My Story on Archbishop Collins and Anglicans

Here's a link to a slightly truncated version of the story I filed after interviewing Archbishop Collins that is now published online in the Catholic Register.  An excerpt:

OTTAWA – Toronto's Archbishop Thomas Collins is throwing out the welcome mat for all Anglicans in Canada who wish to become Catholic.

The archbishop has been named the liaison for groups of Anglicans who might want to avail themselves of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus (AC). The AC offers a special structure so Anglicans can join the Roman Catholic Church corporately, while retaining aspects of their identity and patrimony, such as their liturgy.

“This is not an initiative by the Catholic Church,” said Collins. “It’s a response to groups of Anglicans that have indicated an interest in doing this.”

The structure is called a "personal ordinariate," modelled on the ordinariates for the military that transcend the geographical boundaries of Roman Catholic dioceses. Each ordinariate will be headed by an ordinary who may or may not be a bishop, as bishops are required to be celibate. The Pope recognized that many Anglican clergy are married and has allowed for married priests and ordinaries on a case-by-case basis.

Collins was appointed liaison by the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops' Permanent Council. He said his first task is to start getting in touch with anyone who is interested in responding to the Holy Father’s document.

Collins is trying to get a sense of how many might be interested in the ordinariate. He said Canada is a little further behind other countries in the process, as the AC was announced during the bishops' plenary meeting last October, but was not published until November.

While Collins will be the point-man in Canada, he said the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal William Levada will be guiding the complex process of bringing ordinariates into being.

Author: Deborah Gyapong

Deborah Gyapong is a member of the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary ( in Ottawa, a former parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) whose members were received individually and corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2012 by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the community will celebrate an approved Anglican Use liturgy and hopes to soon join with other sodalities across Canada to form the Canadian Deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary. As we wait for our priest(s) to be ordained as Catholic priests, God willing, Archbishop Prendergast will provide priests to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist according to the Anglican Use. Deborah is a journalist who covers religion and politics in Canada’s national capital, writing primarily for Roman Catholic newspapers since 2004. Her novel The Defilers, published in 2006, was not a best seller, alas. She spent 17 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in news and current affairs, including 12 years as a television producer.

17 thoughts on “My Story on Archbishop Collins and Anglicans”

  1. Who was the ignoramus who wrote for "The Catholic Register" that the structure was modelled on the military ordinariate? On the contrary, the structure was modelled on the non-military ordinariates that exist for groups of Eastern Rite Catholics where there are no Eastern-Rite diocesan structures. Military ordinariates are partially personal and partially territorial; they are therefore NOT the same in character as personal ordinariates.


    1. Mr. P.K.T.P,
      In good conscience, I must remark that although I find your often expressed arrogance in this blog annoying, I find your uncharitableness in using the word "ignoramus" to be extremely uncalled for, and Deborah Gyapong deserves an apology from you.

      1. Really, Tim S., I don't care a fig if you are annoyed, and your judgement is hardly impressive.

        I am more interested here in getting things right. It is a gross error to think that the model for a completely personal particular church is a quasi-personal particular church. Military ordinariates are quasi-personal and quasi-territorial.

        Specifically within the Latin Church, there is a precedent for "Anglicanorum Cœtibus". It is the creation in 2002 of a personal apostolic administration of St. John-Mary Vianney in the same territory as the Diocese of Campos, in Brazil. This structure is entirely personal, not quasi-personal, and was erected, to quote Canon 372.2 for faithful "distinguished by the rite of the faithful or by some other similar quality". Sound familiar?

        Under "Spirituali Militium Curæ" of 1986, for miliary ordinariates, they are erected for faithful of mixed rites; hence they are not structures of the Latin Church but solely of the Church Universal. For example, they include Ukrainian and Maronite and Latin and Armenian priests. Secondly, as I've stated before, they have territory (the military bases) on which the military ordinary has exclusive jurisdiction under the Pope. Does this sound like a parallel? No ….

        It may be useful for people to compare personal ordinariates to military ordinariates if only because many people are familiar with the latter but very few have heard of the unique Campos structure or the Armenian ordinariates (there being only three of these in the world).

        The Armenian ordinariates are also for only one ritual group (like the incoming Anglicans) and typically cover an entire country (as the Anglican personal ordinariates usually do, the reference to episcopal conferences having been taken from a new feature in the 1983 "Code of Canons".) They are like a junior diocese covering a whole country and being erected for one ritual group. Hey! That sounds a lot like Anglican ordinariates!

        Enough said.


  2. The idea of the Anglican Ordinariate being modeled after the military ordinariate was also cited in the official Vatican commentary, written by Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, S.J. It appeared on Zenit's website Sep. 11, 2009. That commentary states:

    "The possibility for the erection of Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church which is envisioned in the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus does not create a new structure within the current canonical norms, but rather, uses the structure of Personal Ordinariates, originally created for the pastoral care of members of the armed forces, in the Apostolic Constitution of John Paul II Spirituali militum cura of April 21, 1986. "


  3. By the way, I forgot to add that I also enjoyed the article. Thanks, Deborah for the great reporting!


  4. "Anglicanorum Coetibus" itself contains a footnote at n. I, 3 referring to "Spirituali militium curae", the document of John Paul II establishing military ordinariates – which does seem to suggest that the military ordinariates were on the Pope's mind by way of a precedent. I fear Mr Perkins is mistaken.

  5. No, I'm not at all mistaken. Military ordinariates are partially personal and partially territorial. On the territory of the military bases, the ordinary has the same authority over both military personnel and civilians that a local bishop enjoys. Outside the military bases, the military ordinary has authority only over military personnel.

    The model for these ordinariates is that for groups of Eastern Catholics who do not have their own ordinary, such as those in Austria, France, Poland, and so forth. In fact, the Armenian Ordinariate is real model for this one, as I've explained before. It is almost an exact parallel to the Anglican ordinariates, although only the latter have governing councils.

    It may be that Fr. Ghirlanda compared the new structure to the military ordinariate simply because the latter is quite common, whereas the Eastern ordinariates are very few in number.

    My apologies to Mrs. Gyapong. I had no idea that this was her work but thought it to be that of someone at "The Catholic Register".


  6. Is it not possible that the Ordinariate structure bears a resemblance to both the military and the eastern ordinariates? First, there is a 6-year gap between the publications cited above, so it is highly unlikely they were developed totally independently. If one is based on the other, to greater extent or lesser, it is not correct to deny either document a place in precedent, even if one is closer than another.

    Second, and more clearly, right now the groups of Anglicans stepping into the ordinariate structure is territorial, at least to some extent. The groups coming forward to enter the Ordinariates can readily be divided geographically, if only because they have traditionally been so.

    The big difference between a military ordinariate and the Anglican ordinariates is that it is very possible for members of two different groups in military ordinariate to be at war with one another. Let us hope that the Anglican ordinariates never come to that.

    Pray for us all.

    1. Well, I've just learned a lesson: always save your text before pressing "post comment". I'll try to remember my response to Mr. Smith, whose comments here are very insightful.

      First, yes, the Anglican ordinariates are territorial "to some extent" but only in the sense that all particular churches and all juridical structures are territorial–even the Pope's universal one, which covers all the galaxies and nebulæ, by the way. What Canon Law means by a personal diocese or other particular church is one that, within an entire country or large area, embraces all the faithful of a special charism or character in a ritual Church (e.g. in the Latin Church). Those who are not registered in the personal structure are automatically subjects of the local territorial bishop, even if they normally worship at the churches of the personal ordinariate or personal diocese. For the Sacraments of Penance, the Eucharist and Extreme Unction, one may go to any priest, and one may fulfil the Sunday and holyday obligation to assist at Mass at any Catholic church, even one in another ritual church (e.g. Ukrainian or Maronite). But the other Sacraments and burial rites are received by one's own ordinary, unless he grants permission for some other ordinary to superintend and confer them. For example, one who was a convert from Anglicanism well before an ordinariate was erected, and who repairs to the Masses of the ordinariate exclusively afterwards, neverthelss remains a subject of the local Latin bishop UNTIL he registers in the ordinariate (something for you chaps to keep in mind: those who are presently Latin Catholics but former Anglicans must register in the new ordinariates if you want to become subjects of the personal ordinary).

      Between the publication of "Spirituali Militium Curæ" and "Anglicanorum Cœtibus", 24 years elapased. The Campos personal apostolic administration (i.e. a junior and provisional diocese) structure of 2002 (only eight years ago) was the true model for the Anglican ordinariaes. As it happens, a certain Cardinal Ratzinger was instrumental in offering this structure to the S.S.P.X in 2000, then to the Priestly Union of St. John-Mary Vianney in 2002, and then again to the S.S.P.X in 2004. It was offered yet agains to the Pope in 2008 through Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos. Originally, the Campos structure was to embrace all of Brazil. It was reduced to the size of one diocese after the Brazilian Bishops' Conference was consulted about it and its bishops hit the roof.

      The Campos structure, for Latin Mass supporters, has the T.L.M. as its normative liturgy in law. It is de facto a personal diocese and a direct parallel to the Anglican personal ordinariates. In contrast, military ordinariates are quasi-personal and quasi-territorial: on military bases, they are entirely territorial, each operating like a tiny diocese or an abbacy nullius over servicemen and civilians alike; elsewhere, they are personal, having as their subjects all those enlisted in the military services.

