Worldwide Interest in New Ordinariate

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:

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.

20 thoughts on “Worldwide Interest in New Ordinariate”

  1. Those are likely the best answers I've seen to those questions yet. Thank you Christian.

    My personal take on the name is to associate it with Fr. Paul Wattson who founded the Society of the Atonement and was one of the first communities to be brought into the Catholic Church from the Anglican. He is the one that came up with the first octave of prayer for Christian Unity, which he had begin on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter. While he has not been canonized, I see him as a patron of the entire movement that has brought about the Personal Ordinariate.

  2. Yes, the answers are excellent. I agree in particular with your explanation of the significance of the name.

    Since the Pope's cathedra as Bishop of Rome is known as "The Chair of Peter" the choice of name very much reflects the undoubted fact that those who elect to join the Ordinariate do so primarily out of a desire to be in communion with the successor of St Peter – and indeed in many cases will have seceded from the denomination in which they were bought up (at no little personal cost) precisely to achieve that full communion.

    1. Yes, Fr. Paul also referred to it as the "Chair of Unity octave. This year marks the 104 anniversary of the first Octave while he was still Episcopalian. In 1931 he changed the name to the "Chair of Unity" (the name suggested by Mother Lurana) to be a better reflection of the unity desired. The Society of the Atonement that the two founded corporately entered the Catholic Church in 1909.

  3. 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.

    We should all be very careful with our words in this territory, which may be the one subject most liable to be distorted and sensationalized (especially by those who are no friends to the Church).

    Precisely because of the generosity the Holy Father has shown in AC by recognizing and preserving Anglican tradition, whenever we speak of the ordination of married men we should be especially sure to reiterate the value of the vocation to celibacy. I think it would help whenever possible to use the language of the Magisterium in praise of its ancient discipline– e.g. precious gift of an undivided heart, the brilliant jewel of the Church, source of deep union with Christ and great spiritual fruitfulness, a sign of the Kingdom which is not of this world, etc.

    We should demonstrate to all, not least to our fathers in God, that we understand why celibacy will remain the general norm in the Ordinariate, aside from the gracious exceptions that will be made in particular cases.

      1. Well, Orthodoxy has even a problem that we do not have: its priests want to be celibate without being monks (in Orthodoxy, secular priests tend to be married at 99%, when monks are celibate). That is, they haven't found a wife during their seminary years, still got ordained (because of the great need for clergy), and refuse to live in community according to the strict Basilian rule. This is inacceptable for many Orthodox Churches as they want to respect their traditions, that is having married secular Priests.

        What is ironic is that in Russia, secular priests even need a dispensation to be celibate, when in the Roman Church, they need a dispensation to be married!

        + PAX et BONUM

      2. Fr. Barnes, I very much agree, just as a right understanding of celibacy makes one value marriage more highly. The beauties of celibacy and the beauties of marriage reinforce each other, and a canonical discipline that involves both vocations in a proper balance should encourage the flourishing of both. (I hope I didn't give a different impression!) I'm grateful and excited that the Holy Father provided such wide room for that coexistence in the Apostolic Constitution.

        Henri makes a great point that I have also heard from friends in the East… that in larges parts of the Orthodox Church, seminarians are actively discouraged from celibacy even if they sense they have been given that gift! I think we should just take care to reassure people that the Ordinariate won't make that mistake.

        If it is true that, in the East, celibacy is too little appreciated as a fruitful life lived in the world outside of the monastery and, in the West, the capability of married men to be devoted to the priestly ministry is too little understood… well, isn't this an example of the need for the Church to breathe with both lungs? (Even if just one breath at a time!)

  4. Really good answers!

    Now a question.

    You say that "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".

    This is what commonsense and day to day life lead us to think: that people from the ordinariate belong to both ordinariate and diocese, and they could choose where they like to go. Also bearing in mind that for everything related to baptism, confirmation and marriage, one's ordinary is the Ordinary of the Ordinariate and if one would like to be confirmed or married in the jurisdiction of the diocese, he has to ask for the "delegation" in his personal parish. In other matters he is subject to the local bishop: holy days, fasts, special laws that affect all the faithful who live in an area… like all catholics.

    In some commentaries to AC and Complementary Norms (for example Fr Ghirlanda's and Norman Doe's), it is said that the ordinary jurisdiction is exclusive with respect to the diocese: ie, members of the Ordinariate do not depend for anything on the the local bishop. In AC or in the Complementary Norms is not said that the Ordinary jurisdiccion is exclusive.

    Other people do not share Ghirlanda's view (Bishop Arrieta, Prof. Baura, Prof. Huels) and they think that the question is not about tension or opposition between the two structures: it's easier that way I believe:

    The point is that in fact peopole from the ordinariate can choose where they want to go, because those who belong to a personal parish of the Ordinariate also belong ipso iure (c. 107) to the local Latin territorial parish, and they have the right to the sacraments, and pastoral care in both parishes even if, realistically, they exercise this right only in what they would consider their own parish (Huels). (Freedom must be nurtured!)

    c. 107 says "Through both domicile and quasi-domicile, each person acquires his or her pastor and ordinary. §2. The proper pastor or ordinary of a transient is the pastor or local ordinary where the transient is actually residing. §3. The proper pastor of one who has only a diocesan domicile or quasi-domicile is the pastor of the place where the person is actually residing."

