donderdag 20 januari 2011

"Work to do in England"

Uit de preek van p. Aidan Nichols, O.P., tijdens de "eerste H. Mis" van Andrew Burnham (62), één van de drie tot voor kort anglicaanse bisschoppen die afgelopen zaterdag tot katholiek priester gewijd zijn en de eerste priesters zijn geworden van het eveneens zaterdag opgerichte Persoonlijke Ordinariaat van O.L.V. van Walsingham:
Bishop Andrew – I’ve known Andrew so long and closely under that description I find it hard to break the habit – is celebrating today his first Mass in full union with the Catholic Church. [...]
In the spring of 1843, Newman wrote to a correspondent, ‘At present… as far as I can analyze my convictions, I consider the Roman Church Communion to be the Church of the Apostles, and that what grace is among us… is extraordinary, and from the overflowing of His dispensation.’ I’ve left out in this citation a phrase in parenthesis for the sake of drawing attention to it now – ‘what grace is among us (which, through God’s mercy, is not little)’. The task before Andrew and the others in the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham is to translate into terms of Christian life, thought and worship, what that ‘not little’ grace has done, in the history of the Church of England – what it is that can be placed on the paten, put into the chalice, not for propitiation, in a spirit of repentance, but for the praise of God’s glory, in a spirit of thanksgiving. [...]
It will entail a very great deal of hard work. It is nothing less than the reconfiguring of Anglicanism by union with the Petrine centre and its criteria of orthodoxy. It is taking up again, in a totally fresh context, the task Newman set himself and his fellow Tractarians in 1837:
"We have a vast inheritance, but no inventory of our treasures. All is given us in profusion; it remains for us to catalogue, sort, distribute, select, harmonize,and complete. We have more than we know how to use; stores of learning, but little that is precise and serviceable; Catholic truth and independent opinion, first principles and the guesses of genius, all mingled in same works, and requiring to be discriminated."
And Newman closed:
"We need peculiarly a sound judgment, patient thought, discrimination, a comprehensive mind, an abstinence from all private fancies and caprices and personal tastes – in a word, Divine Wisdom".
We rejoice today for Andrew personally as a long odyssey is completed, but since no share in priesthood is ever conferred for the individual’s satisfaction but only for some wider good, we also have to draw attention to the task that awaits him. Newman spoke of the ‘concentration and adjustment of great Anglican authorities’. Andrew has already begun working on the liturgical dimension of this, entrusted by the Holy See with co-ordinating efforts on that front, in recognition of his outstanding competence in that area.
But there is more than that. There is bringing this new ecclesia particularis, this new ‘particular church’, into the movement for renovating the whole Church which we associate with the mind and heart of Pope Benedict, a movement which respects the Second Vatican Council but places it, by a hermeneutic of continuity, in the great Tradition as a whole. It is a movement towards the fullness of Catholicity, in which the fathers of the Oxford Movement can take effortlessly their place.
So, Father, let me leave you and this congregation with one final citation from the Blessed John Henry, ‘I have a work to do in England’.

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