The USCCB reacts to the new Anglican situation

From the website of the USCCB comes a statement of the Conference President, His Eminence Francis Card. George of Chicago.

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Francis George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), issued the following statement, October 20, following a Vatican announcement of a new provision concerning Anglican groups coming into the Catholic Church. His statement follows:

"Today the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has received word of the new Provision in the form of an apostolic constitution issued by the Holy See for the reception into full communion with the Catholic Church of groups from the Anglican tradition. The USCCB stands ready to collaborate in the implementation of that Provision in our country.

"This step by the Holy See is in response to a number of requests received in Rome from groups of Anglicans seeking corporate reunion. The application of the new Provision recognizes the desire of some Anglicans (Episcopalians) to live the Catholic faith in full, visible communion with the See of Peter, while at the same time retaining some elements of their traditions of liturgy, spirituality and ecclesial life which are consistent with the Catholic faith.

"This Provision, at the service of the unity of the Church, calls us as well to join our voices to the Priestly Prayer of Jesus that ‘all may be one’ (Jn 17:21) as we seek a greater communion with all our brothers and sisters with whom we share Baptism. For forty-five years, our Episcopal Conference has engaged in ecumenical dialogue with The Episcopal Church, which is the historic Province of the Anglican communion in North America. The Catholic Bishops of the United States remain committed to seeking deeper unity with the members of The Episcopal Church by means of theological dialogue and collaboration in activities that advance the mission of Christ and the welfare of society.

 

Hmmm… ambivalently positive, or maybe…. positively ambivalent? 

Affirmingly neutral?  Neutrally affirming?

The USCCB reacts to the new Anglican situation
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28 Responses to The USCCB reacts to the new Anglican situation

  1. Tominellay says:

    …underwhelmed?

  2. GregH says:

    What a bunch of garbage — this makes the US Catholic Church look like complete joke. The Episcopal Church is a complete farce as my wife was with the Falls Church Anglican before becoming Catholic and her former parish is being sued by TEC for the property. Hey Cardinal George WAKE UP or resign! Quit spending your time writing books.

  3. TomG says:

    Relax, y’all. After all, remember what the immediate former head of the CDF said about “national episcopal conferences”?

  4. Cath says:

    “…to live the Catholic faith in full, visible communion with the See of Peter…”, if only more Catholics wanted the same.

  5. The Astronomer says:

    Typical USCCB bureaucratic MEH….neither hot nor cold

  6. Steve K. says:

    “the Catholic Bishops of the United States remain committed to seeking deeper unity with the members of The Episcopal Church ”

    Ho ho! Is the Cardinal even aware of what that pack preaches? Gay marriage, pro-abortion, WO, clergy who are also members of other religions (Buddhism, Islam, even paganism), denial that Jesus Christ is the sole means of salvation? What have we even in the slightest in common with them? Clueless!

  7. Gabriel Austin says:

    “Hmmm… ambivalently positive, or maybe…. positively ambivalent? Affirmingly neutral? Neutrally affirming?”

    Father Z.
    At your age do you not recognize Pub Rel bureaucratese when you see it?

    Cardinal George does not speak for any bishop but himself. [I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he did write the release].

  8. TNCath says:

    It really doesn’t say much of anything. I don’t see anything about “rejoicing” or being “pleased” that there is a possibility that so many people might be entering the Church.

    Honestly, the Bishops’ reaction to the election of President Obama was much more enthusiastic than their reaction to this new development in the Church:

    Cardinal George, November 5, 2008: “I write to you, in my capacity as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, to express our congratulations on your historic election as President of the United States. The people of our country have entrusted you with a great responsibility. As Catholic Bishops, we offer our prayers that God give you strength and wisdom to meet the coming challenges.”

    Cardinal George, October 20, 2009: “Today the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has received word of the new Provision in the form of an apostolic constitution issued by the Holy See for the reception into full communion with the Catholic Church of groups from the Anglican tradition. The USCCB stands ready to collaborate in the implementation of that Provision in our country.”

  9. Bryan says:

    Well..

    He is just being ‘pastorally sensitive’.

