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Popes and abuser-cardinals

August is normally a quiet month in Rome.

A month ago today, Pope Francis accepted the resignation of Theodore McCarrick, 88, from the college of cardinals. And that was merely the beginning.

This was a first: No pope – none – has removed a cardinal for reasons related to the sex abuse scandal in recent memory, if ever. Compare Francis’ two immediate predecessors:

When it became known in 2013 that Cardinal Keith O’Brien (Scotland) was found, like McCarrick, to have engaged throughout the 1980s-90s in the abuse of power, sexual misconduct, and sexual assault of adults under his authority, Pope Benedict (who would announce his retirement a few days later) finally accepted his retirement as archbishop, and allowed him to go on retreat for a period of “spiritual renewal, prayer and penance”. Ostensibly on his own volition, O’Brien choose not to participate in the conclave the following month, but there is no indication that there were any sanctions imposed on him as a cardinal by Benedict.

Only after Francis was elected was a visitation and investigation initiated – again, something unprecedented – and when the results of the investigation landed on Francis’ desk, O’Brien was he relieved of the “rights and duties” of a cardinal, though he still remained a cardinal, entitled to dress and be addressed as such. It was a bizarre half measure, some attest to Benedict’s intercession.

When Cardinal Bernard Law was found to have covered-up sexual abuse by priests in Boston for years, and his resignation from that post eventually accepted, Pope John Paul II gave him an honorary post as cardinal-archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome and allowed him all the rights and duties of cardinal, with a great deal of influence in the Roman curia for several years to come. Benedict did not change this, allowing him to continue unabated until retiring at the age of 80 from these roles.

We can only imagine how many other cases there have been without any public action on the part of popes at all.

Now comes this letter of former nuncio to the U.S., Archbishop Viganò, claiming, among many other things, that Pope Benedict had in fact placed McCarrick on some kind of (double secret) suspension, but that Pope Francis had allowed McCarrick freedom again, and for this reason he should resign. (More on that later).

Pope emeritus Benedict has not, as of this writing, said anything about them, nor has Pietro Sambi, who was apparently responsible for communicating them to McCarrick. Pope Francis apparently trusts our ability to read critically enough to see Viganò’s letter for what it is, and no more.

Viganò claims that “the Cardinal was to leave the seminary where he was living, he was forbidden to celebrate [Mass] in public, to participate in public meetings, to give lectures, to travel,with the obligation of dedicating himself to a life of prayer and penance.” 

It seems unlikely that there were any such restrictions, except perhaps the request to move out of the seminary.

First, if such sanction existed, the failure to make them public would be a grave scandal in itself. “Secret” laws are no law at all, and one of the issues at the heart of this ongoing scandal is the lack of transparency. In which case, yes a pope would be morally at fault for failing to act appropriately, and for covering up knowledge of an abuser. But that pope would be Benedict, not Francis.

It does not stretch the imagination much to think that the old guard would have thought this an acceptable solution: McCarrick was elderly, no longer a threat, and already retired both as archbishop and on curial dicasteries. Let him meet his maker without another public scandal. Very Romanità. Very much the kind of thing Francis has decried since the beginning.

Even if this were the way it played out, wrong though it might be, that would not be reason enough for Benedict to resign (though he eventually did). It would be reason to confess his error, correct it, and never do it again. It certainly is not a reason for Francis to resign.

But Ockham’s Razor suggests that most likely, there never were any formal sanctions. Certainly, both Pope Benedict and Viganò “violated” these sanctions if there were, concelebrating mass with McCarrick, being at public events with him, and saying and doing nothing about it. 

What is more likely is simply that McCarrick was told to sell his beach house and stop spending summer vacations there with seminarians (done in 2000) and then, in retirement, not to reside in the seminary. Which he did. And that’s about it, as far as ‘sanctions’ seem to have gone, until Pope Francis acted.

The culture of secrecy that pervaded the Church up to and including the papacy of John Paul II, only slowly began to crumble under Benedict XVI, and finally being torn away by Francis, is part of the clericalism that allowed this filth to spread thoroughly through the House of God.

As with any serious housecleaning, things get messier before they get organized, the dirt becomes more visible –  but you don’t blame the cleaner! As with anyone shining the light of Truth into dark corners, those who prefer the darkness will do anything to put out the light.


