Monday, 8 May 2017

Unity of Faith in a Diversity of Expression: The Work of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - BISHOP LOPES


Bishop Lopes (right) with Pope Francis as Divine Worship: The Missal is presented.

Bishop Steven J. Lopes, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, has given a very full and clear outline of the work of the CDF in the foundation of Ordinariates to receive and nurture Anglicans and other Protestants in the Catholic Faith.

Following is the text of his address to: Institut für Historische Theologie – Liturgiewissenschaft und Sakramententheologie Katholisch-Theologische FakultätUniversity of Vienna: March 28, 2017


It is indeed a great pleasure to address the students and professors of the
Institut für Historische Theologie, Liturgiewissenschaft und Sakramententheologie here at the University of Vienna. 

I am grateful to Professor Hans-Jürgen Feulner for the invitation to give a lecture on the work of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, with a particular eye towards the Congregation’s work in establishing structures for groups of former Anglicans and other Protestants who desire full, visible communion with the Catholic Church. Those structures, if they are to be authentically Catholic, must include provision for the full range of liturgical, sacramental, and pastoral life—which I imagine is a matter of particular interest to students at this faculty. I myself worked in the Doctrinal Section of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for over 10 years, serving for 7 of those years also as the secretary to the Cardinal Prefect. So the Congregation (or CDF as we call it colloquially) is something near to my heart and its work, through often misunderstood, is vital in the life and mission of the Church.


From the Holy Office to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Any proper understanding of the contemporary role of the the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is grounded on an understanding of the historical context out of which it develops. Indeed, the long history and development of this organ of the Petrine ministry has directly influenced how the Congregation is structured and how it functions in our own day. The duty of handing-on the faith in its integrity belongs to all Christians by virtue of their Baptism, but is the particular responsibility of the Bishops. And so, from the earliest days of the Church, Bishops both individually and in synods and councils met both to articulate and refine matters of faith as well as to refute errors and defend orthodox Christian belief. By the Middle Ages, religious Orders, notably the Dominicans and Franciscans, took this aspect of evangelization as a particular hallmark of their charism. Also in the Middle Ages, the refutation of heresy came to be exercised directly by the Holy See with the establishment of a network of tribunals, canonists, and theologians in an organization which became known as the Inquisition.

It is important to note at the outset that there is no monolithic “thing” such as “the” Inquisition. There were many Inquisitions. Often these were organs of the civil authority, which follows a precedent traceable back to the Roman Empire and earlier whereby the unity of civil order was maintained and fostered by a unity of religious practice. Heresy, in this understanding, is a disruption of the civil order and therefore a crime. The infamous example of this is the Spanish Inquisition, which was established in 1478 at the direct insistence of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella and inaugurated a pattern whereby the Spanish monarchs would propose to the pope a candidate to be Inquisitor General of Spain and the pope would, in turn, confer upon him jurisdiction in matters of faith and morals as well as the faculty to sub-delegate this authority to other regional inquisitors. But all of the city-States and Kingdoms of the Italian peninsula would have had their own Inquisitions (Genoa, Milan, Naples, Florence, Venice) and these largely operated with a great deal of autonomy with regard to the Holy See.

It is not really until 1542 that this institutional approach to safeguarding the faith comes to Rome when Pope Paul III institutes a commission of six Cardinals, with attendant theologians and consultors, to assist him in examining and responding to the theological propositions of the growing Protestant Reformation. This Commission grew in size and in offices over the years and was given the name Congregation of the Holy Roman and Universal Inquisition or Congregation of the Holy Office. The name is key, because it explicitly claims that the Holy See itself has universal jurisdiction in matters of faith and the refutation of heresy. This indicates a deliberate attempt on the part of the Pope and his Curia to place limits on the power of civil authorities for the charging and prosecution of heretics.1

