Thoughts of a Catholic convert

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Friday, October 23, 2009

Becoming Anglican

I saw a post at the Georgetown blog by Fr. Thomas Reese SJ on the Pope's move to invite conservative Anglicans into the Church. He sees it more positively than I do, as I think true ecumenism = respecting and finding commonalities with other denominations (why was the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity of the Holy See left out of the new plans? Check out the history of uniatism) but what I found interesting was something at the end of Fr. Reese's post .....


[...] Despite all the Vatican attempts to downplay the acceptance of married Anglican priests, many people will ask why not married priests for other Catholics? Cardinal Levada said that not only married Anglican priests will be ordained but also married Anglican seminarians who join the Catholic Church. The Vatican has made clear that married Catholic priests will not be welcomed back to the priesthood, but could a married Catholic man join the Anglicans, enter an Anglican seminary and then return to the Catholic Church? If so, this could become a rich source of priests for the Catholic Church.

The Vatican also says that the Anglican ordinariates would have their own seminarians who could have houses of formation but would study with other Catholic seminarians. I presume this means married seminarians, otherwise the Vatican will deny these former Anglicans what they see as an essential part of their spiritual and liturgical tradition. Married and celibate seminarians in the same course of studies will certainly be an interesting experiment. It will either strengthen a celibate's vocation or break it.

More importantly, could married Roman Catholic men from the traditional dioceses join the Anglican ordinariate and become seminarians and priests? If so, we have just solved the priest shortage problem and within a generation there will be more priests in the Anglican ordinariates than in the traditional dioceses. The rest of the people will soon follow and the Anglican ordinariate will hold a majority of Roman Catholics.



Blogger PrickliestPear said...

It will be very interesting to see how they handle the question about married priests.

On the one hand, I can't see them allowing married Catholic men to become Catholic priests through the Anglican ordinariate. On the other hand, how do they intend to prevent this? By making it a limited time offer, including only those who are already Anglican priests (or seminarians) prior to a particular date? I can't see that working out, either. Are they going to say that, if you were Catholic, but converted and became an Anglican priest, that you will not be permitted to return to the Catholic Church within the Anglican ordinariate? Whatever the rule is going to be, it will have to be rather convoluted if they're going to prevent married Catholic men from becoming priests.

5:45 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Hi PrickliestPear,

Yes, it should be interesting. I read somewhere else that with the similar program for Eastern rite priesrs, it didn't seem to have happened that married Catholics were able to become married priests in that way.

8:17 PM  
Blogger PrickliestPear said...

That's interesting, I hadn't thought of that.

That site you linked to indicated (in an update at the bottom) that Eastern rite seminaries in the US don't ordain married men, so that would seem to be a substantial difference.

I wonder how many Catholics in the English-speaking world will move to the new Anglican ordinariate churches? Doing so might so symbolic support for a married priesthood, but it would also show support for the sexist and homophobic views that brought the Anglican conservatives into the RCC in the first place.

10:34 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yes, it's not like the Anglicans, in the normal sense of the word, are the ones who want to join the Catholic Church - just the conservative fringe. I wonder what kind of Catholics they would attract to their seminaries.

1:02 AM  
Blogger Denny said...

As a married deacon in the Catholic Church, who really does feel called to serve as "priest" and would, except for a canon law that didn't exist for the first 1000 years of the Church, I find this topic of great interest!

It is only a matter of time. This will again change. I probably won't see it. If I do, I'll petition Rome for a belated ordination to the priesthood!

11:57 PM  
Blogger crystal said...

That's interesting - I didn't know you would like to be a priest. You'd be a good one! :)

Sadly, it looks like the Pope's Anglican agreement isn't going to allow future semenatians to be married. Someday ....

1:03 AM  

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