Be Anglicans with us, Rome tells traditionalists

by
21 October 2009

by Bill Bowder

Joint blessing: Dr Williams and Archbishop Vincent Nichols in procession at evensong in Westminster Abbey last Friday,to celebrate the Translation ofSt Edward the Confessor (Comment, 9 October) WESTMINSTER ABBEY

Joint blessing: Dr Williams and Archbishop Vincent Nichols in procession at evensong in Westminster Abbey last Friday,to celebrate the Translation ofS...

ANGLICANS and former Anglicans who want to become Roman Catholics while retaining much of their Anglican heritage may do so, Pope Benedict XVI announced this week.

A “Note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church”, pub­lished in Rome on Tuesday, said that the Pope had introduced a canonical structure that would allow former Ang­­licans to enter into full com­munion with the Roman Catholic Church “while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony”.

Under the term of the Apostolic Con­stitution, married former An­glican clergy (and seminarians) could have their vocation as priests in the Roman Catholic Church “discerned” within the new Personal Ordinariates, led by a former Anglican priest or former Anglican unmarried bishop.

They would be prepared in seminaries run by the bishops’ con­ferences alongside other RC semin­arians. The Personal Ordinariate, like those provided for military per­son-nel, and their families and chaplains, would include clergy, religious, and lay people. It would provide a “house of formation” to “address the parti­c-ular needs of formation in the Anglican patrimony”.

In issuing the statement on Tues­day, Cardinal William Levada said that the new structure would “facili­tate a kind of corporate reunion of Anglican groups” with the Catholic Church. He said that the move was “consistent with the commitment to ecu­menical dialogue”, which re­mained a priority.

The Archbishop of Canterbury denied that the move would lead to a mass exodus of clergy from the Church of England. In a joint press conference with the RC Archbishop of Westminster, the Most Revd Vincent Nichols, Dr Williams said he had heard of the move only in the pre­vious two weeks. He did not expect that large numbers of the clergy would take up the offer. Neither did he think that congrega­tions would take their buildings with them, as there were “formidable legal obstacles to an alienation of a church”.

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The Archbishops, who both ap­peared ill at ease, said that it would not affect the longer-term ecumenical goal of full visible communion. In their joint statement, they said that the announcement “brings to an end a period of uncertainty for . . . groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the [Roman] Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.”

The provision was the first time that a juridical arrangement had been made to accommodate groups of Anglicans who wanted to become Catholics, Archbishop Nichols said. The authority of the proposed Per­sonal Ordinariate, which would prob­ably be named after a saint and could appear “overnight”, would be “cumula­tive”, built on top of his own authority as the Ordinary.

Ex-Anglican clergy who chose to be under the authority of the new Personel Ordinariate, if and when it was set up, would come under his authority when they were working in “a major action of the diocese”.

The details would be worked out in close collaboration with the Bishops’ Conference. Any Anglican liturgical forms or books would have first to be approved by the Vatican.

The Archbishop said that the new structure was for groups, not indivi­duals. Individuals were free to “knock on a door” and become Catholics in the traditional way.

Both Archbishops said that they expected Anglo-Catholics to remain part of the Church of England. The work of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and the International Anglican-Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission had established “a solid common heritage”, Dr Williams said.

He said that for 150 years “more or less significant numbers of Anglicans have entered into the Roman Catholic Communion”; so this move was neither an act of aggression nor a vote of no confidence. The “main stream” of ecumenical contacts continued.

Dr Williams was flanked by the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd Christopher Hill, who suggested that the new provision was more likely to be taken up by Anglican clergy than lay people. But he welcomed its pastoral outreach, because it was better than people setting up their own little churches.

Mgr Andrew Faley, the Roman Catholic Church’s ecumenical repres­entative on the General Synod, who was also present at the press con­ference, said afterwards that the move resembled one made by the Pope in January when he lifted the excom­munication on the bishops of the Society of St Pius X in the interests of unity. Former Anglicans who were already Catholics would be free to choose whether to join the new Per­sonal Ordinariate or not.

The Bishop in Europe, Dr Geoffrey Rowell, and the suffragan Bishop in Europe, the Rt Revd David Hamid, said in a statement yesterday that consideration of the Vatican's proposed provision "is only possible because of significant convergence which has emerged over 40 years of international official dialogue – ARCIC – on matters thought to divide Anglicans and Roman Catholics."

The statement says that this development "is not identical with the goal of the international dialogue, nor the primary way in which the Roman Catholic Church is responding to our dialogue. While it can be recognised that the ARCIC agreements have created a climate for serious consideration of a response to requests from individuals or groups of Anglicans, or former Anglicans, to be received into the Roman Catholic Church, the Apostolic Constitution in establishing Personal Ordinariates is a pastoral response to some particular requests made to the Holy See; it is not the completion of the articulated goal of our international dialogue."

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Mgr Andrew Faley, the Roman Catholic Church’s ecumenical repres­entative on the General Synod, who was also present at the press con­ference, said afterwards that the move resembled one made by the Pope in January when he lifted the excom­munication on the bishops of the Society of St Pius X in the interests of unity. Former Anglicans who were already Catholics would be free to choose whether to join the new Per­sonal Ordinariate or not.

The Bishop in Europe, Dr Geoffrey Rowell, and the suffragan Bishop in Europe, the Rt Revd David Hamid, said in a statement yesterday that consideration of the Vatican's proposed provision "is only possible because of significant convergence which has emerged over 40 years of international official dialogue – ARCIC – on matters thought to divide Anglicans and Roman Catholics."

