The Portal November 2016 - Page 21

THE P RTAL November 2016 Page 21 Letter from America Fr James Bradley writes from Washington DC In June 2013, Monsignor Newton assigned me to studies in Canon Law at The Catholic University of America in Washington DC. In May this year I completed the first of two ecclesiastical degrees, the Licentiate of Canon Law (JCL), and in June began the doctorate (JCD), with a dissertation entitled “The Provenance and Purpose of Personal Ordinariates”. As this work continues, the editors of The Portal asked me to offer some thoughts about my time here, my studies, and Ordinariate life in America. The Catholic University of America Studying the Personal Ordinariates The Catholic University of America was founded in 1887 to provide for American clergy who needed ecclesiastical qualifications, but for whom the distance from Rome meant this was otherwise impossible. The School of Canon Law is one of two English-language schools in the world, and attracts students from dioceses and religious congregations across the United States and further afield. I have also been able to study matters directly affecting the personal Ordinariates—from parishes and clergy remuneration to our liturgical life, the role of the laity, and collaboration with local dioceses. In all of this, I have tried to take a dual historical and canonical approach; showing that by tracing the development of personal Ordinariates we can understand better what we are called to be. This makes it an excellent place not only for the study of Canon Law, but also for a formation in the life and workings of the Catholic Church. Those of us in the personal Ordinariates have come to embrace the Catholic faith, but we are perhaps less familiar with the institution and day-to-day operation of the Church, and so to study Canon Law in a context like this has been both interesting and useful. This has taken me from the conversion of Newman in 1845, through the ecumenical movement and the fundamental changes in the nature of Anglicanism, to the present day, all in order better to understand the responses of the Holy See to groups of Anglicans requesting communion. This has been fascinating; discovering whole dioceses that petitioned for corporate reunion, and even finding draft documents for structures similar to Studying Canon Law personal Ordinariates going as far Canon Law is a study in the art of the detail, always back as the 1970s. with a care for Christ’s faithful and thus led by the desire for truth. Cardinal Raymond Burke, perhaps the most I hope that I will have the chance to share this research eminent Anglophone canonist, has written, “Canon more widely once my studies are complete, not least Law is not for the faint of heart!” Pope Benedict XVI’s because it makes clear that principle: understanding private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, said of the developments that led to Anglicanorum cœtibus his own studies: “I’d always studied gladly and easily, are the key also to understanding what the apostolic but studying Canon Law I felt to be as dry as work in constitution means now, and how it is to be effectively a quarry where there’s no beer—you die of dryness.” implemented. Well, perhaps the “beer” I discovered is an area of study about which I am particularly passionate. I have found my professors and colleagues to be not only supportive of my focus on our personal Ordinariates, but also interested in the work because of the newness these structures represent. I have been able to contribute in areas that I never expected, because the viewpoint of the Ordinariates is respected in a way that (I pray) will in time assist our growth, as well as aid the mission of the wider Church. Pastoral and Parish Work During this time, I have been fortunate to live in a wonderful parish on Capitol Hill: Holy Comforter— Saint Cyprian. Members of the community here hosted families during the famous March on Washington led by Martin Luther King in 1963, and the life of the parish involves many of the same parishioners and their families. The Sunday Mass remains firmly in the African-American tradition, with a strong emphasis on Gospel Music.