And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. John 3:19


Tyranny of the minority: AL edition

Every time the media, some blogger, or a friend on facebook lament the “confusing” effect of Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia, or the gospel, they pull out the infamous dubia of Cardinals Brandmüller, Burke, Caffarra, and Meisner or the letter of 45 “theologians” sent to the cardinals critiquing or dissenting from the apostolic exhortation. (Really, only about 15 of the signatories are theologians, some of note, the rest being lawyers, philosophers, grad students and simple clerics).

The latest example, from Religion News Service, covering last weekend colloquium in Paris on the history of deposing popes for heresy:

After Pope Francis did not respond to the call to explain his views, the four cardinals — including an American based in Rome, Cardinal Raymond Burke — released the text of their appeal. Burke also gave an interview saying the pope would automatically lose his office if he professed a heresy.

In December, another group of 23 Catholic scholars and cleric issued a letter saying the church was now “drifting perilously like a ship without a rudder, and indeed, shows symptoms of incipient disintegration.” They urged the four cardinals to issue a so-called fraternal correction.

Whether their complaints and cautions have any merit or not, and whether these are academic heavyweights or not is not my immediate concern. But consider this:

There are 223 cardinals, only four (three retired) signed the dubia.

It is a little hard to find statistics on just how many theologians there are, surprisingly, but a quick estimate* suggests something like 23,000 Catholic theologians (with a doctorate), worldwide. Only 15 singed this dissent letter.

So, <2% of cardinals, and 0.06% of theologians have formally expressed criticism or dissent from Amoris Laetitia.

Granted, it is always fair to assume that there are some whose sentiments are in accord with those expressed by did not or could not sign the letters, so there are larger numbers with similar ideas. But still. These numbers are tiny. Minuscule, even. No way do they deserve the level of attention they have been given.

ALimageThough, the fact that they can do so is nothing short of amazing. Barely a decade ago, only tenured professors dared even utter words like “clericalism” or “reform”, much less things like “married priests” or “formal correction of a pope”. For an entire generation previously, criticism of, and even voicing differing opinions than, the pope was a good way to loose your job, damage your career, and guarantee persona non grata status on commissions or as curial consultors. Now, at least ,there is freedom to express yourself on such things without petty reprisals.

The simple reality is the vast majority of people who know what they are talking about back the pope and the bishops. The vast majority of people who mostly know what they are talking about back the pope and the bishops. This should not surprise anyone. But it seems to, almost constantly. Perhaps because too large a voice is given to this cantankerous minority, and it has far too much influence here in Rome. Another three decades of Francis or another in his mold might just shift the paradigm, otherwise, more direct action needs to be taken to balance the perspective to match reality.

Perhaps the press could help, by, instead of highlighting these fringe voices of dissent or doubt, focusing on the 219 cardinals and 22,985* theologians going along with the thought of the Church, hm?

*There are 1358 Catholic higher education institutes worldwide, about 215 in the U.S. alone. Those 215 produce about 90 research doctorates in theology (PhD, ThD, STD) every year. That info I could find easily. So lets extrapolate and guess 570 PhD’s in theology worldwide, per annum (that’s possibly generous). But again, estimate 40 years of being in the workforce before emeritus status, and there are potentially 23,000 Catholic theologians out there. Not even counting those of us with DMin, STL, MDiv, MTS, MA, etc. And certainly not counting philosophers and sophists lawyers who think they are theologians!

PS: I would love someone with accurate statistics on theologians and theology PhDs to come along and correct me, please. 

Ecumenical “Crusaders” and the other, other Notre Dame

In the weeks following, I attended two ecumenical evenings, of quite different character.

The first was with an informal network that has been meeting for decades, the Jerusalem Ecumenical Friends Network (or some variation thereof). Moderated by a kindly White Father (Missionaries of Africa), about 25 of us gathered in the Austrian Hospice (founded 1863)  including representatives of the Anglican, Armenian Apostolic, Baptist, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, and Catholics of Latin, Melkite, and Maronite churches. Focolare and Chemin Neuf were both present. Others are often represented, often including Churches with little or no official dialogue. A pleasant evening and a great way to connect with some of the local ecumenists. From Tantur, the rector, librarian, and myself were present. Simpler in nature, this was the real ecumenists’ meeting; the second was more grand, though a little less on-topic for Christian Unity. The opportunity no less appreciated for that, however.

A few days after returning from meetings in D.C. and at [the University of] Notre Dame, I was privileged again to join an ecumenical group for an evening affair. This time, we started with liturgy at the chapel of the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, followed by a reception and dinner at Notre Dame Centre of Jerusalem, just north of the Damascus Gate. (No affiliation of the former with the latter, to my knowledge, but someone recently told me that the bar serves glasses with the monogram ND on it. Will have to go investigate.)

Having been to the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris on my way to the University of Notre Dame, this makes the third Notre Dame I had been to in little more than a week’s time.


The installation liturgy was accompanied by an impressive Polish choir and included clergy representatives from the Latin and Melkite Catholics, the Armenian Apostolic Church, the Greek Orthodox, the Coptic and Syriac Oriental Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, and the United Protestant Church of France. Arab Catholic scouts were present as servers and standard bearers.

In a bit of interesting trivia, I only just discovered that the Centre is actually a Territorial Prelature, giving it quasi-diocesan status, distinct from the Latin Patriarchate, with the Apostolic Delegate as Ordinary. Originally built as a pilgrim house for the French by the Assumptionists in 1904, the Yom Kippur War left it in a state of disrepair. It was given over the Holy See in 1972, and Pope John Paul II established it as a territorial prelature barely two months into his papacy. In late  November 2004, just four months before his death, a motu proprio was issued giving control of the Centre to the scandalously problematic Legion of Christ. Given the pope’s known health issues at the time as well as the already well known problems in the Legion, this move was, shall we say, controversial.

The occasion this time was an elaborate ceremony and dinner celebrating the installation of a new Grand Master of the Order of St. Lazarus* and the initiation of several new members from around Europe and the Mediterranean, including an Orthodox colleague I have met here.

Prior to this event, all I knew of the Order was that they had some connection to, or inspiration from, the crusader-Hospitaller order of the same name, and their intentional ecumenical inclusion of members, and their support of a keynote at the National Workshop in Christian Unity in the U.S. It is this ecumenical inclusion – if not explicit goal of Christian Unity – that makes this Order more appealing to some ecumenists than some of the more widely known charitable Orders – such as the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, or the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. (I am coming to think of all of these organizations as elaborate donor recognition societies, or as the Knights of Columbus on steroids. Which is no bad thing, in itself).

I was impressed with the conversations I had, with both officers and guests, including delightful dinner conversation with the local Finnish Lutheran pastor and her daughter, though we shared the experience as sort of outsiders – coming from cultures where the medieval concepts of royalty and nobility have been excised. Many of those present were from European countries where these ideas are still very much alive, if in a different form than was the case when monarchs were heads of government as much as heads of state. That lead me into further investigation of the Order and of the crusader orders in general which are, or claim to be, extant today.


* Five major military-monastic orders were formed in the Holy Land during the era of the first crusades:

Some, like the Templars, were disbanded (giving us Friday the Thirteenth as an unlucky day). Others morphed into elaborate charitable organizations, continuing the work of hospitals or support of the Christians in the Holy Land, but abandoning the militaristic aspects after the conquest of Acre in the late thirteenth century. The Order of St. Lazarus survived in this transformed mode, and various attempts were made by popes to merge it with other Orders (Order of Our Lady of Bethlehem, the Order of Malta, the Order of St Maurice) throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth century. At the beginning of the seventeenth, the Order was effectively transferred from papal oversight to the royal house of France. It effectively ceased following the French Revolution, Royal Protection being withdrawn from the Order in 1830.

Whether it continued then or in what form is apparently a matter of some dispute among historians of chivalrous orders, nobility, and the like.

In 1910, though, the Melkite patriarch and some veterans of the papal army revived the Order as a non-profit charitable association under French law.  Its efforts at ecumenical inclusion began in the 1960s, in fidelity to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council and in the interest of expanding into the anglophone world.

Ironically, just as the Order embraced these ecumenical values, tensions between anglophone and francophone leadership lead to a schism in 1969 between what became known as the Malta and Paris obediences, respectively. Attempts at reunion only partially succeeded in 1986, when a significant portion of the anglophone members in the Malta obedience joined the Parisian sector, including the U.S. In 2004, a schism within the Paris obedience resulted in an Orleans obedience, under the spiritual patronage of the Archbishop of Prague. Further confusion is caused when, in 2010, some of the original leadership of the Orleans obedience broke away and formed St. Lazare International, based in Jerusalem. Happily, in 2008, the majority memberships present in the Paris and Malta obediences reunited, leaving three main branches of the Order (indicated with their respective spiritual protectors):

There is also an Italian ‘branch’ that seems to have little to do with the rest:

  • Ordine San Lazzaro – “Bishop” Giovanni Ferrando (who appears nowhere in the Italian hierarchy list and whose supposed address is the local renaissance castle…)

If you are interested, more extensive history of the order is provided here by the order itself, and here by a skeptical researcher.

