What is this "Personal Ordinariate"?

On the heels of his excellent essay "United in Communion, but not Absorbed: Understanding the Pope's Welcome," Bishop Elliott has hit another home run with the following address delivered earlier today in Melbourne.  My emphases in bold and comments in blue.

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Bishop Peter J. Elliott, Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, on Understanding Pope Benedict’s Offer to Traditional Anglicans

An address given to Forward in Faith Australia at All Saints’, Kooyong, Melbourne, on Saturday, February 13th 2010.

Anglicans can no longer speak of “swimming the Tiber”. Pope Benedict XVI has built a noble bridge, a symbol chosen as the cover illustration for the Catholic Truth Society edition of his Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus. Today I want to try to describe where that bridge leads.

The Tiber crossings of those Anglicans who have gone before us have often been difficult and dangerous — and, in any event, it has proven difficult to organize a group swim.  Not only is the Holy Father's bridge a noble construction that lifts us high above the perilous waters, it allows us to pass over the deep without breaking ranks.  And, as Fr. Dwight Longenecker has observed, this comfortable crossing may appeal to other Christians inspired by the ordered march of the Anglican host towards the threshold of the Apostles.

I have already summed up the papal offer as “united in communion but not absorbed”, words which resonate with the ecumenical vision of the recent past, particularly the era of Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Michael Ramsey. Now “United in communion but not absorbed” is realized in “a Personal Ordinariate for Anglicans who wish to enter full communion with the Catholic Church”, to use the Holy Father’s words in his Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus.

Defining a “Personal Ordinariate”

Anglicanorum coetibus establishes a distinct community for Anglicans who choose to return to unity with the Successor of St Peter. But it is not accurate to call this an “Anglican Rite Ordinariate”. A better expression would be an “Anglican Use Personal Ordinariate”, that is, a structured community maintaining its own traditions, at the same time enjoying distinct liturgical privileges within the Roman Rite. To understand the proposed structure we may compare it with similar structures that already exist within the Catholic Church.

I must confess that I have yet to hear of anyone being under the impression that the personal ordinariates established an "Anglican Rite," but it is certainly a good thing to point out that this is not the case.  Our post-Reformation Anglican "liturgical, spiritual, and pastoral traditions" are a direct outgrowth of the Roman Rite, make little sense divorced from this context, and it is vital that they be assessed within the larger scope of that history.  In order to realize the full potential of our tradition, we must conscientiously develop what I term an "Anglican hermeneutic of continuity."

The Military Ordinariate

The proposed Anglican Use Ordinariate may be compared to the Military Ordinariate, set up in many countries, including Australia, the UK and the US. The Anglican Church of Australia has a similar structure. Anglicanorum coetibus refers to this structure in footnote 12.

A Military Ordinariate is kind of diocese covering a whole country but also “present” in places outside the country where military personnel serve, such as Afghanistan or East Timor. The bishop of the armed forces exercises ordinary jurisdiction over military chaplains and Catholic members of the armed forces – wherever they may be. Therefore his ministry relates directly to people and is more personal than territorial.

However, the structure proposed in Anglicanorum coetibus for an Anglican Use Personal Ordinariate is closer to a territorial diocese. There could be several Ordinariates in one country, which is not the case with the military structure. Therefore to better understand an Anglican Use Ordinariate we look into the venerable ancient Eastern Rites within the Catholic Church, properly called the Eastern Catholic Churches.

One important distinction, of course, between the military ordinariate (as well as the personal prelature) and the personal ordinariate is that the latter has (permanent) clerical, religious, and lay subjects.

One Church: East and West

These autonomous Churches are in communion with Rome, but their members are not “Roman Catholics”, that is, not Catholics of the Roman Rite. I now need to open up something essential that many Anglicans do not understand – that the Catholic Church is not a monolithic structure. She is a communion of Churches, led by bishops who are in communion with the Bishop of Rome and with one another, members of one apostolic college. This unity through a communion of particular or local Churches is set out in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church promulgated by the Second Vatican Council. Lumen Gentium, 23.

See here.

Every diocese is a “particular Church”, governed by a successor of the apostles. This is why we talk of the Church of Rome, the Church of Melbourne, the Church of Washington etc. Through a complex history beginning in apostolic times, most of these particular Churches today are grouped together within the Roman Rite. Not only are they in communion with the Church of Rome, the See of Peter, but they also use the liturgy of Rome. The members of these particular Churches may be known as Roman Catholics, or Catholics of the Roman Rite, or Latin Catholics.

At the same time, many other particular churches are grouped within a series of ancient Eastern Rites, also in communion with Rome, but using liturgies appropriate to their origins: Syrian, Greek, Egyptian, Armenian etc. Their members are Ukrainian Catholics, Maronite Catholics, Coptic Catholics etc. They are not Roman Catholics. This is why it is wrong to lump us all together and call everyone in communion with Rome a “Roman Catholic”. I can describe myself in those terms, but my fellow Ukrainian Catholic should not – and will not – describe himself as an “RC”. So to sum it up, within the Catholic Church there is a wide range of Catholics and worshipping communities of Christian people.

Diocese and Eparchy

Looking more closely into these Eastern Catholic Churches, we first find typical territorial dioceses in the home country: Ukraine, Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, India, Iraq etc. But then we find a second kind of diocese for those members of these Churches who have emigrated and are now scattered across a country such as Canada or Australia. This kind of diocese is usually, not always, called an eparchy.

