A Visitor to the Ordinariate

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the parish

Not a heresy was stirring, neither subtle nor garish;

The media were pushing secular worldviews with care,

In hopes for the young people’s minds to ensnare:

The children to space out on unneeded meds;

With visions of life without God in their heads;

But our parish priest rises to lead us in prayer:

“Most Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmas Eve our care

And delight to prepare us to hear once again

The message of the angels unto Bethlehem…”

And the carols and lessons all too quickly pass,

And we kneel as our celebrant says midnight Mass.

The collection is lighter than ’twas years before,

When yet we were all on the Tiber’s far shore.

And then to my wandering mind doth appear

Our church as it might be had we not come here…

And gone is our rail – no more need for kneeling –

Our high altar glorious up to the ceiling

Switched out for an Ikea table (Lame!),

As our priestess shouts out from the pulpit our shame:

Her false Sermon drones, independent of the lections (!)

“…Traditionalists with disordered affections…”

I dash away! Dash away! from my dark waking dream.

Is it only a matter of time ’til the same

Awful thing happens here in our new Catholic home?

For the news is not so good these days out of Rome.

And then in a twinkling, it felt like my head

Had been punched, so that a rich booming voice said,

“I, Saint Nicholas fought with the Arian foe.

Him I struck with this fist long-past ages ago.

Fie! Shame! I never doubted as you are now doubting –

Even now at a Mass that recalls our Lord’s coming

To the Earth – that the Lord would protect us from error.

So be present in worship, and give up this terror.

His eyes were like lightning, His muscles were wiry.

His episcopal robes gleamed all golden and fiery.

On his head a great globular miter I saw

And a white beard grew down from his large squarish jaw.

His bright golden staff had two snakes wrapped around

A cross, and he said, as he thumped it to ground,

“In the East all our bishops hold staves like this one

That of old Moses used to heal Israelites undone

By the snake’s bite for they looked ahead to the Cross

That the Saviour would die on to make up our loss. 

In the same way, my Son, you have nothing to dread,

For already our Lord crushed the evil one’s head.”

And so I returned to the Mass’s contemplation,

No longer distracted by fears for church and nation.

Though our pockets are poorer (most have not even buildings),

Our hearts are made purer for that we lack these things.

And although for our leaders our former pewmates mock

The Kingdom is ours: we have built on the rock.

So I can say safely, (with my End clear in sight):

“Happy Christmas to all: Things have and shall turn out all Right!”

 

 

 

Written by Dr. Foster Lerner of Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, Florida; a parish of The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter © 2018.

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Foster holds a Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from  Nova Southeastern University Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, and is currently pursuing post-graduate studies in medicine.

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12 thoughts on “A Visitor to the Ordinariate

  1. I think the accusation that altar rails are gone/going from Anglican churches is inaccurate. The GIRM identifies standing as the appropriate posture for receiving Communion, and suggests remedial catechesis for those who persist in kneeling. Consequently the altar rails have been removed from virtually every Catholic church in the US, whereas kneeling remains the norm in TEC, even when the celebration is versus populum. Even if this is changing, it seems an odd target for a jab, given the “leadership” the Church has shown on this point.

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    • That’s interesting regarding the GIRM. Could you cite the passage to which you are referring about kneeling revealing a disordered misunderstanding requiring additional catechesis?

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      • Dr. Lerner,

        The relevant provision is No. 160 of the General Instruction to the Roman Missal (GIRM). This is the provision as published on the Vatican’s web site, with the specific text to which “EPMS” refers in bold.

        160. The priest then takes the paten or ciborium and goes to the communicants, who, as a rule, approach in a procession.

        The faithful are not permitted to take the consecrated bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them from one to another. The norm for reception of Holy Communion in the dioceses of the United States is standing. Communicants should not be denied Holy Communion because they kneel. Rather, such instances should be addressed pastorally, by providing the faithful with proper catechesis on the reasons for this norm.

        When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.

