What is the Pope of Christian Unity up to now?

The first time I used the phraseBenedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity“, which is starting to get around, liberals were in grand-twit: they are losing control of what “ecumenism” means and how it is pursued.  Benedict is redirecting ecumenism.

Ecumenism is a necessary part of our Catholic thing.  We must pursue it.  And yet it is so hard a project, so fraught with obstacles that in the final analysis I believe only God can make it happen.  We are caught between giving up not even one essential inch, iota or item of what we believe as Catholics we as we must be engaged with people who hold strikingly different or only slightly different views.  We cannot sacrifice anything essential to “get along” in ecumenical efforts.  But the Lord prayed ut unum sint, and we have to do something about that.

Brick by brickPope Benedict is doing something about that. After decades of work which at best paved the way by changing how we talk with other groups, making it possible to have a conversation, the Holy Father is finding creative ways to engage in a true ecumenism.  This is the ecumenism in continuity with both Mortalium animos as well as Unitatis redintegratio whereby, eventually, all are one in the Catholic Church.

I read this on ZENIT:

Vatican Aide: Ordinariate Very Important to Pope

Says Unity Is Built on Love and Truth

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 2, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A priest at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is affirming that the newly established Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is “very important” to Benedict XVI. [That Ordinariate is, of course, for Anglicans who want unity with Peter.]

Members of the ordinariate, established for former Anglicans wishing to enter full communion with the Catholic Church, recently visited Rome and met with staff at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, including the prefect, Cardinal William Levada.

Father Hermann Geissler, head of the dicastery’s doctrinal office, gave an interview to The Portal, an independent review of the ordinariate.

He affirmed that “the ordinariate is very important to the Holy Father.”  [You can also bet that Summorum Pontificum and the talks with the SSPX are also very important to the Holy Father.  Think about it.  Summorum Pontificum has more enemies, however.]

In the area of ecumenism it strengthens the Catholic Church’s approach in two ways,” the priest noted. “It promotes sincere dialogue with a Christian defense of life and the promotion of peace.”

[READ THIS SLOWLY AND SAVOR IT:] He stated: “The goal of the ecumenical movement is complete visible union with one Christ and with Peter in one Church. We must cooperate and grow together.[What else can it be?]

Father Geissler affirmed that the Pope is called to promote unity in the Church and world. “He is the chief shepherd, he cannot do otherwise.”

“Unity is built on two pillars, love and truth,” the priest added.

Precious souls

He reported that 50-60 clergy and some 1,000 laity are already planning to join the ordinariate, and “every soul is precious.”

The priest added that there are also groups interested in following a similar model in the United States, Canada and Australia. He noted his dicastery is “watching events carefully” in Africa as well.

“We are not to give in to difficulties,” Father Geissler said. “We are to be generous and welcoming.”

He continued: “The issue is the whole question of unity and of mission. When God plants a beautiful tree, he cares for it.”

The priest concluded: “We pray for you that the ordinariate goes well. Priests are already ordained.

“We must be faithful to unity.

“We will do all we can to help you together with the bishops of England and Wales. Be encouraged by the words of Jesus Christ, ‘Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and everything else will be given you.’ There will be suffering, but God will guide us.”

Let us review: “The goal of the ecumenical movement is complete visible union with one Christ and with Peter in one Church. We must cooperate and grow together.”

With that in mind.

Also from Geissler’s interview with The Portal:

The Portal also reported that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has begun to receive requests from Lutherans to establish a similar canonical structure that would allow them to enter the Catholic Church while retaining aspects of the Lutheran heritage. “The Holy Father will do all he can to bring other Christians into unity,” Father Geissler commented.

SSPX?  Hello?  SSPX?  Anyone there?

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Phil_NL says:

    The problem is that (these) anglicans and lutherans would like unity with Peter while retaining a significant part of their heritage for themselves. The SSPX seems to have a broader agenda, namely not just perserving the traditionalist heritage for its own adherents, but also expaning it to the entire Church. That complicates matters, of course.
    If it was just about regularisation and finding a canonical structure, it would have been done long ago. The challenge is to find a perspective on various matters (not in the last part several VII documents) that the SSPX can live with, and that Rome believes is consistent with prior teaching. Otherwise, the SSPX will simply continue to try and convince the rest of the Curch that they are right and the Pope is wrong, which is a project destined for failure, as “were Peter is, there is the Church”.

  2. Phil_NL says:

    I meant the first few words to read “The problem with this comparison is that (…)”. Mea cupla.

  3. anilwang says:

    Phil_NL, I agree about the SSPX reunion without absorption. To the extent that they want to undo Vatican II (rather than implement it correctly according to the hermeneutic of continuity), they are Protestant and unity cannot be achieved. That being said, much of what is being asked for does correspond to the hermeneutic of continuity and Pope Benedict XVI’s reform of the reform. If now that the new Missal is out, if music can be restored (Gregorian Chant, or any valid Chant in the Catholic heritage like Byzantine Chant or Anglican Plainsong), and parishes can restore statues or icons that were ripped out, the cross can predominantly be placed above the alter (even if the Priest is facing the people, at least both are facing the cross which is the center of our focus) , and similar changes, the Novus Ordo might be “acceptable enough” for SSPX to trust again, and where there is trust, there is a willingness to see the errors in their own position.

    Personally, I believe that the Ordinariate will likely grow very quickly, partially through evangelization of Anglicans and Lutherans who are on the fence (or at least not hostile to Catholicism), but also to Catholics who want more but don’t know that there’s anything else. If the SSPX were to return, they could do more to evangelize and reform the rest of the Church than to stay outside as they currently can.

  4. 1. Lutheran ordinariate — Yay! May it happen! “They will come from the east and west, and from the north and the south, and they will sit down in the kingdom of God.”

    2. But on the other hand, “When the Master of the House shall have gone in and shall shut the door, you shall begin to stand without and knock at the door, saying, “Lord, open to us.” And He answering shall say to you, “I know you not….” So yeah, I really hope the SSPX signs up for an ordinariate and goodies at this time.

  5. BobP says:

    “SSPX? Hello? SSPX? Anyone there?”

    I’m good with any priest who says the Latin Mass, Eastern, former Lutheran, former Anglican, whatever.

  6. Henry Edwards says:

    requests from Lutherans to establish a similar canonical structure that would allow them to enter the Catholic Church while retaining aspects of the Lutheran heritage.

    Perhaps the SSPX can request a similar canonical structure that would allow them to enter the Catholic Church while retaining aspects of the Catholic heritage.

  7. Archicantor says:

    Ecumenism is a necessary part of our Catholic thing.

    La Cosa nostra Cattolica?

  8. RichR says:

    requests from Lutherans to establish a similar canonical structure that would allow them to enter the Catholic Church while retaining aspects of the Lutheran heritage

    Notice that these groups who are wanting visible unity with the Church want little to do with the Church’s normative liturgy (OF). What an obvious critique of the liturgical mess we’ve put ourselves in to.

  9. Brian2 says:

    Knowing nearly nothing about what goes on in a Lutheran church, does anyone have an idea of what a Lutheran liturgical heritage looks like. I know Luther cut back the canon to the words of institution (and so I expect that it would be expanded) but beyond that Is it more medieval with roods and chancel screens, since they clearly didn’t follow Trent, or is it more modern show-and-tell?

  10. rfox2 says:

    Fr Z. comments: “Ecumenism is a necessary part of our Catholic thing. We must pursue it.”

    Why *must* we purse it?

    I’ll preface my comments by saying that I’m not SSPX, Sedevecantist or any splinter group. As Catholics, it is necessary that we evangelize, and that we present the truth in love. It is necessary that we purse unity in the Church, and that we desire and pray for unity in Christ, with all people.

    As Pius IX said in Mortalium Animos, “You, Venerable Brethren, understand how much this question is in Our mind, and We desire that Our children should also know, not only those who belong to the Catholic community, but also those who are separated from Us: if these latter humbly beg light from heaven, there is no doubt but that they will recognize the one true Church of Jesus Christ and will, at last, enter it, being united with us in perfect charity.” Vatican 2’s Unitatis Redintegratio states explicitly that the purpose of ecumenism is not unity within the Church, by having those separated from us united to us fully. “However, it is evident that, when individuals wish for full Catholic communion, their preparation and reconciliation is an undertaking which of its nature is distinct from ecumenical action” (Unitatis Redintegratio §4) So, whatever ecumenism is, it is different from full Catholic communion, or the preparation for that communion.

