- Battle lines drawn
This week produced the clearest evidence yet that the Synod Fathers are sharply divided between those who are supporting Pope Francis in his efforts to present a more pastoral vision of the Church and those determined first and foremost to emphasise its moral teaching
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The Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has told the heads of the three ordinariates for former Anglicans that their congregations must integrate into the wider Catholic community while preserving their distinctive identity.
The meeting in Rome last month marked a first between Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Mgrs Keith Newton head of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, Jeffrey Steenson of the US-based Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter and Harry Entwistle of the Australian Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross.
“In these first key years” since Pope Benedict XVI set up the ordinariates, Cardinal Muller said, “Anglicans will be interested in how well you are able to make a home in the Catholic Church that is more than just assimilation, while Catholics will want to know that you are here to stay, strengthening our ecclesial cohesion rather than setting yourselves apart as another divisive grouping within the Church … It is your delicate but all-important task both to preserve the integrity and distinctiveness of your parish communities and, at the same time, help your people integrate into the larger Catholic community.”
Cardinal Müller said the ordinariate liturgy, which draws on the Book of Common Prayer among other sources, was the "privileged place" for encountering Anglican patrimony and was essential for forging the ordinariates’ identity and for evangelisation.
But he noted that some ordinariate clergy and laity wrote blogs which were sometimes “lacking in charity" and did not help the image of the ordinariates. He said the ordinaries must exercise vigilance over such blogs and, if necessary, intervene.
“The Holy Father is following the development of the ordinariates with great interest,” he added.