What (now-)Cardinal Müller said to the Ordinaries

“All eyes are upon you”, CDF Prefect Tells Ordinaries

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has spoken to the three ordinaries of the personal ordinariates of the delicacy and importance of their task “in these first key years” in the ordinariates’ existence.

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller told the ordinaries that, because the unity of the Church was the ostensible reason for the establishment of the ordinariates, effective communion would be a principal measure against which ordinariate communities would be judged. “You will come under scrutiny from many quarters”, he said. “All eyes are upon you”!

Cardinal Müller’s comments were made to the three ordinaries – Mgr. Keith Newton of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the UK, Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter in the United States and Canada and Msgr. Harry Entwistle, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia – when they visited him in Rome [on 18th February] in the days running up to his being created a Cardinal.

OrdinariatesMeet-600x250

Cardinal Müller said: “Anglicans will be interested in how well you are able to make a home in the Catholic Church that is more than just assimilation, while Catholics will want to know that you are here to stay, strengthening our ecclesial cohesion rather than setting yourselves apart as another divisive grouping within the Church…It is your delicate, but all-important task both to preserve the integrity and distinctiveness of your parish communities and, at the same time, help your people integrate into the larger Catholic community”.

Turning his attention to the importance of the sacred liturgy as the expression of communion, Cardinal Müller said that the ordinaries’ role in this regard was critical. “By ensuring that the sacred liturgy is celebrated worthily and well, you further the communion of the Church by drawing people into the worship of God who is communio”. He said that the sacred liturgy was also the “privileged place” for encountering Anglican patrimony, which was how ordinariate parishes and communities distinguished themselves, bearing witness to the faith in the diversity of its expression.

“In this sense, the celebration according to the approved Divine Worship [or Ordinariate Use] texts is both essential to the formation of the identity of the Ordinariate as well as being a tool for evangelisation”, Cardinal Müller said.

The Prefect went on to issue a word of warning about the potential problems caused by the “new media”, particularly through blogs. He said that some of the ordinariate clergy and faithful wrote blogs, which, while being a helpful tool of evangelisation, could also “express un-reflected speech lacking in charity”. The image of the ordinariate was not helped by this, he said, and it fell to the ordinaries to exercise vigilance over these blogs and, where necessary, to intervene.

Cardinal Müller said that, in responding to the Holy Father’s invitation to serve as Ordinary, each of the three men had demonstrated great courage and deep faith and that their journey had called for considerable personal sacrifice. “I want you to know that I have spoken to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, about the ordinariates and the particular gift they are to the Church. The Holy Father is following the development of the ordinariates with great interest”.

The ordinaries’ visit to Rome – three years after the first of the three ordinariates was established – was the first time the three of them had all met together.

(UK Ordinariate Press Release)

Note from the “blogmaster”:

This is the second time I am aware of that Cardinal Müller has publicly expressed his reservations about blogs and spoken of the danger of uncharitable comment. To a certain extent I share his apprehension but have a basically more optimistic standpoint.

I am very aware that this and the other Ordinariate blogs and websites are part of the public face of the Ordinariates. Much of what is published in this blog is merely reporting and reposting but I consciously try to make any opinions which I express loyal, constructive and above all eirenic. I have had occasion to admonish those who write comments for being less than charitable and have had to edit or remove completely some (although admittedly very few) of the cases of destructive or unfriendly criticism.

We should be happy for the Ordinariate leadership and those responsible in the CDF to read and control this blog, and to inform us if we are considered disloyal or incorrect in what we publish, but it is my aim that this should not prove necessary.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to What (now-)Cardinal Müller said to the Ordinaries

  1. EPMS says:

    Yes, the Church does not seem to have grasped that “controlling the message” is not really a possibility anymore, and that being seen to be trying is potentially more damaging than anything that would actually be said. Of course this does mean giving uncharity a forum, but the sense that Big Brother is Watching is I’m sure at least partly responsible for the lack of available Ordinariate news, let alone constructive debate. You soldier on in an attempt to fill that gap, but I gather that even your serious and clearly supportive blog has been “leaned on” by the Ordinariate KGB at times.

    • There is no Ordinariate KGB!
      On one occasion I was asked to hold back the text of the Ordo Missae but was also given a plausible reason.
      I have not only complied out of loyalty but because I am aware of the damage which uncharitable blogging can do. We were witnesses to that on the biggest pre-Ordinariate blog.
      This does not mean that I am afraid to give constructive criticism when necessary.

      David Murphy

  2. Ben Sirach says:

    With respect, your comments on the “Small is beautiful…” posting were very unhelpful to some of us struggling in small groups here in the UK. Walk a mile in someone’s shoes before you criticise. It’s easy to stand outside and make judgements.

    • EPMS says:

      I am sorry. This was in no way my intent. I was not trying to criticise, or even ” give advice” (which I regard as generally a hostile act), but to encourage the analysis which is a necessary prelude to further progress.

    • Paul Nicholls ofs says:

      Prayer should be “the prelude to further progress”.
      My prayers are with you, Ben, and the small groups struggling in the UK. Please pray for us in Canada and the United States. I call on others to do the same. Let’s be positive.
      Jesus I trust in you.

      • Rev22:17 says:

        Paul,

        You wrote: Prayer should be “the prelude to further progress”.

        Yes, and also the main body and the postlude.

        Everything that God does begins in prayer, occurs in prayer, and concludes in prayer. As soon as we stop praying, we become incapable of knowing the Lord’s will, such that we can no longer obey the Holy Spirit, and thus act in abject disobedience which constitutes sin.

        You wrote: Let’s be positive.

        Somehow this comment always brings to mind a litany of the Pershing Rifle Society, which is a military fraternity that has chapters on many college campuses here in the States. This litany begins with the leader yelling, “Attitude check!,” to which the unit responds, “This place sucks!” There would follow perhaps a dozen or more variants, such as:

        “Navy attitude check!” “That land over there looks like it sucks!”

        “Air Force attitude check!” “That place down there looks like it sucks!”

        “Negative attitude check!” “No place sucks like this place sucks!”

        “Biblical attitude check!” “No place sucketh like this place sucketh!”

        Finally, the series would conclude with the leader yelling, “Marine Corps attitude check!” and the entire unit responding, “I like it here!”

        But what brings this litany to mind is that, in the midst of the litany, the leader would yell, “Positive attitude check!,” to the unit would respond, “I’m positive that this place sucks!”

        It thus seems worth clarifying that the “positive attitude” to which you refer does NOT mean, “I’m positive that the ordinariates (or the small ordinariate groups, or whatever else) are doomed to fail!”

        Norm.

  3. EPMS says:

    Are prayer and analysis mutually exclusive? Does “discernment” have nothing to do with rational thought?

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You asked: Are prayer and analysis mutually exclusive? Does “discernment” have nothing to do with rational thought?

      Rational thought obviously plays a role.

      That said, the focus on real analysis is to solve problems. Analysis that stops at identifying problems and that regards every difficulty as an insurmountable obstacle to success is both deficient and counterproductive. There may be instances in which one cannot go over the mountain and thus needs to go around it, or vice versa, but an immediate assumption that one cannot go beyond a mountain is both self-defeating and usually wrong.

      Norm.

  4. EPMS says:

    Mr Murphy: Your kind remarks are greatly appreciated, especially by one who has been thrown off numerous blogs by blogmeisters who appear to think that the moral of “The Emperor’s New Clothes” is “No more parades for you, little boy, until you get with the program.”

  5. Rev22:17 says:

    David,

    You wrote: The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has spoken to the three ordinaries of the personal ordinariates of the delicacy and importance of their task “in these first key years” in the ordinariates’ existence.

    There’s another perspective on this meeting and a few photos on Msgr. Steenson’s personal blog.

    Norm.

  6. Benedict says:

    From the different websites for the Ordinariate in England, it appears that the US Ordinariate, although, not well known among Anglicans or Catholics, has had an easier time than the English one. We have many small groups, however, as an American we don’t give up easily, no matter how small or difficult it is for some of the groups within the Ordinariate, as I am sure the English Ordinariate will also withstand the problems that they face.

    I would hope that the English Ordinariate knows that the Holy Spirit/Holy Ghost is with you and just as many saints of old had difficult times and dark nights, they are now among the holy ones.

    From my perspective here in the US, for years it was Continuing Anglicans who were trying to tear the future of the Ordinariate down, not so much TEC (Anglican Communion). They were not successful and I see it as competition in their eyes as we should have joined one of their groups, rather than just being led to the Truth of the Catholic Church. Now that the Ordinariates are a reality, these groups (as they can’t unite among themselves as Anglicans), are turning upon TEC and on one another. Their focus has more or less moved on to their own troubles. The Church started very small and look at it now, let us not be so concerned with growth, as it will come in the Lord’s time. Let us count our blessings that we no longer must focus our attention on the turmoil that is going on within the Anglican Communion and those groups who were former members of TEC.

    Of course there is always going to be some discord where there are people, but we have “Peter” to look to and know our doctrines of faith will not be changed, we can now just worship God in the beauty of holiness and peace.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      Benedict,

      You wrote: From the different websites for the Ordinariate in England, it appears that the US Ordinariate, although, not well known among Anglicans or Catholics, has had an easier time than the English one. We have many small groups, however, as an American we don’t give up easily, no matter how small or difficult it is for some of the groups within the Ordinariate, as I am sure the English Ordinariate will also withstand the problems that they face.

      Every small ordinariate congregation can look to the so-called “Anglican Use” congregations established under the so-called “pastoral provision” here in the States. Every one of those congregations has grown far beyond its founding size.

      >> The Parish of the Atonement in San Antonio, Texas, began with a former Anglican presbyter and about a couple dozen of his former Anglican parishioners. In just forty years, it has grown into a vibrant parish with several masses every Sunday that has built not only its own church, but also a very good school.

      >> The Parish of Our Lady of Walsingham in Houston, Texas, also began with a former Anglican presbyter and perhaps a couple dozen of his former Anglican parishioners. In just forty years, this congregation also has several masses on Sunday and has built its own church, a parish center, and a major shrine.