    Kind of thought this would be the reaction. By establishing the Personal Ordinariate, the Holy Father has bypassed the conferences (just as SP bypassed the strictures of less-than-enthusiastic bishops in granting permission for the EF and placed it close to the Real People). Which kind of shows you just how important, after 40 years, the national debating societies oops bishops conferences are from the Vatican point of reference.

    I have no doubt that Benedict (long may he reign) is quite aware of the situation and what it will take to make it work. Thus, the number of times he’s (and don’t I believe for a minute that it was a case of forming a committee and listening to what they came up with…and rubber stamping its’ decision…more, I’m thinking of the Holy Father giving marching orders and a ‘come back with the way to do this’) gone directly to the desired or workable end state around the usual suspects who have made a career out of preventing progress.

    May God bless us with his brilliance and steady hand on the Barque of Peter for many years to come!

  10. chironomo says:

    This, and the reaction of the US Anglican representative above are much like some of the “official responses” in the wake of Summorum Pontificum that said things like “we will continue to seek ways to incorporate the older Mass into the liturgical life of the Church”.

    Excuse me? The document IS THE WAY to do that. Similarly, claims to continue “seeking deeper unity with the members of The Episcopal Church by means of theological dialogue and collaboration in activities” act as though they are still in need of continuing to talk in order to eventually be allowed in.

    Deeper unity? The point of the Apostolic Constitution is to admit them to FULL COMMUNION. How much deeper is there? Do some Bishops, etc…just not realize that the 40+ years of “ecumenical dialogue” have been effectively brought to an end?

  11. RichR says:

    I’m not saying that the NCCB doesn’t think this way, but I am simply offering this statement in, what I believe, is the appropriate forum:

    If we truly believe that the Catholic Church is the true church established by Jesus Christ, then it shouldn’t be embarrassing when people of whatever creed convert to Catholicism. We should be convicted that God desires the riches of the Catholic doctrine and sacraments for each and every person on this earth. This is true missionary effort in the world.

  12. Geremia says:

    Is not this similar to what happened in 1980 when the Anglican Use became a part of the Catholic Church?

  13. paladin says:

    Argh. In theory, the USCCB might have (if done well) some good functions for coordinating statements, pooling resources, collecting information, etc., among otherwise “sovereign” bishops (under and obedient to the Holy Father); but otherwise–if it insists on existing at all–I really, really wish it would remain seen, and not heard. This is at least two comments (including the “congratulations on your Peace Prize, President Obama!”), in the last two weeks, in which silence would have been far better than what they offered.

  14. Dean says:

    How about “tepidly unenthusiastic” or “guardedly reserved”?

    Or slightly more positive than that perhaps: “cautiously non-hostile” or “fastidiously hesitant”.

  15. Henry Edwards says:

    Given Cardinal George’s intellectual heft, I’d think we might be able to relax and assume that this boilerplate was written by a USCCB flack/bureaucrat rather than by His Eminence himself. And of course we might not be surprised by any reflexive restraint in the USCCB bureacracy’s enthusiasm at the prospect of an influx of orthodox believers with reverent liturgy into the U.S. Church (as opposed to our faithful bishops themselves, of course).

  16. Agellius says:

    Like a lot of other lukewarm commentators, his point seems to be to praise it insofar, and only insofar, as it seems to reflect well on “ecumenical dialogue”.

    But does it really? I don’t see where it has anything to do with ecumenical dialogue whatsoever. Rather, it has to do with the Anglicans finally going so far overboard that thousands of their members can’t take it any more, and are therefore bailing out and swimming for the Barque.

  17. tewter says:

    This lukewarmness is a good reason that the Pope assigned Archbishop Burke to to the Congregation of Bishops and that the new structure for the Anglicans will not have to come under the existing diocesan structures of the Roman Church.

  18. Uhm, what are “theological dialogue and collaboration in activities that advance the mission of Christ and the welfare of society.” Just askin’?

  19. markomalley says:

    The Catholic Bishops of the United States remain committed to seeking deeper unity with the members of The Episcopal Church…”

    Sure thing. But one minor problem: Since when is TEC a bona-fide “church”?

