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"Ordinariate IS ecumenism" says CDF official
Friday 20th June 2014

An official of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith who has been closely involved with the Holy See's Ordinariate project since its conception has described the Ordinariate as "ecumenism in the front row".

Monsignor Steven Lopes, who is a member of the commission charged with developing the official liturgical texts for the Ordinariates, made the comment at the plenary session for the clergy of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham on Thursday 19 June, at which he was the guest speaker.

He told the seventy or so clergy who attended the session at St Patrick's Church, Soho Square, London: "the Ordinariate is ecumenism. It has at its heart the fundamental principle for the ecumenical movement: that the unity of faith which is at the heart of the communion of the Church can exist in diversity of expression". This message, Mgr Lopes told the clergy , "must be explained and amplified" every time the opportunity arose to do so.

Monsignor's Lopes' comments came during a wide-ranging question and answer session with the clergy at the plenary session. Among other issues raised were the question of married clergy and why they had to be treated as an anomaly in the light of Catholic tradition and practice, and how the Ordinariate laity might be reaffirmed for the courage of their spiritual journey.

The question and answer session followed a presentation from Mgr Lopes on liturgical theology, in which he concentrated on the mysteries of the Transfiguration and the Passion and how they could be used in an interpretive way in the celebration of the liturgy and the sacraments. He spoke of the "tremendous contribution" the Ordinariate was making to liturgy by preserving for Catholic worship rich elements of Anglican spiritual patrimony, and of the "joy and satisfaction" that came from celebrating the Mass beautifully. But he said it was important not to miss the fact, "whilst going for the glory" that the Mass was a sacrifice, with the Cross of Christ at its heart. Remembering that, he said, should help priests who had high liturgical ideals to celebrate the Mass "at those times when the circumstances for doing so might be less than ideal".

The plenary session was chaired by Monsignor Andrew Burnham, Assistant to the Ordinary. Mgr Burnham announced that the guest speaker at the next Ordinariate plenary, in October, would be the Anglican Bishop, Michael Nazir-Ali, formerly Bishop of Rochester, who would speak on global Anglicanism.

It was also announced that Mgr Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter in the United States and Mgr Harry Entwistle, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross in Australia, would visit London next year and attend the plenary session on 12 February. This will be the second time the three ordinaries have met; the first was in Rome in February this year.

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