15 December 2009

Dogma and the Ordinariates

Ordinariates are to have their own "authoritative expression of the Catholic Faith". And it will be the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This is perhaps the most revolutionary feature of the Apostolic Constitution, and I suspect its implications for Ecumenism will be teased out for decades to come.

When, in my mid-teens, I joined an Anglican papalist organisation called the Catholic League, I had to sign my adherence to the definitions of all the Ecumenical Councils down to Vatican I (Vatican II being at that time merely a twinkle in the eye of Cardinal Roncalli). Trent and Vatican I were explicitly mentioned. So I thereby committed myself - for example - to the Decree Pastor Aeternus, which defined the Primacy and Infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. I have never regretted this; indeed, it has been a source of inspiration to me for more than half a century. But an Ordinariate will not have Pastor Aeternus as part of its dogma-book (except by remote implication in as far as the Catechism does state that Ecumenical Councils are infallible, and Vatican I was such a Council). It will have the Petrine Ministry as seen through the balancing prism of Vatican II and summarised in the Catechism.

Ecumenical Councils are relativised as they disappear further and further into history. When did you - even if you attend SSPX chapels - last hear a sermon on the Council of Florence? Vatican I - and Vatican II - will, likewise, come to be seen in a more contextualised and embedded way than they were in the raw and acrimonious days after their respective conclusions. AC implicitly acknowledges this. And in the last pontificates, Christological agreements were signed between Rome and 'non-Chalcedonian Churches' - such as the Copts (1973) and Assyrians (1994), communities hitherto suspected respectively of Monophysitism and Nestorianism. This appeared to be an Ecumenism of getting round conciliar antitheses by contextualising formulae. I wonder if the provision for the Ordinariates to have their own "authoritative expression of the Catholic Faith" should be glossed in a not totally dissimilar way.

And what about the status of Apostolicae curae, which condemned Anglican Orders? Is that - or at least, its conclusions - such as to require the assent we owe to faith? Of course, the Apostolic Constitution assumes the juridical force of that Bull in its provision for the 'ordination' of Anglican clergy entering the Ordinarites. I don't think many of us have much problem in giving other Christians certainty about the validity of our sacramental ministrations. I have no objection whatsoever to submitting to the juridical implications of Apostolicae curae. On the contrary. (Although the Commentary printed in Osservatore Romano by a Fr Ghirlanda, which states that "ordinations ... will be absolute, on the basis of the Bull Apostolicae curae " appears to be unaware that in the case of Bishop Graham Leonard, the CDF concluded that there was uncertainty about the invalidity of his orders, because of the Dutch Touch [see in this blog, via Search] since the 1930s. I will return to some practical matters in this area tomorrow.)

But that does not impinge upon the question of whether we have to believe in Apostolicae curae. I have always been intrigued by the fact that the original text of the Bull described the question as idem caput disciplinae, implying that this is ultimately a disciplinary rather than a doctrinal question. There's a Dan Brown story somewhere here: much later printed versions craftily omitted the word disciplinae. I suspect that Cardinal Merry del Val, a crony of Cardinal Vaughan and a fellow plotter, might have had something to do with the change. The mere fact that someone did think it necessary to tamper with the text in this way itself rather implies that he did find the implications of the original text an embarrassment.

But in any case, Apostolicae curae is not part of the Catechism. So it will not be "professed by members of the Ordinariate". And, notoriously, men consecrated Bishop in the Anglican Church are encouraged to ask for the jus pontificalium. That hardly sounds like a desire to rub Anglican noses in Apostolicae curae until ... if you follow me ... the pips squeak.

As I see it, Anglicanorum Coetibus allows the following provisos (among others) to be attached to the initial proposition "We willingly submit to what Apostolicae curae requires of us, but Anglican Orders were ...
(1) not in fact invalid in 1896"; or
(2) were invaid in 1896, but the Dutch Touch dealt with the question".

The good thing, of course, is that the matter will be completely academic. But, whatever the future holds for me personally, I do not envisage ceasing to celebrate June 9 as the Anniversary of my Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of the Catholic Church.

Before the more uberCatholic RC readers start frothing at the mouth, I ask them to consider the views of Fr Aidan Nichols (1993; the emphases are his), and just check that their own credentials, both academically and as a soundly traditional Catholic, are superior to his. "Those Anglican clergymen who feel morally certain of the sacramental reality of their Orders can draw consolation from the fact that, whereas the practice authorised by Apostolicae curae still continues (since the teaching of that bull remains the thesis in possession), the applicability of its teaching to their own Orders today is not itself unconditionally proposed by the contemporary Roman Church."


Michael McDonough said...

"The good thing, of course, is that the matter will be completely academic."


Since I am not one of those whose credentials warrant the highest respect (at least in this area), I being a fool and not an angel, suggest a distinction between a) those Anglican clergy who have moral certainty regarding the validity of their Orders; and b) the need by the Church's highest authority to have objective certainty with respect to the same matter.

The need for (b) relates to the concept of "communicatio in sacris". We are certain that the Orthodox have valid Orders, and therefore there is the potential legitimate authorization by the Pope (via Canon Law) of "communicatio in sacris" where there is a pastoral need (travelers in regions without Catholic churches, etc.), even if the Orthodox choose not to abide by that same discipline.

Serendipitously, the "Journey Home" program on EWTN last night was an interview with Fr. Peter Walters. He is a former Anglican (celibate) priest who was traveling in Colombia in the early '80s. There was a miniscule Anglican presence in the country, and he wished to receive Holy Communion (he was not ordained at the time) in one of the Catholic parishes. So, he was introduced to the Archbishop of Cartagena, who asked him about his belief in the Real Presence. Fr. Walters recited for the Archbishop the Ave verum, the Pange lingua, etc., and the Archbishop authorized his "communicatio in sacris".

I'm not actually sure what the connection between the Archbishop of Cartagena's judgement and distinction (b) is, but there seems to be something there.

Pastor in Monte said...

I am well aware that this is a painful subject, but, as with all painful sores, it is really best not to pick at it, especially as the sovereign specific will (please God) soon be applied to set all consciences at rest.
Quieta non movere, in other words, or as they say in Italy, 'piano, piano'.

Pastor in Monte said...

What I mean is that, in the light of the developments of the recent years, this is not a subject the RC Church wishes to revisit, nor should it. Juridically, Apostolicæ Curæ still stands, though many (myself included) doubt its congruence with the modern situation ('Dutch touch' and all that). But there is going to be no revisiting of the subject now, and therefore little point in worrying about it.
Better to accept ordination, even if given in absolute form—one may always accept it conditionally (a matter recently acknowledged by a theologian of my acquaintance).

Fr John Hunwicke said...

A nice point, Father Adurni. Thanks.

Dilly said...

I'm not frothing at the mouth - but the (unintended) consequence of budging from the rather harsh rulings in AC might be argued by some to permit females "ordained" since 1992 to have their orders recognised and cross the Tiber in their cassocks........

Canon Jerome Lloyd OSJV said...

So... I suppose it's only logical... having already to become Roman Catholic accepted Confirmation (again) and made a First Communion (again) after presumably another First Confession, to accept being Ordained (again) just to ensure that "everybody is in no doubt"...

But what Catholic minded priest or catechist teaches people in preparation for Confirmation that a Sacrament can be repeated more than once (saving the Eucharist)?

What is clear from Rome is Apostolicae Curae - whichever way one desires to look at it (principally, theologically, infallibly, historically) according to them, it still stands...

"Dutch Touch" or no "Dutch Touch" that is the question... if "Dutch Touch" meant anything at all...?!

Would an Anglo-Catholic priest please admit to the world that they only prepared people "partially" for "partial Sacraments" awaiting a "completion" or "confirmation" by Rome? Is that how you prepared people for reception of the Sacraments?

I won't hold my breath BTW...

I hardly think it appropriate to advocate duplicity either... though it has been argued before here re adherence or not to CofE Canon Law and ecclesiology...

Kiran said...
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Fr John Hunwicke said...

Kiran: I know I should not get so bad-tempered ... but I dealt very comprehensively with the line you advance, as recently as December 10. What you say demonstrates a complete ignorance of what the (RC) Church teaches about sacramental validity.

Kiran said...

Father John, I apologize if I have been in any way offensive, nor would I claim to be in any way well-versed in these matters, but was merely reporting what I heard, which at the time I heard it, I thought added up. Above all, I do not want to say anything that might be taken to be giving scandal.

That said, I think the line of thinking I advanced (and I said it was a hypothesis)is different from the one you wrote about and which I read, in this way: Your instance was about someone not having the right intention, by which you meant what I understand to be "intention in the mind," i.e. on the internal act of mind. Such a theory of intention, I would agree with you is not in the mind of the Church, when she comes to discuss the validity of sacraments.

I'd also agree that doctrinal errors do not, of themselves, invalidate a sacrament.

Now the theory, and it is only a theory and it is not even my own, was that certain practices can invalidate form, as well as certain doctrinal understandings that inform those practices. This was also recently confirmed in the ruling on mormon baptisms. In this case, the practice of ordaining women, it was argued, involves something which would invalidate intention, in the sense that somebody who does that no longer has the intention to do what the Church does, because the Church does not do that.

Andrew Malton said...

How can one discover if a Bishop has the "Dutch Touch" in his succession? For it affects the validity of those whom he ordained, of course.

Unknown said...

The "Dutch Touch" could not possibly have validated Anglican Orders unless the Anglican clergyman in question was ordained in a ceremony in which the "Old Catholic" bishop present had been the principle celebrant.

The fact is that if the "Old Catholic" bishop were not the principle celebrant (and, possibly, even if he was) the ceremony does not constitute the proper context for validity. It is not a liturgy as such.

Besides, whatever the good Fr Nichols says, a certain Joseph Ratzinger specifically listed Apostolicae Curae as one of the teachings to which Catholics must give “firm and definitive assent”. See "A Doctrinal Commentary on the Concluding Formula of the Professio fidei" by Joseph Card. Ratzinger 1998.

Full text here:


Fr John Hunwicke said...

Christian: Pius XII laid down that all the coconsecrators were truly consecrators. But in any case, you do not seem to have noticed the fact I divulged in December 4: that the Dutchmen were aequi-principal consecrators; they signed and sealed long Latin protocols which said precisely that (in other words, they foresaw your argument and provided against it).

Moreover, the CDF commentary [not the substantive Magisterial decree] to which you refer mentioned Apostolicae curae. And AC said that Anglican orders were(i.e. were when Pope Leo sealed it) invalid. It did not say that Leo XIII had peered into a crystal glass and was infallibly foretelling that under no conceivable future circumstances could a totally unexpected novel situation arise in which a more nuanced judgement would be relevant.

And the "a certain Joseph Ratzinger" to whom you refer... please agree with me on this ... was the same Joseph Ratzinger who was presiding over the CDF when it decreed that, because of the Dutch Touch, there was uncertainty about the invalidity of Bishop Leonard'sd orders and that he should only be ordained CONDITIONALLY. Or are you saying that the poor old boy had and has a rather dodgy memory?

What always intrigues me about such contributions is why some people have such a desperate gut need for Anglicans to be humiliated.

Nebuly said...
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Nebuly said...

Andrew Malton said...
How can one discover if a Bishop has the "Dutch Touch" in his succession? For it affects the validity of those whom he ordained, of course.

One method might be by means of consulting old editions of Crockford's Clerical Directory which used to list all the bishops ordaining and consecrating Anglican Bishops.

My own succession is:
Andreas Rinkel as Archbishop of Utrecht, on 11 June 1955 consecrated, together with Archbishop Fisher, Robert Stopford as Bishop of Peterborough; who on 1 May 1959 consecrated, together with Archbishop Fisher, Mervyn Stockwood as Bishop of Southwark; who on 29 September 1959 consecrated, together with Archbishop Fisher, Alan Francis Bright Rogers as Bishop of Mauritius; who on 31 May 1962 consecrated, with the Archbishop of East Africa, and Bishop Trevor Huddleston, John Richard Worthington Poole-Hughes as Bishop of South-West Tanganyika; who, as Bishop of Llandaff, on 28 June 1980 ordained Nebuly Coat to the Sacred Priesthood.

Unknown said...

Well I suppose that probably answers my question, though the involvement of someone with invalid episcopal orders might have still invalidated it (that is merely my opinion of course).

I have no wish to humiliate anyone. The Roman Church has always been very scrupulous in making sure that all orders are valid. I continue that tradition.

Joe Oliveri said...

Certainly the Dutch Touch comes into play here. A number of things change the argument, as it were -- or the context to which the reasoning of Apostolicae Curae can still be said to apply. As I assent to Pope Leo's judgment in 1896 without qualification, I do not take the side of Fr. John Jay Hughes or his party; nor is it necessary to do so to recognize that Apostolicae Curae has gradually been eclipsed by many factors.

Let's briefly revisit the arguments:

First (in the order of appearance in Apostolicae Curae), there is held to have been a defectus formae in the Edwardine Ordinal. To this we reply that, strictly speaking, the sacramental forms found in the Ordinal of 1662 were not at issue; their objective validity, qua sacramental forms, was not addressed one way or the other. Moreover, many Continuing Anglican Churches have restored pre-Reformation prayers and ceremonial to their ordination rites -- in many cases, precisely the same prayers and ceremonial that were suppressed, for reasons of dubious merit, in the Roman Pontifical of 1968. Where such prayers and ceremonies have been restored, they provide further signification to the rite -- resolving ex adiunctis any ambiguities that might be said to exist within the sacramental forms themselves.

Second, Pope Leo argued that the nativa indoles ac spiritus of the Edwardine Ordinal emptied its prayers of Catholic significance. To what extent the native character and spirit of the Anglican Ordinals of 1550 and 1552 may be said to apply to the Ordinal as it is used today, particularly among Continuing Anglicans, is certainly open to debate. It seems clear, however, that the Holy See could very well determine that the argument from nativa indoles ac spiritus no longer applies to a specific context or set of circumstances (e.g., the Ordinariates!). Rome's official participants in the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) were given this impression publicly, by the prefect of the Secretariat for Christian Unity, in 1985* (see footnote after continued post, below). If such a possibility could be mentioned in the context of the Anglican Communion generally, it would be absurd to withhold that possibility from Forward in Faith or Continuing Anglican jurisdictions which typically hold a higher view of the Priesthood than many Roman Catholics themselves.


Joe Oliveri said...

Finally, Pope Leo argued that the Holy Orders of the Church of England were nullified due to a defectus intentionis. Now, as every schoolboy knows, the only ministerial intention that is strictly required for the validity of a sacrament is a general intention "to do what the Church does" when she confers a given Sacrament -- neither more nor less. It would take a positive act of the will -- what we Thomists call a positive contrary intention -- to nullify this general intention or to cancel out another positive intention. Within the immediate context of the Reformation in England, Roman Catholic theologians would cite the suppression of the old liturgical books -- the missals, pontificals, etc. -- along with the adoption of a new Prayer Book and Ordinal, as sufficient evidence of a ministerial intention on the part of Anglican bishops destructive of the Sacrament of Order. In Apostolicae Curae, Pope Leo refered to the necessity of gathering such evidence when it comes to discerning a minister's inward intention: "The Church does not judge about the mind and intention, insofar as it is something by its nature internal; but insofar as it is manifested externally she is bound to judge concerning it" (n. 33).

Where ordinations in the present day are concerned, therefore, Rome would have to consider whether mere recourse to the Ordinal of 1662 (or 1928 U.S., etc.) sufficiently manifests a positive intention not to ordain priests in the Catholic sense of the word, all evidence to the contrary notwithstanding. However, the evidence provided by the English Reformation is of course no longer applicable; in fact, the new context provided by the Anglican-Roman dialogue of the last century, the Liturgical Movement, the Affirmation of St. Louis -- so many things! -- to say nothing of the restoration of pre-Reformation English ritual (in some Continuing jurisdictions) and the writings of Anglican Catholic churchmen themselves, all solidly point to a ministerial intention that is not only generally, but positively, Catholic.

* The possibility that the nativa indoles ac spiritus of the Edwardine Ordinal might eventually cease to apply has already been noted by the Vatican. In July of 1985, Cardinal Johannes Willebrands -- at that time the prefect of the Vatican's Secretariat for Christian Unity -- expressed his personal reflections on the work of the second Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC-II) in an open letter to the Co-Presidents of that Commission. Speaking to the possible recognition of Anglican Holy Orders in the near future, His Eminence said:

If at the end of this process of evaluation the Anglican Communion as such is able to state formally that it professes the same faith concerning essential matters where doctrine admits no difference and which the Roman Catholic Church also affirms are to be believed and held concerning the Eucharist and the Ordained Ministry, the Roman Catholic Church would acknowledge the possibility that in the context of such a profession of faith the text of the Ordinal might no longer retain that 'nativa indoles' which was at the basis of Pope Leo's judgment. This is to say that, if both Communions were so clearly at one in their faith concerning the Eucharist and the Ministry, the context of this discussion would indeed be changed.

(L'Osservatore Romano, English edition, 17 March 1986, p. 8.)

jeff said...

Does anyone know whether Anglican Orders (sans the "Dutch Touch") had tactile succession (ie, hand-on-heads) dating back before the reformation?