Is this how we are to treat our friends?


An acquaintance has posted this link in a couple of places: a young monk in Wisconsin, a convert taking a somewhat deflated view of the proposed Anglican-use Ordinariate, puts out this little welcome sign for other prospective converts:

Do you agree with this statement:

I believe that to join an Ordinariate is to promise before God that, when I am traveling and not able to attend an Ordinariate parish, under pain of mortal sin I will assist at a folk Mass with streamers and liturgical dancers, if that is all there is to be found, in order to fulfill my Sunday obligation.

Now, I'm all for the Sunday obligation, and believe you me, I've endured some poor music and odd liturgical proceedings for its sake, but the 'profession' which Brother Stephen demands above is really not constructive.

I came into the Church in 1980 -- at perhaps the nadir of the liturgical barbarities -- so I have probably suffered more for the faith at the doings of bad liturgists than young Brother Stephen has, especially now that he resides in a lovely Cistercian monastery. Is he really in a position to strike an inquisitorial pose and demand that other people promise now to accept aesthetic sufferings?

I remember from experience that prospective converts simply do take some time to go through the intellectual and volitional steps implied by becoming a Catholic. They consider various aspects: to accept points of Catholic doctrine, and recognize the authority of the Church, and finally agree to be obedient to the Church.

It is not up to us, their friends, to decide which issues they absolutely must deal with first, even though, in the end, a convert must accept everything that the Church authoritatively teaches (and prescribes) in order to be a good Catholic. We can trust the pastors of the Church to ensure that any new Catholics of Anglican heritage will have proper instruction on the Sunday obligation, but if we stick a finger in their eye now, as if to assert our superiority, it is not exactly a heroic act of charity.


Young Br. Stephen is 41 and the piece says very explicitly that it's a tongue-in-cheek thought exercise in expectation management aimed at showing that the Ordinariates are a very good thing even if they do not in the end include every bell and whistle that many folks are hoping for. If that were not the case, I don't think it would have run on The Anglo-Catholic with appreciative comments from so many current Anglicans.

If you'll look at my previous posts on this issue you'll see a number of pieces urging charity and hospitality from Catholics, who are tempted to say just the sort of things you seem to think I was saying from looking at that one quote out of context.

Richard-- after reading Br. Stephen's rebuttal, I clicked over and read the whole article.... he's right-- the quote is much gentler in context and the article is also a good one---While I'd love to see everyone join the Church, they should be converting because of what the Church IS (Bride of Christ!) not because of what it is NOT (ordaining lesbian bishops...)


Don't worry about it--I've commented on a piece I only saw a snippet of more than once.

I certainly believe that the Ordinariates are going to be more than national parishes. My purpose in this piece was to counterbalance some claims that are being made for the final status of the Ordinariates that seem to go well beyond what we've seen in the documents and that seem to contradict what has been said by staff in relevant curial departments and in the office of the Pastoral Provision. The point I was getting at (a bit impishly I’ll admit but not overly so for the irony norms of Anglicanism, for which I still have great love) is that one could just as easily read the documents in a minimalist fashion, so that it is best for folks not to argue themselves into rigid positions on specific issues leaving themselves only with the option of accusing the Holy See of dealing unfairly, when, in fact, the Vatican's comments have been very restrained and careful.

I want this to work and I want it to be incredibly successful, but if people have been led to believe that they are being offered something very like a sui juris church then find themselves in a position that is actually a bit closer to that of the communities under the care of Ecclesia Dei or the military ordinariates, many will stay where they are simply because they feel that they have been misled. There has been a particularly disturbing amount of careless rhetoric from some Ordinariate supporters on the issues of conversion, and autonomy, so I focused in on those.

As for national parishes in the Midwest v. New England, it is an entirely different world in my experience. I lived in Boston for several years and I was amazed at how different the situation was in Philadelphia when I lived there and now in Wisconsin.

In a world where all rites in most parishes are in a common vernacular, the analogy to national parishes probably doesn’t hold quite so well and of course you are right that there was no rite for national parishes, but 100 years ago, to be able to be married in Polish or to confess in Italian had a cultural weight that was somewhat similar. My experience in Philly and the Midwest has been of some very vibrant parishes that have kept their distinctive hymns, festivals, and devotions—a good number of which have become centers for the Reform of the Reform and of the Extraordinary Form.

streamers and a folk mass...It would be ten times better then what my family is subjected to at the parish we must attend for the summer.

We get parables of buddah during the sermon, global warming, the big bang theory, scientists, not even a mention of god causing or being apart of the big bang. intermixed with begging for money for the capital campaign, the only thing missing is Tammy Fay on the alter crying.

Then the priest sings the entire Liturgy of the Eucharist(even Transubstantiation) as a show tune with music from the band. We also have to sing a chorus through parts of it.

Then before mass concludes the begging for money begins again and then forcing us to fill out the capital campaign envelopes while we sit there.

Oh and lets not forget the naked baptism in the middles of mass last week. It was for an infant luckily (lol). It's still the first one I've seen in 39 years of attending mass.

[It looks like this comment belonged on some other thread. Misplaced? --RC]

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On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

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