TAC ARCHIVE

July 2011

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Dispensing Canonical Irregularities

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Baptised Catholic to be ordinariate priest

Abigail Frymann

A married Anglican priest who was baptised and raised a Catholic is to be ordained a priest into the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham today in an apparent exception to the rules laid down by the Vatican when the structure was established in 2009.

Fr Ivan Aquilina was born a Catholic and grew up in Malta, became an Anglican in his twenties and trained for the priesthood at the College of the Resurrection at Mirfield, Yorkshire. He was ordained an Anglican deacon in 2000 and priest in 2001.

The complementary norms for the apostolic constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, published by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, state: “Those baptised previously as Catholics outside the ordinariate are not ordinarily eligible for membership, unless they are members of a family belonging to the ordinariate.”

Fr Aquilina, who has two teenage children, was one of the first clerics to announce his intention to join the ordinariate after it was inaugurated in January. He is formerly of St John the Baptist parish in Sevenoaks, Kent. Fr Aquilina said the Holy See was happy for his ordination to go ahead.

Michael Winter, a founder of the Movement for Married Clergy, argued that Fr Aquilina’s case was further evidence that there is no intrinsic reason to deny ordination to married men, saying: “The denial of priesthood to married men who are cradle Catholics is therefore arbitrary. This makes it extremely difficult for vocations promoters to convince single men to come forward. It is also demoralising for those priests who make heroic efforts trying to be faithful to the celibate law, since it is clear that there is no intrinsic reason for their sacrifice.”

The head of the ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton, confirmed that Fr Aquilina was baptised a Catholic but said the Holy See has given permission for his ordination. A former Anglican bishop who is now a senior priest in the ordinariate, Mgr John Broadhurst, was also baptised a Catholic but joined the Church of England while still in his teens.

 

My response to a post at the Anglo-Catholic

Here’s what I posted in the comments section over there. It may still be in the moderation queue:

Are there any people from the Traditional Anglican Communion criticizing the Ordinary Form of the Roman Mass in the blogs? I don’t think so. Yet it seems from this post we in the TAC are getting blamed for being ungracious and for spitting in the eye of Catholics who love their liturgy because we are known to love ours. From what I can see, however, those who are the most critical are already Catholics in the Traditional Latin Mass movement. While I am sure they are well-meaning, they do not speak for us, and should not be presumed to reflect our opinions.

Of course we in the TAC hope that the liturgy we will use in the Ordinariates will resemble what we have been using—with whatever changes are necessary to bring it into doctrinal conformity with the Catholic faith.

In the TAC, none of us believe the Ordinary Form of the Mass is invalid. We accept the teachings of the Second Vatican Council in “a hermeneutic of continuity.”

That said, the process towards implementation has been painful and caused a great deal of confusion, heartache and loss in our worldwide community—it is what it is and many factors, both external and internal, have been at play—but to call any frank acknowledgment of our suffering (which has been rare in public) whining or complaining or ungracious or spitting in the eye adds insult to injury.

As someone from the UK who is close to this process wrote me, “the patience of your bishops has been exemplary.” It has. Maybe mine has not been.

But we don’t know if, once this process is over, whether we’ll have our shepherds once we have been received in our little parish groups into the Catholic Church –the former Fr. Hunwicke’s delayed ordination has sent shock waves around the world.

We don’t know why Bishop Robert Mercer has not been received yet, but the silence about him–given the fact that he is a hero to us around the world—sends red flags that maybe Cardinal Kasper was right all along when he said the Apostolic Constitution was not for us in the TAC and the train had already left the station. In other words, it is hard not to feel from time to time that we in the TAC are not welcome, except as individual lay converts the way individuals have always been welcome.

In Canada, we risk losing all our assets because the implementation model that is based on those coming from the Church of England (and echoed in Cardinal Wuerl’s presentation to the USCCB) and would force our priests to resign from their churches once they have been okayed to be received into the Catholic Church. This means that if only one parish in the ACCC decides not to go in (and we already have at least one not ready at this time) they get everything and we come into the Ordinariates empty-handed, a poor and humble group to start that is stripped even of the little we have and therefore crippled before we start. Is it whining and ungracious and uncharitable to bring this up? Perhaps so. The process is grinding us and grinding us.

But it seems that everyone —the folks on this blog included—just wants to put us in our place and remind us that we must humble ourselves and accept with utmost graciousness whatever crumb we can find under the children’s table. No one seems to want to stick up for us except PKTP, but then he ends up inadvertently hurting us because of his complaints about liturgy.

Most of us are just trying to keep our eye on Jesus and get on with our lives, hoping this will all work out and spending time in prayer. As one Roman prelate wrote me in a word of encouragement, the Apostolic Constitution is a gift of God and must be earned in prayer. But I sometimes find that my prayers are accompanied by lots of tears.

So please realize folks that some of us are hurting very badly to the point where we are raw and all our nerves exposed. Lectures like this post from people who assume we are being invited home with a red carpet and a welcome mat and are being ungracious and angry in return do not realize what kind of gauntlet we are running and how uncertain our future is.

We have already been reduced to a remnant of our former self here in Canada. My one consolation has been that I see evidence of much spiritual fruit in our suffering over the past year and I can see that God has allowed it for our good and our spiritual growth.

Deborah