What is the Ordinariate?

What is the Ordinariate?

St John Vianney Catholic Church is part of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. That is a very long sentence, what does it mean? Maybe more importantly, what does it mean to those whom are members of St john Vianney?

Pope Benedict VI penned the Apostolic Constitution ANGLICANORUM COETIBUS (hyperlinked). It was a response to many Anglican clergy and laity who wished to come home to the Catholic Church. This desire among Anglicans emerged from the Oxford movement, which St John Henry Newman founded with the help of other Anglicans. Newman, in trying to bring meaning back to a very tepid Anglican Church, found that the Catholic Church was the true Church founded by Christ. Newman left the Anglican Church to come home in 1845. Though he was gone, his movement lived on through the other Anglican clergy and laity who kept the Oxford movement alive.

Through the years, the Oxford movement produced many “catholic leaning” clergy and laity. This movement also produced the branch theory; positing the idea that the apostles, or clergy from the early patristic age, came to England and founded the Catholic Church of England. This combined with the Latin Church and the Orthodox Church formed three branches of the Catholic Church. This theory also produced many clergy who “thought” they were Catholic. (even though they were Anglican) Followers of the Oxford movement would pastor churches that looked very much like their Catholic counterparts. They practiced 7 sacraments and had daily mass. All that was needed was for the Pope to recognize their orders. This recognition never came, and for good reason. Ordination requires form and matter, as well as intention. Though there were some ordinations of Anglicans with Catholic bishops, supplying the matter, the correct form was not used, but maybe more importantly, the intention to ordain Catholic priests certainly was not there, as they were ordaining Anglicans. Anglican orders were/are not valid and thereby the Vatican could never accept their orders.

Time passed and the fruits of the Anglican Church proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Anglicanism was not Catholicism by any means. As this became apparent, many bishops began to approach the Pope for a means to come home. In 1982 St John Paul II introduced the “pastoral provision”, which allowed for married Anglican (or off shoot thereof) to come into the Catholic Church and to go through the discernment for Holy Orders. The only limitation to these Orders was that no married priest could ever become a bishop. This was well and good, and many Anglican priests came home through this process. But this process brought clergy into the Catholic Church in the jurisdiction that they resided within; to put simply, this process produced diocese priests in the ordinary rite, the rite most in America would identify as the Catholic Church. (such as St Josephs Cleburne).

Anglicans, however, wanted a form of worship that would more resemble the formality and hymnody that they knew in the Anglican Church; but the Vatican was not going to allow anything in the form of worship that was not of God. What was found, after much study, was that there were elements of Anglican worship that were of God; more commonly called, patrimony. Many of these parts of the Anglican worship were taken from early Catholic Masses, some were newer but were deemed patrimony. Pope Benedict, being a liturgical scholar, saw an opportunity to create a jurisdiction that would allow Anglicans to come home to the Catholic Church while retaining many of the styles of worship that they were used to from the Anglican Church.

Thus the Ordinariate was created in 2012. The mission, as stated on the Ordinariate website (hyperlink):

The primary mission of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter is evangelization. 

The Ordinariate exists for those who are and who will be coming into full communion with the Catholic Church. Through the reverence and beauty of our worship, study of sacred Scripture and charity for those in need, we desire to share the joy of being Roman Catholic!

With respect and gratitude for the Anglican heritage that nourished us, we seek to build bridges with all our brothers and sisters who are drawn to the Church, so that we might build up the one Body of Christ. 

Our mission is particularly experienced in our celebration of liturgy, which features Anglican traditions of worship while conforming to Catholic doctrinal, sacramental and liturgical standards. Through Divine Worship: The Missal — the liturgy that unites the Ordinariates throughout the English-speaking world — we share our distinctive commitment to praising God in the eloquence of the Anglican liturgical patrimony and Prayer Book English.

In addition, the founding documents of the Personal Ordinariate make clear that it is intended to be an instrument of Catholic unity: an opportunity to model what the future reconciliation of separated Christian communities could be. We wish to fulfill the Holy Father’s vision for Christian unity, in which diverse expressions of one faith are joined together in the Church.

The Ordinariate stands as a full part of the Catholic Church, and answers directly to the Pope. Most of the clergy in the Ordinariate have faculties in the ordinary rite diocese within the which they reside. This means that they can say mass and perform other sacramental rites by invitation in the parishes of the ordinary rite. They are not limited, they are not partial clergy, nor are they still Anglican, all Ordinariate clergy are Catholic deacons and priests. If they are married, they must get a special exception from the pope to be ordained in the married state. They cannot remarry if their wives die.

