03 December 2010

The "Doors Have Been Flung Wide"

The Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion recently issued a statement about the creation of ordinariates (pursuant to Anglicanorum Coetibus) for the various English-speaking countries in order that whole congregations and leaders of Anglicans may enter the Catholic Church in a corporate fashion.

You can
read his full statement here, but I would like to highlight this excerpt, which lists the growing number of those who are petitioning to enter the Church:

In England, Bishop Mercer has had a very productive meeting with the Episcopal Delegate for the Ordinariate (representing both the Bishops’ Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith). Twenty-four TAC clergy have indicated their firm intention to seek ordination and membership of the English Ordinariate. Bishop Mercer (a hero of the darkest days of Rhodesian terrorism when he was Anglican bishop of Matabeleland) becomes the sixth Anglican bishop to seek membership of that Ordinariate.

In the United States, the creation of a community of Ordinariate-bound Anglicans from many backgrounds was greatly boosted by the gathering at the Anglican Use parish in San Antonio two weeks ago. The Episcopal Delegate through his hard working (and former Anglican) secretary is gathering information needed for a formal announcement of the timetable. I have created a structure for TAC groups wishing to enter the Ordinariate in the United States to be gathered so that they can pray and plan and wait in harmony. Archbishop Falk, Bishop Moyer and Bishop Campese are involved in that work. They, with other retired TAC bishops in the United States (Bishops Hudson and Stewart), will be entering the Ordinariate. Fifty-one priests of the TAC in the United States have so far indicated that they are seeking admission.

Bishop Garcia of Puerto Rico and Bishop Rodriguez of Central America, with the unanimous consent of their Synods, have petitioned for separate Ordinariates in their respective Provinces.

The Canadian TAC Bishops (Bishops Wilkinson, Reid and Botterill) have petitioned for an Ordinariate. Forty-three of their clergy have so far announced their intention of seeking admission to the Ordinariate with their bishops.

In Australia, the Episcopal Delegate and I are calling all those clergy and laity intending to join the Australian Ordinariate together for a “San Antonio of the South” from 1st – 3rd February. (Canada will no doubt be having a similar gathering, to be called “San Antonio in the Snow”.) The Church of Torres Strait and the Nippon Kristos Sei Ko Kai (The TAC in Japan) are involved in the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution in Australia. My two suffragan bishops (Bishops Entwistle and Robarts), along with the former Anglican bishop of Yokohama (Bishop Kajiwarra) and the Bishop of the Torres Strait (Bishop Nona) and one retired bishop of the Anglican Church of Australia all intend to enter the Ordinariate. In line with its historic autonomy, the Church of Torres Strait is seeking an Ordinariate for its own people, who are now spread throughout Australia. Twenty-eight TAC priests (not yet including the Torres Strait) have so far indicated their firm intention to seek membership of the Ordinariate.

I have been assured that Episcopal Delegates for a number of further regions will be named. I have planned visits to Japan and Latin America in February, and am planning major visits to India and Africa, prior to the naming of Delegates.

Also included at that post is a brief letter from an Anglican Father Berry to a group of Ordinariate-bound Anglicans in Texas. He understands better than some of us, it seems, the reality of
extra ecclesiam nulla salus:

“Be witnesses to the beauty of holiness, the splendor of the truth, and the joy and freedom born of a relationship with Christ.” Spoken in Westminster Cathedral, these words of Pope Benedict XVI summon us all to our true vocations as Catholic Christians. In speaking of the relations between Anglicans and Catholics he stated: “It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.”

Whether raised in the Anglican tradition or having come to love and treasure the beauty and rich spirituality of that tradition as adults, we hear and respond to the Holy Father’s summons. Both for those who recognize that they are still imperfectly incorporated into Christ’s body, the Church, and for those who already reside safely in its bosom, the Holy Father has crafted a unique means by which we can provide the witness he speaks of and by which we can most fully and efficaciously bring to the Church, and thus lay at our Lord’s feet, the treasures of our Anglican patrimony. That means is the implementation of the Apostolic Constitution
Anglicanorum Coetibus and the erection of the Ordinariates for which it makes provision. The process for erecting an Ordinariate for the United States of America has commenced. We pledge ourselves to the support of that process and to the Ordinariate which will issue from it. We likewise pledge our faithful support to our Pope and to the Ordinary whom he chooses to shepherd us.

Rare indeed is the opportunity now given to us, especially to those of us who are yet only within the penumbra of the Catholic Church. We are allowed a role not only in better securing our own redemption by securely engrafting ourselves into Christ’s body, we can as well participate in the redemption of a tradition, a culture, a heritage, an ethos; indeed of a multiplicity of national and ethnic memories and histories.

We have knocked at the doors of Holy Mother Church and those doors have been flung wide for us; a spiritual feast awaits; we hear the choirs of angels from within; the Holy Spirit calls to each of us: “Enter and discover your true meaning and purpose; enter and find true life; enter and find true peace.” How can we respond other than with: Yes Lord! Yes Lord! and then again, Yes Lord!

No comments: