Vincent Uher - still not happy – writes:
Does “Personal Ordinariate of…” mean anything to anyone? It tells us nothing. I have suggested to many that each Ordinariate should place under its name — rather like a motto or saying used in business — “Roman Catholics of the Anglican Patrimony”. Wouldn’t that make sense? If not that, something needs to be done, because “Personal Ordinariate” communicates nothing of who we are to those we hope to Evangelise nor does it help our Latin Rite brothers and sisters to place who we are and why we exist. My friend Elspeth thinks that it should be as follows:
The Personal Ordinariate of …
Roman Catholics of the Anglican Patrimony
By Decree of Pope Benedict XVI
NAME OF THE U.S. ORDINARIATE
It has been suggested by the excellent Steven Cavanaugh of the Anglican Embers magazine that the name for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter came from the Octave for Christian Unity begun by Father Paul Wattson. Of course, his guess could be precisely correct, and that would be absolutely wonderful. But is it written anywhere that such is the reason? Was anyone consulted in choosing the name? When I ask, I get a different answer from each person. When asked “Why were you named that?” do you know the authoritative answer to give?
A simple explanation on the Ordinariate website would clear that up. Probably on his blog Steven Cavanaugh has already best explained the most positive rationale for such a name. But please could someone explain the process by which the name was chosen and who collaborated in it? I gather from some email I have received that I should go to the back of the bus, sit down, and shut up.
I will flatly say that for me Our Lady is far more resonant than the Chair of St. Peter. Since Anglicans rise up from those who destroyed Mary’s Shrines, it seems a fitting act of reparation to name each Ordinariate after her in some fashion. She is our Mother, and she is the Mother turned out of her own house in England.
So with Australia having the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross and the UK having the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, I suggest (firmly) that Our Lady of the Atonement (with the origin of devotion to Our Lady under that title coming from within the Episcopal Church and then entering the Catholic Church) is the most potent and powerful symbolical name we could have had in North America. Such a name would have had the salutary effect of strengthening family ties with the Franciscans of the Atonement. Would Canadians (not granted their own Ordinariate) have objected? I think that highly unlikely.
Honestly, I could have been excited over the Personal Ordinariate of the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, and it would have been manifestly evident why the name was chosen. It is self-evident why the name was chosen for England and for Australia… but for the U.S.? Nonetheless, the main question remains about “collaboration”… who is invited to the dance…
By way of example, you could name an Ordinariate after the Holy Cross, and if there was some particularaly resonant connexion to the Holy Cross that had a national character and reason for being employed, then hurrah! Isn’t it a missed opportunity to make a clear national connexion with each name for each new Ordinariate?
NAMES OF CONGREGATIONS
I would also like to see new Ordinariate congregations be given names that draw from the great ancient saints of Britain and Ireland, from the Catholic Martyrs of the British Isles. Is there anything wrong in naming a church after St. Ursula, St. Margaret Mary… No. There is nothing wrong at all. But isn’t the point of Anglicanorum coetibus to bring back into the Church something distinctive of the Anglican experience and the British Church context out of which it arose?
For me if I were naming an Ordinariate congregation it would be Catholic Church of the Ugandan Martyrs. With such a name you include St. Charles Lwanga and Archbishop Janani Luwum, the Catholic Martyrs and the Anglican Martyrs which Pope Paul VI commemorated at the canonisation mass for St. Charles Lwanga and Companions. There is no other name like it that makes it possible to recall Anglican martrys along with the canonised Catholic martyrs.
These are my final thoughts on naming things and collaboration with the laity. In Texas they say when you are riding a dead horse … dismount. And so I turn to other matters.
See? You’ll never be able to please everyone… But may I suggest that Mr Uher would do well to revisit Msgr Jeffrey Steenson’s Installation Homily, which begins by addressing the very issue of the name [emphasis mine]:
Behold how good and joyful a thing it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1). With all our hearts, let us thank Pope Benedict XVI for this beautiful gift, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and let us pray that it may further the goal of Catholic unity. When Cardinal Wuerl told me that the Holy Father would establish the Ordinariate under this name, I truly rejoiced, for it goes to the heart of what our mission should be. And it helps us to understand why our Lord entrusted His Church to St. Peter in the first place.
