Pope Paul VI to the Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Michael Ramsey

"(B)y entering into our house, you are entering your own house, we are happy to open our door and heart to you." - Pope Paul VI to Dr Michael Ramsey, Archbishop of Canterbury.

Monday, November 1, 2010

How will the Anglican Ordinariates be in communion?

This is an interesting take on the problem of communion from Melbourne auxiliary bishop Peter J Elliot, the Australian Catholic bishops' delegate for the Australian Ordinariate. While aimed at Anglo-Catholics both those who have signified taking the Pope's boat and those for conscience and other reasons, choose to remain in the Anglican Communion or the Continuing Communion, the address is also relevant for Traditionalist Catholics.

In Catholic ecclesial understanding, we can't ignore the bishop of the local church and the bishops in communion with the whole Church. Anglicanism carefully preserves this according to Bp Elliot even with the ordination of women as bishops.  The Jacobean insistence of "No bishop, No Church" remains as one of the foundations of Anglicanism.  Will traditionalist Anglicans end up as congregationalists, ignoring the whole idea and essence of episcopal polity? This is an interesting question.

We can also ask the same for Traditionalist Catholics. Even with Summorum Pontificum, some Traditionalist Catholics tend to be isolated in their congregations, some even expressing defiance against the local ordinary. Summorum Pontificum and Benedict XVI's letter to the bishops on the motu propio explicitly mentions the importance of the OF and the EF in the liturgical life of the church. This is premised on communion which is exemplified by Benedict's idea of both forms "mutually enriching" each other. Reconciliation is the first step in Communion. Benedict wanted an "internal reconciliation" within the Church. The bishop is the enabler of this reconciliation in the local church. The Pope is the enabler of this reconciliation in the Universal Church.

The Anglican Ordinariates can be the first witness of this "internal reconciliation" which we hope will happen in the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

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