News from Australia on the Personal Ordinariate of the Southern Cross

From the Melbourne Archdiocese web site, this news:

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The Personal Ordinariate: an historic moment

POPE Benedict XVI will officially name Australia’s Personal Ordinariate Our Lady of the Southern Cross, under the patronage of St Augustine of Canterbury, on 15 June.

Bishop Peter Elliott, project delegate for the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said the name of the Ordinary, the person who will lead the Ordinariate, would also be announced that day.

“The Ordinariate is a national diocese for former Anglicans who will enter full communion with the Catholic Church and yet retain their own heritage and traditions,” Bishop Elliott said.

“Many requests had come from groups to Rome in recent years, that is from Anglicans in the Anglo-Catholic tradition, who were deeply distressed at the ordination of women as priests and bishops and also most unhappy about other liberalising trends in the Anglican Communion.

“They requested that rather than being reconciled to the Church individually they might come to some corporate style of arrangement.

“I would encourage all the Catholics in Melbourne to take an interest in this new venture. It is an historical moment, of course it is small but from small things bigthings grow and I think this will have a remarkable future.”

Two main sources will make up the Ordinariate in Australia: members of the Anglican Church in Australia, the official Anglican denomination; and members of the Anglican Catholic Church in Australia, which is part of the breakaway Traditional Anglican Communion—people who left mainstream Anglicanism for the same reasons that they are now seeking ull communion with the Church.

“In Melbourne the Ordinariate community is drawn from several mainstream parishes and also from a small community of the Traditional Anglican Communion,” Bishop Elliott said.

“To these two main groups we can add their immediate relatives who may already be Catholic and there is a provision also for any Catholic who once was an Anglican, which is an interesting feature.”

He said they were not sure of the precise number of people likely to enter the Ordinariate at this stage.

“There are groups in every state who have been preparing for reconciliation; that is, taking special courses in the catechism of the Catholic Church. The numbers are not clear at this stage, in the next week they will be clarified as admission forms circulate.

“Anglicans will have a choice. They can either come in and be official members of the Ordinariate. Or they can become Catholics and associate with the Ordinariate. Or they are free not to have anything to do with he Ordinariate, it’s their choice.”

All Catholics will be able to attend Mass and receive the sacraments celebrated within an Ordinariate parish.

Bishop Elliott said that the challenges that faced the Ordinariate at present were finance and property.

“In some places a church is already available for the Ordinariate but in most Catholic dioceses a church will have to be shared,” he said.

“In Melbourne it will be the Church of the Holy Cross in South Caulfield.

“The Ordinariate is part of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church; it’s not a distinct rite. It will have the privilege of a liturgy of its own.

“I am a member of the international commission preparing that liturgy. We are preparing a liturgy which draws upon the Roman Rite, the new rite and the old, plus various books of Common Prayer. This liturgy won’t be obligatory but it will be an option.”

Bishop Elliott has been following the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in Britain closely.

“I am friends with the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, and I was present at the first birthday celebrations at St James Spanish Place in January,” he said.

“It was a magnificent occasion, with a lot of optimism and hope. They have problems with sharing property with existing Catholic parishes but they are working these things through and generally they have had a very warm welcoming from the bishops and the lay faithful. I think it’s heading for about 100 clergy. It’s growing steadily in the UK.”

Bishop Elliott, who himself converted from the Anglican Church to Catholicism, said, “It’s very strange the providence of God in my
own life here, in a way that deeply moves me.

“There have been negative critics who have said ‘pigs will fly’; well at the Melbourne Ordinariate group meeting [recently], I was solemnly presented with a cast-iron pig with wings and we all cheered.

“It will not do harm to ecumenism because if these people are not happy where they are and seek full communion, let them have it. I think that is the attitude of the official Anglican authorities with whom we have spoken.”


“There have been negative critics who have said ‘pigs will fly’; well at the Melbourne Ordinariate group meeting [recently], I was solemnly presented with a cast-iron pig with wings and we all cheered.

“It will not do harm to ecumenism because if these people are not happy where they are and seek full communion, let them have it. I think that is the attitude of the official Anglican authorities with whom we have spoken.”

Author: Deborah Gyapong

Deborah Gyapong is a member of the Sodality of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary ( in Ottawa, a former parish of the Anglican Catholic Church of Canada (Traditional Anglican Communion) whose members were received individually and corporately into the Roman Catholic Church on April 15, 2012 by Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast at St. Patrick’s Basilica. Under the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus, the community will celebrate an approved Anglican Use liturgy and hopes to soon join with other sodalities across Canada to form the Canadian Deanery of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter under Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, Ordinary. As we wait for our priest(s) to be ordained as Catholic priests, God willing, Archbishop Prendergast will provide priests to celebrate our Sunday Eucharist according to the Anglican Use. Deborah is a journalist who covers religion and politics in Canada’s national capital, writing primarily for Roman Catholic newspapers since 2004. Her novel The Defilers, published in 2006, was not a best seller, alas. She spent 17 years at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in news and current affairs, including 12 years as a television producer.

20 thoughts on “News from Australia on the Personal Ordinariate of the Southern Cross”

  1. I foresee that the Ordinariates in the USA/Canada and Australia will overshadow the OLW Ordinariate in viability and influence on the Catholic Church at large in a positive way. Size isn't everything.

    1. If not size, what is your criterion of "viability"? I agree that influence can be disproportionate. But if Toronto, with 80,000 Anglicans on current parish rolls, is drawing "a couple dozen" to an Ordinariate mass, the rest of Canada has perhaps 150 Ordinariate members, and the situation in Australia is as tenuous as described here, the US will have to pick up a lot of slack if these Ordinariates are to play a leadership role.

    2. The situation in England is different than that in Australia or the US and Canada. But the viability of any Ordinariate is not measured on its size alone but the witness of its flock. The Ordinariate of OLW has made great strides in preserving the Anglican patrimony and for that it should have a significant influence worldwide.

      As an example,The Catholic Church of Japan was on the surface, extirpated by the Shognate but it remained viable even though still small relative to the Japanese population and today the witness of its martyrs is a significant influence in the Universal Church.

      1. I am interested to know that 'great strides in Anglican patrimony' have been achieved by the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingam. I can only identify three on the ground: sporadic recitation of Evensong; married clergy, a few hymns. Liturgically you use the Roman Missal but I believe a Kalendar has been drawn up. How is it incorporated into the Roman Kalendar and what is distinctively Anglican about it?

        I do not detect a trace of the Anglican cathedral choral tradition, the high standards of scholarship that, years ago, defined Anglicanism, a good standard of education, a rich cultural setting that also once prevailed and is unexportable. You are simply tucked up into nooks and crannies of British Catholic parishes, mostly in very small numbers scarcely big enough to form an identity.

        Not even Ordinariate ceremonial is correct from what I have observed despite the ridiculous adoption of the biretta. At best it is niminy-pimmeny and most of the servers come from the herniaed hords of elderly formerly belong to the Guild of the Servants of the Sanctuary. The latter is certainly Anglican but scarcely worthy of the pompous term 'patrimony'.

        The Catholic Church has a far greater patrimony than anything achieved by the Anglican schism and it would be better if the Ordinariate sought that, rather than arrive with a handful of inaplicable scraps.

        1. The Pope doesn't agree with you. Perhaps you could ask for a personal audience in order to explain to him why he is so painfully wrong, why a move he described a "prophetic" is in facts irrelevant, and ask him to supress the ordinariates?

          + PAX et BONUM

        2. I'm fairly certain that I speak for most of the readership when I tell you that your tone is off-putting and more than often downright rude. If you want to criticise the Ordinariates here on The Anglo-Catholic, fine, but please stop being such an ass about it.

        3. John,

          Your continued pessimism on everything related to the ordinariates is perplexing. You seem wont to visit and comment on this site, but you disparage every action of anyone discerning a call to or already a member of an ordinariate.

          Do you also criticize a married couple the day after their marriage for not yet having any children? When they receive the gift of a child, do you then criticize the child for not looking exactly like the father or mother? When the child enters elementary school, do you belittle him for not yet producing a heir?

          Sadly, your continued comments lead me to suppose you do.


          1. I merely challenged a withdrawn comment that made preposterous claims about the influence of the British Ordinariate on the Universal Church. What amazes me, as a convert of long-standing, are the exaggerated views of members of the Ordinariate who have hardly had the opportunity of settling down in the Church. It is still foreign territory for all of them. None of my comments represent disloyalty to the Holy Father. I met somebody recently who works for the CDF and he said that they were misled about the numbers likely to form an Ordinariate. The figure of 800 priests was mentioned based on a petition. Only 60 responded. All well and good but if the reality of likely numbers had been faced from the start, I doubt if the Holy Father would have made this initiative.

            The best future the Ordinariate can have is to be quietly absorbed into the main stream rather than forming a backwater.
            I cannot understand why it is thought necessary.

            1. On the one hand, inflated claims and misinformation based on wishful thinking do a disservice to those trying to make decisions about their spiritual future. On the other hand, if the Ordinariate is meeting the needs of even a few who have sought membership in the Catholic church, what's it to you, as they say? The snobbish tone may be off-putting to you, but as you can see, it has resonated with many life-long Catholics.

  2. The photograph is not Bishop Peter Elliot incidentlly, although he was at that conference.

    Australian Anglicanism is a mixed bag – the Sydney Diocese has hardly any Anglo-Catholics about 3 or 4 Churches the most famous of which are all affirming – it is the perhaps the lowest Anglican diocese in the world. It therefore rejects women's ordination and homosexual clergy. But it also really rejects the Catholic Sacramental system in favour of an almost Calvinist view.

    The rest of the country is middling to high and mostly at an official level affirming.

    Has anyone heard anything about the Church of Torres Strait which had been seeking communion with the Catholic Church as late as last year – I have not heard anything since.

  3. Please pray for our small group in Japan.

    We hope we will get good news soon.

    Japanese, former Anglican Church, Nippon Kirisuto Sei Kou Kai

  4. Bishop Elliott's remarks about the liturgy are a bit worrying. What could he possibly draw from the New Roman Mass that could enrich a liturgy? Every word if it is an impoverishment, except for what it takes from the preconciliar Rite. Let's hope that the parts from the New Mass are all optional.


  5. Maybe he is hoping to be proven wrong. If you just don't like the whole project there are plenty of other sites to hang out at. I have not heard from that Canon for quite some. Such types have no reason to persist indefinitely at places like this. By the way, at the ACC church I attend, where some of my mother's relatives got married in the past, I think I count 9 people usually. Still waiting on a replacement priest. There is a local Russian church has 23 on a good Sunday and they are not closing. You don't need Fr Phillips size churches to keep going. I follow this because I hope it does succeed, even if I never get a chance be near it or have anything to do with. Everyone deserves a jurisdiction they feel at home in.

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