Card. Levada’s speech in Canada on Anglicanorum coetibus

I am starting a lot of entries with anecdotes these days about old Vatican days.

I was speaking one day, some time ago, to high official involved in the Vatican’s efforts for Christian unity.  I pushed him, hard, on a question despite his lofty hierarchical state.  I kept asking, in different language each time, whether or not the point of ecumensim was ultimately that every one become Catholic, or not?  Yes? No?  If we believe that our Church is the True Church Christ founded and that all other Churches, are in some way defective, isn’t the point of any ecumenical dialogue to make the whole world Catholic?  Not?  Yes?

Finally, he agreed.  Yes, the point of ecumenism was that everyone become Catholic.

Not sure how I missed this, but on 6 March His Eminence Wm. Card. Levada, Prefect CDF, gave a speech at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, about Anglicanorum coetibus.  The speech is long (4788 words).

There is a story about the speech today from Catholic World News on Catholic Culture.

Cardinal Levada: ‘Union with the Catholic Church is the goal of ecumenism’

March 09, 2010

In a lengthy address delivered in Canada on March 6, Cardinal William Levada, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, stated that the reception of communities of Anglicans into the Catholic Church is consistent with Anglican-Catholic ecumenical dialogue because “union with the Catholic Church is the goal of ecumenism.”  [And there, folks, it is.]

Tracing the history of Anglican-Catholic dialogue [One of the important things to do is to define the narrative.  Get the real story of the process out there.] since the Second Vatican Council, Cardinal Levada noted that Anglican decisions to ordain women and countenance homosexual activity were not consistent with earlier statements agreed to by Anglican and Catholic theologians. “No wonder, then, that the ordination of a bishop in a homosexual partnership in New Hampshire, with subsequent approval by the General Convention of the Episcopal Church of the United States in 2003, and the authorization of rituals for the blessing of gay unions and marriages by the Anglican Church in Canada, have caused an enormous upheaval within the Anglican communion,” the cardinal observed.  [Furthermore, it doesn’t end there.  Eventually they will want to ordain, … who knows what.]

Cardinal Levada then compared the reception of Anglican communities into the Catholic Church to the addition of an instrument to an orchestra. Professing the Catechism of the Catholic Church, these communities will play the same doctrinal notes, yet will enrich the orchestra with another sound.

“Let me add right away that when I say enrichment I am referring not to any addition of essential elements of sanctification and truth to the Catholic Church,” [OORAH] said Cardinal Levada. “Christ has endowed her with all the essential elements. I am referring to the addition of modes of expression of these essential elements, modes which enhance everyone’s appreciation of the inexhaustible treasures bestowed on the Church by her divine founder.”

“Turning to the Anglican Communion, we can see the many elements that impel toward full unity: regard for the unifying role of the episcopate, [though still a problematic issue for Anglicans from our point of view] an esteem for the sacramental life, a similar sense of catholicity as a mark of the Church, and a vibrant missionary impulse, to name but a few,” he continued. “These are by no means absent from the Catholic Church, but the particular manner in which they are found in Anglicanism adds to the Catholic understanding of a common gift. These considerations help us appreciate the Catholic Church’s insistence that there is no opposition between ecumenical action and the preparation of people for full reception into Catholic communion.”

“ Moreover, among the distinctive elements of Anglican heritage should be included the spiritual and intellectual gifts of the Oxford movement in the 19th century, the then-Anglican cleric Newman together with his fellow Tractarians have left a legacy that still enriches a common Catholic patrimony,” he added.

Take a look at the address and discuss below.   I hope there is video.

Card. Levada’s speech in Canada on Anglicanorum coetibus
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33 Responses to Card. Levada’s speech in Canada on Anglicanorum coetibus

  1. kgurries says:

    “Let me add right away that when I say enrichment I am referring not to any addition of essential elements of sanctification and truth to the Catholic Church,” said Cardinal Levada. “Christ has endowed her with all the essential elements. I am referring to the addition of modes of expression of these essential elements, modes which enhance everyone’s appreciation of the inexhaustible treasures bestowed on the Church by her divine founder.”

    This is a money quote and really helps to clearly distinguish TRUE ecumenism from FALSE (rupture) ecumenism.