        I took this text from the English translation of the GIRM on the Vatican’s web site, so the phrase “in the dioceses of the United States” in the boldfaced text might seem a bit strange — but there’s actually a good reason for it. Prior to the most recent revision of the Roman Missal, the liturgical adaptations approved by national or regional episcopal conferences appeared as an appendix to the GIRM in the liturgical books for the respective country or region — but that arrangement proved to be difficult, as people preparing liturgical celebrations had to cross-reference the affected provision of the GIRM to the corresponding adaptation in the appendix. Thus, the present edition incorporates the adaptations into the respective numbered sections, usually in separate paragraphs containing a clear identifying clause (“in the dioceses of “). However, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has access to the most extensive network of theological advisors of any episcopal conference, partly because it is one of the largest and partly because many of its dioceses have plenty of resources to send clergy to study for pontifical degrees beyond the Master of Divinity (that is, doctorate or licentiate in the sacred disciplines). Many smaller episcopal conferences lack such resources, and thus find it expedient simply to adopt the adaptations approved by the USCCB for their regions as well. This practice also allows their countries or regions to use the liturgical books published for the dioceses of the United States rather than publishing their own liturgical books, which would be considerably more costly due to the small volume that they require. As a result, the adaptations indicated as applying to the dioceses of the United States actually are far more universal than such indication would imply.

        Norm.

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      • With due respect to Norm’s research, the GIRM actually found in the Missal currently in use differs from what he wrote as ‘published on the Vatican’s website’, reflecting the Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum. Basically it says that the communicant simply has the option to stand or kneel when receiving and has the further option to receive either on the tongue or in the hand. There is no reference to the need for ‘catechesis.’ This is what the Missal says:

        GIRM
        160. The Priest then takes the paten or ciborium and approaches the communicants, who usually come up in procession.
        It is not permitted for the faithful to take the consecrated Bread or the sacred chalice by themselves and, still less, to hand them on from one to another among themselves. The norm established for the Dioceses of the United States of America is that Holy Communion is to be received standing, unless an individual member of the faithful wishes to receive Communion while kneeling (Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, March 25, 2004, no. 91).
        When receiving Holy Communion, the communicant bows his or her head before the Sacrament as a gesture of reverence and receives the Body of the Lord from the minister. The consecrated host may be received either on the tongue or in the hand, at the discretion of each communicant. When Holy Communion is received under both kinds, the sign of reverence is also made before receiving the Precious Blood.

        Redemptionis Sacramentum
        91. In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them.”177 Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

        [The footnote referred to, 177, is: Code of Canon Law, can. 843 §1; cf. can. 915.]

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    • Regarding “The accusation” that is not an accusation: that portion of the parody is a fantasy of what “might be”. No accusation was intended. Not all former Anglicans/Episcopalians/Methodists come out of TEC, you know. *I* didn’t personally. Neither can anyone tell or foretell what the future or alternate timelines might hold. It also bears mentioning that another option instead of “coming here” would be joining a Novus Ordo parish, where they do indeed stand. The point rather is that Christ is in control and shall work out all things for the good of those who love Him.

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  2. The beauty of controversy is that although one may get some egg on his face, he’s usually bound to learn something interesting. After researching this claim “The GIRM identifies standing as the appropriate posture for receiving Communion, and suggests remedial catechesis for those who persist in kneeling” I found its basis is in paragraph 160. of the GIRM provided by the Vatican (not as provided by USCCB which interestingly omits the relevant sentence). When I have access to my Divine Worship: The Missal, I will examine the rubrical directory to see what relevance, if any, this norm implies for the Ordinariates. Certainly, legally speaking, the Ordinariates enjoy a unique place within the Latin Rite, and it would be naïve to assume provisions of the GIRM either of Rome or of the USCCB automatically apply.

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  3. Well the rubrical directory yielded nothing in particular on the topic of kneeling at communion. However paragraph 10. reads thus: “The rubrics of the Divine Worship order of mass aim to preserve traditional customs of Anglican Eucharistic worship with respect to orientation, posture, gestures, and manual acts, while also permitting the celebration of mass in a manner similar to that of the Roman Missal, Third Typical Edition.” Thus, it seems to me, since we knelt at communion when we were Anglicans out of communion with Rome, we are free and encouraged to continue this “posture” in accordance with the Rubrical Directory of Divine Worship: The Missal paragraph 10. regardless of the catechesis (on why kneeling to receive our Lord body, blood, soul and divinity is no longer an optimal way to receive him as it was in the Roman Rite for centuries and centuries prior to 1970) Rome wishes to impose on the Faithful lacking Anglican roots.

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    • About half ot the Catholic worship spaces shared by OCSP congregations have no altar rails. Another three or four groups use other spaces without them. Of course one can still kneel without a rail.

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      • It is true: We are blessed at Incarnation Catholic Church in Orlando, FL both to have our own building and altar rails. May all the Ordinariate’s parishes and communities in formation soon achieve the same.

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