Church

Anglicans Using a Catholic Church for their Services

Via blogging Priest extraordinaire, Fr Z:

From a reader:

I have been informed by an Anglican group that my Bishop gave the green light to let an Anglican (not an ordinariate group, but a schismatic Anglican group) use one of our school’s sanctuary and altar to celebrate their services. Is this permitted? If not, what should I do?

I get the sense that you, dear reader, want to do something about this.  Be careful not to read something negative into every ecumenical gesture.  Not all of them are illicit.

This situation is addressed in the 25 March 1993 Decree on the Principles and Norms on Ecumenism, from the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity.  This is a dicasterial, not a papal document. It was not signed “in forma specifica“.  It nevertheless has binding force as an act of executive power.

The document contains these pertinent paragraphs:

137. Catholic churches are consecrated or blessed buildings which have an important theological and liturgical significance for the Catholic community. They are therefore generally reserved for Catholic worship. However, if priests, ministers or communities not in full communion with the Catholic Church do not have a place or the liturgical objects necessary for celebrating worthily their religious ceremonies, the diocesan Bishop may allow them the use of a church or a Catholic building and also lend them what may be necessary for their services. Under similar circumstances, permission may be given to them for interment or for the celebration of services at Catholic cemeteries.

138. Because of developments in society, the rapid growth of population and urbanization, and for financial motives, where there is a good ecumenical relationship and understanding between the communities, the shared ownership or use of church premises over an extended period of time may become a matter of practical interest.

139. When authorization for such ownership or use is given by the diocesan Bishop, according to any norms which may be established by the Episcopal Conference or the Holy See, judicious consideration should be given to the reservation of the Blessed Sacrament, so that this question is resolved on the basis of a sound sacramental theology with the respect that is due, while also taking account of the sensitivities of those who will use the building, e.g., by constructing a separate room or chapel.

140. Before making plans for a shared building, the authorities of the communities concerned should first reach agreement as to how their various disciplines will be observed, particularly in regard to the sacraments. Furthermore, a written agreement should be made which will clearly and adequately take care of all questions which may arise concerning financial matters and the obligations arising from church and civil law.

Therefore, the bishop is within his authority to permit what you described.

Hopefully, the bishop has a well-worded contract laying out the situations and circumstances of the use of the church.

Think of it this way.  Since this is a schismatic Anglican group, it may be part of the bishop’s plan gradually to pull them into the Catholic fold!

As for what YOU might do concretely, dear questioner, here are a few suggestions.

  • Pray for the unity of the Church.
  • Pray for these Anglicans, that they might respond to the grace that is being given to them to come into full unity with the Church of Rome.
  • Pray for the bishop, who is obliged by his office to care for souls of the baptized in the diocese.
  • Write a graciously worded letter to the Catholic bishop in question, thanking him for his zeal and pastoral solicitude not only for the Catholics, but for the souls of all the baptized of his diocese whom in his heavy office he is obliged by God to care for unto their salvation.

BTW… Benedict XVI is the Pope of Christian Unity.

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Church

China Detains Catholic Bishop

The Washington Post:

Beijing — Tensions between Beijing and the Vatican are mounting after Chinese authorities detained an outspoken Catholic bishop who has defied state control of the church, a move that highlights the Communist Party’s deep mistrust of religious organizations.

Bishop Thaddeus Ma Daqin was whisked away just hours after he announced his resignation from the leadership of the Patriotic Catholic Association, or PCA, the government body that controls China’s state-sanctioned version of the Catholic Church, according to two people close to the PCA.

Ma, whose ordination had been supported by both Beijing and the Vatican, made the announcement during his ordination ceremony on Saturday in the St. Ignatius Cathedral in Shanghai.

In a snub to the authorities, he said he would immediately quit his duties in the association to focus on his new role as auxiliary bishop of Shanghai, one of the largest dioceses in China.

The Vatican bars its clergy from holding political office, but many senior clergy in China simultaneously serve in the church and in the PCA.