  2. Magpie says:

    Hamsters. They will want to ordain hamsters. Sound far-fetched?

    See here:

    As we take ‘rights’ away from people and give them to animals, presumably the same applies to the Anglican Communion. How about rattlesnake bishops? =p

  3. Triple Domer says:

    Can we get that message out to everyone as quickly as possible?

  4. dhgyapong says:

    I was there in Kingston and got lots of photos, which I posted over at The Anglo-Catholic at

    More here: (For an unofficial transcript of the talk)

    Also, Father Z, did you see Archbishop Hepworth’s recent interviews with

    Cardinal Levada also spoke in Ottawa last night on “The Catholic Faith: Is it worth passing on?” He addressed a fundraising dinner for Catholic Christian Outreach (CCO), a movement to evangelize Catholic university students. The talk in Kingston was also for CCO and the Newman Centre.

    Salt and Light TV recorded the mass he did at Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica. They may have recorded last night’s talk.


  5. randomcatholic says:


    I just saw those interviews with Archbishop Hepworth, and they were truly wonderful. And humble.

    I was very impressed.

    He is married. I don’t want to put the cart before the horse, but how will we refer to him soon when, God willing, the TAC is in full communion.

    Will he be Msgr. Hepworth? What is the proper honorific?

  6. dhgyapong says:

    I don’t know. Good question.

  7. ridiculusmus says:

    AH is a married. ex-Catholic priest.

  8. Dave N. says:

    AH is apparently twice married, although I don’t know the circumstances of same. But I would like to know.

  9. Geoffrey says:

    “…union with the Catholic Church is the goal of ecumenism.”

    Great line!

  10. ridiculusmus says:

    Dave N,
    Don’t know, but holy orders are a diriment impediment to marriage, so
    neither marriage would seem to be valid. He is quoted as saying he
    would accept laicization.

  11. TNCath says:

    Now, we have Cardinal Levada’s clarification of what we already knew in our hearts. Wow! Now, the question is this: will we be hearing this again anytime soon? I wonder what Cardinal Kasper is thinking? I can only imagine what the Anglicans are thinking! Poor Rowan Williams!

  12. Ceile De says:

    I hope I am disappointed but I suspect it will be a cold day in the hell they don’t believe in before the English bishops make any similar statement. How about the US?

  13. glennbcnu says:

    Marriage was annuled.

  14. glennbcnu says:

    Sorry should have said:

    To: Dave N. The marriage was annuled.

  15. ridiculusmus says:

    The church would never annul a marriage that was on it face invalid.

  16. Norah says:

    I’m a bit confused here. Abp Hepworth is a laicised Catholic priest. He got married and had that marriage annuled. At some later stage, I don’t know in what order, he got married again and left the Catholic Church to become an Anglican priest. Is that correct?

    A thought – aren’t annulments convenient and it is hard to argue with those who call it a Catholic divorce isn’t it?

  17. Victor says:

    Frankly, I think it is none of our business whether his marriage is valid or not. After having become Catholic, Archbishop Hepworth will have to have regularized his marital status, and I am pretty sure the Holy See will know what it is doing. Having been a Catholic priest before going Anglican, he probably will not be allowed to minister in the Church again, which makes his sacrifice even more applaudable. He is ready to accept anything the Holy See may decide – so should we.

  18. An American Mother says:

    Victor, I agree that this speculation is more than a bit unseemly.

    It is literally none of our business. The archbishop has indicated his willingness to submit to the Church’s judgment. End of story.

    We should be praising him for his humility and courage, not sounding like the National Enquirer chasing John Edwards through the hotel basement.

  19. Ed the Roman says:

    Somewhat OT, Father, but are you a former Marine?

  20. chironomo says:


    You mean there aren’t already rattlesnake Bishops?

  21. randomcatholic says:

    I agree that the speculation is a bit unseemly. But this is a public figure, and now that he seeks union with the Roman Catholic Church, he will “enjoy” a much more prominent position. This is interesting and is, to my mind, one additional proof that the Church is what She claims to be.

    I just happened to know he was married and was asking what the honorific would be for an Anglican Bishop who became a Catholic priest, but still functioned in a role as an administrator.

    My guess is Msgr., but I can’t know for certain.

    I sort of wish the conversation didn’t go the direction it did.

    The archbishop is a good man. Let us pray for reunion, and not allow ourselves to get mired too much in the details. The Church will sort this out, not us.

    Also, for us Romans, let us remember the difference between “discipline” and “dogma.”

    I am no dissenter. I like the discipline… but that is what it is. Not dogma.

  22. Jason Keener says:

    I was hard on Cardinal Levada for his sermon at the Consecration of the FSSP chapel last week, but I give Cardinal Levada big time kudos for this great comment on the true goal of ecumenism. Way to go, Your Eminence!

    Another point: It seems that people involved with ecumenism these days, even prominent theologians, sometimes believe that the purpose of ecumenism is to move the Catholic Church and other Christian communities into some sort of third state or Church of Christ that is not already present. That is a faulty understanding of ecumenism because it is a complete rupture from past Catholic thinking, and the Catholic Church already is and always will be the One Church of Christ. For those of you with an interest in this, I would encourage you to read Christopher Malloy’s article “Subsistit In,” which appeared in “The Thomist” in 2008. Malloy explains how the phrase “Subsistit In” upholds Pope Pius XII’s understanding that there is an exclusive identity between the Mystical Body of Christ and the Catholic Church. The Mystical Body of Christ IS indeed the Catholic Church. Ecumenism should strive to bring people into the Catholic Church.

  23. terryprest says:

    Cardinal Walter Kasper`s views are quoted on the Vatican website. Here are some

    The Decree on Ecumenism – Read Anew After Forty Years (Thursday, 11 November 2004)

    Current Problems in Ecumenical Theology

    Nature and Purpose of Ecumenical Dialogue

    In the last he said:

    “1. The goal of ecumenical dialogue. The ultimate goal of ecumenical dialogue is the same as the goal of the ecumenical movement itself: not only the spiritual but the visible unity of the Church. On this, all Churches engaged in the ecumenical movement agree. Since the Second Vatican Council the Catholic Church has understood this visible unity not as uniformity but as unity in plurality and as communion of Churches. The term communion, in the tradition of the patristic age and as the central ecclesiological concept of the Second Vatican Council, has increasingly substituted the term unity; or, better, unity is increasingly interpreted as communion. According to a famous formula of the then professor Joseph Ratzinger: the Churches must become one Church while at the same time remaining Churches”

    I am not an expert. But could someone say (yes or no, hopefully but unlikely) if the speech by Cardinal Levada is a shift away or is simply a development of Cardinal Kasper`s position ? Or are the two Cardinals simply saying the same thing in different ways ?

    Confused Catholic

  24. wchoag says:

    “…union with the Catholic Church is the goal of ecumenism.”

    VERY interesting in light of the FSSPX/CDF doctrinal discussions!!!

    It seems that Rome is methodically undermining each Society objection the Council.

  25. Victor says:


    my remarks were not directed to you. I suppose Archbishop Hepworth is quite aware of his irregular status (be it one or two marriages), and I really admire his courage to trust Holy Church with his professional as well as personal future. I am, on the other hand, kind of sick of those suspicious fellows sneering at him and the whole Anglican Coetibus issue because of his marital status. Holy Mother Church, while being charitable, will never cease to be just, and I trust Her very much concerning this affair.

    In fact, you pose a very interesting question. At the very least, he would be Father Hepworth (as he still is an ordained Catholic priest). But I am sure there are many honorific titles stored in Holy Church’s treasure – there were honorary bishops and archbishops galore in pre-revolutionary Europe who never had been ordained priests in the first place.

  26. Martial Artist says:

    I just scanned Anglicanorum Cœtibus, and it appears to be silent on the question of how the Ordinary is to be addressed. The document itself (English version) refers to the head of an Ordinariate as the Ordinary. So, I am at a loss to answer the question of what the proper form of address would be.

  27. moon1234 says:

    I just scanned Anglicanorum Cœtibus, and it appears to be silent on the question of how the Ordinary is to be addressed. The document itself (English version) refers to the head of an Ordinariate as the Ordinary. So, I am at a loss to answer the question of what the proper form of address would be.

