Thursday, January 29, 2009

Reuinion time

In what seems like an interesting development, Catholic Online is reporting that the Traditional Anglican Communion may be closer than ever to re-entering the Catholic Church, after nearly 450 years of separation.
Reliable sources confirm that the ongoing dialogue between the Holy See and the Traditional Anglican Communion may soon bear historic fruit in Church history. The reports I have read first circulated out of Australia, again from reliable sources. Then they were carried on the dependable, refreshingly orthodox and ever insightful Web Blog “Creative Minority Report'. They are now confirmed by Damien Thompson of the London Telegraph in his “Holy Smoke” column which is a must read. Damien Thompson’s reporting is always reliable and so I set forth his account of this breaking story below:

“The Pope is preparing to offer the Traditonal Anglican Communion, a group of half a million dissident Anglicans, its own personal prelature by Rome, according to reports this morning. History may be in the making", reports The Record. "It appears Rome is on the brink of welcoming close to half a million members of the Traditional Anglican Communion into membership of the Roman Catholic Church. Such a move would be the most historic development in Anglican-Catholic relations in the last 500 years. But it may also be a prelude to a much greater influx of Anglicans waiting on the sidelines, pushed too far by the controversy surrounding the consecration of practicing homosexual bishops, women clergy and a host of other issues."

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to recommend the Traditional Anglican Communion be accorded a personal prelature akin to Opus Dei, if talks between the TAC and the Vatican aimed at unity succeed, it is understood. The TAC is a growing global community of approximately 400,000 members that took the historic step in 2007 of seeking full corporate and sacramental communion with the Catholic Church - a move that, if fulfilled, will be the biggest development in Catholic-Anglican relations since the English Reformation under King Henry VIII.
This is great news!

Now, I am not entirely sure that personal prelature model is ideal for the Anglicans. In Opus Dei, one is a member voluntarily, with the "permission" of the prelature (or something like that). They are organized, essentially, as a diocese, but without any borders. Members are subject to the jurisdiction of their geographic diocese and the prelate of the prelature (be he a bishop, or otherwise). Perhaps some of this is specific to Opus Dei, but I think it gets the gist of the idea of a prelature.

The Anglican Use could very well become a Rite, like the Byzantine or Maronite Rites, for instance. You are born into a Rite, though it is not impossible (though not easy) to change Rites. Rites have various dioceses (or eparchies) throughout the world. In a sense, this seems the "most natural" organization, especially if the breakaway Anglicans become a large number. There could be a couple Anglican Use Dioceses around the world, maybe one for each continent at first.

The article is a very good read, I will just highlight the couple best paragraphs I think are important.

Archbishop Hepworth personally wrote to Pope Benedict in April 2007 indicating that the TAC planned a meeting of its world bishops, where it was anticipated they would unanimously agree to sign the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to seek full union with the Catholic Church. This took place at a meeting of the TAC in the United Kingdom. TAC bishops placed the signed Catechism on the altar of the most historical Anglican and Catholic Marian shrine in the UK, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, before posting it up in the main street in an effort to gather public support.

Archbishop Hepworth, together with TAC bishops Robert Mercer and Peter Wilkinson, presented the signed items personally to Fr Augustine Di Noia OP, the CDF's senior ecumenical theologian, on October 11, 2007, in a meeting organised by CDF secretary Archbishop Angelo Amato.

One former Anglican priest who became a Catholic priest told The Record that the ideal end for the TAC would be to become the 28th Rite within the Catholic Church, along with the Eastern Churches, which have the same sacraments and are recognized by Rome. The TAC's request is the closest any section of the Anglican Church has ever come to full communion with Rome because the TAC has set no preconditions. Instead it has explicitly submitted itself entirely to the Holy See's decisions. Six days prior to the October 11 meeting between TAC bishops and the Holy See - on October 5 - the TAC's bishops, vicars-general of dioceses without bishops, and theological advisers who assisted in a plenary meeting signed a declaration of belief in the truth of the whole Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The declaration said, in part: "We accept that the most complete and authentic expression and application of the Catholic faith in this moment of time is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, which we have signed, together with this letter as attesting to the faith we aspire to teach and hold."

