Wed 30th Jul 2014 | Last updated: Tue 29th Jul 2014 at 16:36pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo
Hot Topics

Comment & Blogs

Catholics are being deceived into attending non-Catholic services

Foreign visitors may be attending High Anglican services under the impression that they are Roman Catholic

By on Monday, 28 November 2011

Definitely a Roman Catholic Mass  Photo: CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters

Definitely a Roman Catholic Mass Photo: CNS photo/Max Rossi, Reuters

The Church Times has reported the Bishop of London’s recent pastoral letter about Anglicans using the Roman rite in its new translation, and you can read the article here.

I have already commented on this matter, so forgive me if I return to it. What I find particularly interesting about this report is the contrasting reactions to the bishop’s letter. One vicar, the Rev Paul Bagott, of Holy Redeemer, Clerkenwell, and St Mark’s, Myddleton Square, has decided to do exactly what the Bishop has asked of him, namely switch to Common Worship, which he says will involve very little substantial change for his congregation.

But then there is this:

The priest of another Anglo-Catholic parish in the London diocese, however, who asked not to be named, said that it would adopt the new Roman rite. “The PCC feel we have always done this [used the Roman rite] and it is part of the church’s tradition; in that sense we are being very Anglican. . . The Bishop occasionally has to speak ex cathedra, and there is a formality to that, but on the ground we don’t operate always within rigid protocol.”

He might well think that, but I could not possibly comment, and being a non-Anglican, it is probably best that I say nothing at all on this. But then he goes on:

The priest said that many Roman Catholics worshipped at his church, some of whom were from Continental Europe, “and they recognise it [the Roman rite] immediately.”

This last statement does require comment. If a Roman Catholic from France or Italy visits this unidentified church and sees that the Roman rite is seemingly in progress, they would not unnaturally assume that the church was a Roman Catholic Church, in communion with the Holy Father, wouldn’t they? But they would be mistaken. Such a church uses the Roman Missal, but is not a Roman Catholic church, and is not authorised to use the Roman Missal by the Bishop of the diocese (the Catholic bishop, I mean; the Anglican bishop has also forbidden it). Moreover the persons attempting to celebrate Mass are not recognised as priests by the Roman Catholic Church. In short, the visitor from France or Italy may see what looks like the Mass, but what is in fact not the Mass.

Now, a question: they would clearly be deceived in thinking that what is going on before them is a Roman Catholic Mass. But is this because they have deceived themselves, or is it because the vicar has deceived them? Does the vicar tell them that they are in an Anglican church? Or does he leave them to assume that the church is, somehow or another, “Catholic”?

Let us be clear about this: when we Roman Catholics in communion with the Pope use the word Catholic, we intend something very specific; when Anglicans use the word “Catholic” they are not using the word in the same sense. The Anglo-Catholic vicar in the Church Times report may claim to be “Catholic”, but from the point of view of the Roman Catholic Church, he is not.

I realise that suggesting that people are practising deception is a serious matter, but the fact is that the Ordinariate is now in existence, and if you want to live the Anglican Patrimony and be in communion with the Pope, you can. I welcome that. The vicar of the unidentified church has received the offer to enter the Ordinariate and he has declined it. He has refused the offer of communion from the Pope. Ergo, he cannot and must not claim to be in communion with the Pope in any sense whatever. His claim to be “Catholic” strikes me as bogus. Or am I wrong about this?

Incidentally, I have seen churches in America which call themselves “Protestant Episcopal” on their notice boards, but which also carry notices in Spanish that proclaim themselves to be “ Iglesia Episcopal Catolica”. If that isn’t deception, what is? Visiting the website of one of the churches in question, I see that they are having “Misa” (that is, Mass) on the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Spanish. Are the Spanish-speakers who are warmly invited to such a service aware that it is not the Mass?

  • Carlton

    a false mummery, to the detriment of their souls, then it very much
    affects the Catholic Church and we have every right to tell them to make
    what they are clear to any Catholics who should happen upon them.
    ————————————————————————————————————————————–
    What utter nonsense. Pietistical rubbish.

  • Carlton

    WSquared, You’re another popish sheep brainwashed by the Church. You’re living in the Middle Ages.

  • Carlton

    and with a valid eucharist you don’t need “perfect communion” with the bishop of Rome.   Since Christ is already in you midst.  As in the eucharists of Orthodox, Polish and Utrecht Union Catholics and many Anglican churches today.

  • Carlton

    There are a lot of Spanish (Mexican born) Anglicans in California, Texas, Arizona, New Mexico,and Florida.
    They’ve had it with the Bavarian Bungler.

  • Carlton

    Had you joined the Orthodox, it would have been more like a royal banquet.

  • Carlton

    That decline was occurring years before Vatican II by the way.  Liturgy, Latin or otherwise, had little to do with, but “Humanae Vitae” tended to speed up the departure.

