Thursday, November 12, 2009

De Lisle's Dream Come True

Beware the Litanies of the Dominicans!

Fr. Brian Mulcahy, O.P., of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph (Eastern Province) posts an article written by Leon Pereira, O.P. entitled, "De Lisle’s Dream Come True". It concerns the desire of Ambrose Philips de Lisle, founder of Mount St. Bernard's Abbey in England, for Anglican unity with the Catholic Church and its fulfillment with the new Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum coetibus, which provides for the reception of large portions of the Anglican Communion into Full Communion with the Catholic Church.
Two hundred years ago an extraordinary man was born in Leicestershire, Ambrose Philips de Lisle. He was a scion of the ancient De Lisle family, and the founder of Mount St. Bernard's Abbey. His descendants still come to Mass at Holy Cross. Ambrose de Lisle was a visionary ahead of his time. A convert to the Catholic faith, he dreamed of Christian unity. He wrote a pamphlet in 1876, voicing the idea of a corporate re-union of the Anglican Communion with the Catholic Church, whilst retaining Anglican juridical structures, liturgy and spirituality. When his friend Cardinal John Henry Newman read it, he wrote to him,
Nothing will rejoice me more than to find that the Holy See considers it safe and promising to sanction some such plan as the Pamphlet suggests. I give my best prayers, such as they are, that some means of drawing to us so many good people, who are now shivering at our gates, may be discovered.
The plan was doomed to be thwarted in De Lisle's lifetime. To console him, Newman said:
It seems to me there must be some divine purpose in it. It often has happened in sacred and in ecclesiastical history, that a thing is in itself good, but the time has not come for it ... And thus I reconcile myself to many, many things, and put them into God's hands. I can quite believe that the conversion of Anglicans may be more thorough and more extended, if it is delayed - and our Lord knows more than we do.
Indeed! Read the whole article.

It should also come as no surprise that Dominicans also played an important role in this effort to respond to the requests of Anglicans to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. Pereira notes:
On 21 February this year, our brother Fr. Augustine DiNoia, O.P., then Under-secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, asked all Dominicans to pray the Litany of Dominican Saints from February 22 (the Feast of the Chair of St Peter) till March 25 (the Solemnity of the Annunciation) for an at-the-time undisclosed intention - it was for this intention. It is no wonder that in our history people have remarked, 'Beware the Litanies of the Dominicans!'

Hat tip to Mark at Dominican Idaho

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