Skip to comments.Pope Benedict XVI and Orthodox / Anglican Reunification
Posted on 05/25/2005 7:48:20 PM PDT by jec1ny
24th May, Feria - Operation Rampolla or the Reunion of Catholicity?
Operation Rampolla? What on earth could that be? The French sedevacantists have come out with yet another diatribe, but oddly enough, there is a brilliant intelligence behind all the reams of pdf and other files on Les Amis du Christ-Roi - one Monsieur Hubert Rémy who lives in Nantes. Does he take himself for a new Louis Veuillot, Ward or Monsigor Umberto Benigni? This fellow seems able to sniff out a conspiracy in just about everything!
The title of the latest addition to this fascinating website is, translated into English: Operation Rampolla, the true agenda of Father Ratzinger. Why Father Ratzinger? These sedevacantists obviously claim to have the authority to judge that he is not a bishop because he was consecrated with the Novus Ordo Pontifical, and, as sedevacantists, they believe that he is not the Pope. They concede his valid priestly ordination because he was ordained long before the changes. Anyway, these opinions are not my concern in bringing this matter to my readers.
According to this neo-Sodalitium Pianum of fanatical zealots, as they would certainly like to be considered, the Oxford Movement was a product of a Rosicrucian and Masonic conspiracy to infiltrate the Catholic Church with its anti-Christian ideal, and thereby to destroy the Apostolic Succession and Sacramental life of the Church. Having been myself an Anglican, I can only say: What abject and utter nonsense! In all the Anglican parishes I have served as a choirboy, organist or simple layman, I have only ever known one clergyman who was a Freemason: the Reverend Harry Fall who was Rector of Holy Trinity, Micklegate in York in the 1970's. He was a kind and affable man, broad church, but dignified when he presided at Evensong or the Eucharist, which he celebrated according to Series II. I had no inkling that his ideal would have been to destroy Christianity. However, most of the High-Church clergy I have known were opposed to Freemasonry, and were often deeply pious and sincere men, dedicated to their ministry and pastoral callings.
Was the Oxford Movement gnostic? I can hardly stop laughing when I read such accusations thrown against Newman, Keble and Pusey! Hubert Rémy would have us believe that they were part of a Gnostic-Masonic plot to infiltrate the Roman Catholic Church in the 1830's and 40's, but I have never seen any evidence to support such a fantastic notion. Had there been, I have spent long enough in Anglicanism to know that if that was the case, parish vicars would have been getting the choirboys intiated into a Masonic lodge! The suggestion was never made to me, and I never had any interest in belonging to a secret society. I didn't even know what Freemasonry was until about the age of 17 when I went to help repair the organ of a Masonic Lodge in a small northern English town. I saw the odd looking table and candlesticks in the middle of the room and various strange symbols like the square and compass, but thought no more of it. It was not in the Church of England that I would have been encouraged into Masonry or Rosicrucianism!
Through the ranting and raving, hacking through the undergrowth of accusations of Freemasonry and Gnosticism, a brilliant analysis begins to emerge. However, unlike the sedevacantists, this analysis can bring us to a new understanding of Pope Benedict's Pontificate. My reaction is diametrically the opposite of what I was expected to understand by reading this paper - it brought me to an ever-increasing optimism in confirming my deepest intuitions and convictions. What is this far-reaching Papal agenda?
Pope Benedict XVI actually intends to reunite Eastern Orthodoxy and High-Church Anglicanism (the parts without female clergy and theological modernism) with the Roman Catholic Church, nothing less! The changes in the coat of arms, the Reform of the Reform, his many writings in favour of the traditional Roman liturgy - it all becomes clear. We are moving from the "ecumenism" we have known for the last forty years back to the heady days of the Malines Conference of 1923 (much of the preparation happened under Pope Benedict XV who died in 1922 - it fits). Why the new ecumenical alignment? Simply because since Vatican II, it is been all talk, and nothing positive has been done except to secularise the whole of western Christianity. The multi-religion meetings of Assisi and other places are over, and so are the Buddhas on the altars, the Koran-kissing. It is now all about the Undivided Church of the future!
The attitude of the Eastern Orthodox Churches has radically changed since the death of Pope John Paul II. Since Benedict XVI was elected last month, there have been no end of pronouncements and brotherly greetings from official authorities in Constantinople and Moscow in favour of resuming the dialogue in view to full communion - that the Church may breathe with both lungs! It is even suggested that the miracle may happen very soon.
Monsieur Rémy attributes all this to the Anglicans of the Oxford Movement and Cardinal Rampolla. Cardinal Rampolla was Secretary of State under Leo XIII, and came within a hair's breadth of being elected Pope in 1903. Rampolla was highly favoured by Pope Benedict XV after the death of St. Pius X in 1914. I am sure that had Cardinal Rampolla really been a Mason, he would have been found out and excommunicated by St. Pius X - but he survived the terror of the Sodalitium Pianum years. How could he have been a Mason?
During the second Conference of Malines in 1923, the Anglicans formulated a reunion project. This project had been in the air since the days of Pusey, Newman and Keble, and was greatly encouraged under the Pontificate of Leo XIII. How else would Newman, a convert, have got the Cardinal's Hat? It was in the 1890's that a commission was formed to study the question of Anglican Orders. The term was corporate reunion as opposed to individual conversions. By the end of the nineteenth century, the Oxford Movement had developed into a fully re-catholicised version of Anglicanism - Anglo-Catholicism. With Apostolicae Curae of 1896 came the problem of the validity of Anglican Orders, and thus of the Sacraments. However, there are new grounds for a re-evaluation: the influx of the Old Catholic succession and the re-Catholicising of the ordination rites. See Accipe Potestatem - by a Roman Catholic layman). The plan was intended to retain certain customs and particularities in a reunited Anglican Church, notably the use of English in the liturgy, Communion in both kinds and a optionally married clergy (many Anglo-Catholic clerics are celibate).
On 24th April of this year came an article in the British press about meetings between Archbishop John Hepworth, Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion and Cardinal Ratzinger. He was one of the very first issues of Pope Benedict's Pontificate. When Cardinal Ratzinger entered Conclave, he revealed his ten-year relationship with the TAC. The Traditional Anglican Communion is a Continuing Anglican Church, a part of the movement founded in 1977 on the basis of the Affirmation of Saint Louis. In this Affirmation, the doctrine of this Church was no longer to be the Thirty-Nine Articles, but the first seven Ecumenical Councils and the Tradition of classical Catholicism. The ordination of women was refused, and the TAC has taken a strong moral position in line with the teachings of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II. The relationship between Archbishop Hepworth and Cardinal Ratzinger has existed for some ten years, and the TAC has a concordat of intercommunion with Forward in Faith, the Anglican opposite number of the Ecclesia Dei and Indult movement. Forward in Faith is still in canonical standing with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and its parishes (refusing female clergy) are ministered to by Flying Bishops. The Chairman of Forward in Faith is the Bishop of Fulham (Suffragan of London), the Rt. Rev. John Broadhurst. Thus, the Traditional Anglican Communion is no splinter group - it contains nearly half a million faithful.
Already, in 1980, the Congregation for Divine Worship approved an Anglican Use liturgy for former Episcopalian parishes under the Pastoral Provision approved by Pope John Paul II and entrusted to Cardinal Law of Boston (yes, the same!). This "uniate" movement is thus nothing new. This liturgical rite is largely the Prayer Book Office and Eucharist with theological corrections to bring it into line with Catholic doctrine. It is not in ICEL English but in an archaic and classical idiom, and the Mass in Pastoral Provision parishes is Eastward facing on a traditional altar, not facing the people.
The Traditional Anglican Communion is thus in a very earnest relationship with Pope Benedict, especially since the decision of the Worldwide Anglican Communion (Canterbury) to proceed with the ordination of women and the serious dispute over the raising of known practicing homosexuals to the Episcopate that occurred in 2004 leading to the Eames Commission Report of October last year. This move to full communion with Rome has been approved all along by Cardinals Ratzinger and Kasper - one of them is now Pope. The scenario would be the creation of an Anglican Rite Church in communion with Rome as a prelude to recovering other orthodox-minded Anglicans opposed to "revisionism". Such a step would bring millions of English, North American, South American, Australian and African faithful into communion with the Roman Catholic Church and the Successor of Saint Peter!
Finally, everything is converging: the coat of arms (minus the Tiara), the liturgy, the desire to combat relativism, corruption and secularism. Pope Benedict is clearly motivated by the spirit of Malines, Vladimir Soloviev, the very words of Christ - Ut omnes unum sint.