  • James

    Communion in Lutheran churches, no matter how you receive it, is not the Eucharist, so I’m afraid Rome offers an infinitely better deal.

  • Carlton

    The key thing is the pope needs to be in communion with YOU.  He hasn’t been for 1500 years with the Oriental Orthodox.  They don’t appear to be in any hurry to change that either.  Communio with Rome is a strictly ROMAN concept and was never accepted in the east, and still isn’t today.

  • Carlton

    The same could be said for the other captain of a floating barque. Nice fantasy you have Benny.

  • Carlton

    By the same token the EOrthodox consider the Roman Mass invalid.  An heretical pope presiding over an heretical Church leads to an heretical eucharist.

  • Carlton

    Your Panzer Pontiff told you that the Anglican Patrimony was beautiful and worthy of emulation. Therefore,  obey.  More emanations from the “infallible magisterium”.  You are obliged to accept and to believe.

  • Carlton

    This sounds like many a parish in the EPUSA today.

  • Carlton

    Priests have better things to be doing than “advising” their congregations on anything other than the gospels.

  • Carlton

    when we go “church shopping” in order to have our spiritual needs
    “served,” we’re likely to choose something less demanding (and the
    easier we can make Jesus in our own image, the better).
    ———————————————————————————————————————————
    and did you discern this from an apparition, or from the catechism? Rubbish!  People often embrace Orthodoxy by “church shopping”.  A far more demanding faith than Rome ever was. Another branc of Christendom filled to the rafters with former Catholics.

  • Carlton

    and when your friend finally got to the Roman church he was abused by having to endure an inferior liturgy and spirituality. 

  • Anonymous

    @comment1: “my (Anglican) Churches, but half the congregation in one of them are RC ”

    Do they know you are not Catholic? Are you sure? Have you told them?

  • Carlton

    And why, exactly, does that justify some of the deliberate misleading that we are hearing about here?
    —————————————————————————————————————————–
    Misleading? Hardly, Anglicans shouldn’t be blamed for the stupidity of Papists.

  • Carlton

    Don’t hold your breath. They may be High, but they’re not delirious.  Don’t sell the family farm and bet on any such conversion.

  • Carlton

    Once Rome has cleansed itself of idolatry and superstition, union could be possible.

  • Anonymous

    @Carlton:”headed by validly ordained former Roman Catholic priests”

    Whatever. If they’re not intending what the Church intends, they’re not offering the Mass. I hardly think parading our apostates at us helps your case.

  • Anonymous

    “there’s no reason why Roman parishes can’t return the compliment and adopt the 1979 Book of Common Prayer”

    Apart from the fact that it wouldn’t be the Mass and that it espouses heresy and that it’s not in accordance with Canon law…er, no, no reason at all.

  • Carlton

    What utter nonsense.

  • Anonymous

    @Carlton: “I hope they stay right where they are and forget this Ordinariate nonsense. Just a gathering of woman haters living in the past.”I don’t hate women. I just don’t think they can ever validly be priests. The comment you make suggests that you view these things in terms of a secular “equality and rights” culture which has no place in discussions about theological matters.

  • Carlton

    You have a right to speak and to go unpunished for your nonsensical views pertaining to the deception of Catholics. You are as much a sheep as they are. 

  • Anonymous

    “If they aren’t smart enough Catholics to realise it is CofE, that’s their problem, not the rector’s.”

    If they’re foreigners, there’s no reason they should really even be aware of the “CofE”, let alone be aware of its various differing incarnations. It’s deceit if he doesn’t tell them.

  • Anonymous

    “Perhaps true at one time, but certainly not today. Far from it.   American  Anglican churches have a great many former Roman Catholic priests as rector/vicar.  It isn’t unusual to find at least one-third of the congregants made up of former Roman Catholics.”

    If they have apostasised to heresy, then they are not offering the Mass.

  • Carlton

    Jjpepe,  One of the few here to make any sense. You must be an Anglican. I can tell.

  • Anonymous

    There are some unbelievable people (I am ashamed to say Catholics) on this blog suggesting that people’s souls are in danger if a Catholic goes to a non-Catholic Mass. There is definitely truth to this but, people can no longer see the wood for the trees.

    Come on people, it is time for a reality check here. I’m not suggesting for one minute that Catholics should go against Church teaching but, going on about which type of Mass to attend sounds no different to the Pharisees 2000 years ago. This is what happens when the laity have not had access to real Church teaching for 50 years and Catholic’s are still not reading their bibles.

    Not evangelizing, not being a witness to Christ, not helping the sick, homeless, and poor is what is going to send people to hell. You people need to have a reality check. Have you not read the bible:

    Galatians 3:2 – How was it that you received the spirit – was it by the practice of the law, or by believing in the message you heard?

