In a bid to attract disillusioned members of the Anglican Communion, the Vatican announced yesterday that it would establish a special arrangement to allow them to join the Catholic Church while preserving their own liturgy and spiritual legacy, including married priests. [...]The Anchoress has a good roundup of many of the posts and much of the commentary that's come out so far about all of this.
In establishing the new structure, Pope Benedict XVI is responding to "many requests" from individual Anglicans and Anglican groups -- including "20 to 30 bishops," said Cardinal William Levada, the Vatican's chief doctrinal official, according to the Catholic News Service.
Under the system, the Catholic Church will create "personal ordinariates"-- separate units within Catholic churches headed by former Anglican priests or bishops. While married Anglican priests would be permitted, married bishops would not because they are not in keeping with Catholic tradition.
These former Anglicans would be considered theologically Catholic but with their own traditions, such as use of the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
The plan is not without precedent. The Catholic Church has long permitted married Anglican priests to join, but only under certain conditions. For centuries, the church has had a similar arrangement with Eastern rite Catholics, who maintain their own traditions.
The New York Times quotes Cardinal Levada:
A new canonical entity will allow groups of Anglicans “to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony,” Cardinal William Levada, the prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said at a news conference here.What, exactly, does "...preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony..." mean?
Well, for one thing, it means progressive Catholic liturgists had better start quaking in their eco-friendly boots: Catholics in America are about to get a crash course in what an elegant and reverent English-language liturgy can look and sound like. In fact, just because it's fun, I've compiled a list; and I'm going with the phrase "Anglican-use Catholic Parish" for now, though there may be new terminology coming:
The Top Ten Differences Between a future Anglican-use Catholic Parish and a Progressive American Catholic Parish of Today
10. Anglican-use Catholic Parish could not under any circumstances be mistaken for a shopping mall or pizza parlor;
9. There are no greeters at an Anglican-use Catholic Parish, but there are ushers clad in dark suits and ties (though cuff links remain optional);
8. There is no "pre-liturgical Rite of Asking if Anybody Is from Out of Town," before the liturgy officially begins;
7. There is an organ. And a choir. Who know what they're doing. And don't sing or play dreck. And have never heard of Marty Haugen or the OCP;
6. There is no "Rite of Sending All the Children Out to Go Color Things" before the Liturgy of the Word;
5. The homily is delivered from the altar, from behind the pulpit. It is not delivered from the middle of the altar, from the middle of the church, in a peripatetic manner, or as if from a comedy club;
4. There is no clapping;
3. There is no hand-holding during the Our Father;
2. There is no Sign of Peace;
1. There are: reverence, respect for the act of worship, beautiful music, sacred art and architecture, lovely English translations of the prayers of the Mass, and liturgy as it ought to be celebrated by grownups who shudder at the thought of felt banners, tie-dye vestments, or the whole absurd notion of "singing a new church into being."
'Tis a consummation, as the Bard might have said, devoutly to be wished!