At first most of the stories about the celebration of Anglican Evensong at St. Peter’s Basilica on Mar. 13 left out any mention of us in the Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans. That didn’t offend me but it left me a little wistful and wishing maybe we could be included in any outreach to our separated brethren.
Well, I just came across this piece by the lovely Diane Montagna over at Aleteia that even links to a piece I wrote for them last year on Why I feel called to the Anglican Ordinariate.
Today, for the first time ever, Anglican Choral Evensong was celebrated at the altar of the Chair of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican.
Anglican Archbishop David Moxon, director of the Anglican center in Rome, presided at the 3 pm service, with music sung by the Choir of Merton College, Oxford. Archbishop Arthur Roche, Vatican Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, preached a homily. Pope Francis did not attend.
Pope Francis is the first pontiff to set foot inside an Anglican church in his own diocese of Rome.
Full communion does not yet exist between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion, due in part to divergent beliefs regarding the papacy, the priesthood, and the Holy Eucharist, and other matters of faith and doctrine.
A Path to Rome
Nevertheless, in the last decade, great strides have been made to open a path to those of the Anglican tradition who wish to be in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church, while retaining elements of their worship traditions and spiritual heritage.
Then Montagna goes on to say a little about the Ordinariates with links to help people find out more about us.
Then, a friend sent me a link to this perspective on the Anglican Evensong from writer and blogger, Chris Ferrera, a lawyer and a traditionalist Catholic who sometimes joins Michael Matt over at the Remnant Newspaper site and Remnant TV.
You can go over and read Ferrera’s blistering account if you wish. I personally do not share his perspective, because having been on the other side of this kind of thing while I was preparing to enter the Catholic Church I think that kind of language pushes people away rather than converts them. I think hearing “One true Church” and “nobody is saved outside of the Catholic Church” stuff probably delayed my entry into the Catholic Church if anything. While I adamantly oppose “lowest common denominator” ecumenism that washes out distinctives and veers towards indifferentism, having come recently from the evangelical and then traditional Anglican world, I see much grace of God there. And I know what attracts people to the Catholic Church and what repels them, having been attracted and repelled.
Ferrera does, however, mention us in the Ordinariates.
A seminarian who was observing the travesty recognized me and remarked what a “slap in the face” it was for Catholics who were once Anglicans but had abandoned the sinking ship of the “Anglican Communion” for the Barque of Peter. Many of them joined the ordinariates established by Pope Benedict for former Anglicans and their ministers, who have since been validly ordained as Catholic priests. Indeed, this entire charade was designed to conceal the reality the members of the ordinariates had the courage and humility to accept: that the “Anglican Communion” is a failed human organization without a valid priesthood or episcopate and that the only road to Christian unity is the road to Rome.
But what does it say about the state of the Church today that at the same time as she offers the path of true Christian unity to some Anglicans, so many of her leaders cruelly pretend that Anglicans need only remain where they are and that “unity” with Catholics will somehow materialize in the hazy ecumenical future. The schizoid disorder of the human element of the Church today has no parallel in prior ecclesial crises.