1  The Constitution Licet a diversis of Pope Julius III (15 February 1551) explicitly asserted the primacy of the Roman Inquisition in matters of faith over the claims of civil authorities, in this specific instance, the Republic of Venice.
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Allow me a side comment here, slightly off topic. Most of what people think they know today about the Inquisition is wildly inaccurate with little basis in history. Serious study should be given to the tension that existed between the Roman Inquisition, which was primarily theological in focus, and other local Inquisitions which used the guise of Church and religion to promote other, often less sublime interests with more draconian means. At the heart of the structure and even the idea of “Inquisition” is the question: What is the faith of the Church and how is that faith to be best expressed for the glory of God and salvation of souls? That, I would argue, is a question as relevant today as it was in the very beginnings of the Church’s life. End of side comment!

The Holy Office claims as its founder Pope Saint Pius V who, as the Dominican Cardinal Michele Ghislieri, had previously served as Roman Inquisitor under Pope Paul IV. After his election in 1566, Pius V moved the Holy Office into a new building he ordered renovated for that purpose just next to the Vatican basilica. He added the archive which preserved all of the procedural acts of the Holy Office and, since this archive predates the Vatican Archives, the Congregation is the only Dicastery of the Roman Curia which to this day maintains its own independent archive. In 1571, he began merging the Congregation of the Index into the Holy Office and so gave it the task of reviewing theological books, correcting them when needed, or prohibiting their circulation when they were deemed harmful to the faith. 

Some 50 years later, in the great reorganization of the Roman Curia by Pope Sixtus V, the Holy Office was given a privileged position organizing the work of the whole Curia and placed under the direct supervision of the Pope because of the important matters for which it was responsible. Generally speaking, by 1588, any matters concerning the faith and mores—often translated as “morals” but better understood as the manner in which the faith was practiced— came under the direct jurisdiction of the Congregation of the Holy Office. Its power extended not only to Rome and the Papal States, but, at least in theory, toevery Catholic in every place. It had absolute jurisdiction in matters of heresy, schism, and apostasy.

This last reference is, of course, very important for our particular interest today in the question of corporate reunion of Anglicans and other groups with the Catholic Church. Responsibility for schism and apostasy has been the exclusive responsibility of the Congregation from the beginning and, to be clear, corporate reunion is the healing of of schism. 

There are other instances today at the Holy See for ecumenical dialogue and interreligious dialogue. In these dialogues, the full, visible unity of Christians in Eucharistic communion may be the ultimate goal, but it is a remote goal and a great deal of prior conversation and theological exchange is yet needed. But once that dialogue reaches the point of action, of asking explicitly for full communion, competence passes to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which exercises responsibility in not only declaring schism, but in overcoming it. In the case of Anglican communities, they were clear in saying that the various dialogues over the years had led them to the point of accepting the Catholic faith to the extent that doctrinal difficulties were not posed by those communities seeking full communion. Indeed, many cited the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as a decisive moment, as this compendium of the Church’s faith not only articulated “the faith once delivered to the Saints” but also provided a measure against which one could gauge the Catholicity of their own Ecclesial Community. For Catholic-minded Anglicans, this was essential.

But let us return to the development of the Holy Office. Successive Popes2 expanded the competence of the Congregation to include abuses against the Sacraments. Because the Sacraments are the privileged manner in which Christians celebrate and express their faith, a grave abuse of a Sacrament is ultimately destructive of the Christian faith itself and therefore reserved to the Holy See for resolution. These delicta graviora have been most recently enumerated in the Motu Proprio Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela which was promulgated by Pope Saint John Paul II and revised by Pope Benedict XVI in 2010.

2  In 1662, Pope Gregory XV expanded the competency to include the crime of solicitation ad turpia, which was confirmed by Pope Benedict XIV in his Constitution Sollicita ac provida on July 9, 1753. Pius VI (1775-1799) affirmed that the Holy Office had jurisdiction in all doctrinal and disciplinary matters pertaining to Holy Orders, and Gregory XVI (1831-1846) gave the Holy Office a role in the process of canonizing Saints by determining what constitutes martyrdom or or the title Doctor of the Church.
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At this point, we can jump to the reform of the Roman Curia in the years following the Second Vatican Council. There were several minor reorganizations and reforms in the years prior to the Council, but the essential mission and structure of the Holy Office remained rather constant. Pope Paul VI issued a Motu proprio entitled Integrae servandae on December 7, 1965. Among its reforms was the recognition of a right to defense on the part of any “accused” author whose work was under study by the Congregation. A new name, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was also adopted in 1965 and was thought to be more descriptive of the actual work of the Congregation. 

Rather than prosecuting heresies in the first instance, the role of the Congregation was defined as “promoting and safeguarding” the faith. This more positive statement of purpose emphasizes the evangelical nature of the work: in order to propose Gospel faith to new generations of Christians, the Church has a necessary concern that the doctrine of the faith be preserved and handed-on whole and without omission, modification, or error. This positive, propositional model was confirmed and amplified by Pope Saint John Paul II in his Apostolic Constitution Pastor bonus of June 28, 1988, which states that the principal task of the Congregation is the promotion of right doctrine. The task of addressing error is to be understood within that wider context.
To conclude this general presentation of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, I would like to cite several passages from the Constitution Pastor bonus. This gives a sense of the language or terms that the Church herself uses to describe the identity and mission of this important institution:

Article 48
The proper duty of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is to promote and safeguard the doctrine on faith and morals in the whole Catholic world; so it has competence in things that touch this matter in any way.

Article 50
It helps the Bishops, individually or in groups, in carrying out their office as authentic teachers and doctors of the faith, an office that carries with it the duty of promoting and guarding the integrity of that faith.

Article 52
The Congregation examines offences against the faith and more serious ones both in behavior or in the celebration of the Sacraments which have been reported to it and, if need be, proceeds to the declaration or imposition of canonical sanctions in accordance with the norms of common or proper law.

This brief sketch of the development of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the background for understanding the particular work of the Congregation with groups of Anglicans seeking full communion with the Catholic Church, work which entailed both structuring their ecclesial life and the regularizing manner of their worship.


The Question of Corporate Reunion with the Catholic Church

There are several ways one can approach the question of the corporate reunion of Christians as a particular concern of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I will approach it from the standpoint of my own experience. When I began work as an Official of the Congregation in 2005, the first case I was given involved the Pastoral Provision. It was the case of an Anglican minister who had renounced his office in the Episcopal Church and was seeking a dispensation from the obligations of clerical celibacy so as to be ordained a Catholic priest. That I was given this case was in itself unusual since, strictly speaking, it is a canonical question and so the practice at the CDF was that it was handled by the Discipline Section--and I was working on the other side of the house in the Doctrine Section. But the canonists of the Discipline Section were overwhelmed with the cases of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, so the superiors decided to give this and all other Pastoral Provision cases to me. My qualification for this was simply that I spoke English!
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The cases of individual former Anglican clergy seeking ordination as Catholic priests are rather formulaic. The former cleric and his sponsoring Catholic bishop prepare a dossier for review by the Congregation in order to ensure that no canonical impediments to ordination are present. Having made that determination, the Congregation issues a nihil obstat for the man to be accepted as a candidate for Sacred Orders and begin his period of formation for Catholic priesthood. The governing legislation of the Pastoral Provision established this period as two years for former Anglicans given the similarities between Anglican and Catholic formation. Other former Protestant ministers must observe a minimum three-year period of formation. Once the candidate successfully completes an assessment examination, the case is once again submitted to the Congregation which, after a careful review of all the documentation, presents the case directly to the Pope for a dispensation from the obligations of clerical celibacy. This dispensation is communicated back to the bishop and ordinations to the diaconate and priesthood may proceed.

