I have hesitated to report on the case of Fr. Vaughn Treco, a priest ministering to the St. Bede the Venerable mission parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
A man’s priesthood is at stake, as well as the viability of the community he has served. There are issues of Catholic unity, of theology and canon law at play in a climate of confusion and anger in the wider Catholic Church.
Bishop Steven Lopes has temporarily suspended Fr. Treco for 60 days, and our Ordinary-emeritus Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson has taken over as administrator of St. Bede’s. He has already started celebrating the Sunday Mass there.
From all accounts I have heard, Fr. Treco is loved by members of his community and his fellow Ordinariate priests, and every effort is being made to help restore him, from the bishop on down. That’s why I urge you to pray for him, his family and the community, as well as for our bishop and the Ordinariate that unity in the Catholic faith will prevail. Here’s some background.
The picture shows Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa celebrating a Traditional Latin Mass at the high altar of Notre Dame Cathedral last November in honor of the 50th anniversary of St. Clement’s Parish, a diocesan parish entrusted to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). This Mass attracted hundreds of Catholics from all over the diocese, in a show of support for those who like the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite,.
It was a beautiful sign of unity in the Ottawa archdiocese. It also helps to mention Archbishop Prendergast has come to our parish and celebrated the Anglican Use liturgy several times in that period before our clergy were ordained to the Catholic priesthood. He even came one Christmas Eve when we couldn’t find a Catholic priest for our Mass! What a beautiful gesture of welcome and sign of unity of Catholic faith in diversity of expression.
All of this in contrast to concerns I have about disunity and division so common these days, especially online.
Whenever I see Catholics in online apostolates criticizing the Pope or members of the hierarchy, I think of this 1978 essay The Catholic Church in Crisis by Fr. Louis Bouyer that was translated from French by John M. Pepino in 2015 and published at Rorate Coeli.
This is not to say many criticisms are not valid, but the article offers a caution for those with a prophetic calling or the gift of exhortation to guard humility and to ensure they are not led astray by a spirit of division, pride, or rash judgement. This caution applies to their readers as well.
For those of us who came into the Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI’s generous provision, it is especially incumbent on us to remember the fervent desire we had for full Catholic unity that propelled us to become officially members of One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Continue reading
How things have changed since 2009, when news stories about Pope Benedict’s plan to erect personal ordinariates for Anglicans wishing to become Catholic described the move as the Pope “parking tanks on the lawn of Lambeth Palace,” the home of the Archbishop of Canterbury.
That was then. Archbishop Rowan Williams, an Anglo-Catholic, was the ABC then. In March 2013, the same month Pope Francis was elected to the papacy, Justin Welby was enthroned at Canterbury as the new spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion.
In a recent interview, Archbishop Welby tells the Spectator he doesn’t really mind if an Anglican becomes Catholic.
Not so long ago, it would be unthinkable for the Archbishop of Canterbury to be quoting agents of Rome, but times change. The two churches have been holding talks about possible reunion since 1970, but since the C of E admitted female vicars their paths have tended to diverge. Ten years ago, the Vatican made it easier for vicars to defect to Rome. Hundreds did so and now, by some estimates, one in ten Catholic priests is a former Anglican vicar.
I ask what he thinks about all this. ‘Who cares?’ he says. ‘I don’t mind about all that. Particularly if people go to Rome, which is such a source of inspiration. I had an email from a very old friend, an Anglican priest who has decided to go to Rome. I wrote back saying: how wonderful! As long as you are following your vocation, you are following Christ. It’s just wonderful. What we need is for people to be disciples of Jesus Christ. I don’t really care whether it’s the Church of England or Rome or the Orthodox or Pentecostals or the Lutherans or Baptists. They are faithful disciples of Christ.’
If you think this is an unusual thing for the Archbishop of Canterbury to say, then you don’t know Justin Welby. He is a bridge-builder, so keen on fostering greater unity amongst Christians that he has assembled in Lambeth Palace a group of young Christians of various denominations called the Community of St Anselm. ‘One of the prayers we say every morning is for the unity of the church. That seems to me to be much more important. God called the church into being. We, as human beings, have managed to mess that up and split it up.’
Faithful Catholics have a Scylla and Charybdis to navigate in today’s fractious debates concerning interpretations of the Second Vatican Council. Both dangers concern interpretations of the Council that see it as a rupture. One one side are those who see this rupture as a good thing; on the other are those who see the rupture as a bad thing.
We Catholics of Anglican patrimony must not fall prey to either of these dangers. Continue reading
Shane Schaetzel has given me permission to re-post this from his Complete Christianity Website:
Not long ago, I was privileged and blessed to sit on the international editorial board that formulated the “St. Gregory’s Prayer Book.” I won’t mention who the other men were, as I don’t wish to speak out of place. Some of them may wish to remain anonymous, others may wish to speak in their own time. I’ll let them say so when they’re ready. As for me, I didn’t do much. My job was to represent the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society (ACS) as I was on the Board of Directors at that time. I made a few suggestions, but that’s about it. The bulk of the work was carried out by a prominent liturgical scholar, an American layman, who served as our chief editor, and two distinguished clergymen who also made contributions from the UK and Australia. The product is a forthcoming devotional, schedule to be released in late February of this year.
Lately there has been a lot of discussion on Facebook platforms about our identity as Catholics of Anglican Tradition in the Catholic Church.
The most recent flurry was precipitated by Shane Schaetzel who changed the name of a private Facebook group entitled Ordinariate Catholics to Traditional English Catholics.
In the latest SKCM news, Benjamin Guyer reveals the text of a vow made by Charles I at Oxford on April 16, 1646, to return all Monastery and other Church lands held by the Crown since Henry VIII stole them – this included “…any Abbey, or other Religious House.” Granted that this did not include such lands in private hands, it represents a return to the Marian settlement in this area, taken together with his oft-expressed desire for reunion with the Holy See. One cannot but help be struck with the resemblance of this vow to that of Louis XVI to the Sacred Heart.