Friday, February 11, 2011

Soon To be Epsicopal Priest Asks If New Anglo Catholic Ordinariate Is Sign Of A Gift?

I don't know a ton about Jordan Hylden, a candidate for holy orders in the Episcopal diocese of North Dakota , but I do like him. It appears he speaks his mind which is out of sync to say the least with the TEC leadership. It also makes me wonder about this Episcopal diocese of North Dakota.

He writes on occasion for First Things. I loved his very fun column here from a few years back Hylden: An Evening at GTS.

He has quite a column over at First Things called Anglicans, the Ordinariate, and the Unopened Gift. I like it because it contains a good bit of history especially of the TEC and it's view on Church Unity from the past till now.

In essence he is exploring the option if perhaps the Primacy of Rome is an "Gift" that needs to be explored.

By the way I have no indication that Hylden plans to jump and swim the Tiber himself. He very well might have legitimate theological problems with a certain facets of doctrinal Catholicism. He does not tell us. However again this is coming again from a man that appears on track to be a Priest in the the TEC. Moving on.

It is no small understatement that it seems the critical component of possible moves by various Anglicans to the Catholic Church is the Bishop of Rome. To be more specific a structure is being set up that they will have their own structure answerable to only ROME itself. The huge elephant in the room is it appears that many Anglicans are fearful if not such a structure exists that local Catholic Bishops will not lets say look after their best interest. Sadly there appears to be some evidence this is true. Just look at how Catholic Bishops handled the Pastoral Provision and overtures of John Paul the II as to Anglican Use Parishes. That was they were largely ignored and not used. So Rome has decided to take matters into their own hands.

He makes a very interesting point that has wider implications beyond the Catholic Anglican dynamic.

Rowan Williams, speaking at the Vatican after the document’s release in November 2009, argued that it did not break any “fresh ecclesiological ground” and remained “at the level of spiritual and liturgical culture.” In an important sense, the point is a sound one: in 1993, the Joint International Orthodox-Roman Catholic Commission disavowed “uniatism” on the model of the Eastern Rite churches as the way forward for ecumenism, but it appears that the proposed Anglican ordinariate has much in common with precisely those churches. Is Williams right to argue that no important ground has been broken by Anglicanorum coetibus? .

I think this brings up an important point. Can we now see a reversal possibly from the "uniatism" that was we are told was disavowed. By the way I hate that term "uniatism". especially since in my mind the Orthodox that throw that word around seem to be practicing that to some degree themselves.

However are we seeing perhaps a new structure here. For instance could we see in the future an "Lutheran" versions incredibly as that sounds Ordinariate ( or uniatism) in the future.

He then goes on to the what was the supposed Anglican alternative which I will quote :

Catholics have long insisted that the Roman primacy is an integral and necessary part of the ecumenical movement toward Christian unity. And they have further insisted, as Pope John Paul II paradigmatically did in Ut Unum Sint, on the “power and the authority without which such an office would be illusory.” But this is precisely what Rowan Williams challenged in his Vatican address: whether instead it might be that shared theological understandings of primacy could coexist “alongside a diversity of canonical or juridical arrangements,” leading to a sort of communion of communions not united “juridically or institutionally” but instead by “lasting loyalty, shared theological method and devotional ethos.”

Primacy, in such a scenario, would not need to be constituted by a “centralized juridical office” and a “single juridically united body.” It would instead serve as the focus of unity within a communion of communions, each committed to sustaining a “mutually nourishing and mutually critical life” and each following mutually agreed-upon “protocols of decision-making.”

Williams’ proposal, as he himself indicated, sounded very much like that of the Anglican Covenant, of which he has been the principal proponent in recent years. The long-discussed Covenant, which by now has been approved by three provinces, in essence consists of the shared “protocols of decision-making” by which Anglicans worldwide would commit to walk together in faith and morals rather than apart.

The elephant in the room, of course, was and is that Anglicans have thus far failed spectacularly in bringing anything like the vision of ecclesial life Williams described to fruition. It is not at all clear that there exists among Anglicans anything remotely close to “lasting loyalty, shared theological method, and devotional ethos,” as the events that have transpired during his time at Canterbury have shown.

As such, the question raised by John Paul II remains open: Is it not the case that such a vision will continue to remain illusory without the power and authority held by the Bishop of Rome? As the former Episcopal bishop Jeffrey Steenson asked in a 2005 Anglican Theological Review essay, is not the authority of the Roman primacy just the “unopened gift” that Anglicans need? Then-Bishop Steenson thought so; he is now a Catholic priest.

Now read the whole piece. As he notes later :

To say all of this is not to say that such judgments ultimately are correct. Nor is it to say that Williams has not raised a set of important questions. But it is to say that those questions cannot be asked by Anglicans with any force and integrity unless they are able to show that they have a serious alternative to offer in their own embodied life. And to date, Anglicans simply do not.

Of course this is why the current events in the Anglican communion, which he goes to detail, are such a concern to Rome and why I think they acted as they have.

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