Quick Hits: Accepting Anglican orders, predicting Macron’s future, distracting a priest/author

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | May 09, 2017

  • “When someone is ordained in the Anglican Church and becomes a parish priest in a community, we cannot say that nothing has happened, that everything is ‘invalid’,” writes Cardinal Francesco Coccopalmerio in a new book. But isn’t that pretty much what Pope Leo XIII did say, when he declared Anglican orders “absolutely null and utterly void”? Yet the statement by Cardinal Coccopalmerio cannot be dismissed lightly, since he is president of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts: the Vatican body that is responsible for the official interpretation of the Code of Canon Law. He argues that the Church has suffered from “a very rigid understanding of validity and invalidity.” (And “rigidity,” of course, seems to be regarded as the one unforgiveable sin in his pontificate.) Are we being prepared for another break with the teaching of previous Pontiffs?

  • In London’s Catholic Herald, Father Alexander Lucie-Smith answers his own question: “What should Catholics think of Macron? The signs are not encouraging“. He notes that while Macron won nearly two-thirds of the votes cast in Sunday’s French presidential election, about 25% of the voters chose to abstain, so the winning candidate was actually endorsed by a shade less than one-half of the electorate. He was the “continuity candidate,” in a country sharply divided as to whether or not the status quo is acceptable, a whole-hearted supporter of the European Union, at a time when more and more French people are Euro-skeptics. As for religious issues, one observer predicts that Macron will “distance himself as much as possible from church, faith and Catholicism.”

  • The Washington Post carried an interview with my friend Father Paul Scalia, presumably because he has recently published a book, That Nothing May Be Lost. Unfortunately, after a few warm-up questions the interviewer sets off on his own little crusade, with a dozen consecutive questions about why the Church cannot ordain women. Father Scalia handles the questions well, but we never do learn much about his book. (It is “about Catholic doctrine,” the Post reveals. Thanks.) Fortunately, for those who are interested, Jeff Mirus has reviewed the book.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: rjbennett1294 - May. 10, 2017 12:05 PM ET USA

    Phil Lawler asks, with regard to the validity of Anglican orders, "Are we being prepared for another break with the teaching of previous Pontiffs?" I think we can count on that, but of course the new teaching will be expressed in such ambiguous terms that bishops can, as in the case of Amoris Laetita, interpret Church teaching any way they want, as long as they have a "clear conscience."

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - May. 10, 2017 12:02 PM ET USA

    I looked at the interview. Thanks for the link. "Father Scalia handles the questions well." He didn't merely answer the questions well, but his answers were superlative. Since the interview was not theological in nature, but intended to put him on the spot, it is understandable that he would stick to short, less controversial answers. However, there can be no more forceful explanations for a male priesthood than these: (1) Christ called them _by name_, and (2) they serve _in persona Christi_.

  • Posted by: dfp3234574 - May. 09, 2017 2:39 PM ET USA

    I find it no coincidence that ever since Marty Baron - the editor who spearheaded the Boston Globe's 2002 onslaught against the Church - has taken over the Washington Post, the paper has become increasingly hostile to the Catholic Church.