Tuesday, October 20, 2009

the "welcome home" to anglicans

Perhaps you have heard about the announcement of the creation of an Apostolic Constitution from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved by Pope Benedict, which will offer a structure (rather like the 'personal prelature' enjoyed by Opus Dei, or the military ordinariates for chaplains) by which Anglicans/Episcopalians can come to full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving liturgical and spiritual dimensions of Anglican worship/praxis that are important to them.

I take it that this will ultimately mean the formation of what will be the equivalent of the ‘uniate’ Eastern Rite Catholics.

This is a step beyond the ‘Pro-vicariate of St. Augustine [of Canterbury]’ of 1982, the protocol set up by Pope John Paul II, by which Anglican/Episcopalian ministers who were married were given permission to be re-ordained and practice as Catholic priests while being married. This never happened, of course, for the Anglican converts of the mid-19th century, unless you were celibate anyway [which is why John Henry Newman could ultimately become 'Cardinal Newman'] or a widower [like Cardinal Manning, first head of the re-established Catholic hierarchy in England]. You you know we have 2 such priests in the Mobile Archdiocese—Leo Weisshar and Bry Shields; there is at least one in the Birmingham Diocese—Richard Donohoe.

This is a curious situation for many Lutherans in America, in terms of church stucture. Some years ago the Episcopalians and Lutherans of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) signed an agreement of 'full communion,' Called to Common Mission (CCM). What is the relationship of the ELCA to this new Apostolic Constitution (should there ever be a Lutheran congregation or minister wishing the same kind of consideration)? Would they be welcome under the same conditions, given they are in a 'full communion' relationship?

So many questions...


  1. As a Lutheran pastor who has serious Catholic leanings, I hope this new Ordinariate will recognize a transitive relationship exists via our full communion relationship with the ECUSA. I know of some other Lutheran pastors who have entered the Catholic Church as priests, I do not know if they were married. My guess is they were not; witness Richard John Neuhauss.

  2. One other that I know of was in seminary with me, and is now a priest of the Archdiocese of New Orleans Rev. Richard Miles. He also was unmarried.