When Archbishop Thomas Collins of Toronto invited me to come to Canada in March 2011, so as to speak at a conference he had organized on Anglicanorum coetibus for prospective members of the proposed Canadian Ordinariate, he asked me to address three questions: the theological context of the document, its place in the wider vision of Pope Benedict, and the topic of the Liturgy. This 3-part article revisits the substance of what I said on that occasion, and reworks it into a fuller whole.
Part One: The theological context of the Ordinariates
In connexion with Anglicanorum coetibus, what, to my mind, the term ‘theological context’ principally means is its historical-theological context. To be sure, a formal ecclesiological account of the Apostolic Constitution could no doubt be provided, taking its inspiration from the document’s preamble with its doctrinal meditation on the nature of the Church (and notably the Church’s unity) and making particular reference to the case of ‘those Anglican faithful who desire to enter into the full communion of the Catholic Church in a corporate manner’ (Anglicanorum coetibus, Introduction). But to put living flesh on the skeletal canonico-ecclesiological structure the text lays out, it is necessary, I believe, to think through theologically the issues raised by the historical background.