Lutheran Ordinariate coming?

Vatican Insider has something today about some Lutherans who are getting nervous about the Holy Father establishing an Ordinariate for Lutherans, along the lines of that which he established for Anglicans.

“A Lutheran ordinariate? That’s a bad sign”

An ordinariate for Lutherans who wish to re-enter into communion with the Vatican, whilst preserving their traditions at least partially? [As a former Lutheran, I am wondering what those would be.  Perhaps strong congregational singing of hymns?] The idea of extending the solution offered by Pope Benedict XVI to groups of traditionalist Anglicans [I don't think that is a good description, but... let that pass...] to followers of Martin Luther was suggested for the first time by the President of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, Cardinal Kurt Koch.

But just as the proposal is being put forward again by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Mgr. Gerhard Ludwig Müller, it is beginning to trigger heated protests and concerns among the Catholic Church’s ecumenical partners –as happened with the Anglican Church. [It's time not to care.]

The creation of an ordinariate – intended for those groups of Anglicans that wish to join the Catholic Church but also maintain their own identity – was “not Rome’s idea; it originates in the Anglican Church,” Koch said last 30 October. “The Holy Father looked for a solution and found a wide-reaching one which took into account the Anglican Church’s ecclesial and liturgical traditions. If the Lutherans made a similar request – he went on to say – we will have to consider their situation carefully. But the initiative remains in the hands of the Lutherans.” [And there are going to be not a few, I think.  In the last decades I think there has been a steady shift to a more sacramental approach to worship.  Some ministers have sought ordination from the Orthodox.  They are reading the Fathers.  Get the idea?]

The issue was recently addressed by Mgr. Müller. The German theologian chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to lead the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, recognised that the “Lutheran world is different to the Anglican one because Anglicanism has always had an element that is closer to Catholicism.” But this would not stop the Church from allowing Lutheran groups to convert to Catholicism, preserving “legitimate traditions developed” over the centuries. [see above]

According to Mgr. Müller, there are Lutherans in his homeland, Germany, who hope to enter once again into communion with the Roman Catholic Church and who believe that the changes introduced by the Second Vatican Council were an adequate response to Luther’s request for reforms five centuries ago. [The SSPXer's will love that line!  But they are marginalizing themselves.]  “Protestants – he added – do not oppose Catholicism because they have hung onto many Catholic traditions.”

However, the idea of establishing a Lutheran ordinariate was turned down by the Secretary General of the International Lutheran Federation which has approximately 70 million Christian Lutheran members. [None of which, I believe, are actually governed by this Federation.  Am I wrong?] The Rev. Martin Junge said individual believers naturally still have every right to convert, but the establishment of an ordinariate would not only pose “theological problems[? Oh? Such as a challenge to the Lutheran rejection of the Petrine Ministry?  The Mass?] it would also have “serious ecumenical repercussions.” [Good.]

Protestant Churches are preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the 2017 Reform and have invited the Catholic Church to take part in the celebrations. But – Junge said – the creation of an ordinariate “would send out the wrong signal to Lutheran Churches which are preparing to celebrate the anniversary of the Reform in a spirit of understanding and ecumenical cooperation.” [Good.] This is why Müller’s message to the “small number” of Lutherans who wish to convert to Catholicism has triggered “a great deal of concern.” [We'll see how small it is.  Isn't that what the Anglicans were saying too?  "Oh, Rome might set something up, but only a handful of people will actually join."]

Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

It is he who determines the parameters of dialogue… not liberals and the squishy, who croon about dialogue… dialogue which becomes endless dialogue.

Another benefit of the Lutheran Ordinariate could be the welcome that Lutherans would give to readers of the National Catholic Reporter who don’t become Anglicans under Romanorum coetibus.

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77 Responses to Lutheran Ordinariate coming?

  1. AnAmericanMother says:

    [As a former Lutheran, I am wondering what those would be. Perhaps strong congregational singing of hymns?]

    We’ll take it. Also Mr. Bach, Mr. Hassler, and the rest of the Lutheran composers.

    Sort of like getting all the good English composers back in the fold with the Anglicans.

  2. Supertradmum says:

    There was a rumour about this last year in England, where people died for the Faith. It will be a good move. I think, having friends in the Midwest who converted from Lutheranism to Catholicism, and as I grew up in Lutheran territory, that those in the Missouri and Wisconsin Synods, who are closest to us morally, would have to move towards more sacramentality and also accept the hierarchy. Those coming in would most likely not be the “compromising synods” which accept abortion and contraception, since the early days after Roe v. Wade, by the way in some synods and, such as the ELC since 1991 or so. Here is part of that statement.

    “This church recognizes that there can be sound reasons for ending a pregnancy through induced abortion. The following provides guidance for those considering such a decision. We recognize that conscientious decisions need to be made in relation to difficult circumstances that vary greatly. What is determined to be a morally responsible decision in one situation may not be in another.”

    But, God is leading those who want the Truth and the Grace from the sacraments to come in, and they will.

  3. BeckyCA says:

    Fr. Z — What kind of Lutheran were you raised as? I was raised in the LCMS (with a German maiden name to go along with that!). I am somewhat grateful for my Lutheran upbringing. Although I would have received more sacramental graces during the first 19 years of my life had I been Catholic all that time . . . I grew up in Milwaukee during the Weakland reign of terror and think it may have destroyed my faith had I been growing up Catholic. I don’t know if I’d be Catholic today if I’d been Catholic then.

  4. mschu528 says:

    This idea was jumping around in the German press back in autumn. Cardinal Koch explained that there is still a lot of theological work to do (“noch viel theologische Arbeit” zu tun) before any kind of unity could occur.

    Kardinal Koch: Aufruf ‘Ökumene jetzt’ verkürzt Problemstellung

    I don’t think this will be happening anytime soon.

