Cardinal Wuerl's Report

UPDATE #2: Rocco Palmo writes "Cardinal Donald Wuerl is slated to give the most definitive update yet on the Stateside implementation of Anglicanorum coetibus at around 2pm Eastern today." The time given to me originally was 3:25pm, and that's what it looked like on the agenda. However, it appears that those interested in watching the live-stream will have to keep an eye on the proceedings starting after the lunch break.


UPDATE: For those who are interested, here is the link for the full agenda of the Bishops' meeting. As you can see, Cardinal Wuerl's report on Anglicanorum coetibus appears to be the final item on Tuesday, wedged between an action item from the Committee on National Collections and a coffee break. I'm just guessing, but that doesn't appear to be the setting for a major announcement.


The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) will have its Fall General Assembly in Baltimore on November 14-16.

Among the many topics being discussed, there will be a report on the U. S. Ordinariate — the USCCB website calls it "…an update by Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington on the process of incorporating Anglican groups into the U.S. Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 apostolic constitution 'Anglicanorum coetibus.'"

This is scheduled to take place at 3:25 p.m. on Tuesday, and there will be live streaming and live tweets available by going to this site. Also, updates will be available at the USCCB Facebook page.

When I asked Fr. Scott Hurd in an email if there would be something newsworthy in the Cardinal's comments, he responded, "I think that all interested parties will wish to tune in!"

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.

40 thoughts on “Cardinal Wuerl's Report”

  1. I hope it won't make the good Cardinal nervous knowing that all of us will be watching and hoping for something sustaining to fall from the table. The eyes of all…

    Sedit qui timuit ne non succederet. Excelsior!

  2. Purely as a way to set expectations, please note that the purpose of Cardinal Wuerl’s address is to update the American bishops. His Eminence serves as the CDF’s delegate for Anglicanorum coetibus in the US. He cannot be expected to understand and predict every detail of its future implementation or to provide definitive responses as does Monsignor Keith Newton for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. (Though my personal experience does reveal him to be incredibly thorough.)

    1. Quite so. I posted this as a matter of interest, and with the encouragement of Fr. Scott Hurd, who has indicated that those who are Ordinariate-bound would find it to be worth watching. What that means, I do not know.

      It would be something of a surprise, I think, if the erection of the Ordinariate was announced at a meeting of the USCCB. That wouldn't seem to be the correct venue… but then, I might be wrong.

    1. Probably not, but this Catholic of non-Anglican background is slowly coming to understand that parsing is perhaps just part of Anglican Patrimony — not the best part, I hope. :)

      To practice a bit of my own parsing, your question could have been more correctly written: “Am I the only one disturbed by the phrase ‘U.S. Catholic Church?’.” 😉

      1. No, I am fairly certain that such was not a throwaway "phrase" but rather a more precise "term" — one that (perhaps unconsciously) betrays an unhealthy, Modernist, Conciliarist view of the Hierarchy (or lack thereof) of the Church. There is no such thing as the "U.S. Catholic Church" — at most the term has legitimate meaning as a geographic term, one which makes reference to secular government and its borders.

        Indeed, many in the Episcopate do practically recognize — or would like to see realized — an American Catholic Church. The national bishops' conferences, which are able, as Pope St. Pius X noted, to further the mission of the Church by pooling local resources, are not juridical bodies, but, very unfortunately, they have evolved to strip local bishops (if only by peer pressure) of their rightful authority in their respective dioceses, distorting the Divine Constitution of Holy Church.

        The ordinariates are not "incorporated into bishops' conferences," though, in a certain sense, they may be considered incorporate in individual dioceses.

        1. I'm glad I was not the only one who was thrown by this phrasing, or terminology, whichever it may be. It jumped right out at me. Then it conjured up the scenes from the recent event last year when Cardinal Wuerl attempted to explain to the USCCB what the Ordinariate would be; considerable Anglican angst ensued then too. But I suppose we do have to just wait it out to see what the meaning was.

    2. There is no such thing as a United States Catholic Church since the US Constitution forbids the establishment of religion but there is a Catholic Church in the United States. Nonetheless, U.S. Catholic Church is used by the press and it means the Catholic Church in the US. We can't blame the press for there are such creatures called "national bishops conferences" in every country where the Church is present.

      Strictly speaking the particular churches in the USA would be known by the sees they identify. Thus there is a Church of New York, Church of Washington DC, a Church of Los Angeles etc. As for an American Catholic Church, that would be possible if the Pope declares the Americans as a sui iuris church. This is something too ridiculous to contemplate!

  3. You are disturbed I'm sure but I think he is referencing the Ordinariate territorial boundary. I don't think he is including Canada at this point in time. Don't read too much into it. He may be totally confused just like everyone else!

  4. Thanks to Father Phillips for the information. On "…incorporating Anglican groups into the U.S. Catholic Church under Pope Benedict XVI's 2009 apostolic constitution 'Anglicanorum coetibus.'" That is, the Catholic Church within the United States under the One and Only, Holy Roman Catholic Church and a report to its American Bishops — no more, no less. PAX.

