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The Truth Is Real, Not Rigid [Catholic/Anglican Caucus]
The Catholic Thing ^ | May 18, 2017 | Fr. Gerald E. Murray

Posted on 05/19/2017 8:28:21 AM PDT by ebb tide

Note: My learned EWTN “Papal Posse” colleague, Fr. Murray, dissects today a phenomenon all too common in the Church just now – Churchmen who, on the basis of no one knows what, casually change Catholic teaching and practice. He directs us back to the saving and safe reality of truth. This is something that, in one way or another, we try to do every day at The Catholic Thing. Our fund drive is doing well so far and thanks again to all of you who have made generous contributions to this work. Let me remind the rest of you that we rely on reader support for a lot of what we’re able to bring you every day. If you can’t make a serious donation right now, you could certainly set up a monthly gift of $5, $10, $25, $50, or more. In some ways that helps us even more since it allows us to plan in light of the resources we’ll have during the rest of the year. It’s not brain surgery or rocket science. Please, click the Donate button and add your support to the defense and preservation of Catholic truth. – Robert Royal    

Does reality matter? Is it the decisive and necessary reference point for discovering what is and what is not, what is true and what is false? Or is reality subject to revision based one’s preferences, desires, or some other factor? These questions come to mind when we consider the astounding report concerning remarks made by Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio on the question of the validity of Anglican orders. According to Christopher Lamb in The Tablet, Coccopalmerio characterized the Church’s teaching on the question of Anglican orders as follows: “We have had, and we still have a very rigid understanding of validity and invalidity: this is valid, and that is not valid. One should be able to say: ‘this is valid in a certain context, and that is valid another context’.”

The Cardinal speculates on the doctrinal implications of past papal gestures of friendship and respect, stating: “What does it mean when Pope Paul VI gave a chalice to the Archbishop of Canterbury? If it was to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, the Eucharist, it was meant to be done validly, no?” He continues: “This is stronger than the pectoral cross, because a chalice is used not just for drinking but for celebrating the Eucharist. With these gestures, the Catholic Church already intuits, recognizes a reality.”

These remarks are published in a new book, whose title is not given by Lamb, presenting the contents of a meeting of the Malines Conversation Group held near Rome in April of this year. Vatican Radio covered the meeting, noting the participation of Cardinal Coccopalmerio. The Vatican Radio story included comments by Fr. Tony Currer of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity. Regarding Anglican orders he comments: “I think it’s true to say we don’t use the language of ‘null and void’ any more,” as that’s “clearly not what is spoken by the gestures, generosity, and warmth which we see time and time again.”

Validity is another word for reality when speaking about the sacraments. The Church teaches clearly what is necessary for the valid – that is, true and real – celebration of the sacraments. By invoking the pejorative buzzword “rigid understanding” regarding validity and invalidity, Coccopalmerio reduces the Church’s determination of what counts as a valid sacrament to the expression of a psychologically unhealthy attitude rooted in ignorance or irrational fear.href="">Rome, Paul VI, and Canterbury, Michael Ramsey, 1966

The question of validity is simple: Does the Church consider an Anglican ordination to be a valid administration of the sacrament of Holy Orders? The answer is no, as determined authoritatively by Pope Leo XIII in his encyclical Apostolicae Curae. Anglican ordination does not make a man into a Catholic priest. That determination is objective, grounded in a careful and reasoned study of the history, doctrines and practice of both the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

Coccopalmerio also states: “When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’.” The choice presented in this statement is that at an Anglican ordination either a man is validly ordained a priest, or that nothing happened. But there is a third possibility: Anglican ordination results in someone becoming an Anglican priest, not a Catholic priest.

The Church teaches that such an ordination is not a valid Catholic ordination. The man ordained in an Anglican ceremony does not receive the sacrament of Holy Orders. The sacrament of Holy Orders is not administered. (I leave aside the question of Anglicans ordained by bishops who themselves received valid episcopal consecration by Orthodox or Old Catholic bishops.)

Coccopalmerio and Currer apparently resist this truth. The Cardinal claims that the Papal gift of a chalice to the Archbishop of Canterbury means that Pope Paul VI considered the Anglican Communion Service to be a valid celebration of Mass because “it was meant to be done validly.” But Pope Paul never said what Coccopalmerio infers. A gesture does not equal a doctrinal pronouncement.

Fr. Currer claims that “we don’t use the language of ‘null and void’ anymore.” If by “we” he means the Catholic Church, he is wrong. Pope Leo XIII’s determination has never been rejected by any of his successors. The fact that Fr. Currer and others are unhappy that Anglican orders were found to be null and void is evident. Currer’s dissatisfaction with this exercise of the papal magisterium does not, however, mean that the Church no longer upholds the invalidity of Anglican orders.

Coccopalmerio seeks to dismiss the objective truth of what constitutes sacramental validity in the Catholic Church by making it changeable according to a “context.” Is this not relativism plain and simple? The Cardinal does not claim here that the criteria for determining the validity or invalidity of the administration of Holy Orders were misapplied by Leo XIII when he examined Anglican orders. (Perhaps he addresses this question elsewhere in his published remarks.) He simply says that those criteria should not apply because they are “rigid.” Pope Leo XIII’s determination that Anglican orders are invalid is maligned as rigid when one does not like the particular truth in question. One man’s rigidity is another man’s solidity. Is the Church stubborn or steadfast in this matter? I would say She is both. That is what the truth requires regardless of any context. If She made a huge mistake here, what else will be put on the chopping block?

Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote in his essay The Dethronement of Truth: “Disrespect for truth – when not merely a theoretical thesis, but a lived attitude – patently destroys all morality, even all reasonability and all community life. All objective norms are dissolved by this attitude of indifference toward truth; so also is the possibility of resolving any discussion or controversy objectively. Peace among individuals or nations and all trust in other persons are impossible as well. The very basis of a really human life is subverted.”

Truth is cast aside at our great peril.

TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Moral Issues; Theology
KEYWORDS: francischurch; rigidity; truth

1 posted on 05/19/2017 8:28:21 AM PDT by ebb tide
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To: ebb tide

So what would be the status of our priest who was ordained as a Catholic, but left the church because he appalled but the way pedophilia was being covered up?

2 posted on 05/19/2017 8:44:55 AM PDT by SubMareener (Save us from Quarterly Freepathons! Become a MONTHLY DONOR)
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To: SubMareener

I’m not surprised that you’re the first to cast a stone.

3 posted on 05/19/2017 8:57:32 AM PDT by ebb tide (We have a rogue curia in Rome)
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To: ebb tide

It wasn’t a “stone” it was a question. How does it work? Has his Catholic ordination been canceled and his Anglican ordination is invalid, or is his Anglican ordination valid because he was previously ordained as a Catholic, or what?

Frankly, posting links that prove the Anglican church is as corrupt as the Catholic church doesn’t really help the discussion. I love you, brother, but sometimes I wonder what you think is gained by posting about turmoil in the Church.

4 posted on 05/19/2017 9:17:10 AM PDT by SubMareener (Save us from Quarterly Freepathons! Become a MONTHLY DONOR)
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To: SubMareener
Nobody should leave the Church for the sins and failings of others.

Remember that when Jesus was at His hour of crisis, one of his select companions betrayed him for money, His right-hand man denied he even knew Him three times, and the rest of them (except John) were headed for the tall grass.

That's when you resolve to love the Church and never be separated from it: the Church at the foot of the Cross.

5 posted on 05/19/2017 9:58:05 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("The Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the Truth." - 1 Timothy 3:15)
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To: SubMareener
Sorry if I got off track. To answer your questions:

A Catholic ordination is never "cancelled" in the full and final sense: "Thou art a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek."

Even if he's excommunicated, dies unrepentant in his sins, and goes to hell, he's still a priest.

However, he can be deprived of his "faculties" and, as we say, "laicized,"--- that is, his authorization to present himself in publc as a priest, and to perform any priestly function, whether liturgical, sacramental, preaching, etc. is rescinded by his bishop or superior.

Note I said his "authorization," not his power. He still has the power to do these things, unauthorized --- if he wishes to plunge himself further into the sin of Eucharistic sacrilege, etc. This is seriously bad business.

As I understand it, Anglican ordination in itself is never valid in the Catholic Church. Just now the FrancisRegime seems to be trying to fudge that by winks and nods and knowing glances; I mean to say, by carefully crafted ambiguities- --- which is the way they roll.

6 posted on 05/19/2017 10:07:33 AM PDT by Mrs. Don-o ("The Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the Truth." - 1 Timothy 3:15)
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To: Mrs. Don-o

Thanks for your thoughtful response. All of this is happening according to the Father’s Plan. The important thing now is, as you say, not to leave the Church because of the actions of others, but to hold fast to what we were taught when we first believed. Be a victor!

Revelation 17
7 The angel said to me, “Why are you amazed? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns.

Romans 10
8 But what does it say?
“The word is near you,
in your mouth and in your heart”
(that is, the word of faith that we preach),
9 for, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
10 For one believes with the heart and so is justified, and one confesses with the mouth and so is saved.
11 For the scripture says, “No one who believes in him will be put to shame.”
12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all, enriching all who call upon him.
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Revelation 2
7 “’”Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To the victor I will give the right to eat from the tree of life that is in the garden of God.”’
- - - - -
11 “’”Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
The victor shall not be harmed by the second death.”’
- - - - -
17 “’”Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
To the victor I shall give some of the hidden manna; I shall also give a white amulet upon which
is inscribed a new name, which no one knows except the one who receives it.”’
- - - - -
24 But I say to the rest of you in Thyatira, who do not uphold this teaching and
know nothing of the so-called deep secrets of Satan: on you I will place no further burden,
25 except that you must hold fast to what you have until I come.
26 “’”To the victor, who keeps to my ways until the end, I will give authority over the nations.
27 He will rule them with an iron rod. Like clay vessels will they be smashed,
28 just as I received authority from my Father. And to him I will give the morning star.
29 “’”Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
- - - - -
Revelation 3
4 However, you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments;
they will walk with me dressed in white, because they are worthy.
5 “’”The victor will thus be dressed in white, and I will never erase his name
from the book of life but will acknowledge his name in the presence of my
Father and of his angels.
6 “’”Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
- - - - -
7 “To the angel of the church in Philadelphia, write this:
“‘The holy one, the true,
who holds the key of David,
who opens and no one shall close,
who closes and no one shall open,
says this:
8 “‘“I know your works (behold, I have left an open door before you, which no one can close).
You have limited strength, and yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.
9 Behold, I will make those of the assembly of Satan who claim to be Jews and are not,
but are lying, behold I will make them come and fall prostrate at your feet,
and they will realize that I love you.
10 Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial
that is going to come to the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth.
11 I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown.
12 “‘“The victor I will make into a pillar in the temple of my God, and he will never leave it again.
On him I will inscribe the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem,
which comes down out of heaven from my God, as well as my new name.
13 “‘“Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’
- - - - -
20 “’”Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and
opens the door, [then] I will enter his house and dine with him, and he with me.
21 I will give the victor the right to sit with me on my throne, as I myself
first won the victory and sit with my Father on his throne.

22 “’”Whoever has ears ought to hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”
- - - - -

* [2:7] Victor: referring to any Christian individual who holds fast to the faith
and does God’s will in the face of persecution. The tree of life that is in the
garden of God: this is a reference to the tree in the primeval paradise (Gn 2:9);
cf. Rev 22:2, 14, 19. The decree excluding humanity from the tree of life has
been revoked by Christ.

7 posted on 05/19/2017 10:21:31 AM PDT by SubMareener (Save us from Quarterly Freepathons! Become a MONTHLY DONOR)
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