Point for consideration

While the Holy See is holding the towels and disinfectant on the banks of the Tiber, – imagine swimming that river! brrrrr – it remains to be seen just how many will swim.

There are lots of issues to consider.

For example, ownership of property, etc.

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  1. GordonB says:

    A question I have is regarding the place of Sacramental Confession in the Anglican Church, and whether those of the Traditional Anglican Communion offered such this Sacrament. If not, is that something that they will have to begin to offer?

  2. patrick_f says:

    I never thought of property.

    Lets peer deeper down the tunnel. IE, what happens to some of the great english cathedrals. Dont those technically belong to the state? I am thinking very long term here.

  3. Warren says:

    Dear Fr. Z., or anyone, is there any significance to this day being chosen to announce the news? old or new liturgical calendar?

  4. Cantuale says:

    And another issue Father: If those anglican brothers adere to the Catholic teaching they must recognize at once that their orders are null and void. But if they really do that, who will minister to their congregation till the ministers are ordained as real priests? Will they abstain from celebrating the eucarist? Will other (true) priests of anglican background be invited to celebrate mass for those groups? I think the actual transition is indeed a big issue.

  5. Jordanes says:

    The closest thing to any significance one can see is that in the current Roman Martyrology, yesterday, Oct. 19, was the Optional Memorial of St. Paul of the Cross, Priest, who prayed every day for the reunion of the Anglican Church with the Catholic Church.

    Oct. 19 is also the local memorial of St. Philip Howard, Martyr, Earl of Arundel, who bore witness to the Faith in 1595 in the Tower of London.

    But that was yesterday. There seems to not be anything about today’s saints and martyrs that would be especially significant to this morning’s good news.

  6. bubba says:

    I’m getting out my very best chinoise for all these comments to strain at all these gnats. Where is the welcome and thanksgiving? I’m seeing the traditional Traditional response here the aforementioned towel and disinfectant holders standng on the bank in Hazmat suits and clothespins on their upturned noses… [Your are probably writing more from ignorance than bad will. I hope. The Tiber is a pretty nasty river by the time it gets to Rome. And even metaphorically, swimming the Tiber can be grueling and dirty business from the practical point of view. So, I will set aside the clear hostility of your comment and suggest we all move along.] I’m all for being curiuos and interested but can’t we wait until the ink dries and be patient for a bit before we go dividing up the “spoils” and explaining every detail.

  7. St. Acca was the first English prelate known to have appealed to the Vatican. :) Also, St. Adelina was William the Conqueror’s granddaughter. Also, St. Paul of the Cross.

    You got two calendars to pick from, my friends. And that’s not even counting the martyrologies that are exclusively English or Irish or Macedonian or whatever….

  8. pseudomodo says:

    I think that we shall see the graceful way in which God brings good out of evil as the liberal Anglican moth spirals closer to the candle flame!

    The Liberals are so concerned about issues of justice, compensation and restoration that even the British government is considering relaxing the Act of Settlement and opening the throne of England once again to Catholics for no other reason but that it would be ‘FAIR’! (Not to mention that the EU has apparently and surprisingly put the Brits on notice that excluding Catholics was ‘unconsitutional’!)

    I find it very encouraging that this frantic compensation for victims of past injustice may possibley yeild up the restoration of the robbed and sacked abbeys and cathedrals that speckle Englands green and pleasant land.

    Imagine the horror of forcing the individual catholic insitutions to pay restitution to victims of abuse only to carry the justice ad infinitem and have catholics in England lay valid and long overdue claim to ‘all the propertie, golde and jewelles and whatsoever ye may find in said monasteries or cathedrals’ by order on one Henry VIII!

    Imagine the British Government signing over the deeds of countless landmarks to the Catholic Church. Right?


  9. chironomo says:

    Dear Fr. Z., or anyone, is there any significance to this day being chosen to announce the news?

    The sense seems to be that this announcement was made in a big hurry…without the document even finished yet. It was reported that there was only an 18 hour “heads-up” to the press…short notice indeed for such a major event. And so I wonder why the big hurry. Perhaps to be in advance of another groups discussions on “coming back to the Church”…next Monday maybe??

  10. Someone, somewhere else, mentioned the rather sticky wicket of divorced-and-remarried Anglicans whose marriages were never properly given a decree of nullity from an authority properly equipped to do so.

  11. Athelstan says:

    1. I think our first thought should be to warmly welcome our Anglican brothers and sisters who are preparing to cross the Tiber.

    2. It’s hard to get bent out of shape yet on details, because we don’t know them, and we won’t until the Apostolic Constitution is released. Patience, I say.

    Having said that, I can’t see canon law being altered. Remarriages will have to be validated. Anglican ministers will have to ordained afresh. Remarried ex-Catholic priests like Hepworth can’t be bishops (and most likely not even priests) under any circumstances, and Hepworth knows it. Yet he is still willing to come over.

    3. Some Anglican splinter groups already have their own property. Some Anglican parishes and dioceses (those founded before 1783 in the U.S., for example) may be able to bring it anyway. Others…may have to make a hard choice. Well – not a hard choice, really, even if I sympathize with having to give up a beautiful Anglican chapel for an office building or school or one of our modernist suburban airport terminals.

    4. But from what few details the CDF has given us, it’s clear this is a very bold and generous arrangement that is being worked out. This is more than just a personal prelature. Indeed, it seems to be a new arrangement altogether, albeit one with certain parallels to existing ones.

    5. The gnashing of teeth in certain progressive Catholic circles has predictably begun – Michael Sea Winters at America fears we may be in for a flood of anti-gay bigots and misogynists, and the NCR crowd wonders why the same indulgence can’t be granted to our poor beleaguered women religious currently under investigation. By their fruits (or comments) you shall know…how good this gesture really is.

    Thanks to Fr. Z for his non-stop coverage of this big story today.

  12. Athelstan says:

    P.S. One other thought on property.

    Think of how many dioceses in the Northeast are having to close (mainly urban) parishes.

    While most of the Anglican communities most disaffected are in the Sunbelt, I would hope that where a perfectly usable traditional church in a closing parish is available, the local ordinary would be generous in turning it over to such communities (who are unable to take their churches with them) crossing over.

    Could be a great way to kill two birds with one stone.

  13. patrick_f says:

    Athelstan – An example of this would of course would be our St Francis De Sales Oratory, once a parish that was clased, and then reopened by the ICCSRP.

  14. Athelstan says:

    Hello Patrick,

    True enough – and as you know, that’s part of a larger pattern for the Institute, i.e., given beautiful old urban churches to take over and refurbish.

    Again, disaffected Anglicans coming over may not coincide always with large parish closing areas. I don’t think there are many in Boston, for example. But where they do, this seems like a perfect confluence of needs. And a way to save some beautiful old church buildings. Such as St. James in Lakewood, OH: http://www.newliturgicalmovement.org/2009/08/st-james-lakewood-ohio-sicily-goes.html (currently under threat of closure, if you can believe it)

  15. pseudomodo says:

    Another point is the very real problem of controlling intercommunion…

  16. ar_danziger says:

    I agree with Athelstan!

    In the U.S. they can leave their land and buildings to the Episcopal church and come take over our beautiful historic Catholic churches in danger of closure. They’ll feel more at home than in some modernist suburban parish, and I’d gladly entrust our historic treasures our new brethren who’ve kept beautiful art and liturgy all this time when we didn’t :)

    Welcome Anglicans!

  17. John UK says:

    Gordon B wrote:
    A question I have is regarding the place of Sacramental Confession in the Anglican Church, and whether those of the Traditional Anglican Communion offered such this Sacrament. If not, is that something that they will have to begin to offer?

    Anglican teaching on confession is contained in the Book of Common Prayer, in the Communion service, and in its own Canons, issed down the years to supplement the Mediæval corpus of Canon Law..
    From the Communion Service:

    DEARLY beloved, on —– day next I purpose, through God’s assistance, to administer to all such as shall be religiously and devoutly disposed the most comfortable Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ; to be by them received in remembrance of his meritorious Cross and Passion; whereby alone we obtain remission of our sins, and are make partakers of the Kingdom of heaven. Wherefore it is our duty to render most humble and hearty thanks to Almighty God our heavenly Father, for that he hath given his Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, not only to die for us, but also to be our spiritual food and sustenance in that holy Sacrament. Which being so divine and comfortable a thing to them who receive it worthily, and so dangerous to them that will presume to receive it unworthily; my duty is to exhort you in the mean season to consider the dignity of that holy mystery, and the great peril of the unworthy receiving thereof; and so to search and examine your own consciences, (and that nor lightly, and after the manner of dissemblers with God; but so) that ye may come holy and clean to such a heavenly Feast, in the marriage-garment required by God in holy Scripture, and be received as worthy partakers of that holy Table.
    The way and means thereto is; First, to examine your lives and conversations by the rule of God’s commandments; and whereinsoever ye shall perceive yourselves to have offended, either by will, word, or deed, there to bewail your own sinfulness, and to confess yourselves to Almighty God, with full purpose of amendment of life. And if ye shall perceive your offences to be such as are not only against God, but also against your neighbours; then ye shall reconcile yourselves unto them; being ready to make restitution and satisfaction, according to the uttermost of your powers, for all injuries and wrongs done by you to any other; and being likewise ready to forgive others that have offended you, as ye would have forgiveness of your offences at God’s hand: for otherwise the receiving of the holy Communion doth nothing else but increase your damnation. Therefore if any of you be a blasphemer of God, an hinderer or slanderer of his Word, an adulterer, or be in malice, or envy, or in any other grievous crime, repent you of your sins, or else come not to that holy Table; lest, after the taking of that holy Sacrament, the devil enter into you, as he entered into Judas, and fill you full of all iniquities, and bring you to destruction both of body and soul.
    And because it is requisite, that no man should come to the holy Communion, but with a full trust in God’s mercy, and with a quiet conscience; therefore if there be any of you, who by this means cannot quiet his own conscience herein, but requireth further comfort or counsel, let him come to me, or to some other discreet and learned Minister of God’s Word, and open his grief; that by the ministry of God’s holy Word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience, and avoiding of all scruple and doubtfulness.

    Often summed up as “All may, some should, none must”.

    The Seal of the Confessional is confirmed both by the Proviso to Canon 113 retained from the Canons Ecclesiastical of 1603, and by the Act of Convocation of 1959 which stated:
    This House reaffirms as an essential principle of Church doctrine that if any person confess his secret and hidden sin to a priest for the unburdening of his conscience, and to receive spiritual consolation and absoultion from him, such priest is strictly charged that he do not at any time reveal or make know to any person whatsoeverany sin so committed to his trust and secrecy.
    This was a strengthening of the Proviso which runs:
    Provided always, that if any man confess his secret and hidden sins to the
    minister, for the unburdening of his conscience, and to receive spiritual
    consolation and ease of mind from him; we do not in any way bind the
    said minister by this our Constitution, but do straitly charge and
    admonish him, that he do not at any time reveal and make known to any
    person whatsoever any crime or offence so committed to his trust and
    secrecy (except they be such crimes as by the laws of this realm his own
    life may be called into question for concealing the same), under pain of

    Which is now a Proviso to the current Canon on Confession which runs:
    B 29 Of the ministry of absolution*
    1. It is the duty of baptized persons at all times to the best of their
    understanding to examine their lives and conversations by the rule of
    God’s commandments, and whereinsoever they perceive themselves to
    have offended by will, act, or omission, there to bewail their own
    sinfulness and to confess themselves to Almighty God with full purpose
    of amendment of life, that they may receive of him the forgiveness of
    their sins which he has promised to all who turn to him with hearty
    repentance and true faith; acknowledging their sins and seeking
    forgiveness, especially in the general Confessions of the congregation
    and in the Absolution pronounced by the priest in the services of the
    2. If there be any who by these means cannot quiet his own conscience,
    but requires further comfort or counsel, let him come to some discreet
    and learned minister of God’s Word; that by the ministry of God’s holy
    Word he may receive the benefit of absolution, together with ghostly
    counsel and advice, to the quieting of his conscience and avoiding of all
    scruple and doubtfulness.
    3. In particular a sick person, if he feels his conscience troubled in any
    weighty matter, should make a special confession of his sins, that the
    priest may absolve him if he humbly and heartily desire it.
    4. No priest shall exercise the ministry of absolution in any place without
    the permission of the minister having the cure of souls thereof, unless he
    is by law authorized to exercise his ministry in that place without being
    subject to the control of the minister having the general cure of souls of
    the parish or district in which it is situated: Provided always that,
    notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of the Canon, a priest may
    exercise the ministry of absolution anywhere in respect of any person
    who is in danger of death or if there is some urgent or weighty cause.

    The words of absolution are in the Book of Common Prayer:
    After which confession, the Priest shall absolve him (if he humbly and heartily desire it) after this sort.

    OUR Lord Jesus Christ, who hath left power to his Church to absolve all sinners who truly repent and believe in him, of his great mercy forgive thee thine offences: And by his authority committed to me, I absolve thee from all thy sins, In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.”

    The “authority” derives from the words in the ordination Service:
    When this Prayer is done, the Bishop with the Priests present, shall lay their hands severally upon the head of every one that receiveth the Order of Priesthood; the receivers humbly kneeling, and the Bishop saying,
    RECEIVE the Holy Ghost for the Office and Work of a Priest in the Church of God, now committed unto thee by the Imposition of our hands. Whose sins thou dost forgive, they are forgiven; and whose sins thou dost retain, they are retained. And be thou a faithful Dispenser of the Word of God, and of his holy Sacraments; In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

    Then the Bishop shall deliver to every one of them kneeling the Bible into his hand, saying,
    TAKE thou Authority to preach the Word of God, and to minister the holy Sacraments in the Congregation, where thou shalt be lawfully appointed thereunto.

    Though its use had never entirely died out, its widespread revival form the middle of the 19th.century onwards in the wake of the Oxford Movement led to debates in the House of Lords.

    Those Anglicans minded to accept the Hioly Father’s generous invitation will be no strangers to the practice. Most Anglo-Catholic manuals taught that mortal sin required confession and absoultion for a satisfactory quieting of conscience.

    John U.K.

  18. ChadS says:

    I would like to mention a few things about property ownership. There have been several churches in the U.S. that have sought to align themselves with more traditional minded bishops either in Africa or South America. One point in case is the Diocese of Pittsburgh where both a majority of Episcopal parishes and even the Bishop himself voted to secede from the Episcopal Church and align with the Bishop of the Southern Cone in South America.

    This set off a series of recent court challenges on who owned what. It all appeared to be very messy depending on how property was originally deeded and how it was bought. For example a parish originally started in the 1800s on landed deeded to the Episcopal Church could find their parish church owned by the Episcopal Church, but later additions to the land for things like a parking lot or rectory could be owned by the parish. Or the exact opposite could happen with the land originally being a gift to the parish by a family years ago. So in some cases the parish could have complete control over the church building or could have no control.

    I think in the case of the Diocese of Pittsburgh they are trying to keep things out of court as much as possible, but I believe there are in essence two bishops in Pittsburgh, one for the traditional Episcopals in alignment with the Southern Cone and another aligned with the Episcopal Church in the United States. As far as I know, the Episcopal Church kept its catheral and the traditional minded bishop had to set up shop elsewhere.


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