  5. Seems to me that this phrase is simply to distinguish the territory of this Ordinariate in the US from the Ordinariate in other countries or territories. I think this is just simply shorthand, and certainly is not making any sort of theological statement. I think you guys are over-reacting to something that is simply meant to designate territory.

  6. J.M.J.

    St. Padre Pio's sage advice certainly applies to us in the countdown phase toward the canonical erection of the Ordinariate here in the US – "Pray, hope, and don't worry!"


  7. Re the update: a big sigh. Reminds me of the opening of the best movie of all time: "And so they come to Casablanca, and they wait, and wait and wait…"

  8. Jesus was born in a cave…. Big things sometimes come in small packages.

    At the very least, I'm still hopeful that some indication will be given as to when the actual announcement will come. If Cardinal Wuerl holds the line that the Ordinariate will form up this autumn, then the time is nearly at hand. If this season is abandoned, we'll know it's time to go buy a Snickers bar.

  9. Maybe I'm reading it wrong but it seems to me that that the Anglicanorum coetibus talk is the last item on the agenda for the day on Tuesday rather than simply sandwiched in before a coffee break.

  10. It is possible that the report will merely set forth a recommendation sent to the C.D.F. It seems to me that it should be the C.D.F. that makes an announcement about the erection of a canonical structure here. I predict the date of erection to be 12th December, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadaloupe, and the structure could be named after our Lady under this title, thereby matching the one in England.

    This Pope loves symbolic and/or memorable dates. The first Ordinariate was erected on the first day of the first month of 2011: 1-1-2011. The excommunications of the S.S.P.X were lilfted in the Octave of Unity. "Universæ Ecclesiæ" was published on the Feast of St. Pius V (but the one on the new calendar, sadly). "Summorum Pontificum" was published on the seventh day of the seventh month in 2007: 7-7-2007. I'm not sure if the date for "Anglilcanorum Cœtibus" was symbolic or memorable.


    1. Our Lady of Guadalupe is not particularly linked to Anglicans, in contrary to Our Lady of Walsingham. But Our Lady of the Atonement is particularly linked to US Anglicans, so I'd bet this will be the title of the US Ordinariate. And its patron: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

      + PAX et BONUM

      1. Dear Henri:

        Yes, I can see your point, although I was not aware of the importance of Our Lady of the Atonement. I was aware that it is the Parish of Fr. Phillips in Texas. When is the feastday of Our Lady of the Atonement?


            1. Well, if we have some fun guessing at this, another possible date would be 27th November, the first day of the new ecclesiastical year (1st Su. of Advent). The English one was erected on the first day of the civil year.


    2. Actually, Peter, the first Ordinariate was erected on 1-15-11. Although the former bishops and religious were received on the first, they sat in canonical limbo until the 15, at which time the former bishops were ordained priests, the Ordinariate erected, and the Ordinary appointed.

  11. The feast day for Our Lady of Walsingham is Sept. 24 but the ordinariate founded by the same name in the UK was not erected until Jan. So the feast date for Our Lady of the Atonement (assuming that's what it will be called) will not likely have any significance for the establishment of the American ordinariate. Thankfully, since I don't think any of us could wait that long! I do like the name "Our Lady of the Atonement" and I really think it should be called that. I would also like to see new medals struck bearing that image, as they might be a neat way for ordinariate folks to show their devotion to Our Lady.

    1. Could someone enlighten me about Our Lady under this title? I was aware that it was the title of Fr. Phillips's church in Texas but I have never heard of it before that. Of course, our Lady has so many titles but I am a bit knowledgeable about only, say, the top twenty or so and this one is not in their number. How is it connected to Anglicanism?


  12. In his last report, I recall one of the bishops suggested that he ask the CDF about dissolving the Office for the Pastoral Provision, the role of which seems very fuzzy at this time.

    The All Saints' Sisters that recently were established as a diocesan right group in the Diocese of Baltimore were supposedly not necessarily planning to join the Personal Ordinariate. From my understanding, they were supposed to have at least previously been using some Anglican styled liturgy. If they are not to become part of the Personal Ordinariate, would such a group of religious be required to use a regular form of the Latin Rite Liturgy? If they are not to be part of the Ordinariate but wished to use an Anglican Use Liturgy, would this in fact require permission of the Pastoral Provision Office? Does anyone know if the Pastoral Provision Office was actively involved in their case? If not, does that indicate that the Pastoral Provision Office is in fact totally obsolete?

  13. From Mr. Palmo, it sounds as if the announcement will be significant, but in a penultimate, rather than ultimate sense. Actual announcement of the erection would come in a different setting, I would think.

  14. Our Lady of the Atonement certainly sounds like an appropriate name for a US ordinariate, for historical reasons. This being the case, December 8th (Immaculate Conception) would be very appropriate for the CDF announcement (since Our Lady is patroness of the US under that title), or even January 1st for Mary, Mother of God. Just my 2 cents. In any case, prayers for unity continue here!

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