Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Catholic Church Opens Up to Anglicans, the Geography of Who Will Join, and the Shift to the Global Perspective

Catholics and Anglicans, both lay and major leaders, woke up to quite a shock: Pope Benedict XVI has authorized a "personal ordinariate" which Anglicans, whether in the Anglican Communion or an Anglican breakaway body, can join. The effort is aimed primarily Anglicans (including the willing to join breakaway Traditional Anglican Communion) who have long fought the losing battle of keeping the traditions of catholicism (seven sacraments, male leadership, communion) in the Anglican church against more protestant and liberal tendencies. For more be sure to check out Holy Smoke, American Papist, and First Things.

The primary group of Anglicans who will use this opportunity are politically conservative, religiously traditional, and found in the White, Anglo world of the England, Canada, the United States, Australia, and New Zealand. This is where Anglican Catholics are found. Most of these have their roots in the educated Oxford Movement of the 1800s. Some commentators have wondered if the Anglicans churches in Africa, primarily the Church of Nigeria and its anti-(American) Episcopal leader Peter Akinola will lead the bulk of Anglicanism into Catholicism through the personal ordinariate. The answer is a strong NO. The Anglicans in the Global South (Africa, Asia, and the most of the Americas) tend to be conservative politically but low church, evangelical protestants and not catholic. Some Anglican churches like Brazil's have mostly women priests (a Catholic no-no) to boot. Low Church protestantism took hold in the Global South because the evangelicals did more in missionary efforts then the Anglican Catholics.

The personal ordinariate will be on a global level. This shows the shift of the Catholic Church from being the "Western Church" to considering itself the global church. Before the Islamic conquest of Constantinople, the Catholic Church was the Western European church and no one thought any other way. The schism with the Orthodox was thought temporary and more of a personal feud and had happened before on smaller levels. Several attempts at reunion were tried with the last one working until the Ottoman Sultan appointed an anti-Roman bishop as the new patriarch.

It was after the fall of Constantinople that the Catholic Church in Rome began efforts to create more Eastern Rite churches. From Hungary to India down to Ethiopia various Orthodox groups aligned themselves with Rome. Up until the 20th century and well into it these rites were redistricted mostly to their homelands. American Eastern Rite Catholics had some troubles having their right to have their own rite recognized by American Roman Catholic leadership. After Vatican II the process of expanding rites into new territories was made easier. Also, in 1982 Pope John Paul II made Opus Dei a personal prelature which changed its bishop structure from territorial control to global control over members. Finally, in 2006 the current pope dropped the term "Patriarch of the West" as one of the papal titles. The process of being solely the Western Church to becoming the catholic church was complete. Now efforts are done on a global level reflecting the global mission the Catholic Church has.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

what crack about all the church game that the catholic church .and other church playing all "god" game and "jessus" game and also anti "homosexuality" game instead stand up for government law that unfair .
and how government handling thing .!!!!
yes you are hiding behind a lot of lie and jessus and mosses . and not dealing with real issue .
greenfeld meir

Amy said...

That is a bold move for the Catholic Church

Catholicgauze said...

Anonymous,
I appreciate recent moves by the Church to stand up to Communist governments.