Thursday, August 24, 2006

This might be going to far...what do you think?

Yesterday, Fr. Mitch Pacwa took a call from someone in Virginia saying her family had just found a parish to go to because one of her parents was Catholic and the other not. I don't remember the details, but she said it was an Episcopal-Catholic joing parish and that the website said this:

Services are held each week at 10:00 a.m. We hear the Liturgy of the Word together, but maintain separate altars for the Eucharist. Roman Catholics in good standing may receive from the Roman Catholic priest; all other Baptized Christians in good standing with their own church may receive from the Episcopal priest. After the service we hold a fellowship followed by Christian Formation for all ages that is held from September 20 until May at 11:30 a.m.

Uh, I looked the place up. I Googled "Catholic Episcopal Joint Parish Virginia" and came up with a list of Episicopal parishes. Bingo. Church of the Holy Apostles in Virginia Beach, VA.

Membership in the Church of the Holy Apostles is a commitment to this vision. The vision is lived out in the congregation's life, which is characterized as:

eucharistically centered
intent on mission
involved in shared ministry
creative in liturgy
expressive in total stewardship
committed to Christian education and formation
ecumenically optimistic

Eucharistically centered? How can a joint parish be eucharistically centered when the two sides do not recognize each other's Eucharistic validity? Thats not "centered", thats "split." The other scary one is "creative in liturgy". Um, that sounds wonderful...

I would love to see this in action sometime. It sounds horrific from an orthodox perspective. Hey, they might actually be doing good work. But the point of ecuminism is not to compromise, its goal should be to bring those outside the Catholic Church into the fullness of the faith. Not to just worship together and forget our differences, because it feels good.

How can the bishop allow this in good conscience? I understand the bishop is known as a good one, so I'm a bit perplexed. Reading a bit further it seems like this is an Episcopal parish with Catholic members, and not a 50-50 joint effort. Although the governance seems equal. You'll have to check it out for yourselves. I'd love to hear comments about this place if anyone has any.

In all charity, we should pray that nobody is led astray and that their work is truly fruitful.


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"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton