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October 20, 2009 9:52 AM   Subscribe

The Vatican announced today that it would create a new structure that would allow former Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church while preserving elements of Anglican spirituality and liturgy.

The decision has been met hostilty by some Anglicans. Archbishop of Cantebury Rowan Williams's reaction, however, was more circumspect.
posted by Bulgaroktonos (105 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Do you get a six-month discount on tithing for switching now?

Conversion's one thing, but... wow.
posted by Pragmatica at 9:56 AM on October 20, 2009


From the "Anglicans" link:

The Roman Catholic Church today moved to poach thousands of traditional Anglicans who are dismayed by growing acceptance of gays and women priests and bishops.

So this isn't about whether the Time Cube exists in 5 dimensions or 6. It's about reclaiming market share by catering to bigotry. Swell.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:59 AM on October 20, 2009 [33 favorites]


And so it begins. Or not.

These guys have been circling each-other for years since the Big Split, and there is a lot of support on each side for reunification.

But I suspect just as many who could care less, or are actively opposed to reunification.

But, it had to be the pope that made this strategic move, and so he has.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:01 AM on October 20, 2009


OH, FFS. Disregard my last comment, as it displays the worst sort of ignorance. I thought the article was saying something else, and didn't really do more than skim it.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:04 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


> It's about reclaiming market share by catering to bigotry.

Those sexual abuse lawsuits aren't going to pay for themselves.
posted by you just lost the game at 10:04 AM on October 20, 2009 [15 favorites]


I'm not really sure what is so new about this. For years one of the most conservative Catholic priests in my town (he still did mass in Latin) was a guy who had converted from the Episcopal church. He was also married.
posted by TedW at 10:07 AM on October 20, 2009


Just in time for Guy Fawkes Night!
posted by alasdair at 10:08 AM on October 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


Now, now, I am sure the Pope merely decided that the Church had been wrong about Henry VIII and his divorce all those years ago, and wants to make up. I can't imagine he arrived at this decision by watching The Tudors, though....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:10 AM on October 20, 2009


This is the priest I was talking about. He lectured at my school and I lived across the street from his church at one time.
posted by TedW at 10:11 AM on October 20, 2009


They're definitely circling the wagons and have been since their new leader has been selected. This is fascinating in a sense, because it suggests that the reactionaries are now, in some sense, undeniably aware (even for cynical planning purposes) that their populations are dwindling and for what reasons. It must be terrifying, watching humanity slide into some kind of secular abyss, their most hallowed rites profaned by those not of the Body. In the interests of gathering the right faithful, who knows what doctrinal abuses will be tolerated in the interests of avoiding others viewed as more threatening? A contraction in Christianities might make for some uncomfortable bedfellows and some very odd offspring indeed.

I swear by my own cryogenically-frozen head, I want to be around to see what will be left in a hundred years.
posted by adipocere at 10:12 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


In a more serious vein, do married priests who convert to Catholicism get to keep their marriages? Maybe this is a way to get around the priest shortage and the "no one wants to get ordained because of the celibacy thing" problem. Anyone know for sure what the Catholic doctrine is on this?
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:12 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Holy shit!
posted by swift at 10:12 AM on October 20, 2009


So Catholic Lite can finally become, in fact, Catholic Lite?

Did I miss it in the links, or is there a discussion of the specific theological hurdles between the Anglicans and Catholics that would need to be addressed?

*Grew up as acolyte in Episcopal church. Went to attend a service a few years ago and found it dreadfully boring.
posted by Atreides at 10:13 AM on October 20, 2009


Ehhh. Just what the Church needs, more conservatives.

I have to admit that, despite being about as lapsed a Catholic as it is possible to get what with the whole atheism thing, that I have often wished for another schism like the Reformation resulting in an American Catholic Church. There are clearly enough liberal bishops that maintaining Apostolic Succession wouldn't be a problem, and once you start ordaining married folk and women your numbers would likely swell enormously.

Liberal High Church American Catholicism. That's the winning ticket, I tell ya.

We'd have to figure out how to get all that cool art out of the Vatican without anyone noticing, though.
posted by Justinian at 10:13 AM on October 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


One last comment; how is this different from the pastoral provision that has been in place since 1980?
posted by TedW at 10:16 AM on October 20, 2009


In a more serious vein, do married priests who convert to Catholicism get to keep their marriages?

That's actually one of the bigger issues addressed by this new system. Under the Personal Ordinariates set up today, married priests could be ordained as Catholic priest, though not bishops. My understanding is that previously you could get some kind of special papal approval, but that the new system makes this a standard thing.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:17 AM on October 20, 2009


But can the King still get a divorce?
posted by thivaia at 10:21 AM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


Anti-papist Pope in 5... 4... 3...
posted by Sys Rq at 10:22 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


If you switch. do you have to put a Virgin Mary statue in your lawn?
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:22 AM on October 20, 2009


TedW, my understanding is that there are two big differences. One, this is not a strictly American thing, which I believe the Pastrol Provision is. Second, the new Personal Ordinariates would be outside the jurisdiction of the diocesan bishop, more along the lines of the Maronites or Melkites.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 10:22 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh Jesus Buddy Christ.
posted by self at 10:23 AM on October 20, 2009


Anglicans have always been able to convert to Catholicism individually. And there have been scattered instances of small groups of religious (nuns) who have converted together.

This move by Pope Benedict allows entire communities of Anglicans who seek reunion with Rome to do so, while "preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony." So they will need to accept the core Catholic stuff such as Apostolic Succession and the Pope, but will be able to maintain their version of the Mass and other traditional Anglican practices. I'm sure there are many details left to iron out.

Sounds like great new for those Anglicans seeking to join the Catholic church.

GenjiandProust: In a more serious vein, do married priests who convert to Catholicism get to keep their marriages?

Yes, they will, but not for the Bishops. From the statement by the Vatican:

"It provides for the ordination as Catholic priests of married former Anglican clergy. Historical and ecumenical reasons preclude the ordination of married men as bishops in both the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. The Constitution therefore stipulates that the Ordinary can be either a priest or an unmarried bishop."
posted by jsonic at 10:23 AM on October 20, 2009


Justinian: It's called The Episcopal Church (USA).
posted by PsychoTherapist at 10:23 AM on October 20, 2009


or:

Buddy Christ, what an asshole.
posted by self at 10:23 AM on October 20, 2009


Desperate much?
posted by molecicco at 10:24 AM on October 20, 2009


Also, did the Pope get denied membership at the country club again?
posted by thivaia at 10:24 AM on October 20, 2009


Meh. This is has been going on for awhile now.
posted by jquinby at 10:25 AM on October 20, 2009


No thanks Pope dude. I like our women priests, and our gay bishops, and I especially like our lack of a Pope.
posted by caddis at 10:25 AM on October 20, 2009 [9 favorites]


Wait, how the hell is this new? This has been going on at least since I was a lad. What is different? Did they finally skull-fuck Thomas Cranmer?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 10:27 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I will withhold comment until I see what Joseph Bottum says and then I will send him a rebuttal. Kthxbye
posted by parmanparman at 10:30 AM on October 20, 2009


This isn't a total surprise, as there have been rumours circulating for some time about the possibility of an 'Anglican Uniate' church (following the model of the Eastern Catholic Churches) that would retain its autonomy while being accepted into communion with Rome. Even so, it's astonishing news.

A lot will depend on the detail, but here's my initial reaction. First, this is a slap in the face for the Archbishop of Canterbury, who doesn't appear to have been consulted about it (or even given much prior warning; his letter to the Anglican bishops says that he was only told about it 'at a very late stage'). Second, it spells the end of the Anglo-Catholic tradition in the Church of England; Anglo-Catholic clergy will now start going over to Rome in large numbers, taking their churches and congregations with them. Third, it has very interesting implications for the Roman Catholic church, as it effectively opens the way to a married priesthood, not just on an occasional case-by-case basis but as a matter of normal practice.

We'll have to wait and see how all this plays out once the details of the scheme have been unveiled. But this is stunning news, which for better or worse is certainly going to change the Anglican Communion for ever.
posted by verstegan at 10:32 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


What is the crossover between people who honstly believe that Joseph Ratzinger can speak the infallible word of God, and people who are not already Catholic? Because this plan will work great for them.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 10:34 AM on October 20, 2009 [7 favorites]


All's fair in the Counter Reformation and war, I suppose. Perhaps the Anglican Communion will retaliate by offering more liberal-minded Catholics the chance to convert to their own High Church version. Under this system, the Via Media would get the Church of Rome's fairer minded people, and the One True Church would get those episcopalian heretics who have come to repent the doctrinal errors of Henry VIII - win-win!
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:40 AM on October 20, 2009


So, some Anglicans hate the gays more than they love Henry VIII? Whatever you say, Brother Dipshit.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:47 AM on October 20, 2009


Anglo-Catholic clergy will now start going over to Rome in large numbers

Well, the Episcopal Church, anyway, has been taking in their gay priests for years. If the Anglican one has done the same, I bet it evens out.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:59 AM on October 20, 2009


Can we still burn them at the stake?

...I'm just kidding...

But seriously, if we can, can we do Tony Blair first?
posted by Artw at 11:01 AM on October 20, 2009


You know what's awesome? Antipopes.
posted by Artw at 11:03 AM on October 20, 2009 [5 favorites]


As for entire congregations converting, there's one complication, as I understand it: real estate. All the real estate belongs not to the individual congregation but to the greater church body. Any congregation that leaves the body has to forfeit its property. This is why few conservative US Episcopal congregations made good on their threat to leave the The Episcopal Church USA and affiliate themselves with an African bishop when Gene Robinson was made bishop.
posted by tippiedog at 11:04 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I should add... In my opinion, real estate is the primary reason why the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church USA haven't officially split into liberal and conservative camps.
posted by tippiedog at 11:05 AM on October 20, 2009


What I want to know is, did they ever find out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?
posted by binturong at 11:07 AM on October 20, 2009


The religious equivalent to the reverse stock split?
posted by batou_ at 11:12 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Maybe I missed this in one of the articles, but what if a female priest tried to switch?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:18 AM on October 20, 2009


You know what's awesome? Antipopes.

What with Popes and Anti-Popes, I guess that Cardinals are muons and bishops are quarks or something like that.

In the name of the Father, The Son and the Holy large Hadron, amen.
posted by GuyZero at 11:18 AM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh, I found something on page two of the NYT article:

Asked at the Vatican news conference what would happen if an Anglican congregation led by a woman priest wanted to join the Catholic Church, Cardinal Levada smiled and said, “I would be surprised” if that happened.

"Christ, what an asshole" is rarely more appropriate.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:21 AM on October 20, 2009 [13 favorites]


Is this just because Tony Blair felt he had to convert on the down-low?
posted by contessa at 11:28 AM on October 20, 2009


You know what's awesome? Antipopes.

Hey. cstross says it was just a drunken mistake, really. But we know better.
posted by sebastienbailard at 11:32 AM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


tippiedog probably has a good point about the real estate. Especially as the Queen's official title as head of the church is 'Supreme Governor of the Church of England', which has something of the Sith lord or gangster about it. You try and take the church buildings with you, you find Prince Philip outside your house with a shotgun going "Supreme Governor don't like it when you mess with her stuff, know what I mean?".
posted by Coobeastie at 11:52 AM on October 20, 2009 [6 favorites]


You know what's awesome? Antipopes.

Is there a space antipope? And is it reptilian?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:08 PM on October 20, 2009


Attention all Anglicans! You will be assimilated!
posted by jonp72 at 12:12 PM on October 20, 2009


I'm not really a fan of the Catholic church, but I've got to say that all of this lolcatholics stuff seems, well, kind of easy and not really productive. Like, I really feel Joe Beese's comment, a lot, but an entire thread of "eat it wafermunchers", not so much. I would really like to hear how a MeFite Catholic feels about this, or how some more MeFite Anglicans feel about the HRCC, but if I were them I wouldn't be comfortable commenting in this thread. If you're reading this: Guys I really want to hear from you.

It's interesting to think about how Eastern Orthodox churches will react to this in terms of their efforts towards unification or at least a felicitous relationship with the HRCC. I can't see this going over well with them, being that the E.O. seem more hardcore about being the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church, despite reunification efforts with Oriental Orthodoxy.
posted by voronoi at 12:17 PM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


If a pope and an antipope collide, do they mutually annihilate each other?
posted by jonp72 at 12:18 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


Because if there's one thing Anglicans want, it's to be in the catholic church, but they're just so attached to their doctrinal differences...
posted by delmoi at 12:19 PM on October 20, 2009


So this is the RCC essentially saying "haters, unite!" I'm sure that's just gonna work out swell for them.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:25 PM on October 20, 2009


It's interesting to think about how Eastern Orthodox churches will react to this in terms of their efforts towards unification or at least a felicitous relationship with the HRCC. I can't see this going over well with them, being that the E.O. seem more hardcore about being the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church, despite reunification efforts with Oriental Orthodoxy.

Catholic/Orthodox reunification will never happen if only because there's no way of getting past a creedal difference of this magnitude.

But practically (and more importantly), the Orthodox heirarchy will never accept orders from Rome, despite all the blathering about brotherhood and fellowship.
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:29 PM on October 20, 2009


longdaysjourney: That theological divide was around before the great schism, though, right? So theoretically it can be accommodated? Maybe it's too wrapped up in the great schism now. But it seems like if both churches are Nicene and Ephesian Chalcedonian that filioque is not as huge a doctrinal difference as it first appears. I could be totally wrong about that though, Christology is hard for me as a non-Christian. This is a discussion about possible reconciliation over filioque by the HRCC and EOC that is a mite technical for me but still v. interesting.

I have a feeling that you're right about the second point. But that hasn't stopped prominent church figures from trying apparently.
posted by voronoi at 12:37 PM on October 20, 2009


god's gonna be piiiiissed...
posted by Hugh2d2 at 12:38 PM on October 20, 2009


Hmm, there's a shitload of Anglicans down in Africa who basically all WTF at all the modern fluffy not-hating-gays stuff in the modern CoE. I wonder if that's what the Vatican has it's eye on.
posted by Artw at 12:49 PM on October 20, 2009


Artw: That was my assumption upon reading this.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 12:54 PM on October 20, 2009


Even if they got around the filioque, which I doubt hardliners on either side would allow, Catholics would have to drop the infallibility dogma (and everything that stems from it, probably the most contentious of which is the Immaculate Conception). And I just cannot see that happening, ever.

I can see closer political ties between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism for sure, but you're never going to see Rome granted any sort of authority over the appointment of Orthodox bishops or the administration of Orthodox dioceses.

The reunification movement is basically just an opportunity for the clergy to mix and mingle and say nice things about each other.
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:54 PM on October 20, 2009


Also, I imagine a lot of sputtering from Rome had the Anglicans done this first.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:00 PM on October 20, 2009


In a more serious vein, do married priests who convert to Catholicism get to keep their marriages?

That's actually one of the bigger issues addressed by this new system. Under the Personal Ordinariates set up today, married priests could be ordained as Catholic priest, though not bishops. My understanding is that previously you could get some kind of special papal approval, but that the new system makes this a standard thing.


More or less. My father is a Catholic priest; he began as a Lutheran minister and then later on converted to Catholicism. He was already married to my mother at that point, so he applied for and received a papal dispensation. Previously, it was such a rare situation that it just flew underneath the radar--even many Catholics aren't aware of the reality of married Catholic priests. Whenever he was assigned a new church, his parishioners required a bit of education and handholding, and their reactions often progressed from skepticism to unease to a weird sort of pride in his exceptionalism. And in the wake of the sex-abuse scandals, the level of trust people placed in him rose: he was considered to be a "safe" priest, and his marriage and family counseling was often held to be more relevant than that of celibate priests.

Of course, it goes without saying that the Church does little to promote knowledge of these exceptions. The higher-ups in the Catholic hierarchy are generally men who followed a very traditional path within the Church, and since my father entered the priesthood through a loophole, he is viewed with varying degrees of acceptance and welcome by these men. Not only is he ineligible to become a bishop, he is often assigned to an "assistant pastor" position, because there are varying opinions as to whether a married priest ought to serve as a head pastor.

Like TedW's priest, my father is ultra-conservative. (He performs the Latin mass as well.) I wouldn't be surprised if most married priests were, since there is a need for them to "prove" themselves as real Catholics and real priests, and the easiest way to do that is to embrace orthodoxy wholeheartedly and completely. You see a similar phenomenon among many Catholic converts. And since the Anglicans who would seek shelter in Catholicism under this new allowance would most likely be uniformly conservative, I wouldn't expect this to change.

YES it was weird.
posted by Powerful Religious Baby at 1:00 PM on October 20, 2009 [17 favorites]


Well, with that backstory Powerful Religious Baby wins some sort of 'best username' award.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 1:04 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


That "safe preist" thing is a bit of a weird out, in the implication that there's "non-safe priests" out there that people are putting up with for religious purposes.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on October 20, 2009


What I want to know is, did they ever find out how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

Now that's an easy one . . .

The answer is, "All of them."
posted by flug at 1:16 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would really like to hear how a MeFite Catholic feels about this, or how some more MeFite Anglicans feel about the HRCC, but if I were them I wouldn't be comfortable commenting in this thread. If you're reading this: Guys I really want to hear from you.


Interestingly enough, I'm a Roman Catholic who is considering converting to Episcopalian. There is so much I love about the Catholic church, but I feel like Vatican is trying to negate all of the important changes made in Vatican II. Moreover, it feels like they are saying "get in line or get out" to those of us who have differing opinions on gay rights, sexual abuse in the church (they're blaming it on "teh gay" rather than institutional corruption) contraception, feminism, etc.,. What's complicated for me is family history - I'm Irish-American and there is still a lot of hard feelings in my family towards people who converted during the famine. A lot of the family would see it as a betrayal of everything our ancestors fought for. Plus, I'm a member of an amazing parish that embodies everything that I love about the Catholic church and everything I think that it should be. The fact that the Vatican is reaching out to Anglicans who are aligned with all the things I dislike about the church fills me with great sadness.
posted by echolalia67 at 1:32 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


adipocere: It must be terrifying, watching humanity your political power base slide into some kind of secular abyss

FTFY
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:42 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can see closer political ties between Orthodoxy and Roman Catholicism for sure

You underestimate the power of silly outfits. See, the EOs' silly outfits are entirely different from the Catholics' and Anglicans' silly outfits, which are quite similar to each other.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:46 PM on October 20, 2009


I'm a former RC who became an Episcopalian about 6 years ago. My primary reasons for leaving were political, but since joining the Episcopal Church I have come to love all things Anglican. The thing that was most refreshing (besides the lack of misogyny and homophobia) was the focus on the people of the church rather than the hierarchy. My first time being a delegate to Diocesan Convention I was nearly in tears as we voted on the Canons. Not that we voted on anything earth-shattering, but after growing up in a church where stuff was decided in Rome, it was amazing to be a part of such a democratic process. I wonder how Anglicans who take the RC up on her offer will deal with this change. Episcopalian congregants and their Vestries have much more power on the parish level than Catholics and their Parish Councils. And I can't imagine being a priest who goes from being basically a free agent to one who is at the beck and call of his Bishop.

All in all I think it's a cynical, opportunistic move and I don't think it will affect that many people. Most of my parish ran away from Rome. I don't think they'll be heading back any time soon.
posted by Biblio at 1:52 PM on October 20, 2009


All in all I think it's a cynical, opportunistic move and I don't think it will affect that many people. Most of my parish ran away from Rome. I don't think they'll be heading back any time soon.

The Vatican's actions are in response to requests by Anglican communities that asked to re-unite with the Catholic Church. The press releases you're seeing today are specifying the Vatican's plans to incorporate those communities who asked to be re-united.

Who knows how many Anglicans are part of those communities, but it's not as if the Vatican decided out of the blue to try and steal some Anglicans away.
posted by jsonic at 2:00 PM on October 20, 2009


Chaplain: Let us praise God. O Lord...
Congregation: O Lord...
Chaplain: ...Ooh, You are so big...
Congregation: ...ooh, You are so big...
Chaplain: ...So absolutely huge.
Congregation: ...So absolutely huge.
Chaplain: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Congregation: Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell You.
Chaplain: Forgive us, O Lord, for this, our dreadful toadying, and...
Congregation: And barefaced flattery.
Chaplain: But You are so strong and, well, just so super.
Congregation: Fantastic.
Humphrey: Amen.
Congregation: Amen.

Chaplain: [singing] Oh Lord, please don't burn us/Don't grill or toast your flock/Don't put us on the barbecue/Or simmer us in stock/Don't braise or bake or boil us/Or stir-fry us in a wok/Oh please don't lightly poach us/Or baste us with hot fat/Don't fricassee or roast us/Or boil us in a vat/And please don't stick thy servants Lord/In a Rotiss-o-mat.

Best send-up of an Anglican service evah. And so, so true.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:26 PM on October 20, 2009 [4 favorites]


This seems a lot like the earlier Roman Catholic absorption of Eastern Rite and Byzantine Catholics.
posted by BrotherCaine at 2:32 PM on October 20, 2009


I would really like to hear how a MeFite Catholic feels about this, or how some more MeFite Anglicans feel about the HRCC..

I am now an atheist, but I grew up in the Episcopal Church and my mother is still very active in it. My wife grew up Catholic but now leans toward the Episcopal Church, so I have observed the differences between the two for some time. I think the Episcopal Church was described well by one of the priests at my mother's church, who had converted from Judaism: "I chose to join the Episcopal Church because it was the only one that didn't expect me to check my brain at the door". They have been pretty progressive in many ways and are fairly tolerant of dissent. Bishop Spong is a good example of the sort of person that few other denomination would tolerate; if his views were more mainstream I might consider going back to the church. Of course, higher-ups have sometimes expressed disagreement with him, but they have never to my knowledge tried to shut him up or expel him. I think it is also noteworthy that Episcopalians are over-represented among presidents.

On the other hand, it seems to me like the Catholic Church takes its membership, at least here in the US, for granted. Their views on things like birth control, divorce, celibacy, and so on are very much at odds with the way many of the Catholics I know actually live. But for many Catholics the ties to their church are very emotional. I know one hard-nosed criminal defense attorney who tears up when she talks about seeing Pope John Paul II when he came to America in 1987. So even though I sometimes wonder why people would stay with a church they disagree with in so many ways, there is some attachment to the Catholic Church in particular that I think outsiders just don't get. The Episcopal Church generally doesn't inspire that level of devotion, and so I can see how the Catholic Church would be attractive to disgruntled Episcopalians who like the relative familiarity of the liturgy and yearn for more stability (or stubbornness, depending upon your point of view) than the Episcopal Church provides. I am not too familiar with the rest of the Anglican Communion, but get the feeling a similar dynamic could be at work there, although not as strong, since the US church seems to be at the forfront of a lot of these controversial issues.
posted by TedW at 3:26 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


TASTES GREAT!

LESS FILLING!
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:29 PM on October 20, 2009


"The Vatican announced today that it would create a new structure that would allow former Anglicans to join the Roman Catholic Church while preserving elements of Anglican spirituality and liturgy."

And just think... they made these momentous changes *just* 456 years after Mary the First ascended to the throne.

...maybe they thought the C of E was going through a phase?!

As someone who is technically Anglican -- a baptized, generally supportive, but not practicing Episcopalian in the US -- I find the Vatican's offer intriguing.

I mean, I can give up a comparatively accepting, kind, (...dare I say Christian?!) church that doesn't shun homosexuals, and that allows for openly gay priests... and gain guilt, shame, and rampant cases of pedophilia.

I can lose the admirable focus on the teachings of Jesus, and gain a metric buttload of saints... including ones responsible for forced conversions.

I would get more exercise as there's a lot more kneeling involved... but my knees aren't what they used to be.

Really... unless the Catholic Church can get me a free Costco membership, I just don't see the upside here.
posted by markkraft at 3:40 PM on October 20, 2009


"So Catholic Lite can finally become, in fact, Catholic Lite?"