  5. mamajen says:

    I trust that the Vatican knows what they’re doing, and I know very little about this, but I worry that the more this kind of thing happens, the more validation various splinter groups feel like they have received. I can’t understand why people who feel like they are practically Catholic don’t just convert. Surely having the fullness of the faith outweighs (or ought to, anyway) any particular custom they’re attached to. If we bend over backwards to accommodate them, are they getting the right message?

    In any case, more Catholics is a good thing. I’ll leave this up to people much wiser than myself.

  6. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    I think I agree with all of your comments, but post a different concern. All of this went public based on a quick comment from CDF at a book signing a week or two ago. This sort of thinking out loud by high-ranking prelates is not a good for the Church. It tends to commit people to positions before they are fully thought-out. At least, it makes backtracking from them a task that need not have been borne in the first place. There are serious issues to be considered here. As Cdl. Burke wrote 25 years ago: “The too rapid growth of practice without a clear and solid theoretical foundation has its most serious consequences in confusion regarding the very foundations of law.” R. Burke, Discretion of Judgment (1986) at 85.

  7. contrarian says:

    “Lutheran world is different to the Anglican one because Anglicanism has always had an element that is closer to Catholicism.”

    Ja. Though how different here in the world of VII Catholicism?

    Lutheranism defines itself by way of the Council of Trent. That is, many of the founding Lutheran documents say, “…here is why the Council of Trent is wrong about this, and here’s why it is wrong about that…”

    If there was a Lutheran ordinate, that would mean that the Lutheran just abandoned their founding confessions, or the Catholic church abandoned the Council of Trent.
    Me thinks that if there’s a Lutheran ordinate, it would only be because the Catholic church officially recognized what many traditionalists have suspected for a while.

    If the TLM makes in an inroad, that would make an ordinate impossible, as the prayers of the TLM directly and explicitly go against Lutheran doctrine.

    Any confessional Lutheran would reject the TLM, and would see the VII Mass as atheistic, effeminate, and Masonic. At least, that’s what my confessional Lutheran friends say. :)

    At any rate, if we are stuck with the VII Mass, I’ll take Lutheran hymns (or, my God, the traditional counterpoint used in the settings of these hymns!) over the nonsense that we’re given.

  8. Mariana says:

    “[As a former Lutheran, I am wondering what those would be. Perhaps strong congregational singing of hymns?]”

    As a former Lutheran myself, I wonder, too! I certainly don’t want more hymns, even though many Lutheran ones are wonderful, I shudder to remember the liturgy being interrupted every five minutes by yet another hymn!

  9. Mariana says:

    Also, in this country the Lutheran church has very recently issued a booklet where it says they are the inheritor of the Catholic Church here! So they have the real faith, and the Catholic Church having gone off the rails a few decades after Christ, they can’t really accept any ordinariate.

    Meanwhile Lutheran churches are practically empty and the few Catholic churches there are here are bursting at the seams with all the converts!

  10. anilwang says:

    Personally, I think that even if the Ordinariate contains only a single parish, it would be worth pursuing precisely because of the “serious ecumenical repercussions” and “theological problems”. After Vatican II, Protestants and many Catholics got the impression that the call for “Ecumenism” meant doctrinal union and ecclesiastical union didn’t matter as long as we had open fellowship and open communion. A Lutheran Ordinariate, no matter how small, would be a clear sign that True Ecumenism is the ecumenism of return.

    As for what the Lutheran patrimony is, I have no experience with Lutheranism but I do with high church Presbyterianism. I’d expect that besides the hymns, that sermons would be more expository studies of scripture and that sermons would typically be about 40-60 minutes long (as opposed to the usual 10-15 minute homily), Bibles in the pews so people can follow along, and there would be a strong culture of Bible study.

  11. Supertradmum says:

    The reason for the Anglo-Catholic Ordinariate was to allow large numbers of people in the same parishes to have catechesis and come in with their pastors, as they were, for the most part, acting and living like Catholics anyway. Also, the Mass of the Ordinariate was in many places more respectful and even, in some cases, an invalid, but respectful TLM. Most Ordinariate priests, not all, are more conservative than the regular, secular Catholic priests.

    This may be true for the Lutherans, as the Anglo-Catholics also include prayer-book Anglicans who are more Lutheran in their background but have moved to Rome

    I do not understand the fear. The wrinkles which have occurred in the first wave of the Ordinariates have been smoothed out and the Lutherans who want to come in will have the experience of Rome as well as the local Church from which to benefit.

    Of course, complete honesty and catechesis is all. Benedict is making it easier for the transition to Rome by discerning how to allow this process.

    And, one must remember a huge point here in Europe. The Catholics have no community life and the Protestants do. There are, of course, historical reasons for this, but there cannot be a comparison with America. Catholics have totally lost the culture war in Europe as well. It is a complete rout.

    English Catholics do not have a clue on how to be a real parish and community, and this is the result of both the Recusant persecutions, when faith went private, and the levels of society in the Catholic Church, which until VERY recently did not have a middle class-only lower class immigrants and the old, upper class families. One has to be here to understand that fact.

    I welcome these movements and know that the Catholic Church will be strengthened, as long as the catechesis is done well, as it was at Buckfast under Abbot David, and not sloppy or liberal.

    The Ordinariate experience is changing and that will help this other groups see how and why to come in. By the way, most Ordinariate priests are fantastic. I would hope ministers coming in and deciding to go through the seminaries , if they are called to be priests, will have a warm welcome. I would think that because of the historical and theological differences in ministry that there would not be many ministers who would seek ordination, as a completely different theology determines their call than those of the Ordinariate priests.

  12. Imrahil says:

    >>sermons would typically be about 40-60 minutes long

    which might be quite good (if the sermons are good) in a voluntary service, but bad in a Holy Mass which people visit to, among other things, fulfil their obligation.

    Might not be the finest thing in a Holy Mass anyway, because it’d tear it into two parts.

    [Exception to my first paragraph: if it is announced early enough for everyone to know that the sermon will be extraordinarily long.]

  13. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Supertradmum,

    by Europe you mean Protestant Europe, right?

    Whatever may be said about the state of the Church, but its parishes do form communities in Catholic Europe.

  14. StWinefride says:

    Supertradmum says: English Catholics do not have a clue on how to be a real parish and community.

    Sorry, but that is not true. I wonder what you mean?

    [This looks like a rabbit hole.]

  15. Wayward Lamb says:

    “I’d expect that besides the hymns, that sermons would be more expository studies of scripture and that sermons would typically be about 40-60 minutes long (as opposed to the usual 10-15 minute homily), Bibles in the pews so people can follow along, and there would be a strong culture of Bible study.”

    Anilwang, I wish that was the case! I grew up ELCA and also have extensive experience with the Missouri Synod. The only time I saw Bibles in the pews was when I visited a friend’s Baptist church. Alas, Bible study and catechesis is not dissimilar in the Catholic Church and the Lutheran church in my experience. That said, unfortunately virtually every Lutheran service I’ve been too has been more reverent and substantive (except for transubstantiation) than your average Novus Ordo Mass.

    The grace of God is at work here. Many of us who were raised Lutheran have individually found our way home to the one true faith. If an ordinariate is eventually established that brings even more Lutherans home, so be it.

  16. Suburbanbanshee says:

    If you read patristic sermons or medieval sermons out loud, you’ll quickly get an idea of comparative lengths in various societies!

    So yeah, most of the Old English homilies were pretty short, but a fair number of homilies in other Catholic times and places are really really long. The series of homilies on the Blessed Sacrament that I worked on translating was pretty entertaining and full of dramatic images drawn from all sorts of sources, but I don’t think any of them were less than 30 minutes. There are still plenty of places (often places where people have a long trip to Mass) where they expect a lengthy Catholic homily (up to an hour or more if the priest is interesting).

  17. MichaelJ says:

    Dr. peters, I agree that “This sort of thinking out loud by high-ranking prelates is not a good for the Church”

  18. Luvadoxi says:

    And Lutherans have altar rails-and use them!

  19. Supertradmum says:

    Imrahil,

    living in Ireland, England and Malta for two years now, I can assure you that the communities are no longer strong and in some places, gone. Malta’s communities are built around family, not the Church, and the two are not the same. There is also growing number of fallen away Catholics, and the breaking down of real Catholic culture.

    Irish communities are in various stages of shock and the fast aging of the parishes, plus the drip, drip of fallen away Catholics. English Catholics, and I do not mean minorities, such as the Polish or Nigerians, have no clue about community. The Ordinariates are a real gift in this regard.

  20. anilwang says:

    Imrahil says “sermons would typically be about 40-60 minutes long but bad in a Holy Mass which people visit to, among other things, fulfil their obligation.

    Imrahil, you’ll have to understand the Protestant mindset WRT scriptures. It’s much closer to the classic Jewish love of scripture. If there’s no sermon, there’s no service. To give you an idea how Jews reverence the Torah, in a Jewish service both the rabbi and congregation look in the same direction: the tabernacle which contains a copy of the Torah (since there is no Eucharist in Judiasm).

    Imrahil also says “Might not be the finest thing in a Holy Mass anyway, because it’d tear it into two parts.”

    True enough. It would definitely reduce the significance of the Liturgy of the Eucharist. In my experience, if the preacher has no time to prepare for a sermon and music director are sick in a Protestant service then you might as well cancel the service.

    In a Catholic Mass however, if the priest is unprepared so he apologies for not giving a homily and there is no music or singing for other reasons, the mass will go on without any complaints since the main function of the Mass is the Sacrifice of the Eucharist.

    Wayward Lamb says “I wish that was the case! Alas, Bible study and catechesis is not dissimilar in the Catholic Church”

    If that’s the case with any Lutheran considering the Ordinariate, I don’t see much point in one. I suppose if the only thing being preserved is community, something less structured and more akin to religious orders is better. Religious orders which can own parishes and be associated with fixed communities but are otherwise they are under the same bishops as other priests not associated with an order. That would preserve the Lutheran communities entering the Church and be easy to establish without the risks and problems with a whole new structure.

  21. Laura98 says:

    I dunno… is there a difference between the American Lutheran Church (ELCA and whatever other denominations it may include) and the German Lutheran Church, the one and only recognized Protestant church there?

    I know my Protestant family in Germany would sooner walk through the gates of Hell than join with the Catholic Church. Sure, a good portion of the family is Catholic, and that’s okay. Sure they only go to church themselves on Christmas and Easter and a number of that part of the family are officially no longer believers (i.e. no longer pay their “Church Taxes). But, NO! They are Evangelisch (Lutheran) and will never, ever join with or *gasp* convert to Catholicism. I know, I’ve already had this conversation with them.

  22. Gregg the Obscure says:

    I was born in 1963 and raised Lutheran (LCMS). Received into the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church in 2001.

    Things from my childhood that I’d like to see more broadly in the Church include: ad orientam prayers, dignified language in worship, good hymns sung well, strong sense of community and emphasis on the moral aspects of Christian education. Those were largely abandoned among Lutherans before I converted, so I’m not sure there’s much point to an ordinariate. However if it saves even one soul by bringing folks into the One Church who might otherwise stay out, I suppose it must be worthwhile.

  23. OUChevelleSS says:

    We need more jello-based desserts at the Catholic potlucks, says this ex-Lutheran (affirming the Council of Trent felt so good at confirmation).

  24. AnAmericanMother says:

    OK to the jello, but . . . NO LUTEFISK!!! No matter how much the Scandinavians beg.

    And no Lutheran Church Basement Coffee. They have to go straight over to Mystic Monk.

  25. Clinton R. says:

    In this the week of Christian Unity, there was a great post on Dr. Taylor Marshall’s blog about the original, unecumenical prayers for the Octave of Christian Unity by Pope Pius X. Here is the prayer for January 21 : “That the Lutherans and all other Protestants of continental Europe may find their way back to the Holy Church.”

    The rest can be found here:
    http://cantuar.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-original-ecumenically-incorrect.html#disqus_thread

  26. Bryan Boyle says:

    Well…having friends who are ‘high church’ (for lack of a better term) LCMS, and having attended their ‘service’ occasionally (and yes, made my obligation…), I can not for the life of me, other than accepting Trent and the primacy of Peter (and a bunch of other disciplinary items), what the problem would be. The Church has 21 rites and variations on the same (especially in the Latin Rite)…

    I dare say that devout Lutherans of a more orthodox bent would find little exterior adjustment between, say, the LCMS Divine Service II and the Ordinary Form of the Mass than, say, someone coming to us from Methodism or Baptist. We’re always looking for the home run. Sometimes, you stack up base hits on balls called to win the game. This is not rocket science, and, watching the goings on here and other members of the Catholic blogroll…I’m more and move of the opinion of just ‘git ‘er done’. Souls are at stake. That’s the bottom line.

  27. contrarian says:

    “OK to the jello, but . . . NO LUTEFISK!!! No matter how much the Scandinavians beg.”

    Aw, c’mon! Pleease?

    I miss that bland, gelatinous stuff. Nostalgic, it is.
    And actually, lutefisk could be called ‘fish jello’, so if you’re ok with the jello…
    Just sayin’.

    I don’t miss the watered-down church basement coffee, though. You’re right about that…

    It’s fun reading about the experiences of other Lutherans on this thread. When I became Catholic and joined my VII Church, I gave up communion rails, ad orientem, kneeling, chanting, all-male servers, reverence, suits and ties, incense, and prayers and sermons that talk of sin, hell, and the devil. And yes, the hymns…

    Actually, to be fair to the VII church, they actually do sing some of the same hymns. But in my VII church hymnal, many of the hymns have updated words, since the original Lutheran hymns made many references to sin, death, the devil, and other unfortunate concepts (like words that rhyme with ‘Ghost’). But quite frankly, this doesn’t annoy me as much as the fact that the versions of the hymns in the VII hymnal use a new counterpoints. The harmonies are all different. What’s wrong with the Bach or Praetorius versions? Sheesh. It’s one thing to be theologically illiterate. But much worse to be musically so.

    Anyway. It’s fun to complain, I guess. Still glad to be Catholic (on most days).

  28. rollo1 says:

    This whole ”Lutheran ordinariate” thing was actually partly my idea.

    Back in 2009, when Anglicanorum Coetibus came out, I sent a letter to the leader of the ”Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church” and to the ”Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith” politely suggesting that such an ordinariate be established. They both liked the idea.

    I also sent an e-mail to Father Z., to whom I talked about this . In his e-mail dated October 28 2009, he responded ”It might be a good idea to wait about making this one widely known. Let it unfold quietly”.

  29. VexillaRegis says:

    Lutfisk was the last word i expected to find on this blog! I had to look twice, in fact. Dear AAM, my father hated lutfisk (traditionally served with green peas, bechamel sauce, potatoes and melted butter + allspice), but when my mother told him it was a reminiscence of the medieval Catholic fasting food, he totally changed his mind! Haha!

    Be grateful you don’t have to be in the same block when the Swedes have Surströmming!

    VexillaRegis, The Viking Woman

  30. Gail F says:

    “Protestant Churches are preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the 2017 Reform and have invited the Catholic Church to take part in the celebrations.”
    ??? And we would do this why??? To say how great it was that they split the Church into a million pieces? To look on in bemusement? Wha?????

  31. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    We once had LUTEFISK in Duluth, fixed by a real-deal Wisconsite priest. He loved it. It was horrid stuff. Turned our aluminum pot black. Never again.

  32. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    The English Catholic author Cecily Hastings, in an untitled essay published in the volume Born Catholics (1954) wrote: “There is not a ‘Protestant’ value within the Christian whole—divine transcendence, human helplessness, spiritual freedom, universal priesthood, or anything else—which does not turn out, in the end, to be at its strongest, widest and richest within the ponderous machinery of the Roman Church.” Father Louis Bouyer (d. 2004), a Lutheran convert to Catholicism, in his book The Spirit and Forms of Protestantism (1956), argues that the three Reformation solas—sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia—were essentially consistent with the Catholic Faith, but that Luther and the other Reformers had drawn erroneous conclusions from them. I agree. Luther’s central affirmation, that without grace man can neither dispose himself for salvation nor attain it, is perfectly orthodox; where he went wrong was in denying that man can freely cooperate in his own salvation (that cooperation itself being the fruit of grace) and in rejecting as “works righteousness” penitential practices, having Masses offered, etc. Now, assuming all the theological kinks can be worked out as a prerequisite to these Catholic-minded Lutherans “swimming the Tiber,” the question remains (in my mind, at least): Is Lutheranism sufficiently distinct in its liturgical rites, its spiritual tradition, its discipline and its articulation of the Gospel to justify the establishment of a Lutheran Ordinariate comparable to the one established for Anglican converts? Your always-more-than-two-cents’-worth, please, Fr Z ?

  33. Fr Jackson says:

    I can’t help but wonder about the quote from Archbishop Müller about the Lutherans who “believe that the changes introduced by the Second Vatican Council were an adequate response to Luther’s request…” – which changes are they in favor of? Perhaps it could be Luther’s thesis #2 (of the 95), since we’ve seen such a drop in confessions since Vatican II? Or could it be the de-emphasis of the propitiatory nature of the Mass? Or the discontinuation of private Masses? In any case, here’s the problem: if the Catholic Church today can accept Lutherans on the explicit basis that Vatican II acceded to some of their requests, then what becomes of Trent which did not accede to their requests?

