Leading ex-Anglican Scholar to be Ordained a Catholic Priest

The list of Candidates for Ordination to the Priesthood in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham was posted here. Don Henri provided us with a helpful updated list here with their Church body of origin.

Many commentators noted the name Fr John Hunwicke.  So did the Catholic Priest:

Former Anglo-Catholic blogger John Hunwicke is among 21 men to be ordained priests for the ordinariate this year.

Mr Hunwicke, a former Anglican priest and Senior Research Fellow at Pusey House, Oxford, stopped his influential blog last June, saying his ordination had been “deferred” because of a misunderstanding over the blog’s content.

The full list of candidates for the priesthood has been published on the website of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Their ordinations will bring the number of ordinariate priests to about 80.

Good for him.

I hope he can now get back to blogging soon.



Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (Update) Old Testament

Timothy has the news:

Responding to a listener question on a recent Catholic Answers Live radio program, Fr. Fessio of Ignatius Press stated that he hoped the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible Old Testament would be completed in a year or two.  That, of course, is nothing new.  We heard that from Dr. Scott Hahn a few months backs on EWTN Bookmark.  What was interesting, however, was that it appears that Ignatius may not ultimately publish the complete ICSB in one volume, but rather two.  Citing the amount of commentary and study helps found in the ICSB, he said they are struggling to figure a way to publish it in one volume.  You can listen to the entire program here.  He answers the ICSB question around minute 32.

Now, what do you think about the real possibility of there never being a complete, one volume edition of the ICSB?  Personally, having examined many study Bibles over the past ten years, including ones like the ESV Study Bible and the NLT Study Bible, both of which contain more notes and study helps than the ICSB, I would be highly disappointed if it is only available in two distinct volumes.  Those two study Bibles I just mentioned are full of annotations, contain a ton of extra material in the appendix, and come in many different editions and covers.  The NLT Study Bible, which I am flipping through as I write this post, has well over 300 pages of extra material in the appendix and contains more cross-references and in-text theme notes/person profiles/maps than the ICSB.  The ESV Study Bible, like the recently revised NIV Study Bible, is produced with full-color charts, images, and in-text maps.  When you compare these three study Bibles to the overall look of the ICSBNT, there is a huge difference in appearance and the amount of material contained within.  While the material in the ICSB is outstanding, something that has never been in doubt, the overall look and production quality is sorely lacking.  And the possibility of there not being a one volume edition is simply mind-blowing.  Again and again I continue to wonder what is going on at Ignatius Press concerning the ICSB.  Do they have limitations on what they can do?  Have they looked at other study Bibles on the market?  Where is the promotional support for the ICSB and the RSV-2CE?

Come on guys, hurry up yet!

The Bible in one volume will definitely be my Bible of choice.



PlayStation to be Used by Cathedral During Worship

Wait… Wait… I know you’re going to guess by who… Why yes, Anglicans of course!

Popular PlayStation 3 game, Flower, will be played by a group of congregants while they pray at Exeter Cathedral this Sunday.

Technology enthusiast, Andy Robertson, who pens a blog called ‘Geek Dad’ for Wired magazine, came up with the idea after experiencing a public performance of the relaxing game in 2009 and finding it a “spiritual experience”.

On Sunday, the plan is that Flower will be played collaboratively by the congregation while the game’s music will form the background for other elements of the service. The controller will be passed around while other parts of the worship continue, and then brought to a conclusion as the first level of the game is completed.

“I was inspired to choose Flower for the Cathedral service after experiencing a public performance of it at the GameCity festival in 2009,” Robertson wrote on his Wired blog.

“There, the game was performed by one person in a old shopping center, but for me it was an undeniably spiritual experience. I’m really looking forward to discovering how the experience fits, contributes to and changes the Cathedral service.

“Although at first this may sound like an odd thing to do, a video game is actually an excellent fit for this sort of expression of faith. Not only is it inclusive, in that everyone can participate, but it also visits themes of creation, nature and our response to the world. The proof will be in the pudding this Sunday (13th May at 7pm).”

All I can say, again, is: Thank God for Anglicanorum Coetibus!



Msgr Jeffrey Steenson on Becoming a Catholic

As most know, Msgr Jeffrey Steenson (the Ordinary of a Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter) is a former Episcopal Bishop. I recently scratched out a 2009 article in which he discusses his then new life as Catholic priest. The reasons for his decision to become a Catholic are interesting and worth a read:

If using dolls to practice the baptismal ritual is a humbling experience for seminarians, one can imagine what it was like for someone who already had baptized hundreds of babies.

Father Jeffrey N. Steenson, the former Episcopal bishop of the Rio Grande, prepared for his ordination to the Catholic priesthood with seminarians from Rome’s Pontifical North American College.

The 56-year-old, who spent 24 years as an Episcopal priest and three years as a bishop in New Mexico, laughs about the humbling experience of the doll practice and has nothing but praise for the “graciousness and good humor” of the NAC seminarians and staff with whom he’s been working for the past year.

Welcomed into the Catholic Church in 2007 and ordained a deacon in December 2008 by Cardinal Bernard F. Law, the archpriest of the Basilica of St. Mary Major in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood Feb. 21 by Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe, N.M.

While he studies with the U.S. seminarians in Rome, Father Steenson and his wife have been living in a cottage on the grounds of the Pontifical Irish College.

Archbishop Sheehan has assigned him to pastoral work in a New Mexico parish for the summer, and then will send him to Houston where he will teach at the University of St. Thomas and at St. Mary’s Seminary.

The Steensons’ three children — a daughter and two sons — are grown.

