‘New World Order’ as Anglican Priests Move to a Catholic Environment

What a strange headline… although I suppose it is The Age (au):

 Faith in tradition: Father Christopher Seton believes the ordinariate is a safe place for Anglicans with Catholic inclinations.

Christopher Seton leaves one job on September 2 and starts another six days later. In one sense it is exactly the same job, and in another it is completely different. Father Seton is one of four Anglican priests who will be ordained into the Catholic Church in Melbourne on September 8.

Father Seton holds his last service at All Saints Kooyong on September 2. Then he and – so far as he is aware – his entire congregation will regather a week later at the Holy Cross Catholic Church in Caulfield South. There he will minister to the same people (and, doubtless, some new ones), using the same liturgy and singing the same hymns. But now they will be on the opposite side of a once-bitter sectarian divide.

”In a sense, we are just moving office,” Father Seton said yesterday. But he, along with Fathers James Grant, Ramsay Williams and Neil Fryer, will now be priests in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross, the Catholic Church’s new Anglican wing set up by Pope Benedict for those who felt disenfranchised by the ordination of women and other developments in the Anglican Church.

Clergy in the ordinariate may be married, as is the Ordinary (the head), Harry Entwistle, who was a bishop in the breakaway Traditional Anglican Communion, but a married priest cannot be a bishop.

The ordinariate began with Father Entwistle’s ordination on June 15, and the creation of a 60-strong parish in Perth.

Father Seton believes it is ”a safe place” for Anglicans with Catholic inclinations.

”So many of us have tried to find a space within established Anglicanism, but there’s really no space for us any more. If you don’t embrace the new religion they don’t want you. You’ve got to believe in same-sex marriage and women priests, things that we just can’t embrace.”

He says traditional Anglo-Catholics have been portrayed unfairly as misogynists, and treated by some liberals as ”a bit of a joke”.

”But we are taking our patrimony with us – the Anglican way of doing things and the spirituality and the theology.

”We will be pretty much what we always were.”


26 thoughts on “‘New World Order’ as Anglican Priests Move to a Catholic Environment

  1. I find this hard to accept. If you genuinely belive that the Catholic Church in communion with teh Pope is teh Church our Lord founded is true, to stay oe minute more in your previous religious tradition is to endanger your soul. The Catholic Church teaches only those ioutside her communion who are in genuine invincible ignorance have a hope of salvation.

    Again I belive the rush to ordination, before even salvation is a serious mistake.

    1. I thought it is the Catholic truth that salvation is not a single event (hence improper to ask “have you been saved?” to the baptized) but a process. Salvation is had through faith in everything the Church teaches, justification through holy living, communion with the Church, and receiving of the sacraments.

      Furthermore, it is my own understanding that only those who have invincible ignorance are the ones destined for Hell and eternal punishment. (i.e. Satan and his cohorts, or an unrepentant atheist, even if the fullness of Truth is shown and taught to him, etc.) This is why the Roman Catholic Church is a Missionary Church, so to instruct the ignorant- if they are invincibly ignorant, then we leave them to the mercy of God- not to predestine them to Hell and Eternal Damnation before they even met their Maker and Judge. Outside the Church, there is no salvation, but that doesn’t mean we bind The Lord God’s ability to grant extraordinary Grace and disallow salvation to those who are not able to be acquainted with Jesus Christ- for example, the Hebrew Prophets, a righteous man in an Amazonian tribe who acts in accordance with the Will of God, despite the prevailing moral sentiment and climate, like Noah or Lot.

      (And I have said much in this blog about the opposite, evil extreme, in which God is so merciful generous with Grace so the Church must also give consent to contraception, abortion, homosexual marriage, euthanasia, etc.)

      What I see is an organic transition, rather than something dramatic and unnecessarily sudden and violent. (Doesn’t mean it can’t be dramatic and sudden, etc. Some people certainly can use that sort of conversion.) I suppose the same could be said if there is reconciliation between the Orthodox and the Catholic. A series of gradual steps to the right direction.

  2. I find this hard to accept. If you genuinely believe that the Catholic Church in communion with the Pope is the Church our Lord founded is true, to stay one minute more in your previous religious tradition is to endanger your soul. The Catholic Church teaches only those outside her communion who are in genuine invincible ignorance have a hope of salvation.

    Again I believe the rush to ordination, before even salvation is a serious mistake.

  3. Either Mr Seton realises the truth of Catholicism at this stage, or he has no business seeking ordination. Thats not to be mean spirited but to exercise logic.

    1. The problem is the issue of Anglican Orders. That line of Apostolic succession was broken centuries ago, in comparison to the Orthodox. This is the point of Anglicanorum Coetibus; so that there’s an ease into accepting converting Anglicans into a canonical status within the Church, with certain things intact and not disrupting something that’s not necessarily heretical. (I understand why we have to examine the Ordinariates closely- and we should, so to avoid abuses/misunderstandings/etc. but ultimately, finding a good way to save people and bringing them to Christ can’t at all be a bad thing.)