  34. Oleksander says:

    when it comes to maintaining traditions they probably have church of sweden (maybe church of norway as well) in mind, they have a historic episcopate and have historically had a “high church” liturgy. while theologically lutheran in everything else they have much more in common with anglicanism than american lutheranism – i imagine they think “why stop at england? maybe some in Scandinavia would like this as well”

  35. Fr. Thomas Kocik says:

    Fr. Jackson: I think the following insight might be relevant here (I forget the source: it’s either Karl Adam or Charles Journet). In my own words (I’ll try to do it justice)…
    Each period of the Church’s long history has had its own doctrinal preoccupations. Whenever heresy accentuates certain truths to the neglect of others, the Church defends and stresses those truths which heresy denies or minimizes, thereby preserving the integrity of Revelation. Later, when the heat of controversy passes, the Church can appreciate afresh the truths and values which heresy had exaggerated but which have always rested in the fullness of Tradition that is Catholicism. So, for example, when Luther championed the biblical Word and the common priesthood of all the baptized, the Church stressed the incarnate Word active in the Sacraments and the ministerial priesthood. The Church at Vatican II thought it opportune to rehabilitate those “Protestant” (really, biblical and apostolic) truths, so as to further the cause of Christian unity. This, I believe, is what was meant by the Council’s “response” to Luther—and surely not the grave problems you point out. The full teaching of Trent, of course, stands, and would (or at least should) have to be accepted by Lutheran converts to the Catholic Church. Which brings us back to the question I posed earlier: Just what is the Lutheran “distinctive” that justifies a Lutheran Ordinariate?

  36. anilwang says:

    Fr Jackson,

    I think perhaps there are a few things:

    * Scott Hahn once said that if all Vatican II did was translate the Mass into the vernacular it would have been enough convince many Protestants who actually converted like himself to convert.

    * Father Richard John Neuhaus thought that immediate after the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” declaration was made on the issue of justification by faith, Lutherans would have tried to reunite to the Catholic Church. He stated that Luther said it was the key issue that justified Lutheranism. I don’t get the impression that something like the “Evangelicals and Catholics Together” declaration would have happened before Vatican II since the approach to Protestants had been more antagonistic.

    * While there are many encyclicals from previous Popes on getting Catholics to read the Bible, Vatican II made a much greater stress on Bible reading than previous.

    * More than a few Protestants came into the Church after reading the new Catholic Catechism. Not only does it clear up many misconceptions, it is also an extensive lay-friendly systematic theology with plenty of scriptural cross references as well as cross references to previous documents of Tradition.

    * Post Vatican II, there was a much greater emphasis on indexing all documents for the purpose of cross referencing. Such cross-referencing allows for statements on Tradition to be easier to check or find out more about. We take it for granted that we can refer to “LG 16″ and the other sections of council documents, but such a fine grained cross-referencing didn’t happen until recently. (Since Vatican II, previous documents have also gained cross referencing).

  37. Medjugorje Man 07 says:

    Wow Ft. Kocik thanks for sharing. That was interesting. I tend to think in simple terms on this issue like: are the Lutherans going to NOT add their own words into the Bible or attempt to remove entire books of the Bible to then fit their new founded Theology?

  38. muckemdanno says:

    Did the Anglicans who joined that Ordinariate have to accept Trent? I would think the Lutherans would have to do whatever the Anglicans had to do.

  39. servulus indignus Christi says:

    I fail to see how any legitimate and worthy traditions can arise from a man and system of thought which at its core is a rejection of Tradition. The notion is absurd. I’m all for Christian unity but not at the price of compromise. Should this come about I will be feeling very disaffected if there are not very clear statements of faith required. Even something such as congregational-style hymns may be a ‘tradition’ but it is not one that is best directed to Catholic liturgy which is an expression of Catholic Faith hence it should not be preserved. We have difficult enough time preserving chant as it is. The whole proposal seems full of holes…though I suppose we shall have to wait and see.

  40. CharlesG says:

    I love how these mainstream Protestant churches , who have in recent decades been tossing out right and left various Christian moral and sexual teachings and other apostolic practice and in some cases even dogmatic theological principles of the Christian faith, so often cry bloody murder at any action of the Catholic Church that they feel is “unecumenical”.

  41. servulus indignus Christi says: I fail to see how any legitimate and worthy traditions can arise from a man and system of thought which at its core is a rejection of Tradition. The notion is absurd. I’m all for Christian unity but not at the price of compromise. Should this come about I will be feeling very disaffected if there are not very clear statements of faith required. Even something such as congregational-style hymns may be a ‘tradition’ but it is not one that is best directed to Catholic liturgy which is an expression of Catholic Faith hence it should not be preserved. We have difficult enough time preserving chant as it is. The whole proposal seems full of holes…though I suppose we shall have to wait and see.

    Take a deep breath. Nothing concrete has actually been put out there yet.

  42. JMody says:

    Father Z, you now confuse me. First you make this comment in the article:
    Lutherans in his homeland, Germany, who hope to enter once again into communion with the Roman Catholic Church and who believe that the changes introduced by the Second Vatican Council were an adequate response to Luther’s request for reforms five centuries ago. [The SSPXer's will love that line! But they are marginalizing themselves.]

    So what would a LUTHERAN like about V2 that a member of SSPX would “love” in the sense you seem to imply? The idea that they retain some or much of the charism that “subsists in” the Catholic Church? The de-emphasis on Papal supremacy and the sale of the tiara? The Mass that de-emphasizes sacrifice, and grace, and a sacrificial priesthood? I would think those are ideas that Luther himself would have welcomed, and which would make most SSPX-types have an unadulterated hissy fit. Are there others??

    But then later you also say this:
    The Rev. Martin Junge said individual believers naturally still have every right to convert, but the establishment of an ordinariate would not only pose “theological problems” [? Oh? Such as a challenge to the Lutheran rejection of the Petrine Ministry? The Mass?] it would also have “serious ecumenical repercussions.” [Good.]
    Isn’t that almost exactly what a reasonably-informed person would expect a member of the SSPX to say?

