Saturday, February 02, 2013

"The Pope's Project" – In US Debut, Rome's "Grand Inqusitor" Talks the Ordinariates

In his first American appearance as the Vatican's chief guardian of church teaching, the new CDF prefect Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller delivered the keynote earlier today at a Houston symposium (video) on Anglicanorum coetibus, marking a year since the establishment of the H-Town based ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter.

Under the provisions of B16's 2009 constitution that carved a path for groups of Anglicans to enter the Catholic communion en masse while maintaining aspects of their spiritual, liturgical and juridical heritage, Müller's "Holy Office" is tasked with global oversight of the project, which now encompasses three diocese-like jurisdictions in England, the States and, most recently, Australia. (The 1,600-member US ordinariate likewise encompasses Canada.)

Since last summer's first round of ordinations following an expedited, mostly-online program of priestly formation based at the site of today's conference – Houston's St Mary's Seminary – the Stateside entity has ordained some 30 priests (most of them married) with just as many in the pipeline to follow. (Shown above is the scene from the US ordinariate's largest priesting to date: the ordination for Rome of six former Episcopal clerics last June in Fort Worth by Bishop Kevin Vann, a key figure of the Anglicanorum project on these shores who's since been transferred to Orange.)

Introduced by the Chair's founding Ordinary – the former Episcopal bishop, now Msgr Jeffrey Steenson – here below is fullvideo of Müller's keynote on "Anglicanorum coetibus and Ecclesial Unity," delivered in impeccable English...

...and, as prepared for delivery, the "Grand Inquisitor's" text – for larger font-size, click the magnifying glass with the plus underneath, or the square icon to its right for full-scren viewing:

Given the CDF's competence on issues of bioethics in church teaching, Müller will remain in Texas to attend this week's seminar for bishops hosted each February in Dallas by the Philadelphia-based National Catholic Bioethics Center before heading to Notre Dame for a lecture Wednesday night.

Having arrived in Houston on Thursday, the prefect spent part of a free day yesterday touring NASA's Johnson Space Center in the city, along with a visit to Lone Star Catholicism's episcopal cradle in Galveston.

The location of the German's "first major foray" at the CDF's helm led a clearly tickled Cardinal Daniel DiNardo to thank Müller for coming to the US "and immediately fly[ing] right over the East Coast down to the Gulf and Houston."

Then again, much like B16's elevation of the first cardinal of the American South, the choice of the domestic home-base for another cherished "Pope's Project" was intended from its inception as another distinct sign from Rome that Texas has arrived on the stage of the global church.