A Note on APOSTOLICAE CURAE sent me by an Anglo-Catholic Priest. This is from a Catholic Priest:
APOSTOLICAE CURAE and the ‘SPIRIT’ of ST. LOUIS
New Opportunities Afford a New Approach to an Old Controversy
*The origin of the Church is not the decision of men; she is not the product of human willing but a creature of the Spirit of God. This Spirit overcomes the Babylonian world spirit. Man’s will to power, symbolized in Babel, aims at the goal of uniformity, because its interest is domination and subjection; it is precisely in this way that it brings forth hatred and division. God’s Spirit, on the other hand, is love; for this reason He brings about recognition and creates unity in the acceptance of the otherness of the other: the many languages are mutually comprehensible.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Called to Communion (Ignatius), p. 43
Does Apostolicae Curae really oblige a Roman Catholic to maintain, then, that the Edwardine Ordinal contains forms for the conferral of Holy Order which are in themselves defective or invalid? Not at all. Must a Roman Catholic ignore, or worse, quibble over those forms which we find in ancient records like the Apostolic Constitutions and the Gelasian Sacramentary? Certainly not. Here then is the key to understanding Leo’s objection to the Edwardine Ordinal: to wit, the Ordinal was composed by Reformers who openly rejected the Catholic doctrine of the sacerdotium – and it was used over and against the Catholic Pontificals then in existence, which were in turn utterly suppressed. Moreover, it was no secret that the Ordinal drew substantially from a Continental Protestant model supplied by the Lutheran divine, Martin Bucer (9). In the immediate circumstances of the English Reformation, therefore, the purposed excising of any reference to priesthood, sacrifice and oblation from the Ordinal assigned to it a “native character and spirit” (nativa indoles ac spiritus) which Rome could only interpret as anti-Catholic. As the Church of England would then persevere in her Reformed doctrines, and indeed would suppress the liturgical expressions of her more Catholic-minded priests even up to the pontificate of Leo XIII himself, the latter would have had no ground whatsoever to suddenly overturn the consistent practice of the Roman Church and acknowledge the objective validity of the Edwardine Ordinal.
Let us first state the obvious: the overall picture is grim indeed. The influence of modernism is inescapable in the Catholic Church today. But this picture is incomplete; for if we carefully look beyond the surface, in the background we will find there in high relief new possibilities for reconciliation between Anglican Catholics and the Holy See. We realize that perhaps Apostolicae Curae has obscured a part of the Master’s original work – like the conspicuous afterthought of a devoted, but less genuine, student; that, in the original picture, Roman Catholics and Anglican Catholics have always been in communion to a remarkable degree. What remains now is the task of restoring the Master’s original design so that this communion is once again visible, as it was always meant to be, so that Catholics may be truly united in confronting a thoroughly modernistic culture. And as the most powerful weapon at a Christian’s disposal is prayer, so must we be united in prayer – united, indeed, in that greatest Prayer of all, the Holy Mass.
Consider how imperative it is that Anglican Catholics and Roman Catholics speak with one voice, as an earthly echo of the celestial refrain: Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus. Unless we recognise a ministerial priesthood held by us both; a common Sacrifice of the altar; and the same Priest and Victim who both offers, and is, that Sacrifice; then all manner of supposed “agreement” and unity beyond these are for naught. (15)*
This is a fairly long article, but if you want to understand the issues involved in APISTOLOCAE CURAE and trying to reunite Anglican Catholics and the Catholic Church, I think you have to read it and digest it.
Blessings and Peace, Michael