Nulla Osta

In recent days, at least one errant Anglican cleric has written to members of the faithful that, having received a letter of notification of the receipt of a decision nulla osta from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that he "has been accepted for ordination to the Roman Catholic priesthood."

This is absolutely false.

The decision of nulla osta simply means that, based on the dossier submitted to the CDF, there appears to be no canonical impediment to ordination in the Catholic Church.  The letters presently emanating from an office in the Archdiocese of Washington make it perfectly clear that this finding simply allows the individual concerned to continue in the "evaluation process."

Further, let it be known that it is the policy of The Anglo-Catholic to refrain from publishing the names of Anglican ministers who have, or have not, received a letter of notification of nulla osta — or those few who have received a letter stating that their application has been denied.

For the moment, these decisions should remain confidential between the CDF, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Anglican priest and community involved.  Unless and until it be discovered that there is any impropriety or a decision made which seems to grievously impact the mission or integrity of the future Ordinariate, this will remain the policy of the blog.

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.

9 thoughts on “Nulla Osta”

    1. Indeed, his web post made it clear that he understands the process as you describe it. In fact, it was I that needed reminding by a friend last week!

  1. Yes, the nulla osta as a "finding simply allows the individual concerned to continue in the "evaluation process." That said, perhaps brother Anglican cleric in his enthusiasm at receiving the CDF's green light to proceed in the ordination process was merely responding with understandable exuberance that the silence on his application was lifted and now her knows his footing in the process toward ordination as an ordinariate catholic in more sured.

    Certainly, the clarification is well taken. Worse would be that an Anglican cleric would receive a dulla osta then later be disqualified. God willing, our Anglican brothers will receive the grace required to enter into full ministerial service as Catholics in full communion with Mother church.

  2. Had a power outage on the laptop in mid message, so I'm not sure what, if anything will be posted.

    What I was going to say is this: in my experience, life-long Roman Catholics who know that I have applied for Holy Orders in the Ordinariate will ask, "When do you find out where you'll be assigned?" They appear to have an image in mind of the only ordination process they know of, namely the process for all other Latin Rite seminarians. I have explained to people who ask me that my dossier has been sent and that it now being reviewed. If I receive a response of nulla osta, it will mean that there is no obstacle to my being ordained.

    I still find that most life-long Roman Catholics seem to regard the whole affair of convert married priests and Anglican patrimony a mysterious, vague kind of thing they have difficulty understanding. It is unprecedented, at least in our lifetime, and most likely unexpected.

  3. I think the excitement of these pre-Ordinariate days is leading some to leave their thinking caps at home. I am certain that the cleric in question knows now the meaning of nulla osta, if he ever didn't. I'd be curious to know what criteria are used to establish nulla osta. I am certain that the regularity of the marital state is considered, bona fide Anglican ordination and service, and education. But since the nulla osta is a prerequisite to criminal background check and psychological evaluation, what else would there be?

    1. Whether or not they are a former RC; when and in what state (lay or clerical) they became Anglicans and why they left the Catholic Church..

      1. In England one candidate did not receive a nulla osta because he is a High Court judge. He was permitted to become a deacon with the prospect of priestly ordination on retirement from the bench.

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