    Why is it that we must be engaged in activity that does not directly promote full Catholic communion with those who are separated from us? [You didn’t both to read what I wrote, did you.]

    It seems a little disingenuous to say that the goal of ecumenism is “complete visible union with one Christ and with Peter in one Church” when Vatican 2 says the opposite. [There is more to the question than you assume.]

  11. Titus says:

    I’m sorry, but “Lutheran heritage”? You mean the heritage of peasant revolts, half the population of central Europe dead, frothing anti-Catholicism, and laughably silly theology? (Consubstantiation? Honestly?) The heritage of the greatest heresiarch since Arius? We can play along with “Anglican heritage”—the whole Sarum use got gobbled up by Henry’s avarice, so there’s at least some legitimate background to the five-hundred years of Protestant silliness, and the whole exercise was never really theologically sophisticated or driven to begin with.

    But Lutherans? Yes, yes, ut unum sint, but that’s not unus, that’s duo, a horse of a different color, if you will. Let’s have as many Lutherans as possible join the Church, bring them all! But for the love of all the saints, let’s not pretend that they can bring their iconoclastic, drab “Lutheran heritage” with them when they come.

    [As a former Lutheran, no one is more eager to see the reunification of Protestants of every stripe. I am firmly Catholic and Roman in my worldview. That said, I find your tone to be ungracious and unworthy.]

  12. Oleksander says:

    (BIG) sigh….

    Lutherans have their own honorable (by that I mean a lot of effort and poetry and art/music was put into it over the centuries) liturgical tradition based off the Latin rite of course which millions over the centuries worshiped in, Lutheran tradition that is, and new nothing else… in Germany and Scandinavia anyways (Sweden apparently more “high church” than the others) I imagine in America they would use the O.F.

    If Lutherans, and there is a movement in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for reunion with Catholicism – “Evangelical Catholics” as I recall they call themselves, want corporate reunion, why not!?! May God make it so!

    For SSPX sympathizers, why would an ordinariate be needed? According to SSPX apologists they are not outside of the Church… hence no ordinariate needed, right?

  13. Oleksander says:

    Wait….. Fr Z…. you converted from Lutheranism…

    Monsignor Zuhlsdorf, Honoary Prelate and Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Otto of Bamberg

    has a nice ring!

    though I suspect your administration would have a more Italian Tridentine atmosphere to it..

  14. JonM says:

    SSPX is not outside of the Church as are Protestant sects, so there should be no need for an ordinariate. A canonical irregularity does not justify setting up another cell within a cell.

    There is a danger in creating these ordinariates in that we become less and less united and more prone to a future break simply in favor of immediate ‘unity.’ I agree with Titus that Anglicans have a unique position within Protestantism so a special prelature could be evenly argued.

    But Lutheranism? Why not a Presbyterianorum coetibus? On occasion I wax nostalgic about not longer belonging to my neighborhood community and having to travel an hour for Mass- and then remember that one is truth and the other has long since broken off the vine and lost its flavor.

    And so, why not then have a Baptist Catholic community with freewheeling banter as the ‘liturgy’ or better yet a Pentacostal one that incorporates ‘folk worship’ replete with reptiles and unstable people babbling incoherently?

    This is the slippery slope some of us feared with the Anglicanorum Coitubus. While it can work in this one case, there would be a temptation square many circles.

    Respectfully, I don’t think Titus meant any offense. Rather, I think he is pointing to the obvious distinction between Luther and his outfit and that of what became the Anglican sect. History is very clear that Luther is directly responsible for inventing doctrine, cutting out pieces of the Bible, egging on peasant revolts, and ultimately being the cause for Europe’s worst war ever in percentage terms.

  15. Centristian says:

    “If now that the new Missal is out, if music can be restored (Gregorian Chant, or any valid Chant in the Catholic heritage like Byzantine Chant or Anglican Plainsong), and parishes can restore statues or icons that were ripped out, the cross can predominantly be placed above the alter (even if the Priest is facing the people, at least both are facing the cross which is the center of our focus) , and similar changes, the Novus Ordo might be “acceptable enough” for SSPX to trust again, and where there is trust, there is a willingness to see the errors in their own position.”