Nevertheless, the charitable work of the Order – mostly hospital and ambulance work – and its ecumenical inclusion are worthy of admiration. All such orders could, perhaps, divest themselves a bit of concerns over nobility and dynastic ties and promote based on merit alone. That being said in principle, my impression of Prince Sixte-Henri and his officers was positive, setting the standard for what one supposes nobility is supposed to represent in the first place.


Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2013 – Rome

[From the archives, published for record only]

A list of events in Rome for the WPCU 2013:

Thursday, 17 January:  Giornata di Riflessione Ebraico-Cristiana
17:30  – Pontificia Università Lateranense, Aula Pio XI –
Non commettere adulterio

–          Rabbino capo della Comunità ebraica di Roma, Riccardo Di Segni;

–          Padre Reinhard Neudecker sj., professore emerito del Pontificio Istituto Biblico;

–          Rettore Magnifico dell’Università Lateranense, S.E. Monsignor Enrico Dal Covolo.

Friday, 18 January

07:45 – Pont. Univ. Gregoriana, Cappella Comunitaria –

Santa Messa Presiede: P. Adrien Lentiampa

17:30 – Cappella di Santa Brigida –

Celebrazione ecumenica dei Vespri

  • S.E. Cardinal Kurt Koch
  • S.E. Kari Mäkinen, Arcivescovo della Chiesa evangelico-luterana di Finlandia

19:00 – Chiesa Valdese di Via IV Novembre 107 –
celebrazione ecumenica in apertura della settimana di preghiera
organizzata dalla consulta delle chiese evangeliche di Roma

19:00 – Parrocchia di S. Gioacchino in Prati, Piazza dei Quiriti, 17 –
celebrazione ecumenica di preghiera e inaugurazione della mostra biblica ecumenica

19:30 – Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas –

Vespers with Rev. Milan Žust, SJ,
Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

Presentation on the Week of Prayer by Prof. Teresa Francesca Rossi, Centro Pro Unione

And students of The Catholic University of America (Washington, DC)

Saturday, 19 January

16:00 – Basilica di Santa Maria sopra Minerva –

Celebrazione ecumenica finlandese della festa di S. Enrico di Finlandia

–          Sua Eccelenza Kari Mäkinen, arcivescovo della chiesa evangelica-luterana di Finlandia

–          S.E.R. Mons. Teemu Sippo, SCI, vescovo della diocesi cattolica di Helsinki

–          Sua Eminenza Leo, arcivescovo della chiesa ortodossa in Finlandia

I canti saranno eseguiti dai cori giovanili della Cattedrale di Turku.

Dopo la celebrazione ci sarà un rinfresco nella casa di Santa Brigida, piazza Farnese 96.

18:00 – Pontificio Collegio Beda, Viale San Paolo 18 –
Celebrazione per la Settimana di preghiera per l’unità

 Sunday, 20 January

10:00 – Christus Kirche, Chiesa evangelica luterana, Via Toscana –
Eucaristia presieduta dall’Arcivescovo Kari Mäkinen (Turku, Finlandia),

11:00 – Caravita Community at Oratorio San Francesco Saverio, Via del Caravita –

Sunday Eucharist with Ecumenical Guest Preacher

Very Rev. Canon David Richardson, ChStJ, Preaching

16:30 – Chiesa battista, Via della Bella Villa, 31 (Centocelle) –
pomeriggio ecumenico di fraternità e preghiera, organizzato dal gruppo romano del SAE e dalla Chiesa battista di Centocelle presso i locali della

 18:00 – Chiesa metodista, Via Firenze 38 –

celebrazione per la Settimana di preghiera per l’unità
Churches Together in Rome

Monday, 21 January
12.25 – Cappella Universitaria, Pont. Univ. Gregoriana
Momenti di Preghiera Ecumenica
(Ortodossa): Ivan Plavsic

Tuesday, 22 January

11:00 – Parrocchia della Trasfigurazione, Piazza della Trasfigurazione (Monteverde Nuovo) –
Incontro e Agape fraterna con la Chiesa copto-ortodossa,

 12.25 – Cappella Universitaria, Pont. Univ. Gregoriana
Momenti di Preghiera Ecumenica (Protestante): Taneli Ala-Opas

12:45 – Anglican Centre of Rome –

Eucharist for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Lunch following

 18:30 – Parrocchia di San Barnaba –

Veglia Ecumenica Diocesana

Preside: Cardinale Agostino Vallini, Vicario Generale di Roma

 Wednesday, 23 January

12.25 – Cappella Universitaria, Pont. Univ. Gregoriana
Momenti di Preghiera Ecumenica (Cattolica): Michel e Deema

19:00 – Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas –

Community Evening and Eucharist with Rev. Prof. Frederick Bliss, SM,
Professor of Ecumenism and Dialogue, Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas

(residents only)

Thursday, 24 January
12:30 – Pont. Univ. Gregoriana, Aula Magna

Film sull’ecumenismo “Bells of Europe”

 16:30 – Centro Pro Unione –

Cosponsored by the Centro Pro Unione and the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas

 Dignitatis Humanae: What has it given to the Church and the World?
Lecture by Rev. Prof. Ladislas Orsy, SJ
Visiting Professor of Law, Georgetown University

Followed by an Ecumenical Celebration of the Word

Presider: Very Rev. Canon David Richardson, ChStJ, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Representative to the Holy See
Rev. Austin K. Rios, Rector of St. Paul within the Walls

Friday, 25 January

07:45 – Pont. Univ. Gregoriana, Cappella Universitaria –
Santa Messa conclusiva, presiede: P. JÁN ĎAČOK

17:30 – Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls –

Solemn Vespers with Pope Benedict XVI

Closing of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and the Feast of the Conversion of Paul

18.30 – Oratorio San Francesco Saverio del Caravita –
Free Organ recital and dedication of newly restored 1790 Priori Organ,

19:00 – Pontifical Gregorian University, Aula F007

Dialogue and Reconciliation Today: The Irish Process

Mary McAleese, President emeritus of the Republic of Ireland

Sunday, 27 January

10:00 – Parrocchia della Trasfigurazione, Piazza della Trasfigurazione (Monteverde Nuovo) –
Santa Messa presieduta dal Cardinale Walter Kasper, Presidente emerito del Pontificio Consiglio per la promozione dell’unità dei cristiani, con la partecipazione dell’Istituto Ecumenico di Bossey (Svizzera),

Divina Liturgia nei vari riti cattolici

dei giorni di Settimana di Preghiera per l’unita dei Cristiani

– Basilica Di Santa Maria in Via Lata –

alle ore 20:00


–          Venerdì, 18                  Rito Armeno                                           Pont. Collegio Armeno

–          Sabato, 19                   Rito Siro-maronita                                 Ordine Maronita della B.M.V.

–          Domenica, 20              Rito Romano                                          Presiede: Mons. Matteo Zuppi

–          Lunedì, 21                    Rito Siro-malabarese                             Pont. Collegio Damasceno Venerdì

–          Martedì, 22                  Rito Bizantino-romeno                         Pont. Collegio Romeno

–          Mercoledì, 23               Rito Bizantino-greco                             Pont. Collegio Greco

–          Giovedì, 24                  Rito Bizantino-ucraino                         Padri Basiliani di S. Giosafat

–          Venerdì, 25                   Rito Etiopico                                          Pont. Collegio Etiopico

Married Priests: Optional Celibacy among Eastern Catholics – Past and Present

Report on the Chrysostom Seminar at the Domus Australia, Rome

November 2012

Presentation Panelists with their host

Presentation Panelists with their host

Did you know that there are now more married Roman Catholic priests in the U.S. than Eastern Catholic priests?

I do not actually remember a time when I did not know that there were married Catholic presbyters, so it has always been amusing to encounter people who find this a scandal in some way. The real scandal is that Catholic Churches with a right (and a rite!) to ordain married men are not allowed to do so, basically because of 19th and 20th century anti-immigrant sentiment, in the U.S.

That was not a main theme of the conference this morning, but it was certainly an interesting fact that was new to me.

Of the varied and lively discussion, probably the main take-away theme was this: The Gospel does not coerce, but offers conversion.

In other words, conversion is a response of the heart, whereas coercion is an exercise of power. Any relationship of supposedly sister churches, say, of Rome and of Constantinople – or of New York and Parma, for that matter – which is experienced as a relationship of coercion, becomes a church-dividing issue. This came up repeatedly regarding the imposition of a Latin discipline – mandatory celibacy for diocesan presbyterate – on non-Latin churches.

Speakers for the day included:

  • Archpriest Lawrence Cross, Archpriest, Centre for Early Christian Studies, Australian Catholic University
  • Rev. Prof. Basilio Petrà, Facoltà Teologica dell’Italia Centrale (Firenze)
  • Rev. Thomas Loya, Tabor Life Institute, Chicago:
  • Protopresbyter James Dutko, Emeritus Dean of the Orthodox Seminary of Christ the Savior, PA
  • Archpriest Peter Galazda, Sheptytsky Institute, Saint Paul University, Ottawa

Archpriest Dr. Lawrence Cross spoke on “Married Clergy: At the Heart of Tradition.” Father Cross opened by stating for the record that the conference here was not a critique on the Latin practice, internally, but a protest against what he described as ‘bullying’ in some parts of the Latin Church against Eastern sister churches in communion with Rome: namely, the requirements in some places (such as the U.S.) that Eastern Catholic churches not allow married clergy because of pressure from the Latin (Roman) Catholic bishops.

Both married and celibate clergy belong to the deep tradition of the church. Though some try to point to the origins of mandatory celibacy as far back as the Council of Trullo in Spain, it is really from the 11th century Gregorian reforms – based on monasticism and coincident with a resurgence of manichaeism in the Church.

One of the results of this, much later, is the novelty, he says, of speaking of an ontological change in ordination, or an ontological configuration to Christ, as in Pastores Dabo Vobis 20, which sees married priesthood as secondary. One US Cardinal, he did not name, has referred to the ontological change of priesthood as analogous to the Incarnation or transubstantiation.  The problem with the analogy is that the humanity of Christ is unchanged!  Trying to assert an essential link between priesthood and celibacy, something which has been relatively recent in its effort, is problematic.

Indeed, there is no celibacy per se, in the Eastern tradition, just married or monastic life. Both require community, and vows to commit one to that community. The Code of Canons of the Eastern Church 374-5 highlights to mutual blessing that marriage and ordination offer to each other. He wonder why Pope John Paul II, who seemed to have such a high respect for the “primordial sacrament” did not see fit to apply it to the presbyterate.

Professor Basilio Petrà of the Theological Faculty of Central Italy (in Firenze), spoke on the topic of “Married Priests: A Divine Vocation.” Two immediate thoughts he shared were that the Catholic Church has always, officially at least, affirmed married priesthood, and to consider that vocation is always a call of the community and not of the individual. Marriage and priesthood are two separate callings, but both sacraments and therefore complementary not competitive.

Fr. Petrà drew attention to the recent apostolic exhortation, Ecclesia in Medio Oriente, which included this paragraph:

48. Priestly celibacy is a priceless gift of God to his Church, one which ought to be received with appreciation in East and West alike, for it represents an ever timely prophetic sign. Mention must also be made of the ministry of married priests, who are an ancient part of the Eastern tradition. I would like to encourage those priests who, along with their families, are called to holiness in the faithful exercise of their ministry and in sometimes difficult living conditions. To all I repeat that the excellence of your priestly life will doubtless raise up new vocations which you are called to cultivate.

While he emphasized the positive nature of the bishop of Rome including the married priesthood as a respected and ancient tradition in the east, it is interesting to note that while celibacy is a priceless gift of God” which “ought to be received in East and West alike,” married priesthood is not categorized as a gift of god but “a part of the tradition” and only in “the East.”

Father Thomas Loya of the Tabor Life Institute in Chicago, and a regular part of EWTN programming, presented on the topic,  “Celibacy and the Married Priesthood: Rediscovering the Spousal Mystery.” Married priesthood witnesses to the Catholic tradition of a life that is ‘both-and’ rather than ‘either-or.’ We need a more integrated approach to monasticism and marriage, and relocating celibacy in its proper monastic context. But the continued practice of requiring eastern Catholic churches to defer to the Latin church hierarchy with respect to married clergy is to act as though the Latin Church is the real Catholic Church and the eastern churches are add-ons – fodder for accusations of uniatism if ever there was.

One of the clear problems of this was that when, in 1929, celibacy was imposed upon eastern churches in the US and elsewhere, married priesthood was part of the strength of these churches. Since then vocations have disappeared, evangelization has all but ceased, and the general life of the churches has withered. After “kicking this pillar of ecclesial life out from under the churches” it offered nothing to hold them up in its place, and the Church is still suffering.

Can you imagine a better seedbed for presbyteral vocations than a presbyteral family? What better way for a woman to know what it would be like to marry a priest than to be the daughter of a priest?

Married priesthood is part of the structure of the Church, but celibacy always belonged to the monasteries. Without a monastic connection, a celibate priest is in a dangerous situation, lacking the vowed relationship of either marriage or monastic life to balance the call to work. Every celibate must be connected to a monastery in some way.

Just as a celibate monastic must be a good husband to the church and community, so too must a married couple be good monastics. The relationship of monasticism and marriage ought to be two sides of the same coin and mutually enriching. The call to service in ordained ministry comes from these two relationships to serve. This would be a sign of an integrated and healthy church.

Protopresbyter James Dutko is retired academic dean and rector of the Orthodox Seminary of Christ the Savior in Johnstown, PA. His topic was “Mandatory Celibacy among Eastern Catholics: A Church-Dividing Issue.” Father Dutko was the only Orthodox presenter on the panel (and the only one without a beard, incidentally…) The bottom line? As long as the Latin Church (that is the Roman Catholic Church) imposes its particular practice on other Churches even within its own communion, there will be no ecumenical unity. Stop the Latinization, and the Eastern Orthodox may be more inclined to restore full communion.

Colloquium on Anglican Patrimony in light of the Apostolic Constitution: A Canon Law Perspective

After class on Friday, my professor and I walked down the hill from the Angelicum to the Anglican Centre in Rome to join a group of canon lawyers from the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church engage in a presentation and a conversation on the nature of Anglican Patrimony in light of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus.

In the wake of the 2009 apostolic constitution making provision for the establishment of personal ordinariates, questions have been raised about the exact nature of the “Anglican Patrimony” which is named in the text of the constitution and its appended general norms. Cardinal Levada’s answer to the inquiring Anglicans was, “we are hoping you can tell us!” To begin answering that question, the Anglican Centre in Rome is coordinating a series of meetings this year on the theme Anglican Patrimony in light of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

There were 22 participants in the workshop: Three lay women, four lay men, and fifteen priests – Most of the participants were members of the standing colloquium of Anglican and Catholic canonists, who chose to have their annual meeting in conjunction with this workshop.

Questions raised and observations made included the following:

What exactly is “patrimony”? Canonically the term is used in the Latin code only in reference to the charism of religious orders and the particular customs of local churches in the formation of priests. In the Code of Canons for the Eastern Churches, it more clearly refers to the liturgy, theology, spirituality, and discipline of a particular church (CCEO 28, 39, 405). If the model of religious order charism is an example, it was noted by a Franciscan friar present that it took Clare 40 years to get the rule she wanted approved by Rome, a constant give and take, debate and discussion between the founder’s vision and the hierarchy’s presumptions – and we are only 16 months from the announcement of the Apostolic Constitution and six weeks from the establishment of the first actual Ordinariate. We may not know for some time what this received Anglican Patrimony will actually be.

There was some discussion that the ordinariates are apparently not limited to Anglicans and former Anglicans. [Though, in rereading the text, it does seem to be limited] Indeed, many of the traditionalist Anglicans attracted to it are former Catholics – canonically still considered Catholic by the Latin code. But does this mean that Lutherans, Baptists, et al. can join the Catholic Church as part of the Ordinariate? What/who defines an “Anglican group” that can corporately join the Ordinariate? Four of the provinces of the Anglican Communion are in fact united churches, local ecumenical unions between Anglicans, Reformed, and other denominations. Could a Presbyterian elder of one of these united churches join and become an Anglican Ordinariate priest? Many of these members of united churches are part of the Anglican Communion but do not think of themselves as Anglican.

Why was the model of the pastoral provision not simply adopted more widely? (Where personal parishes would be set up allowing for use of Anglican rites and lead by former Anglican clergy) In this case it was thought that the patrimony would not be sufficiently preserved, and Pope Benedict finds the Anglican patrimony to be worthy of preservation within the Catholics Church, not just by the Anglican Communion. (This observation lead to an entire conversation about the locus and determiners of Anglican patrimony).

