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Dr. Rick Gaillardetz and Archdeacon Johnathan Boardman

Author of seven pastoral booklets, eight books, and over 100 journal articles, Dr. Richard R. Gaillardetz is one of the most accomplished U.S. ecclesiologists of the current generation. He has been a member of the U.S. Catholic-Methodist dialogue, and his doctoral director was Dominican Father Thomas O’Meara at Notre Dame (who was also my systematics and ecclesiology professor as an undergrad). Rick is married, with four children, and currently serving as the Murray/Bacik Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Toledo (Ohio, not Spain).

The Venerable Jonathan Boardman is an Anglican presbyter, rector (pastor) of All Saints parish in Rome, and Archdeacon of Italy and Malta for the Anglican diocese of Gibraltar, which covers all of continental Europe.

[An archdeacon in the Anglican Communion, as it once was in the Catholic Church, is basically the vicar general, and in this case one of several where each is assigned a geographic portion of a diocese. Though traditionally this was a role for a deacon, the eventual usurping of all diaconal ministries into the presbyterate included this high office.]

Having either one of these men as guests for dinner and conversation over tea would have been a treat, especially now in the wake of the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. To have both on the same night was a true privilege, especially for an ecumenist/ecclesiologist like me. I would have been happy just to sit back sipping my tea, and listen to them discuss the personal Ordinariates, the history of Anglicans in Rome, and the ecclesiologies of our communions today. Both men are as engaging as they are erudite, though, and welcomed questions and comments from those of us who decided to stay and converse rather than head across town for a party with the other lay students of Rome. (Still working on that bilocation thing)

Bordman and Gaillardetz

Anglican Father Jonathan Boardman and Professor Richard Gaillardetz

Professor Gaillardetz has written a great deal in exactly the areas of ecclesiology that interest me, including ecumenism, the diaconate, lay ecclesial ministry and a wide range of other topics. I have no doubt that his work will make a significant contribution to my thesis and dissertation, and it is always a blessing to make a real-life connection with someone whose work informs your own.

Father Jonathan I have met on my two forays to All Saints, first for their dedication feast – the Sunday after the press announcement of the Personal Ordinariates – and for Stian’s debut as Evensong Acolyte Extraordinaire. His comments on the Personal Ordinariates, and his personal openness about his reactions since the first announcement and the subsequent publication of the constitution, were welcome, enlightening, and honest.

[In fact, as i write this, i suddenly realize who it is that Fr. Boardman reminds me of: Bishop Daniel Jenky, CSC! Some similar physical characteristics, spoken style and personality. Good preacher. hmmm….]

“I am not angry about all this… and yet, I’m surprised how angry I was!” probably best describes one of the most common reactions, echoed by Father Boardman while relating an incident where an innocent joke about “competition” [between Catholics and Anglicans] by a Vatican colleague touched a raw nerve.

While both the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Holy See’s own Council for Promoting Christian Unity had little notice before the public announcement, and many Anglicans and Catholics alike have seen this as either “arrogant” or at least “unilateral and insensitive”, some Anglicans have also noted that it is not as if the Anglican Communion or its constituent national churches have always consulted Rome or Constantinople before making a decision that had ecumenical ramifications (such as the ordination of women to the episcopate).

Further, as my friends remind me, there are probably more Catholics – including priests – who have “swam the Tiber” in the other direction than Anglicans who have come into communion with Rome over the last three or four decades.

We also spent some time discussing the theology of the episcopate – or lack thereof – in the apostolic constitution, and wondered why at least a “conditional” ordination wasn’t proposed given the development of Catholic theology on orders in general and Anglican orders specifically since Leo XIII issued Apostolicae Curae.

I have an upcoming post updating my thoughts on the constitution, and I am incorporating some of my gleanings from this conversation there, so I do not want to duplicate it here!

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