      Again, the Campos structure was originally supposed to cover all of Brazil and the one offered to the S.S.P.X was to be international; it is an entirely personal jurisdiction. But even Bishop Fellay, commenting in 2008, said that the structure offered to him was to be somewhat like a military ordinariate and somewhat like a personal prelature, having some characteristics of both and some of neither. Why this constant comparison to the m.o. structure? Again, it is because there are dozens of these and so everyone knows what they are. Even El Salvador has a military ordinariate. But the Campos personal apostolic administration is unique and did not exist at all before 2002. Since few know what it is, few use it as a point of comparison but IT IS THE TRUE MODEL as well as the precedent for the Anglican personal ordinariate. And this is clearly what Pope Benedict XVI had in mind, since he was instrumental in the 2002 offer to the Campos Latin Mass priests.

      Journalists, in particular, tend to care little about accuracy; they are more interested in 'reaching' an audience. It is why so many of them keep referring to 'personal prelatures' for the Latin Mass when this is NOT the structure that has been offered to the S.S.P.X and would not work; in fact, it would spell disaster, given Canon 297. I can only say that, thank God, the canonical experts at Rome completely ignore the blatant errors frequently published by journalists on this subject. On one occasion, a prominent Italian journalist referred to the Campos structure as a 'personal prelature' even AFTER an entirely different structure was granted. He got it wrong even after conferral of the structure. He was so "arrogant" that he didn't even bother to read what was granted: he just referred back to the errors in his notes. Some of those people just do not care about truth at all. I take the view that the public should be treated with more respect: explain to them what is being offered in exact terms. If they don't care for the details, they can skip them. But at least they will be able to refer back to what is true.

      We may then ask what the precedent for the Campos structure is. The answer is the Armenian ordinariate and not the ordinariate for mixed groups of Eastern Rite faithful (the latter exists in several countries, such as Poland, France, Austria, Argentina). In Armenian ecclesiastical law, there is an ordinariate–a 'junior diocese'–that is for Armenians only (just as yours is for Anglicatholics only). It covers an entire country or can be even larger. Technically, in terms of Western law, it is not 'personal' because the Armenian Catholic Church is a sui juris ritual church of its own. But it acts like a personal see insofar as the predominant rite is some other rite or church, or else the number of Armenian Catholics is very small. There are Armenian ordinariates in Greece (1 parish at Athens), Romania (4 parishes) and Eastern Europe (now over 35 parishes and it will soon by made a diocese, I should think).

      So, what would I write on this topic if I wanted to explain it to the public? Something like this:

      The clear precedent in law for these new Anglican personal ordinariates was the personal apostolic administration of St. John-Mary Vianney, erected in Brazil in 2002 for those attached to the Traditional Latin Mass. It is equivalent in law to a diocese but its subjects are those in one part of Brazil who register in it because they share in its charism. Others who do not register in it remain subjects of the local bishop but can repair to its priests for confession, Sunday Masses of obligation and other Masses, other litugies and devotions and Extreme Unction. As it happens, the current Pope was instrumental in formulating and offering this structure. . . .

      No need to mention military ordinariates. But if they are to be mentioned on the grounds of their familiarity, it is important to point to the differences. Military ordinariates are not erected for faithful of a particular rite or liturgical charism but can offer all the liturgies and traditions of the Catholic Church, and are only personal structures outside military bases.

      Frankly, if one thinks that the audience simply cannot understand all of this, it would be better to compare the new structures to Eastern Catholic churches. This would actually be less misleading than comparing them to military ordinariates. The essential is that Eastern Catholics in the West can have their own bishops and their own proper liturgy and traditions.


  7. Mr. Murphy:

    If you check the reference, you will see the reason for it: since the term 'ordinariate' is used for the new structure, a comparison is made to the most recently law regarding other types of structures that are termed ordinariates: they possess public juridic personality ipso jure.

    This does not mean that the Anglican ordinariates were modelled on military ordinariates. They are much closer to the personal apostolic administration granted to the Priestly Union of St. John-Mary Vianney in 2002.

    Read Canon 372.2: "If . . . in the judgement of the Supreme Authority in the Church, after consultation with the episcopal conferences concerned, it is thought to be helpful, there may be established in a given territory particular churches distinguished by the rite of the faithful or by some other similar quality."

    Cf. Canon 368: "Particular churches, in which and from which the one and only Catholic Church exists, are principally dioceses." Then follows a 1983 list of jurisdictions that are equivalent in law to a diocese, to which we can add the military ordinariate of 1986 and the new personal ordinariates of 2010.



    1. I must admit I hadn't thought of the situation in Brazil (Campos) in this light, but you're right, that would have to be the nearest precedent for the A.U. Ordinariates.

  8. Thank you, Deborah, for an excellent article. All it lacked for me was a link to Abp. Collins' email so I could indicate my willingness to enter the Ordinariate. Bishop Wilkinson supplied it and I have just sent the Archbishop my message. I also know of three other priests in Calgary who are ready to go.

Leave a Reply