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Anglicans and Roman Catholics celebrate Pentecost together

Anglicans from the diocese of Qu’Appelle and Roman Catholics from the archdiocese of Regina celebrated the Day of Pentecost together at Holy Rosary Cathedral in Regina, Canada. The Anglican bishop and the Roman Catholic bishop led the ecumenical service. The joint service was the result of the covenant between the two dioceses, signed in January 2011. The two dioceses occupy roughly the same geographic area in southern Saskatchewan.

In 2009 an ecumenical Day of Pentecost service planned by the Anglican bishop and the Roman Catholic bishop in Newcastle, was cancelled on orders from the Vatican.

Possible reasons I’ve heard suggested why one happened while the other was forbidden:

  • Anglican-Roman Catholic (and other ecumenical) relationships have improved from 2009 to 2011
  • Canada isn’t prime territory for picking off congregations for the new Ordinariate, so ecumenism there is fine. But in England the Vatican does not want to give the impression of any approval of the CofE, because that might dissuade them from crossing over the Tiber. (cf. the political/timing connection between the nineteenth century establishment of the RC episcopacy in England and Apostolicae Curae declaring Anglican Orders invalid).
  • [update: see comment below]

  • The Canadian service flew under the Vatican radar (it is easier to ask for forgiveness than permission)

What do you think?

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17 thoughts on “Anglicans and Roman Catholics celebrate Pentecost together”

    1. Thanks, Noel. Arghhh!!! How embarrassing – I was (as I indicated) repeating some things I had seen. Pays to check! I’ll add a note in the post. Newcastle, Australia!

  1. Well, in Australia we’ve had a Bishop removed for doctrinal reasons, so, at a guess I’d say that Canadian Bishops may not be under the level of scrutiny that Australia has been in recent times.

    What exactly is meant by a “service”? If it’s a Mass that is being concelebrated, then it is expressly forbidden. There is no way it’s ever going to be allowable with denominations with no Aposotolic succession.

    1. Lucia, thanks for your comment. The ability to remove a bishop for doctrinal reason, but the claim of inability to do so for ethical reason has been an interesting discussion.

      I have not seen any suggestion that anyone was proposing a concelebrated Mass – though I do know of contexts where that has happened for some time. I think the experience at Taizé is part of that discussion.

      I don’t think that apostolic succession has much to do with it. You would have to point to a concelebrated Mass with Old Catholics or Eastern Orthodox (the validity of whose orders is unquestioned by the Vatican). There has, of course been 80 years of full communion between Old Catholics and Anglicans, with Old Catholics participating in Anglican (episcopal) ordinations. I would challenge you to be able to find any Anglican clergy whose orders do not trace back through the (Vatican-accepted) Old Catholics. Apostolicae Curae is so two centuries ago.


  2. hudson (aaytch) barton

    You find 4 separate reasons why Roman Catholics might not wish to be partnered with Anglicans, but no reasons why Anglicans might not wish to be partnered with Roman Catholics. Prior to about 1700, no self-respecting Anglican would have ever partnered with a Roman Catholic, for rather well know doctrinal reasons. Please explain.

    1. I don’t think the post gives any such reasons, Hudson, and certainly not four of them. What in your reading of history do you see as having changed about 1700 and why?

  3. Brother David

    Apostolicae Curae is so two centuries ago.

    Barely 😉 It was 115 years ago! But I certainly agree about the Old Catholic connection, as well as, a few European Lutheran bishops in full Apostolic Succession.

    Next LM will object to the women in those lines! 🙂

    1. You are right, David; “is so 115 years ago” doesn’t have quite the same ring 🙂 The women in the lines is an issue for some priests & deacons. We have male priests in NZ ordained by a woman. And the male priest’s orders were not accepted by the CofE when visiting there some time back (that may have changed now – I do not know). I am unaware of any episcopal ordination with only women consecrating. Not that I would, of course, personally have an issue with that – but I am fitting into the logic of Apostolicae Curae. That logic has some, of course, seeing the post-Vatican II RC orders as similarly invalid.

