Welcome to the Anglicanorum Coetibus Society Blog

The Anglicanorum Coetibus Society is the new name for the former Anglican Use Society.  The name change reflects our new international focus.  Our aim is to foster discussion and debate about Anglican patrimony inside and outside the Catholic Church.  For more information about the Society and its aims, see our website.

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Msgr. Newton interview at Catholic World Report

The Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham Msgr. Keith Newton has given an interview to Catholic World Report!

A great read.  Here’s an excerpt:

Msgr. Keith Newton: I was born in Liverpool, in the Northwest of England, in 1952. I was brought up in a proud working-class family. My father was a gas welder for all of his life, though sadly he died the age of 54, when I was just 23 years old, and had just been ordained as an Anglican deacon.

My mother, for most of her life, worked in a small grocery shop—the sort that no longer exist in Britain—where everything was sold, from loose tea to sliced bacon. She worked in the shop at the bottom of our road, which was very much a community shop where everybody knew each other.

My mother was born on the same road where I was born and my father was born four roads away. I have one older brother who still lives near Liverpool.

My mother sent me to Sunday school each Sunday from an early age, although at that time my parents did not practice their religion. I was confirmed in the Church of England at the age of 11 and have continued being a committed Christian ever since then. I served at the parish Eucharist and was involved in the parish youth club, where I met my future wife.

CWR: How did you develop an interest in going into ministry?

Msgr. Newton: I was involved in the life of the church from my early teens. This was a lively Church of England parish with a vicar and often three or four young curates. I felt a calling to the priesthood in the Church of England at about the age of 15, but like many young men was embarrassed to tell anybody as I thought I wouldn’t have the right character, qualifications, or background. It was only when one of the curates asked me if I had thought about ordination that I was able to talk about it openly, only to discover that all the clergy were hoping that I had a vocation.


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Patronal Festival in Australia

A great event coming up!  I would love to be able to attend this.  I am a big Tracey Rowland fan.  If on those occasions where the Vatican decides it wants to seek out women theologians and scholars, why aren’t they all of her competence and orthodoxy?

Any Australian readers attending this and want to blog about it or send me a report and some photos I can post?  Put in a comment and I’ll keep your details private.


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An article about the Oxford Movement’s legacy

I personally think Anglicanorum coetibus and the Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans in the Catholic Church is a legacy of the Oxford Movement.

Here’s an excerpt from an article by Duane W.H. Arnold over at Virtueonline that I find most interesting:

After many, including most notably, John Henry Newman, made their way to the “safe harbor” of the Roman Catholic Church, it seemed that the movement was dead.

Three factors, however, ensured its continuing vitality. These three factors, I believe, are still worthy of imitation in our own time and circumstances.

Firstly, the intellectual foundation established by the early leaders in their scholarly and literary activities, notably the Library of the Fathers, made a major contribution to the study of Church History and spirituality. Many of the Church Fathers had never even been available in translation. The study of the Fathers, once a key element in Reformation theology, had largely been abandoned by Protestants. Among Roman Catholics and the Eastern Orthodox, the Fathers were the domain of the few, not the many. Now, the situation changed. Critical texts, once nowhere to be found, were prepared. The new movement honored learning and scholarship and provided opportunities for the same all the way from the smallest local parish to the oldest universities in the land.

Secondly, their emphasis upon a renewal of the Church’s liturgical life made worship central and re-established the Holy Eucharist as normative Christian worship – a consequence of their reading of the early Fathers – something that has influenced the renewal of the Church’s liturgical and sacramental life to this day. Liturgical texts were revised, hymns were written, ancient prayers were translated, and people were instructed as to the meaning of what was said and done in church. Moreover, liturgy – literally “the work of the people” – allowed for the active participation of the laity in worship.

Thirdly, the Oxford Movement went beyond the academic and upper class environment in which it had been born. In practical terms, this was a result of sympathetic clergy being given the worst possible parish assignments by their church superiors, usually in the slums of city centers, which it was thought would kill the movement. It had the opposite effect as clergy made the Incarnation, the love of worship, and social concern central to their lives, and filled their churches with those who lived on the fringes of society. The beauty of Jesus in worship was a light in the darkest industrial centers of America and England as almost abandoned churches were painted, restored, renewed and filled with those who had never before entered a place of worship.

Hmmm, I wonder how much the Oxford Movement might have played in the Ressourcement Movement of many Second Vatican Council theologians—to go back to the Church Fathers, the sources, and so on.


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And now a positive note—on Silence

Have come across this review of Cardinal Robert Sarah’s book The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise while I was looking for a quote by him that had something to do with our focusing on Christ, instead of on partisan arguments, and defensive positions.