    How about we do all those things and much, much more, even if the Catholic Mass celebrated using the “Novus Ordo” is never “acceptable enough” for the Society of St. Pius X? Because to celebrate Mass in traditional fashion is a good objective in and of itself, and because the SSPX will never, ever “trust” the “Novus Ordo”. They do not even trust the Tridentine Mass when celebrated by a diocesan priest, for heaven’s sake.

    “The goal of the ecumenical movement is complete visible union with one Christ and with Peter in one Church. We must cooperate and grow together.”

    Amen. Alleluia. But I think its also important that our Separated Brethren who have converted to Peter be able to see a difference (an improvement) between what they left and what they’ve come to.

    The Mass celebrated the way it’s typically celebrated today ain’t gonna do it, I’m afraid. It’s apt to look and feel like more of the same of what they were brought up with. In the case of Anglican or high Lutheran converts, the typical modern Catholic Mass may even seem to them to be a step down from the way they had been worshipping in their former churches.

  16. Rob Cartusciello says:

    My experience of Lutheranism, especially outside the United States, is that it is anything but drab. I have seen beautiful, centuries old polychrome altarpieces, and admirable architecture. Many of their hymns are beautiful, and a the majesty of Bach is undeniable.

    Lutherans have also managed to retain many of their theological sensibilities. I have not witnessed the atomization of theological opinion and ideological reductionism in Lutheran circles nearly to the extent they exist in Episcopalian one (where the center – much less the right – has not held).

    On a final note, there are fewer ways to enrage a Lutheran than to state that they believe in consubstantiation. Orthodox Lutherans reject that formulation.

  17. asophist says:

    He stated: “The goal of the ecumenical movement is complete visible union with one Christ and with Peter in one Church. We must cooperate and grow together.”

    I believe this is exactly the kind of orthodox, Catholic definition of Ecumenism that the SSPX would rejoice to hear coming from Rome – from the CDF, no less. Now, the question is, how will the Holy Father make this definition plain in the coming Assisi gathering? Maybe if Assisi is NOT billed as Ecumenical, the issue will be technically skirted. But expecting the average pew Catholic to grasp the effect of nuanced technicalities is something that ought to be beneath Rome and certainly not an approach that should be pursued by the pope.

  18. jmcj says:

    Let’s hope this ordinariate thing continues to catch on. If we can get good Anglicans and good Lutherans into full communion with Rome, then the Church will be even stronger.

    Thank you Pope Benedict for teaching us what Ecumenism is REALLY about!

    This is so much more productive than ARCIC.

  19. Brian2 says:

    For what its worth, this wikipedia article is a nice summary of things about Lutheranism that don’t normally figure in Catholic conversations about it.


  20. anilwang says:

    JonM, I’m not sure about the Presbyterian Ordinariate — High Church Presbyterians can sometimes pass for Anglicans, so there might not be enough in Presbyterianism to warrant an Ordinariate. Presbyterians are predestined to join the Catholic faith anyway. Just ask Scott Hahn:-)

    WRT Pentecostals, there’s already Charismatic Catholic churches and Charismatic Prayer Groups in many parishes, so I don’t see a Pentecostal Ordinariate ever happening.

    but I’d imagine a Baptist Ordinariate, if one saw the light of day, would have the following distinguishing features:
    (1) Baptism by full immersion
    (2) 3 hour long homilies (6 hours if the preacher doesn’t get tired)
    (3) Calling people to confession, so that they can do the altar call (i.e. come up for communion).
    (4) Reminders to read your Bibles, join a Bible study, being involved politically, and ensuring everyone brings a casserole after mass:-)

    More likely, if there was strong Baptist push to join the Catholic Church, I’d bet that something akin to the Charismatic movement would happen, with the regular NO mass except baptism by full immersion would be default, and homilies would be normal length except more emotional and berating of people who didn’t vote Michael Vorbis for President, and the 3 hour sermons and community involvement would take place after mass in the parish hall.

  21. sgtjohn says:

    I guess Lutheranorum Coetibus would preserve their heritage of grey vestments…

  22. Precentrix says:

    Lutheran heritage…

    “There is the music of Johanne Sebastien Bach: Therefore there is a God.”

  23. Luvadoxi says:

    Brian2: I was Lutheran for several years (grew up Presbyterian). While both retain the order of worship of the post-Reformation churches (Word and Sacrament (at least once in a while if not every week) as opposed to the Baptist or mega-church model)–the Lutheran is much closer to the novus ordo Catholic mass. And they have an altar rail and use it–you go up to kneel for Communion. Ironic, isn’t it?

  24. muckemdanno says:

    SSPX are not outside the Catholic Church.

    The excommunication is withdrawn.

    It is uncharitable to act as though they are excommunicated when the excommunication has been lifted.

    Please refrain.

  25. Luvadoxi says:

    The person who said most converts want tradition–that’s it exactly! I went to St. Olaf College and sang in one of the choirs. Sacred music from the best of traditional and modern music (the current choir director is a black man and brings wonderful gospel and African music in. :::try to get over the thought of white Scandinavian students singing gospel for a minute::::!). The annual Christmas concert is a beautiful, sacred event. What you don’t see, in the televised PBS version, is that at the very end of every Christmas concert, the lights go down, the choirs come out and line the walls of the concert hall, and they sing F. Melius Christianson’s adaptation of “Beautiful Savior” a cappella. I was privileged to actually be in one of these choirs many, many years ago and it was one of the peak experiences of my life. So…….you can imagine the purgatorial suffering I’ve been through as a Catholic in a liberal parish for the last 7 years. The what-passes-for-music is beyond horrible. And I don’t understand why everyone just accepts and even *likes* it! It took me a long time to understand recent Catholic history and the fact that the Catholic laity were snookered because they were used to being obedient to authority. So when authority went bad, it all went bad. The thing that saves my faith is Eucharistic Adoration. Praise God. I have lost my initial evangelical fervor, and I go to Mass out of fear of mortal sin. But tomorrow, a friend and I are attending a traditional Latin Mass in Atlanta. I don’t expect to understand it, but I’m looking forward to it. I just wanted to say, when Luther started the revolution that split Christendom, some Protestant sects got much of it right, while we Catholics have in many respects, liturgically, gone horribly wrong.

    My 2 cents…

  26. Luvadoxi says:

    Ummm….I didn’t mean to say Praise God that I’ve lost my enthusiasm! No….that’s a Very Bad Thing. But Eucharistic Adoration….and the Eucharist. It’s all worth it for the Eucharist.

  27. William Tighe says:

    There is a small ecclesial community here in the USA, the “Anglo-Lutheran Catholic Church” (founded originally by “Catholic-minded” Missouri-Synod Lutherans) that has sought unity with the Catholic Church, and has recently been told that they will be admitted to the “Ordinariat for Anglicans” that will soon be erected in the USA under the provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

    I could write about this at some length, but will rather directed interested readers to this posting and its (rather lengthy) comment thread:


    Suffice it to say that I think a “Lutheran ordinariat” is no more likely than a “Baptist ordinariat.” As ALCC archbishops Gladfelter and Steele state repeatedly on that comment thread, the historic “Lutheran patrimony” is a theological one (I would add “and also a musical one”) not a liturgical one, and since much of the Lutheran “theological patrimony” is incompatible with Catholic doctrine, Lutherans must repudiate it, as the ALCC has done. As to Lutheran liturgy, Lutherans have never had as clearly defined a liturgical heritage as Anglicans have. Luther himself produced two “reforms” of the Catholic Mass, the Latin “Formula Missae” of 1523 and the “Deutsche Messe” of 1526, and most Lutheran churches have historically adopted one or the other of these two, or else “filleted” together elements from each one of them — while the Swedish Lutherans adopted yet another variant of their own, in all cases, however, eliminating the Canon of the Mass and leaving the Words of Institution standing alone by themselves, sometimes with the Lord’s Prayer preceding their recitation, and sometimes following it.

  28. Titus says:

    I’m not intending to be a cad. I’m sure we can find various impressive works of visual art that Lutherans produced (instead of merely misappropriating churches in the 16th century). Certainly Bach is sublime, in the aural arts realm. And the cultures of the Nordic peoples have a lot of rich heritage and history: I’m descended on one side from converts, only a couple of generations back, from Scandinavian Lutheranism. I can sing “happy birthday” in Danish.

    But “northern European heritage” isn’t really the same thing as “Lutheran heritage.” At least, I’m assuming that isn’t what we’re talking about. Even if there are Lutherans who have wonderful art, for instance, the fact remains that Lutheranism is a heresy. It was a heresy from the start (unlike Anglicanism, which was principally a schism, onto which some heretical ideas were grafted). I’ll be frank: I don’t know whether Lutherans all believe in Consubstantiation, or any substantiation at all. I do know that for five-hundred years, these people have not believed what Catholics believe. That heritage, the customs that they developed around their false teachings, to reflect and propagate them, simply don’t seem to be a legitimate source of tradition.

    As for High Church Lutheranism, that’s interesting—I wasn’t really aware of such a thing. But 1) that’s a modern movement, and 2) the high-church stuff is principally borrowing or re-acquisition from Catholicism. It seems that it’s at best a highly debatable question as to whether what these folks do is actually a product of a “Lutheran heritage.”

  29. Luvadoxi says:

    Re a Baptist coetibus:

    (3) Calling people to confession, so that they can do the altar call (i.e. come up for communion).

    What a wonderful idea!!!! :))

  30. Luvadoxi says:

    @William Tighe–I think you’re right. Lutherans are very staunchly pro-Reformation. (notice how faithful Lutherans are “staunch” while faithful Catholics are “devout, or pious”!) I come from a long line of Norwegian Lutherans, including pastors, going all the way back to the Reformation. I don’t know of anyone in my family who has become Catholic. The family ties are intense. It was very difficult for me at the beginning of my conversion process to hear Tim Staples’ tapes attacking justification by faith…..he really meant well, and today I’m sure I’d hear those differently, but it just cut me to the heart and I almost abandoned my investigation of Catholicism. Hence……ecumenical efforts really are necessary. *Now* I’m almost a trad Catholic, but I have to look back in sympathy at my earlier self. These Protestant Christians really don’t know….they *don’t know*. They know not what they do. It took an extraordinary act of grace–and the witness of my daughter and her friend who gave me Rome Sweet Home and Surprised by Truth–and the overwhelming mercy of God in the Most Blessed Sacrament to bring me home. Honestly…in spite of taking history courses in religion–I never even saw it. I had just relegated such beliefs to medieval peasant piety. Of course we moderns are *so much more sophisticated*! It’s hard for me to be patient with theological modernism now, but I have to try and remember my earlier self. It’s all God’s grace, not anything we do.

  31. JonM says:


    There are those in the world who fall in the category of invincible ignorance, but the manner in which it is used is far, far broader than what the Church has taught.

    Just because someone is descended from some group does not then mean ‘well, they don’t know any better so they will just go to purgatory longer.’ Tradition has taught (and basic logic requires) that those who die outside of the Church have little chance of salvation.

    This is why so many in the Church accepted torture and death: they sacrificed this life so that others (like us) could be saved in the next.

    After hearing some in the Conservative wing discuss mortal sin, I’m hard pressed to distinguish them from those more outwardly progressive. There is a reason the Church restricted receiving the Eucharist such that most received once a year: the typical position in our lives is distance ourselves from God, which is to sin.

    To presume that Pick-Your-Heretical-Group will get a get out of hell free card is modernistic and deeply uncharitable to souls that will almost certainly perish unless they are shocked into accepting the one true church for what it is.

    In my view, we are tempted to this line of thought because we see even within the Church in America 80-90% practicing birth control, which is a mortal sin, and we have trouble acknowledging that there is not an elephant in the living room, but a Cthulhu in the cathedral.

    I like the observation someone made that calls for special ordinariates for various Protestants does show the utter failure of the Novus Ordo: a strong argument for it was that the new liturgy would attract Protestants, when we see conversions of any significance requiring special privilege.

    We speak of ut unum sint. Well, the it is interesting that Spanish missionary activities did not require special indigenous rites for those native to the Americas – and they succeeded in making Catholicism the faith for nearly two continents.

