Our Anglicanorum Coetibus Society webmaster Shane Schaetzel’s has a post over at his Catholic in the Ozark’s blog that’s well-worth reading, and even got picked up by Big Pulpit, a Catholic news and blog aggregator.
Something big is happening, and it really is the way of the future. It has to do with restoration, and by that I mean the restoration of something very big and very old. About 500 years ago, while Martin Luther was just beginning to start his Protestant Revolution in Germany, England was still a staunchly Catholic country. At that time it was known as “Mary’s Dowry” and had King Henry VIII not embarked on a lust-filled schism to legitimatise his adultery and illegitimate offspring, England might still be Catholic today. Imagine that, if you will. What would it look like?
You don’t need to imagine too hard, because you see, that image exists today, albeit in a much smaller form. It’s called the Anglican Patrimony Ordinariates. These are the Personal Ordinariates, created by Pope Benedict XVI, initially as a juridic structure for former Anglicans and Methodists, who have left Protestantism behind and brought their English liturgical heritage into the Catholic Church. The Anglican Patrimony is most clearly seen in Divine Worship, which is the liturgical norm of the Ordinariate, sometimes informally called the Anglican Form of the Roman Rite but the proper name is Divine Worship.
He has some great videos up to show what’s going on. But wait! There’s more:
Everyone is familiar with the mass of course, but what is evensong? This is the English form of high vespers. When it is spoken, it is called Evening Prayer. When it is sung, it is called Evensong. These terms are just one of the peculiarities of the Anglican Patrimony. If the Protestant Revolution never happened in England, if England had been allowed to continue on as “Mary’s Dowry,” then Catholic worship in the English-speaking world would probably look something like this — a Form of the Roman Rite heavily influenced by the Sarum Use (a form of the Roman Rite commonly celebrated in England before the Protestant Revolution). Divine Worship follows the older versions of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer in some ways, but is more consistent with the ancient Sarum Use, and remains completely faithful to Catholic teaching and orthodoxy. What we have here is the restored Anglican Patrimony within the Catholic Church, or what English Catholicism would look like today, had King Henry VIII not broke England away from communion with Rome. It is alive today, vibrant, and just oozing with medieval tradition. Watch the videos and see for yourself.
Of course, a great many Catholics are frustrated that there is no such parish anywhere near their location. Some of these Catholics are former Anglicans or Episcopalians. Some of them are even former Methodists. They like what they see, but must resign to what seems like an impossibility, since there is no such parish near them. Well folks, all of that is about to change, because of a little organisation called the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society. Pronounced as “Ang-lick-an-OR-oom CHAY-tee-boos,” the Society is named after the Apostolic Constitution signed by Pope Benedicit XVI in 2009 by the same name. Anglicanorum Coetibus means “Groups of Anglicans” in Latin, and it is the Apostolic Constitution that allows for the creation of Personal Ordinariates within the Catholic Church that follow the Anglican Patrimony as proscribed by Divine Worship. In other words, Anglicanorum Coetibus is the papal document that makes the Personal Ordinariates possible, and revives the Anglican Patrimony within the Catholic Church again. The Catholic Church hasn’t used the Anglican Patrimony in nearly five centuries, so this is a really big deal.
Now the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society is dedicated to the promotion of Anglicanorum Coetibus and it’s propagation throughout the English-speaking world. That means supporting the formation of more Catholic communities based on the Anglican Patrimony and strengthening those that already exist. So how is that done, and can it be done outside of the official structure of the Ordinariates?
It’s simple really. It all begins with a map…
And, while you’re at it, why not take out a membership and support our mission?