Cardinal Sarah’s words move me in ways I remember a Cardinal Josef Ratzinger affecting me back before I became a Catholic—with words I found inspiring and profound, and made me hungry for more of the Spirit that animates them.

Here’s an except of Bill Staudt’s review at Denver Catholic:

In the Catholic world, it was a year of silence. Martin Scorsese fulfilled his longstanding dream to adapt Shusaku Endo’s novel Silence for film. The book chronicles two young Jesuits in Japan searching for their lost mentor, rumored to have abandoned the faith. Japan experienced a massive number of martyrdoms as the Emperor banned the newly established religion in 1587, as it was gaining converts quickly. The novel asks: “Why is God silent in the face of this persecution?” Endo writes: “Behind the depressing silence of this sea, the silence of God … the feeling that while men raise their voices in anguish God remains with folded arms, silent.” It’s a question many people ask: Why is God silent?

This year also saw the release of Cardinal Robert Sarah’s second interview book, The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise. Cardinal Sarah, originally from Guinea, Africa, serves as the Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Coupled with Scorsese’s film, his book makes a significant contribution. God is silent because, Cardinal Sarah tells us, silence is the language of God (238). We generally think of silence as a sign of absence or impotence, but Sarah points us to a deeper reality. God is present, but due to our inability to enter silence with a listening heart, we do not hear his voice.

“At the heart of man there is an innate silence, for God abides in the innermost part of every person. God is silence, and this divine silence dwells in man. In God, we are inseparably bound up with silence. … God carries us, and we live with him at every moment by keeping silence. Nothing will make us discover God better than his silence inscribed in the center of our being. If we do not cultivate this silence how can we find God?” (22).

Probably the most productive spiritual discipline I have ever cultivated is that of sitting in silence, in the present moment, not allowing myself to drift away in the thought stream, but gently rising above it, to experience that Presence of God in stillness.

I am aiming to do a half hour in the morning, and a half hour at night, though not always successful at carrying that out.  That in addition to praying the morning and evening offices—often doing the morning office via conference call at prayer.covert.org

Then add to that the Rosary, and once a week the Seven Sorrows Rosary, which is obligatory for those in the Spiritual Motherhood of Priests.   I would also like to add at least an hour of Adoration.

All these disciplines I find beneficial, but the discipline of silence, of stillness, of waiting patiently on the Lord in quietness and rest makes all the others more fruitful.



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Ha ha ha! Will the real Manicheans please stand up?

In Romans 2:1 it says:  “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in passing judgment upon him you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things.”


This piece by James R. Rogers at LibertyLawsite is, I found quite funny.  But oh oh, maybe it’s a hate site, since it’s in Texas, has Liberty in the title and is ‘Murrican and on the wrong side of the good/evil dichotomy.

The irony is that Spadaro and Figueroa succumb to the Manichean temptations, and apocalyptic rhetoric, which they ascribe to their subjects. We’ll return to that in a moment. The point I think they try to make, but lose in their ham-handed argument, is that conservative Christians in the U.S. need to be wary that, in the heat of political battle, political commitments don’t efface their more-important spiritual commitments. This is a temptation to which American evangelicalism, in particular, too-easily succumbs, and seems also to be a risk for a segment of American Catholicism today. (Politically Progressive American Christians have their own idols as well, but of a different ilk than Christian conservatives.)

First, Spadaro and Figueroa charge their subjects with political Manichaenism. I prefer the term be used to describe dualistic religious views in which good and evil are equally powerful. While there is a tendency towards forms of Manichaenism in the folk-spirituality of many American Christians (and is ubiquitous in Hollywood films portraying supernatural evil), these Christians typically are highly pietistic, and not particularly political.

Spadaro and Figueroa use the adjective not to identify any real Manichean heresy, however, but instead to communicate their disapproval of the rhetorical use of what they consider over simplified black and white moral categories.

Before we get to their argument, one must note the irony of Spadaro and Figueroa’s article is that there is no gray in their treatment of those they accuse of Manichaenism. It’s all just black and white for them as well; just absolute good versus absolute evil. The only difference is what they condemn as absolute good and absolute evil.

I am not a dualist who sees black and white, good and evil as equal.   No, I believe in an all good, all powerful God in three Persons, Father Son and Holy Spirit and that Christ has conquered evil, sin and death.   I also do not wish to participate in polemics and partisanship.   But sometimes, it’s a little bit fun to see someone hitting back at people who traffic in stereotypes and label and dismiss tactics that all too often are applied against Christians of all stripes except the most progressive.

I work in a secular environment that is largely dominated by left-leaning people who have little or no understanding of religion and some have the most ridiculous stereotypes about Christians.  I have also seen those stereotypes used by political parties in Canada to demonize politicians who are Christian and prolife as somehow “scary” and unCanadian or anti-Canada’s Charter of rights and freedoms.   These are libels and cheap shots that could easily make an already marginalized group—-Christians who take their faith seriously—into scapegoats.  But it happens nonetheless and has been employed even by past prime ministers of this country (and used even by members of the same religious groups they are attacking, because in politics all’s fair in love and war or something).

I have also found that among many folks I meet on the left, it’s considered objective reality that equal marriage is a civil rights issue, or euthanasia is a right so people can choose how and when they die or abortion is a women’s rights issue.   Anyone who disagrees is deemed evil, stupid or both.   Sometimes, I get tired of it.

So, ha ha ha, may the real Manicheans please stand up.


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The ever interesting Fr. Hunwicke

Fr. Hunwicke has an interesting piece that relates to the origins our our Ordinariate Divine Worship.

He writes:

When poor Dr Cranmer composed his Liturgy there was not a lot of evidence about how the Early Church actually did worship. Despite his threefold appeal to ‘the auncient fathers’ in the preface to the 1549 book, we now know that in that and subsequent books a lot of primitive baby got thrown out and a lot of medieval bathwater got retained. This became clear over the next 200 years. And, as early liturgical texts gradually emerged from the presses, those who kept their reading up-to-date became aware that Cranmer’s Liturgy fell far short of what could be shown to be the’godly order of the auncient fathers’.

This left two possibilities: the Protestant option: Cranmer’s Liturgy may not be primitive but it is scriptural and that rules, OK; the Catholic option; his Rite must be reformed in accordance with what is now known about the worship of the Early Church, if we are to be faithful to what he himself set as his gold-standard.   (snip)
” . . . during that century there was an assumption that the newly discovered early Eastern liturgical forms were ‘more primitive’ than Western forms such as the Canon of the Roman Mass. The Victorian Ritualists knew better, and a succession of Altar Books increasingly supplemented Cranmer with Roman material (sometimes diplomatically described as ‘Sarum’). This tradition of Altar Books culminated in the English Missal, which dominated Anglo-Catholicism until, after the Council, it lost its nerve and aped the progressive liturgical corruptions adopted by ‘Rome’. Our Ordinariate Missal is, of course, the final and splendid product of the English Missal tradition.

Is there any other of the ‘Reformation’ ecclesial bodies which has had such a succession of theologians and liturgists, since the 1630s, who assented to papal primacy, discarded Reformation texts or supplemented them with ancient liturgical texts, believed in the full reality of the Lord’s presence in the Eucharist, believed in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, offered it daily or weekly?

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Meanwhile in the Church of England . . .

Is the Church of England headed for a crack up similar to that experienced by The Episcopal Church?  Andrew Sabisky writes a pessimistic piece on the church’s future prospects after its recent General Synod over at The Catholic Herald.

Leading conservative Synod members seem to have left in a state of mind verging on despair. They have suffered no major defeats, but seem confident that it’s only a matter of time. The general consensus is that the “middle third” of Synod has no more appetite for gruelling fights or media uproar, and will quietly acquiesce to liberal demands for church blessings of same-sex marriage, to be shortly followed by same-sex marriage itself.

Nor does anyone think that this will meet with any more than token resistance amongst the Church’s bishops, who seem to have largely abolished their own traditional role in developing doctrine, and handed it over to Synod. The Church selects bishops largely on their ability to avoid controversy and act as (at least nominal) figures of unity, a near-impossible role in a Church marked out by so many theological divisions. They are very carefully chosen so as not to have strong opinions on matters of faith. Consequently the ranks of the episcopacy are packed full of weak men. The chronic cowardice is part of the reason why their instinctive response to child abuse is cover-up, not rigorous public investigation.

Previously I was convinced that church liberalism would shortly hit its high-water mark and decline rapidly, simply because it is so bad at reproducing itself: the liberals would give way to the more orthodox younger clergy. In reality, though, it seems as though the Church of England is more likely to simply wind up going down the same path as The Episcopal Church in America, where it has dramatically fragmented as it liberalized. The orthodox either went to the various Continuing Anglican churches – most notably the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA) – or became Roman Catholics. The seeds of such fragmentation are already being laid in the UK via the consecration by ACNA of a missionary bishop for the UK and Europe, who will operate outside the structures of the Church of England.

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