In an eparchy an Eastern Rite bishop has jurisdiction over all the clergy and lay faithful of his Rite, within a country or within a region in a big country such as Canada. For example, the Ukrainian Catholic bishop with a fine cathedral in North Melbourne is the bishop of the Eparchy of St Peter and Paul, Australia. He has ordinary jurisdiction over all Ukrainian Catholics in Australia. His people are also known as “Greek Catholics” because they celebrate the liturgy of Constantinople, the Byzantine Rite.

The same kind of structure also applies to the Maronite diocese of St Maroun, the Chaldean Diocese of St Thomas and the Eparchy of St Michael the Archangel for Melchite Greek Catholics, all based in Sydney. The territory of these bishops coexists with the dioceses of the Roman Rite in Australia and the bishops are members of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference.

The Anglican Use Ordinariate

The Ordinary of an Anglican Use Personal Ordinariate will be like an eparch, having jurisdiction and pastoral care over a series of parishes, “juridically comparable to a diocese”. But he will “teach, sanctify and govern” within the Western tradition, the Roman Rite, and that is the interesting and new development in Anglicanorum coetibus. There is also another closer similarity between the proposed Anglican Use Personal Ordinariates and Eastern Catholic eparchies. That may be described as a distinctive “ethos” based on a liturgical tradition and a wide range of customs, history, spiritualities and culture, never forgetting the personal bonds between people and families. In your case this will be the Anglican patrimony. We will look more closely at this in due course.

In full communion with the Successor of St Peter, members of each Personal Ordinariate will be gathered in distinctive communities that preserve elements of Anglican worship, spirituality and culture that are compatible with Catholic faith and morals. Members of an Ordinariate will be able to worship according to own liturgical “use”, while still being Catholics of the Roman Rite. So in the Ordinariate you will be “Roman Catholics” or “Latin Catholics”, part of the largest group in the Universal Church. At the same time, like the Eastern Rite Catholics, you will be the bearers of a distinctive and respected tradition. Your Ordinaries, bishops or priests, will work alongside bishops of the Roman Rite dioceses and the bishops of Eastern Rite eparchies and dioceses, finding their place within the Episcopal Conference in each nation or region.

As Archbishop Hepworth stated at the 2009 Forward in Faith UK National Assembly:

There will be an Anglican leader who relates to the Holy See on behalf of the Anglican Catholics.  Thus establishing a body that is Anglican Catholic as distinct from Roman Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Maronite Catholic, or whatever.  It’s not a rite but it looks awfully like one…

This comment wasn't really understood by many at the time — and it is a novel concept — but the Anglican personal ordinariates are revolutionary.  An while legally being Catholics of the Roman Rite (i.e. "Roman Catholics"), the distinctiveness of the Anglican patrimony — which is much more comprehensive than mere liturgical deviations from the norms of the Latin Rite — will truly justify the appellation "Anglican Catholic" for our people.


When Anglicanorum coetibus was published, an elderly lady went to her vicar and said, “Father, are we all Roman Catholics now?” Of course it is not as simple as that, nor should it be. Entrance into full communion with Rome through an Ordinariate involves a personal decision, and a sacramental process. This decision for unity involves acceptance of the pastoral care and the authority Christ entrusted to the successors of St. Peter.

As Archbishop Hepworth has noted, whatever the process of reception, it will occur in the context of our existing communities.

The decision to be reconciled through an Ordinariate can only made through following personal conscience, that is, after prayer, study and reflection. This is a step of faith in Jesus Christ and his Church. It involves accepting all the teachings of the Church on faith and morals.

It should be noted that many TAC communities have been engaged in "prayer, study and reflection" for many years.  Indeed, the bishops of the TAC only approached the Holy See after a long period of discernment and development, confessing the Catholic Faith as expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church without reservation.  Many of us have already made the decision to be reconciled; we are now simply waiting for this corporate process to play out.  Some anti-Roman Anglican polemicists have found fault with this.  According to the naysayers, any Anglican who comes to believe in the doctrines contained in the Catechism of the Catholic Church has a moral obligation to submit individually and without delay; to do otherwise, they say, must be a grave sin.  Thankfully the Holy Father acknowledges our aspiration to rejoin the unity of the Western Church in a corporate fashion.  And I know I speak for many Anglican Catholics when I say that, were the Holy Father to demand individual conversion, we would submit in obedience — but the Holy See simply has not asked us to do so.

Such a personal assent of faith needs to be formed and informed. To use an Anglican expression, please “read, mark, learn and inwardly digest” the Catechism of the Catholic Church, described in Anglicanorum coetibus as “the authoritative expression of the Catholic Faith professed by members of the Ordinariate”. This official resource summarises the Faith “once given”, embodied in one Word of God that comes to us, as the Second Vatican Council teaches, through Scripture and Tradition.

Unity in Faith is preserved and animated by unity with the Vicar of Christ on earth, and with the bishops of the apostolic college gathered around him. However, we need to consider the practical dimension of unity, the discipline of the Church and her laws. These are, set out for Catholics of the Roman Rite, including members of the Ordinariates, in the 1983 Code of Canon Law, a new version of the 1917 Code, revised in light of the Second Vatican Council and reforms that developed after the Council.

