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Absolutely Null & Utterly Void

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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