6 October 2015

Been there, done that ... Boring.

Again, we hear the profoundly silly suggestion that the Church's current discipline of denying Holy Communion to 'remarried divorcees' could be replaced (of course, only on an individual basis) by a (needless to say) very tough period of penitential discipline, followed by readmission.

We tried out all that sort of daft stuff in the Church of England. My recollection is that when I was  ordained to the Sacred Priesthood in the 1960s, those involved in a 'second marriage' in which one of the partners had already been validly married to somebody else were supposed to be subject to the discipline of being excluded from Holy Communion for six months.

This was a dead letter. Neither bishops nor parochial clergy were prepared to risk the fury ... oops, I mean Hurt ... of those who were supposed to be invited to undergo such discipline.

Believe me, we tried such ideas in the C of E and they simply proved to be a brief preliminary step towards the automatic acceptance of all de facto unions.

Now there is a Church of England in which a 'Catholic' bishop, one of the leaders of the rump of Forward in Faith which stayed in the C of E, who, himself divorced, has 'married' the divorced wife of a priest. And he stays in post, ministering to those who are supposed to have secured such a good deal enabling them to remain in the C of E and to 'flourish' there with full 'Catholic' integrity.

With much help from the old Adversary, the dear old C of E got, decades ago, to exactly the place to which you are trying to lead the Catholic Church. I agree that it is jolly sensible for you to follow the Church of England's example and teaching, if that is where, with the same august help, you are determined to go. 

But you seem to me to be (1) bewilderingly naive in not being aware of the destination you are in fact heading for; (2) unendearingly arrogant in imagining that you are the first people ever to have had these Brilliant New Ideas; and (3) thoroughly obtuse in not spotting who it was that crafted them, and where.

8 comments:

fmshyanguya said...

Brilliant!

Highland Cathedral said...

There’s none so blind as them that cannot see (or choose not to). On the other hand it would appear that the path trodden by the Church of England is exactly the path which some in the Catholic Church wish to tread And the more the CofE goes down that path the more they want to follow. And once both Churches have reached the end of the same path (Is there an end?) then unity will be so much easier.

Charlesdawson said...

Dear Fr Hunwicke, this (the apparent blindness to the Anglican Communion's meltdown)is something which has long been puzzling me. I was brung up Anglican, me, so I do some CofE watching still. No doubt some sharp minds have been tracking the descensus Averni and have been encouraged thereby; but what of those of goodwill? Why on earth is this Awful Example not more widely cried up? Is it because of the wistful belief in some quarters that one day the C of E and the Roman Catholic Church will reunite, so we musn't be seen to be critical of their goings-on in case we derail the process? (Which, so far as I can see, is largely in the imaginations of the RCC; the Anglicans have never made one single concession on their side.)

Tamquam said...

For a long time, certainly over a century, the RCC has warned of the likelihood of infiltration by the forces of darkness, which seems to be at a high water mark in our time. Did no one in the CoE think that it might happen to them as well? Papa Francesco recently said something to the effect that the Church interprets and judges the signs of the times in light of the Gospel, never the reverse. But the reverse is just what the CoE's policy, among many so afflicted, seems to be.

Doodler said...

I am aware of several people who wished to enter the full communion of the Catholic Church through the Ordinariate but were refused Confirmation and admission to Holy Communion because of exisiting marital obstacles. They could become Catholic but not receive Holy Communion. For them to see people acting as EMHC whom they know to be in a similar situation has caused great distress and even anger.

motuproprio said...

Dear Doodler, unfortunately there are Catholic priests who fail to observe the discipline, doctrine and practice of the Universal Church. That is not a good reason for the Ordinariate to do likewise.

William said...

Father, it may not be a caveat which, to your understanding of the Church's teaching and practice, makes a difference but I think it only fair to point out that both bishop and wife were abandoned by their former spouses who were intent on continuing their adultery.

Thomas said...

@Doodler, as far as I am aware (but I speak under correction from experts on so delicate and important an issue) people in such situations could indeed have been admitted if they had embraced the internal forum solution of commitment to live "as brother and sister". Not an easy thing, but possible with grace and prayer. It may be that those who appear to be in a similar situation, yet are seen going to communion, have chosen that route. Although it is also an important part of that provision that no occasion for scandal be given. I would have thought that acting as an "extraordinary minister" for anyone in this state of life would be completely contrary to that condition, so the distress and anger is understandable. But the bad example of others does not prevent people from seeking to embrace the right way themselves. We do live in very difficult times.