No. Anglican Christians are to be given the opportunity to become far less Christian Christians. It's a step down by any reasonable measure... and for those who are British, it's also a national affront.

Really, the way this was done is just insulting.
posted by markkraft at 3:53 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm Catholic, went to my first Episcopal service this past Sunday. It was nice, I wish the service itself had a bit more of the up-down, ritual Catholic flavor, but it was great to have an inclusive Eucharist (with the kids all gathered right up by the altar), male & female celebrants, and most importantly, an applicable and meaty sermon that didn't hit on all the Catholic political drumbeats.

I grew up Catholic, Catholic grade-school, was on the Archdiocesan Youth Council, attended Catholic leadership camps, youth retreats galore, considered being a priest, went to the University of Notre Dame, you name it. The older I got, however, the more I realized that I had absorbed the commandments of "Love God, Love Your Neighbor" more than the institutional "Whatever The Church Says, Goes". Thus, I'm cool with women priests, married priests, contraception, gay folks, pro-choice, etc. I became disenchanted with the RCC something like 4 years ago because I got tired of the anti-abortion drumbeat every week at Mass. Also, ancient priests who've been celebrating Mass for 50+ years and do it with their eyes closed. Also, no people my age at Church.

If you want to spin how I see this particular news in a secular fashion, it's like how the crazy-side of the Republican party has become the de facto Republican party. All the moderate and liberal-minded Catholics can just be further marginalized by this news (if they pay attention, which, as I can tell from my family, doesn't seem likely for cultural Catholics).
posted by sciurus at 3:58 PM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


Really, the way this was done is just insulting.

Welcome to the papacy of Benedict XVI! So glad you could join us. You can hang your compassion in the hall closet. Scourges and hairshirts in the bin on your left.

Seriously, ArtW has it. The church has taken a reckoning of the serious demographic pressures they face as they tack hard to the right. From that perspective, conservative Anglicans begin to look like fellow travelers and liberal catholics are dead weight. So rather than letting all of the former affiliate themselves with hyper-conservative African churches, Rome is trying to pull them in en masse. The result will give them demographic leverage that will help to alienate the liberals, and it will guarantee a ready supply of doctrinally conservative clergy. No change in official doctrine on marriage necessary.

It would be awesome (though it will never happen) if the Archbishop of Canterbury would respond by smoothing the path to conversion for disaffected Roman Catholic liberals. The result would be a massive sorting out that would alleviate ideological tensions in both churches. As it is, the two will shamble forward toward the eschaton, alternately sloughing off and absorbing one another's disaffected limbs.
posted by felix betachat at 4:07 PM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


The thing is, liberal Catholics don't need a smoother path to become Episcopalians. There is no "conversion." First of all, we give Communion to all baptized Christians, which the Catholics do not. So you can fully participate in our services without making any sort of commitment. You can even join a parish without officially being an Episcopalian. You just can't vote, be on the vestry or be a delegate to convention. If you DO decide to make it official, and you've already been confirmed by a Catholic Bishop, all you have to do is wait for your local Bishop to come round on his semi-annual visit and have him receive you into the church. That's it.
posted by Biblio at 4:25 PM on October 20, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's a grab for real estate.
posted by MotherTucker at 4:46 PM on October 20, 2009


As it is, the two will shamble forward toward the eschaton, alternately sloughing off and absorbing one another's disaffected limbs.

I knew Nyarlathotep was behind this somehow...
posted by Avelwood at 4:47 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I grew up reading Marvel Two-In-One. Saw plenty of soap operas with my mom as a child. Fan bases for imaginary beings merge and split quite naturally. Just don't get in the way when that happens, or you'll hear the The Funniest Religious Joke of All Time.
posted by eccnineten at 5:03 PM on October 20, 2009 [2 favorites]


If you DO decide to make it official, and you've already been confirmed by a Catholic Bishop, all you have to do is wait for your local Bishop to come round on his semi-annual visit and have him receive you into the church. That's it.

As an aside, as an acolyte, I was always in the altar area during the services. Set to one side of it was the "Bishop's Chair." No one ever got to sit in the bishop's chair except the bishop. It had the nicest cushion and an aura of specialness unlike anything else other than the altar itself. It seemed like forever until he'd arrive, sit in the chair, and leave.
posted by Atreides at 5:10 PM on October 20, 2009


I think it is very odd that the Roman Catholic Church thinks people who do not believe the Pope is infallible are going to join the Church.

Or have they loosened the rules to the point where you don't actually need to accept the Pope?
posted by five fresh fish at 5:22 PM on October 20, 2009


This is obviously proof that the Catholic Church is the great apostasy, and the false prophet, and we're in the end of times, and this unequivocally points to Obama being the Anti-Christ. Don't accept the blessings of the popes and all that shit.

If I get raptured you can keep my favorites.
posted by qvantamon at 5:47 PM on October 20, 2009


Also: Countdown to some random 10-word chunk of Nostradamus' Centuries that if you squint really hard can be vaguely interpreted as hinting towards this in 3... 2... 1...
posted by qvantamon at 5:51 PM on October 20, 2009


Despite some of the religion bashing, this thread is super awesome for tipping me over toward trying an Episcopalian service. I've been thinking about it for a long time, but my "Cultural Catholicism" has kept me loyal in a way I find had to understand -- sciurus and TedW articulated that feeling in a way I found comforting. I've been Catholic, Athiest, and Agnostic, with a side of Zen Buddhism, but it sounds like the Episcopalians have something that might fit me.

I also wanted to weigh in on married Priests who had converted to Catholicism -- we had a Priest in that circumstance when I was confirmed - which was 1983. I always viewed it as evidence the Church would change to allow Priests to marry. It seemed a logical inference. 26 years later, still no marrieds except those already married.
posted by artlung at 6:08 PM on October 20, 2009


Here's a story of an old high school friend of my wife and best friend... it seemed relevant to this conversation

His name was Chris, and was brought up in a very Catholic family... but he was gay. Really obviously gay. Before he acted upon it, others around him knew it. His family pressured him and tried forcing him into sports at first... and then the priesthood. But he was in to art and music and having fun with friends, trying to put off dealing with sex for as long as possible, because that was the part of him that didn't make sense.

During his late high school years, he tried to be straight... but the reality was much harder to avoid when he was in college. He'd get a good deal of attention from other guys, because it was really obvious and they felt comfortable approaching him. Most just mistook his flamboyancy for someone who was fully out, and not trying to resist his own nature.

When I first met him, when he was around 23, and claimed to be bisexual... not that he had shown any interest in women since awkward moments in high school. It was just easier for him, I think, to not close that door. His mother was still badgering him about getting married, and though she had seen plenty of evidence that would tip off anyone else, she refused to acknowledge or accept it.

Around 27 or so, he and my best friend's former boyfriend -- also Catholic, and now his best friend -- decided to join one of those groups that try to "convert" gays to hetrosexuality. We thought they were acting like loons, and in severe denial.

After a few months, it was pretty clear that it didn't work.

They lived together for awhile -- mostly as friends, occasionally more -- before following their own pursuits.

A few years after this, he was found in a hotel in Amsterdam, having hung himself. Before leaving, he had apparently sold everything he owned, including his car, bought a one-way ticket, and spent every last bit of money he'd ever saved during his life.

Although my wife had been friends of him for years, it turns out that his mother refused to contact his friends and let them know about the memorial. We only found out because one of the people in the family refused to ignore the multiple calls his best friend made, trying to figure out what he was. He thought, quite rightly, that his mother was being cruel and inhumane in her actions. Even after he was told that his best friend had died, it was still pretty clear that he wasn't to attend the memorial. No details were given to him or any of the old friends, but we called around numerous places and found out the time and location of the memorial.

After talking to his best friend -- something we hadn't done for several years -- it turns out that spending all his money and then killing himself was *exactly* what Chris said he'd do if he ever tested HIV+. (It's not like he had a family who would help him if he fell ill.)

So, out of all his friends, four of us were able to gather at the last moment to make the memorial. A very proper Catholic family affair with no mention of who Chris was or what he was like... only talk of a certain resurrection and a Heaven that was supposedly closed to the real Chris... and unwelcome stares at the pride flag pin and AIDS ribbons worn by some in our party.

The simple fact is, the Catholic Church is still out there, contributing to death, hatred, and discrimination... with real people really dying as a result, rather than living by anything that might imaginably be considered representative of the values of Christ.

So yeah... the Pope is a loudmouth bigot who gets people killed. He can go piss up a rope.
posted by markkraft at 6:33 PM on October 20, 2009 [11 favorites]


wait, does this mean that the pope isn't the anti-Christ? Or worse, does this imply that Catholics are, *gulp*, Christian???

It's the end of Western civilization as we know it!
posted by Neekee at 7:20 PM on October 20, 2009


I'll wait to read the fine print on "ease," but I've considered converting for years.
posted by njbradburn at 7:28 PM on October 20, 2009


I haven't read all the comments but this is mine; I may sound like copying someone's comment before... If I do, well just agree with it.... This is it!: "It's all a matter of economics... GOD NEEDS MONEY"... The more the better.
posted by CRESTA at 7:32 PM on October 20, 2009


You know what's awesome? Antipopes.

Even more awesome than that, just from a nomenclature perspective, are Quasi-cardinal-nephews
posted by dammitjim at 7:45 PM on October 20, 2009


If you think this is a surprising move, just wait until Pope Benedict executes Papal Edict 66. Everything is progressing exactly as he as foreseen...
posted by AndrewStephens at 8:42 PM on October 20, 2009 [1 favorite]


I wonder how young catholics planning to go in for the priesthood will view this? If they still can't marry while former Anglicans can, it seems the heretics are getting all the breaks. Is there the option of strategic temporary conversion to Anglicanism, or would that get you banned as a cynical apostate?

