I’m sure many of you saw this news yesterday, and it’s been in the making for several years–but it’s worth re-posting here at CatholicVote. The second Ordinariate, as originally envisioned and authorized by Vatican II, went into effect yesterday. This one, of course, allows for Anglicans and Episcopalians to join fully with the Roman Catholic Church.
Frankly, this has to be one of the biggest stories of the last several years, and it might well change the very course of the Roman Catholic Church. In a sense, it just undid one of the most important aspects and tragedies of the Reformation.
Scholars such as Hillsdale College’s Dr. Steve Smith have shown what immense damage, for example, King Henry’s Act of Supremacy of 1534 did not only to England but to the whole of the western tradition. Indeed, within the larger movement of the Reformation, no new Christian denomination so changed and challenged the noble traditions of the West as did the English Church, forced so brutally upon its people from the top down.
In a few very wise moves, Pope Benedict has undone much of the devastation wrought in the sixteenth century by the bloodthirsty and tyrannical. Now, as of 2012, with the Ordinariate, we have the blessing of much new blood (freely given, not spilt!) and we’ll have an influx of new ideas. . . . And, the English Roman Catholic tradition reverts–at least potentially–to its pre-Reformation Golden Era, rooted not only in the Catholic faith, but also in the Anglo-Saxon traditions of liberty, Erasmian humanism, and the common law.
I travel often to Houston, Texas, and have done so for well over a decade and a half. When I’m there, I happily attend Our Lady of Walsingham, an Anglican-use Roman Catholic Church. Now, of course, it can drop the “use.” My second daughter, Maria Grace, was baptized there, and some of my closest friends are parishioners. In every way, it’s a stunning parish.
Over a decade ago, Father James Moore, then pastor of Our Lady of Walsingham, and Winston Elliott founded the Society of St. John Fisher (http://www.ssjf.com/). There have never been more than a few members of this group, but we dedicated our prayers to the reconversion of the English Church:
Almighty and everlasting God, who hast confirmed the perfection of true faith in the crown of martyrdom, and who didst fill thy blessed bishop and holy martyr John Fisher with such great courage that he did cast away his life in the cause of truth and justice, strengthen us, we beseech thee, through his intercession and example with the like courage to proclaim the faith we profess and to give up our life in this world for the sake of Christ that we may find it again in thy everlasting kingdom; through the merits of thy Son, the same Jesus Christ our Lord who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost ever, one God world without end. Amen.
Though never more than a few, we also prayed for a revival of the English Christian Humanism of Fisher, Erasmus, and More.
Obviously, Pope Benedict’s welcoming of the Anglicans and Episcopalians is a huge moment not only in Catholic history but in larger western history. But, there’s still much more to pray for. Please join us in praying for all good to come out of this new union.
The new Ordinariate is an immense blessing for the whole Church, but especially for those of us who love the great English Roman Catholics: Bede, Boniface, Alcuin, Alfred, Edith, Becket, Thomas More, John Fisher, John Henry Newman, G.K. Chesterton, Martin D’Arcy, Hilaire Belloc, Christopher Dawson, and J.R.R. Tolkien.
What would Edmund Burke and T.S. Eliot have done, given the option of an Anglican Ordinariate? One can only dream. . . .
For more information, http://usordinariate.org/