Would the Devil or Freemasonry seek to promote the very agenda that can give the Church and the Gospel unity and credibility in the face of Secularism and Islam? Is the idea to stamp out the Apostolic Succession through filling the Church with [invalid according to the sedevacantists] Novus Ordo and Anglican bishops? No, I think not, otherwise the Orthodox would have nothing to do with it. I therefore adhere to this vision, and not to the definitively outdated intransigence of mid nineteenth-century doomwatchers and their modern-day acolytes.
Thanks for posting this insightful article. Clearly Benedict XVI is several steps ahead of the prevailing wisdom.
What does that mean? What are the lines of authority in such an arrangement? Just curious.
The Orthodox seem to see an opening with BXVI as well.
Thanks. That submission to the ultimate authority of the Pope would be a revolutionary change, and break with history. I don't see it, but well, my "expertise" on these matters is next to nil, as so many posters have so helpfully reminded me.
From then on, it'll be anybody's guess as to how the rest of the Anglicans tilt.
That's the way I see it, anyway.
Yes! A new word every day.
Yes! A new word every day."
The word is a term for schismatic and heretical traditionalists who believe that the pope is not the pope. Although few in numbers, there are a lot of different branches of these individuals. Most believe the throne of Peter has been vacant since the reign of either Pope Pius XII or John XXIII. Some hold that John ceased to be pope when he embraced what they claim was modernist heresy. Others claim that John was never legally elected because he was (so they claim) a secret Free Mason and therefore excommunicated.
Of course this is utter nonsense. The one thing which binds all these traditionalist quasi-Catholics is their visceral hatred of all things connected to Vatican II, most particularly the reformed (Novus Ordo) liturgy. In fairness I am not a great fan of the reformed liturgy myself. I do not doubt its legitimacy or its legality. But I do believe as a matter of private opinion, that it is manifestly inferior to that which it was intended to replace. Many of the sedevacantists have validly ordained priests. A few of the groups may even have validly though illicitly consecrated bishops (usually obtained through Old Catholic lines). Many however do not have valid orders. In any case, sedevacantists are formally schismatic and heretical by virtue of their denial of the lawful authority and election of the supreme pontiff and also their denial of the dogmatic definitions of the Second Vatican Council. They are ipso facto excommunicated.
As a side note the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) founded by the late French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre is not sedevacantist. They acknowledge the lawful election and authority of the post conciliar popes. Their position on the validity of Vatican II is not altogether clear. However their open and very grave disobedience coupled with their unauthorized episcopal consecrations renders them schismatic although they deny this. Unlike most of the fringe traditionalist groups there is some hope that the SSPX might be reconciled with the Holy See. Pope Benedict XVI has been quite blunt in his own criticisms of the reformed liturgy and his high opinion of the pre-Vatican II (Tridentine Rite) liturgy. It is entirely possible that a much broader permission for the use of the old mass may be forthcoming.
Can't see this happening. The Anglicans are a broad church and they take pride in remaining so. There is an Anglo-Catholic section but it has not done much in its long history. The ordination of women priests did not create a big stir and they soon will become bishops. Over time opposition fades and everyone is happy again. Very few people resist change.
One of the big stumbling blocks to Anglo-Catholic reunion has been the question of Anglican orders. In the past, traditionalist Catholics have held that Anglican orders are invalid on the grounds that the rite was not in the correct Catholic format and wording. Anglicans countered that their ordination rites contain all the essential elements of such rites (laying on of hands, epiclesis, etc). The Ecumenical Patriarch agreed with the Anglicans in 1923. Thanks largely to Vatican II and the new rites, the "magic words" arguement is going away. Today, the 1928 BCP (the liturgy favored by Anglicans serious about Catholic reunion) is demonstrably "more Catholic" than many of today's missals.
The next arguement was apostolic succession. Some Catholics contended that Anglican bishops are not in the historic line of episcopal succession. This arguement is also on the way out as Anglicans can document their succession back to a couple of medieval popes. When the bishops were ousted by Oliver Cromwell, they lived in exile until their restoration to their sees by Charles II (thus preserving the succession).