When Ma came to speak, he faced the congregation, gave remarks of thanks and spiritual mediation, and then delivered his surprise conclusion, according to video footage of the events.

“At this time I’ve been reflecting on what our loving mother church reminded me, once you assume your pastoral job . . . your body and heart should be completely focused on pastoral things and evangelization. It is not appropriate to assume other duties anymore. So, from the moment of today’s ordination, it is not appropriate for me to be a member of the Patriotic Association anymore,” he said.

The congregation broke out in loud applause.

Shortly after, Ma was taken to a seminary near Shanghai in the town of Sheshan, according to two people who described the events on the condition of anonymity, and he has not appeared in public since. Two employees of the state-run church said that Ma was in “closed meditation” and that they did not know when this might end.

The Vatican issued a statement Tuesday welcoming Ma’s ordination but did not mention his confinement. It also renewed its call for Beijing to end its practice of unilaterally ordaining what it describes as “illicit” bishops.

Relations between the Vatican and China, home to millions of Catholics, have been souring since late 2010, when Beijing unilaterally ordained a bishop who was not approved by the Vatican.

Since then, China has continued to appoint bishops against the wishes of the Vatican, most recently last week. The Vatican views these bishops as illegitimate because they do not have the pope’s blessing.

Beijing’s attitude toward organizations of all faiths has been hardening over the past several years, particularly as the leadership transition approaches.

Protestant churches in private houses in Beijing have been raided and their pastors detained. More than 20 Catholic clergy are thought to be in prison because of their affiliation with the underground church, according to a senior church member.

The Communist Party has long viewed organized religion as a threat to its grip on power, and Beijing has attempted to co-opt the practice of faith by incorporating the five recognized religions — Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and Daoism — into the State Administration for Religious Affairs.

China’s official Catholic and Protestant churches are often hung with banners reading “Love God, love your country,” and the state is in charge of appointing religious staff and approving church expansions.

Many Chinese Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, eschew the state-controlled churches, instead worshiping in unofficial churches that are often run in homes or rented spaces. While China’s official statistics report only 28 million Christians, estimates from within the church range as high as 80 million.

And then, I read this:

Police in China’s far western region of Xinjiang raided a house church Sunday school, rounded up 70 children and their teachers for questioning, and locked up seven women teachers in a local detention center, ChinaAid has learned.

The children were attending special summer classes arranged by the house church in the regional capital city of Urumqi when the police action occurred on the morning of July 2.  Police from the Qiangfanggou police station and agents from the Sha district Domestic Security Protection Department rounded up all the children and Sunday School teachers and took them to a school where they were questioned. Some of the children’s parents and school principals and teachers were also summoned and questioned.

Seven women Sunday School teachers, including Bao Ling, Wang Xingxing, Luo Qinqin, and Lu Xia, are still being held in the Xishan detention center.

“To prevent children from having access to religious education in the faith of their parents is a direct contravention of the U. N. Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief (1981) and U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) which was adopted by China in 1992,” said ChinaAid’s founder and president, Dr. Bob Fu.

“Arbitrarily detaining peaceful Sunday school teachers is a violation of their citizens’ right to basic religious freedom,” he added. “We urge the Xinjiang authorities to immediately release them and to halt their continuously intensifying persecution of religious believers, including those the Uyghur minority group who peacefully engage in their religious practices .”

How fortunate many of us are, being able to go to Church without being persecuted for going…

 

Church

Historian (and Anglican Deacon) Predicts Catholic Schism

The Washington Post has the details:

Influential church historian Diarmaid MacCulloch said he believes Christianity faces a bright future, but predicted the Roman Catholic Church will undergo a major schism over its moral and social teaching.

“Christianity, the world’s largest religion, is rapidly expanding — by all indications, its future is very bright,” said MacCulloch, 60, professor of church history at Oxford University and an Anglican deacon. His latest book, “Silence in Christian History,” will be published in the fall by Penguin.

MacCulloch said in an interview that “there are also many conflicts” within Christianity, “and these are particularly serious in the Roman Catholic church, which seems on the verge of a very great split over the Vatican’s failure to listen to European Catholics.” He predicted that Catholicism faces a division over attempts by popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to “rewrite the story” of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council by portraying it as a “minor adjustment” in church governance, rather than as a “radical move to change the way authority is expressed.”

“Conflict in religion is inevitable and usually healthy — a religion without conflict is a religion that will die, and I see no sign of this with Christianity,” MacCulloch said. “But the stance of the popes has produced an angry reaction among those who want to see the council continue. No other church in history has ever made all its clergy celibate. It’s a peculiarity of the Western Latin church, and it looks increasingly unrealistic.”

The Vatican’s refusal to allow Roman Catholics to talk about married or female clergy was “not the reaction of a rational body,” MacCulloch said.

MacCulloch, a specialist in early modern history and a fellow of the British Academy, co-edits the Cambridge-based Journal of Ecclesiastical History and was knighted in early 2012 for services to scholarship.

Among numerous awards, he was the 2010 recipient of the Cundill Prize in History from Montreal’s McGill University for his 2009 book “A History of Christianity: The First Three Thousand Years,” which was accompanied by a BBC television series.

Now read how a Catholic Deacon deals with the above:

Diarmaid MacCulloch, Church historian and anti-Papist, has gleefully predicted schism in the Catholic Church due to ‘bad’ Pope John Paul II and ‘Bad’ Pope Benedict not listening to Europe’s Catholics. (This is Diarmaid MacCulloch’s ’1066 and all that’ childish version of contemporary Church history)

‘MacCulloch said in an interview that “there are also many conflicts” within Christianity, “and these are particularly serious in the Roman Catholic church, which seems on the verge of a very great split over the Vatican’s failure to listen to European Catholics.” He predicted that Catholicism faces a division over attempts by popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to “rewrite the story” of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council by portraying it as a “minor adjustment” in church governance, rather than as a “radical move to change the way authority is expressed.”

“Conflict in religion is inevitable and usually healthy — a religion without conflict is a religion that will die, and I see no sign of this with Christianity,” MacCulloch said. “But the stance of the popes has produced an angry reaction among those who want to see the council continue. No other church in history has ever made all its clergy celibate. It’s a peculiarity of the Western Latin church, and it looks increasingly unrealistic.”

The Vatican’s refusal to allow Roman Catholics to talk about married or female clergy was “not the reaction of a rational body,” MacCulloch said.’

Protect the Pope comment: No doubt the BBC will commission another anti-Papist TV series from Diarmaid MacCulloch based on this uniformed and childish account of the modern history of the Catholic Church.

Just one example of how dumb Diarmaid MacCulloch is, is his claim that ‘No other church in history has ever made all its clergy celibate’. Obviously this ‘informed’ commentator on the Catholic Church hasn’t heard of married permanent deacons. After all we’ve only been around nearly 50 years.

And to write that ‘popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI have tried to “rewrite the story” of the 1962-1965 Second Vatican Council just shows Diarmaid MacCulloch to be a card carrying member of the ‘hermeneutic of discontinuity’ fraternity.

Apparently Diarmaid MacCulloch  was knighted in early 2012 for services to scholarship. The Queen should ask for it back. Horrible Histories has more credibility.

 

Church

St Benedict

St Benedict of Nursia is the Saint of the Day.

Girded with a faith, and the performance of good works, let us follow in Christ’s path by the guidance of the Gospel; then we shall deserve to see him “who has called us into his kingdom.” If we wish to attain a dwelling place in his kingdom, we shall not reach it unless we hasten there by our good deeds. Just as there exists an evil fervor, a bitter spirit, which divides us from God and leads us to hell, so there is a good fervor which sets us apart from evil inclinations and leads us toward God and eternal life. No one should follow what he considers to be good for himself, but rather what seems good for another. Let them put Christ before all else; and may he lead us all to everlasting life.

– from the Rule of Saint Benedict

There is a online guide to St Benedict here.