Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Mary Magdalen Apostle Catholic Community

Ever come across the joke, “Why are busses like bananas?” “Because they come in bunches !” – the universal law that when you’ve been waiting for a bus for over half an hour two usually come at once ? The same seems to be true of independent catholic communities.

Only yesterday I came across St Stephens in Minneapolis. Today a community called St Magdalen Apostle Community in San Diego has come into my radar. They have hit the headlines last week by the communities ordination of one of their members Nancy Corran. More about the ordination can be found here.

Obviously she was bravely ordained to serve their community and I wish them well. This is what the community says about themselves on their website which can be found here or by clicking on the banner above.

"Founded and convened by Rev. Dr. Jane Via, Mary Magdalene Apostle Catholic Community, welcomes all and reaches out to those who are marginalized. We are dedicated to living the Gospel values of compassion, peace and social justice as taught and exemplified by Jesus the Christ.

We are committed to the full equality of women and men in a transformed Roman Catholic Church and world. In prophetic response to the Spirit, we are actively creating a new model of church community as a discipleship of equals through radical inclusiveness in language, worship and ministry. We seek to be mindful of our stewardship of the earth and to practice environmental responsibility for God's creation."

1 comment:

Graham said...

I guess these people at the Mary Magdalene Faith community are at one end of the continuum as regards ordination, bishops and authority- the congregational end. It seems unusual as most Independent Catholics churches seem very concerned about apostolic succession with the traditional Catholic idea sometimes referred to as ‘pass the baton’ theory although I think many Catholic theologians such as McBrien, Burkhard and even Razinger have rethought this. These Mary Magdalene people are taking the idea of ‘the local church’ seriously and I guess the idea of apostolic succession residing in the community rather than an individual bishop, although I understand the Old Catholic church emphasizes the local community with their bishop in communion with other local churches. Still amongst the various ways of being Christian in the early days I believe that there was present an ‘early Catholicism’ as Raymond Brown calls it with an incipient sacramentalism, hierarchy, ordination and teaching. This may be found more in Pastorals and 2 Peter and maybe Ephesians and also Luke –Acts, I believe, and can be seen in the Jerusalem church. Unfortunately some of the other ways of being church seemed to cease existing and authoritarianism and centralism seemed to have won out. Perhaps these groups of people are resurrecting some of these other ways of being. However, I do think there is something like a family resemblance theory to use Wittgenstein’s idea that is needed when thinking about church in order that we don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. Here there may be a group of factors but none in themselves that are important for defining what the Catholic church is although these will overlap with defining elements of other Christian groups also. I guess that bishop-priests-deacons is one such characteristic (although I agree that how this works in practice needs a great deal of thinking through); the mass another, a particular aesthetic sense (or maybe a few) and what makes up what Andrew Greeley calls the ‘Catholic imagination’ which keeps me Catholic rather than Anglican or Congregationalist although I do not deny the existence of their own characteristics and the need for us all to learn from each other. In that respect I think the churches do better than other groups such as psychotherapists who still have their divisions. For me in looking at Independent Catholics, I guess apostolic succession from bishop to bishop is important, but just as important is the presence of spirituality and a strong pastoral concern although I realize that no particular church is perfect.

Graham