It doesn't "fade", it leaves. Two of the best priests in our Catholic diocese are former Episcopalians. Thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, left over priestesses for Orthodoxy, Catholicism, and splinter Anglican groups. Millions will leave over Vicky Gene.
"That is what happens when you have been hashing out theological disputes and conundrums for 2000 years; there is an attendant accretion of insider jargon."
Not to mention TLA's.....!
"Sedevacantist" is a term made by combining the Latinate "Sede" for chair or "See" and "vacant" for vacant.
So, a "sedevacantist" is one who believes that a chair, in this case the Papal Chair - the Holy See - is vacant due to the failing to properly invest a pope.
I think that after the death of John Paul II and before the selection and installation of Benedict XVI, the Vatican itself printed stamps and minted coins that said "Sede Vacant" - the chair is empty. Some Catholic wag here made his tagline "I am feeling strangely sedevacantist!"
To answer someone else's point, the Orthodox are not sedevacantists. They also acknowledge that the Bishop of Rome is senior in dignity to the other patriarchs, the primus inter pares, "first among equals". Were there be an ecumenical council at which Orthodox and Catholics all sat again, the Orthodox are the first to acknowledge that Pope would be seated at the head of the table, and would be the chair and run the agenda.
Where disagreement arises is over the extent of monarchical authority of the Pope: to what extent does the Pope have the authority to impose a doctrine on the Church over the objection of a Patriarch.
The original flaring of this controversy was the Great Schism itself and the assertions of papal supremacy in the filioque dispute.
I myself think that renunification with the Orthodox and the High Church Anglicans is eminently possible and theologically necessary. Jesus prayed for the UNITY of his Church. We can't keep defying him on this fundamental matter because we want to fight with each other. Where we cannot find a way, we have to pray to the Holy Spirit to cover us in our meetings so that He can show us a way we cannot devise for ourselves.
It is too important in a European world that is literally rotting at the core, both in Orthodox Russia and the Catholic West and Anglican England, with sexual libertinism and its intendant diseases running utterly rampant and getting deeper and deeper into the fabric of everything, legalized brothels, gay marriage, and sharply rising intolerance of Christianity. The Church has got to pull itself together and face this united.
"We are not divided, all one body we. One in hope and doctrine, one in charity. Onward Christian soldiers..."
"Over time opposition fades and everyone is happy again. Very few people resist change."
I think you ar quite right wrt the main body of the CofE, however, the TAC which has been in negotiations with the then Cardinal Ratzinger have already left the Canterbury communion. They are a free-standing body of about 40 bishops and 400,000 believers who are looking for a home to go to.
It is these, together with some of Forward in Faith who are likely to re-unite with Rome.
I very much doubt that there will be reunion between the Orthodox and the Catholic Church in the foreseeable future.
A significant part of the folks who call themselves Anglican, though, that could happen. I know that not only is TAC involved, but I know from private communications that at least one other significant Continuing Anglican body is close, as well. In fact, for a number of these groups, reunion with Rome is either an explicit, or a privately expressed, goal.
It is quite true that ECUSA is a "broad church" and that many parishes and parishioners are on the low church, evangelical, XXXIX Articles end of the spectrum. Those folks will not even consider an Anglican Rite or joining in the Pastoral Provision.
But a significant number of parishes (and more in England than the U.S.) are Anglo-Catholic (most are organized under the Forward in Faith banner). The main reason they "haven't done much" is because they have always been opposed BOTH by the liberal-loony wing and the evangelicals . . . by the libs for their theology and the evangelicals for their ritual, which they find suspiciously Papist.
After the Vicki Gene debacle, though, the A/Cs and the evangelicals have made common cause to oppose the libs who have fallen off the deep end. This has publicized both in their different lines of dissent to ECUSA and the lib churchmen in England. They have buried their differences because this is not just an issue that can "fade away", like the prayer book revisions. This goes to the heart of Scripture and 2000 years of church teaching.
Instead of the high church folks making individual decisions to leave (as we did), the support of His Holiness could well allow a unified response from all the Forward in Faith aligned parishes at once.
I think we are very, very blessed in this Pope.
This is correct. However, the TAC has recently documented that their orders are through the PNCC. Rome has always acknowledged the validity of PNCC orders. So this gives the Vatican a way to recognize TAC orders without reversing the "absolutely null and utterly void" declaration.
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