What would be the approved liturgical use in the Ordinariate, and would this be up to each Ordinariate individually? Someone had heard the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, which had been approved for use by the Episcopal Church in the US but rejected by Parliament for use by the Church of England, would be the model. This was unconfirmed, and others noted that most Anglo-Catholics, in England especially, are already using the Roman rite anyway and would likely continue to do so.

This lead to the speculation that there could be an Anglican Ordinariate in which no particularly Anglican Eucharistic rite was celebrated, somewhat ironic when one considers that most people probably think of Anglican patrimony in primarily liturgical terms.

Why not establish an Anglican Catholic Church sui iuris, like the Eastern Catholic Churches? The thought here was the mention in the constitution of seeing the Anglican Church as a particular expression of the Latin Church, its rites as variation of the Roman rite – as well as not wanting to do any more to appear to be bringing back uniatism as a form of ecumenism, something which has been rejected by the Catholic Church in its agreements with the Orthodox.

Since the Anglican Communion officially recognizes two sacraments, how will the other five be celebrated in an Anglican Ordinariate, since the Catholics Church accepts seven? This question was ‘corrected’ as someone else noted that the Anglicans do, in fact, recognize all seven sacraments and both churches, as agreed in ARCIC I, recognize a hierarchy of sacraments – the two dominical sacraments of Baptism and Eucharist holding a pride of place among the seven sacramental acts, for both churches, though this is expressed differently in parts of the Anglican Communion than others.

Candidacy for ordination, in the personal ordinariates, will be determined by the Governing Council – but this is neither Catholic nor Anglican, for both communions currently put this decision in the hands of the ordaining bishop, though with appropriate consultation.

Some noted that there had been popular speculation that the exception to celibacy would only be granted pro tempore, however, this would have been made clear in the text if that was the intent. Each will be appealed on a case by case basis, as celibacy remains the ideal for those who were not already ordained in the Anglican church, but it remains a real, practical possibility.  

Married bishops are a part of Anglican Patrimony, based on scripture, yet the Official Commentary on the Apostolic Constitution, written by Jesuit Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, Rector emeritus of the Gregorian, has “absolutely excluded” the possibility of married bishops “given the entire Catholic Latin tradition and the tradition of the Oriental Catholic Churches, including the Orthodox tradition…” The VIS communiqué on 15 January announcing the erection of the first Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham for England and Wales, went so far as to say, “For doctrinal reasons the Church does not, in any circumstances, allow the ordination of married men as bishops.”

Given all of that, the question was asked, how much a part of the Anglican patrimony are married bishops, and what reasons could there be to exclude them? It was noted that despite the VIS announcement, there are no doctrinal reasons for not ordaining married men to the episcopate, only disciplinary reasons. It is suspected, given the wording of Fr. Ghirlanda’s commentary, that this could be out of ecumenical concern for our relations with the East – but also noted that the traditions of Latin and Eastern and Oriental churches have always differed, and the Orthodox would likely not be concerned whether we had a different discipline in the West vis a vis married bishops or not. Strangest of all, some noted, was that though the married former Anglican bishops would only be ordained to the presbyterate, especially those serving as ordinary are still allowed the use of pontificals, the symbols of episcopal office such as the pectoral cross and ring.

What will the role of priest’s wives be in the Ordinariate, if any? What role do Anglican clergy spouses have now? This varies in the Anglican Communion, depending on the cultural context, and would likely vary as well in the Ordinariates.  In some places the priests wife is treated as the ‘first lady’ of the parish, and the bishops wife even called “mama bishop” and treated as the first among these. In others, they have no role unless they are also a theologian or minister in the church, or volunteer like any other parishioner.

Final comments came from two Anglicans. The first shared that he had initially thought this “pastoral response” was anything but ecumenical, but as he reflected on it, the idea formed that the Anglican patrimony to be received by the Catholic Church in the Ordinariates was the people themselves. In this way, by receiving them, we are receiving some part of Anglicanism, and this may eventually turn out to be one more way in which the ground was prepared for the full-scale reception of each other in full communion down the road.

The other, who also stated considerable concern, shared that he was afraid that this would in fact have some rather negative ecumenical results, again by reason of the people received through the Ordinariate – the Anglicans may be all to happy to see them go, and he fears we Catholics may not be all that happy to receive them, once we get to know them!

On that note, we broke for drinks.

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