae a piece of dead antiquarianism (rather like the question of whether Benedict V's election as pope was valid ... was it? Do you care?). Isn't that good enough for us? It is for me.

27 comments:

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

Your comments raise a number of difficulties. The liturgical customs you describe largely belong to the Ordinary as Bishop and would be inappropriate for anyone else to presume, hence Mass at the faldstool etc.

I think it would be very strange for a priest ordinary to invite another priest of his ordinariate to pontificate and administer confirmation. Priests without specific delgation only confirm in three specific circumstances: the confirmation of neophytes at the Easter Vigil, adult converts at their reception and confirmation in danger of death.

There is currently no situation in the Catholic Church where celebration with full pontifical rites by a non-episcopal celebrant does not also imply jurisdiction. Such is the case with abbots and prefects apostolic. It might be argued that retired bishops retain the possibility of celebrating pontifically but it remains to be seen how such questions will be worked out in situations where the ordinary is not a bishop and a priest of the same ordinariate enjoys the custom of wearing pontifical insignia.

The Flying Dutchman said...
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The Flying Dutchman said...

This is a very interesting topic.

According to Vatican II "[i]t is fitting that the use of pontificals be reserved to those ecclesiastical persons who have episcopal rank or some particular jurisdiction" (Sacrosanctum Concilium 130). Pope Paul VI codified this in his Motu Proprio Pontificalia Insignia of 21 June 1968. According to this the only presbyters who are allowed pontificals are Papal Legates, territorial Prelates, Abbots, Apostolic Administrators, Vicars Apostolic and Prefects Apostolic.

The current strict policy regarding the use of pontificals makes art. 11 § 4 of the Complementary Norms for Anglicanorum Coetibus even more extraordinary in its generosity, because it will allow former Anglican Bishops to wear pontificals even though they have no jurisdiction. (The only other presbyters who will be in this situation are Abbots emeriti and titular Abbots who may wear pontificals within houses of their own order or congregation.)

The fact that this exception is made for former Anglican Bishops shows, I think, that the Holy Father wishes to honour their former ministry in a particular way.

Fr William said...

I think Mgr Wadsworth is being very diplomatic. The envisaged situation seems to me to be mere fantasy.

What the Complementary Norms actually state is as follows:
A former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate and who has not been ordained as a bishop in the Catholic Church, may request permission from the Holy See to use the insignia of the episcopal office.

Though I shall be more than happy to be proved wrong, the situation described in Fr H's post seems to me to go several parasangs beyond what is actually stated or, as far as one can tell, intended. It is not merely the implications regarding Ap.Cur. which make it implausible; the nature of the internal relationships within the Ordinariate – between priest-Ordinary (if that is what we get) and former (alleged?) bishop now definitely not a bishop but still allowed to confuse everyone by dressing up as one AND acting and being received in such a rôle – would seem to be almost deliberately designed to cause obfuscation, chaos and conflict. Not least with the local RC diocesan, who is (to put it mildly) unlikely to be happy with a non-episcopal personage prancing around in his territory dressed up as a bishop and to all intents and purposes pretending to be one – and all with the blessing of the Holy See, and acting over his head!

Sorry, but I really can't see it.

The Flying Dutchman said...

As Fr William points out, the norms do state that "[a] former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate and who has not been ordained as a bishop in the Catholic Church, may request permission from the Holy See to use the insignia of the episcopal office."

Thus, this is a privilege which will be granted on a case-by-case basis. No doubt the competent authority will provide specific rules which will govern the use of pontificals in each case.

Hence, there will be no cause for confusion.

The Flying Dutchman said...

Given that Ordinaries who are presbyters will have jurisdiction, there is no reason why they should not be allowed pontificals in accordance with Sacrosanctum Concilium 130.

The Flying Dutchman said...

In the final analysis, we Catholics will have to come to terms with the fact that some of the Bishops and presbyters who are received into the Catholic Church under the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus may in fact be genuine Bishops and presbyters. This much was acknowledged when the late Mgr Graham Leonard was conditionally ordained.

That said, all who are received should be at least conditionally ordained, since the whole point of the exercise is to remove any doubt about the validity of orders and hence the validity of the celebration of the sacraments of the Church.

The Flying Dutchman said...