      My own understanding is– if the Anglican Orders are invalid, then the Anglican “priest” who performs Mass as an Anglican is merely playing dress-up and giving bread to a group of people in a building, etc. I don’t see entirely the harm of that; if he and his congregation are not Catholic-yet- then I don’t think canon law is applicable to them. I do not believe they perform their Mass, etc. to mock God and His Church of His Sacraments- so they can be presumed to be people of good will.

      If that Anglican minister wishes to become a Catholic Priest, he’d have to go through the process of laicization and enter as a layman, and apply for the priesthood. I don’t see why we should deny converts the right to the Sacrament of Holy Orders.

      As for this particular case of Mr. Seton, I don’t know what he is going through other than what that article states, or if he’s already been through a process, and was approved, etc. I

  4. The whole process is questionable.For every Anglican priest who belives he is a Catholioc priest in Australia there are greater numbers of Evangelical Anglican clerics, who disdain the idea.

      1. There is nothing worse than an ignornant bigot! And my anger is only towards your prejudice! Again, why bother with an old irishanglican? You go your way mate, and I will go mine, deal? That’s what men would do!

  5. @ Robert Ian Williams

    I know you Welsh have a tradition of being bolshie about just about everything, but I really think it is time you knocked off criticising the minutiae of statements by people entering the Ordinariate,

    As a convert yourself, you must know that the road to communion is difficult enough.

    One of the traditions of English Catholics is to be loyal to the wishes of the Holy Father. That tradition is born of the fact that we we were persecuted by protestants from the time of the apostacy of Henry VIII up to Catholic Empancipation in the reign of Queen Victoria – even then we were often not regarded as wholly loyal and discriminated against. Our rock was the Holy Father exemplified by the hym of Cardinal Wiseman Full in the Panting Heart of Rome a hymm I sang in many public processions in my youth. Sometimes we were pelted wih missiles thrown by “proddy-dog” ragamuffins and later on we “papists” retaliated in kind. Those days are, Thanks be to God, largely over.

    You may not like the initiative the Holy Father has taken by the means of “Anglicanorum Coetibus” but our duty as Catholics is to give the inititiative our full and public support. One can put up with the negative posting of those who are not Catholics or those who have cosen to separate themselves form the Church but carping by Catholics is, I suggest, uncharitable and, moreover, disloyal to the Holy Father.

    With exceptions, such as in the case of the late Mgr Graham Leonard, former CofE bishop of London, the Church does not regard Anglican Orders as valid. That is why Anglican clergymen are received as laymen, and ordained unconditionally. Since the sacrament can be imparted only once, that is an implicit statement that the Anglican ordination was not valid in the eyes of the Church. That is still difficult for many Anglicans to accept.

    But the road to reconciliation does not have to go by way of Canossa. Anglican clergymen are not required to put on sackcloth and ashes, come into the Cathedral, ask to be absolved of heresy and declare that they accept the invalidity of their previous orders. The Church in charity, has decided that is not necessary. Indeed it goes further and publicly recognises the value of their service as Anglican ministers. That’s the decision of the Holy Father and the Roman Curia and it ought to be loyally accepted by all Catholics. In the words of St Augustine of Hippo, “Roma Locuta, Causa Finita”.

  6. @ Ioannes

    Its pointless debating holy orders with “irishanglican” who is in fact a former Catholic who chose to separate himself from Holy Mother Church.

    I think he would be the first to acknowledge that there are many strands of belief within Anglicanism ranging from “Anglo-Papalists” who regard themselves as fully Catholic temorarily separated from full communion with Rome, to “branch theorists”, to fully evangelical protestants who think of themselves as “ministers” rather than priests and various gradations in between. Think of Anglicanism as akin to a “pick and mix” sweet counter and you’ll get the idea.

    Islam does not have any priesthood. There is a distinction to be made between the Sunni and Shia in this regard. In Sunni Islam Imams are leaders of prayer, teachers, scholars and preachers and often commuinity leaders.

    In terms of worship paid Imams do no more or less than any adult can do when appropriate. Where there is no paid imam to lead prayer, the person who takes on that function is the person those present choose by consensus as most fitted to fulfil the duty. So in a household, this will unsually be the head of the house, for a group at work or in any other informal setting,people will normally form up behind the person they regard as most fitted to lead. Age, education personal holiness are all qualities which would be relevant in that regard.

    1. Mr. Mourad

      You, sir, are a peacemaker. Bless you! I didn’t even respond to him in any way other than to amuse myself from his bigoted anti-Catholic sentiments. Until “irishanglican” apologizes to the Roman Catholics for his attacks against our Church, and on this thread his attacks on our sacred priesthood, while you and better Catholics can forgive him regardless, this is the only apology he’ll get from me:

    2. @Mourad: You are perhaps the only one that knows and has even mentioned the term “Anglo-Papist/Papalism” (besides myself). Though I am sure there are a few others who comment here who know too. But, again an important piece of history!

