Sunday, 3 July 2011

Study Paper I - Towards an English Ordinariate, by Fr Brooke Lunn

Following the posting from Prebendary Brooke Lunn, our past Priest Director's remarkable Appreciation of Anglicanorum Coetibus, in which he judges that the Apostolic Constitution's provisions satisfy the aspirations of the historic and influential Anglican Papalist tradition and its objectives for "corporate reunion", we now post the first of his three accompanying Study Papers.

Study Paper I: Towards an English Ordinariate was drafted in the period following the issue of Anglicanorum Coetibus in late 2009 and into 2010. It was circulated privately to assist Anglicans discerning the significance and provisions of the Apostolic Constitution and proposed a "proto-Ordinariate", an informal association of individuals and groups exploring possibilities, who could serve as the basis of a more defined movement out of which the Ordinariate itself could be formed.

Above all, Fr Lunn focuses on the Constitution's four significant factors:
  1. The creativity of the Apostolic See in accepting the once maligned, but ecumenically influential, Anglican Papalist narrative of "corporate reunion", locating the Catholic space for its terms in Ad Gentes 20 and Canon 372;
  2. It is a breakthrough solution to Christian disunity, providing the means for respecting the Church life of other Christians and integrating it with the Catholic Church in a way that has been impossible at any other time since the sixteenth century (not least because of the shortcomings of the procedures of merely individual reconciliation);
  3. It provides for a genuinely mutual reception of gifts and ecclesial life, fully in accord with the Decree on Ecumenism's principle of spiritual ecumenism, also known nowadays as receptive ecumenical learning - thus the Ordinariate can and must offer the tradition and the key elements of the patrimony of the "Church of England entire", not just isolated portions;
  4. How the members of the Ordinariate can contribute to the closer sharing of ecclesial life and mission among the Pilgrim People of God, across the divisions within the Church, in order to meet the needs and justified expectation of the people of England for a "common, shared, united witness and proclamation of the Gospel by all the Christians in this land", "united not absorbed". The same could be true of an Ordinariate in other lands.

While some of Study Paper I serves the enquiries and explorations of those beginning to consider the possibility of joining an Ordinariate, it also has a great deal to say about the positive formation and development of an Ordinariate once established, as it takes shape and maps its way ahead on sound and carefully thought through principles. This is above all what Fr Lunn is seeking to facilitate. To his mind, the Ordinariate and its patrimony are fundamentally concerned with the integration of the whole of Christ's Church according to the prayer and will of Christ - "that they may be one, so that the world may believe." Indeed he strongly articulates the encouragement of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI on his Apostolic Visit to Great Britain in September 2010, as he addressed the Ecumenical Evening Prayer at Westminster, to find unity in none other than the apostolic faith, in order to give before the world a convincing account of the hope in the Risen Jesus Christ that lies within us.

Read and download Fr Brooke Lunn's Study Paper I: Towards an English Ordinariate here.

Tomorrow we will post Study Paper II: Anglican Patrimony

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