The Anglican Ordinariates and the synod

Shane Shaetzel has an impassioned post concerning the Ordinariates and the upcoming synod on the family next October.

Here is an excerpt, but do go over and read the whole thing.

The source of the modernist attack on marriage and the family is not religious. It comes from the ideas of the secular world, which is at its heart anti-Christian. King Henry VIII didn’t invent it. He succumbed to it. The Church of England did not formulate it. Rather, it tolerated it. Modern times are no different. The modern attack on the Christian family enters the Church through compromise. Christian denominations do not invent these things. Instead they cave into them. They succumb to them. That’s what happened in the Anglican Communion, and it happened in many other Protestant denominations too. It’s even beginning to happen in the more conservative Baptist and Pentecostal churches in America now. After what we just witnessed in the Extraordinary Synod on the Family last October, it NEARLY happened in the Catholic Church too! It seams however, that in the Protestant world, Anglicanism is leading the charge into compromise, particularly in The Episcopal Church in the United States, which not only ordains female priests and bishops (an authority never granted by Christ), but also has no problem blessing the same-sex “marriages” of its members and those it ordains. The other Anglican jurisdictions (Australia, Canada and the Church of England) follow not too far behind. So with the American Anglican jurisdiction leading the way, it is only fitting that some American Episcopalians were the first to lead a pilgrimage of reconciliation back into the Catholic Church.


The deepest desire of the anglo-catholic movement within Anglicanism is reconciliation with the Roman Catholic Church, the Church from which Anglicanism originally came 500 years ago. Yet they wanted to do this as Anglicans. They wanted to be united to Rome, but not absorbed by her, so that they could bring with them not only the liturgy of their Anglican patrimony, but their experiences as well. I’m speaking of 500 years-worth of experience in the Protestant world, living as Protestants, among other Protestant churches. I’m speaking of the important lessons they learnt, the difficulties they overcame, and the sensibility of finding that middle-ground between the Catholic and Protestant ethos. There is something invaluable that former Anglicans have to bring to the table in the Catholic Church’s discussions on the family. Who better to exemplify the relation between the Church and the family than a married priest? This is a man who has one foot in each world, and lives it sacramentally every day of his life. Surely the Catholic Church wants to hear from such men. Surely Rome is interested. Surely, the pope will invite them to come, share, and be part of the process. I have no doubt he will.

Beneath the vestments, and within the collar, stand men who’s very existence in the Catholic Church is built on this primary question. What is marriage and family in the Christian experience? The separation of the Church of England from Rome was based on this very question. The growth and experience of Anglicanism in the Protestant world has this nagging question ringing in the background. The modern experience of Anglicanism, along with all of the innovations and scandals that have plagued it in recent decades, are based again on this very same question. What is marriage and family in the Christian experience? The creation of the Pastoral Provision within the Catholic Church, and later the personal ordinariates for Anglicans, are based on it as well. It wasn’t just about preserving the Anglican Patrimony within the Catholic Church, though that was a huge part, but it was also about providing a space within the Catholic Church for those Anglicans that share in the traditional Catholic vision of marriage and family. This by extension includes the role of the sexes in the life of the Church, as well as other sexuality issues, authority within the Church, and matters related to family life. It’s all related. Is it not? This is the core of what it means to be a Catholic within the personal ordinaraites for Anglicans. It is the very reason for our existence. It is the culmination of 500 years of experience: schism, trial, persecution, endurance, patience and finally reconciliation. It’s not just about sacred language and beautiful liturgy, through that is a part of it, but it’s more than that. It’s about what’s behind that language and liturgy itself. It’s about the history of how it came to be, and why it came to be. It’s about who we are as Christians, and what it means to be married and family. Beyond the liturgy, beyond the language, beyond the patrimony, this is perhaps the greatest gift the Anglican ordinariates have to offer to the Catholic Church! It is simply the Catholic Church’s own teaching handed back to her; drenched in the blood of English martyrs, assaulted through the ages, defended in the face of church leaders who opposed it, realised fully under the social collapse of Western civilisation, persecuted in modern times, and finally becoming a major cause behind full reconciliation with the Catholic Church. The English schism began over a dispute about marriage, and in the fullness of time, the Anglican ordinariates were created as a resolution to this dispute. Yes, it’s all connected!



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6 Responses to The Anglican Ordinariates and the synod

  1. Pingback: Is it all about sexual ethics? | As the Sun in its Orb & New Goliards

  2. EPMS says:

    “Impassioned” is definitely the word. I would guess that most married Ordinariate clergy, now 60+, match their respective national average for family size. They probably do not have much to offer on the subject of Catholic teaching on birth control.

  3. John Walter S. says:

    When our beloved Pope Benedict established the Ordinariates, I suspected as much that he knew what was coming. A smaller Church, caused by issues involving the basic block of civilization; the family. Even nomadic hunter-gatherers in Africa know what family is, and it sure as hell doesn’t involve two mothers or two fathers.

  4. Rev22:17 says:


    You wrote: Shane Shaetzel has an impassioned post concerning the Ordinariates and the upcoming synod on the family next October.

    In the newly released “Winter 2014-15” issue of The Ordinariate Observer, Msgr. Steenson has now weighed in on this issue. The last four (4) paragraphs of the continuation of his column on Page 5 contain the relevant comments.


  5. EPMS says:

    Well, he certainly avoids any suggestion that he is “impassioned” on the subject.

    • Rev22:17 says:


      You wrote: Well, he certainly avoids any suggestion that he is “impassioned” on the subject.

      Most diocesan bishops, and those who, like Msgr. Steenson, hold equivalent positions, are very good at choosing their words carefully to say what they intend very concisely and directly. I find little ambiguity in Msgr. Steenson’s words on this this subject. When one’s words are this clear, there is little need for display of emotion to add emphasis.


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