It is also worth noting that the Norms state that "[a] former Anglican Bishop who belongs to the Ordinariate may be invited to participate in the meetings of the Bishops’ Conference of the respective territory, with the equivalent status of a retired bishop."

This makes it clear that former Anglican Bishops will be treated as retired Catholic Bishops all but in name.

Fr William said...

"This makes it clear that former Anglican Bishops will be treated as retired Catholic Bishops all but in name."

Well, treated as such at meetings of the Bishops’ Conference. No suggestion at all that it will apply beyond that narrow context.

Enrico Dante said...

Non-bishops also attend the Bishops' Conference from time to time, for instance if the caretaker of a diocese (or, more likely, a military ordinariate) during its vacancy is not in episcopal orders. He ceases to do so as soon as a new bishop is appointed (or continue to do so if he himself is now in episcopal orders).

Fr William said...

The operative expression here is "equivalent status". That does not amount to recognising episcopal orders in all but name.

Around where I minister, we are beset with people (of both sexes) who claim episcopal orders on various dodgy grounds. This is becoming a real pastoral problem: I have lost members of my congregation who, having met someone with a purple shirt and a pectoral cross at the crematorium or elsewhere, have been persuaded to attach themselves to the self-designated prelate (often with the promise of minor orders).

Needless (I hope) to say, I am not suggesting for one moment that the situation of our (ex-)bishops would be comparable. I do, though, draw the moral that Rome would have to be completely mad to allow a situation in which there was even the slightest scope for ambiguity in the minds of the laity as to who was a "real" bishop and who wasn't.

Little Black Sambo said...

" ... a non-episcopal personage prancing around in his territory ..."
But will it be his territory? I thought an Ordinariate would be a peculiar jurisdiction, if that is the right term.

The Flying Dutchman said...

I do see the point that Fr William is making. However, it will be for the Holy See to recognize those former Anglican Bishops who will be allowed to use pontificals. They will no doubt be persons who will make a positive contribution to Catholic unity.

May I remind you that there are genuine, real Bishops who cause scandal and confusion too, such as one Emmanuel Milingo?

Fr William said...
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Fr William said...

Interesting question, LBS. Will the churches of the Ordinariate – or, more probably, the buildings that the Ordinariate is briefly, for the purpose of its particular liturgical function, borrowing, whether from the RCC, the CofE or elsewhere – be deemed to be, at any rate for the duration of the liturgy, outside the territory of the diocese? Can anyone tell us whether that is spelled out in Angl.Cœt., or perhaps in Canon Law?

With respect, though, I can't see the canonical details making all that much difference in practice. Or is the obsession with the inviolability of diocesan boundaries a distinctively Anglican fetish?

The Flying Dutchman said...

"Or is the obsession with the inviolability of diocesan boundaries a distinctively Anglican fetish?"

I don't see the point Fr William is trying to make here. The whole point of the Ordinariate scheme is that diocesan boundaries are not inviolable. In the Catholic Church, this is nothing new. In Britain, there are already the Bishopric of the Forces and the Apostolic Exarchate of the Ukrainians which may be said to "violate" diocesan boundaries. I don't see that the addition of an Ordinariate for former Anglicans makes that much difference.

motuproprio said...

As I read AC there will be only one ordinariate, and therefore only one ordinary, in the territory of each Conference of Bishops. In terms of practicality he will need vicegerents to confirm etc in the far flung corners of his jurisdiction, and these are likely to be some or all of the former Anglican bishops.

Steve Cavanaugh said...

I believe that the term LBS is searching for is "particular" not "peculiar" (although who is to say if some might be peculiar as well?).

Bishop Arrieta, of the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legistlative Texts (whew!), in his address to the Anglican Use Society in June of this year stated very clearly that the apostolic constitution does not create particular churches. While the Ordinariate will not be bound by diocesan boundaries, and does not require the permission of the diocesan ordinary to operate within his territory as, for example, a religious order does, the members of the ordinariate will simultaneous be members of the particular church in which they live and through which they have entered into full communion. In addition to Bishop Arrieta's talk, he referenced the document Communionis Notio to explain thinking on this.

The Flying Dutchman said...

I cannot agree that Anglicanorum Coetibus does not create particular Churches, if this is premised on the idea that personal Ordinariates for Eastern Catholics are not particular Churches. Orientalium Dignitas, Orientalium Ecclesiarum and Orientale Lumen all refute this premise. Each church governs itself accroding to its norms, as recognized by the supreme authority of the Church. I am surprised by this ungenerous attitude which would not give Catholic Anglicans their due and receive them joyfully into the Catholic Church, even using false and misleading analogies to discourage them.

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

Eastern Catholics have Eparchies not Ordinariates. Our only current experience of Ordinariates is with the Armed Forces.

The Flying Dutchman said...
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The Flying Dutchman said...

That is true for the United States.

But there are in fact Ordinariates for Eastern Catholics in Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Eastern Europe, France, Greece (Armenian Catholics), Poland, and Romania (Annuario Pontificio 2010, pp. 1036-1039). There is also an Ordinary for Byzantine Catholics in Russia (p. 748).

Steve Cavanaugh said...

"Ordinariate" is not a univocal term; military ordinariates are not particular churches, and it doesn't seem that the Eastern Catholic ordinariates are particular churches either; rather they are set up to give pastoral and juridical identity to parishes which do not have a hierarchy in their territory (see this site for details). The EC Ordinariates are for all ECs who don't have a hierarchy in a predominanty Latin territory; the faithful belong to their several particular churches, but are governed by the ordinariate.

There are similarities in the military and eastern ordinariates, but they are not the same. I hardly think that not making the Anglican Ordinariate a particular church is either ungenerous or misleading; it's a new form of church governance for a new situation. The fact that there are not necessarily bishops as ordinaries also indicates not being a particular church; a diocese must have a bishop (allowing for the obvious interregnums caused by death or transferral); the Anglican Ordinariates do not require a bishop; in this, they are more like a monastery than a diocese.

These structures should, I think, also be seen as evolving; from the scattered parishes of the Anglican Use, to nationally-based Ordinariates to perhaps, one day, a supranational structure that may, in fact, be counted as a particular or sui juris church.

The Flying Dutchman said...

Steve Cavanaugh's post is helpful and mostly correct. He is right in point out that the word "Ordinariate" is used in different contexts. However, an Ordinariate can be a particular Church. The Ordinariate for Armenian Catholics in Eastern Europe is definitely a particular Church within the Armenian Catholic Church. It is headed by a titular Archbishop living in Armenia and claims 440,000 members.

I think the word "Ordinariate" was chosen for the new Anglican communities because it is the vaguest and least defined term for some form of community of Christian faithful. After all, the Ordinariates will be an experiment, and it will remain to been seen how they will develop. They will be a sort of embryonic particular Churches, which will hopefully grow up into mature particular Churches, at which point they may perhaps be erected as territorial Prelatures or even fully-fledged dioceses.

After all, it is not completely unheard-of to have parallel dioceses/eparchies of the same rite in one place. The Syro-Malabar Knanaya metropolitan see of Kottayam in Kerala is coextensive with the territory of the other four provinces of the Syro-Malabar Church. So the idea of an Anglican Use diocese or even province coexisting with other Roman Catholic dioceses and provinces in the same territory is not completely absurd, though I think it would take some getting used to...

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

Eastern Churches have their own Code of Canon Law and for this reason no strict comparison between 'Ordinariates' is possible. The experience of Ordinariates in the Latin Rite at the present time, as I have suggested, is limited. There are, however, a number of other juridical circumstrictions that already exist such as Apostolic Administrations, Apostolic Prefectures and a Personal Prelature.

The Flying Dutchman said...

Mgr Wadsworth's latest comment is very helpful. I am sorry if my reference to Eastern Catholics ordinariates has caused confusion.

But it is interesting to note that priests who are Apostolic Administrators or Apostolic Prefects do have the right to (some of) the insignia of episcopal office.

No doubt, when the Ordinariates become a reality, Rome will issue norms which will answer the questions that have been raised in this discussion.

Jonathan Lee Ching said...

This is a rather interesting question. Would a particular ordinands be able to face up to the accusation of invalid orders. If those order are in fact invalid, what does feelings have to do with it? Absolute truth would be more important I think. How many pastors of other denominations have given up much to be ordained as Catholic ministers in the Roman and Eastern Catholic Rites? The truth should be sought above all else in this particular question and the findings accepted and dealt with appropriately. One cannot rely only on feelings in religion, but that is my opinion.