      >> The Community of St. Athanasias in Brookline, Massachusetts, began with a former Anglican presbyter and about a dozen of his former Anglican parishioners. Though still a chaplaincy, it now has over sixty members. It shares a church of a closed parish with the parish into which the closed parish merged, with each congregation holding one Sunday mass in the church.

      Not one of these congregations has failed or shrunk. All have grown.

      You wrote: From my perspective here in the US, for years it was Continuing Anglicans who were trying to tear the future of the Ordinariate down, not so much TEC (Anglican Communion).

      That’s certainly true of the continuing leadership of the Anglican Church in America (ACA), which is the province of the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC) here in the States, but it’s less clear to me that it was true of other “continuing Anglican” bodies. Some of the “continuing Anglican” bodies, including the Anglican Province in America (APA), seem to have simply decided that they were not interested in joining an ordinariate without being negative.

      You continued: Now that the Ordinariates are a reality, these groups (as they can’t unite among themselves as Anglicans), are turning upon TEC and on one another. Their focus has more or less moved on to their own troubles.

      Yes and no. The APA and the remnant of the ACA have formed an alliance and now seem to be working toward reconciliation and eventual merger. It remains to be seen whether they will forge any sort of alliance with any other “continuing Anglican” bodies.

      And, curiously, a “continuing Anglican” body named the Reformed Episcopal Church (REC) has become part of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), the new Anglican province formed with the support of the Global Anglican Futures Conference (GAFCON) which also includes the Diocese of Fort Worth formerly of The Episcopal Church (TEC) and several other entities that seek to remain within the Anglican Communion while dissociating from TEC and the Anglican Church in Canada (ACC).

      Norm.

      • EPMS says:

        At least three Pastoral Provision parishes: St Mary the Virgin, Las Vegas; Good Shepherd, Columbia, SC; and St Anselm, Corpus Christi ceased to exist before AC was implemented. As fewer than a dozen parishes were created under the provision this is a not insignificant failure rate.

      • I agree with Norm that we should look first and foremost to those Pastoral Provision parishes which have had a phenomenal success, despite the fact that there was no Ordinariate at the time to support them and give them a feeling of belonging.

        I think it is self-evident that there will always be groups which are not viable in the long term (due to age, distance between the members, lack of missionary zeal, etc.). In the Ordinariate structure we have the possibility to recognise this early on and give support and encouragement where possible.

        The new Catholics who belong to the unsuccessful groups are, however, not lost but go on to become (maybe very active) members of their local parish and to bring their Anglican spirit with them into the Church at large.

        David Murphy

      • Rev22:17 says:

        EPMS,

        You wrote: At least three Pastoral Provision parishes: St Mary the Virgin, Las Vegas; Good Shepherd, Columbia, SC; and St Anselm, Corpus Christi ceased to exist before AC was implemented.

        I was not aware of those parishes, but their histories are also useful as lessons in what not to do. Those who don’t learn from the mistakes of the past are destined to repeat them.

        Norm.

  7. EPMS says:

    “Let us not be so concerned with growth, as it will come in the Lord’s time.” Not exactly the spirit of the book of Acts.

    A Bible commentary I was looking at today noted that the inclusion of “Give us this day our daily bread” in the Lord’s Prayer did not imply that we were justified in folding our hands and waiting for the Lord to provide what other people obtained by hard work.

  8. Jeff says:

    Blogging has its place, even “theanglocatholic.com” style blogging. It’s a voice in the church, even if a voice and a gauge as to how Catholics who feel voiceless can find a voice. Our leaders sometimes feel uneasy about this? Well let me tell you that the bishops tried to ban news papers when they first came out too

  9. EPMS says:

    Of course the demise of any particular group is no big deal in the larger context. I am just always surprised when a meticulously detailed and helpful explication of some issue, over which Norm has clearly spared neither research or typing time, is followed by a statement such as the above, so readily verifiable, or not, by a quick google. Maybe that’s why we have been joined together in the blogosphere.

  10. EPMS says:

    Even better, Norm has underlined an important point: rather than pretend mistakes have not been made, situations misjudged, etc, how much better to use them as learning opportunities. This is only possible if one does not confuse identifying problems with being uncharitable.

    • Rev22:17 says:

      EPMS,

      You wrote: Even better, Norm has underlined an important point: rather than pretend mistakes have not been made, situations misjudged, etc, how much better to use them as learning opportunities. This is only possible if one does not confuse identifying problems with being uncharitable.

      Yes, but there’s also a big difference between saying, “X can’t succeed because Y failed” and saying “Y failed because Z and X needs to A to prevent Z from happening again.” The former is negative, whereas the second is pointing the way to success.

      BTW, it just might be that “lessons learned” from the parishes erected under the so-called “pastoral provision” have been instrumental in the Vatican’s decisions with respect to establishing criteria for acceptance of communities and clergy into the ordinariates, and even for the selection of the present ordinaries….

      Norm.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s