This is a declaration we should all be making. I think these Anglicans are probably farther along in there conversion than most Catholics these days. This coming just after Christian Unity week, we must pray for them.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

May have caused confusion

ROME, January 28, 2009 ( – A document of the US Catholic Bishops is partly to blame for the abandonment of pro-life teachings by voting Catholics and the election of the “most pro-abortion president” in US history, one of the Vatican’s highest officials said in an interview with

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, named a document on the election produced by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that he said “led to confusion” among the faithful and led ultimately to massive support among Catholics for Barack Obama.

The US bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” stated that, under certain circumstances, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion because of "other grave reasons," as long as they do not intend to support that pro-abortion position.

Archbishop Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louise Mo. and recently appointed head of the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church, told that although “there were a greater number of bishops who spoke up very clearly and firmly ... there was also a number who did not.”

But most damaging, he said, was the document “Faithful Citizenship” that “led to confusion” among the voting Catholic population.

“While it stated that the issue of life was the first and most important issue, it went on in some specific areas to say ‘but there are other issues’ that are of comparable importance without making necessary distinctions.”

Archbishop Burke, citing an article by a priest and ethics expert of St. Louis archdiocese, Msgr. Kevin McMahon, who analysed how the bishops’ document actually contributed to the election of Obama, called its proposal “a kind of false thinking, that says, ‘there’s the evil of taking an innocent and defenceless human life but there are other evils and they’re worthy of equal consideration.’

“But they’re not. The economic situation, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or whatever it may be, those things don’t rise to the same level as something that is always and everywhere evil, namely the killing of innocent and defenceless human life.”

Archbishop Burke also cited the work of the official news service of the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference, that many pro-life observers complained soft-pedalled the newly elected president’s opposition to traditional morality.

“The bishops need to look also at our Catholic News Service, CNS, they need to review their coverage of the whole thing and give some new direction, in my judgement,” he said.
Now that he's in Rome, I suppose he can ream out his brother bishops. This would be a good opportunity to go look back at the whole problem, grow from it. I'm not sure anything the Bishops could have said would have changed the election, but they didn't need to produce a document that could have been as misused as it was.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Strange Bedfellows

I recently came across a couple news stories that just didn't seem to go together. First, I read that Google to Team Up With Vatican.
VATICAN CITY, JAN. 18, 2009 ( Google, a symbol of the seemingly endless possibilities of the Internet, will team up with the Vatican Television Center and Vatican Radio in a joint venture to give Benedict XVI his own YouTube channel.

According to the Vatican press office, texts and video footage of the Pope's speeches supplied by Vatican radio and television would be posted directly onto the video-sharing Web site.

Details of the initiative will be announced Friday in conjunction with the publication of Benedict XVI's message for the 43rd World Communications Day. Saturday is the feast of St. Francis de Sales, patron of journalists.
Great, right? Maybe Google has found a heart. In their unrelenting advances toward taking over the world, they have shown themselves to be not uniformly good. Consider their partnership with the government of China. But, perhaps a Google-Vatican partnership would be good for the both of them. Imagine my surprise when this morning I saw this article.
At least sixty amicus curiae briefs have been filed with the California Supreme Court, variously arguing for and against to the constitutionality of Proposition 8. Opponents include internet giant Google, Inc., which argues the Proposition denies employees “basic rights.”

On Thursday Google’s official blog published an entry titled “Supporting Equality.” In that entry, Google said that many people were concerned with the impact the ballot measure could have “on the personal lives of people they work with every day, and on California's ability to attract and retain a diverse mix of employees from around the world.”

Google explained that this is the reason they filed an amicus curiae brief supporting challenges to Proposition 8. “Denying employees basic rights isn't right, and it isn't good for businesses. We are committed to preserving fundamental rights for every one of the people who work hard to make Google a success.”

I'm not sure what "fundamental rights" they are speaking of. Any of the people that Google is speaking of is free, in California, to marry someone of a gender which is opposite theirs. Simple. How does this limit their applicant pool? It's not as if California outlawed homosexuals or gay bars or something. Also, if Google were to desire to grant some sort of same-sex benefits for its employees, I assume California wouldn't stop them.

Back to the main point of this: what doesn't go together here? Google teams up with Vatican, and files support for gay marriage, all in the same week. I don't think this is what Jesus meant when he said "do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing". It may be that Google is simply automating some sort of youtube content of the Pope's comments, but the timing of these announcements just surprised me.