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Tares Among the Wheat: the challenge to emergent communities.



Saint Matthew 13:24-30
Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn.
Because many are currently small (like a mustard seed! - cf St. Mark 4:30–32) and enthusiastic, emergent faith communities are ready targets for aggressive individuals that seek to appropriate a community's immediacy and energy.

Extremists (too strong a descriptor?) insinuate themselves into a community and like malicious microbes infect their host, sapping its vitality and possibly dividing a community within itself or from the wider Church.

Vade retro Satana; Numquam suade mihi vana.
Sunt mala quae libas; Ipse venena bibas.

Though an aspect or two of the extremists' agenda might have merit, their actions largely detract from the mission of the Church, which is to:*
  1. invite new disciples into a life-giving relationship with Christ;
  2. nurture reverence and beauty in liturgy, so that the Ordinariate’s tradition of worship deepens the faith and authentic discipleship of all the faithful;
  3. model ecumenism, fostering the unity of the Church that our Lord prayed for (John 17:21);
  4. serve in evangelical charity by caring for those in need.
Whether they be from the left or the right, power hungry pietists prey on the sympathies of generous believers and drag them into an acid pool of conspiracy theories and ideological battles. Historic events are frequently twisted to fit and reinforce a false narrative, and subsequently another narrative emerges, a chimera that is as malicious as it is alluring. Such conspiratorial traps drag or push believers into swamps of sectarian behaviour.

Sedevacantists... empty-seers.

Once they have maneuvered themselves into a parish, the same militants drag others into a mental schism, a break from thinking with the Church (sentire cum ecclesia), if not a break into an actual schism or imperfect communion. Partisans of the extreme left or extreme right bend toward each other along the political horseshoe.

Saint Matthew 7:15-20
Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
Control (John Hurt): [...] I have had an offer of service. A Hungarian general wants to come over. I would like you to meet him. He has some information that I need, Jim.

Jim Prideaux (Mark Strong): What information?

Control: Treasure. He has the name of the mole the Russians have planted in the British intelligence service, right at the top of the Circus. There's a rotten apple, Jim. We have to find it.

- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (2011)

Ordinariate communities, initially comprised of individuals who have for decades fought the good fight in their former Anglican, Continuing Anglican and Anglo-catholic homes (1 Timothy 6:12), are not strangers to combating false doctrine. Much more than mere reactionaries, Ordinariate Catholics strive to be habitually oriented to maintaining hope and finding joy in the pursuit of truth, beauty and righteousness. Tested by prior adversities, they are not so naive, however, as to avoid confronting the possibility that a rotten apple or two may have found a backdoor into their Ordinariate community.

The mission of the Ordinariate is effectively defined by Bishop Steven J. Lopes (*). All Catholics would do well to reflect on that mission and embrace it with zeal.

Despite distractions that attempt to interfere with the Ordinariate mission, we should stay the course by continually dedicating ourselves to:
  1. Inviting new disciples into a life-giving relationship with Christ;
  2. Nurturing reverence and beauty in liturgy, so that the Ordinariate’s tradition of worship deepens the faith and authentic discipleship of all the faithful;
  3. Modeling ecumenism, fostering the unity of the Church that our Lord prayed for (John 17:21);
  4. Serving in evangelical charity by caring for those in need.
Point 1 slightly amended:
  1. as mediators of Christ's hospitality in the truth, inviting new disciples into a life-giving relationship with Christ and His Church.
The lex orandi lex crendendi lex vivendi proposed in and by the Ordinariate is nothing less (and nothing more) than the lex of Christ.
The Ordinariate exists for those who are and who will be coming into full communion with the Catholic Church. Through the reverence and beauty of our worship, the study of Sacred Scripture and charity for those in need, we desire to share the joy of being Roman Catholic! We wish to build bridges with all our brothers and sisters who are drawn to the Catholic Church, so that we might build up the one Body of Christ.

The Ordinariate form of the Sacred Liturgy enables Catholics to reach out to souls thirsty for truth, beauty and righteousness. Divine Worship, embodying the great English Patrimony, a treasure - so saith Anglicanorum Coetibus -  to be shared with the whole Church, is a clear window through which the reconciling light of Jesus Christ may reach those disenfranchised by empty worldly ideologies and those caught in the divide between warring factions.

Parishes and communities in the Ordinariates are fully Roman Catholic, but retain elements of Anglican traditions in their liturgy, hospitality and ministries.
In the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis redintegatio), the Catholic Church specified what it would look like to bring all Christians together into communion. The Council said Christian groups would bring their own distinctive traditions to the Catholic Church; they would not be suppressed or absorbed. The Vatican’s remarkable ecumenical gesture in establishing the Ordinariates affirms the Catholic Church’s view that the patrimony of differing Christian spiritualities and liturgies is a treasure meant to be shared within the Catholic tradition.
The Patrimony embodies the character of Jesus Christ. The Patrimony is the mission, the spiritual, intellectual, ecclesial and cultural genius identified as worthy of inclusion in the Church precisely because that same Patrimony embodies the Gospel and is Catholic to its core.

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