    Also, in the Decree of erection of Our Lady of Walsingham, number 10 it is said that: If a member of the faithful wishes to leave the Ordinariate, he must make such a decision known to his own Ordinary. He automatically becomes a member of the Diocese where he resides". "Automatically", because he belongs automatically to the diocese.

    Well, I dont want to be the typical meticulous canonist, just for debate.

    It is clear that local bishop has nothing to do with those things related to the mission, structure and sacraments in the ordinariate, but he has some things to say in all refered to the life of the diocese that includes (thanks God) the life of the ordinariate.

    1. I can't get into all that you've said, but the right to the Sacraments at either parish does not seem quite correct. As per the decree, if a couple that belong to the Ordinariate are to be married by a priest that does not, he must obtain the faculty to do so from the Ordinary. I imagine that is to be generously given.

    2. In practice what it boils down to is this: things like baptismal registers, confirmation registers and marriage registers are maintained for Ordinariate members by the Ordinariate and the converse is true for diocesan Catholics.

      Nothing prevents an Ordinariate Catholic attending Mass, or receiving the sacraments of penance or communion in a dioceasan church (or vice versa) and may already do so. But for marriage, the position is analagous to that of two Catholics from different parishes who wish to marry. The officiating priest needs to check the status of the spouse not from his parish and so there is a little paperwork involved.

      Likewise if someone wants to be a godparent at a baptism or a sponsor at confirmation, the church where the ceremony is to take place should normally enquire of the parish (or ordinariate instance) of the prospective godparent or sponsor as to the suitability of the proposed person for that role.

      Ordinariate priests get their faculties from their Ordinary, diocesan clergy from their bishop. But ordinariate clergy are encouraged to join the priests' council of the diocese where they reside so as to foster co-operation on matters of mutual concern.

      Where an ordinariate priest officiates in a diocesan role – he is anwserable to the territorial diocesan as well as to his ordinary. – just like any visiting priest from another diocese.

      In the UK we have ordinariate priests in charge of diocesan parishes as well as of ordinariate groups and this seems to work very well.

      1. It should work well. A problem, which I'm sure would be considered minor, would be any confusion over whether a layperson getting married is a member of the Ordinariate or not. It's simpler to figure out when someone from one parish is getting married at another when it is understood that they are regular diocesan laity. At the moment it seems more difficult to determine when a member of the laity that qualifies by coming from an Anglican background and already being in full communion with the Church that has submitted a request of their desire to be part of the Ordinariate is actually entered into the registry to make them a member. Has the UK begun the process of entering earlier converts from prior to the Ordinariate into their registries?

      2. "In the UK we have ordinariate priests in charge of diocesan parishes as well as of ordinariate groups and this seems to work very well."

        Are there as of yet any ordinariate groups with lay members only in which the diocese is loaning them a priest, or is a group only recognized once they have an ordinariate priest?

  5. I'm very pleased that La Razon has published. Particularly the last paragraph pointing out that there are now 7 former Anglican prelates in the OLW Ordinariate and that the number will rise to 8 on Saturday when Mgr Newton is to receive Robert Mercer, the former Bishop of Matabeleland into full communion.

    Outreach so that Catholics in the wider Church understand what is going on is very important and, of course, Catholics whose mother tongue is Spanish are numerically a very important part of the world wide Church – and of the US Church too.

    Let us pray that the establishment of the TCP Ordinariate will also spur a great number of US Anglican Prelates, Clergy and Laity to take the leap of faith too.

    1. Eight? Newton, Burnham, Broadhurst, Barnes, Silk, Mercer. Who are the other two? Neither Klyberg nor Richardson are OLW members as far as I know.

        1. Fr Edwards,

          Mourad was speaking about former Anglican bishops who are now members of the English Ordinariate, rather than the absolute total. Also as far as I know John Lipscomb hasn't indicated that he wishes to be anything other than a local diocesan priest.

          1. Even if he were interested in becoming a priest in the Ordinariate, he would apparently have to wait and find out if his present bishop is willing to excardinate him and the Ordinary were willing to incardinate him. There are procedures that apparently are required to be followed, and we cannot presume that any Pastoral Provision priests will automatically become part of the Ordinariate if that is their desire. There would seem to be some disadvantage, as far as the Ordinariate is concerned, to having made the move too early. But we'll just have to be patient apparently in order to see what happens.

            1. It would be nice to hear that the Ordinary and his Canon are in support of those that by decree are already members of the Ordinariate by virtue of being in full communion with the Church and will recognize them as such versus having any concerns about stepping on toes. Not that they do have any such concerns, but it's not been made clear. I have no idea how Bishop Noonan of Orlando feels about the Pastoral Provision or Personal Ordinariate (though neither term can be found in a search of the diocesan website), but does it matter that much at this point? Won't the Ordinariate and his Canon support those that have been waiting in Orlando regardless of how Bishop Noonan might feel? Isn't that the point of having an Ordinariate versus just continuing with personal parishes under the Pastoral Provision?

  6. The paypal button is now up on the site on the "support" page. I'm sure that any and all donations would be gratefully appreciated!

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