Some Anglicans may be alarmed at the prospect of coming under Canon Law, but the code is also a detailed charter of the rights of clergy and laity. For example a bishop’s authority is regulated by the code. In that perspective the code might even be called the “constitution” of the Church. However, I need to be frank about one relevant area of the code, marriage.

For Anglicans, of even more concern than episcopal abuse should be the grave defect of our democratic synodical processes.  As I wrote a few weeks ago:

Presently, our Anglican synodical structures involve — in addition to bishops — representatives of both the clergy and the laity participating on a practically equal footing.  Clergy and laity are generally organized into separate houses which must concur in order to pass legislation governing the diocese, province, &c.  Essentially, while lip service is paid to the notion of episcopal government, Anglican jurisdictions are organized in the fashion of modern, democratic, secular governments, and apostasy is ever but one vote away.  In principle, there is nothing preventing an Anglican synod from reinterpreting Holy Scripture or Sacred Tradition, rejecting Catholic Faith and Apostolic Order.  This is precisely what has happened in the Episcopal Church and throughout the Anglican Communion in the past several decades.  Continuing Anglicans pride themselves on their orthodoxy and assume that they are immune from the doctrinal corruption now prevalent in the Anglican Communion, but the Continuing jurisdictions, all, have reconstituted the same defective ecclesiastical government which allowed the Episcopal Church to disintegrate into apostasy.  It is only the conservatism of their present membership that prevents the jurisdictions of the so-called Anglican Continuum from falling away from the Faith.

In this area the Code is precise, maintaining what was once upheld within Anglicanism, Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. The Code guides diocesan tribunals and higher tribunals in Rome, such as the Rota and certain Vatican Congregations. Therefore, married people, clergy and laity, who intend to enter the Ordinariate need to be aware that they cannot be reconciled to the Church as members of the Ordinariate until any irregular marriage situations are cleared up through diocesan tribunals. Unity in Christ for married people involves unity in his sacrament of Marriage. Access to the tribunals is easy and they are run along kindly pastoral lines.

This is an excellent point as there will, no doubt, be certain practical difficulties here.  At least in the ACA, our bishops ought to have been following, as closely as possible, the criteria established by the Roman Catholic Code of Canon Law.  It is to be hoped that these documented canonical procedures will aid in the regularization of marital situations.

Alongside the Code of Canon Law internal laws and statues will regulate the sacramental, pastoral and administrative life of the Ordinariate. The required administrative structures are already set out in the Complementary Norms that accompany the Constitution. Here again we find some similarity between the Ordinariate and an autonomous Eastern Catholic Church. But there is a separate Code of Canon Law for the Eastern Churches, which protects their traditions, customs and sacramental discipline.

Some of these similarities might be the right of the Governing Council to submit a terna for the selection of a new ordinary directly to Rome, or the requirements that the same body consent to the advancement of a candidate to Holy Orders, the erection of deaneries, establishment of seminaries or houses of formation, &c.  Anglicanorum Coetibus and the Complementary Norms enshrine certain aspects of the Anglican synodical tradition of government.

“But Not Absorbed”

Some critics of Anglicanorum coetibus have perceived the similarity between the Ordinariates and Eastern Catholic Churches. Then they dismiss the Pope’s generous offer as “Uniatism”, that is, a “unity” imposed by submission to papal imperialism. Catholics avoid the polemical term “Uniate”. Eastern Rite Catholics find it very offensive. It suggests that all their Churches broke away from ancient Churches and returned to the jurisdiction of the Pope for opportunistic political or economic reasons. Maronite Catholics in particular resent this rhetoric because they were never separated from Rome. But Eastern Catholics know that the freedom, autonomy and traditions they value are protected by unity with Rome.

In studying the interesting history of past projects to reunite Rome and Canterbury, some forgotten or hushed up, we find proposals that are now included in Anglicanorum coetibus, summed up in the phrase dear to Pope Paul VI and Archbishop Ramsey, “united but not absorbed:”. This is why, in a recent article, I said: “Yet you do not come to the Ordinariates with empty hands. As I learnt forty two years ago, you will lose nothing – but you will regain an inheritance stolen from us four centuries ago. That heritage was largely recovered by the giants of the Oxford Movement. I believe they smile on us now….”

Indeed there have been several initiatives over the past decades that have, for various reasons almost always having to do with the fickleness of the Anglican parties, come to naught.

What precisely is this “inheritance stolen from us four centuries ago”? It is the distinctive “ethos” of the whole tradition of English Catholicism, from the Romano-British and Irish Christians up to the Reformation. Then we see it continuing is two directions.

All that is true and beautiful in Anglicanism — as Anglicans has always maintained — is proper to the Catholic Church.  This Patrimony is not our exclusive property; it is "a precious gift" and a "treasure to be shared" with the whole of the Church Universal.

First there was the subsequent development of Catholicism in light of the Councils of Trent, Vatican I and Vatican II, first maintained secretly by “recusants” and then by English Catholics of the Roman Rite who received emancipation in 1829. The Venerable John Henry Newman joined these faithful people in 1845. Their heroic story is marked by continuity. They bravely maintained what would have been part of Christian life had not communion with the Successor of St Peter been severed at the Reformation. My own experience of the Catholic Church in England has been of a welcoming community, an Anglo-Irish (or today an Anglo-Polish!) melting pot, but distinctively English in culture, spirituality and identity.