  4. I know an Anglican priest who was invited to worship along with the Roman Catholics of his Eastern Mediterranean city and all of a sudden the bishop was sneakily making him concelebrate with them. Doubtful that the bishop let the Vatican in on the situation…

  5. hudson (aaytch) barton

    The heading is “Possible reasons…” after which there are several items (I count four) that explain behavior patterns of RC’s relative to Anglicans. Why are you not able to find them in your own article?

    * Historical progression. Prior to 2009, animosity was greater.
    * National differences. Animosity particularly directed to the CofE.
    * Vatican believes that disapproval encourages crossings of Tiber.
    * Bureaucratic anomaly which finds it harder for RC hierarchy to grant permission than forgiveness.

    As for what’s changed since 1700, I could draw your attention to several points where these original Anglicans set themselves apart from Roman Catholics, but if you are having a hard time remembering them, please direct your attention to this one example from the 39 Articles (are you familiar with the Articles?), Article XIX in which you will read “… the Church of Rome hath erred, not only in their living and manner of Ceremonies, but also in matters of Faith.”

    1. No, Hudson, the RCs and Anglicans wanted to meet (“partnered” is your term) – that is the story. The points were about the Vatican’s forbidding one case and apparently allowing another, not “4 separate reasons why Roman Catholics might not wish to be partnered with Anglicans”.

      Also, you would have to explain why you think the Articles ceased having authority after 1700 – that is a different understanding of history to mine. Blessings.

  6. Brother David

    Hudson, you appear to be overlooking the fact that the Vatican has even more reason to not wish inter-denominational services, women. There are more ordained women in Anglican churches with almost each passing month, including the ACCanada, which has no limits on female ordination. Just ask Bosco about his own current bishop.

    The RCC has been threatening RC & Anglican relations of late with that very objection, especially now that the “Mother” Church is approaching expanding women’s ministry in the CoE to the episcopate. All the more reason, I think, to poo-poo joint services in 2011, and more so than in 2009.

    Especially with the despicable symbolic gestures that were orchestrated during Benny 6teens visit to England. In my opinion, Ratzinger just did not actually spit on the Archbishop of Canterbury.

    Bosco, I think this one just fell below the radar. NORAD likely keeps those Vatican interceptors at bay!

  7. Jonathan Kirkpatrick

    What happens on the ground is often far removed from what is approved of or known about by the Vatican, or indeed anyone else. Sometimes ecclesiastical authorities try to exercise control as if they know only a mechanistic organisational model, wheras groups of Christians gathered together for worship are invariably organic in the way they behave.

    I have concelebrated with Roman colleagues on a number of occasions, notably at Taize and at the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. One one of these occasions the principal concelebrant was a RC bishop who asked me publicly to concelebrate with him and his clergy.

    On another occasion I led a youth pilgrimage to Iona in Scotland. The church filled with a coach load of young European pilgrims just as we were about to start a Eucharistic celebration, and our group of 12 became about 60. Everyone received the blessed sacrament, an impromtu shared lunch followed (very loaves and fishes) and new friendships were made.

    1. Thanks for these stories, Jonathan. I have, on more than one occasion, described the denominational structures as vertical lines – and the real divisions and unity at right angles to these, crossing these denominational boundaries. Younger generations, certainly, have much less interest in the “man made” (uninclusive term mostly intentional) vertical lines.

  8. aaytch barton

    Mr. Peters. I don’t know whether you consider yourself an Anglican anymore, but if you do (as you must if you take the 39 Articles as authoritative), then I should like it if you can provide objective evidence.

    1. Hudson, I have here, and in other contexts, given you room for constructive participation. You began contributing here some days back anonymously and I asked you to use your normal name. aaytch is not your normal name. This site is certainly not averse to dialogue and differences of opinion when pursued with respect. If you place a comment here in the future which is relevant and respectful and actually enters into a dialogue, I will allow it through moderation. You do not need this site to promote your particular ideas which, last I remember, had moved on from berating TEC to berating ACNA for not holding to your positions. You have other sites to do that. I do not regard you having any place in seeking for me to “provide objective evidence” where my canonical obligations lie.

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