Nicholas Lash on Anglican Move: "Disgraceful"

From Nicholas Lash, the distinguished theologian, author and former professor of divinity at Cambridge, in this week's Tablet.  He is dilating on Anglicanorum coetibus, the apostolic constitution, as well as the complementary norms, relating to the Vatican's welcoming of Anglicans.  And he's not sanguine.  (By the way, that drawing from the mag to the right?  Neither fish nor fowl.)  Here's Professor Lash:

More than a century ago, Newman prophetically foresaw that another council would be needed to correct the exaggerated ultramontanism which was the mood of the majority at the First Vatican Council. During the twentieth century, that ultramontanism generated an historically unprecedented centralisation of power in Rome. In due time, however, another council was convened and it was generally agreed that its main doctrinal achievement was the spelling out, in Lumen Gentium, of the doctrine of episcopal collegiality – the theoretical component of the long overdue decentralisation of ecclesial power.

We have the theory, but await the practice. The failure of “Rome” to inform the Archbishop of Canterbury until the last minute; the bypassing of the bishops’ conferences most affected by the proposal – this is of a piece with the issuing, in 2007, of the apostolic letter Summorum Pontificum, encouraging general use of the unreformed Missal of 1962, in the teeth of a great deal of episcopal objection.

Why the announcement was made before the constitution was complete, I do not know. But, on the whole, it is not what is being done, but the manner in which it is being done, that is objectionable. A major structural innovation in Roman Catholicism is being introduced without consulting the bishops of the Catholic Church. According to the constitution, “Personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church are erected by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith within the confines of the territorial boundaries of a particular Conference of Bishops in consultation with that same conference” (my stress). Too late, as Judi Dench (playing Elizabeth I) said to Sir Walter Raleigh when she stepped into the puddle.

I very much hope that Catholics in this country and elsewhere will warmly welcome into our communion the members of the new ordinariates. Nevertheless, in terms of the relations between Rome and the bishops’ conferences affected, the way in which these ordinariates have been invented is disgraceful.


In that same issue is a smart piece by Robert Mickens on the evolution of the CDF, and their role in the Anglican outreach; as well as another smart piece by Michael Walsh on the possible fallout in parishes and among priests and bishops.  (Both of those require registration, but it's worth it.)  Read the rest of Lash's piece here, which is free online.

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david power
8 years 4 months ago
America,why was my post pulled from the blog?I assiduosly avoided the word "you" to avoid offending anybody and am curious as to the censorship.I Would really appreciate an explanation and hope I did not scandalize anybody.

With Peace,David


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