The statement says that this development "is not identical with the goal of the international dialogue, nor the primary way in which the Roman Catholic Church is responding to our dialogue. While it can be recognised that the ARCIC agreements have created a climate for serious consideration of a response to requests from individuals or groups of Anglicans, or former Anglicans, to be received into the Roman Catholic Church, the Apostolic Constitution in establishing Personal Ordinariates is a pastoral response to some particular requests made to the Holy See; it is not the completion of the articulated goal of our international dialogue."

The details of the new arrange­ment will be clearer once the Apos­tolic Constitution and code of prac­tice are published in the next two weeks.

See Leader

See Christopher Hill

Read the statement of the Bishops in Europe here

Question for traditionalist Anglo-Catholic readers:
Are you likely to accept the offer to join a Personal Ordinariate? Vote here

See Christopher Hill

Read the statement of the Bishops in Europe here

Question for traditionalist Anglo-Catholic readers:
Are you likely to accept the offer to join a Personal Ordinariate? Vote here

Joint statement

Joint statement

TODAY’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.
Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.

The announcement of this Apos­tolic Constitution brings to an enda period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.

The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substan­tial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition. Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one con­sequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing co­opera­tion.

The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.

With God’s grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consulta­tion on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England’s House of Bishops with a focus on our common mis­sion.

Joint days of reflection and prayer were begun in Leeds in 2006 and continued in Lambeth in 2008, and further meetings are in pre­para­tion. This close co-operation will continue as we grow together in unity and mission, in witness to the gospel in our country, and in the Church at large.

Questions

What is a Personal Ordinariate, and who will be in charge? It is a juridical (legal) structure whose au­thority flows from the Ordinary, nor­mally the bishop. Because a married Roman Catholic priest cannot be a bishop, the Pope has said that its Ordinary could be a priest. Like a diocese, it can include clergy, religious, and lay people, with their buildings.

TODAY’s announcement of the Apostolic Constitution is a response by Pope Benedict XVI to a number of requests over the past few years to the Holy See from groups of Anglicans who wish to enter into full visible communion with the Roman Catholic Church, and are willing to declare that they share a common Catholic faith and accept the Petrine ministry as willed by Christ for his Church.
Pope Benedict XVI has approved, within the Apostolic Constitution, a canonical structure that provides for Personal Ordinariates, which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of distinctive Anglican spiritual patrimony.

The announcement of this Apos­tolic Constitution brings to an enda period of uncertainty for such groups who have nurtured hopes of new ways of embracing unity with the Catholic Church. It will now be up to those who have made requests to the Holy See to respond to the Apostolic Constitution.

The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substan­tial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition. Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one con­sequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

The on-going official dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion provides the basis for our continuing co­opera­tion.

The Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) and International Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission (IARCCUM) agreements make clear the path we will follow together.

With God’s grace and prayer we are determined that our on-going mutual commitment and consulta­tion on these and other matters should continue to be strengthened. Locally, in the spirit of IARCCUM, we look forward to building on the pattern of shared meetings between the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales and the Church of England’s House of Bishops with a focus on our common mis­sion.

Joint days of reflection and prayer were begun in Leeds in 2006 and continued in Lambeth in 2008, and further meetings are in pre­para­tion. This close co-operation will continue as we grow together in unity and mission, in witness to the gospel in our country, and in the Church at large.

Questions

What is a Personal Ordinariate, and who will be in charge? It is a juridical (legal) structure whose au­thority flows from the Ordinary, nor­mally the bishop. Because a married Roman Catholic priest cannot be a bishop, the Pope has said that its Ordinary could be a priest. Like a diocese, it can include clergy, religious, and lay people, with their buildings.

Is it just a temporary measure, or can new priests be ordained in it? In a Personal Ordinariate, it will be possible for those who were not Anglican priests to be selected for ordination, but it is believed that they will have to be celibate.

Is it just a temporary measure, or can new priests be ordained in it? In a Personal Ordinariate, it will be possible for those who were not Anglican priests to be selected for ordination, but it is believed that they will have to be celibate.

Does this mean that Rome now recognises Anglican orders? No. The clergy will have to be trained in RC seminaries and re-ordained, as at present. They might receive training to reflect their Anglican heritage.

Does this mean that Rome now recognises Anglican orders? No. The clergy will have to be trained in RC seminaries and re-ordained, as at present. They might receive training to reflect their Anglican heritage.

Will former Anglicans need to be rebaptised? No, but they will be reconfirmed.

Will former Anglicans need to be rebaptised? No, but they will be reconfirmed.

Will people then be Roman Catholics? Yes, everyone who belongs to a Personal Ordinariate will be a Roman Catholic in full, visible com­munion with the Holy See.

Will people then be Roman Catholics? Yes, everyone who belongs to a Personal Ordinariate will be a Roman Catholic in full, visible com­munion with the Holy See.

Will they still be in communion with Canterbury? No.

Will they still be in communion with Canterbury? No.

Will congregations be able to take their church buildings with them? Probably not. This is not impossible, but legally very difficult, Dr Williams said on Tuesday.

Will congregations be able to take their church buildings with them? Probably not. This is not impossible, but legally very difficult, Dr Williams said on Tuesday.

What will the Ordinariate be called? This will be a religious society, probably with a saint’s name. Newman has been suggested, though he has not yet been canonised.

What will the Ordinariate be called? This will be a religious society, probably with a saint’s name. Newman has been suggested, though he has not yet been canonised.

In what way will this be Anglican? This remains to be seen. The sugges­tion from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is that Anglican liturgy and spirituality will be retained, with necessary adaptations; possibly even some forms of governance, but only if agreed by Rome and the local Bishops’ Conference.

 

In what way will this be Anglican? This remains to be seen. The sugges­tion from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is that Anglican liturgy and spirituality will be retained, with necessary adaptations; possibly even some forms of governance, but only if agreed by Rome and the local Bishops’ Conference.

 

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