    I personally think that since Luther’s break was a visually, emotionally, violently hard and fast break, it will be very much harder for them to accept a deal like the Anglicans, who RELATIVELY SPEAKING had their Masses Calvinized while retaining as much of the outward appearance as possible. Whatever benefit the art and vestments and incense play was still working on them, where the Lutherans were far more extreme in remiving these things and explaining why they removed them — that little goad to “come home” is stronger for Anglicans than for Lutherans …

  43. William Tighe says:

    Lutherans “bristle” at the idea:

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/sns-rt-religion-lutherancatholicl6n0ar4be-20130122,0,2397382,full.story

    Liberal Lutherans, that is. Actually, though, I think that this idea will appeal to neither liberal Lutherans (the ELCA) nor conservative confessionalist Lutherans (the Missouri Synod, the Wisconsin Synod) in the USA, but rather, perhaps, to some “Catholic-minded”Lutherans in Scandinavia and the Baltic states. In all honesty, though, I don’t see it as having much appeal anywhere among Lutherans, although I’d be delighted to be proven wrong on this. Liberal Lutherans have the same attitude to the Catholic Church as do most liberal Protestants, and even mildly conservative ELCA Lutheran seem absolutely wedded to the practice of women’s purported ordination (which is what keeps large numbers of these ELCA Lutherans, distressed as many of them are by the triumph of homosexualism in their sect, from joining the Missouri Synod, which is strongly opposed to WO), whereas “confessionalist” Lutherans believe that their faith is “the True Catholic Faith,” and thus would have no interest in such an offer.

    I do not see why such Lutherans in the Anglophone world as may be interested in the idea should not try to link up with one of the Anglican Ordinariates, and so bring their musical tradition and doctrinal seriousness to join with the liturgical inheritance of Anglo-Catholicism.

  44. mamajen says:

    JMody,

    Regarding the first part of your comment: The SSPX would “love” that statement because it validates their hatred of Vatican II.

  45. Fr Jackson says:

    Fr Kocik – thanks! That’s a really interesting quote (from Charles Journet?). If you find the source, I’m interested.

  46. Pingback: A Lutheran Ordinariate Coming? | Big Pulpit

  47. Supertradmum says:

    Dr. Edward Peters, There is an old Minnesota joke, “Lutefisk, the reason the Vikings left Norway and Sweden”. However, it also enabled them to take protein across the European world and be healthy and strong enough to conquer large amounts of territory. Remember that the husband of the Great St. Olga of Kiev, “Equal to the Apostles”, grandmother of St. Vladimir the Great, who burnt her enemies in oil and in bath houses, before she converted to Catholicism, was from Viking stock.

    I hate Lutefisk and the entire traditional Christmas Eve dinner, which is lutefisk, skinned potatoes and potato pancakes (more like crepes) smothered in butter, which does not help. I lived in Minneapolis for many years.

  48. Supertradmum says:

    servulus indignus Christi

    As to the outreach by Rome, my guess would be that it is from the same impetus from which the Anglo-Catholic Ordinariate drew its beginnings and that is from the people, not Rome.

    The A-Cs approached Rome first years ago. I know this as I know some of the priests who told me of the process. Rome responded.

    Ergo, there must be some Lutheran congregations which have asked Rome to consider such an arrangement.

    Of course, Lutheranism, like Anglicanism paints a wide brush over many different “traditions’” high and low.

    And as to decrying the lack of Gregorian Chant, no offence, but how silly to be decrying the possibility of Protestant hymnody becoming more popular, which weekly at Mass I hear Wesleyian hymns and even 1970s so-called Catholic hymns which in some cases are heretical.

    The lay people are to blame for the lack of Gregorian Chant, not Rome. We need more Mary Berrys and in case you do not know her, she was a great influence in re-introducing Gregorian Chant, for which she was awarded by Blessed John Paul II a Pontifical Cross, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, as well as a CBE.

    It is petty to be talking about Gregorian Chant when our brothers and sisters in Christ who are Lutherans and want to come back to the fold may want some of their hymns. Do not Catholics sing, A Mighty Fortress is Our God and many other Protestant authored hymns already? It is not my preference, as I love Gregorian Chant, but many of these types have been sung in the Church for a long time.

  49. JonPatrick says:

    Funny, I was at daily Mass Monday and they sang “A Mighty Fortress” but with new wishy-washy “Spirit of Vatican 2″ style lyrics – I guess all those references to Satan, salvation, etc. too strong for today’s church.

    “For still our ancient foe
    doth seek to work us woe
    his craft and power are great
    armed with cruel hate
    on earth is not his equal

    Were we in our own strength confide
    our striving would be losing
    were not the right Man on our side
    a man of God’s own choosing
    Dost ask who that may be?
    Christ Jesus it is He
    Lord Sabaoth his name,
    from age to age the same
    and He must win the battle.”

    Another thought I had with all these Ordinariates, what does it say about the state of Catholic liturgy that groups coming in feel this need to keep their liturgical traditions? Perhaps if we still had the TLM or something like it as our primary liturgy there would be no such need.

  50. Dave N. says:

    Basically, the Lutheran “Patrimony” following on the work of the Consultation on Common Texts would consist of the 1970′s Mass (i.e., Second Edition of the Roman Missal, with substantial sprinklings of Haas and Haugen), the hymn of the day–a special thematic hymn inserted after the homily–followed by an elaborate coffee hour.

  51. Gail F says:

    I think it’s silly to speculate which Lutheran groups might want an Ordinariate and whether it would be “worth it” to attract them with very little in the way of facts to base such speculations on. There are Lutherans all over the world, and as I know even less about them than I do about Lutherans in the USA, I have no idea whether “enough” of them would want to reconcile with the Church to make an Ordinariate “worth it.” But it seems to me that, in principle, any of them is “enough.” You know — the prodigal son, the sheep that wandered, the lost coin, etc. The bishops are supposed to be more concerned about souls than anything else, so I’m glad this is being talked about whether or not anything ever comes of it. Do we want the reunification of Christendom, or not?