This surely can't be a stable position - it must mean that in the long run celibacy is on the way out.
posted by Phanx at 4:04 AM on October 21, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wonder what the implications of this are for the rules about line-of-succession for the British monarchy (Catholics are currently excluded)? Would an Anglican-Catholic be within the rules?
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 6:08 AM on October 21, 2009


I wonder what the implications of this are for the rules about line-of-succession for the British monarchy (Catholics are currently excluded)?

I strongly suspect that particular rule will never be enforced again. Trying to force through something so unpopular with contemporary public opinion could lead to the end of the Monarchy.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 7:59 AM on October 21, 2009


Of course, the continuing existence of the rule could lead some of the Royal household to remain within the Anglican fold and save the family the embarrasment of dealing with this issue.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 8:02 AM on October 21, 2009


I wonder what the implications of this are for the rules about line-of-succession for the British monarchy (Catholics are currently excluded)?

I strongly suspect that particular rule will never be enforced again.


Um, I may be wrong about this, but... The ruling monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, is she not? Wouldn't a Catholic monarch sort of totally fuck up that arrangement? Seems like a slight incentive to keep that rule going.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:36 AM on October 21, 2009


> I think it is very odd that the Roman Catholic Church thinks people who do not believe
> the Pope is infallible are going to join the Church.
>
> Or have they loosened the rules to the point where you don't actually need to accept the
> Pope?
> posted by five fresh fish at 8:22 PM on October 20 [+] [!]


Now then, fff. Imagine there's a president who has the power to set the policy of his administration on a given issue to X. And imagine that he announces, "On the issue in question, this administration's policy is X." Can you see any way he can be mistaken?

Since il papa only claims infallibility when he says what the official teaching of the church is on a given question, and since he has the power to set the official teaching of the church to be what he just said it is, it's hard to see how he can be anything other than infallible.

Let's say the Holy Father announces, ex cathedra, that the teaching of the church is that π is no longer 3.14159... and is now 4. The claim of infallibility applies not to the statement "π = 4", it applies to the statement "The teaching of the church is that π = 4."

I don't plan on leaving the Episcopalians (all the trendiness is outweighed by the consideration that they don't require me to believe anything in particular, which suits me and certainly isn't the RC way) but if I were tempted to jump on board this particular Popish plot it wouldn't be Papal infallibility I would boggle at. Frankly I don't see any way, in all logic, that it could be anything but true. Rather self-evidently true, at that.
posted by jfuller at 11:12 AM on October 21, 2009 [2 favorites]


I guess, but it still seems unlikely to me that many Anglicans are going to head for a Pope-run church when there are alternatives.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:16 AM on October 21, 2009


I thinnk you misunderestimate the appeal of getting to hate on gays and women without the complaint of some dude in England for some people.
posted by Artw at 11:41 AM on October 21, 2009


> I thinnk you misunderestimate the appeal of getting to hate on gays and women without
> the complaint of some dude in England for some people.
> posted by Artw at 2:41 PM on October 21 [+] [!]

I can't identify the dude you mean. It couldn't be Canterbury, he's been most conciliatory and nonconfrontational on every imaginable front. And it can't be Henry VIII R, he's not head of the C of E and more, being dead and all, but certainly wouldn't have had any problem with hating gays or women or anyone else. Do you mean George Galloway?
posted by jfuller at 2:22 PM on October 21, 2009


The ruling monarch is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, is she not?

I believe that unless societal norms drastically change, in the unlikely circumstance that the heir to the throne was not an Anglican, the powers the be would sooner (semi-)disestablish the church than suffer the unending fury that would be caused by discriminating against someone because of their religion.

On the other hand, I can imagine them discriminating against females for a while longer, despite this Queen's popularity.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 2:33 PM on October 21, 2009


Well, this is shitty. The NYT article linked above which I referenced in a previous comment has been changed, and the paragraph with the quote I pulled has been removed. A couple other websites had quoted that paragraph as well. I don't see a note on the page about the edit.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 6:52 PM on October 21, 2009


TPAA: Proof that the Vatican controls the media!
posted by five fresh fish at 8:14 PM on October 21, 2009


I await most anxiously to hear whether Her Majesty, ERII, will speak out. Her Nibs has the Majesty down really good. I haven't seen her speaking any time recently, and I hope she is well, and up to the task. It would be truly lovely to see Elizabeth come out in full glory for a slap-down.

But really, this move makes me wonder whether the Queen is having poor health. Arrangements have been made that Prince Charles will not be Supreme Governor/Defender of the Faith. This was partly (or under the guise) of a bit of modern separation of church and state, but also to remove objections to his marriage with Camilla.

I have no horse in this race, other than my general respect for the Anglicans, and a different respect for the RC, which does not in any way extend to this pope. The lack of diplomacy displayed by the RC in this instance speaks volumes of the worldly origin of this plan. Follow the money, indeed. His Holliness has muddy, muddy, feet.
posted by Goofyy at 9:53 PM on October 22, 2009


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