Every second Saturday of the month, 4 pm - Divine Liturgy in English of Sunday - Ukrainian Catholic Cathedral of the Holy Family, Duke Street, London W1K 5BQ. Followed by refreshments.
Next Liturgy: Saturday 14th July - 3pm Great Vespers, 4pm Divine Liturgy for Sunday

To purchase The Divine Liturgy: an Anthology for Worship (in English), order from the Sheptytsky Institute here, or the St Basil's Bookstore here.

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The new catechism in English, Christ our Pascha, is available from the Eparchy of the Holy Family and the Society. Please email johnchrysostom@btinternet.com for details.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Anglicanorum Coetibus: A New Uniatism?

Patriarch Bartholomew I with Cardinal Kasper

When the Apostolic Constitution to provide for ordinariates - ecclesial structures like dioceses - for Anglicans coming into full communion with the Holy See, there was immediate and misleading comment that this was the revived system of so-called Uniatism. The Roman Catholic Church, it is claimed, is proselytising Anglicans like the Orthodox of yesteryear.

Thus writes Dr Timothy Bradshaw, Tutor in Doctrine at Regent’s Park College, Oxford, in The Times of 21 October 2009:

Rome’s move looks like a Western version of the Eastern Orthodox groups that accepted the primacy of Rome, the largest being the Ukrainian. The so-called Uniate churches keep their liturgical local custom and practice, as the Anglican body would be allowed to do under the new offer.

As an Anglican Evangelical member of the Anglican Orthodox Theological Commission, he ought to know that this will not do, unless it is an expression of an old desire for affinity with Orthodoxy because of its coincidence with an Anglican apologetic that it too is historic, apostolic, but non-Papal.

It is clear, however, that the provision of the ordinariates are within the Latin rite, of which the Anglican liturgical and ecclesiastical patrimony is a version. The ordinariates are to be particular churches like dioceses, but non-territorial like the military vicariates. Furthermore, their formation comes as a response by the Holy See to formal, repeated and insistent requests from Anglican bishops and bodies for admission to full Catholic communion by the inclusion of a distinctively Anglican church and liturgical life. So the comparison with Catholic Churches of Eastern Rite is inaccurate.

Secondly, Eastern Catholic Churches - specifically those of Byzantine Rite, such as the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, or the Melkite Greek Catholic Church - are not properly seen as the result of proselytism away from Orthodoxy. They see themselves as Orthodox Churches which historically came into restored communion with the Roman See. Both the Ukrainian and Melkite Churches, furthermore, have a strong record of efforts towards reconciliation with their Orthodox neighbours. In Ukraine, for instance, Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky was highly regarded by members and leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church for his practical support and concern during its dark hours after the Russian Revolution. And the Patriarchates of Antioch - Melkite and Greek Orthodox - are renowned for their progressive efforts towards imaginative reconciliation, notably in the famous Balamand initiative. So, again, the misrepresentation of the complex history of Catholic-Orthodox relations and of the real circumstances concerning Eastern Catholic Churches is a false comparison for the forthcoming provisions of Anglicanorum Coetibus.

Professor Nicholas Lash, writing in The Tablet of the 14th November, makes this very clear too:

It has been suggested that the new structures, established by the apostolic constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, ... should be considered as analogous to those of the Eastern Catholic Churches. Aidan Nichols OP proposed something along these lines in 1993, in The Panther and the Hind and, in 2006, in an article in New Blackfriars entitled: “Anglican Uniatism: A Personal View”. I would make two comments on this. The first concerns the need not to speak of “Uniates”. The schism between Western and Eastern Christianity was not so much a single event as a lengthy process of mutual alienation, culminating in the formal breaking of relations between the patriarchate of Constantinople (drawing the four other, far less powerful, eastern patriarchates in its wake) and the papacy. Over time, many Eastern Churches (of more than 20 types or families) were recon­ciled into full communion with the Holy See. Their Orthodox brethren, seeing this as betrayal, coined the highly pejorative term “Uniate” to describe them. It is a term that Eastern Catholics therefore find offensive. (And, of course, the term is not only offensive but inaccurate when applied to those Churches, such as the Maronites, which never broke off communion with Rome.) Many British Catholics seem unaware of this, perhaps because there are so few Eastern Catholics in this country to complain....

In the second place, the analogy simply does not stand up. Each of the Eastern Catholic Churches is, precisely, a Church: a distinct, episcopally and presbyterally structured body with its own identity, history and character. The proposed ordinariates, however, are not Churches, but groups of disaffected Anglican lay people.

Here is the account of an interview in L'Osservatore Romano of the 15th November with Cardinal Kasper, President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, by the commentator Sandro Magister:

Cardinal Kasper was in Cyprus because the island was hosting, from October 16-23, the second round (after the first in Ravenna in 2007) of theological dialogue between Catholics and Orthodox on how to understand papal primacy. An ecumenical dialogue of capital importance, in which Kasper led the delegation from Rome.


In Cyprus, the news that the Catholic Church is ready to incorporate groups coming from Anglicanism also put the Orthodox on alert. Their fear is that a "Uniate" Church of the Anglican rite will be established and added to the "Uniate" Churches of the various Eastern rites: these are Churches obedient to the pope of Rome but in everything else the equals and rivals of the Orthodox.

In this regard, Kasper says in the interview:

"In Cyprus, in order to avoid misunderstandings, I immediately told our Orthodox counterparts that this is not a matter of proselytism or a new Uniatism. [...] Uniatism is an historical phenomenon involving the Eastern Churches, while the Anglicans are from the Latin tradition. The Balamand document of 1993 is still valid, according to which this is a phenomenon of the past that took place in unrepeatable circumstances. It is not a method for the present or the future. The Orthodox were mainly interested in understanding the nature of the personal ordinariates for the Anglicans, and I clarified that this is not a matter of a Church 'sui iuris', and therefore there will not be the head of a Church, but an ordinary with delegated powers."

In simpler terms: while a "Uniate" Church has its own structured hierarchy, with a patriarch and territorial dioceses, none of this will apply to the former Anglican "personal ordinariates," which will provide pastoral care for the faithful but without their own ecclesiastical territory, a little bit like the military ordinariates.

The new ordinariates will be characterized by the preservation of the Anglican rite for the Mass and the other sacraments – with liturgical books that were approved for the United States in the 1980's by the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship.
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