    Constantly changing rites, creating new ones, and allowing heretics to keep liturgies spawned in direct rebellion against the Church simply does not make sense if the goal is unity. Instead it sounds more like a new tower of Babylon gone wrong. (Again, with the caveat for the Anglicanorum coetibus since there are clearly legitimate bases for permitting an Anglican Use in a liturgical setting.)

  32. irishgirl says:

    A ‘Lutheran Ordinariate’? Seriously? That’s the first I’ve ever heard of it!
    What would it be called?
    I remember you saying that you were once a Lutheran, Father Z….

  33. StellaMaris says:

    Every one seems to think this is about appearances. I hear things like “They still have an altar rail.” “We kneel for communion” etc. Okay, so what. I grew up a Methodist and we knelt for communion. That doesn’t mean a thing. More importantly, do they believe that Jesus Christ is literally and wholly present–body and blood, soul and divinity–in the Eucharist? What about the Blessed Virgin Mary? Will these Lutheran “ordinariates” offer Marian devotion and Rosaries? Oh, that’s right. Lutherans don’t believe in either. Oh, but so what? We just want the APPEARANCE of Catholic unity. This is silly. Why can’t people just do what they used to do? Convert. Why can’t the Church do what She has always done? Convert people. The SSPX already believes EVERYTHING the Catholic Church HAS ALWAYS TAUGHT–EVERYTHING. Why is it the bloody Protestants get “special treatment” so as not to upset their “sensibilities”? Why do the Protestants and those of other faiths the Church has ALWAYS considered heretics, schismatics, and infidels, share in “partial” communion now and we love them so much? Yet, the SSPX who aren’t heretics, schismatics (contrary to popular belief), or infidels are not in “full” communion and are hated so much? Why? Because the Society refuses to accept ideas that are diametrically OPPOSED to everything the Church taught for 1600 years? This is ridiculous. It is NOT simply about the rituals, folks. Anybody can have the “bells and whistles”. It’s about the content. With all due respect, this is just wrong on so many levels. Just wrong.

  34. Luvadoxi says:

    I’m not arguing for or against more ordinariates, just discussing my experiences. And in the 7 years since my conversion, my heart has been broken by the abuses in the Mass and by the way I’ve been treated by true heretic Catholics for just believing the truth of the Gospel. Just wanted to set the record straight. Of course externals are just that; Lutheran communion isn’t the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of our Lord. I just find it ironic that we don’t have altar rails and some Protestants, with their defective theologies, do. With the tone of some of these posts, while I was entering the Church, it would have been really hard to overcome defensive anger; what with people yelling “heretic” at me and all. St. Paul said he must be all things to all me so that some might be saved. The medicine of mercy is a good thing. What kind of pride is it to stand there and say, “Lord, at least I’m in your kingdom even if all these heretics are not.” We’re all human, with the world, the flesh, and the devil trying to drown out the Truth in our ears. When people are just beginning their journey home, it doesn’t help to blast their long-held beliefs. I’m talking about the way it’s done, not what’s being said. Honey rather than vinegar is the way to go. Oh, and Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

  35. Luvadoxi says:

    Jon M. We really didn’t know any better. They really don’t know. The Lord knows, and he drew me home. That’s all that matters.

  36. Centristian says:

    “Yet, the SSPX who aren’t heretics, schismatics (contrary to popular belief), or infidels are not in “full” communion and are hated so much? Why? Because the Society refuses to accept ideas that are diametrically OPPOSED to everything the Church taught for 1600 years?”

    No, that isn’t why they are not in full communion or why they are, as you say, “hated” so much.

    They aren’t in full communion because they refuse to submit to the government of the legitimate authorities of Christ’s Church, presuming for themselves the authority to excuse themselves from the government of the authentic ecclesiastical authorities based upon a crisis that they have declared of their own (lack of) authority. *head spinning*

    If they are “hated” by some, it may be rather less on account of their fidelity to certain correct theological and liturgical points of view, and rather more on account of the atrocious words, attitudes, and behaviours of any number of representatives of the SSPX over the course of many years.

  37. JonM says:

    Every one seems to think this is about appearances. I hear things like “They still have an altar rail.” “We kneel for communion” etc. Okay, so what.