At the same time, we look to the parallel development, your heritage which Anglicanorum coetibus recognises, honours and seeks to maintain. Within the diverse structure of the Anglican Settlement, Anglicans with Catholic convictions sought to maintain, enrich or restore continuity, often at great cost. We think of the Caroline divines, Scottish Episcopalians, the Wesleys, and the scholars and heroes of the Oxford Movement: men like Keble and Pusey, priests of the Society of the Holy Cross, valiant men and women who formed religious communities, clergy selflessly committed to serve the poor, bringiing them social justice and a vision of the Kingdom through beautiful Catholic worship. Nor let us forget the brilliance of Dom Gregory Dix, Michael Ramsey, C.S. Lewis, Eric Mascall, T.S. Eliot and Dorothy Sayers. All of this heritage can enrich a unity of faith shared by all English-speaking Catholics. The bridge over the Tiber leads to that unity.

Though the recusants "bravely maintained what would have been part of Christian life had not communion with the Successor of St Peter been severed at the Reformation" (we must acknowledge that Tridentine/Counter Reformation Catholicism was itself just as much influenced by the rupture of the Great Rebellion), the parallel development of "Anglicanism" as it developed in the Established Church (and subsequently in the Anglican Diaspora) has been recognized by the Holy See as itself being a glorious tradition despite its development in disunity and discontinuity.  This separated strand of English Catholicism is now to be restored to the whole cloth.

As Anglicanorum coetibis indicates, each Personal Ordinariate is meant to inter-relate with other Catholics of the Roman and Eastern Rites. It is not a kind of national park for a rare and endangered species. Yet I would suggest that, at the end of the day, the only significant communities with an authentic Oxford Movement tradition left on earth will be found in the Personal Ordinariates within the Catholic Church.

While some groups of Anglicans may now be skeptical of the Holy Father's offer (after all, the Catholic bishops have not always done well by minority groups), in the end, having witnessed the success of the personal ordinariates in preserving an Anglican corporate identity, there will no longer be any justification for separation.  In the end, there will be only Catholics and protestants.

Other Anglicans

At this time we are aware that many Evangelical Anglicans are also following their consciences and making decisions under the Word of God in Scripture. Our understanding of the Word of God may be different to theirs because we include Tradition alongside Scripture as making up one Word of God. At the same time we honour their fidelity to the Bible, fidelity to the great dogmas of the Incarnation, Redemption and Resurrection, to Gospel truths and to the ethics of Jesus Christ. Some Evangelicals are sending messages of encouragement to Anglo Catholics considering the Ordinariate. Do not imagine that because of greater numbers in some places that they are exempt from feelings of sorrow, hurt, scandal and rejection that you have suffered.

Good point.  We are not the only Anglicans to suffer the breakdown of the Anglican Communion.

The difficult problem at present is surely resolving a tense relationship with mainstream Anglicans. Yes, I have heard unkind comments against those considering the Ordinariate (“You can have them…” etc.). But I have also heard words of good-will and understanding. Let us hope and pray that kindness and mutual respect may prevail.

If you choose the Ordinariate, the challenge will be to keep the doors open, not to set up clubs or cliques. Through established Ordinariates you can reach out with the love of Christ to another group, that unknown number of drifting and bewildered traditional Anglicans. But let us also respect those traditional Anglicans who choose to continue in their own circles. Some of them slide into uncharitable comments or play at logic chopping, even regarding the papal offer with suspicion. But “the ball is in their court”. The challenge is: “Well brothers and sisters, where are you now and where are you going?” Pray for them as you pray for all who consider making that short but decisive journey across the bridge of Anglicanorum coetibus.

As Archbishop Hepworth has written:

The Traditional Anglican Communion will not disappear, but will endure for the same purpose that it was created to fulfil, and which is so clearly described in the text of our petition.

The TAC is committed to caring for both those who are set to enter into the personal ordinariates and those who are not yet ready to make the transition.  It is our hope that some form of genuine communion will allow us to maintain the bonds between these communities who will have, for a time, taken different — but parallel — paths.

While it is the mission of The Anglo-Catholic to present the truth about the Holy Father's offer in the Apostolic Constitution, we do pray for those who, even at this moment, seek to dissuade Anglicans from heeding the call of our Shepherd and to undermine the foundation we have long labored to construct.

My final appeal is that you should lay to rest anguish and polemics over the liberal agenda that at present divides the Anglican Communion. One of the effects of unity with Rome through the Ordinariate should be freedom from the recent past and a healing of memories, inner peace. Jesus Christ calls us all to peace, and to a renewed commitment to his mission, above all the ministry of charity to the poor and bringing good news to the spiritually poor in our secularised society. All the structures in Holy Church should serve this glorious cause of his Kingdom. To him we raise our eyes as we prayerfully look forward in hope.

In my regular — generally daily — conversations with my ordinary, Bishop Louis Campese, either or both of us never fail to express the hope that this process of reunification will shortly be concluded, that we may experience that peace of finally having attained the goal for which our forebears have so long prayed, worked, and sacrificed.

A Postcript: The Future Liturgy of the Ordinariates

Anglianorum coetibus authorizes the Ordinariates to use books that carry the Anglican liturgical heritage: “so as to maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican Communion within the Catholic Church as a precious gift nourishing the faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared.” Note those last words. What the distinctive “Anglican rite” liturgy of the Ordinariate will be is yet to be worked out. When that project is completed it will need the recognition of the Holy See. But some speculation at this stage may be of interest.