Educated at Harvard Divinity School and at Oxford, Father Steenson is an expert in patristics, the study of the early church fathers. He spoke to Catholic News Service in Rome March 6 before making one of his frequent visits to the library at the Augustinianum Patristical Institute.

“I’ve been attracted to Catholicism all of my life,” Father Steenson said.

When Pope John Paul II was elected in 1978, he said, “I felt this tug,” but he continued his preparations for his 1980 ordination in the Anglican Communion.

For Father Steenson, the role of the pope as the successor of St. Peter, the servant of church unity and the guarantor of the church’s fidelity to tradition was key to his decision.

“It is not negative things that turned me to the Catholic Church,” he said. “I just felt God saying, ‘It’s time.'”

The time came, he said, in 2007 when he felt the bishops of the Episcopal Church had decided to give priority to their autonomy rather than to unity with the larger Anglican Communion.

Father Steenson said that for him gay people were not the issue. “It was the way the decisions were made and the way they were defended,” placing the local church and modern cultural sensitivities ahead of the universal church and fidelity to tradition, he said.

The priest said that while the Episcopal Church spoke of the importance of Christian unity, it continued to approve practices — ordaining women priests and bishops, ordaining homosexuals and blessing same-sex unions — that everyone knew would be an obstacle to Christian unity.

“The frustration with being a Protestant is that every morning you get up and have to reinvent the church all over again,” Father Steenson said.

He said he struggled with the idea of backing out of his pastoral responsibility to the people of the Episcopal diocese. But Archbishop Sheehan helped him see that “if you can’t lead with a clear conscience, you really owe it to everyone to get out of the way. And that’s pretty much where I was in the Episcopal Church,” he said.

Father Steenson said that while Catholic and Anglican liturgies are very similar externally, “there are profound differences, too.”
For example, he said, “even the high, high Anglicans would have a hard time understanding how absolutely central the Eucharist is to the Christian life” for Catholics.

“Anglicans have a hard time defining what exactly is happening with this. Catholics don’t have that problem at all,” he said.
“This is a silly way to put it, but it just feels more real. I told someone once: the air feels thicker around the Catholic Eucharist” and it’s not the incense, “because we use more incense in Anglicanism,” he said.

While Father Steenson was a member of the conservative, traditional wing of the Anglican Communion, he said he would not define himself that way in the Catholic Church.

“For instance,” he said, “I don’t have any interest at all in the extraordinary rite,” the Latin liturgy often referred to as the Tridentine rite, “or in any move of retrenchment against the Second Vatican Council. Vatican II is the reason I was able to become a Catholic.”

“I am extremely happy with the church as I find it,” he said.

Father Steenson said he fully supports the Catholic Church’s effort to promote Christian unity, particularly its conviction that “ecumenism must be based on the truth.”

While it is up to Archbishop Sheehan to decide what activities he will be involved in, Father Steenson said he hopes to be able to place his relationships with Episcopalians at the service of Christian unity efforts.

“If this is not about ecumenism, then it would seem to be awfully self-indulgent. I really feel that ecumenism has to be a huge part” of his life as a Catholic priest, he said.

Faith. And look just how far that ecumenism has brought him:



Portugal Cancels Religious Holidays after Vatican Talks

Including Corpus Christi and All Saints’ Day, so as to attempt to boost the country’s aling economy.

Portugal is eliminating four holidays to try to boost its economy, the government announced – but only after getting the agreement of the Vatican.

The economically struggling European country will stop giving workers a day off for Corpus Christi and All Saints’ Day, starting next year, the government said.

It will also eliminate two civil holidays to be fair, the statement said Tuesday.

The center-right government thanked the Holy See and the Portuguese Bishops’ Conference for their “constructive approach” to the negotiations.

Portugal and the Vatican will re-evaluate the agreement in five years, the government said.

Economy ministry spokesman Hugo Soares declined to say how cutting the holidays would boost the economy.

The opposition Socialists and Communists did not immediately respond to CNN requests for comment.

Portugal, a largely Catholic country, is struggling with recession and debt. Along with the economies of Greece, Italy, Ireland and Spain, its economy is a cause for concern across the 17 countries that use the euro as their currency.



What’s The Point?

What is the point, now that we have Anglicanorum Coetibus? Anglican-Roman Catholic meeting ponders ecumenical dialogue:

As the May 4 – 10  meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) drew to a close, participants emphasized the importance of social witness and openness in ecumenical dialogue.

“There seem to be many obstacles from a human point of view, and it does not seem likely to have fully visible unity in the near future,” New Zealand Anglican Archbishop David Moxon, the co-chairperson of the meeting, said on  May 8. “We can, however, do a lot of things together during this slow process,” he added.

“As we discussed in the meeting, there can be more collaborations between us, such as (humanitarian agencies) Caritas International and the Global Anglican Relief and Development Alliance,” he said.

The Hong Kong ecumenical gathering is the second meeting for the third phase of ARCIC, which is focused on the examining the question of moral decision-making within the local and universal church.

Moxon agreed that it is easier to have a common understanding on social ethics, but not sexual ethics, especially referring to the topic of homosexuality. But he stressed that the study of some “first principles” from the two churches, like the study of the Bible, may help to build up common ground.

He also said he expected that the next archbishop of Canterbury will support ecumenical and inter-faith dialogue, as has the current archbishop, Rowan Williams, who will step down at the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Catholic priest Adelbert Denaux, dean of the Tilburg School of Theology in Holland, said that openness was importance in ecumenical dialogue and warned that churches’ fear of losing identity during the process was ungrounded.

He said that unity “is not uniformity, but ‘unity in diversity,’” and the establishment of a unique “personal ordinariate” to receive Anglicans into the Catholic Church may be a model of this, since the structure helps keep Anglican traditions.