Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By

2/14/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

The Mass of Installation took place on Sunday, February 12 in Houston, Texas

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. - Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson

Photo by Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle

Photo by Melissa Phillip, Houston Chronicle

Highlights

By

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

2/14/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Anglican Ordinariate, Chair of St. Peter, Steenson, Installation, Institution


WASHINGTON, DC (Catholic Online) - The following is the complete Installation Homily by Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, the newly installed Ordinary for the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter for the United States (www.usordinariate.org): The Chair of St. Peter and Christian Unity

"Behold how good and joyful a thing it is, for brethren to dwell together in unity!" (Ps. 133:1). 

With all our hearts, let us thank Pope Benedict XVI for this beautiful gift, the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, and let us pray that it may further the goal of Catholic unity.  When Cardinal Wuerl told me that the Holy Father would establish the Ordinariate under this name, I truly rejoiced, for it goes to the heart of what our mission should be.  And it helps us to understand why our Lord entrusted His Church to St. Peter in the first place.

So much ink has been spilled over the interpretation of these words of our Gospel, which Jesus spoke to Peter in Caesarea Philippi - "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church" (Mt. 16:18).  Of course, for Catholics, the authoritative interpretation was provided at the First Vatican Council.  But we must honestly acknowledge that Christians have read this text in different ways.  Even amongst the church fathers there was not unanimity over what "On this Rock" means precisely. 

The great Augustine himself said that the reader must choose - Does this Rock signify Christ or Peter?  (Retract. 1.20).  But Augustine quite properly would not have thought this a matter of either/or.  For Peter brings everything to Christ.  The trajectory is clear.  We are Christ's and Christ is God's (I Cor. 3:23). 

I am grateful that, over the course of my ministry, the teachings of Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI have been so clear on this point - the Church exists to bring souls to Christ.  But, as our text plainly affirms, Jesus has invested Peter with a ministry of fundamental importance.  And he does so by employing three verbs in the future tense - I will build my church . the gates of hell will not prevail against it . I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. 

When Jesus speaks in the future tense, he draws all things to himself; we know then that this commission does not end with the historical Peter.  The whole life of the Church on earth until the end of time is anticipated in this moment.

In this context, 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).

The first time we find Matthew 16:18 specifically applied to Peter's successors, the Bishops of Rome, came amidst a controversy between Pope Stephen and Cyprian of Carthage in the middle of the third century.  At the risk of sounding pedantic, I hope that you will permit me to speak briefly to this, because it is very relevant to the Ordinariate.  In the Anglican tradition, the church fathers are held in high esteem; here is where we were taught to find our bearings on theological questions.

The third century popes are heroes to me, because they were courageous pastors who sought to restore those brethren who had broken or fallen away to the full communion of the Catholic Church.  At a time when many bishops were very severe and uncompromising about the purity of the Church, God gave us popes who understood that welcoming back the wandering and the fallen is of the very essence of the ministry that Jesus gave to the Apostles.  In the letters of St. Cyprian there is a remarkable and revealing correspondence from St. Firmilian of Caesarea about Pope Stephen (Ep. 75, ca. 255) - Can you believe it, Cyprian?  Stephen actually thinks that he sits on the chair of Peter as he orders us to accept the baptism of these separated groups!  He actually wants us to regard these people as Christians!

I think this is the important context in which to understand what Pope Benedict is saying to us in Anglicanorum coetibus.  Some will argue that the Catholic Church makes Christian unity a difficult thing to achieve.  Look at what is being asked of those who are considering the Ordinariate! - Anglicans have not only to be received but even confirmed, and their clergy ordained in the absolute form.  Is this not asking them to begin all over again?  Certainly not!  From Zephyrinus to Callistus to Cornelius to Stephen - these third century popes, most of whom laid down their lives as martyrs, who governed the Church at a time when it seemed as though the gates of hell really might prevail, threatening to destroy her essential unity - 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.

The first principle of the Ordinariate is then about Christian unity.  St. Basil the Great, the Church's greatest ecumenist, literally expended his life on the work of building bridges between orthodox brethren who shared a common faith, but who had become separated from one another in a Church badly fragmented by heresy and controversy.  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). 

St. Basil often talked with yearning about the archaia agape, the ancient love of the apostolic community, so rarely seen in the Church of his day.  This love, he taught, is a visible sign that the Holy Spirit is indeed present and active, and it is absolutely essential for the health of the Church.  I can't think of a better illustration for this homily than Bernini's great sculpture of the Chair of St. Peter in the apse of St. Peter's Basilica:  Peter's chair is upheld by the great fathers of the Church; and, hovering over it all, the luminous alabaster dove, the Holy Spirit, bathing everything in the radiance of God's love. 

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.  But let us be clear about our first principles.  So many people during the 477 years that Anglicans have been separated from Rome have prayed fervently and made great sacrifices for this day to come.  In obedience and trust they embraced whole-heartedly all that Jesus' prayer for the unity of his disciples requires (Jn. 17:21). 

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.  I so much appreciate how our Chancellor, Dr. Margaret Chalmers, puts it:  "Our patrimony is people."  We thus open our hearts, in humility and love, to all Christians divided by culture and circumstance and misunderstanding.  We extend our hand in friendship to all who seek the Truth.  These are our companions along the way.  We begin with a strong faith that God has given us Peter, his hand firmly on the tiller, returning us to Jesus, "the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls" (I Pet. 2:25).

- Fr. Jeffrey Steenson

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More U.S.

School shooting in Washington state leaves 2 dead, five injured Watch

Image of Kids and parents react to news of the shooting.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A shooting has occurred at a school in Washington, in which authorities believe a bullied student shot and killed another. The shooter is also believed to be dead. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A school shooting has taken place at Marysville-Pilchuck High School ... continue reading


Guns Do Not Have Rights, People Do. Legitimate Self Defense is One of Them

Image of Guns have no rights, only people do.Yes, one of them is the Right to Self Defense - and the Right to defend your neighbor. You may ask,

By Keith A. Fournier

We live in a precarious time in the United States of America. Many of us are deeply concerned about the effort to infringe upon the fundamental rights which were delineated in the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution. I have written extensively about ... continue reading


Rest in Peace, Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete: Communion and Liberation Priest Enters Eternal Encounter Watch

Image of Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete was a leader in the ecclesial movement called Communion and Liberation. He was also a gifted writer, known for his naturally supernatural holiness of life. Those whom he touched are a living testimony to a life - and a priesthood - which was well lived. In encountering him, they encountered Jesus Christ. That experience is the very heart of the Gospel, the meaning of the Christian claim. It is the key to understanding the Church. It is the spirituality of Communion and Liberation.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

As we pause to honor Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, Communion and Liberation Priest, may our prayers accompany him, lighting his passage into the eternal encounter with the Lord whom he loves. Let us also ask for his prayers - and follow his example. Let us decide to ... continue reading


How far will it spread? A New York doctor has tested positive for Ebola Watch

Image of 33-year-old Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, had recently returned to the U.S. after treating Ebola patients in Guinea.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A New York doctor who had recently returned from Guinea has tested positive for Ebola, the fourth person diagnosed with the disease in the United States. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Craig Spencer worked for Doctors Without Borders where he was treating ... continue reading


Same-sex couples line up to be wed in Wyoming Watch

Image of After the state formally dropped its defense of a law defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, Jennifer Mumaugh says that attitudes across the state have shifted in recent years to be more open to gay couples.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Same-sex couples began lining up around the block in Wyoming for marriage licenses this week. U.S. District Judge Scott W. Skavdahl, appointed by President Barack Obama struck down the state's gay marriage ban last week. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Will they riot after this? Autopsy, analysis shows officer Wilson was telling the truth Watch

Image of New analysis and witness reports suggest that officer Darren Wilson was being attacked by Michael Brown and shot him in self defense.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New evidence from Ferguson Missouri seems to vindicate the testimony of officer Darren Wilson, showing that the fatal shooting of Michael Brown may not be as cut and dry as many of the protestors in the area believe. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - According to ... continue reading


Is this a sign of things to come? 2014 midterm most expensive on record Watch

Image of Early voting has already started in several states including Kansas and Illinois.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Well underway, the 2014 midterms are set to be the most expensive midterms ever, according to projections that the Center for Responsive Politics released on October 22. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While heavily overshadowed by global affairs like the ... continue reading


ACTIVE SHOOTER - Kids, teachers, community terrorized by admin, police at Thompson Jr. HS in Bakersfield in the name of safety? Watch

Image of Terrorization in the name of safety is still terror.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The latest school shooting did not make the national news yesterday because allegedly it was an act of domestic terrorism perpetrated against kids and a working-class community in the name of safety. For about 30 minutes on Tuesday, students, faculty, and their parents ... continue reading


Catholic school forbids Hollywood lesbian drama from shooting on location Watch

Image of In the scene to be filmed at the school, Moore's character, a New Jersey police detective with terminal cancer, applies for a domestic partnership with her partner, played by Page in order to pass on her pension legally after her death.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While actresses Julianne Moore and Ellen Page are big names in filmland, their largesse didn't get them past the authorities at Salesian High School in New Rochelle, New York. The catholic school has declined their request to use their location for a ... continue reading


On the Feast of St. John Paul II, His Prophetic Warning to the U.S. Requires a Response Watch

Image of Deacon Keith Fournier standing under the beautiful bronze statue of John Paul II in Denver, Colorado.

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

In an address given during that 1976 Eucharistic Congress in Philadelphia for the bicentennial celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Cardinal Karol Wojtyla spoke some words which I believe were prophetic. - We are now standing in the face ... continue reading


All U.S. News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 4:7-16
7 On each one of us God's favour has been bestowed in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 122:1-2, 3-4, 4-5
1 [Song of Ascents Of David] I rejoiced that they ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:1-9
1 It was just about this time that some people ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 25th, 2014 Image

St. Daria
October 25: There is very little known about them. Chrysanthus was an ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter