This morning I was interviewed by Pablo Gines, Religion Editor of the Spanish national newspaper, La Razon, about the new Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Here are the questions and the answers which I gave. I'll certainly post a link to the finished story when it's published.
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1. Why are there Catholic priests in the Ordinariates which are married men?
Since the Reformation, the Church of England — and thus her daughter churches later established with the growth of the British Empire — has enjoyed a married priesthood. As a pastoral concession to converting Anglican communities whose ministers are already married, and further as a case-by-case exception to the norm of priestly celibacy in the Latin Church in the future, the Holy Father has chosen to honor this aspect of the Anglican Patrimony.
It is important to note here that a married ordinand may be allowed to proceed to Orders, but clerics — men already in Holy Orders — will not be allow to marry. Additionally, married Ordinariate priests can never be a bishop.
2. Are all Anglicans in the USA Episcopalians? Which are the other people that could enter in the Ordinariate?
No, indeed most of the Anglicans groups interested in joining the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter are not affiliated with the so-called "Episcopal Church," the official representative or province, of the worldwide Anglican Communion in the United States. Most left this body more than thirty years ago when The Episcopal Church began to "ordain" women and stray even further from the Apostolic Faith and Order of the Church. These breakaway groups continued to identify themselves as Anglican, despite the fact that they were not recognized by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Most self-identify as "Continuing Anglicans" and are members of several small denominations based in the United States and which adhere to the 1977 document, The Affirmation of St. Louis, in which former members of The Episcopal Church published their own manifesto.
3. Will Father Steenson wear [the] mitra, ring, pectoral cross…? Will he be a bishop?
No, as [long as] Fr. Steenson is married, he will never be elevated to the Episcopate. Under the Apostolic Constitution, Anglicanorum Coetibus, which provides for the erection of Personal Ordinariates for former Anglicans, Fr. Steenson, as the Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, is free to request the use of pontificalia — the mitre, ring, and pectoral cross — much like a mitred abbot. He will be a member of the USCCB and participate in their meetings.
4. What is the difference between an Ordinariate and a diocese? (in simple words)
A personal ordinariate is very similar to a regular diocese, except that it is non-geographic; its subjects are "personal" as opposed to territorial. The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter will minister to the entire territory of the Bishops' Conference. The Ordinariate will incardinate its own priests and laymen will enroll voluntarily. Laymen will be governed by the Ordinariate insofar as a matter might touch on Anglican Catholic identity and patrimony; in other matters they are to be subject to the local bishop.
5. What's the meaning of the name of the ordinariate: "The Chair of Saint Peter"?
This has yet to be officially explained, but I believe that the name was chosen to signify the bonds of affection with which American Anglicans regard the Holy See and to emphasize [the fact] that converting Anglicans will be fully Catholic, fully a part of the Holy Roman Church.
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[Update 4 January 2012 1:10 PM EST]
Here is the published article:
And the accompanying analysis: