30 October 2009

Why the delay in publishing the Apostolic Constitution?

The National Catholic Register is reporting. . .


Thursday, October 29, 2009 7:39 AM

The delay in publishing the apostolic constitution, which will allow large numbers of Anglicans to be received into the Catholic Church, is due not so much to translation problems as the more weighty issue of priestly celibacy. [The Vatican has been having a lot of translation problems since Benedict took over. . .methinks there may be Latinist moles in the Curia who don't care for the Holy Father's "reform of the reform" revolution.]

According to two reliably informed Italian newspapers, Il Giornale and Il Foglio, canon lawyers are continuing to define what has been a particularly unclear aspect of the new provision: whether married Anglicans could train as seminarians. [Why is this unclear?  The answer is no.]

Andrea Tornielli of Il Giornale reports that over the last few days, the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts has been working to clarify this point. He writes that “everything suggests” seminarians in these future Anglo-Catholic communities “will have to be celibate like all their colleagues in the Latin Catholic Church.” [Yes, of course. . .I wonder why this is even a question.  To allow Anglo-Catholic seminarians to marry will completely undermine the discipline of celibacy in the Church.]

Both papers also report the Holy Father would have preferred the publication of the apostolic constitution to have taken place at the same time as last week’s press conference, mainly to avoid any repeat of the mishandling of his decision to lift the excommunications on four bishops from the Society of St. Pius X earlier this year. [Smart man, that Benedict!]

But as Cardinal William Levada had already informed the bishops of England and Wales and the Archbishop of Canterbury of the provision, and the date for their joint press conference in London had already been disclosed, it would have been impossible to keep the matter under wraps, Tornielli writes. The Vatican therefore decided to go ahead with the press conference, even though the precise canonical details of the constitution hadn’t yet been worked out. [The roll out of this historic announcement was done perfectly. . .now we learn it was all an accident.  Only in Italy!]

H/T:  Newadvent


  1. Norah3:08 AM

    To allow Anglo-Catholic seminarians to marry will completely undermine the discipline of celibacy in the Church.

    I have been posting about this since day one and was met with a deafening silence in the Catholic blogs. One respected blog writer dismissively pooh poohed my concern.

    Below is an excerpt from Abp Hepworth which indicates that there may be some confusion in the Anglican camp. Msgr Stetson, secretary of the JPII pastoral provision, has said that it is possible that married seminarians at present in Anglican seminaries may be permitted to be ordained but future seminarians will be celibate. This is conditional on the terms of the Apostolic Constitution.

    In an interview with The Australian newspaper on 24th October 2009 Abp Hepworth said:


    Christopher Pearson | October 24, 2009

    Excerpt from comments by Abp John Hepworth

    JH: Bishops in the new Anglican structure will be unmarried. This is out of respect for the tradition of Eastern and Western Christianity. But priests who come from Anglicanism will be able to serve as priests in the new structure, whether married or not, after satisfying certain requirements. The truly radical element is that married men will be able to be ordained priests in the Anglican structure indefinitely into the future.

  2. Norah, I would be shocked if the good bishop's prediction were to come true. I can't imagine it. Such a dumb move on the part of the Vatican would ensure empty seminaries and religious houses.

  3. I myself has been wondering about tthe married priests thing.


  4. Flambeaux12:29 PM

    Fr. I don't think the question is as cut and dried as you've indicated.

    Yes, clerical celibacy is the normative discipline in the Latin Rite.

    But there are already plenty of exceptions and Rome has been reconsidering this over the last several years, particularly in consultation with the Orthodox. And, as a discipline it can be changed or modified.

    I'd prefer to wait for the document to be issued before I'll let myself get worked up about any changes to either the Anglican patrimony or the discipline of clerical celibacy.

    Either can change without threatening vocations, the faithful, or the deposit of the Faith.