Absolutely Null & Utterly Void

May 2007

In his Questions and Answers column in Our Sunday Visitor (Feb. 4), Msgr. M. Francis Mannion gives an answer to this question: "A member of my family who was raised Catholic has grown disillusioned with the reform of the Mass and recently began attending an Anglo-Catholic parish.... She says that this church is just as Catholic as the Roman Catholic Church. Her proof is that the pope is prayed for in the liturgy every Sunday. This confuses me. Can you explain? -- Name withheld, Philadelphia, Pa."

Msgr. Mannion answers: "Within Anglicanism traditionally (and mostly in England), there is a strand that is referred to as 'high church.' This is a minority among Anglicans.... The 'high church,' of which John Henry Newman (before he converted to Roman Catholicism) was a leader in the 19th century, focuses on the 'Catholic' side of Anglicanism. The Eucharist and the sacraments are given pride of place, and the role of bishop and of apostolic succession is highly prized.... A minority of Anglo-Catholics -- sometimes known as 'Anglo-Papalists' -- consider themselves under the authority of Rome, though the latter [the Holy See] does not recognize this connection. The parish you mention is probably in that tradition."

What Msgr. Mannion fails to mention is what is most important. Pope Leo XIII, in his Apostolicae Curae in 1896, said solemnly that Anglican Orders are "absolutely null and utterly void." That makes the Anglo-Catholic "Eucharist" invalid, and also makes Anglican "Apostolic Succession" invalid.

If she is dissatisfied with the new Mass, why doesn't Msgr. Mannion warn her that it is not alright for her to go to an Anglo-Catholic liturgy?


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New Oxford Notes: May 2007

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There are circumstances in which an Episcopal priest of "Anglo-Catholic" persuasion has taken steps to ensure that he is ordained by a bishop with valid Catholic orders, if not in communion with Rome. While still considered illicit, this would make his orders Catholic, not Anglican, in the eyes of God. For this reason, some Episcopal priests who "swim the Tiber" are ordained "conditionally."

Even so, attendance at an Anglo-Catholic Mass celebrated by such a priest could not satisfy one's obligation as a Catholic, since an illicit means cannot be used for a licit end -- private opinions from particular curial officials in Rome notwithstanding.
Posted by: manwithblackhat
May 07, 2007 01:26 PM EDT
I've heard that the Episcopal church ordains (re-ordains Catholic priests who go over to their church. I asked the Catholic priest who told me this why they do this and he said that it was a tit for tat...we ordain theirs when they come over
to Rome. But what validity could ECUSA claim if the Catholic rite wasn't. Imagine their using what they hold to be a sacrament as a tit for tat.
Posted by: Henry Patrick
July 06, 2007 07:26 AM EDT
It is important to realize that the reason Leo XIII declared Anglican Orders Invalid has nothing to do with their Schism (note that Orthordox orders are still valid) but they are invalid because the form was changed to eliminate references to "sacrificing priesthood", transsubstantiation and the forgiveness of sins. The Anglicans claim no difference in essence (no supernatural abilities) versus a layman, and their rite reflects their belief. Manion didn't mention this probably because Vatican II introduced the same defects to the Roman Rite of ordination in 1969, and hence he probably lacks a valid ordination as well as do most younger New Order priests. Posted by: mulligan
June 27, 2008 08:46 AM EDT
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