Reconciliation, Catholicism and the Anglican Communion

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson
In Called and Gifted for the Third Millennium the U.S. Bishops stated that: “…respect for differences… rooted in humility, understands that unity does not require uniformity. The Catholic tradition welcomes diversity as an enrichment, not a threat.” These words become reality with the official welcoming of previous members of the Anglican Communion into the Catholic Church and the institution of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter. This concrete gesture of unity, taken by Pope Benedict XVI is certainly momentous. Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman was ahead of his time in feeling called to leave his Anglican Communion and become Catholic. 
Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, in his homily at his Installation Mass as the First Ordinary of the Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter on Feb. 13, 2012, invited everyone to: “…listen to St. Anselm, the 37th Archbishop of Canterbury, perhaps the greatest theologian ever to grace England’s green and pleasant land: ‘This power was committed specially to Peter, that we might therefore be invited to unity. Christ therefore appointed him the head of the Apostles, that the Church might have one principal Vicar of Christ, to whom the different members of the Church should have recourse, if ever they should have dissentions among them. But if there were many heads in the Church, the bond of unity would be broken’” (Cat. Aur. Mt. 16:19).
Installation Mass of Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson as Ordinary
Like for Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, this step to unity came through what some would term difficult steps: “Anglicans have not only to be received but even confirmed, and their clergy ordained in the absolute form.” Yet all these steps are worth the final goal: unity with the Chair of Peter. As Msgr. Steenson described it, “the Catholic Church simply asked that the bonds of charity be restored sacramentally by invoking the presence of the Holy Spirit. These are brothers and sisters, returning home.”
With regard to the future of ongoing efforts to unite the church of Christ, he spoke of St. Basil the Great, the Church’s greatest ecumenist: “He taught that the work of Christian unity requires deliberate and ceaseless effort. Like an old coat which is always being torn and is difficult to mend, the unity of the Church must never be taken for granted but requires great diligence and courage from her leaders” (Bas. Ep.113).
Msgr. Steenson concluded with gracious and hope-filled words: “There is so much to be celebrated about the patrimony of Anglicanism, its liturgical, spiritual, and pastoral traditions, which the Catholic Church welcomes as a treasure to be shared… It is surely no coincidence that this reconciliation should come at the very time Pope Benedict has put the new evangelization at the top of the Church’s agenda. To be converted and conformed to the image of Christ means that his Church will be transformed and renewed through and through.

Copyright © 2017 -  La Salette Missionaries, Province of Mary, Mother of the Americas.
947  Park St. - Attleboro MA, 02703