Back to my first case in 2005. When the documentation came to the Congregation for the second review, I found a letter from the candidate stating that he had prepared a sizable group of his parishioners who joined him in entering full communion with the Catholic Church. He and the sponsoring bishop were requesting permission to establish a personal parish of the Pastoral Provision so that this community could maintain some of their liturgical, pastoral, and spiritual traditions. I knew that several of these personal parishes were established in the early to mid 1980s when the Pastoral Provision for former Anglicans was first enacted by Pope Saint John Paul II. The difficulty I ran into was that, in 2005, outside of the Prefect himself, Cardinal William Levada, there was no one working at the CDF who had been around in the early days of the Pastoral Provision. What had been lost was an essential understanding is that the Provision could be applied to groups of laity. From the perspective of the CDF, the Pastoral Provision had come to be seen as a process whereby married former Anglican ministers could be prepared for ordination. The focus was entirely on the ministers and not on congregations. Between 1983 and 2005, approximately 90 such married former Anglican ministers were ordained Catholic priests in the United States. That number is much higher in England, but the process there was entirely different.

We wrote some generic decree authorizing the establishment of a personal parish, and I am happy to say that this parish is now a thriving parish of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. But the insight from this narrative is that institutional memory, even within the Dicasteries of the Holy See, largely depends on the people working there at the time. CDF always had the ability to reconcile groups of Anglicans, and with the advent of the Pastoral Provision in 1983, there was a flurry of activity erecting personal parishes for former Anglicans in the United States. But this was followed by a long period of inactivity in this regard (roughly 1993 to 2005) because of a change of personnel who no longer knew this to be a focus of the Congregation's mission. What I am saying is that our establishment of a new Pastoral Provision parish in 2005-6 could easily have been a singular, one-off event, but Divine Providence would intervene and direct otherwise.

In 2007, the Congregation received a new cluster of letters from groups of Anglican clergy posing a different kind of question. Yes, they were writing to say that their own individual journeys of faith had led them to the point of seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. But they were also writing as pastors responsible for the care of souls. They were concerned for the faithful who were willing to follow them into the fullness of Catholic communion. What of them? Was the idea just to assimilate them into normal Catholic life? Would their faith and devotion, nurtured and developed in an Anglican context, survive that process of assimilation so that these faithful truly became Catholic? Could there not be some "space" opened up in the Catholic Church where the faith practices and devotional life of these faithful could continue to thrive? One such letter the Holy See could ignore. As it happened, within a span of 4 months, the Congregation received very similar letters from groups of Anglican clergy in England, from Texas in the United States, from Australia, and from the so-called continuing Anglican groups, notably the Traditional Anglican Communion. Some response on the part of the Catholic Church was required.
The first step was to determine which entity at the Holy See was responsible for this discussion. At the point, the conversation could have been turned over to the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, for example, except that these groups of Anglican clergy were not asking for dialogue. They were professing their readiness to end the period of schism and enter into full communion. The groups stressed their readiness to accept the Catholic faith in its fullness. To stress the point, bishops of the Traditional Anglican Communion sent Rome a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which they had all signed as a mark of their acceptance of the Catechism as an authoritative articulation of the faith once delivered to the Saints. This, therefore, was clearly a matter that fell into the competency of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
A second step focused on the articulation of the theological principles involved in the corporate reunion of Christians with the Catholic Church. These were developed in dialogue with the various Anglican groups who had written the Holy See, culminating in the formation of a working group comprised of several Anglican bishops, Catholic Bishops, and the staff of the Congregation. It would not be appropriate for me to comment on the discussions among the members of the working group, but I can articulate some of the agreed-upon theological principles that would guide the corporate reunion project going forward:
  1. The members acknowledged substantial unity on matters of faith and morals. This fundamental unity, acknowledging that Catholic faith continued to exist and develop within Anglicanism, and further clarified by the early dialogues of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC), was not only the context out of which the proposal of corporate reunion arose, but it in turn “permitted” the Catholic Church to give serious consideration of the proposal.
  2. Substantial unity in faith and morals is only possible when the faith is taught authentically and authoritatively by the Church’s Magisterium. The absence of this teaching office is acknowledged as an ecclesial deficit within Anglicanism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church is accepted as the authentic expression of the Church’s faith and therefore it is expected that communities seeking corporate reunion with the Catholic Church accept the Catechism as the measure of their own doctrine.3


    3  The Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum of Pope John Paul II notes the ecumenical value of the Catechism, calling it a “sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion.” Cf. no. 3.



    The Working Group would not challenge nor engage the judgment on the nullity of Anglican orders expressed by Pope Leo XII in the Bull Apostolicae curae (1896). While the ordination of a former Anglican cleric would be absolute in the sacramental sense, it is to be understood as affirming the pastoral ministry fruitfully exercised by the cleric outside of Catholic communion, and supplying what is necessary for the efficacy of that ministry.
  1. Catholic sacramental practice arises out of and is therefore inseparable from doctrine. This is particularly notable in the case of those persons who divorced and remarried as Anglicans and now seek full communion with the Catholic Church. A judgment on the validity of the prior marital bond (or lack thereof) is necessary before that person can be admitted to Holy Communion.4

    4  The Working Group acknowledged that such persons could and should be brought into full communion. There are, after all, many Catholics who themselves abstain from the reception of Holy Communion for various reasons. In his Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris laetitiae, Poe Francis takes great pains to remind the pastors and faithful that such persons are valued members of the Church who must be supported in their living-out of the faith.

    There is an essential pastoral relationship or bond which exists between the Pastor (Parish Priest) and the faithful of his parish. To the fullest extent possible, this bond should not be severed or impeded as the parish community enters into full Catholic Communion.
The articulation of theological principles naturally leads into the discussion of practical issues, the "how" and "what" of corporate reunion. Obviously, the acceptance of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as the “sure norm” of faith upon which communion rests provided a text and measure for undertaking the catechetical preparations of the lay faithful in the petitioning communities.  

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Of the theological principles which I have just enumerated, the fifth regarding the essential pastoral relationship between pastor and people becomes extremely important in the practical sphere. It is this principle which informs the very concept of corporate reunion since, in Catholic ecclesiology, the fundamental expression of a corporate group (coetus) is the parish or diocese. The alternative, which was certainly operative prior to the publication of Anglicanorum coetibus, tended to ignore the group altogether and require each individual to take catechism classes, be received into the Church individually, and be integrated/absorbed into the existing life of the local Catholic parish.

Respect for the pastoral bond between pastor and faithful also motivated an expedited priestly ordination of the converting pastor. A minimum of two years of priestly formation is required for each former-Anglican clergyman seeking ordination in the Catholic Church. Again, prior to Anglicanorum coeibus, these two years of formation came before ordination without exception. But when one is dealing with parochial groups, there is a clear danger in depriving that coetus of its pastor, the very person who had led, formed, and prepared the community to seek Catholic communion. Now, when there is a converting group and we are not dealing any longer with an individual clergyman, it is possible to anticipate priestly ordination earlier in that two-year process of formation so that the pastor continues to exercise pastoral leadership and celebrate Mass and sacraments for his people, something that is rather essential in the experience of being received into full communion. 

The pastor still must complete two years of priestly formation, but a good deal of that formation comes after ordination in this case.
Parallel to these conversations within the Working Group regarding how to apply the theological principles to the concrete petitions at hand, there was another discussion internal to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. I have already mentioned that the issue of corporate reunion was new to many of us who were serving at the Congregation at that particular time. Innovation is not something that comes easily to an ecclesiastical structure—and nor should it, given the Church’s duty to safeguard and faithfully transmit the faith! But from the CDF side, we desired the institutional memory that might shed light on the current requests: how had the Congregation responded in the past to petitions from various groups for corporate reunion with the Catholic Church? Everything that happens at CDF is documented, so if there had been similar approaches in the past, there would be record of it, the related discussions, and any response given. Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, then-Father DiNoia the Undersecretary of the Congregation, personally undertook an extensive review of the files. What he found was truly remarkable and, ultimately, very helpful.

From 1960 to 2005, there were no fewer than 7 serious attempts to effect a corporate reunion of an Anglican Ecclesial Community with the Catholic Church. All efforts ultimately failed, though it was extremely instructive to study the documentation and understand why these attempts failed. Ultimately, this understanding would shape the new approach represented by the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. Here, please understand that I can only speak in generalities as the documentation in question remains in the CDF’s closed archives and therefore is under the pontifical secret. But let us say, for example, that if the Holy See worked with a group of Anglicans to elaborate a proposal, and if that proposal was then entrusted to an Episcopal Conference for implementation, and if that Episcopal Conference then simply killed the proposal in committee, then a new approach might involve consultation with local Episcopal Conferences but reserve the actual oversight and direction of the implementation to the Holy See itself. Or if a previous proposal for corporate reunion incardinated the converting clergy into local Dioceses, and if those priests were then reassigned or assimilated into the local Diocese so that they could not minister to their former communities and foster the particular identity of those communities, then a new approach might involve creating a juridical structure which would allow the incardination of priests and the canonical membership of laity so that their distinctiveness was not lost to assimilation into the much larger sea of Catholic life.
Liturgical Provisions in Support of Corporate Reunion

Of particular interest here today is the provision of Article Three of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanourm coetibus which gives the Ordinariates the faculty to celebrate the sacred liturgy, the Mass, Sacraments, and Divine Office, according to the liturgical traditions developed in Anglicanism. When we speak of the “Anglican patrimony” preserved in the Ordinariates, certainly liturgical expression is the most tangible expression of patrimony and the most distinctive feature of Catholic life in the Ordinariates.page12image18864
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As I am sure you all know, there is a proper department in the Roman Curia for matters dealing with the Sacred liturgy and the celebration of the Sacraments: the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. And yet, the regulation of the liturgical life of the Ordinariate remains part of the responsibilities of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It is natural to ask, why is this the case? The answer is, I believe, clear enough, though it unfolds on several levels.
First, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith retains jurisdiction over some matters of a liturgical/sacramental nature. CDF has oversight over sacramental formulae (including translations of sacramental formulae), for example. 

When the Congregation for Divine Worship receives a request to approve a new liturgical translation, it must send at least the sacramental formula to the CDF for approval. This is because the doctrine of the Church’s faith is not something that exists in the abstract, but it is expressed in the life of the Church, particularly through the sacraments. This consonance between the faith and its sacramental expression means that the CDF has always exercised vigilance over some matters of sacramental discipline, particularly in adjudicating grave abuses of the sacraments. Violation of the seal of Confession, willful desecration of the Holy Eucharist, attempted ordination of a bishop without papal mandate, attempted ordination of a woman, simulation of the sacraments by one who is not a priest...all these are examples of crimes reserved to the exclusive competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. So, the first point is that, since the CDF already has some role in regulating the sacramental life of the Church, it is even more understandable that it would exercise a role in examining and approving the sacramental discipline of a community coming into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Second, the CDF exercises direct jurisdiction over the Ordinariates established under the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. This means that, while some matters in the life of the Ordinariates may pertain to the responsibilities of other Dicasteries of the Roman Curia, the CDF is constitutionally our first point of contact, and the CDF then invites the collaboration of other Dicasteries. For example, if I have a question about establishing a Religious Order in the Ordinariate, I would write to the CDF who would in turn contact the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life. So too with liturgical matters: I contact CDF as my first point of reference and then CDF decides how to involve the Congregation for Divine Worship. I have to say I prefer this model, because it ensures a level of oversight in which one entity (CDF) has a global picture of the life of the Ordinairate and can therefore respond better to its needs.

