Quid est veritas? – “I am a Cardinal and I’m diiiigging a hooole… diiigging a hooole…”
(If it’s stuck in my head, I see no reason to suffer alone… But I’ll spare y’all the ten hour version which you can click on here.)
36. Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the Pontiffs, Our Predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by Our authority, of Our own initiative and certain knowledge, We pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.
Leo XIII, Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae, 1896
… and that, said John, is that.
… But that was then, and this is the current year.
A few thoughts have come to mind about this latest Coccopalmerio thing. Yes, I suppose by now we’ve all heard that Cardinal Coccopuffs – most famous for having bolted in terror from his own book launch for fear of facing up to awkward questions about adultery and sin and eternal damnation and whatnot – has come up with another stinger. Yes, apparently Anglican “orders” aren’t as absolutely null and utterly void as we had been led to believe, like the Terminator at the end of the movie.
At this point I think it’s safe to consider this formerly obscure nonentity to be one of Bergoglio’s chosen mouthpieces for his (or his masters’) vision of a New-NewChurch, one whose primary concerns and aims are indistinguishable from those of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals. And of course, one of the most important of the goals of such people is the creation of a non-doctrinal, “non-dogmatic” pseudo-religion that makes no distinctions between “denominations” but welcomes all into the lukewarm, mushy-marshmallow embrace of friendly togetherness (and heaven help anyone who refuses to join…Get it? “heaven help em”? Heh…)
So, of course the Francismachine is obliged to start erasing any remaining traces of the old notion – explicitly laid down by Pope Leo XIII in his world famous blockbuster 1896 papal bull, Apostolicae Curae – that the Anglican “Church” … isn’t.
Then, 1966 And All That…
It’s important to understand that Cardinal Cocco isn’t the first. In fact, the love affair between the Vatican Proggies and the Anglos goes waaaay back.
We had Cardinal Basil Hume, one of the primary architects of modernist NuChurch in the UK, telling us all in 1978 that because the Anglos were more or less worried about the same thing, they came up with what I like to call “the Anglican Deke” …
“I could not in practice dismiss all Anglican Orders as “null and void” because I know that a number of Anglican Bishops have in fact had the presence at their ordination of an Old Catholic or an Orthodox bishop, that is, somebody who, in the traditional theology of our Church, has been ordained according to a valid rite.”
And Hume also gave us the hint that dismantling, overturning or just ignoring to death Apostolicae Curae was a main goal of the Vaticantwoist Proggies from early on. (A reading of Michael Davies on what exactly happened at Vatican II will open quite a few eyes about how central Anglicanism has been to the entire VaticanTwoist project. It’s notable that John XXIII Roncalli was a big fan of the Anglos too. Something that often enrages NO-Conservatives is being shown the evidence that the Anglican BCP service was one of the models used by Archbishop Bugnini for creating the Novus Ordo.)
Anyway, the upshot is that the “Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission” (ARCIC) has been talkingtalkingtalking pleasant nothings ever since, and got nowhere because of the absolute and utter roadblock of Pope Leo’s very unequivocal “NO”. (And of course, Benedict’s move to create the Ordinariates was one of the main reasons they hated him so passionately. I remember at the press conference at the Sala Stampa when the Proggie mouthpiece for CNS, Cindy Wooden, asked the inevitable first question: “But what about ARCIC?!!?!?” Cardinal Levada shut the entire nonsense down by laughing and responding that they’ve been talking for 40 years and have accomplished exactly nothing. Oh, it was a fine moment!)
It will probably not surprise readers to hear that this Anglican/Catholic “dialogue” was the main project of Cardinal Walter Kasper who more or less inherited the Neverending Tea Party from the previous Mad Heretical Hatter, Cardinal Willebrands. The line has been through all these decades that there really is no “break” between Canterbury and Rome, if only we squint hard enough. It was all just an unfortunate misunderstanding that can be ironed out if we have enough tea and biscuits. This line of course was strongly endorsed and supported by Paul VI, who is known to have been very close to Anglicans in his work in the Vatican before he was sent to Milan, and later carried on by John Paul II who was certainly “great” at muddying the waters with his famously ambiguous “gestures”.
All the popes since Paul VI have, in fact, delighted in greeting English laymen dressed up as priests as though they were authentic shepherds of the flock, giving them presents of pectoral crosses and bishops’ rings, and even getting their pictures taken kissing their hands. (What, you thought Bergoglio invented all this bowing and scraping and smooching-up to heretics and enemies of the Faith?)
In fact, it was one of the main points of contention between Traditionalists and Neo-catholics throughout the last five decades. And of course, quite famously, JPII’s little Assisi festivals of religious indifferentism were the trigger that pushed Archbishop Lefebvre to declare an official state of emergency.
But up until now, most high ranking prelates have managed to keep their toes barely within the formal limits of the letter of the law. Even Cardinal Kasper (smiling with warm benignity at the shenanigan pictured above) started making conservative-ish sounding noises during the Benedicting Hiatus.
But of course, all bets are off now!
Phil Lawler has helpfully helped me not to have to link to anything Christopher Lamb writes.
“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?
Note the buzzwords.
Now, Phil is right of course that it is more significant now than when Hume, a comparative outsider, said it 40 years ago during a period when the papacy wasn’t that interested in this proggie stuff. Hume was also not speaking as a Curial cardinal.
But I think Phil has managed to skip the point: it isn’t important that Cardinal Cocco said it because of his office. This pope has made it clear that nothing anyone in the Curia does is important and that goes double for canonists! No, it’s because Cocco is in his club. He’s been tapped as a designated frontman for FrancisChurch.
The odd little performance over his book launch, notwithstanding. (You recall that his book on Amoris L. was touted at first as a kind of quasi-definitive answer to the Dubia. Then it was downplayed as some grownups started asking difficult questions: “No no! It’s not the official answer of the pope! It’s just AN official answer from someone the pope likes… Wait! No! It’s just one cardinal’s personal opinion…No! Wait! It’s important! Really!” … yeah, whatever.)
Anyway, even though he dropped the ball that time, it seems he’s still being put forward to push the New Paradigm.
So, why is it still important, I can hear y’all asking. Indeed, I can count on half a hand the number of people for whom the question of Anglican orders is genuinely still a Thing. Mostly these are Anglicans who have been fake-ordained and are trying to figure out how to become Catholics without losing their pensions. Really, there are so few Anglicans left that the question could legitimately be asked why we’re still talking about them at all. Wasn’t there some kind of schism-esque thing there several years ago? Something about some Africans and American gay bishops or something?
OK, well, to start with the doddering hippies in the Vatican are often at least 20 or 30 years behind the news. To the people still fighting the Great War of 1965 the status of Anglican “orders” is hot! hot! HOT!
Second, and not to be forgotten: the Anglicans have, in the minds of a guy like Cocco, resolved the Gay-is-OK issue, and it’s something they need to talk more about, amrite?! Something something… mutual enrichment… somethingsomething…
(If you want to take the question itself seriously… which I’m sure almost no one does… you can go read Ed Peter’s take-down of Cardinal Coocoo’s little slip of the pen. But really, this is one of those times when the message being broadcast has very little to do with the words.)
But a much more fundamental issue is actually at stake (albeit being stirred in the world’s smallest and least interesting teapot), and it’s about the nature of truth. To Catholics of the past, doctrine was like math: a description of objective reality. But that language is out, right?
The reason its important to say that then it was no but now it’s yes, is that:
The. Most. Important. point of all of FrancisChurch is that a “no” can be made into a “yes”.
How? Because, power. The only thing this pontificate is about is power.
All you really have to do is wait a while, and talk enough marshmallowy, Anti-Rational gibberish, and hold out until your audience is so intellectually ill-formed and morally stunted that they can’t tell the difference between “development of doctrine” and denial of it.
And BINGO! Aren’t we ever there! Leo XIII? Oh man! That guy was SOOooooo 19th century! This is the current year! Times change! A man can become a woman, marry a woman who became a man, and have the pope call them a “married couple”. (Yep, not making that one up either.)
Believe me, their time has come. We are in the age when people talk about “moving past” the logical principle of non-contradiction … and they think they’re really saying a Thing.
But no. It’s not about Anglicans.