I hope this explains the Ordinariate; all be it this is a very condensed version. I will try to write more on the subject to better fill in the gaps, please ask questions or request the gaps I need to fill.

God Bless

Fr Scott

Misery and Anger?… OR… Sacrifice and Education?

Raise your hand if you are tired of missing mass because of extenuating circumstances like Covid or snow.  In my twenty years of ministry I have only canceled one mass, which was Christmas Eve one year when Wichita Falls got 2 feet of snow.  My truck, which is not low to the ground, could not push its way through the snow.  Now that we have just come through complete shutdowns, only to have to cancel the week of Ash Wednesday.  Frustrating.

In all honesty though, being controlled by circumstances is the perfect Ash Wednesday.  Remember you are but dust, and to dust you shall return.  We are not in control, everything is God’s plan.  Did God send the virus, no, but did He use the virus…does He use all broken world situations to His advantage, absolutely.  

When frustrations occur, when this broken world presents itself to your life, we need to know that God can use these circumstances to our spiritual advantage.  We usually look too God in tough times and ask “why God”, when we should instead ask “God what are you trying to show me?”  

God loves us.  Because of this love it makes no sense that He would simply let us suffer.  As a parent I never disciplined my children just to see them suffer, I did it to teach them a lesson from which I hoped they learned.  As we suffer, whether it be from our own mistakes or from one not of our own making, we need to look for what God is teaching us.  In ministry I have noticed that many times our habits get in the way of our seeing God.  We suffer, we ask God to show us His will, and we cannot see nor hear Him because our lifestyle prevents us.  God wants us to be with Him, so He sits back and lets the world peel away the life we have built up.  People hit hard times and it is really tragic to watch as they lose it all…but is it?  Time after time we hear the story of those who went bankrupt, were homeless, and then found God’s true calling.

I have to be honest,  I hope that I can follow God without Him having to remove my life from around me!  And that is where Lent comes in.  I try every Lent to locate the areas in my life that could be “blocking” God from my life, and do away with it.  I try to make sacrifices that will cause an eventual good, not just cause me suffering.  Let me be clear, to suffer in any way for the faith is good..so if you just want to suffer in reparation for your sins be my guest!  But I would rather suffer for life changes that will help my walk with God.  I try to force good habits into my life through lent.  I try to give up those things that I know have the possibility of diverting me from service of the Lord.

This world imposes itself upon us, and it is frustrating.  What is God trying to show us?  Look for God’s lessons, instead of allowing yourself to put up walls by being angry at the situation. God loves us and He wants to bring us closer to Him, let’s not follow him kicking and screaming, let us clear our sight and follow Him in sacrifice with joy.

Fr Scott

Let us Campaign for God

After the (bi-annual) highly charged political season, I always take a break from any talk radio.  I have begun to listen again sparingly.  The host was speaking about all the changes the new regime will be making, and again I felt my blood pressure rise.  After what seemed to be an eternal litany of changes coming our way, the presenter said that we need to find a way to come together.  I have to admit, I was having many thoughts, but “coming together” was not one of them!

I was immediately convicted of how mad I was because of the financial difficulty that I fear is to come, and then to a lesser extent because of the lack of ethical and moral concern the ruling party has.  I was very concerned that I might find myself destitute, and then, oh yes there are the moral travesties happening.

I love how God comes in that small voice.  While stepping through all my angry thoughts, God put the image of Jesus in my mind.  Jesus, walking through a world where the Jews had gone far astray, and taken with them the majority of the chosen of Israel.  Jesus could have, with just a word, toppled the Roman Empire, Herod with it, and set up His empire, putting the heretics to death and making certain that those with opinions other than God’s would stay in line and have no avenue to making those wrong ideas reality.  But He didn’t.

What did He do?  He went about the hard task of changing people’s hearts to the Gospel.  He was mocked, ridiculed, and yes eventually beaten and nailed to a cross for an excruciating death.  Why would He do this?  How could He keep His righteous anger at bay and simply take all this abuse?  He did it for each and every soul that would say “yes” to God.  A brutal take over of the empire would have meant sending many souls to the devil, as they would have been killed with their mortal sins. (A man named Saul would have been one of them). But winning hearts to God meant that many would turn and repent; not to mention the salvation of mankind through His death.

We have been shown recently how easy it is to squelch speech and action; how easy it is for free people to become subjects of an oligarchy.  It’s easy!  Wheel and deal yourself to power, and then do all in your new power to kill the minority that you have at a disadvantage.  But the fact of the matter is that you have won nobody to your cause.  Certainly there are many that go along to get along, but they are not “sold” on your ideology, they simply don’t want to get hurt.  You rule by force, and heaven help you when that force runs dry.