    Seems to me that very soon events wholly outside the Church could make a lot of these doctrinal and liturgical fights seem FAR less important than they do now. In the face of a powerful and radical Islam, say, unification is going to seem a lot more attractive than it does in our “my way or the highway,” free-for-all Western culture, and having an established way to accommodate groups of Christians who decide that the biggest, most powerful and most unified Church might NOT be wrong about its 2000 years of doctrinal development after all would be a very important, good thing.

    For more than 1000 years, we have had a great wealth of religious congregations of laypeople — sometimes more and sometimes less vigorous, but overall an abundant variety of ways of living the Gospel life. Perhaps those days are over, and our time is witnessing the beginning of Ordinariate-type communities as we bring back whole huge groups of Christians who have strayed from the fold and gone off on their own tangential ways, often with great vigor and many (if limited in scope) spiritual fruits. Converts usually say that their lives are enlarged by joining the Church, even as they bring with them the particular spiritual practices and gifts of their tradition (Scripture, music, missionary zeal, etc.). If this happened — and it would have to happen naturally, which it seems to be doing — I think it would rejuvenate the Church AND the floundering Protestant groups who are at last realizing that a limb cut off from its body doesn’t last long.

  52. An American Mother says:

    Vexilla Regis,

    As a simple descendant of the denizens of the British Isles, the Scandinavian fascination with fish in various stages of decomposition is a mystery to me.

    Nordics Like Fish

    But then again, we have haggis . . . .

  53. imaginemore says:

    I’m excited to hear about the possibility of a Lutheran Ordinariate. I can’t speak for the other Lutheran denominations but at least the ELCA has numerous members and pastors who are seeking a way out of the denominational nonsense. They are a small but strong little group and there are probably a lot more traditional Lutherans than most would know outside of the clergy. In fact many of the pastors who might convert are already being accused by congregations of “trying to make the church Catholic”, haha! The reaction of the Lutheran higher-ups sounds like they know exactly what and who they stand to lose should the Catholic Church open up a way for Lutherans to swim the Tiber more readily.

    Someone mentioned the potential length of a Lutheran style Mass and I can honestly say it would be fairly long. My husband is a Lutheran pastor (I am Catholic) and I’m forever teasing him about his church service’s length. On average they run 1 hour, 20 minutes at his church because he and the senior pastor both want Catholic style liturgy, Lutheran style music, and Presbyterian style preaching. :) I keep telling them something’s got to give. But hey, an extra long worship isn’t such a big deal really. But I will say if they bring their Jello-O and Lutefisk I may have to jump ship ;) Just teasing, but really, eww!!!

    For personal reasons I’d be thrilled if this could happen in the next few years. It would be a great opportunity for our family to worship under one church if my husband could convert without losing his job or ability to administer the Sacraments and have the added perk of being able to retain some of the traditions and cultural emphases that he’s grown up with. The ELCA is having major struggles and keeps splintering and we anticipate another big split in the next 5-10 years so hopefully if the Lutheran Ordinariate does happen it’ll be around the same time period if not before. I do wonder though how this would happen from a practical perspective with the huge variety of Lutheran denominations and the lack of centralized leadership and belief. I’ll be praying diligently, this seems a very positive development that I hadn’t dared to hope for.

  54. Supertradmum says:

    An American Mother, as it preserved in lye, it could last on the ships for months in that horrid state..see my note above.

  55. Joe in Canada says:

    The Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church announced its intention to enter the Catholic Church through the Anglicanorum coetibus provisions a few years ago, but did not in fact do so.

  56. wmeyer says:

    Supertradmum, that lye is just what Dr. Peters needs to clean the black aluminum pot. ;)

    As to the Lutherans, my aunt is the daughter of a Lutheran minister, and was, until about three years ago, a member of the ELCA. She resigned, formally, after they voted to allow actively homosexual ministers. Her husband, a cradle Catholic, has yet to entirely overcome her objections (chiefly the reverence of Mary, I think), but she has since her resignation attended Mass with him.

  57. Andkaras says:

    Heut kommt der Hans zu uns freut sich die Lies’Ob er aber uber Oberammergau? Oder aber uber Unterammergau? Oder aber uberhaubt nicht kommt . Das ist nicht g’wiss!_Will the Lutherens come happily? will they come over ? Will they come through? It is not known! (Oberammergau is a city in Germany where the Passion play is preformed).

  58. Imrahil says:

    Dear @Laura,

    I bet “Lutheran” is not the same as “German Protestant”, the Evangelical Church of Germany, historically composed out of Lutherans, Calvinists and “Unionists” (i. e. who do not know whether they are Lutheran or Calvinist but obey the King of Prussia’s order to form one Church – essentially, wrong ecumenism and not unlike what the E.C.o.G. is today).

    There have been dissidents among the Lutherans (not only Catholics) when the State took marriage to itself in 187x. These form a separate body; among them (and them only) can possibly be the some people Exc. Müller mentioned.

    I do not know to which body the American Lutherans belong.

    Dear @Andkaras, I do not quite know what motivated you posting that tonguebreaker, but thank you. I had not known the Hans/Lies introduction.

  59. An American Mother says:

    Andkaras,

    Heute kommt Hans zu mir

    This has potential — aber gar nicht g’wiss!

  60. Andkaras says:

    Imrahil and American mother, I’m glad you caught my humor. That German beerhouuse toungtwisting song just popped in to my head when considered what a fiasco incorperating the Lutherans into the Church ,so very different than the Anglicans.

  61. VexillaRegis says:

    But nearly all Bavarians already ARE catholics! :-) Do not be afraid. Think of the Pope!

