E-mail conversation about the ACA and the Pope’s offer

(Plain-type text is from me.)

This means an aggregate of some 10,000 people at most--that would seem to be more than the total number of active ACC members, wouldn't it?

Myself, I am more interested in one of the "related articles" (which I cannot open)  "3000 Iraqis Become Roman Catholics". Perhaps the author means Chaldean Catholics, but if not, I do have to ask what the hell the Latin Church is doing poaching in the territory of another Catholic Church--and one under severe pressure, too?

With the usual blithe ignorance of all matters Eastern Christian, this is speaking of the movement of Mar Bawai Soro of the Assyrian Church of the East and several of his congregations in the United States, into the Chaldean Catholic Church.  This happened some time back, and was mainly concerned with internal politics in the Church of the East.

I know Mar Bawai personally, and he is rather more aggressively ecumenical than many of his proteges back in Iraq and Iran; they did not approve of some of his outreach to the Catholic Church, and since the theological differences between the Church of the East and the Chaldean Catholic Church are nonexistent, he and his flock simply changed management.  As the Chaldean Catholic community in the U.S. is larger and better organized than the Church of the East, this ought to bring pastoral benefits to the Iraqi Christian community in the United States.

On the other hand, the headline was misleading on several counts:  first, they are not Iraqis; second, I doubt that there are 3000, and third, they did not become "Roman Catholics", but rather "Chaldean Catholics".

The Iraqi story is the old (2008) news of the reception into the Chaldean church of several congregations of Assyrians under Mar Bawai Soro. No Latin poaching going on.

I won't play semantic games with the Chaldæan story. All I'll say is ISTM it was very underreported, probably because the Roman Catholics aren't villains in it so it doesn't fit the American Protestant narrative.

Back to the real topic: bad show, Telegraph. Sensationalistic, lying headline. (Like when vagantes ordain ex-RC women and the headline calls them Catholics.) Anglican = bishop invited to Lambeth. 100 Episcopal parishes converting (what should have happened right after 1976 but American high churchmen aren't would-be RCs) would be big news. I think the exodus from the ACA over the upcoming conversion (see above about American high churchmen) is nearly over. (And those moves are good: if you don't believe in the whole thing, don't convert!) The ACA and a few others will make a fine small American ordinariate. Good news.

You're probably right about the Chaldean thing, though it did not appear in the local diocesan paper or Eastern Catholic Life.  I knew about it mainly because of the grapevine and my own contacts with Mar Bawai (a very good man--I was proud to be his altar boy).  On the size of the American ordinariate, if it exceeds 2500-3000 people, I will be amazed.  A lot depends on how much cooperation the Latin ordinaries give to the Anglo-Catholics inside their diocesan boundaries.  They were never hot on the idea of the Anglican Use dispensation in the first place, and to many, the ex-Anglicans are likely to be seen as a nuisance--and treated as such.

I agree but hope Pope Benedict has the ex-Anglicans' (or in the case of the ex-ACA, ex-anglicans') back. They'll need it.

Considering how the American bishops consistently stonewall the Vatican when they see their interests jeopardized (e.g., on heterodoxy in Catholic universities, on the disciplining of errant Catholic politicians, and even on making the Tridentine Mass readily available to the faithful), it's naive to think that they can't stonewall the erection of ordinariates if they so desire.

The report is inaccurate for two reasons:

1. The ACA House of Bishops is still carrying on its endless (as in endless-a matter of job security after the Pope called their bluff with Anglicanorum Coetibus.) negotiations to get everything they say they want.

2. Many, probably most, of the parishes will simply leave the ACA to avoid going to Rome.

At least they got the part about "conversion" right.


I simply multiplied 100 parish by 100 people.  But if the real number is 2500, then most of these parishes are the size of kafee klatches.