Considering its history and strong influence in the first editions of the Book of Common Prayer, the Sarum Rite might well be a major source. Queen Mary I published a national edition of the Sarum Missal to replace all those missals for the diocesan uses that went into the fire when the first Book of Common Prayer appeared in 1549. Therefore the Sarum Use was the last version of the Roman Rite in England before the universal Missale Romanum, Roman Missal, was authorised by St Pius V in 1570. At the end of the nineteenth century when Westminster cathedral was being built, it was proposed that the Sarum Rite be revived as the use proper to the cathedral. Nothing came of this project, lost I suspect in the cross-currents of liturgical controversies and an Ultramontane trend to standardise liturgy along Counter-Reformation lines, even down to the shape of chasubles.

In 1541 (eight years before the publication of the Book of Common Prayer), Henry VIII ordered Convocation to suppress the uses of York, Bangor, and Hereford and ordered the universal adoption of the use of the diocese of Salisbury (the "Sarum Use").  This Use was the sacred liturgy of the Mass elaborated by St. Osmund around the year 1085.  St. Osmund had come over to England with William the Conqueror in 1066 and was consecrated bishop of Salisbury in 1079.

The various editions of the Book of Common Prayer will obviously influence the preparation of this use for the Ordinariates. Yet a note of caution is necessary. Cranmer’s prose is majestic, but all his doctrine is not sound. Some editing will be needed to deal with expressions which are not in harmony with Catholic Faith, particularly those that come down from his severely Protestant 1552 edition of the Book of Common Prayer. In Anglo Catholic circles you have tried to manage these matters, as may be seen in the English Missal and the Anglican Missal.

It should be noted that the American 1928 Book of Common Prayer was accepted for use in the Western "rites" of several Orthodox jurisdictions with only very minor emendations and additions.  For any traditional edition of the Book of Common Prayer, the edits required should be minor; I believe that this concern gets blown out of proportion.  The rites of the Prayer-book should be judged by the text alone — not by the questionable private theological opinions of her editors.

I give one example that concerns me as a sacramental theologian. “Do this in remembrance of me” should never appear in a Catholic rite. “Do this in memory of me” is a more accurate rendering of the original languages and takes us away from “memorialism”. The meaning of the Eucharist as the great sacrificial Memorial is set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1362-1367.

I would counter that "remembrance," "memorial," and "in memory" are all interchangeable in this context; they certainly are in the Prayer-book and in the Authorized Version of the Bible.  Any confusion should be resolved — as it has been amongst Catholic Anglicans for centuries — through catechesis rather than the mutilation of the text.

From The Catholic Religion by Vernon Staley (pp. 247-249):

The Holy Eucharist is a feast upon a sacrifice. The Body and the Blood of Christ are first offered to the Eternal Father, and then partaken of by the communicants. This offering is termed by St. Paul "the shewing the Lord's death.""

In saying "This do in remembrance of Me," our Lord used words which here really mean,—


It has often been shewn that the word translated "do," is very frequently used in the Greek Version of the Old Testament for "offer." It is so used in the following passages to which the reader may refer for himself: Ex. xxix. 36, 38, 39, 41; Lev. ix. 7, 16, 22 : xiv. 19: etc. In each of these places, the word translated "offer," is the same as that used by our Lord when He said, "Do this."

The Greek word for "remembrance" has likewise a distinctly sacrificial meaning. It is used but twice in the Old Testament, and but four times in the New. Three times in the New Testament the reference is to the Holy Eucharist. Let us briefly examine the three remaining passages, where the Greek word 1 I Cor. xi. 23, etc. * Ibid. 26.

In Heb. x. 3, we read,—"But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year." The allusion is to the sacrifices offered yearly on the Day of Atonement. These sacrifices were offered to God, to procure pardon of the sins of the priesthood and of the nation. The high priest entered the Holy of Holies, where, unseen by man, he made "a remembrance of sins" before God. The same word is again used.

We have now examined the only three passages in the Bible in which the Greek word for "remembrance" is found, apart from the accounts of the institution of the Holy Eucharist. In each case it is used of A REMEMBRANCE BEFORE GOD, AND NOT BEFORE MAN; and it is only reasonable therefore to suppose that in those instances in which it is used of the Holy Eucharist, it is intended to express the same meaning which it has elsewhere in Holy Scripture, viz.; that of A MEMORIAL BEFORE GOD. That this is the true idea is confirmed by St. Paul's words spoken of the Holy Eucharist,— "For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till He come." (I Cor. ix. 26.) In connection with this important subject the reader is asked to refer to what was said on pages 195, 196, concerning the relation which exists between the Eucharistic Sacrifice and our Lord's pleading in heaven.

Next year a new ICEL translation of the Mass of the Roman Rite will come into effect. More gracious poetic English will mean that the beauty of the language used in the Ordinariates will not clash with the banal and inaccurate old ICEL “translation” we currently endure.

Deo gratias!

Let me add that an “Anglican use” will add to the diversity of uses that already exists within the Roman Rite, starting with the two forms. “ordinary” (Novus Ordo) and “extraordinary” (Usus antiquior, traditional Latin liturgy), and including efforts to revive the uses of religious orders and regional uses. In Milan there are now two forms of the venerable Ambrosian Rite, ordinary and extraordinary. This variety is reported from time to time in the New Liturgical Movement website, also an indicator of Pope Benedict’s liturgical project and vision.

One dream of mine is that the churches of the Ordinariate will resound with fine music – from Stanford to Palestrina, from Vaughan Williams to Bruckner. We need the kind of music that gives greater glory to God and also “a treasure to be shared” by all Catholics.

Author: Christian Clay Columba Campbell

Christian Clay Columba Campbell is a Roman Catholic of the Anglican Use. As Senior Warden of the Cathedral of the Incarnation (Orlando, FL), he organized the process by which the parish accepted the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, petitioning to join the Catholic Church. The Anglican Cathedral is now the Church of the Incarnation in the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. He is also the CEO of Three Fish Consulting, LLC, an Information Technology consultancy based in Orlando, FL. He can be reached via email at ccampbell at threefish dot co.

26 thoughts on “What is this "Personal Ordinariate"?”

  1. A truly magisterial contribution – all kudos to the good bishop.

    Is there any more coverage from this latest meeting of Forward in Faith Australia?

    (I hear, FWIW, that All Saints', Kooyong, may well be a parish of the Anglican diocese of Melbourne that is particularly interested in this matter…)

    1. As I've said before, I do hope Elliott is appointed the Ordinary for Oz. It would give the new Ordinary some initial stability.

  2. I don't think it can get any clearer than this! What a ray of light to guide us on our way!

    The "extraordinary rite" and "ordinary rite" concept is extremely flexible, and I am intrigued to find it applied also to the Ambrosian Rite. I can therefore see coming an "extraordinary" Sarum Use (as celebrated in the Queen Mary years in Latin or English) and a more "pastoral" use containing parts of the Sarum Use in a simpler framework in Prayer Book English (or the vernacular of the country in question).

    Bishop Elliott's pastoral considerations are spot-on. Bravo!

  3. Prior to converting to Roman Catholicism I was for many years an Anglo-Catholic in the TAC/ACA. While I wished to remain a Anglo-Catholic (and that there were hints that the TAC would find unity with Rome) I watched with dismay as Anglicanism both in the Anglican Communion and the Anglican Continuum started to fall apart. Feeling the immediate need for a central authority (which the Papacy offers) I couldn't wait for the TAC's offer to Rome to be accepted so I jumped ship and swam across the Tiber.

    When I converted I came to Rome by way of the English Catholic tradition. The main route was through Catholics like Belloc, Chesterton, Sayers and others (thanks to the wonderful works of Ave Maria University academic Joseph Pearce). My view of Catholicism came mostly from what I read of these great Catholics and converts and for some odd reason which I still find amusing I was under the wrong assumption that the Tridentine Rite (extraordinary form) was more widespread than it actually is.

    I quickly became disillusioned with the Novus Ordo (ordinary form) that was the reality and desperately looked for an alternative (while I could have given or taken the Latin Mass it was the liturgy of the TAC that I had a fondness for–ad Orientem, no female altar servers, receiving on the tongue, etc. And as such I assumed that the actual Catholic Church still practiced such a liturgy). Luckily I found a Ruthenian Catholic church nearby and was immediately attracted to the Byzantine Rite. All the while, however, I still held out the hope that a union between Rome and the TAC would happen so that I could return to the Anglican Use.

    Then the Holy Father announced Anglicanorum Coetibus and hope arrived in the form of the personal ordinariates. Now I would have the chance to return to my Anglican patrimony and worship in an Anglican Use Catholic parish! While I love the Tridentine and Byzantine rites my heart belongs to Anglican Catholicism and so it is with great joy that I await Rome and the TAC finally reuniting. Thank you posting this great speech which clarifies that Anglican converts will be Anglican Catholics and not Roman Catholics. I am also grateful that there is a discussion of the Eastern Catholic Churches in the speech as for some time I was hoping that their structure would be invoked as a model for personal ordinariates.

  4. Pure gold from start to finish, including your own comments.

    (Except "'Do this in remembrance of me, should never appear in a Catholic rite", which is dotty. )

  5. After the consecration of the Chalice in the Roman Canon (older form):

    Haec quotiescumque facietis, in mei memoriam facietis (As oft as ye do these things, ye shall do them in remembrance of me).

    My reflection is no different from Christian Campbell's – it's a problem of translation. The concept sought is the Greek anamnesis, a sacramental re-presentation of the entire reality of the Christ Mystery, and not a simple mental memory (like events in our childhood). If memory is a good translation, I see nothing wrong with remembrance. The Latin of the Roman Canon is no clearer in translating anamnesis.

    Indeed, this is a question of catechesis and explanation of the words and their liturgical context.

  6. Pace Bishop Elliott, who wrote:
    I give one example that concerns me as a sacramental theologian. “Do this in remembrance of me” should never appear in a Catholic rite. “Do this in memory of me” is a more accurate rendering of the original languages and takes us away from “memorialism”. The meaning of the Eucharist as the great sacrificial Memorial is set out in the Catechism of the Catholic Church 1362-1367.

    I would be inclined to agree with Christian, who commented:
    I would counter that “remembrance,” “memorial,” and “in memory” are all interchangeable in this context; they certainly are in the Prayer-book and in the Authorized Version of the Bible. Any confusion should be resolved — as it has been amongst Catholic Anglicans for centuries — through catechesis rather than the mutilation of the text.

    For me, remembrance is by far a stronger word than either memorial or the evenweaker memory.
    Memorial conjures up images of memorial stones to the departed, particularly inthe great war cemetries of northern France, a re-calling of that which is over, past, dpone, and would otherwise be forgotten. As for memory, why, memories are those things that fly forggotten as a dream, flies at the break of day; things which are subject to dementia, distortion, imagination.

    But the, Remembrance. Here is the strong, powerful translation of anamnesis, the making present of the thing which occurred in the past.

    I have noticed the use of memory/memorial in current and proposed translations of the Dominical Words of Institution and must take a view diametrically opposed to Bishop Elliott, as I consider that the use of memory rather than remembrance weakens the impact.

    Is this perhaps a cultural problem? In American and Australian English is memory a stronger word than remembrance?

    Or is it just me?

    Otherwise, I heartily concur with the good bishop's welcoming commentary on Anglicanorum coetibus.

    John U.K.

  7. I feel that many Anglicans get caught up in the word "Roman" Catholic. We will all be Catholics under the Primacy of the Holy Father. There are no "Roman" Catholics per se. Whether a person uses Roman or Eastern Catholic it really just refers to the "Rite" that is used. In all documents of the Church the Church is not referred to as "Roman", but as Catholic.

    As far as the liturgy goes, we do not know at this time if there will be one Anglican Use/Rite or more. As far as I can see many Anglicans in England have used the NO Mass, not the Sarum or a prayer book liturgy. I think that although many Anglicans would like the Sarum, most have never experienced this Use.

    It might be that parts of the Sarum Use and some of use from Anglican/American Missals will be combined. The point is that whatever is decided should be submitted to by those who wish to be truely Catholic.

    This has been the problem from what I have seen in my former Anglo Catholic parish and from many posts of anti Anglicans towards the Pope's offer. It is difficult for Anglicans in general to submit to authority. This is why you see so many new groups of continuing Anglicans breaking off from one another.

    I was recieved into the Catholic Church many years ago from one of the original Anglo Catholic parishes who helped to establish the Anglican Use, Pastoral Provision and because of some Bishop, was turned down for an Anglican Use parish. This problem will no longer be a threat to Anglicans as the Ordinariate will be directly dealing with Rome. I was also committed to becoming Catholic and had to to make the difficult choice of becoming Catholic and no longer able to enjoy my Anglican traditions. I feel faith in the true Church overrides our comfort of our Anglican Patrimony. Yes I do miss my old parish, but in place of the comfort I have recieved a peace that is difficult to explain.

    Now God has honored my decision and has made it possible for me to have both, a true Catholic and my Anglican traditions. I am just praying that we will have some "Anglican" Catholic parishes close to me. I live in a very liberal state and really have lost touch with Episcopalians. The only TAC parish I know is the one I left and it seems that they might not accept Pope Benedict's offer. It seems that "authority" again plays into the decision. As a Catholic I have never felt the Holy Father looking over my shoulder. In fact many Catholic parishes seem to have too much influence made by the community over the priest. I feel safe now, no one can decide to change the doctrines etc. Yes some parishes have what I consider abuses because of Bishops, priests and congregations who have been allowed to follow their own way, but I also see that the Holy Father is trying to change these problems. It took 40 years to establish them and it will take time to remedy them.

    Let us go forth in peace with the knowledge that what is important is the Catholic Faith first and forthmost, not always everything we enjoyed in our parish. Every parish as an Episcopalian was different, even in Anglo Catholic parishes. The emphasis must be on doing God's Will not ours.

  8. Bp Elliott may be sensitive to the nuances of words in relation to rites: his father the Anglo-Catholic Vicar had carefully catechized young Peter about the holy sacrament of confirmation – and then the Melbourne assistant bishop deputed to do the confirmations, an evangelical Anglican "who was lower than a snake's belly", went out of his way to preach that confirmation wasn't a sacrament at all! Great was the fury of his father…

  9. Sorry to spoil the party but I think that Bishop Elliott's comparison to a military ordinariate was less than ideal. I wrote an entire analysis of this and then this stupid machine wiped it out! I'll consider doing it all over again. Always save what you type! Why is this infernal machine asking me for my information again?

    To make it short, the model for the personal ordinariate is the Armenian ordinariate–not the one for mixed Eastern churches in a country but the one proper to the Armenian Catbolic Church. Three of them exist, one each in Greece, Romania, and Eastern Europe.

    The military ordinariate (m.o.) is partly personal but also quasi-territorial. The military ordinary has diocesan territory; namely, the military bases. Think of them as forming a tiny discontinuous abbacy nullius. In that territory, the m.o. has the same authority over every Catholic (of all ritual churches), both military personnel and civilian visitors. Outside those bases, he has authority over military personnel alone, a personal jurisdiction.

    The Armenian ordinariates each embrace one or more country/countries and each can be headed by a titular bishop or a simple priest. Sound familiar? The jurisdiction is over all Armenians Catholics in the country (personal jurisdicton) whether they are served by Armenian Masses or not. Sound familiar? This was the model used, and the m.o. is not even close, really.


  10. No, Elliott is fine but the ordinariate for the Aussies should be headed by a TAC prelate from Australia. Isn't there a FiF bishop there and one or two others?


