American Ordinariate accused of being ‘insufficiently Catholic’: The Church of England Newspaper, August 12, 2012 p 5. August 16, 2012Posted by geoconger in Anglican Ordinariate, Church of England Newspaper, Roman Catholic Church.
Tags: Jeffrey Steenson, liturgy
The American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate is insufficiently Catholic, critics charge, following the announcement the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter will not use the traditional Latin mass – the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
Clergy who had been permitted to use the Latin mass by their Anglican bishops tell The Church of England Newspaper they are nonplussed in being forbidden to use the traditional rite now that they are Catholic priests.
On 30 July, Mgr Jeffrey Steenson, the ordinary of the Chair of St Peter and the former bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of the Rio Grande, released a statement clarifying the Ordinariate’s liturgical formularies after some new converts claimed he was bullying them by forbidding the use of the Latin mass.
On 29 July 2012 the Anglo-Catholic website posted a story stating Mgr Steenson had discouraged his clergy from using the Latin mass, directing them to use only approved Anglican and Catholic English-language liturgies.
Christian Campbell stated that he had it on “unimpeachable authority that there is an ongoing crackdown on those AU/Ordinariate priests who would dare to learn or celebrate the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite on the part of [Mgr] Steenson” and other Ordinariate leaders.
The “affected priests are naturally frightened, and unwilling to go on record, but make no mistake, the leadership of the US Ordinariate at present has set itself against both Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanorum coetibus,” he stated, adding: “I also have it on good authority that this intimidation, an abuse of power, is being reported directly to the Roman Authorities. And the contention that the traditional Latin Mass has no bearing on the Anglican Patrimony — this simply has me flabbergasted.”
Other traditionalist Catholic websites picked up the story, with many commentators berating Mgr Steenson. By not allowing the traditional Latin mass the ordinary was forbidding the use of the liturgy that “shaped the Anglo-Catholic movement.”
“The Mass celebrated by [Blessed] John Henry Newman is not apt for the Anglican converts of the Ordinariate,” was how one commentator characterised Mgr Steenson’s actions.
But in a statement posted on the Ordinariate’s website, Mgr Steenson responded to his detractors saying those elements of the Anglican liturgical patrimony incorporated into the liturgical life of the Ordinariate sought to balance “two historic principles — that Christian prayer and proclamation should be offered in the vernacular and that the language of worship should be sacral.”
The Ordinariate’s “Book of Divine Worship Rite I” was its principal liturgical resource, while “those congregations that prefer a contemporary idiom, the Roman Missal 3rd edition could be used.”
Ordinariate clergy who “want to learn also how to celebrate” according to the traditional Latin mass were “certainly encouraged to do so” under the “supervision of the local bishop,” Mgr Steenson said, so as to “assist in those stable communities that use the Extraordinary Form.”
However the traditional Latin Mass, (the Extraordinary Form) “is not integral to the Anglican patrimony, it is not properly used in our communities,” Mgr Steenson wrote.
A spokesman for the Ordinariate told CEN that over the past seven months, Mgr Steenson “has undertaken the incredible task of building what is essentially a national diocese from the ground up, and with few resources.”
“Looking back, we can see all that has been accomplished, including a high quality application and formation programme for clergy; ordinations of more than 20 priests in two countries in just six months – with more on the way; new communities being received into the Ordinariate regularly, with the next one in Boston this August; and policies, procedures and a structure being put in place to ensure the Ordinariate has a firm foundation for a healthy future.”
However, she noted that “bloggers always will speculate, but the focus of the Ordinariate continues to be on building up this new community of faith, with a healthy presbyterate and healthy local communities.”
The American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate is one of three so far created in response to the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorun coetibus. In addition to the Chair of St Peter in America and Our Lady of Walsingham for England and Wales, the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross was established in June for Australia.
A former Church of England clergyman who became a bishop of the Traditional Anglican Communion, the Rev Harry Entwistle was appointed as the first ordinary.
Fr Entwistle was born on 31 May 1940, at Chorley, Lancashire. After studies at St. Chad’s Theological College in the University of Durham, he was ordained a priest in 1964 for the Diocese of Blackburn.
After serving parishes in Fleetwood, Hardwick, Weedon, Aston Abbotts and Cublington, he was a chaplain in the prison service from 1974 to 1988, serving as Senior Chaplain at HM Prison Wandsworth before emigrating to Australia, where he took up the post of Senior Anglican Chaplain for the Department of Corrective Services in Western Australia. In 2006 he joined the Traditional Anglican Communion and was appointed Western Regional Bishop and Parish Priest of Maylands in Perth.
The head of the English Ordinariate, Mgr Keith Newton said he was pleased to learn of the appointment. “Fr Entwistle has a wealth of experience from his Anglican ministry in England and in Australia, and I look forward to working with him closely as we seek to articulate the vision of Anglicanorum coetibus,” he said.
First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.