Ordinariate ‘instrument’ of unity

 — Dec. 19, 201319 déc. 2013
By Deborah Gyapong, Canadian Catholic News

Former Anglicans who convert to Catholicism must be a bridge to Christian unity and a force for true ecumenism, said the leader of North America’s Anglican ordinariate as four former Anglican priests were ordained to the Catholic priesthood.

“If the Ordinariate is to be anything worthy and worth keeping for the long term, it must be an instrument of Christian unity,” said Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, head of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter (POCSP).

In a Dec. 14 ceremony in Ottawa’s Notre Dame Cathedral, Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast ordained Bryan Kipling Cooper, Douglas Hayman, both of Ottawa, John Hodgins of Toronto and James Tilley of Oshawa, Ont., to serve as priests in the Ordinariate.

The POSCP, established Jan. 1, 2012, is based in Houston and encompasses the Ordinariate groups of the United States and Canada. It was the second of three Ordinariates created worldwide under Pope Benedict’s 2009 Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which allowed Anglicans to become Catholic while preserving some elements of their tradition.

With these four ordinations, it now has 53 clergy, but Steenson expects that number to grow to 60 in 2014. Pope Francis has approved former Anglican clergy in Edmonton and Vancouver and Steenson expects they will be ordained by Easter. He also hopes to have a priest ordained in Atlantic Canada next year, to bring the number of former Anglican priests in the Canadian deanery to 15.

In his homily, Steenson said members of the Ordinariate are called to “embrace the Petrine ministry in its fullness” and to “redouble our efforts” to reach out to “confrères that have stayed behind in the Anglican Church.”

“This is why these four men and their people have made great sacrifices in leaving behind the ecclesial homes that once nurtured them,” he said. “But the Catholic Church asks us also to keep these old relationships alive, for we are to be the first fruits of the harvest of Christian unity.”

In an interview, Steenson said ecumenical talks must be “clear on what divides us.”

“Ecumenism has been hurt because neither side has really been telling the truth to each other, or it’s the elephant in the living room they don’t want to talk about,” he said. “It’s important for Anglicans to understand there are certain things they have embraced in their common life that are simply forever irreconcilables with the Catholic faith.”

The ordination of women and “new teachings on human sexuality” are among them.

Prendergast welcomed the four men into the Catholic priesthood.

“Clearly, your formation and ministry in the Anglican tradition have provided you solid spiritual bedrock on which you have been shaping your lives since you entered into full Communion with the Roman Catholic Church,” he said. “You are witnesses to Christ and to the truths of Catholic Christianity — often at a cost to yourselves.”

In the first two years, the emphasis has been on clergy formation, but now the Ordinariate has clear direction from Rome to put its energy “into building up communities” so it does not become “a simple missionary society for Anglican clergy that want to come serve in the Catholic Church,” Steenson said.

“Now we’re going to have to emphasize congregational development and evangelization,” Steenson said. “We need to strengthen these parishes and make them attractive places that will function for the purpose they were created, to bring people into full communion.”

Steenson estimates there are about 3,500 lay members for the Ordinariate, and it is growing.

The Catholic Church “has bent over backwards to welcome us,” said Steenson. “They have been incredibly accommodating in terms of helping us with the traditions that are important to us.”

Posted: Dec. 19, 2013 • Permanent link: ecumenism.net/?p=7000
Categories: NewsIn this article: Anglican, Canada, Catholic, ordinariate
Transmis : 19 déc. 2013 • Lien permanente : ecumenism.net/?p=7000
Catégorie : NewsDans cet article : Anglican, Canada, Catholic, ordinariate

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