Third, one of the things that became clear from that internal examination of the CDF files on the various attempts at corporate reunion is that the CDF has always exercised particular care for the liturgical life of those Anglican communities seeking full communion with the Catholic Church. Your own colleague here at the University of Vienna, Daniel Seper, has done some important research on the petition of the Anglican Diocese of Amritsar, India, to enter into full communion in 1977-1982. In that case, the very same decree of the Congregation which authorized full communion for this group of Anglicans also articulated a rather robust liturgical provision for them, identifying which rites could be pulled from the Book of Common Prayer and which sacraments had to be celebrated from exclusively Roman sources. Sadly, this is one of the cases which really did not work, as the implementation of this decision was left to the local Conference of Bishops in India and someone at that local level decided that this liturgical provision was not necessary and so it was never implemented. Perhaps consequently, the clergy and faithful of that Anglican diocese of Amritsar faded away and only two priests and maybe 200 lay faithful were reconciled.

But the point is this: the liturgical life of communities seeking full communion has always been considered to be an integral aspect of the larger question of permitting the reintegration of an Ecclesial Community into the Catholic Church. The CDF understood the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy as an essential expression of their faith, and so therefore it falls under its competency. And so the CDF would participate in framing the liturgical life of the Pastoral Provision parishes in the United States in the mid-1980s, a process which would result in the Book of Divine Worship, the first liturgical rites approved for Catholic worship which incorporate elements from the Anglican tradition. I can tell you from my own familiarity with the files that liturgical matters were very central to the elaboration of other attempts at corporate reunion that, for various reasons, never saw the light of day.

So, with the publication of Anglcianorum coetibus, it was understood within the Congregation that it would have a direct role in the implementation of Article III of the Apostolic Constitution on the Sacred liturgy.

5  Article III states: “Without excluding liturgical celebrations according to the Roman Rite, the Ordinariate has the faculty to celebrate the Holy Eucharist and the other Sacraments, the Liturgy of the Hours and other liturgical celebrations according to the liturgical books proper to the Anglican tradition, which have been approved by the Holy See, so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.”

The only real question was “how.” Initially, the thought was to allow the Ordinariates themselves to propose liturgical forms and texts, which the Holy See would receive, review, amend, and ultimately approve. An initial ad hoc committee was even established for this purpose and it met one time. At that point, I would say that the Holy See did not adequately understand the great variety of the Anglican liturgical sources, and so was surprised by some notable dissension among the members of that first ad hoc committee, which was unable to produce any unified proposal for a liturgical provision. Some members of the committee were, in fact, very vocal in calling for the direct participation and guidance of the Holy See in any process of identifying the Anglican liturgical patrimony to be incorporated into Catholic worship. The thought of leaving it to the Ordinariates to come up with something was quickly abandoned.

In the Spring of 2010, a Interdicasterial Session was held between the Prefects and staffs of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The purpose was to clarify both the process for the elaboration of liturgical texts for the Ordinariates and, perhaps more importantly, to establish the authority structure that would guide the work and ultimately present it to the Holy See for approval. An interdicasterial commission was established and given the name Anglicanae traditiones. Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, then serving as the Secretary of the
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Congregation for Divine Worship, was appointed as head of the commission. I was appointed to represent the CDF as coordinating secretary of the Commission. CDW would appoint another official, and the two Dicasteries together would name a handful of members and consultants. Over the course of the next 5 years, the Commission met about three times a year. A translation of the Lectionary was approved for use in the Ordinairates which relies on the Revised Standard Version of the Bible (Second Catholic Edition), Rites for Christian Initiation, Marriage, and Funerals were prepared and approved, and a Missal for the celebration of Mass was prepared and promulgated in November, 2015. The Commission was formally disbanded in late 2015 after the publication of Divine Worship: The Missal, though members of the commission were asked to remain available for ad hoc consultation should other liturgical questions emerge in the life of the Ordinaraites. (In fact, two more texts have been prepared and currently are in Rome for approval: Divine Worship: Pastoral Care of the Sick and Dying, and a Divine Worship Daily Office Book).

The primary work of the Commission was not the composition of new liturgical texts, but rather the identification of the Anglican liturgical patrimony from existing sources. You may rightly ask: What is that patrimony and how was it to be identified? The answer to that is a lecture in itself! But a good general definition of Anglcian liturgical patrimony has been articulated by Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, OP, who remember was intimately involved both in the process that led to Anglicanorum coetibus and led the commission which produced Divine Worship. Let us consider the Archbishop’s definition of patrimony:
“The liturgical books comprised by Divine Worship arise from an exercise of Peter’s authority over the churches that recognizes the authentic faith of the Church expressed in Anglican forms of worship and confirms that expression as a treasure or patrimony for the whole Church. In other words, the Church recognizes the faith that is already hers expressed in a new idiom or felicitous manner. The elements of sanctification and truth that are present in the patrimony are recognized as properly belonging to the Church of Christ and thus as instruments of grace that move the communities where they are employed towards the visible unity of the Church of Christ subsisting in the Catholic Church.”6

J. Augustine Di Noia, “Divine Worship and the Liturgical Vitality of the Church” in Antiphon 19 (2015), 113. Cf, also, Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen gentium (21 November 1964) 8.
There was—and I suppose there continues to be—great confusion caused by the tremendous variety of liturgical forms in the Anglican world, each of which advances a competing claim to patrimony and to authority as “Anglican use”. Even following the publication of Anglicanorum coetibus, no fewer than six different liturgical books were being used for the celebration of the Eucharist by Ordinariate communities at the time the liturgical Commission began its work. The task of the Holy See’s Commission was to extract out of this disorientating variety a lex orandi, the systematic presentation of Christian faith, nourished and preserved in the classical Prayer Books and Anglican Missals, in order to provide the sure doctrinal foundation that makes a diversity of liturgical expression possible. The search for the authentic faith of the Church within Anglican worship allows us to situate Divine Worship firmly within the shape and context of the Roman Rite so that it might be approached in a manner which respects its own integrity and authority. Further, in the movement into full communion, this liturgical treasure is further enriched by access to the Magisterium which authentically interprets the Word of God, preserves Christian teaching from error, and assists the faithful and their pastors in the delicate task of expressing timeless truths in a way which is fresh, beautiful, and attractive. This is not to impose a Roman perspective on this liturgical prayer, but to draw out of these rich sources an authentic expression of the faith so that they might continue to provide the lex orandi to the nourishment of this and future generations.

There is obviously much more that can be said about the actual working of the Commission and the patrimonial texts involved and, to the extent that I am allowed and able, I may address some of these in a period of questions. But I conclude this lecture on the role of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith—and particularly its work unifying groups of Anglicans with the Catholic Church and providing for their doctrinal, pastoral, and liturgical stability—with this observation: The secular imagination will always perhaps view the Holy Office, “the Inquisition,” as the enemy of human freedom and flourishing. And yet, what I have proposed here today is that the proclamation of the Gospel, the faithful preservation and handing on of the Church’s deposit of faith, is the single greatest aid to authentic freedom and human flourishing...and this proclamation is possible because the Church herself ensures, through a tangible instrument, that the intangible truth and beauty of the faith is not diminished, altered, or corrupted. The doctrinal office in the Church is therefore inexorably linked to the pastoral office, to the nurturing of real people in the faith and its right expression in the sacramental life. And that unity of faith does permit a vibrant diversity in the expression of that faith.page17image20376

The motto that we use on the Ordinariate’s letterhead, website and materials is drawn from our Lord’s priestly prayer in the Gospel of John: “That they all may be one.” That might well be the motto of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as well.

Thank you all for your attention.

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