      PS..Btw, like John Wesley said, following the Anglican Article XXIII, the Anglican “priest” is a NT “presbyter” (Presbyterate), same as elder (in the Greek use). So from the Prayer Book “priest” is, therefore, “presbyter,” and corresponds to the prophet declaring (preaching) the will of God. And so for us Anglicans, Priests are “Presbyteri” and not Sacerdotes. 🙂

  7. I am not against the AC, but feel it ignores the fact that many Anglicans are not from the Anglo Catholic tradition. I feel that reception without guarantees of ordination and then selection for re-training ( over at least a year) is more appropriate. A cap on the number of married clergy, and I am unhappy at the quasi presbyterian nature of the Ordinariates.

    Rome do make miscalculations in some pastoral areas. Also some Anglo Catholic converts seem to want to turn the Ordinatriate into a 1920s time frozen Anglo Catholic theme park..which will be as ineffectual as the plethora of tiny Anglo catholic sects that emerged in the1970s.

    1. To be frank, only Anglo-Catholics among Anglicans tend to been doctrinally close enough to Roman positions, while increasingly distanced from mainstream Anglican positions, to think of “poping” – other sorts of Anglicans wouldn’t see the reason to accept the Pope’s invitation, nor, if they are happy with their own situation, would they wish to move. (Of course, we pray that Evangelicals be converted, too, but it seems intrinsically less likely in one sense…)

      Notice, too – I soon found this when I looked into those four Melbourne Anglicans soon to be ordained Catholic priests – that in at least one case there has been a year between reception and ordination; Seton is an exception. He has also been vocal about making the jump for years, and has been waiting for Rome to finally set up the Ordinariate. Apparently the Roman authorities have said to such men as he that they ought – if their consciences agree – remain where they are until the whole process is set up for their benefit and that of those who will be following them in due order.

      The quasi-presbyterian nature of the Ordinariates is actually not so bad as that: for there are already Vicariates Apostolic and the like where the Ordinary is not a bishop, typically in places where numbers are small or the Church is still newly-established – all such are all, in a sense, local delegations of the Bishop of Rome’s episcopal authority; and in any case they can call on any handy bishop to ordain, confirm, and whatnot.

      That’s my twopennyworth, anyway.

    2. So you know better than the Holy Father and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?

      Ordination is not guaranteed. Firstly the personal dossier of each candidate is examined. I am told the Holy Father considers each one is examined by the Holy Father personally especially since the decision to dispense from celibacy is reserved to the Pontiff. That still only results in a “nulla osa”. There is an in depth psychological evaluation. The training does last for at least a year – it is only that ordination takes place earlier than it would in other circumstances.

      As for your “theme park” meme – it you want to talk about theme parks look at some of our formerly Catholic Cathedrals which were “nationlalised” at the time of the Reformation. On the whole Anglo-Catholic parishes in the CofE were better attended than the run of the mill CofE parishes.

    3. I think you need to come up with facts rather than conjectures. The MAJORITY of Ordinariate priests are NOT stuck in the 1920’s type of anglo catholcism that you imply. Most in fact seem to be “Vatican 2” men but that does not mean they will celebrate the liturgy without due respect to what they are doing.

      I think you also ought to look at where men becoming catholics are coming from – they are certainly not all (or many) what would have been called papists.

      The “rules” are being set not by the Ordinariates but by discussion with the Holy See. Any criticism you have must therefore be directed to the Holy Father and nobody else.

  8. Yu’all take these ‘blogs’ way too serious ! One would think new dogma was being created here judging by some of the REEEEEEEEEEEEsponses. How about “Welcome, all ye who enter into the bosom of Holy Mother Church. Be ye reconciled with The Lord on the day of your Ordination”.

  9. I do know that several ordinariate clergy are now endeavouring to return to Canterbury.
    I find it unusual that people are accepted for ordinaton before they convert.Then I am accused of being mean spirited and bolshie.Don’t worry the CDF make ill advised pastoral judgements sometimes and things will change.

    1. I had an American Anglican (Episcopal) friend who went to Rome and the Roman priesthood back in the 80’s, with the then Catholic offer for Anglican priests, etc. He lasted just a few years, and then went back to Anglicanism. He was simply, as he told me (afterward), never really allowed to be in a pastoral parish level, (being married).

    2. @ Mr R.E. Willams. Unless you give chapter and verse that cannot be described as anything other than malicious gossip. Having said that, a 100% sucess rate is unlikely to be possible any more than it is for Catholic seminarians who reaslise after ordination that the priesthood is not for them

  10. A good point. On average, 10 percent of the ordinands of any given year will leave the Catholic priesthood, regardless of who or what they were previously.

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