Reordination not a rejection of Anglicanism

 

Reordination not a rejection of Anglicanism

Author: 

George Conger

The requirement of re-ordination for Anglican priests entering the Catholic priesthood is not a rejection of Anglican orders, the head of the American branch of the Anglican Ordinariate said last week during his service of installation in Houston, but an invocation of the Holy Spirit seeking to restore a divided church.
On 12 Feb 2012 Fr. Jeffrey Steenson was installed by the Archbishop of Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl and the Archbishop of Houston, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, and ten other Roman Catholic bishops at Houston’s Cathedral of the Sacred Heart as the first Ordinary of the Chair of St Peter.
The former Episcopal Bishop of the Diocese of the Rio Grande was given the title of Monsignor and will be a member of the U.S. Catholics Bishops Conference. As he is married Msgr. Steenson will remain a priest and have the authority of a bishop over the ordinariate, but not be given the title.
Cardinal Wuerl, the U.S. delegate for the implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus – Pope Benedict XVI’s apostolic constitution that permits former Anglican groups and clergy to become Roman Catholic whilst retaining elements of their Anglican heritage and liturgies – read the document authorizing the appointment of Msgr. Steenson and presented him with a crozier and mitre as his symbols of office.
Approximately 100 former Anglican priests have applied to become Catholic priests through the provisions of the apostolic constitution.  The ordinariate reports that of these, 50 are in the process of priestly formation with the first ordinations expected in June.  An additional 1,400 lay people from 22 communities also are seeking to enter the ordinariate.  Since September 2011 two former Episcopal congregations in Maryland and a group in Fort Worth, Texas has been received into the Roman Catholic Church.
In his homily Msgr. Steenson, quoted St. Anselm in defence of papal supremacy. “This power was committed specially to Peter, that we might therefore be invited to unity.  Christ therefore appointed him the head of the Apostles, that the Church might have one principal Vicar of Christ, to whom the different members of the Church should have recourse, if ever they should have dissensions among them.  But if there were many heads in the Church, the bond of unity would be broken …”
He noted that “some will argue that the Catholic Church makes Christian unity a difficult thing to achieve.  Look at what is being asked of those who are considering the Ordinariate! – Anglicans have not only to be received but even confirmed, and their clergy ordained in the absolute form. Is this not asking them to begin all over again?”
“Certainly not,” he responded. “From Zephyrinus to Callistus to Cornelius to Stephen – these third century popes, most of whom laid down their lives as martyrs, who governed the Church at a time when it seemed as though the gates of hell really might prevail, threatening to destroy her essential unity – the Catholic Church simply asked that the bonds of charity be restored sacramentally by invoking the presence of the Holy Spirit.”
“These are brothers and sisters, returning home,” Msgr. Steenson said.