    Is His Eminence claiming that TEC bishops have valid Apostolic Succession? So I guess this means that he would accept the validity of the orders of folks like James Scott Mayer (Episcopal “bishop” of Lubbock, consecrated by Most Rev. Dr. Katharine Jefferts Schori).

  20. Bornacatholic says:

    For forty-five years, our Episcopal Conference has engaged in ecumenical dialogue with The Episcopal Church,

    Absent Apostolic Succession, Holy Orders, and Holy Eucharist, the Anglicans have no Church.

  21. Bornacatholic says:

    His entire statement could be reduced to a favorite reaction of American youth – “whatever”

  22. Greg Smisek says:

    markomalley: Is His Eminence claiming that TEC bishops have valid Apostolic Succession?

    No, it is common practice for the Holy See and the USCCB to refer to non-Catholic ecclesial communities by their given names, e.g., The Episcopal Church or the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, because that is their name in law and common usage. The Holy See and USCCB also use the titles and styles of non-Catholic ministers, for diplomatic courtesy and, again, because of common usage. Neither usage is intended as a theological statement.

  23. Dave N. says:

    An influx of “orthodox believers with reverent liturgy…”? Most of the Episco-spin offs in my area are pretty much the same as the evangelical praise-band churches–with a new-agey eucharist (I won’t capitalize) based loosely on the BCP.

    So maybe this IS the type of people the bishops want!! :)

  24. robkphd says:

    Fr., perhaps is it woefully inadequate or inadequately woeful

  25. Seraphic Spouse says:

    The sad truth is that the idea of Christian Unity has been replaced by
    the ideal of Dialogue. Dialogue pays lip service to Unity while being careful
    never to look like one is actually inviting our separated brethren to embrace the truth
    of Catholicism. Such a blatant invitation to Christian Unity as we saw yesterday
    puts a crimp in the idea of Dialogue, to say nothing of a comfortable
    relativism in which we are all “One” without having to do anything except hold
    hands during an interdenominational service.

    To those who accuse me of saying that Christian Unity means that all Western Christians become Christians become Catholics, I say, “Guilty as charged.” But if we don’t really
    want Christian Unity–because we admire diversity and such interesting (if wrong)
    groups as the Wee Frees–let’s not pretend so terribly much.

  26. GOR says:

    “Relax, y’all. After all, remember what the immediate former head of the CDF said about ‘national episcopal conferences’?”

    Exactly, TomG! At the beginning of Vat II there was a lot of ‘anti-Curia’ feeling among Council participants from around the world – in particular, but not exclusively, Germany and France. The Holy Father – then a peritus for Cdl. Frings – was well aware of that and this led to the summary rejection and re-drafting of the Curia-designed ‘schemata’ for how the Council was to be conducted and, subsequently, to greater emphasis on collegiality. The “German Twins” – Karl Rahner and Joseph Ratzinger – were viewed as liberals by the entrenched Curial appointees.

    Fast-forward forty-plus years and we have a Papa Ratzinger who saw how his predecessors’ (Paul VI and JPII) attempts to rein-in wayward bishops and episcopal conferences had failed (Humanae Vitae being a prime example…). Thus the ‘liberal’ Fr. Ratzinger has become the ‘conservative’ Pope Benedict who, while acknowledging episcopal collegiality, has no illusions about episcopal conferences and will ’rule from the throne’ where appropriate.

    As with Summorum Pontificum, I see this Apostolic Constitution in the same light: enough discussion, Peter has spoken. Or, in other words, “Roma locuta est…”

  27. Supertradmom says:

    carefully politically correct?

  28. BenFischer says:

    Possibly the USCCB’s response is tepid because in a way this doesn’t much concern them. If the reports of the new Anglican structure are correct, the newly fashioned Anglican Catholics won’t be under the USCCB per se. It will be much like the various Eastern Catholic eparchies in the US sharing territory but still independent.

    So a lot of people that the USCCB has been engaged with in ecumenical dialog may now be “gone” in a sense. If Cardinal George has been dialoging with someone in Chicago, that person may well now become Catholic, but in a different branch of the hierarchy. It will take some getting used to.