Rome Symposium written up in The Portal by Fr. Bernard Sixtus

DSC08515The November edition of The Portal Magazine has been out since All Saints Day, but I am only getting around to reading it now.  And how could I have put it off!  Especially since it has so much written about events in Rome in October, including the canonization of St. John Henry Newman.

I was delighted to see a write up on the Symposium on the 10th Anniversary of Anglicanorum coetibus organized by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) and the canon law faculty of the Pontifical Gregorian University.   The Anglicanorum Coetibus Society also helped with some aspects of registration and publicity on behalf of CDF.   I wrote about the Symposium here.  I focused mainly on covering Archbishop Di Noia’s talk on the history of the Apostolic Constitution.

DSC08506Fr. Bernard Sixtus, who serves on the board of the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society,  (shown above on the left with Msgr. Robert Mercer, CR) provides a good synopsis of the gathering.  Which reminds me, I need to check on how and when the great talks at the Symposium will be published!

Fr. Sixtus writes:

The second address was by Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda SJ, a ‘Consultor’ at the CDF, and focussed on the Canonical Perspective. This was easily the most densely academic, ‘technical’ and complex of the days’ talks – and it was given in Italian to boot.


However, persisting with it and making an effort was certainly worthwhile: our speaker outlined for us in fascinating detail just how the Apostolic Constitution achieved its aim of providing a structure to ‘protect our patrimony’. This was done by carefully examining possible structures and ‘inventing’, in effect, something new: not a ‘Particular Church’ distinct from the Latin Church by Rite (because our patrimony is part of a broadly ‘Western’ or ‘Latin’ tradition), but much more than a ‘Personal Prelature’. Instead, the Ordinariates are a specific way of belonging to the Catholic Church similar to a Diocese – and he showed us just how this was expressed particularly in the way in which the judicial, administrative and legislative authority of the Ordinary is defined. Thus our Ordinaries possess ‘exclusive’ authority over those belonging to the ordinariates, which may be exercised in ‘coordination’ with the Bishop of the
Dioceses in which Ordinariate members live but is not ‘cumulative’ – hence the local Bishop does not possess any authority over Ordinariate Catholics living in
his Diocese in his own right. This – very unusual -arrangement is protected by the fact that the authority of the Ordinary is ‘vicarious’ of the Supreme Pontiff (the Pope), thus protecting (in Canonical terms) the Ordinary’s independence in order to make sure we are united but not absorbed.

I recall Fr. Ghirlanda described us as a “personal particular church.”

Fr. Sixtus writes about Archbishop Di Noia’s and Msgr. Mark Langham’s talks as well, and I encourage you to go on over to the Portal to read them.  Here’s what he had to say about Professor Hans-Jurgen Feulner’s talk on liturgy.

His address concentrated on showing how the principle of ‘unity of the Catholic Faith in the legitimate diversity of liturgical expressions’ is realised in the liturgies of ‘Divine Worship’ (both the Missal and the ‘Occasional Services’). He emphasised key elements of our liturgy, such as its ‘Sacral Language’ and the sources from which our Order of Mass derives, helpfully setting out the three main sources in a ‘table’. This made it easy to see how the different parts and elements of our Mass derive from three main sources, namely from the Roman Missal in its present edition, from sources in the Anglican
tradition (such as the Collect for Purity, Comfortable Words, Prayer of Humble Access, etc.) and from the Sarum Use by way of the Anglo-Catholic Missals (such as the ‘English Missal – the Embolism and the Prayer for Purification at the Ablution being cases in
point). The detail was fascinating, and in conclusion Professor Feulner stressed how the Ordinariate Mass is a ‘liturgical tradition’ within the Roman Rite (rather than a distinct Rite), but as such in his view the ‘prime bearer’ of our patrimony, clearly more so than, for example, Anglican synodical traditions. As such, his point was: we need to look after it and celebrate it. Even if and where this requires our communities to adapt (such as in places which became Catholic from so-called ‘Roman Rite’ Anglican parishes), we should
use ‘our Mass’ as a precious gift to be shared – for if we do not celebrate our proper liturgy, why have Ordinariates at all?

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