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"Neither Jew nor Greek" (Gal 3:28)

A few years back someone visited St. George parish. He told me he appreciated the liturgy of the Mass, and asked some questions about it. I explained the English Catholic background, and how the Anglican heritage played a part in the formation of the Ordinariate. Then after not seeing him for a long time, I happened to meet him at a store and asked how he was doing. He told me he was fine, but that St. George was not for him. I politely asked hiyoum why, and he said "I'm not from Anglican heritage so I don't really belong there. I'm going to St. so-and-so parish" (name withheld for propriety). I stated that I did not know that he was Italian. He said, "I'm not, I'm actually of Dutch descent." "Then why are you attending an Italian parish?" He was confused.

I was stretching the truth a bit; but just a bit. If someone is concerned about not being a former Anglican, then he should also be concerned about whether he is Italian. The current form of the Latin Mass and Novus Ordo are both derived largely from the practices of Rome (i.e., "Italian", since Rome is in Italy). No, that does not mean that only Italians can attend those Masses; I was using an illustration to make a point. You do not need to be a former Anglican to attend an Ordinariate parish any more than someone needs to be Italian to attend a Novus Ordo parish. That is the point of being Catholic; we have many traditions and practices and in the Church there is neither "Jew nor Greek" (as St. Paul said), so also there is neither English nor Italian.

The only reason for the reference of distinction is to clarify what heritage something has so that we can discern certain details (for those of us who are concerned with those kind of things). It does not, however, make a difference whether you are Italian, German, Japanese, or Martian; if your faith is nourished in the English Catholic heritage, then you are welcome to attend an Ordinariate parish. This is not only my opinion, it is what the Church has said for her entire history (though many people are ignorant of history), and has even been reiterated by Pope Francis more than once.

The Church is universal, and she doesn’t care what nationality you are; if a particular form of the Mass genuinely grows your faith you can attend there. If your faith is not being nourished at a parish (any parish) then something should change. It might be that you need to change (and learn more about what the Mass is and how it is supposed to be done), or it might be that your location needs to change. Either way, be sure that your faith is nourished and that you are truly growing closer to God through the practices of our faith; especially the Mass.


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