So much ink has been spilled over the interpretation of these words of our Gospel, which Jesus spoke to Peter in Caesarea Philippi – “You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church” (Mt. 16:18). Of course, for Catholics, the authoritative interpretation was provided at the First Vatican Council. But we must honestly acknowledge that Christians have read this text in different ways. Even amongst the church fathers there was not unanimity over what “On this Rock” means precisely. The great Augustine himself said that the reader must choose – Does this Rock signify Christ or Peter? (Retract. 1.20). But Augustine quite properly would not have thought this a matter of either/or. For Peter brings everything to Christ. The trajectory is clear. We are Christ’s and Christ is God’s (I Cor. 3:23). I am grateful that, over the course of my ministry, the teachings of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been so clear on this point – the Church exists to bring souls to Christ. But, as our text plainly affirms, Jesus has invested Peter with a ministry of fundamental importance. And he does so by employing three verbs in the future tense – I will build my church … the gates of hell will not prevail against it … I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. When Jesus speaks in the future tense, he draws all things to himself; we know then that this commission does not end with the historical Peter. The whole life of the Church on earth until the end of time is anticipated in this moment.
In this context, listen to St. Anselm, the 37th Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps the greatest theologian ever to grace England’s green and pleasant land: “This power was committed specially to Peter, that we might therefore be invited to unity. Christ therefore appointed him the head of the Apostles, that the Church might have one principal Vicar of Christ, to whom the different members of the Church should have recourse, if ever they should have dissentions among them. But if there were many heads in the Church, the bond of unity would be broken” (Cat. Aur. Mt. 16:19).
The first time we find Matthew 16:18 specifically applied to Peter’s successors, the Bishops of Rome, came amidst a controversy between Pope Stephen and Cyprian of Carthage in the middle of the third century. At the risk of sounding pedantic, I hope that you will permit me to speak briefly to this, because it is very relevant to the Ordinariate. In the Anglican tradition, the church fathers are held in high esteem; here is where we were taught to find our bearings on theological questions.
The third century popes are heroes to me, because they were courageous pastors who sought to restore those brethren who had broken or fallen away to the full communion of the Catholic Church. At a time when many bishops were very severe and uncompromising about the purity of the Church, God gave us popes who understood that welcoming back the wandering and the fallen is of the very essence of the ministry that Jesus gave to the Apostles. In the letters of St. Cyprian there is a remarkable and revealing correspondence from St. Firmilian of Caesarea about Pope Stephen (Ep. 75, ca. 255) – Can you believe it, Cyprian? Stephen actually thinks that he sits on the chair of Peter as he orders us to accept the baptism of these separated groups! He actually wants us to regard these people as Christians!
I think this is the important context in which to understand what Pope Benedict is saying to us in Anglicanorum coetibus…
The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity…
I can’t think of a better illustration for this homily than Bernini’s great sculpture of the Chair of St. Peter in the apse of St. Peter’s Basilica: Peter’s chair is upheld by the great fathers of the Church; and, hovering over it all, the luminous alabaster dove, the Holy Spirit, bathing everything in the radiance of God’s love…
And the last words:
We begin with a strong faith that God has given us Peter, his hand firmly on the tiller, returning us to Jesus, “the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls” (I Pet. 2:25).
Not very difficult to see the etymology and strong imagery, now is it? So names are important. Oh, and it is ‘personal’ simply because the members form a network of individuals and groups there where the ordinariate has been authorised to function (outside geographic boundaries) under an Ordinary, rather than the norm which would be your territorial diocese.
And don’t forget the badge in the search for ‘meaning’ here either. The Coat of Arms:
The Ordinariate’s coat of arms contains the keys given to St. Peter by Christ, the lily held by Our Lady of Walsingham, and the mitre that signifies its canonical status. These elements indicate the distinctive heritage and status of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter.
Let me end here, however, with another quick quote attributed to Msgr Steenson. It’s quite telling.
In fact, says the Rev. Jeffrey N. Steenson, Anglican does not appear in the new body’s formal name, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, because members will make no pretense of remaining Anglicans.