    Thank you – this is something I have felt for sometime needs to be fleshed out.

    It’s not about the bling.

    We have to make the link between the trappings and what they are meant to symbolize, honor, and reinforce. Many drug gangs actually have made Rosaries and Our Lady apparel sort of trendy within the crew. Clearly, this display of sacred articles is not indicative of a true sensus catholicus.

    Many of the worst offenders within the Church have made plenty of use of the smells and bells, yet their misplaced faith in humanity emptied the potency of their appeals’ to heaven leaving behind hollow hulls wrecked on the shores of modernity.

    I have been to TLMs well celebrated but turn out to be almost as squishy as suburban Novus Ordo when it comes to practical application of Catholic morality (ehem chumminess with Joe Biden ehem or Sunday obligations apparently are not so obligatory.)

    The point is that we can’t lose sight of what it is we are trying to achieve: salvation for the most people. The Tridentine Latin Mass has proven itself the most sublime, well-traveled, and efficatious liturgy and is the culmination in a natural development over centuries. Ornate trappings serve to reinforce the authority of an office and to highlight something extremely special.

    Since the fabric of social order is ripped and unraveling, some basic ideas are hard to explain to some, like it is appropriate to appear a certain way when meeting someone of importance or that an object passed down generation to generation should be carefully handled and well-maintained. We are living in an era that celebrates feces as art and considers killing unborn people ‘reproductive medicine.’ Therefore when we see a practice that is rooted in something traditional, there is a tendency to feel a kindred spirit with the practitioner.

    But there is aspect of this which requires we don’t do things for the sake of doing them or out of self-desire. In my faith community of upbringing, men wore suits or at least the jacket-tie-slacks ensemble. This had little to do with dressing well before God as the motivation was rooted in the networking after the churchy stuff.

    The Church was content to preserve a fine distinction with Egyptian Christians regarding the natures of Christ at the cost of the Copts severing themselves from the Church. One and a half millennia later, they remain outside the Catholic Church. Thus we owe it to the past that we do not engage in rushed paper unifications for the sake of feeling united at the cost of future true unity.

  38. JonM says:


    You are right that God is the perfect judge and will rightly determine our fates. My point is that if we operate with the assumption of blanket invincible ignorance we soon fall into presumption.

    Also keep in mind though that you were able to convert, despite the challenges and seemingly impossible odds. Especially in this age of modernity, that says much about you!

  39. Luvadoxi says:

    Hi JonM–thank you for the reminder. I pray that it’s a great hope on my part, rather than presumption. And as for the conversion, Christ really had to get my attention by nagging me repeatedly. That baptismal grace is a strong thing! I had very good Christian formation for a Protestant Christian. The Presbyterian Church in the 1950s was very different than it is today. Today for faith in the Lord you have to go to the evangelicals, it seems. Having lived awhile now, with some historical perspective, I can really see the debt the ecclesial communities owe to the Catholic Church. And yes, it has occurred to me that the remaining “Catholic” trappings of worship services preserve the form but not the heart of the faith (the Sacred Heart!). It’s sad. It’s hard once your eyes have been opened to figure out why others can’t see what’s obvious to me now. But it wasn’t always obvious. We need to pray that the Lord opens eyes and cures the blind like he did for me. Catholic culture is completely separate from Protestant culture, too. I never knew what the Sacred Heart devotion was; I’d just seen those strange-looking pictures. I hadn’t heard of any saints except Francis, and maybe vaguely Teresa of Avila. Much as I detest the novus ordo mass, I have to say that it may take awhile to see the value of the second Vatical council. When my mother in law (Lutheran, but not particularly devout one way or the other) went to a Catholic college, she never once went to Mass. (She did learn the Hail Mary!) She said the nuns treated her and the one other Protestant student with great compassion because they thought they were going to hell. I wonder how it might have been different if they had been invited to Mass and had it explained to them, something that just wasn’t done back then. So they remained in ignorance.

  40. Luvadoxi says:

    Uh….that’ Vatican not Vatical…..oops.

  41. StellaMaris says:

    You have no idea what you are talking about. Father Z’s blog is not the place to explain it to you.

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