    Concerning the fishy Scandinavians, I promise you, that if we ever meet IRL, you won’t be served lutfisk, surströmming or pickled herring, just my homemade gravlax, which has been eaten by Germans aswell as Americans and English and they LOVE it!

  62. VexillaRegis says:

    English people, sorry

  63. Joe in Canada says:

    Does this mean we’re stuck with Mr. Haugen?
    Not just Scandinavians: the Belgians are mad for maatjes.

  64. Luvadoxi says:

    An oldie but a goodie. “Meals are potluck….rows 1 through 6 brings rolls….” Lutheran Air!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfL7o2Fd1a8

  65. Mariana says:

    “NO LUTEFISK!!! No matter how much the Scandinavians beg.”

    I’m Scandinavian, but I Just Say No to Lutfisk!

  66. Mariana says:

    “It’s fun reading about the experiences of other Lutherans on this thread. When I became Catholic and joined my VII Church, I gave up communion rails, ad orientem, kneeling, chanting, all-male servers, reverence, suits and ties, incense, and prayers and sermons that talk of sin, hell, and the devil. And yes, the hymns…”

    Same here. And bowing to the processional crucifix as it is carried past you. And making the sign of the cross at “…and the life of the world to come”. And the swish of the minister’s robes as he moves from the left to the right side of the altar….

  67. Luvadoxi says:

    As one of those Lutheran converts to Catholicism, I still don’t get the objection of some Catholics to great hymns. Perhaps if I heard more chant it would grow on me. I wanted to share this, the F. Melius Christiansen arrangement of “Beautiful Savior.” When the St. Olaf College Christmas concert is shown on PBS, unfortunately it cuts out before this is sung. I had the good fortune to sing in one of the choirs in college and it was glorious to be in the middle of this. If it gets too long, just go to 2:30 and listen to the end.

    I wouldn’t give up the Eucharist for anything, but I do miss music that lifts the heart to heaven.

  68. Mariana says:

    Andkaras,

    I thought Der Kaiser färhrt über die Oder. Aber ob er über die Ober-Oder, oder ob er über die Unter-Oder…etc!

  69. Luvadoxi says: As one of those Lutheran converts to Catholicism, I still don’t get the objection of some Catholics to great hymns.

    Nothing wrong per se with great hymns (provided the content is orthodox). But at Mass, hymns are not supposed to supplant the propers. There are propers, even in the Mass of Paul VI, and these should be sung in preference to the four-hymn sandwich we get in most places.

  70. David Zampino says:

    I pray for the conversion of many, many Lutherans, however the Church wants to work it out. I, too, don’t understand people’s objection to good hymnody. I love Gregorian Chant, and believe that it deserves the pride of place it is supposed to receive. But it does not necessarily follow that I want to give up GOOD hymns. I wasn’t raised Lutheran; I was raised high Episcopalian; with a strong church choir; a fine organ; and organists who could play! And the Anglican tradition did a much better job at translating St. Thomas Aquinas’ beautiful Eucharistic hymns than you’ll find in your typical missalette.

    With respect to those who share different opinions, I am also a bit frustrated when some insist that converts not be allowed (or should not even want) to retain positive elements of their previous traditions. Take a look sometime at the stories told by converts on “The Journey Home” on EWTN. Each story, my own included, is an example of not just someone coming to the Fullness of Truth, but also an example of someone who brings experiences from his/her past traditions with which he/she can use to enrich the Body of Christ.

    This blog is an excellent example! Thanks, Father Z.!

  71. Vincent Ferrer says:

    Why shouldn’t Lutherans come in? Benedict XVI accepts Luther’s doctrine of justification, which was condemned (ex cathedra) at Trent.

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  73. Andkaras says:

    Great pingback, by the way. They should come in .I just meant that they would be much more difficult to sort out than the Anglicans, and there is that pesky con substantial thing too.

  74. athanasios832 says:

    A Lutheran Ordinariate is an interesting idea. It is an interesting idea because Lutherans have been said to be the most Catholic of Protestants. Those Lutherans who come into the Catholic Church would have to accept that they have become Catholics in Lutheran dress. As I see it, several questions would have to be dwelt with:
    + Would there be recognized Lutheran Catholic Bishops?
    + Would the Lutheran Ordinariate have a Catholic Liturgy that is in fact an adaptation of the Lutheran Liturgy conformed to Catholic doctrine?
    + How would the Church deal with the various Lutheran confessional statements? Would they be re-worked to conform to Catholic teaching? Would they be supplemented by Catholic theological commentary? Or would these Lutheran Catholics simply be required to subscribe to a special editition of the “Catechism of the Catholic Church” containing Lutheran-related footnotes?
    + What about the glories of Lutheran music (I suspect that this would not be an overwhelming problem, since many Cathoolic hymnals already contain “A Mighty Fortlress Is Our God.”
    I wouold suspect that the Pope and his papal ministry would have to deal somewhat differently with the Lutheran Ordinariate (as with the Anglicans and with Eastern Catholics) than with Catholics of the Latin Rite).
    + Would Canon Law have to reflect the existence of a Lutheran Ordinariate. How? In what respects? To what extent would Roman Canon Law have to be adapted to the Lutheran equivalent? Or would step this be necessary?

  75. MichaelJ says:

    David an anyone else who wants to chime in: I’m curious about the phrase ” positive elements of their previous traditions”. What might those be? I do not say this to be confrontational, but I simply do not understand.
    Perhaps I am far too pragmatic, but since those “positive elements” come from the Catholic Church, why would I want to look for them anywhere else? Isn’t it always prefereable to look to primary sources?

  76. Imrahil says:

    Hon. dear @Miss Anita More,

    I think that is why, besides the active-participation mass (this perhaps being the preferred one, but distinct from what the Council called actuose participation and prescribed as generally necessary), there used to be the mass-devotionals. In the Extraordinary Form the priest does the praying; the people can, for a change, also sing a hymn instead, or be altogether silent.