The Latest from Mount Calvary, Baltimore

This is posted on The Anglican Use of the Roman Rite, reporting what Fr. Jason Catania writes in the October issue of Crux Fidelis:

On several occasions, I have suggested that the day when we would begin our new life as a Catholic congregation was in sight, only for there to be another delay. And no doubt many of you share my frustration in seeing other groups board the Barque of Peter ahead of us. But I can assure you that at this point, every indication suggests we do not have much longer to wait. As I announced from the pulpit recently, Mount Calvary is about to enter into mediation with the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland under the guidance of Judge Joseph Kaplan. This very positive development promises to result in a final property settlement in short order.

Another encouraging sign of progress is that those who attend the Episcopalian service in our All Souls Chapel at 9 o’clock Sunday mornings have been informed that this service will be coming to an end this month. They will need to find another church home should they wish to remain Episcopalians. Mount Calvary has permitted this service as a gesture of goodwill, but the Diocese of Maryland has determined that it can no longer be justified for the very small number of people who attend. This, I believe, is a tacit acknowledgement that in the near future, only the Catholic Mass will be celebrated at Mount Calvary…

In June, the Holy Father’s delegate for establishing an Ordinariate in this country, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, informed the American Catholic bishops that Rome desires it to be established this fall. To that end, throughout the summer, dossiers for Anglican clergy applying for ordination as Catholic priests within the Ordinariate have been sent to Rome for review. I am pleased to share with you that mine was among the first batch of dossiers delivered to Rome, and that it has been granted a nulla osta, which means there is no canonical impediment to my ordination. I have now submitted further documentation needed for final approval of my ordination as a Catholic deacon and priest. Fr. David and the other clergy associated with Mount Calvary expect to be informed of their own status very soon.

The speed with which this has all been done suggests that an announcement regarding the formal establishment of the American Ordinariate and the naming of its Ordinary is not far off. Once the Ordinariate is established, Mount Calvary will be able to go about the process of becoming a canonical parish within it, assuming of course that a final settlement regarding our property has been agreed to.

Author: Fr. Christopher Phillips

Fr. Christopher G. Phillips is the pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church in San Antonio, Texas, where he has served for the past twenty-eight years. He is the founding pastor of the first Anglican Use parish, erected in 1983 under the terms of the Pastoral Provision. Fr. Phillips was ordained as an Anglican for the Diocese of Bristol, England, in 1975. After serving as Curate for three years at St. Stephen Southmead, he returned to the United States and served in two Episcopal parishes in the Diocese of Rhode Island. In 1981 he left the Episcopal Church and moved with his family to Texas, where he was subsequently ordained as a Catholic priest in 1983. Fr. Phillips and his wife, JoAnn, have been married for forty years. They have five children, all grown and married, and three grandchildren.

7 thoughts on “The Latest from Mount Calvary, Baltimore”

    1. Fr. Barnes: An excellent example of your prior observation, after your visit to Texas, that Americans frequently express distance in travel time rather than mileage.

    1. "Nulla osta" Italian for "nothing impedes". "Nihil obstat" is Latin for the same thing; and the Italian verb "ostare" is derived from the Latin "obstare". So the former is really Italian for the latter, although they have acquired slightly different meanings in English usage, as Fr. Phillips notes, due to the present prevalence of Italian in the bureaucracy of the Holy See. A Latin declaration of no impediment to ordination would however employ the words "nihil obstat" and I believe did so in former times; however I do not think Latin is much used for such documents nowadays. So while I suppose it would not technically be wrong to say "nihil obstat" for such a declaration, it would be confusing. People will think you are talking about a book.

  1. "Nulla osta" is a legal declaration that there are no impediments, and it is an authorisation to go ahead. "Nihil obstat" mean that "nothing hinders," and is a declaration of no objection to an initiative or an appointment. They are similar, but two different declarations.

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