  • Confusedof Chi

    He is very REAL…check his web site. All good stuff and very informative to those who are genuinely seeking this Advent season!!

  • Frankie

    And the women Ordinariate members?
    I’m afraid I f ind your statemenoment uncharitable if not utterly inaccurate. I and many others joined because we believe in unity and welcomed the Holy Father’s offer to move toward it.

  • Pbostock

    Dwight is real. I used to lodge in his house when he was an Anglican curate.
     

  • Simon Jones

    But the questionner would not be asking whether it’s Catholic “from [y]our point of view”, but whether it’s in full communion with the Church of Rome. They would be asking, in effect, “would the Pope recognise this as a Catholic Church?”. If you know that’s what they mean (and it’s self-serving sophistry to pretend there’s any ambiguity there), and you choose to answer based on your own interpretation of a word rather than theirs, then that is disingenious at best.

  • mikethelionheart

    Who cares what they look like.
    A cover band is still a cover band and not the real thing.

  • Frankie

    I used to work in a Cathedral. We had visitors from all over the world, many clearly mistook the (fairly well known) Anglican Cathedral’s liturgy as RC, or possibly chose not to distinguish between the denominations. It may be that the large numbers with little or no English found that tricky, regardless of the introduction and welcome (and signs, and leaflets, and service sheets).

    When distributing the Sacrament in that context, do you ask every person who approaches the
    Altar who you suspect to be Catholic, whether they are aware they are not at a Roman Catholic Mass, or do you let God sort it out?

  • Mikeoregan

    Why is that then Carlton?
    I considered the Orthodox church, we have a Greek Orthodox church in here in Chester, St Barbara’s.
    Rejected it.
    Although not a false church like the protestant churches.
    I’m currently swapping emails with a guy I met on the British Orthodox Church’s website who wants to convert from Orthodox to Catholic.

  • Mikethelionheart

    What sad, wicked and unChristian tactics that Protestants have to stoop to.

  • Mikethelionheart

    Except by those Eastern Catholics that have back into communion.

  • Mikethelionheart

    Hi Carlton,
    What’s it like back there in the 19th Century?

  • Mikethelionheart

    So, knowing that Catholics are not meant to take communion in Anglican churches, Anglican priests are still happy to encvourage them to do so, even to the point of tricking them into doing so? That is vile.

  • Anonymous

    @ poppy.
                   Indeed except that one is authentic, the other(Anglican) one is not. You fool no-one but yourselves.

  • Anonymous

    @ Carlton. Are there any EPUSA parishes left? I doubt it.

  • Anonymous

    @ Poppy.
                   How would you know? You are a Protestant.

  • Neville Noags

    Just like Ireland, then.

  • Dissenter

    With the mass exodus from many Christian churches in England & Wales, especially Catholic, we should be worrying about those who no longer practice their faith by attending any form of communal Christian worship.

  • Anonymous

    Piffle. Huge changes in the liturgy are always bound to have a traumatic effect on the laity and Humanae Vitae in  no way changed the Church’s teaching so its effect has been exaggerated in my opinion.

  • WSquared

    Alas, when it comes to many megachurches, etc., in the U.S., what I’ve said is not “rubbish.”  Also, I should point out that the faith being more demanding than that of Rome is not the point in and of itself.    What is also demanding, is not just orthodoxy, but obedience.

  • Andrew

    Folks, this kind of argument has now appears twice (thrice?) on this thread.  The question you must ask is why?  If you divorce the “validity” of the mass from the actions and ceremonial around it, this kind of reaction will go on and on forever.  The solution is simple – if you want unambiguous Catholic Mass, then do unambiguous Catholic mass, and not this pseudo-protestant ritual that has been going on for so long.

  • WSquared

    Now this whole paragrph of yours really *is* rubbish.

    No, that is not at all true.  Which makes sense, given the way the Roman Catholic Church understands the vocation of the priesthood as men called by God for a specific purpose.  No-one can simply celebrate a Mass. 

    And the fact that you have to stoop to trotting out the usual foam-at-the-mouth anti-Catholic tropes in order to “prove” your point demonstrates absolutely nothing. 

    Furthermore, I hope and pray to be counted among the sheep and not the goats.

  • Poppy Tupper

    Look, why should we give a toss about YOUR house rules? We operate by our own. We are not ‘tricking’ anyone.

  • Poppy Tupper

    Well the best thing to observe is that when they discover that they have actually been receiving communion in a ‘protestant’ church, they are almost always quite happy about it, having discovered that thier previously held misconceptions and prejudices about ‘protestantism’ have just evaporated. They quite often come back again, making favourable comments about married priests and even women priests. The latter is surely the most obvious give away to even the doziest foreigner that an Anglican church is a bit different. Even Forward in Faith churches quite often have women deacons vested and at the altar.