    I think the question here is what Hepworth will be titled. He is not a REAL archbishop. He is a catholic priest in an irregular situation. If he is Laicized he will be Mr. John Hepworth (no different in title to you and me). If he somehow remains a functioning priest (no sure I see how this is possible given his current “wife”) he would be titled Father like any other Catholic Priest. He most certainly will not be a Bishop much less an ArchBishop. The title he has now is one that he received from an authority not authorised to give that title.

  28. Dave N. says:

    After having become Catholic, Archbishop Hepworth will have to have regularized his marital status…

    Normally, one’s marriage status must be regularized PRIOR to entry into the church.

  29. Luke says:


    My annulment sure hasn’t been convenient.

  30. muckemdanno says:

    “Union with the Catholic Church” does not mean the same thing as conversion to the Catholic Faith.

    The phrase used “union with the Catholic Church” implies that (or at least is open to the interpretation that) the individuals in question need not change their religious practices or beliefs. (Lex orande, lex credende, etc etc.) It implies a sort of corporate merger.

    If the Cardinal had said “conversion to the Catholic Faith” is the goal of ecumenism, then I would say he spoke clearly and correctly.

  31. JonathanZ says:

    At least the Episcopal Christian community has drawn the line at ordaining openly non-Christians. One will remember the story last year of the Seattle Episcopal priest who found no problem with being both an ordained priest and a new Muslim:

    >>>[Furthermore, it doesn’t end there. Eventually they will want to ordain, … who knows what.]

  32. MAJ Tony says:

    The fact that an “ordained” minister of a Christian ecclessial body would even think about becoming a Muslim might speak volumes about what that ecclessial body teaches (or doesn’t teach). The sad thing about that statement, is the fact that some within the ranks of the clergy of the Church have gone down similar roads, still claming to be Catholics. It’s certainly an indicator of what has been de facto taught, or conversely NOT TAUGHT, from primary school level all the way to seminary. However, unlike as is the case with the Anglican Communion et al, what was taught de facto in Catholic education didn’t always match up with official Catholic teaching, which did not fundamentally change. We’re going through a correction cycle right now, and part of that cycle includes bringing in people whom I would describe as faithful Catholics who were not formal members due to their prior ecclessial affiliations. As muckemdanno put it, these folks really aren’t converting, as they already believe what the Church believes, more or less. They’ve just finally came to the conclusion that they were not actually in THE Catholic Church, and decided to become a part of it, and stop living in a lie (no Bishop >> No Priests >> No Sacraments).

  33. kgurries says:

    wchoag, that is a good observation. I think statements such as these can be seen as part of the “dialogue”. For example, the Pope recently made the following remark (quoting Pope John Paul II) on the topic of “spiritual ecumenism” between Catholics and Lutherans:

    “Let us rejoice that such an encounter can take place. Let us dispose ourselves to be open to the Lord, so that He may use this encounter for His own ends, to make way for the unity He desires. Thank you for your efforts in favor of full unity in faith and charity”.

    The SSPX DICI site reported on the event giving the following commentary:

    Comment: This last phrase which Benedict borrowed from his predecessor, in the same vein of ecumenism promoted by Vatican II, does not fail to evoke the theory of “the exchange of gifts between Churches in their complementarity”, as developed in the encyclical Ut unum sint (no. 57). This is in fact a case of asking the Lutherans to bring their contribution to the work of unity in faith and charity, which transcends Catholics just as it does Lutherans. This presupposes that the Catholic Church is not integrally the guardian of the treasure of the faith. To which the Congregation of the Holy Office responded in its decree De motione oecumenica of 20 December 1949: “One should avoid talking on this point in such a way that, in returning to the Church, they (the Protestants) think they are briguing to it an essential element which was lacking until now”. (Sources: apic/vis DICI no. 210 of 2/20/10).

    The objection raised has to do with the notion that non-Catholics supposedly have something “essential” to bring into the Church. Now we have a statement from the head of the CDF that directly addresses this point:

    “Let me add right away that when I say enrichment I am referring not to any addition of essential elements of sanctification and truth to the Catholic Church…Christ has endowed her with all the essential elements.”

    Obviously, this is no mere accident or coincidence. This is all part of the process to bring greater clarity on the disputed points of Vatican II.