  11. I know and greatly esteem Bp Elliott and Bp Jarrett, both of whom are Australian bishops who converted from Anglicanism back in the 1960's – with all due respect, both are happy as Roman Catholics, the latter having a large country diocese to administer, and would not necessarily wish to go "back to the future" as it were, let alone like cuckoos in the nest to intrude suddenly where the TAC has prelates already poised to come into full union.

    The TAC in Australia has of course Abp Hepworth (who looks after SA and the NT), plus three sterling auxiliaries: Bp Entwistle in WA, Bp Robarts (based in Tasmania, responsible also for Victoria and southern NSW) and Bp Chislett in Queensland (also covering northern NSW). One assumes that these men will continue to shepherd the upcoming Ordinariate of Australia… it should not need to be said that Rome, one suspects, will give special dispensations to Hepworth for obvious reasons: it would hardly seem fair otherwise!

    1. It should not need to be said that Rome, one suspects, will give special dispensations to Archbishop Hepworth for obvious reasons: it would hardly seem fair otherwise!

      He has been the driving force behind all this, and, from a personal point of view, has been just about the only real spiritual father I have ever had. I am confident he will serve as a priest with authority over a group of priests and faithful.

      If any "trolls" out there are thinking (like my dog looking at the nice piece of meat on my plate)….. Don't!

    2. True, there are many fine Anglican prelates in Australia who could be Ordinary.

      What about the Bishop of the Murray? I've not heard his position on the Ordinariates as yet. Has anyone?

  12. I have to say I didn't find his argument convincing. There is a lot of suggestive language. I know I am raining on the party here. However, saying that the 'Unity with out absorption' is somehow OK seems strange to me. If the goal is to be what you are calling "properly" catholic than being 'absorbed' is not a something to fear (Roman or not), but to embrace this since the Papacy and the Mags. is a uniting force. Subscribing to the Roman Catechism certainly means you accept those tenets. To suggest anything else is disingenuous.

    Whether I personally subscribe to this something else. I am not trying to create a fight. All I am offering is different perspective of how to approach what is before us and to make sure all that accept this know what it means.

  13. I heard quite some time ago that the Bishop of The Murray (ultimus gereris sui) has been very ill, and so no doubt prayers are in order for his recovery and healing.

  14. I enjoyed Bishop Elliott's talk very much and remember him when he was a priest in Melbourne years ago.

    I come from an Anglican family of Jewish origin. I was baptised in the Anglican Church when I was 7 along with my brothers and father. I was also confirmed when I was 14. We were evangelical Anglicans- I later ceased attending the Anglican church and started to practice Orthodox Judaism. When I was 24 I was received into the Catholic Church and confirmed and joined the Hebrew Catholic movement. My question is: am I entitled to join an Anglican ordinariate when they are established?

  15. Thank you Christian. I am in Perth Western Australia so I hope we get an ordinariate here. Even after more than 20 years one misses the Anglican liturgy and music. The singing in the Roman Catholic parishes here is pathetic. By the way I love this website and its articles. Do you think any Anglican religious communites will also join the ordinariates?

  16. I reckon it will all end in tears.

    There's a vast difference between being a cohesive group of Catholics in an Anglican church, and being a cohesive group of Anglicans in the Catholic Church. And it's the latter that the Pope has offered.

    I suspect those (Roman) Catholics who warn against moving are trying to save us from heartbreak.

    1. §1. You are entitled to your opinion. Perhaps you are concerned about the Pope's plan being sabotaged…

      §2. This makes little sense. By the writing on the wall, the former will no longer be possible in a short time.

      §3. No, if they are official Roman clergy, they are probably liberals just wanting to keep the competition out. If they are individuals – well who knows their motivations or concerns? Many people do try to solve the problems of the world before seeing that they need guidance themselves.

  17. Well as far as I can see the Anglican usage parishes in the US seem to be OK. You are right Father Anthony; it is mainly the modernist clergy and laity that want to sabotage the ordinariates- doesn't fit with their liberal and false ecumenical agenda. When you enter the Catholic Church one battle may be finished but a new battle for orthodoxy will begin and those of us already fighting this battle look forward to the Anglican Catholics joining us.

  18. I strongly resonate with especially that final call for full implementation of that august and majestic, high tradition of music – whether of hymnody or performance or whatever – of which the Anglican world has been the channel. "He who sings prays twice" will find special application, to the benefit of the entire Catholic world, wherever the Ordinariate finds friendly territory.

  19. Great article, thanks! I'm a life-long Roman Catholic Christian who is trying to catch up on the latest developments, having not heard much since the promulgation of the apostolic constitution and the complementary norms nearly a year ago. This site is extremely helpful.

    That said, I'm more than a little surprised by the discussion of development of a Catholic version of the Anglican order of worship. Here in the States, a large wave of former Anglicans, including some whole parishes and many Anglican clergy, came into full communion of the Catholic Church in the late 1970's and early 1980's. In response to their requests to continue to worship according to the Anglican tradition, the Vatican approved a liturgical book called the Book of Common Worship for their use. The orders of worship are substantially the same as those of the Book of Common Prayer, with only minor adaptations (the most notable being mention of the pope in addition to the local diocesan bishop in the anaphora). Many Catholic dioceses here in the United States now have "Anglican Use" parishes that use this version of the Anglican liturgy. I see no reason why the new ordinariates would not do likewise.


  20. For those who are interested, the complete Book of Divine Worship containing the version of the Anglican liturgy approved for the "Anglican Use" in the Roman Catholic dioceses of the United States is available here.


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