GERARD Nose , ASKS why "has serious theological debate within Catholic circles not been publicly launched" on the subject of the correctness of Apostolicae Curae's judgment on the invalidity of the Anglican ordination rites (Catholic Herald, 4 October).
In the early Eighties Bishop Butler did appeal in The Tablet for someone to explain and defend the theology of Apostolicae Curae. That I did in a lengthy published letter. Bishop Butler did not reply to my defence of Apostolicae Curae, which presupposes the Catholic doctrine of the priesthood as essentially defined by the celebration of Mass being the sacramental renewal of the Sacrifice of the Cross.
Those who accept ARCIC's setting aside of the traditional doctrines on the Eucharist and the priesthood are quite consistent in wishing to set aside the Bull's definitive decision. However, should they succeed, and bring their own ordination rites into doctrinal conformity with the Anglican, then they will fall under Pope Leo XIII's judgment and be held by Catholics to be null and void.
It is interesting to note Cardinal Gasquet's observations on his Roman discussions with eminent pro-Anglican Orders continental ecclesiastics: "It was the most painful meeting we have had. It was impossible to believe that four Catholic priests could have calmly accepted full-blown Protestantism as they did today."
Monks Kirby, Warks