PopeWatch: Rupture




Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa explains that when it comes to Anglicans who wish to swim the Tiber, there is a rupture of views between Pope Francis and the Pope Emeritus:


The move from Anglicanism to Catholicism not only of individuals but of whole communities with priests and bishops was streamlined and regulated in 2009 by Benedict XVI with the apostolic constitution “Anglicanorum Cœtibus.”

By virtue of this constitution, the new arrivals have the faculty of preserving their former liturgical rite, while their priests and bishops, most of them married with children, are ordained priests in the Catholic Church and continue to lead their respective communities.

To this end, between 2011 and 2012 three “personal” ordinariates were created in the Catholic Church, for the care of faithful with no territory of their own, a bit like the military ordinariates: the first in England and Wales, the second in the United States, and the third in the Australia.

The innovation was received with relative tranquility by the leadership of the Anglican Church, so much so that in 2009 the announcement of it was made simultaneously by the two primatial sees of Rome and Canterbury, and in 2012 Benedict XVI and the Anglican primate at the time, Rowan Williams, celebrated vespers together at the Roman monastery of San Gregorio al Celio, which had and has as its prior a convert from Anglicanism, the Austrialian Peter John Hughes.

But with Pope Francis it is no longer a given that Anglicans who may want to enter the Catholic Church will receive encouragement from him to take the step.

As archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio certainly did not espouse in any way the norms and aims of “Anglicanorum Cœtibus.”

We know this from the testimonies of two of his closest friends.

The first is Argentine Anglican bishop Gregory Venables, primate of the Anglican Communion of the Southern Cone of the continent.

The second is Bishop Tony Palmer, a member of the Communion of Evangelical Episcopal Churches – which is not under Canterbury but is nonetheless part of the Anglican galaxy – a South African who moved to Italy with his Catholic wife and children, whose friendship and meetings with Bergoglio began during a trip to Argentina in 2011 and intensified after his election as pope.

Palmer died in a motorcycle accident in July of 2014. And with him Bergoglio lost one of his three dearest friends, among the non-Catholics and non-Christians. The two others are the Jewish rabbi Abraham Skorka and the Muslim sheikh Omar Abboud, both of whom he wanted alongside him on his papal journey to the Holy Land last year.

Here, then, are the testimonies of the Anglicans Venables and Palmer, collected by the English vaticanista Austen Ivereigh in the excellent biography of Bergoglio he published at the end of 2014:

“In 2009, when Pope Benedict XVI created a new legal church structure for Anglicans to join the Catholic Church known as the ordinariate, Bergoglio called the Buenos Aires-based Anglican primate of the Southern Cone (in communion with Canterbury), Bishop Gregory Venables. Over breakfast, ‘he told me very clearly that the ordinariate was quite unnecessary and that the Church needs us as Anglicans.’ This was also Bergoglio’s message to Palmer, who was looking at the ordinariate and wondering if it was for him. ‘He told me that we need to have bridge builders. He counseled me not to take the step because it looked like I was choosing a side and I would cease to be a bridge builder.’ Palmer says Bergoglio believed he should remain an Anglican.”

But there is more in confirmation of the very personal ways in which Pope Francis conducts ecumenism.

Last October 9, in Atlanta, the newly created Anglican Church of North America, which separated from the Episcopalian Church and therefore from Canterbury after the ordination in the United States of the first openly homosexual Episcopalian bishop, installed its primate archbishop in the person of Reverend Foley Beach.

Among those present at the ceremony were Anglican bishops of Africa and Asia, also in rupture with Canterbury because of its “liberal” turn.

There was no Catholic representative, not even from the pontifical council for Christian unity. There was, however, to act as the pope’s messenger, the Argentine Anglican bishop Venables, his friend.

Venables told those present that he had received a telephone call from Pope Francis that he found hard to believe at first, and then a handwritten letter from him in which he begged him to communicate “in his name” his personal congratulations to the new Anglican archbishop, together with “his prayers and support for the present and future at this important moment of rebirth and mission.”

For the record, one month later, on November 8, the second-in-command and mastermind of the powerful Russian Orthodox Church, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk, lost no time in going to visit Archbishop Beach, remarking that relations with the Episcopalian Church of the United States had been cut off after the ordination of the gay bishop and saying that he wanted instead to establish and strengthen ties with the newly created Anglican Church of North America, which for its part is “faithful to the traditions.”

Go here to read the rest.  Odd times when a Pope as cardinal counsels against someone becoming a Catholic.

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  1. Pope has spoken of the importance of the person following his own conscience. According to this post he seems rather to emphasize the importance of political type statements and positioning.

  2. Catholics don’t believe in the Rupture.

    (Sorry; that was the most stupid possible comment I could make. Yet I’d do it again if given the opportunity.)

  3. Mr. Price.

    Thanks for the link. Her work translating his documents have probably helped many to come home to Rome. Great story. Thanks.

  4. The Roman Pontiff never fails to disappoint. A LOT of work went into establishing the Ordinariates and the people who became Catholics had to give up much, usually including their church buildings. The Roman Pontiff cares not. It isn’t on his agenda. He likely considers the Ordinariate to be proselytism.

    The Roman Pontiff’s ignorance of the English speaking world is bursting forth, not dissimilar to the odor one detects when driving by an area where a skunk just sprayed. You can roll up your windows and shut off the heat/vent/AC but it still permeates.

    I wish for the current Roman Pontiff to make good on his veiled threats at resignation and retirement and that he has many more years back in Buenos Aires, in charge of nothing more than his own household.

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