Jesus showed us the way.  We must turn hearts.  This is not easy.  The history of Christianity is strewn with martyrs.  We have been very blessed for many generations with the fact that we in the United States have not had to die to protect (from within) our freedom, but God’s blessings have run their course in this battle, it is time to stand up and be counted for Christ.

First order of business.  We cannot worry about money.  Political parties run off of promises.  One side raises taxes, the other side lowers them.  Both parties say their way is THE way to prosperity.  As Christians, we are told not to worry about what we will wear or what we will eat, God will provide.  As Christians, we need to focus on moral and ethical issues only.  Does this mean we should not vote our mind in elections?  No.  We can vote for who we think will lead the American people well, but when it comes to the true fight, it’s God law we should be concerned with.

Protection for the unborn, the elderly, and the weak should be our first priority.  When is the last time you had a friendly conversation about the wrongs of abortion?  When is the last time you had a friendly conversation about poverty, about education, about euthanasia, about the evils of the transgender movement?  What about the parts of the world that are starving to death?  What about the oppression of churches throughout the world?  When is the last time you looked on your proposed purchase to see if it was made by a regime that participates in oppression?  What about our own government using its power wrongfully in other parts of the globe?

These (and many others) are issues that we can and will turn hearts on.  Why?  Because these are the issues that God is concerned with.  Well isn’t God concerned with our prosperity?  To an extent yes, but I assure you He is not concerned with how your portfolio is doing, only that you have basic shelter, food and transportation.  For Christians to argue these (financial) points is a fools errand, as God will not be with us.  To argue for the poor, the oppressed and the weak is an argument God will get behind.  Indeed He will be with us and give us both opportunity and words.  He will win the hearts of many through each of us that are willing to take the chance.

Let us seek peace, let us change hearts, just as Jesus did; but let us do so preaching and teaching the Gospel.

The Fields are ready for Harvest!

More than I should, I watch Youtube.  Now that they have joined the censorship brigade of the big-tech, I have tried to cut back.  But I am still keeping up with a few.  One couple sailing the world keeps my interest, they bought their boat for $5000.00 and sail it in the blue water; courage or stupidity, you choose.

The other day they were in Puerto Rico for supplies, and were annoyed because the whole country was on vacation, some strangely named day they called “Epiphany”.  I was taken aback.  In disbelief I waited for the wink and nod letting me know they were being sarcastic…it never came.  They seriously had no idea.  Now agreeably, we Christians have some difficulty to pronounce and sometimes hard to keep up with holy days, but Epiphany??  

Am I so naive that I thought most Americans knew what the Epiphany was?  In their video they started asking around thinking they might gain a clue as to was this strange holiday was.  The first person they spoke with said it celebrated the three kings.  I instantly thought they might put it together, as everyone has heard of the three kings??  Not so much evidently.  

Why am I telling you this?  Maybe a public confession that I watch way too much Youtube?  Probably did me some good on that front but I write this to draw awareness to the evangelism fields.  Surely everyone is in church who wants to be…right?  No.  What this proves is that there are a growing number of souls in America that have never heard the Gospel.  

When learning about “invisible ignorance” in seminary, we always used the example of some lost tribe in the deepest jungles of Africa.  What happens to these souls when judgement day comes, they never had a chance to follow Christ, as they never heard the Gospel.  The answer is they were victims of invincible ignorance, and could still gain paradise.  

We should now all be aware that the deepest part of Africa is likely better evangelized than big city America.  We have gone from a Christian nation to one that knows no god. 

All Christians are called to spread the good news.  Too many times we think that those around us surely go to church; somewhere.  We need to start to realize that they do not.  Most people you see at best are members of a church that they never attend.  

We all as American Christians have been very lazy, and it shows.  We have not taught the faith, we have not shared the faith, and we certainly have not been inviting people to the faith.  This needs to end now.  We need to be evangelists.  We need to share the churches many holidays, if that only means telling our neighbor about why we are attending church on a weekday.  

Advertise your faith, don’t be ashamed of it.  Ask your neighbor to mass, or to a holy day, or to a church function, don’t be shy, and certainly don’t assume that they are going to church somewhere else.  We have a nation full of those who do not know the basics of Christianity, let us change that!

Fr Scott

God’s Plan

This is an “oldie”, but I think a goodie…I wrote this when rector of Good Shepherd Episcopal in Wichita Falls.  Sorry I did not write a new one, but I spent too much time on building concerns this week.  Please continue to pray for God’s guidance with our new church.  God Bless

Today I was in Stripes, getting yet another Diet Dr. Pepper, and the cashier, who knows me because of my frequent stops, asked me if I knew God’s plan.   He was expecting to stump me, as anyone knows that we cannot know God’s thoughts, therefore, it holds to reason that we cannot know His plan.  But God has made His plan known to us!  

We start with why we are here.  God made us in order to share his love.  This is actually a tough one for many to grasp, that God made us simply to love.  We live in a time when we chose people and things on the basis of “what can they do for me”.  How difficult is it to keep a friend around who does nothing for you, maybe one that causes you grief?  We don’t have the patience for that; get rid of them!  If they aren’t helping, they are hindering my progress!  So it stands to reason we would have a difficult time understanding a God that just wants to share love.  He is vigilant in standing by us; just waiting for the time we chose to look towards Him.  He did not make us for work, for chores, nor for rules, He simply wants our love.  Of course, before we all ditch the Ten Commandments, we should know to love is to want to change your life so it is in sync with that which is loved.  To prove this point, think of your favorite hobby.  I love to fish.  I hate early morning.  But when fishing is involved, I will voluntarily get up at 6AM and head for the lake.  Why would I do such a crazy thing?  Because I will willingly change my life in order to do something that I love to do.  This works the same with people; think of what you changed about yourself in order to be with your spouse!

So God loves us, that is a basic fact, how does this give us any clues as to His plan?  The Old Testament is often referred to as Salvation History.  This of course refers to Christ’s work on the cross, which was done for love.  Again, God spent thousands of years just trying to woo us back to Him.  What then did Jesus tell us?  Love your neighbor!  In a big way Jesus proves to us that God loves us, Jesus then tells us to go and let everybody know of God’s love!  How do we do this?  There are many Christians that will tell you that God loves you, but we often look at them with suspicious eyes, thinking back to the Hare Krishna’s we would meet at the airport.  Not wanting to be conveyed into some weird cult, we back away quickly.  We live in a suspicious society, one that thinks in terms of people they can use.  It’s no wonder we can’t tell people of God’s love, as they always wonder what’s in it for God?  What does He want from me?  Even more important, what does this Christian that is telling me of God’s love want from me?  Again, too often, they back away quickly.  To increase the problem, individuals are all too often wondering, “What can God do for me”?  This puts the evangelist in a difficult situation; first assuaging the suspicion of their intended, and then trying to sell God as if He were a miracle floor cleaner!

This is where the plan comes into play.  God’s plan for us was that we might gather communities in which we could love God and love one another, thereby displaying love that draws the world to it.  This is our first order of business here on earth, as witnessed by Jesus’ last words to his disciples in Matthew 28: 18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.  Well that is simple!  We thought we had to navigate a maze of rules and regulations, make good for all past wrongs, and then memorize all the pertinent verses of the Bible!  This is all we have to do??  Mostly.  We must live in community, love, and do so in a way that will entice others to join.  But there is also one other thing; we must make this our plan, our first priority, because it is God’s plan and His first priority.  (remember what I said about when you love someone you want to change?)  

What is our first priority?  If we are honest it is family, self, and money.  Which one is first which is second and which one is third varies from person to person.  Now many will remind me that God did tell us too be fruitful and multiply, giving us a family and a lot of responsibility.  This is true, but if this pursuit edges out God’s plan on our calendar; do you think we may have gone too far?   Is it possible that we have allowed a laudable task, that of raising a family and planning a retirement, to shove God and His plan off our calendar?  

Again if we are honest we will say “I do have God on my calendar”!  I go to church! (well, most Sundays, unless my life gets too busy)  Now we might think “church” will be our savior, our ticket to please God.  But lets take another look at God’s plan.  

God’s plan for us was that we might gather communities in which we could love God and love one another, thereby displaying love that draws the world to it.

Many churches have stagnated; ours has not grown in any discernable fashion in six years.  If we were honest, we would have to agree that the love we share might not be contagious enough to draw all to our community, as God desired.  Why?  Maybe we have put God’s plan on the back burner, something to do after business settles down and the kids are out of sports and our retirement is fully funded.  Perhaps we have our community just as we want it, and if anyone else wants to join they are going to have to conform to our likes and desires.  Perhaps life is a little tricky lately and we just don’t have the patience to be nice and loving, so we lash out at others who dare attempt to join our community.

It has been said so many times that it is trite; “When we reach the pearly gates, God will not ask how much money you earned, where you lived, nor how much your family loved all you gave them”.  God will ask one simple thing, “Did you fulfill my plan”?  “Did you draw souls to Me by displaying love”?  

Perhaps we should concentrate on God’s plan more than ourselves; lets be more about loving our neighbor, and less about loving ourselves.